AMA Session with the Sikoba Team
On 30th of September, 2020 Sikoba team hosted a LIVE AMA Session at sikobaNetwork’s Telegram Channel
During the 1 hour of this AMA, founder of Sikoba Aleksander Kampa, CTO — Guillaume Drevon, marketing manager — Margareta Reshetar, and IT developer — Dragan Postolovski took turns to answer various questions from the Sikoba Growing Community.
At the end of the AMA, 10 best questions of the day submitted by users from Twitter and Sikoba Telegram Channel received $10 in USDT each.
Below is a text summary of the AMA Session with the Sikoba Team. Thank you and please enjoy!
Margareta Reshetar: Hi, my name is Margareta, I’m the marketing manager of Sikoba, and today I will be leading this AMA session with my colleagues, Sikoba team members.
The Agenda of today’s AMA:
1. Start. AMA speaker’s self-introduction and project introduction
2. Answering 5 Twitter Questions
3. AMA with Community. Ask any question you have about the Sikoba project, and we’ll be happy to answer those.
Could you please introduce yourselves Alex, Guillaume and Dragan?
Dragan Postolovski: Hello everyone!
My name is Dragan, I’m a software developer and I’ve been working on the sikobaPay platform for close to a year now doing full-stack development.
Guillaume Drevon: Hello guys, I’m Guillaume, CTO of Sikoba, I have a mathematical and IT background. I joined Sikoba 1 year and a half ago to work on a cryptographic research project and now I am involved in SikobaPay network.
Aleksander Kampa: Hello, I’m Alex Kampa, I’m the founder of Sikoba.
My background is in economics, mathematics and statistics. I’ve worked in finance and IT for much of my life, but I also did research in monetary theory.
So, when I encountered blockchain in late 2014, I thought that I could combine my ideas about money with this new technology. That is how the Sikoba project was born. I also wrote a small book about credit conversion, which is related to this project.
Margareta: What is Sikoba?
Alex: Well, Sikoba is Defi for the real world. The crypto crowd seems to have hijacked the expression “decentralised finance” to mean only yield farming/crypto lending etc. but that’s not what we do.
Sikoba is a blockchain-based platform to register, track and clear debts between people and businesses.
Since informal IOUs are widely used in developing countries, we provide a tool to overcome the limitations of such IOUs by making legal recognition possible, allowing for efficient clearing of debts and providing audit trails: the first step towards a credit history.
Standing on the edge between commercial utility and social impact, mass adoption of Sikoba and sikobaPay will help micro and small enterprises in developing countries to overcome liquidity problems and boost local economies. We believe that this could help alleviate numerous social issues, including poverty, hunger, and urbanization.
The scale of our target market is massive, as over 300 million small and micro-businesses in the world use informal credit already.
So, we are addressing an existing market, and provide a tool to make this informal credit activity, the registering and managing these informal IOUs, much more efficient.
Note IOU = “I owe you”, an acknowledgement of debt.
Margareta: What technology stands behind Sikoba?
Guillaume: Sikoba is a decentralized system based on blockchain technology. The current beta version is still centralised, but we’re working on the blockchain layer and it will be ready later this year. Having a blockchain for Sikoba is great for security (redundancy) and to fight fraud (nobody will be able to steal from you, even administrators) for instance. Note however that users and SMEs will not use any crypto-currency, IOUs are created based on existing national currencies.
Dragan: The Sikoba system is currently accessible via a web app and a mobile app. The web app is written in ReactJS and is currently undergoing beta-testing. On the other hand, the mobile app, which is available for Android and iOS is already in beta testing!
The core of the system is our backend, which is written in Crystal and it’s tasked with handling all the user requests, creating transactions and managing blockchain integration and interaction.
Guillaume: The debits and credits generated in Sikoba will be registered on Sikoba’s federated blockchain and will be kept private, as it’s quite sensible information. Therefore this information will be verifiable through anchoring on a public Blockchain. The users will be able to generate proofs of their transactions, within this public blockchain, Sikoba will link to.
Margareta: What is the business model of Sikoba project? How does it generate revenue for development?
Alex: In order to pay for transaction fees, Sikoba users will need to spend Sikoba SKO tokens.
SKO token demand will, therefore, be proportional to transaction volume. Rising transaction volume will tend to drive the price higher, given a limited supply of SKO.
So bottom line: network transaction fees will pay for the continued development of the platform.
Margareta: What are the main goals of Sikoba for the next 6 months?
Alex: Right now, we have 3 main goals:
- Raise funds so we can continue development at a rapid pace
- Launch mainnet (including complete blockchain layer and web interface)
- Have at least 2 large user groups onboarded
Margareta: Let’s move to the next chapter of our AMA session!
We have selected 5 best questions from Twitter:
Q1: What are your plans for global expansion, does Sikoba focus only on the current market? Or focus on building and developing or getting customers and users or partnerships? Can you tell us?
