English language services will become more efficient by economizing the small moments instead of overlooking them.
Three of the most antiquated business terms are, in sequential order: contract, service and payment. Without this holy trinity of economic development, business would not exist. It’s a transactional process that requires so much contractual trust that the two parties involved nearly always rely on a mediator or middleman in some form or other. What results is a triangular relationship that not only drains the two essential parties’ wallets, but also their time spent, lowering the quality of service.
Blockchain projects have been attempting to eliminate that third point as much as possible to make a wide array of services cheaper and faster. As blockchain technology develops, these transactions will evolve into microtransactions, a process that involves: microcontracts, microservices and micropayments.
The prefix micro is fitting, as this truly-new transaction model addresses services so brief that middlemen have never found value in mediating them. Many industries will take advantage of it, yet few will benefit quite like that of ESL (English as a Second Language).
Here are 5 clear reasons how:
It makes sense to start the list with chatrooms, as many of the following microtransactions will depend on the communication a chatroom offers to two parties. Microtransaction-utilizing DApps (decentralized apps) such as TryEnglish, a partner of blockchain platform ESL Coin, will center around chatrooms to facilitate networking, but also have a direct service utility.
For some older generations it may be hard to believe, but people are writing (and reading) more than ever. The advent of texting has spurred a new way to communicate some may think of as shallow, but is perhaps just more conversational.
ESL teachers often have to beg their students to write something. Students’ writing can highlight their misunderstandings of the language that are often difficult to pinpoint through conversation. Chatrooms, whether they be public, group or private, can provide a wealth of opportunities to assist with language confusion. Pointing out a few errors within a limited amount of text could be even more memorable to the student than correcting many within a large body of text.
Micropayments to teachers, likely on a per-edit basis, would provide motivation to participate, while the quality of this microservice could be evaluated both by the learners and a high-performing group of teachers serving a micropaid monitoring role. Teachers who edit poorly would be penalized with poor ratings, and perhaps even filtered out, while giving an English learner a quality follow-up explanation concerning their confusion would meter out a quality micropayment.
Teachers would not be the only valuable participants in chatrooms, as copy editors could help with the text of social media posts, lawyers could help traveling learners through legal concerns, and even poets could receive payment for well-received work in public chatrooms. General native speakers of English would also play a role as chat partners whose interests and hobbies are matched with those of learners’.
The microcontract backing this microtransaction would be engineered through the Ethereum blockchain’s smart contracts, an automated function integrated into Ethereum’s tokens. ESL Coin is engineering tokens with smart contracts that uniquely fit the needs of chatroom microtransactions as well as the four that follow.
With text-based apps today expected to have voice calling capability, it makes sense that an English-learning DApp would, as well. Much of the logic from text-based chatrooms would transfer seamlessly to spoken conversations.
Highly rated language teachers and service professionals would receive a higher per minute pay rate than informal native speakers, yet learners would still value these informal conversations. A learner’s motivation to use another language waxes and wanes throughout the day, so taking advantage of ten-minute pockets of free time adds up to successful long-term acquisition.
For completely free conversations, learners could speak with each other, training their ears to understand the world’s different accents. As an accepted global means of communication, native English speakers comprise only 5% of the world’s population, meaning being able to comprehend the accents from regions in China, India, or Mexico is essential to obtain English’s full value as a global communications tool.
Conversation has always sat at the heart of language learning and will stay there through all other social and technological evolutions.
There are currently a limited number of industries who pay for professional interpreters, two big ones being the medical and legal industries. For obvious reasons, individuals, organizations and governments are willing to pull out that extra dollar to make sure everything is crystal clear when it concerns healthcare or technical legalities. Confusing a single word could mean the difference between successful treatment and a misdiagnosis or a misdemeanor and a felony.
However, the demand for interpretation service exists in other industries, but the structure has yet to develop to meet those demands in a logical way.
Microtransactions and group call functionality will open the door to those brief windows in the day when a non-native speaker really wants to express what they mean or understand what the other is saying.
Buying a new car, for instance, would surely be worth the value of the microservice if it gives the non-native speaker a little more negotiating power.
Some other cases would involve spontaneous pitches of business ideas, retail shopping, tour guides and, even, perhaps, assisting in relationship conflicts. Ultimately, the market will decide which types of interpretations would be in demand, and specialized interpreters will naturally emerge to meet it.
Perhaps a more straightforward and predictable service in the microtransaction economy is that of translations. While not everyone stops and thinks about the value of an interpreter during mundane conversations and interactions, many have done so after spending the time trying to read or write in a different language.
Translators are already sought out for small projects such as website content and business correspondence through sites such as UpWork and Fiverr. However, a decentralized microtransaction application will cheapen the service and likely improve its quality by removing the large cuts these centralized middleman platforms take.
As a result, demand for informal email translation will increase, and hesitancy to contact a translator for full comprehension of lease contracts or job offers will diminish. The textual world gives people time to pause and think about the value of an accurate translation (sorry AI, but you’re not there yet). The tracks are lain, and all that’s needed are new and faster trains.
One of the most profitable areas of the language industry is publishing, a sector that takes on many forms. To list a few (with linked examples), from most complex to simplest (generally speaking):
All of these have their own value to particular students and/or teachers and should be created with care and published with confidence. Although publishers of this content still turn a decent profit, there’s a lot of meat left on the bone because it currently lacks an efficient micropayment system.
At the moment, sites such as Teachers Pay Teachers force content creators and publishers to charge more than they might want, while ones like Using English charge an umbrella monthly fee that doesn’t reward the highest performing content creators. This problem comes from the centralized need to register members and their credit cards. Inefficiencies arise from expensive credit card service charges and a limited group of members that stunt demand.
A decentralized network (no tedious registration) with cheap blockchain microtransactions allows these creators and publishers to potentially make much more by charging much less.
With so much of the world’s population still unbanked, blockchain payments (including micropayments) are going to be a force in giving this population economic power. The consequent skyrocketing of demand for ESL content will lead to an increase in supply, much of it also coming from this emerging economic sector.
Free video editing software like OpenShot, design tools such as Canva, and all the programs in Google Suite allow any freelancer to publish quality content and get paid for their work accordingly. Some content will obviously have a higher production value than others, but with so much multilevel competition, the overall quality of content can only improve, improving language skills along with it.
How Will This Happen?
As a whole, blockchain development and investment has truly blossomed into the mainstream over the last few years. ESL Coin and TryEnglish are poised to help take ESL industry participants into this territory. Our expertise and commitment to this vision have been steadfast and we are open to all who are interested in learning more about our plans.
English has never really been a language centralized in one country or society, so it makes no sense for its acquisition to be facilitated by slow, centralized technology from the past. Decentralization, combined with an array of microtransaction utilities, will accelerate the global acquisition of English, allowing the world’s societies and economies to understand one another more thoroughly than ever.
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to ask us questions, give suggestions or offer partnership opportunities.