Tael Founders Binance Telegram AMA — April 16th
The collected Questions & Answers from the Binance English Telegram group.
On the 16th of April, Tael (WABI) co-founders Alex & Yaz participated in an AMA session hosted in the official English language Binance Telegram group, where they answered questions from the channel’s Administrator & its users.
They also announced the project’s partnership with Rakuten.
More information on the partnership can be found here:
Rakuten Partners With Techrock to Bring Verifiable Authentic Japanese Products To China
Rakuten opens dedicated ‘zone’ for products inside the Techrock retail channel and works towards integration of Tael…
We’ve collected the questions & answers with minor edits for clarity below.
[Note: for simplicity and understandability’s sake, the terms Tael & Shijifen are occasionally used interchangeably. Please read about the specific usage of both terms in the linked article to avoid confusion.]
Could you introduce Tael (WABI) to us?
TECHROCK operates a platform with safe consumer products where each product is protected with our custom anti-counterfeit label. The platform is fully operational, with consumers in over 200 cities in China purchasing products already. The focus is on protecting critical goods, such as baby food, vitamins/supplements, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals — and many other categories. We attach the labels at the point of origin. Products then travel through the supply chain to their destination where consumers use their mobile phone to scan products and guarantee authenticity.
TAEL (WABI) is a loyalty point that operates inside the Techrock ecosystem. Similar to a mileage system for an airline but built on blockchain and with fixed limited supply.
Consumers get Tael/Wabi loyalty points for authenticating products and many other actions that we want to encourage (such as buying, referring friends, etc).
We currently sell our products in Asia and when people receive and scan our products, they are rewarded with Tael loyalty points. To award these points to customers, sellers on the platform spend their marketing budgets to buy Taels/Wabi off the market.
With each consumer joining our ecosystem, we create Tael loyalty points holders and we already have quite a bit of them.
Here is a link describing our business model:
What’s your core tech? What makes your solution unique and why does this require blockchain technology?
The core technology is our anti-counterfeiting protection (labels + mobile APPs) with consumer engagement capabilities (for which Tael/Wabi are used).
The labels have two levels of protection:
Physical & Digital.
Physical protection: labels are made from a combination of fragile and robust materials to make sure that if anyone tried to remove the label from the protected product — it breaks. At the same time, the labels are robust enough to avoid damage during supply chain operations.
Digital protection: every label has a unique ID. On top of that, there is a secret dynamic code that changes with every scan of the label. Here we use a principle of changing codes, similar to Google authenticator or banking login devices.
Consumer engagement capabilities are an essential part of the system, on top of the protection. With every scan/authentication of the product, consumers receive points (Taels), but they also receive loyalty points for buying products (similar to how you get points in a supermarket), sharing with friends, and more.
As a summary of all of our tech, we’ve developed quite a bit of infrastructure:
- NFC anti-counterfeiting labels
- Consumer APPs (iOS, Android)
- Logistics company app (Android)
- Supply chain blockchain (Hyperledger-based)
- WeChat shop
On blockchain technology — we currently utilize two blockchains (Hyperledger and Ethereum).
Hyperledger is used to track and protect all of product movements in the supply chain.
Ethereum hosts Taels/Wabi, but we later plan to move the loyalty tokens fully onto the same Hyperledger blockchain.
As for why it needs blockchain, there are two functions here where using blockchain helps:
1. On supply chain — it’s primarily for ensuring trust in the supply chain operations due to its immutable nature.
2. On loyalty points — loyalty points are much easier to integrate between parties when they are on blockchain and when they have a real value. The longer-term plan is to grow the Tael loyalty points system into a payment system (the “pay” part in our website gives some hints there), so then it’s a standard financial/payments use case of blockchain.
You can check out our website for more details.
Taelpay | Digital token in the Techrock ecosystem
Tael tokens are used in the loyalty point ecosystem to reward consumers and encourage behavior in the Techrock channel…
We believe it’s better to start with growing usage of the system through having a loyalty points system rather than starting with, say, a protocol, which is something that many projects attempt.
On the supply chain use-case, we are pretty unique. We’ve seen a lot of projects using blockchain for supply chains. It often runs into the problem of ensuring correspondence of blockchain data (i.e. digital objects) with real world (physical objects). We’ve seen solutions like QR codes and what not — and those don’t really secure the 1:1 correspondence between blockchain and physical worlds, so they will run into the ‘rubbish data in — > rubbish data out’ problem at some point.
