“It’s really hard to design products by focus groups.
A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”
All things grows. Content becomes the product that fills the vastness of the Internet, and if this is not correctly put thematically, there will be information chaos. The block chain - today it is the product that allows you to establish an information order in all areas of activity. What is a blockchain, why it is unique and what standards this product represents, we will talk with the creator of the WishKnish platform, Ms. Alisa Gus.
- Hello Alisa,
- You rarely meet a woman who is keen on crowdsourcing and block chain. This is more a man’s profession, what prompted you to do this?
- What a relevant observation! Just last night I saw the graphic for Bitcoin engagement by gender (https://coin.dance/stats/gender), showing that less than 4% of the community is female. An even smaller percentage of blockchain-based projects are female-led. This is both a challenge and an opportunity for us, but it’s not my first rodeo. The idea for WishKnish came from my experience and challenges as founder of Curiosity Quills Press, a book publishing house founded in 2011. We “wished” for a better marketplace to grow our readership, and ended up with something a little bit more than we expected.
- You want to say that women can take the challenge and go to the IT industry?
- Oh, not only can we do so, we can rock it. In fact, the statistic shows that women-founded and -run companies routinely outperform male ones, and often on a much smaller budget.
That is not to say men are not equally up for the challenge - but I believe given the fact that women have to fight all the harder to get to where they want to be, funding- and scalability-wise, in the end helps us tackle the accelerating pace with this extra bit of equanimity. Just in my, not so humble, opinion, of course.
- You created a company, WishKnish. What exactly can WishKnish offer for its customers?
- WishKnish was created to allow businesses, social causes, and charities to create their own decentralized communities build around a brand or idea, and empowering those communities to engage, incentivize, and gamify their user base to fuel growth, word of mouth, and e-commerce sales. On the other side of the coin, we aim to empower regular users to becomes curators and bundlers, discovering and promoting the products, services, and communities that are important to them, effectively forming a secondary economy of curated, user-discovered content monetized through affiliate commissions and gamified rewards. Those very same users will eventually be able to nominate themselves as participants in a decentralized fulfillment infrastructure, warehousing and delivering e-commerce goods - thus democratizing the entire fulfillment process.
- That is, you came to the blockchain industry, from publishing. You can tell how the idea of creating WishKnish originated in you, and who helped you on the way of becoming.
- I think I have to credit Amazon with it 😉 Or, on a more serious note, the fact that we increasingly found the ecosystem it has fostered hostile to our industry - and, as we found out, to other industries forced to operate under its shadow.
Having started as we did in developing our own marketing channel, we soon realized we may be helpful to companies outside of our own purview, but faced with similar challenges - and the rest was history written on a blockchain.
- Many markets are trying to move to a blockchain, to build a decentralized society. What product can you offer, let’s say the real estate market?
- There’s a good reason our earliest advisors came from the real-estate industry. You see this almost everywhere in America: malls are practically empty during holiday shopping season. Many are shutting down entirely. A few enterprising developers are turning dead mall space into affordable living units (https://www.popsugar.com/home/Providence-Shopping-Mall-Converted-Apartments-37434301). What if real estate developers had a way to gauge interest in a particular location’s viability for a specific purpose (whether retail or non-commercial)? With WishKnish “reverse bounty” campaigns, users can signal their interest in moving in to a location before it’s even built (or re-purposed), to give developers not only a sense of interest, but also potential payments towards the bounty that can then be applied towards rent or a down-payment. Having this kind of solid commitment from users means a developer can go to their financiers with much a stronger proposal, get better funding terms, and reduce their risk. Meanwhile, a whole array of home services can be bundled - title companies, architects, landscapers, contractors, and more. If there’s one thing our advisors taught us about real-estate is that it’s more important than ever to hold on to your customers - once a transaction is complete, everyone usually goes their separate way. With WishKnish, your customers are effectively turned into super-fans and evangelizers.
- Cryptocurrency and blockchain are interconnected today. What product WishKnish can offer for the cryptocurrency market?
- While we have our own token, the Knish, WishKnish is intended as a coin-agnostic platform. Meaning that if an author wants to offer Dogecoin as a reward for bringing people to a book signing, or accept IOTA tokens for buying a copy of their book - there’s no reason they couldn’t do that. This also means that users who are earning rewards tokens on some of the many different loyalty platforms that are springing up can come to WishKnish to spend them. Our ultimate goal is to reduce the fragmentation of the market that is a very real problem in the cryptocurrency world - case in point, see the 1,386 different currencies listed on CoinMarketCap (https://coinmarketcap.com/all/views/all/).
- Your company recently announced a partnership with the French biometric technology group BioSSL. What product to expect from this tandem?
- WishKnish and BioSSL aim to solve one of the chief problems that large-scale token projects face - stolen, lost, and/or misused wallet keys leading to theft and otherwise disruption of the token economy. The way the key to a cryptocurrency wallet is stored is the weakest link in the blockchain world. On one hand, you have users playing cowboy with their secure token custodianship. On the other hand, you’ve got draconian methods for keeping your wallets safe from bad guys that only serve to scare away the retail public. The solution is to utilize the tokenization of military-grade biometrics to generate the private key, combined with a mix of “normal” security practices like usernames and passwords, two-factor authentication, 2D barcode IDs, and more - depending on the security level required. This way, users will wear their private key in their face, on their fingertips, and in their voice print.
- An interesting solution. You intend to enter biometric data to use the access to the wallet. Does this imply the introduction of chips? A revolutionary decision, a person can say: I - and there is a purse!
- Absolutely no need to employ any hardware outside of our existent computers and cell phones - as long as they are equipped with a camera - that is all that is needed to perform army-grade authentication on the user as part of our unlocking mechanism.
- Now large corporations have a large number of smart contracts. What product can you offer to facilitate the payment system?
- Because WishKnish is a social e-commerce platform, being able to transparently and easily fulfill payments for customers in a coin-agnostic environment is an important part of our roadmap. Because we are a project building on the IOTA Tangle, we will eventually make use of IOTA Smart Contracts when the technology becomes available later this year. In the meantime, we are preparing to announce several exciting partnerships in this area that will further expand our ability to facilitate transactions, including ATM / gift cards, and more.
- It’s good when new technologies are supported at the state level. Do you have joint projects with regulators or government officials?
- We cannot name names right now, but we are brokering several important pilot projects around the world that will help many people enjoy an efficient, transparent, and secure e-government infrastructure.
- What projects will the blockchain technology be represented in the near future?
- Blockchain in general is an exciting and potentially world-changing idea. Decentralizing everything for the common good. What a concept! I think we will be seeing a lot more focus on leveraging blockchain for IOT (Internet of Things), to connect the world around us - the appliances in your home, civil infrastructure around town, and even automated e-government resources. The IOTA Tangle has been making great headway in this direction through their partnerships and developmental progress, and WishKnish is excited to ride this technological wave forward.
- You released your coin Knish. What details can you disclose?
- We did indeed release the Knish. It is currently a colored token on the Waves platform - and a verified tradable asset on the Waves DEX exchange. The supply is a billion Knishes and half of that is going to be released during our token generation event. We are still going over the pricing details with our advisory board, so beyond that, I am afraid I’m not currently at liberty to say, although I can promise that the announcement to this effect will be released in a fairly short order.
- Your wishes for our readers for 2018
- Oh, well, that’s a good one! I will say, I wish all of us health, happiness - and enough self-awareness to know when to step away from our chats, and projections, and analyses and grab a bite to eat with someone we love or take the kids to the zoo. No bitcoin boom or an ICO is going to replace that, and they shouldn’t try.
— Alisa, thank you for the interview.