Here is a recap of what was discussed in the most recent AMA with CEO and co-founder Tim Bos on April 2nd 2019. You can view the full livestream on our YouTube channel as well.
ShareRing and The Travel Industry
Starting in Melbourne, Australia as our ‘sandbox’ testing area for the ShareRing app, we came across a few influential pieces of information while working with the business service providers we are testing with. One big finding we came across, is that the travel industry is where we would be able to start seeing real volume in transactions.
When we talk about the travel industry, we are diving into what our app will be capable of; such as hotel bookings, car rental, motorbike rental, ski gear rental, tours and events, and featured YouTube videos to enhance your experience in your travel destination. We want to become the ‘one-stop-shop’ app for tourism and travel related activities.
Efforts are still being put into other industries, initially focusing on businesses in Melbourne, Australia. The majority of our focus will now be directed towards the travel and tourism industry, as this is a place we see ShareRing being able to scale up quickly and succeed in.
The approach we have been taking when diving into the travel industry is a top-down direction. In marketing terms, this means that we have been directly talking to tourism bodies in the first few targeted countries, rather than going directly to the business service providers of those regions. We are discussing with organisations about adopting our technologies as well as working together to promote and on-board business service providers that operate in the selected region. The processes up to date have been going very well. Our initial targeted areas will be very much focused on South East Asia and Australia, with the initial roll-out being in a small tourism heavy location and not the entire country.
We would expect any of our targeted countries to have millions of travellers visit annually. Of these millions, we would expect around 10% to potentially use the app, and this number could increase or decrease. From this same perspective, after research conducted we have found that most travellers tend to spend about $1,500 USD on their trip. We would expect about 20–30% of that spend to be done through the app as well. When this is rolled out, the numbers that you see on the blockchain are absolutely staggering.
We are very excited to be focusing in on the travel and tourism industries, and are really excited to start pushing the product out.
Benefits for every party include how easy the product will be to use.
When the user initially downloads the app, they first upload their identification using the ‘One ID verification system’ which we have created. They will then upload their payment details, which remain secure and on their device. With this, we are removing the chance of credit card fraud and ID fraud almost entirely.
When rolling out to the providers, the process will be very quick and expedited as we have the help from the tourism bodies. Some of the benefits these providers will see, is that they are being directly paid in their home currency, the transactions are secure and the fees they incur are very low (between 10–15%) of the actual rental cost, opposed to other competitors who take about 30%. We are also eliminating the chance for fake credit card transactions to occur, and reduce the overall risk these providers might come across when renting out their assets to travellers or tourists.
Governments and tourism bodies will see the benefits through promotion with Smart Cities and analytics they will receive from the data of the app. Tourism bodies and governments thrive on analytics they receive, as they breakdown where tourists are going and why, and where they are spending their time and money. They then use these analytics to figure out how to better focus their promotions, and what areas they should be spending more time in to try and build up, to make the tourists and travellers experiences better when visiting their countries. Safety and security within the app are also two benefits the government and tourism bodies gain, allowing for happier visitors and less overall negative experiences.
As part of this travel and tourism focus, we wanted to make sure our ethos as a company is part of the bigger picture and we give back to the communities we are entering. In this effort, we are creating the ShareRing Foundation.
The ShareRing Foundation is a not for profit foundation that will initially be focused around the travel industry. Essentially, for every dollar spent in a country, we will then take a percentage and provide that into the foundation to give back to the country.
Usually, when countries have an influx of tourists into a specific location or region, that location ends up in poorer condition. The foundation’s job is to help rebuild these locations and communities. This will be done by removing plastic and litter from the beaches, putting money back into the communities that are either disadvantaged or destroyed by travel.
When someone is using our app, we want them to know that the money they are spending is going back into these communities, being spent to assist in the sustainability of their cities. We will release more information about the foundation soon.
Melbourne, Australia is the location that we will be showcasing the general rental aspects of ShareRing, and are using as a sandbox for expanding and roll-out production within other areas non-travel related.
One thing you will find within the app, are the category specific workflows. Until now, we have used the same workflow for generic rental processes across most categories. Within the travel industry, this needs to change and variety is important. We have since started building specific workflows for specific categories. If you want to rent a hotel room, instead of us ‘speaking’ to every hotel, we will bring an aggregator on and you will then have the choice of multiple hotel rooms to choose from. This process to search for and rent that hotel room is one you would expect when booking a hotel room. Booking a car will have a different process compared to renting ski gear and so on.
The team has been working very hard to create these specific workflows to make sure we can cater to as many different categories within the travel industry.
You will start seeing a few things within the app that are not specific to the travel industry and these are those existing engagements we have with clients that are more around corporate car sharing and corporate car rental.
We have released our block-explorer to our testers, and the test-net is running very well. The Masternode testers have tested the user interface we have rolled out and it is working on multiple different interfaces, is easy to use and works seamlessly. Thank you to our testers who have been working with us on this!
The app user-guide will also be released soon, which will include a bit of a demo and screens of the app to better explain the processes. This guide however will be pre-travel focused, and we will release the travel related processes as soon as we have them built up and perfected.
We are going through due diligence on a couple exchanges, and once we have everything sorted, we will make an announcement. We are currently negotiating with a few exchanges in terms of listing fees, listing time-frames, the listing process, pricing etc.
Another exchange listing before the end of April is all dependent on those exchanges and the timing on when to list. A big reason why we are looking to list on another exchange is due to the fact that we need an exchange that allows us to integrate with APIs and our system, and to actually be able to purchase SHR (ShareToken) on behalf of the users, because as you know, we create transactions on the exchange by repurchasing SHR.
DX Exchange was initially chosen because they have a USD pairing, they allow API purchases, and their API is quite fast. If it’s an exchange that doesn’t have a proper USD pairing, we would look at a tether pairing or ETH/BTC pairing, as we would need a way to transfer SHRP (SharePay, our fiat currency) into their exchange to do that trade. There is a lot of criteria that needs to be met for us to list with these exchanges, but the discussions are underway and we will let you all know more once we do.
Questions from livestream:
Are there plans to monetise the analytics data?
In terms of analytics, there are two levels of them. The first is public data that will be on the blockchain, which anyone can look at and will be anonymised. The other analytics will have the opportunity to be monetised as well. For smart cities to succeed, analytics are key and we will do our best to monetise them and monitor transactions through the blockchain.
Suggested adding tours that offer clean up through the app.
The ShareRing Foundation is going to be doing a lot of things, not just giving money back into the communities. It is about creating opportunities for these communities as well, potentially funding eco-tours and eco-lodging. As the foundation grows we will be looking more into these types of things.
When will app beta testing start?
We are already testing the app, testing the rental process and the provider dashboard. When you develop something, you develop it pretty much in isolation so going out into the real world and testing the product, creates instances where you notice some processes might be harder then a non-app process and we want to improve that and fix that work flow.
Things we are improving right now on the app, is for provider to start the rental instead of being done on the user side. The way bookings are done in terms of approving bookings, some providers want a request go to them, others want auto approval due to their stock numbers, and others want to integrate the technology with existing APIs to test the rental process. Ongoing improvements are always occurring, but we are very happy with the process so far.
When can other Masternode holders start?
We are more than happy to roll the testing out to other Masternode holders who have been pre-approved, just get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will hook you up with a Masternode to start testing.
Any community meetups happening soon?
I’m actually doing a meetup with the blockchain labs in two universities in Melbourne soon. I’d love to start actually organising other meetups in different countries I travel to.
How are miniature Masternodes going?
We are still just testing the test-net Masternodes. The next stage of testing will be around delegation to test the miniature Masternodes.
Any other big partnerships?
We do have a few big tests and pilots we are running at the moment, but have been asked to hold off on announcements as of yet, as they are very much in the test phase currently.
App release to the public?
We do not have a specific date for the release to the general public, as this is all pending bug fixes within the current beta testing.
Any updates around EFTPOS?
The LiveGroup relationship is going well. One thing we are looking at doing is framing this relationship around travel, as LiveGroup currently have a huge number of hospitality and travel companies that are using their products. That is something that will accelerate their process and get integration happening with them soon.
Will I be able to purchase flight tickets from app?
Yes, in the future you will be able to do this. The idea is for the app to become the one-stop shop within the travel and tourism industries.
Does the focus on the travel sector mean you will be expanding more quickly into Asia?
Yes, this means we will be expanding more quickly. The plan in terms of on-boarding each country is that we will have a team that goes to that country, hires local people, skills them up and then we proceed to roll out our processes. The local people will then be in charge of any promotions with the business service providers, working with the tourism authority in PR related things and so on. We will also be looking to get a rental property in each country that will remain as the ‘ShareRing apartment’. This apartment is one of the locations that the long term ShareRing holders will be able to rent, ICO holders can use and our staff will stay at when in the countries.