Today, multi-billion-dollar tech companies seem to be valued mostly for how many thumbs-ups, clicks, shares, accepts, swipes, and other forms of “likes” their users generate. In OmniMesh’s view these are fine companies with smart people running them, and nearly a third of the world’s population is immersed in their platforms. What’s wrong with this picture? And why does it mean OmniMesh will be able to compete in a market dominated by the likes of Google and Facebook?

The thumbs-up economy violates a basic tenet of capitalism. The factors of production are classically (and correctly) understood to be land, labor, and capital—yet Facebook, Amazon and the others don’t own enough real estate to justify their valuation; capital flows unfreely because of regulation and intermediaries; and the labor is provided unwittingly or without consent. Without consent? That’s right—either by users who sign away their privacy and control as a condition to feed their personal videos and political arguments into social networks, or by soulless AIs that have no concept of consent, as we let them centrally control what we see and buy, and from whom.

In the face of these flaws, two artificial conditions must persist to prop up the thumbs-up economy: 1. end users must continue to give up their power to consent by submitting to complex terms and conditions, incomprehensible privacy settings, and questionable data scraping practices; and 2. sources of capital must remain satisfied that these companies will continue their exponential growth.

There are cracks in both blocks of this foundation. The past year has seen a great awakening to the potential of mega-platform companies to violate our privacy, skew what we see, keep our content for their own, and otherwise distort the market for data. And the future looks rough for the largest “like” companies looking for growth. Most of their big markets are already mature, and they are boxed out by lower-bandwidth or state-censored platforms in populous markets like India and China. In the rest of the world, few people can even afford feature phones, much less full-on internet connectivity. This explains why platform companies are frantically spending to build their own private onramps to the global internet, instead of investing in compelling content and better protections for users.

What if there was a better way? What if a profitable internet could be built on real capitalist foundations, rather than likes alone?

OmniMesh is the way to build that capitalist internet, and it’s the right answer for end users, platform companies, content creators, and anyone else whose business model depends on the efficient use of labor, real estate, and capital online. Our pioneering appliances put the factors of production right into consumers’ homes in an edge services network, which is a radically more efficient (and fundamentally honest) implementation of capitalism. Labor – that is, deployment and maintenance of the internet – becomes the responsibility of the end user, with blockchain-based micropayments ensuring fair and timely compensation. Real estate – secure storage on the OmniMesh appliance – is the valuable digital space in each neighborhood where content is instantly distributed, retrieved, secured, and shared. Capital flows more freely among users and between content creators and consumers, as intermediaries are removed from the system.

In OmniMesh’s model, costs are shifted to where they make the most sense, and greater efficiency means that costs come down for all. All players have incentive to operate efficiently and honestly with one another. OmniMesh puts privacy and consent in its end users’ hands, and it puts the levers of a real economy within their reach. Think of it as the hands-on economy, instead of the thumbs-up economy.