ALIS: The Japanese Social Media Platform on the Blockchain
ALIS is a Japanese Social Media Platform that uses blockchain in order to fight against fake news and increase the trustworthiness of articles using a reward system. The team is currently targeting the Japanese market with a focus on several niche markets including cryptocurrencies, anime, and manga in terms of content. Thanks to the wisdom of the crowd — the idea that confronting opinions of a large number of individuals increases accuracy and trustworthiness — ALIS aims at disrupting the media industry. In addition, the business plan does not need ads to be funded as during their ICO, the ALIS team raised 13,000ETH. Currently, ALIS has a market cap of $40M (rank #321) at press time.
As part of our business trip in Japan, we had the opportunity to meet the co-founders Masahiro Yasu (CEO) and Takashi Mizusawa (CMO) in a co-working space within the district of Shibuya in the heart of Tokyo.
Could you describe the problem you are solving and how did you come up with the idea?
Nowadays, there is a huge number of articles being produced, creating a highly competitive environment where research and sources that can support the facts are lacking. We realized that it was especially true in Japan; there are too many accounts of fake news and people are overwhelmed by the contradicting or false statements. As a consequence, they cannot distinguish what is and is not reliable information.
One of our members wrote an article on the Steem platform and was rewarded around 30$ by the readers. This did not only allow us to buy the most expensive pizza at Dominos but also gave us the idea of creating a media platform where writers would be rewarded for the content they produce. It would then enable us to tackle the problem of fake information.
How long have you been working on the project?
We have been developing ALIS for 6 months. We started to think about it back in June and launched the ICO in September. We raised about 13,000 ETH, surpassing our minimum cap and our token is now listed on several exchanges including Cryptopia, YoBit and Etherdelta. The awareness about ALIS has been increasing quickly locally. We currently have 8 members in the team plus ambassadors in order to increase our visibility.
What is your audience?
Currently, we target mainly young people, 20–25 years old. Our strategy is to be the first mover in Japan and deploy a localization strategy. This means that we will customize the platform for the specific needs of the Japanese market where we operate, and then later on we can expand to a broader audience.
In terms of content, we will mainly incentivize articles about cryptocurrencies at the beginning. Ultimately, a broad range of contents should be accepted on the platform.
Where is the ALIS foundation based?
Our foundation is based in Japan. This is something we are doing differently than numerous other projects that decide to go to some more crypto-friendly places in terms of taxes and regulations such as Switzerland or Singapore. In fact, taxes may seem pretty high in Japan, but we believe that this move is important in order to improve the Japanese situation in the cryptocurrency field. This is especially important as we are doing a social platform and Japanese-like projects that are made in Japan. This fits our first mover strategy.
Why did you decide to develop ALIS on the Ethereum blockchain?
First of all, the Ethereum blockchain is already one of the longest chains and thus is more secure and has many other decentralized applications built upon it. In addition, we believe that this strong network effect can make Ethereum become the standard. Ethereum is very convenient to use as we do not have to implement a wallet nor payment feature. Basically, Ethereum has developed many tools that we can use instead of developing our own, which allow us to focus on the ALIS app directly. We are aware that Ethereum is facing some scalability issues but we are confident that with solutions such as the Raiden Network that will offer lower gas fees and transaction time, the scalability problem will be resolved.
What is your roadmap both from product and financial perspectives?
From a technical point of view, the platform will be launched by April 2018. Concerning the token and further exchanges, we will see that from April. In fact, in our opinion it is important to launch the product first then aim at being listed on exchanges. Nevertheless, some are already contacting us to list the token and we will not refuse these possibilities. We have good relationships with some Japanese exchanges as some of our friends are part of them, but the main focus now is on developing a user-friendly platform.
Do you personally invest in cryptocurrencies?
Yes. I did sell all my stocks for cryptocurrencies, I am very confident in this technology.
I must say that because of Mt Gox, Bitcoin has raised some concerns in Japan in the past and had a very bad image. Nowadays, this is getting better.
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