We have explained and written down every aspect of our ecosystem in detail:
Our Ecosystem Detailed: 2 Blockchains Explained
Episode 2 of an on-going series of articles
Where does the Tael (WABI) Token come in to play? What are the tokenomics and how is the token used?
Tael comes into play at several angles. First of all, Tael is used as a marketing tool for sellers on the Techrock platform, similar to how loyalty points are used by companies.
People often don’t realize this, but consumer goods companies spend 20–30% of their sales on marketing. This is essentially the budget Tael is tapping into.
With this budget, demand for Tael is created. First of all, this budget is used to buy Tael to provide rebates (similar to discounts) to consumers. Secondly, they incentivize scanning (so that they would get data on consumption patterns) and thirdly, they encourage consumers to do certain actions such as sharing with friends, scanning daily (important for vitamins) and so on.
The Tael token has a supply of 100M tokens, which is capped. Then it only reduces with adoption growth.
When consumers make a purchase, a certain percentage is used to buy Taels off the exchange. These Taels are then locked, while in parallel 1:1 connected loyalty points (called Shijifen/石积分 in China) are released.
This structure was created in order to operate in China and has allowed us to build in an additional feature: consumers are not able to sell their loyalty points, but can only use them as a rebate on a subsequent purchase (where they will get new points).
This means that once a consumer joins the ecosystem, they become an indirect Tael holder for a lifetime. This is a major driver in reducing our supply.
This also means that if consumers leave our ecosystem, their loyalty tokens remain unspent, effectively rendering these tokens ‘lost’.
A percentage of our consumers hold (and accumulate) loyalty tokens for the express purpose of seeing the value change. This is also a driver in reducing our available supply.
Adoption is a very important theme in crypto and many projects are struggling to achieve mainstream usage. What can you tell us about the adoption of Tael (WABI)?
Tael is already in use by thousands of Chinese consumers. This means that people that have absolutely no knowledge of blockchain technology already hold Tael loyalty points. In terms of usage, we have grown more than 100% during the last month alone, and at this point, we have Chinese consumers from 200 cities owning Tael.
We display our growth on our just-released Adoption page (below), where you can find the total number of Tael holders too. It is perhaps even more important to note the responses thus far have been amazing.
Taelpay Adoption Page
Visualizing the real-world adoption of the Tael (WABI) loyalty token. Everything you want to know about crypto &…
This is how orders look on our side:
So here 2 (the referer and the referee, or tori and uke as we call them) people became Tael holders without realizing that they are dealing with crypto at all.
All in all, we believe real-world usage and adoption is key to gaining ranks and having true value. We are confident we can bring Tael to become the world’s most used cryptocurrency by non-crypto people and think we can still achieve this in 2019. Looking at our current growth in usage, this shouldn’t take too long.
The business you are in seems to be pretty competitive with many other projects. How are you different and how do you plan to compete?
When it comes to our business, we don’t see any direct competitors at this point. There are a few blockchain projects utilizing anti-counterfeit technology, but most of these have yet to see growing real-world usage.
On top of that, these companies operate in different markets and often focus on B2B (supply chain, business to business), while we benefit from B2C as well.
The token we use is (I guess it’s clear by now) not a token powering the supply chain blockchain (we believe it’s nearly impossible to convince big companies to commit to IT solution with uncertain usage prices)
Tael/Wabi is a loyalty point token with very different mechanics.
Also, I’d add that many projects spend large budgets on marketing their token, while their product and its usage can be left behind. We do this differently. We spend marketing budget to increase our usage and believe our token will follow that trend.
Companies similar to us in the loyalty area, such as Loyalty Point Exchanges, have also yet to see real-world usage.
The business model overall is one we have spent many years on, and utilization of the Tael token has been well thought through.
As our usage/adoption, and with that our Tael token usage increases, the net demand for Tael increases too. Our incentives are perfectly aligned and we hope to have everyone watching this AMA with us, for the amazing times to come.
When are you planning to release a Mobile App & Much Understandable & Easy UI Software for a normal non-crypto user to use?
We actually already have a mobile app (Android and iOS) that people use to authenticate products, get product info, and receive points for participation.
Right now we are in the process of porting the mobile store onto the apps so that shopping & scanning can be done in the same place.
