Decentralization is the Hero People Deserve

Randall Crowder
Published in
7 min readFeb 5, 2019


“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” — Buckminister Fuller (1895–1983), Renowned Visionary

From 2007 to 2012, the world faced the worst economic downturn since The Great Depression. Unfortunately, its epicenter was the United States and largely tied to failures by banks operating as central authorities in the mortgage industry. The resulting chaos brought about the near collapse of the financial sector until many of these central authorities were bailed out by the US government. Set against this backdrop in the fall of 2008, Satoshi Nakamoto published Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System and set the stage for possibly the greatest economic innovation since the Medici commercialized double-entry accounting over 600 years ago.

Satoshi’s work gave birth to blockchain technology. Simply put, a blockchain can best be described as a digital ledger that is distributed across multiple locations for security and ease of access. Although the most popular use case is Bitcoin, blockchain technology has the potential to go far beyond the finance industry. From consumer engagement to identity verification to data management, blockchain has the potential to disrupt virtually any industry where value is transacted. While many don’t yet fully grasp its potential, blockchain was specifically designed so that no central authority had the power to control or manipulate the system to increase their profits.

As a champion of blockchain and the decentralization it can enable, Phunware (NASDAQ: PHUN) believes in the power of transacting without the need for central authorities because nowhere is manipulation by third parties more apparent than when brands attempt to engage consumers. Fraud, exploitation and waste have stood between brands and consumers for long enough.

“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” — John Wanamaker (1838–1922), Father of Modern Advertising

In a recent report on the future of digital marketing and advertising, Juniper Research concluded that the “Walled Garden” — a closed platform approach whereby advertising platforms restrict the flow of advertising performance data to advertisers and publishers — must be abandoned to stimulate transparency between stakeholders. The existing reality’s lack of transparency is costing $51 million dollars a day in ad fraud alone. However, this $19 billion dollar a year problem doesn’t even account for the opportunity cost of not being able to effectively engage and retain consumers.

While acquiring new consumers is critical to any business, retaining existing ones should never be overlooked. Engaging existing consumers and driving loyalty has a considerable impact on the lifetime value of a consumer as well as a brand’s overall profitability. In fact, research by Invesp found that:

· Acquiring a new consumer is five times more expensive than retaining an existing one.

· The success rate of selling to an existing consumer is 60–70%, as compared to only 5–20% for a new one.

· Increasing consumer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25–95%.

Phunware intends to not only launch a decentralized data exchange to end an era of data exploitation, but also reimagine how brands engage consumers. PhunCoin is a security token designed to be a store of value (i.e. data), while PhunToken is a utility token designed to be a medium of exchange (i.e. engagement) in Phunware’s dual token economy that takes the guesswork out of deploying a blockchain-enabled solution and can even adhere with enterprise brand guidelines as appropriate.

Phunware initially previewed its blockchain-enabled data exchange and mobile loyalty ecosystem at IBM’s THINK Conference in San Francisco as a member of IBM’s inaugural Blockchain Accelerator program for late-stage companies with enterprise-ready solutions. Enterprises can partner with Phunware and finally leverage the power of blockchain to engage the right person at the right time in the right place, while retaining the right consumer.

The Right Person

According to eMarketer, mobile accounts for nearly 70% of all digital advertising and last year, it passed TV as the leading advertising medium in the US. However, the marketing and advertising stakeholders are often driven by inadequate metrics like click-through rate (CTR) and conversions, which can be gamed by fraudsters using fake accounts as well as non-human actors like spiders and bots. The answer to this problem is an elegant part of blockchain technology and a critical part of Phunware’s enterprise solution. Mandatory KYC (i.e. know your customer) and AML (i.e. anti-money laundering) guidelines verify consumers, while self-sovereign identity allows people to store their identity data on their own devices and provide it efficiently to anyone who needs to validate it without relying on a central repository of identity data. By blockchain-enabling Phunware’s data exchange, PhunCoin Launch Alliance members have the ability to verify and audit identity data so brands can better understand the audiences they are building.

KYC/AML guidelines and Self-Sovereign Identity enable enterprises to identify consumers and reduce fraud

Phunware even offers publishers the ability to monetize their own data and reward their own users without the hassle of launching their own cryptocurrency simply by installing the PhunCoin Data Software Development Kit (SDK).

The Right Time

Attribution in digital marketing is the process of identifying and valuing a set of user actions across devices and touch points that contribute in some manner to a desired outcome such as a purchase. The challenge for most brands is they only really understand attribution within their own channel silo, so its difficult to evaluate a multi-channel environment. Phunware pioneered Multiscreen-as-a-Service (MaaS) to ensure we understand mobile users across a variety of touch points in the virtual world as well as the real one so brands can deliver rich content whenever customers are most likely to engage in profitable behavior.

Deploy engaging and timely content (e.g. showcase excursions to passengers waiting to board)

The Right Place

Proximity marketing is not a new concept, but its growing at a 29.8% CAGR and will reach $52.5 billion by 2022 according to MarketsandMarkets. In fact, 75% of US retailers have already integrated beacon technology into their marketing strategies and seen a 9% increase in profits with a 175% ROI. As a leader in beacon technology integrations and location-based services, Phunware’s proven suite of SDKs can seamlessly engage customers wherever they are.

Proximity Marketing and Location-based Services delight consumers and drive profitable behavior (e.g. spending time in a casino)

The Right Consumer

Any enterprise can deploy a mobile loyalty ecosystem by simply installing the PhunToken Loyalty SDK. This allows brands to leverage blockchain technology to compensate consumers for profitable behaviors within their existing mobile applications rather than requiring enterprises and consumers to change behavior by deploying new applications or browsers.

Compensate consumers for profitable behavior in existing mobile ecosystems (e.g. sharing on social media)

Blockchain technology has given Phunware the opportunity to decentralize not only data, but also how brands engage consumers. Unfortunately, established intermediaries and data oligarchs will fight decentralization because it threatens their existing model built on exploitation. That’s why change won’t come over night. As Tony Robbins so aptly put it, “Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.” Although consumers may not have reached their breaking point just yet, the pain of remaining the same is growing and the power of central authorities must be checked.

Decentralization is the hero people deserve. It’s a silent guardian, a watchful protector … a decentralized answer to a centralized problem. Phunware stands ready alongside other audacious innovators who would dare to introduce new models built on blockchain to finally put an end to exploitation by central authorities.

Phun for all and all for Phun!

PhunCoin can only be purchased subject to approved registered offerings. Contact us directly if you are interested in PhunCoin. If you are interested in purchasing PhunToken, click here.

About Phunware

Phunware is the pioneer of Multiscreen-as-a-Service (MaaS), a fully integrated enterprise cloud platform for mobile that provides companies the products, solutions, data and services necessary to engage, manage and monetize their mobile application portfolios and audiences globally at scale. Phunware’s Software Development Kits (SDKs) include location-based services, mobile engagement, content management, messaging, advertising, loyalty and rewards, and analytics, as well as a mobile application framework of pre-integrated iOS and Android software modules for building in-house or channel-based mobile application and vertical solutions. Phunware helps the world’s most respected brands create category-defining mobile experiences, with more than one billion active devices touching its platform each month. For more information about how Phunware is transforming the way consumers and brands interact with mobile in the virtual and physical worlds, visit,, and follow @phunware on all social media platforms.