Alex: We are targeting developing countries all around the world, where many business transactions are already made using informal credit”, where people and businesses regularly make promises to pay at a later date.
We’re targeting local partners who already have existing networks, and who handle onboarding and local support.
That way, we provide only the technical platform which will allow us to scale quickly. Examples of existing partnerships:
- Credit in Manila, Philippines
- Nano-Credit project in Bogota, Colombia
- Micro-financing project in Kisii, Kenya
For more info, have a look at our use-cases document.
Q2: Project’s Activeness & Progress is the First preference of any Investor! So, tell us some Recent Major Achievements Done by Sikoba Project? Also, which Major Event/Announcement we can Expect from Sikoba Project?
Dragan: The easiest way to track our progress is to follow our Telegram account and read our monthly updates on Medium.
Our recent major achievements are signed partnerships with:
Beki — a local currency project in Luxembourg, and Chelma — a micro-financing project in Kisii, Kenya.
Q3: What is the mission that Sikoba wants to bring to the blockchain market in general and to life in particular? What have you done and will do to achieve your goal?
Guillaume: Despite technological advances, a significant portion of the world’s population remains unbanked, according to the Global Findex database, there were 1.7 billion unbanked people in 2017. For these people, the way to financing is through non-regulated, non-supervised loans and credits.
Throughout the ages, these circumstances have led people to adapt and innovate their own solutions to this crippling issue. For millennia, people have been using informal credit to reduce money dependency and boost their economies.
However, all this was being done on ”pen and paper”, which in itself introduces other limitations for its user and is not as efficient as it could be. Informal credit and its limitations are the main drivers behind the development of the Sikoba platform.
Sikoba web and mobile application with blockchain backend implementation aim at tackling the issues that informal credit has while providing unquestionable security.
To do this, there are three key points we will address: data security, instant intermediary identification and mutual debt clearing.
Q4: How far is the progress of SikobaPay? Any new updates and function? How long is it before the official release?
Dragan: Status of the project:
- Beta version of the backend is done
- Beta version of the mobile app is done
- Beta version of the web app is done
We currently have partners in the Philippines, Colombia, Luxembourg and Kenya.
As for the functions of the sikobaPay app, we are constantly adding new features. Currently, our main priority is the integration of the blockchain layer.
Q: I’m quite curious about the name SIKOBA NETWORK? Why did you choose this name, is there any story behind this name?
Alex: The project was initially called “new money hub” but people thought it was too long and that it sounded too anglo-centric. Then I remembered that I owned the domain name sikoba.com from an old project that never took off (“simple knowledge base”), it was a neutral name, does not really mean anything in any language … so decided to use it.
Q: Protection of user/member data and privacy has become an issue that many companies/projects face in their development. So how do you fix it? Please let us know.
Guillaume: First I want to say that it is for privacy reasons that we do not have a public blockchain, we will anchor only our block hashes to a public blockchain. Then we have carefully reviewed all transactions that are added to the blockchain in order to NOT put any personal information so that if a user asks to remove his personal information, it will be possible without impacting on the blockchain immutability. We try to follow the GDPR guidelines. We have also privacy settings so that users can choose which information he wants to share.
Q: Strong security and stable performance are of immense importance in this cryptocurrency industry! What’s SKO’s plans with these great attributes?
Dragan: To ensure data security and integrity, our users have cryptographic keys generated by the latest, most secure standards. Users use these keys to sign the transactions they send to our system and we are able to verify if a transaction request is really sent from the user. This way we can prevent any and all malicious attempts at altering data.
To ensure performance, we have split our solution into two parts. One is the application layer where all the computation is happening, and the other part is the blockchain which is only used to store data.
Also, we have an entire suite of performance optimization measures which we are testing and slowly adding to our solution.
Q: What is the difference between P2P lending and P2P credit? Why sikoba Focus on p2p credit and how does this provide a competitive advantage?
Alex: In P2P lending, you need money, to begin with: money is lent and then can be used to purchase something.
In P2P credit/IOUs, you don’t need money at the beginning: transactions between people and businesses who know and trust each other are done by just writing down how much is owed.
Q: The person who wishes a credit must follow some guidelines in order to establish credit with Sikoba? The process is often complicated?
Guillaume: We hope the process is not complicated! Basically, we tried to hide the cryptography (but one can manage it fully if he prefers), then you just create a credit line with somebody you know, which indicates the details of the relation, and you can create credit on it. The important point is to transact with people you KNOW.
Q: Hello there Sikoba team! Can you explain the role of SKS token in Sikoba platform?
Jun: SKS is the internal Sikoba Gas token. All transaction fees on the Sikoba network will be expressed in SKS. At the launch of mainnet, the price of SKS will be fixed against fiat at a level that is expected to make the system profitable for blockchain node operators — this is essential for the stability and security of the network. The goal is for SKS to track cloud computing and storage costs. This will make transaction costs stable and predictable over the long term, thus completely avoiding the large variations in transaction costs observed on blockchains such as Bitcoin or Ethereum.