On the B2B side, we are building a marketing platform that allows the manufacturers/brand owners to engage with consumers directly.
For instance, push individual promotion right at the moment of scanning the product. The mobile app is obviously an important front end for that purpose.
How are you different or better than IBM’s food tracking blockchain? What is the incentive for companies to chose Tael/Techrock over IBM?
Thanks, looks like some people really follow the news!
In terms of blockchain tech, we are using Hyperledger technology that was also originally developed and promoted by IBM. The big difference comes in the business side of it: IBM normally charges either consulting fees or usage/subscription fees for their services and products. We are a safe channel (much more like a retailer) and Tael tokens are loyalty points.
Tael loyalty points tap into marketing budgets which tend to be much bigger than IT budgets for consumer goods companies, as you can see in the chart below.
The incentive for the companies is that we help them sell more. Because the products are verifiable and because we enable companies to understand their consumer behavior more, etc.
How long do you anticipate it will be until Tael is available in markets other than China?
Tael will be available outside China pretty soon, actually. We plan to leverage our Chinese user base to start turning Tael into a payment system.
International travel is getting more and more popular among Chinese consumers and we are already working on developing international partner relationships to accept Tael as means of payment for various things, especially in tourist locations.
Not before too long it should be possible to pay with Tael for your hotel, taxi, shopping and what not.
Can you explain a bit more about your collaboration with Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group?
MUFG has very far-sighted people at its helm who understand that traditional banking will essentially be gone in the next 10 years. They are looking for different projects to branch out and build new businesses with.
When we first met them they told us that our blockchain use-case was extremely clear and something that they would definitely be interested in.
At this point, we are in their accelerator program where we are collaborating with different departments within MUFG, as well as their partner companies, in order to structure a joint business/product that could benefit both companies in the long and short terms.
What is the current focus of the project and where do you see it by the end of 2019?
We do have a pretty detailed roadmap, you will see a lot of interesting items there.
But overall, it’s about adoption. We want to become one of the most adopted tokens and if you look at our adoption page growth rate, I think we should be able to get there before the end of 2019.
The Tael token is used much like a loyalty. What’s its use case with blockchain technology as a solution?
If the loyalty points are not on blockchain it’s very hard to grow the ecosystem: with every new partner joining you have to negotiate transfer rates, cancelation policies, and 1000s of other items. When the points are on blockchain — they can just have the value determined by the market. It can then be almost seamless to integrate new partners.
Here are some stats on loyalty points in case you think those numbers are small:
When does the Rakuten partnership start?
The first sale of Rakuten products on our platform should be in the next 1–2 months. We’re already approving designs, coding the new Rakuten Zone and shipping products from Japan to China. It’s real business here.
If you follow our announcements I’m sure we’ll be sharing the news when it’s launched.
TAEL (formerly WABI) Announcements
Official TAEL news and updates Discussion channel: https://t.me/wabi_ico
As far as loyalty points are concerned, will there be any digital loyalty cards? Older generations of people are not techy enough to redeem the loyalty points.
This is not really the case in China. The elderly are extremely apt with using smartphones here. Having said that, our target customers are young mothers who spend a significant portion of their time on their mobile phones. Our customers seem to find price movement of the token extremely entertaining, and we actually see quite a good engagement in our store/app because of that.
All in all, since we are aiming to spread token usage as much as possible, we’ll need the ubiquity and versatility of a mobile device.
Prepaid point cards are something that might come in the future, however.
What are WABI’s future plans? Will we see its own blockchain platform?
It is already operating, I believe there is an article somewhere on our medium explaining how the 2 blockchains work.
Our Ecosystem Detailed: 2 Blockchains Explained
Episode 2 of an on-going series of articles
What are your plans for the next 10 years and where do you think the project will go?
We have quite a few directions in minds. First and foremost is making the token as valuable for our consumers as possible, meaning that we are aiming to increase point gaining and redemption opportunities. This means that we see Tael turning into a payment system where users would be able to get points from brands and redeem them as easily as they can pay with Apple Pay and the like.
On the hardware side, there are two major directions.
1. Integrated packaging: this is where there is no label on the product, as everything is already built into the packaging.
2. IOT universe integration: we are targeting the most ubiquitous class of consumer products in the world and by integrating cheap consumer products with existing IOT infrastructure, we are actually creating the biggest IOT universe, with immense potential.