How TandaPay Gets Built
What strategy is optimal to overcome the project’s challenges?
I’ve been working on TandaPay now since June 1st 2018. I’ve never successfully launched a startup project. I would describe my initial goal as being 600 TandaPay groups with each one containing approximately 50 policyholders for a total of 30,000 policyholders using the protocol. TandaPay was originally conceived as being an app in the Google Play store or iTunes app store with a subscription service model. Similar to how Spotify or Castbox charge a monthly subscription fee, TandaPay might be able to charge $1 per month. Conceivably this might mean that with 30,000 users it might earn $20,000 per month or $240,000 per year after a 30% off the top cut going to Google or Apple. Perhaps 30,000 users might allow it to break even on its operational costs before recouping the development costs.
Unfortunately the total costs required to develop the app initially are probably greater than one million dollars. There were a few months last year and this year where the price of Ether was high enough that I might have been able to convince myself a million dollar app was within my budget. However, at today’s prices a million dollar app is clearly out of my reach. Funding is just one challenge, its probably not the primary challenge.
The projects assets and liabilities
I have the following assets as a starting point:
- Completed technical specification which was written by a very competent blockchain developer Kirk Ballou of blocknerds.io.
- Completed solidity smart contract code base written by Anthony Akentiev.
- Incentive and payment architecture written up by me but checked by many other people.
- Over 20,000 words in 12 blog posts which make a persuasive argument as to the potential value TandaPay can provide to people.
- Whatever reputation I may have in the cryptocurrency space (not much).
On the negative side these things are working against the project:
- There currently isn’t a TandaPay team
- Contributors work on a paid consultant basis only
- My financial resources to build TandaPay are limited
- There are complex regulatory challenges:
- Money transmission laws
- Laws regulating insurance (even thou TandaPay is not insurance)
- Liabilities associated with apps using cryptocurrency
- Early stage adoption challenges
- Securing the right to distribute the app on iTunes app store
- Securing the right to distribute the app on Google Play store
- Promotion and marketing of the app to communities
- Attracting the right people to function as secretaries
- Securing a mechanism by which TandaPay can issue loans to secretaries
- Mid stage adoption challenges
- Creation of training videos to educate participants as to their roles
- Maintaining adequate staff to provide technical assistance
- Guaranteeing a positive user experience when facing issues
- Technical challenges
- Building the software in react native
- Building the web portal front end / back end
- Building a payment portal
- Integrating the mobile / web app with the solidity smart contract code
- Incorporating of TandaPay as a business entity
Open source strategy
Unless you expect people to work for free you need to raise capital to build software projects. I also don’t think that giving away equity in lieu of payment makes that much sense either for this project. This would also apply to asking VCs for help at this stage in development. There are too many unknowns (mostly regulatory) associated to TandaPay’s commercial viability before a team could be expected to start monetizing the app. So if I don’t have capital to build a dev team and I’m not convinced that giving away equity is a good strategy how can I get this project built?
When attending the NTBA’s showcase there was one presenter Michael Lewellen who said that UT Dallas had a senior design program where companies could submit their blockchain projects to the university for consideration. If their application was accepted they could pay a reasonable fee in exchange for students working on their specification as a part of their senior design project. The students would make a best effort attempt to complete the spec within one semester. The university would not be making any promises as far as delivering a completed prototype, only that a best effort attempt at delivering something would be made.
This seems perfect for many reasons:
- I want to hire a group of people who can validate the technical specification without having to pay developers $100 an hour to attempt to build the specification. Using the student design team I can find out if TandaPay as an idea is technically viable for a lot less money (approx. $8,000 to $10,000).
- Students can gain valuable skills by working on my project because I have done a lot of work already to find the right blend of incentives which work to secure to the assets the system is attempting to allocate.
- I provide students with Ethereum solidity smart contract code written by a skilled professional. The students still need to integrate this code into their design but they don’t need to write it from scratch. The hardest part of creating a decentralized app is writing this part of the software. Giving the students completed code will make executing on the design much easier. Additionally I have secured this developer as a resource to help the students if they have questions.
- After finishing the project the students give me whatever code base they were able to complete as well as their feedback as to the viability of the architecture.
- In return I allow them the ability to monetize the code however they wish.
- If the project is a technical success a great deal of blog content has already been produced which could begin to explain the utility and viability of the software. This content could immediately begin to be a valuable asset for the students if they decide to monetize their efforts.
Monetization by the students shouldn’t require permission
A common question I get is, “why would you want to allow the students to monetize TandaPay without requiring that they provide you with any equity?” Here are a few answers to that question:
- TandaPay isn’t the only architecture for peer to peer insurance. It is the simplest architecture for premiums between $20 to $100 and claim awards between $500 to $2000. TandaPay’s security model should never be used to guarantee any claims larger than $2000. With the possible exception of weaponizing TandaPay to produce legal defense funds for TandaPay’s various social agendas, TandaPay should never pay a claim greater than $2000. It’s unknown if TandaPay can be used for large value legal defense funds but it certainly should never be used for moderate to high value claims. This limits TandaPay to providing only supplemental coverage. Additionally there is no way to modify TandaPay to measure, and thus be able to indemnify, pure loss which requires that TandaPay’s architecture must remain parametric to function correctly.
- Unity might be a valid architecture for peer to peer insurance for claims with values between $1000 to $100,000. This means that it might provide for more than merely supplemental coverage. Additionally Unity seems to be capable of measuring pure loss which extends its utility beyond parametric policies. As a trade-off Unity’s architecture is 5x to 7x more complex than TandaPay.
