Sentinel Chain’s CEO 1st Live AMA with OhHeyMatty
Sentinel Chain’s CEO Roy Lai speaks to OhHeyMatty on farmers, blockchain and livestock tags. For our supporters who would like to watch the full AMA (it’s an hour and forty minutes long), you can find the link to the video below. For those who prefer to read the AMA while listening to your favourite music, we have it right here in text for your reading pleasure :)
Sentinel Chain target markets
OhHeyMatty: You mentioned that you are mainly targeting a specific problem in Asia. Is it mainly in China, Singapore, South Korea or where in Asia are you specifically targeting? Are you starting small or scaling big?
Sentinel Chain CEO Roy Lai: The statistics we have gathered so far points out 6 countries in Asia. We are mainly looking at Laos, Cambodia, Philippines, Vietnam, Myanmar and Indonesia. This is due to a startling statistic showing on average 73% of the population having no access to formal financial services. As for Bangladesh, it depends really on the partners that we have been working with on the ground. The solution has to be designed in such a way that it is practical to be deployed across a large population. In this case, the size of the population, the size of the market and the maturity of the market together with the demand for reduced borrowing costs are all important factors that we need to consider when we decide which are the markets we are going into.
Farmers and blockchain
OhHeyMatty: Pardon my ignorance, but how accepting are our farmers to utilizing technologies such as blockchain?
Roy Lai: We do not advertise the solution as a blockchain solution. Blockchain is pretty much a back-end platform and technology that we use. It’s more important that we go straight to the point and get them to understand the problem that we’re trying to solve here. So, we are introducing to them a mechanism which they have not seen before or better still, no one has actually proposed a solution to address this spectrum of problems. Essentially, it all started off with creating a device that allows the insurance company to be confident enough that the data stored on our platform and the data that is captured on the device along with the mobile application is solid proof of the ownership status of the assets. So, from the user perspective, they are totally unaware that they are actually running off the blockchain. In this case, blockchain has unknowingly brought them 2 important differences and benefits that a traditional solution won’t be able to deliver. One would be the immutability of the data. They could do that in the database but once it starts to involve other stakeholders into the equation such as insurance companies and the loan companies, trust is important for them to really believe that the information that is stored on our system is tamper-proof. Once you are able to achieve provenance — to be able to prove the custodian history of the livestock, the transferred ownership and thus allowing you to have the ability to tokenize the assets. This proves that blockchain is able to solve the problem much better than any traditional solutions. Once the solution that we have starts to scale, more of the ecosystem players can come on board and it’s easier for them to join us which is then capable to expand the community.
Mobile devices in rural areas
OhHeyMatty: How prevalent are mobile devices in rural areas of some of the countries you are targeting for your mobile apps specifically?
Roy Lai: Actually, it is quite prevalent in ASEAN Countries. Most of them I would say in most of the remote countries I’ve been to, they are using smartphones. It may not be 100% but its close to 50–70% in the more remote part. For the suburb areas, it’s almost 100%. Smartphone devices are very cheap nowadays and it’s very accessible, most of them are made in China. Even though a large part of the population in these countries do not have a bank account, but a lot of them have Facebook accounts, so they are actually savvy with the use of smart phones. Of course, we have to tailor the solution to cater for different parts of the country. Some parts of the country, telco receptions and electricity may not be as stable as compared to other parts of the country, but it’s a matter of time.
OhHeyMatty: What infrastructure size marketing do you have in place to scale your business with local farmers who may or may not be apprehensive to the type of change you are trying to bring.
Roy Lai: We will not be able to scale out to the entire country immediately, but what we do is that we partner with those that have a national scale for example, the livestock insurance companies that we are talking about usually is the only livestock insurance provider in the whole country because nobody else has the expertise to be in this field and neither do they have the knowledge or technology to do so.
SENC and the LCT tokens
OhHeyMatty: Why can’t you use the SENC token directly, why do you require an untracked version of the LCT?
Roy Lai: LCT is essentially used and pegged to local currency value, so in different markets, they have their own versions of LCT tokens whereas SENC is essentially a medium of exchange that bridges the public to the local currency. On one hand, you have SENC which is in the public cryptocurrency world. SENC has its own pricing mechanism, its own market, its own volatility but it can’t be used by the farmers or by the locals. They can’t trade using SENC, because they are trading using their own local currency, something that they are familiar with as its pegged to their own local currency. Another thing from the investor’s perspective is that he does not need to care if he’s lending to Country A/B/C and worry about currency conversion because he’s just dealing in SENC. On the other hand, once SENC reaches these countries, it will be converted to the local currency values. LCT only operates within the local context and it doesn’t cross border.
OhHeyMatty: So the LCT is a representation of physical currency in local environment?
Roy Lai: That’s right.
Tamper-proof RFID livestock tags
OhHeyMatty: From your whitepaper, it states that the RFID tags are tamper-proof. What prevents the animals from damaging the technology? They are so much bigger than us.
Roy Lai: The tag has gone through intensive trials and have been designed under various scenarios. The male part of the tag is what we put behind the ear and the female part containing the chip is put in the front of the ear. One such scenario is when a cow sticks its head out of the fence to drink water, chances are the ear will be caught in between the fence, and in some extreme situation, the entire ear might be pulled off because the tag is extremely tight. Our study ensures that the design of the back of the tag is made rubbery such that when a cow sticks its head through the fence to drink water, it will not be stuck in between the fence. The backing is elastic and not as hard as traditional tags such that it will incur little damage to the animals.