Long way to the Token Sale — from blogging platform to a blockchain project (Alexey Krol’s test)

In 2016, we launched mapala.net startup, a blogging platform for travelers, where we successfully implemented original tourist content monetization. In 10 months, more than 1,500 people wrote more than 7000 articles about cities, traveling and activities.

Everything was great: idea, team of enthusiasts with glowing eyes, strategic vision. We were planning to create a ”travel designer” implement P2P services.
We launched Token Presale, a preliminary fundraising for the project development. Ordinary people, our users, believed in us, so they started supporting the project. 
Everything seemed alright, but the large investors, whom we tried to attract to step up our activities for the project, were not going to part with the money.

We went through thick and thin working out different hypotheses and analyzing the results before we came to the right conclusion: it is impossible to solve the problem of service consumers without addressing the problem of providers of these services.

This is how we came to the idea of TravelChain, a global data system about all service consumers and providers in the tourism market, based on a blockchain technology. Of course, we got critical feedback and a lot of questions about how and why we are going to enter the Token Sale: “Why would your token grow in price? How much will I earn in a year? And in two years? And why this much? Are you sure…?”

Instead of answering the same again and again, we armed ourselves with the recent article of the famous lecturer and film producer, founder of the Serendipity project Alexey Krol who pulled couch experts to pieces, those people who like to hype themselves up criticizing projects that enter Token Sale up to the accusations in scam. In his publication, Krol identified the most important component of any innovative project:

Uncertainty is typical for any innovation, since you are solving a problem that no one had been solving before. F*cking scam is an innovation project that promises you accurate indicators.

Innovation is always cut-and- try.
Testing hypotheses till they become successful.

I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.
-Winston Churchill

We decided to use 3 Krol’s criteria (quotes at the beginning of each paragraph) to our project’s goals and prepare a kind of checklist before entering the Token Sale. You can use our experience to check whether your project is ready instead of wasting time on couch experts and wicked critics.

1. Social significance criterion

The task has absolute public significance, it means it will not just make profit, but, perhaps, it will cause a market shift.

Through the TravelChain project, we would like to change the face of the tourism industry, bring it to the next level of quality. The project will accumulate data (user data, databases of professional content creators and data of different companies), after that it will be processed with the use of AI algorithms.

Market conditions, given that the intermediaries will leave the market and give the way to blockchain and smart contracts, will never be the same. The market will experience the tectonic shifts, and this is good, because now it looks like a kaleidoscope. TravelChain will arrange this chaos into a mosaic having the data structured and ensuring that it is secured and won’t be changed in blockchain, and, on the other hand, its circulation in the system due to economic incentives embedded into it. Market shift appears to be a very tangible prospect against such changes.

These questions will help you check your project for the public importance criterion:

● Will the face of the whole industry change with the release of your project?
● Will the market situation and relations between market participants remain the
● Does your project help only one party (participants) of the market or several
● Can you expect that the power balance in the market will be reconsidered?

2. Transparency of the problem

The problem solved by the project is obvious, in other words, if you need more than 10 lines to explain it — it’s bullshit

Here’s how we tested this criterion for TravelChain:

● Two-thirds of tourists spend a lot of time and experience stress when planning their own trip. This is the problem.
● People do not get compensation for their personal data. This is the problem.
● Service providers in the tourism market have to spend huge amounts on advertising campaigns on Google and Facebook, and these amounts are getting bigger and bigger every year. This is the problem.

TravelChain is intended to solve all the problems described above.

Travelers would enjoy planning their trips and could use high-quality customized services.
Companies can have access to the processed databases, which will allow them to make personalized offers and reduce the advertising budgets.

These questions are to help you to test your project from the point of problematization criterion:

● Can you describe the problem using not more than 10 lines?
● If you ask other market players, will they name the same problem? (How many
players will confirm that it exists?)
● Does the problem really exist many years or you just made it up?

3. Lack of solutions in the market

Known technological approaches just have no solution to this problem.

There is also the third, not the most obvious problem in the tourism industry: current market players will not be able to set up a single database and exchange standard, because if one of them starts to do this — he will hog the blanket and the others will begin to resist. There should be a third party, and TravelChain can become it.

Today, there is not any technologies, except blockchain, that offer a comprehensive, effective and intelligent solution to the problems of consumers and service providers in the tourism market.

No other technology, except blockchain, allows to achieve such tasks as the accumulation, processing, structuring and balanced distribution of data in the tourism industry as well as protect the data from external impacts.

No other technology, except blockchain, offers a new economy model which makes it possible to create and distribute tokens to estimate the transaction value or the rights to use a premise. You can create and distribute tokens, the functions of notaries are performed by smart contracts, and the exchange of values is public and will be always kept in your transaction history.

No other technology, except blockchain, works for creation and development of an infrastructure where participants do not necessarily need to trust and know each other in person to perform a transaction.

And, this means that the solution criterion is met as well.

These questions will help you test your project for the relevancy and need of solution:

● Do your industry need new solutions that cover acute problems?
● Will your project be able to take a position above or between existing market
● Does the market have any alternative technological solutions that can compete with your project?

If you have successfully coped with all the questions, and your project meets all of the above criteria, you can relax and focus on preparation for the Token Sale, and one more thing — enlist the support of the opinion leaders, and give up on coach experts.