Unity’s architecture is only 70% completed and I don’t have the skills needed to finish the remaining parts of the architecture. Even if it were complete it would need a very sophisticated team to build it. I desire to build Unity more than I desire to monetize TandaPay. I don’t have any reputation or resources to build TandaPay by myself let alone Unity. If TandaPay can generate some positive reputation then Unity can be built. If TandaPay as a protocol succeeds in gaining more than 50,000 active users then the following statement is more likely to be true, “Unity is a multi-billion dollar unicorn” if TandaPay fails to gain a solid user base then that statement is less likely to be true. The best way to get to 50,000 users is to give TandaPay away to the students who build with no strings attached.
- I’ve worked on peer to peer insurance for almost 5 years. At this point I just want to see something I labored on produce some sort of positive result. Even if TandaPay doesn’t result in any financial benefit for me I don’t care. I will have spent all of my crypto wealth on this project by the end of this year and in 2019 I can go back to working a real 9 to 5 job.
- More than anything I want TandaPay to break the power of corporate interests and authorities who misrepresent the truth for their own selfish benefit. The only way that this will ever happen is if there are 10 different versions of TandaPay all operating simultaneously to try and provide value to consumers. If the government can target a single entity and bring down the protocol then that entity is too vulnerable to attack and the protocol is too fragile.
The more entities which are financially motivated to make their own version of TandaPay a useful application the more the government is forced to play Whac-A-Mole. I rather like the picture of regulators attempting to plug cracks in a leaking dam. More than making money, I want to see the dam collapse, washing away some measure of corporate and institutional corruption. I hope they take the captured government agencies along with them. Everyone let’s work together to #BUIDL⚒️ till the existing financial system is #REKT💥!
How about four teams?
UPDATE: It seems very likely that we will have two teams participating. So far Miami University, UT Dallas are confirmed. In addition, Miami University will present to the University of San Francisco the last week of January. I have also received positive feedback from the Capstone project coordinator at Georgia Tech. So if USF, and Georgia Tech are confirmed then that will be a total of 4 teams.
I tend to always overdo things a bit but hear me out. If you are working on TandaPay you should consider that other teams who are working on the same spec as you to be a resource rather than a liability. I am here to help you build *YOUR* app that you will end up owning. Each school has the complete freedom of designing the app according to their own vision without needing to get my approval (provided that the security constraints of the architecture are not violated). The more creative the schools are the more chance they will have to discover new applications for the protocol. In theory the protocol is flexible enough to do much more than insurance, as we already know it can potentially be used to fundraise to cover legal fees for members of a group.
If there are 4 different versions of TandaPay and all are open source then every team should be on an equal playing field from a technical standpoint. There will be more code and more skilled developers available to help teams assist each other to build a solid app. So if anything the more teams there are the easier it should be to make a truly great app which can be monetized by all the teams.
Given the above approach, each teams ability to make money will not depend primarily upon overcoming the technical challenges of building the app. The real challenge each team has to solve is the difficulty of navigating the regulatory framework of specific jurisdictions. Once a team finds a valid solution to this problem then other teams might be able to leverage their insight. If one of the 4 teams ends up winning a contest or creating positive media publicity, then all the teams can potentially benefit from the positive media attention.
We don’t know which team will catch fire. The more teams there are the greater the chance that one will have a significant breakthrough. The hope is that such a breakthrough would be inheritable by other teams which are attempting different ways at building out the protocol.
The more TandaPay’s that exist in the US the more regulators will be unable to put unfair pressure on any one development team. TandaPay cannot be regulated because these are direct payments similar to payments made through GoFundMe. TandaPay is exactly like GoFundMe except that the recipient of funds is unknown until the month ends. Unlike GoFundMe, TandaPay has even more consumer protections than that of a centralized financial service. This is because the developers can never take custody of customer funds raised by groups using the protocol. Unfortunately regulators may not see it that way which means that we need our developers to find as much safety as possible in numbers.
LET’S DO THIS!
The market for providing coverage for auto deductibles and homeowners deductibles is HUUUGE, its tremendous, its bigly (or is it big league?🤔 I can never understand his accent🤷). There is no traditional carriers competing in this space with a similar type of product. When considering whether it would be better to have 1 team or 4 teams weight these two options:
- Having 20% ownership of a vibrant and resilient economy providing coverage to hundreds of thousands of people.
- Having 100% ownership of a market where at any moment regulators could shut you down and make your life miserable.
Here are the undeniable facts:
- The initial costs of owning 100% of this market are in the millions.
- The initial costs of owning 20% of this market are in the hundreds of thousands.
- Having 4 variants is a 4 fold greater ability to generate positive media coverage.
- Having 4 variants spreads the challenge of producing an effective regulatory mitigation strategy among greater numbers of people who are all financially motivated to solve the problem.
- Having 4 variants is the ability to spread the protocol 4x faster.
- Greed is expensive, walled gardens are expensive.
- Charity and liberality of sharing innovation is the spirit of the open source movement and open source protocols will always win and defeat walled garden protocols bigly.
OPEN SOURCE PROTOCOLS FOR INSURANCE ARE WINNING
You are going to be so proud of Ethereum if TandaPay takes off. You are going to be so proud of the development teams behind this product (and I don’t care about that). But, you are going to be so proud of your protocol! Because, we are going to turn it around and because we are going to start winning again. We are going to win so much, we are going to win at every level. We are going to win economically. We are going to win with the economy. We are gonna win so much you may even get tired of winning and you’ll say, “please, please, it’s too much winning, we can’t take it anymore! Please sir, it’s too much!” And, I’ll say “no it isn’t, the Ethereum protocol has to keep winning, we have to win more, and we’re going to win more!” Thank you 😂🤣😹😆 (This isn’t political its funny, sorry I can’t help it. The man is his own caricature just like my hero Steve Ballmer).
MAKE BLOCKCHAIN DEVELOPMENT GREAT AGAIN!
MAKE INSURANCE GREAT FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER!