Are we missing something in the crypto world? Are we so caught up in our Huxleyian bubble that we have forgotten about key components of the ‘normal’ offline world that doesn’t impact us so much (so we think)? We do most of our shopping online, spend most of our time online working/playing etc, most of our friends are accessed and interacted with online.
We only spend a comparatively small proportion of our time interacting with the ‘offline’ world. Yet most of the planet lives in the offline world, most of the planet socializes, works, plays and shops in that offline world. We bank in the online world, yet the majority of the world is unbanked, as Andreas Antonopoulos has pointed out so many times, and if they do their shopping they do it in the offline world.
Even people who are banked and not part of the millennial and tech communities do a large part of their transactions in offline bricks and mortar stores.
This is a 25 TRILLION dollar market – and it has largely been ignored and poorly dealt with. Marketing is word of mouth or TV/print-driven, or only local; businesses have no way to connect with their customers, track transaction info and push marketing effectively – they also have very poor tools for evaluating marketing effectiveness; payments are done via 60 year-old technology (plastic cards) or cash.
You might even say that this is the 800 pound gorilla in the room in terms of global commerce – and nobody seems to be addressing it very well. It is studiously ignored or there is an attitude of if they don’t get with the ‘program’ they will fail/die, so it’s not our problem’.
This is unnecessary – the gaps in data management and communication can be bridged, and incentives can drive this.
Carry Protocol is a bold first step into this area.
The team behind Carry are essential the Spoqa team. Spoqa is the most successful rewards and marketing online platform for offline merchants in S. Korea and Japan:
Dodo’s existing partner base will drive Carry – along with the Dodo device network installed on the premises of ALL 10,000 partners. So, they have the customer base and the network in place – before Carry is even launched – a strong adoption driver. Something to bear in mind when assessing the potential of any project! They also plan to add more partners to drive potential even further.
The key problems with the offline retail market are:
- Customer data is fragmented and incomplete – so merchants find it very hard to connect with their customers for repeat business incentivization and profiling/channelling.
- Customers can’t control their data or benefit from it – the only ones who can are the large corporations who then monetize it (think FB, Google et al).
- Advertising is outdated, can’t be evaluated or targeted to customers effectively and built upon (mainly print/broadcast).
Carry addresses ALL these points with very effective strategies, but the fragmentation of data in silos is the biggest issue; breaking that down unlocks the others:
(from the carry WP):
“Credit card companies know the customer, location, and transaction amount but do not know what the customer purchased. On the other hand, the merchants and point-of-sales software companies know what the customer purchased, location, and transaction amount but not the identities of the customer.
In other words, each player can only access a limited set of data with none of them having the complete picture. Unless all of these entities merge their split data, it is impossible to have a truly consolidated view of offline transactions. It seems unlikely for these players to consolidate their data due to competitive interests and antitrust and privacy regulations. Thus, it will be difficult to see a completely comprehensive set of data tracking offline purchasing behaviour.”
Carry addresses this by breaking down the data silo via the Carry protocol. Carry uses blockchain to securely pass complete datasets to the merchant, enabling them to understand and connect with their customers, measure the effectiveness of their marketing and incentives, and also offers new and highly effective ways of incentivizing and engaging with them.
- Branded tokens
- Rewards of CRE (Carry crypto)
- Discount tokens
- Cross-promotion link-ups with other local merchants
- Ability to pay in other cryptocurrencies (BTC, ETH so far with more to come no doubt) as well as fiat currencies
- Discount coupons with branded token rewards
- CRE rewards etc for customer data-sharing (with customer consent and controlled in detail by customer)
- Coupon and points management simplified and accelerated through the platform for merchants
- More effective advertising channels
- Cutting out the middleman – the customer can monetise their data – not the large corporations (FB, google et al)
Carry’s mission is to resolve the issues within the offline retail space mentioned above via a 3-point plan of attack:
How this works in practice is best explained by the clear customer scenarios in the WP:
Coupons and Crypto
As you can see, the mechanisms for addressing all 3 points of attack for monetisation, marketing, payment and incentivisation are dealt with simply and very effectively – highlighting the team’s deep understanding (from their experience with Spoqa) of working effectively working in this business space.
How it works
The WP is very well-written and does a better job than most writers can in a lot of it so it seems to provide the clearest info:
A more detailed and not-too technical breakdown of the token economics can be found in the WP, but suffice to say they are simple and not overly-complicated with an excess of equations.
This is a refreshing approach, since many WPs tend to hide behind complexity, which can make investors nervous if they lack a significantly advanced mathematical background, so if you want more detail feel free to dig into it, as this article is primarily an overview only; the relevant info is in section 3.3 up to 3.5.
The value proposition is very clear, merchants can connect with their customers, customers are incentivized and control their own data, and advertisers can perform in a far more effective manner and receive greater potential financial gains that would have been sucked up by the large corporations like Facebook and Google.
Spoqa is obviously the flag partner and its network of devices, 10,000 merchant customer base will drive the platform forward rapidly in Korea and Japan. Others are involved also:
Another existing partner is:
Korea’s top blockchain investment company, which has an excellent record in terms of picking winning projects with superb growth potential. Hashed seem to be very bullish on Carry also – a good sign from the smart money.
Partnerships are a major focus – franchise groups, extra device providers, exchanges for settlement services, wallet providers, data management platforms (to help support onboarding advertisers).
Device providers are incentivised by the incremental numbers of they merchants they bring to Carry, and the new merchants themselves are also rewarded for referring neighbours/others. Wallet providers are incentivised with CRE when customers engage in repeated uses of their wallets.
Settlement and additional advertising partners are not onboard yet, but they will also be rewarded and incentivised in similar ways. More details can be found in section 4 of the WP.
The splits are pretty balanced and clearly indicate a project which hopes for a long life, without pre-mines, low lockups or excessive allocations to advisors/team or others; no cash-grab here I think, unlike many others we can remember.
Total issuance is 10 billion CRE.
Use of Funds
The token generation event itself is scheduled for early Q3 2018, so we are most likely looking at mid to late June. Communications suggest a significant lockup for the team and advisers to prevent a cash grab and provide stability for the project going forward.
Section 5 of the WP has more detailed information in these areas regarding use of funds etc.
Testnet – Q4 2018
Mainnet – 2nd half 2019
Drawn from the spoqa team, with/extensive business and technical experience in this area and backed up by blockchain expertise, verifiable as usual via Linkedin etc.
Unfortunately couldn’t pull anything like the above on the advisory team members, so presumably they are largely covered by Hashed and other partners.
A quality project, well thought-out and with the right sector experience, significant backing and expertise. The partner and customer networks are already in place and will serve to drive rapid adoption – especially in Korea, considering the crypto-friendly nature of the country itself.
The customer base of 10,000+ merchants for Dodo to build on and expand throughout Asia and beyond, and probably quite rapidly also promises significant adoption surges in what is a very under-addressed market namely, offline retail.
The cap has not yet been set, but signs are pointing to a max of USD 40M, although the ETH peg (if applied) and the actual numbers have not yet been released. This puts it at the high preferred end for cap (in this author’s opinion) but the potential for growth is still excellent since the offline market is largely unaddressed and the space is relatively uncrowded at this point. Suffice to say a cap in this area would not raise the usual eyebrows that it would on another project, in light of all the things that the Carry project has going for it.
Carry wants to offer multiple payment options for other coins also as well as BTC and ETH, as well as fiat, and these are no doubt planned and in the works.
If options for micropayment currencies such as XLM or OMG were added, the synergies would act as a very large driver of momentum and make all of them even stronger (synergistic multiplier efffect).
Maybe it will ‘Carry’ us to the Promised Land?
Who knows? I have a sneaking suspicion it just might.