Q: Do you have any upcoming features or projects for the nearest future that you’re yet to launch? Can you tell us about it?
Dragan: Currently we are working on integrating our application layer with a blockchain middleware. This is quite an important milestone to reach since at that point our users’ data’s security will be ensured by the blockchain.
Q: I think Defi changing our relationship with money, investing, credit and debt. So, What are the plans for SIKOBA NETWORK to thrive in the Defi space?
Guillaume: We have noticed that Sikoba principles are so close to the true nature of money that we are able to implement many various Defi use cases, with-in our own data model. Once Sikoba is started, I believe we will be able to implement many use cases and so partner with many projects, all on the same Sikoba platform.
Q: If we talk about cryptocurrencies, there are many regulations. How SikobaPay team will deal with regulations where too many laws and regulations are used by the currency system in certain countries?
Jun: Initially, Sikoba will just be used to register and clear debt. There will be no fiat money nor crypto in the system. For that reason, we will not be subject to regulations in most countries, at least as long as we do not have a really large user base.
We do plan to have fiat money in the system as soon as possible after mainnet launch, so then we will need an e-money license, but that can be done with partner banks. We will deal with this issue in about 6 months.
Finally, SKO will be a utility token and as such not subject to financial regulations in the UK.
Q: Are you a global project or local project? Can anybody anywhere use Your project without any restrictions?
Dragan: Sikoba is a global solution.
Anyone can download and use our app, regardless of their location.
Q: How is SikobaNetwork convincing businesses or customers to adopt its technology? As we all know businesses are always sceptical to try out new tech.
Margareta: We are not addressing something completely new, but something that people do already, i.e. informal credit. So we’re not asking them to start doing something they have never done before but giving them a tool to improve on what they are already doing. In addition, users will receive incentives from our local partners.
Q: The biggest dilemma as of now in crypto is volatility and liquidity issues. What steps have been taken by Sikoba Network to overcome it?
Guillaume: We use 2 different tokens, the main token, SKO can be fully traded, but to use the Sikoba platform, people will use the SKS token that we want to remain stable. We plan to integrate various economical mechanisms for this (e.g basket of currencies).
Q: Adoption is one of the important factors that all sustainable blockchain projects should focus to be more an OpenDefiractive in the investors’ eyes. What did SKO do and plans to do to achieve real-world adoption?
Dragan: To ensure quick and efficient adoption, we are constantly on the lookout for new partners with established groups throughout the world which can help us integrate our solution.
Q: How is SIKOBA NETWORK development going? Can you describe in detail current development efforts, market expansion plans, expected applications, and when will they become commercially available?
Alex: We are working hard to be ready for mainnet launch at the end of the year. We already have several partners waiting for this, with many thousands of potential users.
Q: Sikoba allows to establish credit or a “debt” with a person. But how can the person ask for the money after a certain time? The person who gets the credit must leave some collateral? How is the credit issuer supported?
Alex: Yes, Sikoba is targeted at businesses (principally small/micro-businesses) that know each other and already transact using IOUs. The way they do this now is limiting, as such transactions are only possible within one’s direct circle of trust.
What Sikoba adds to this is “credit conversion” which allows to automatically transact beyond one’s circle of trust, via trusted intermediaries. This makes the system much more useful.
Q: What are the main goals of Sikoba Network in 2020? Was it still on track?
Dragan: The number one priority for us is to launch our mainnet by the end of the year. Despite the current situation with the Coronavirus, we have still managed to progress steadily and we are still aiming at reaching our goal by the end of the year!
Q: What is the actual uniqueness of your Project? what do you think that what quality will give it a good stand to this project in the market?
Margareta: We overcome the limitations of informal credit:
- Because debt is registered on a blockchain, users obtain proof of transaction and thus potentially legal recognition;
- Users can transact beyond their immediate circle of trust, as Sikoba will automatically identify trusted intermediaries;
- Circular debt is cleared automatically, reducing the need for cash;
- Sikoba produces a verifiable audit trail, and thus credit history.
Q: To build credit confidence, you need to know the person. Wouldn’t this limit Sikoba to a narrow market?
Dragan: The core of informal credit is trust. In the Sikoba system, users will connect with each other and grant ‘credit lines’ to each other. These credit lines signify a relation of trust between the two users, and as such, it is limiting. However, there is also conversion in the system, which allows one user(granter) to grant another user(grantee) the right to use a credit line and a certain amount on it. This effectively allows for one to extend his options for interactions and overcome this limiting issue of networking.
Q: As a community-based project, how can I donate my quota for your success? Do you have a Global Ambassador Program or a Referral Rewards System?
Margareta: Thanks for your question! We already have local supporters in various countries worldwide, that's our goto market strategy. The Referral program will be implemented into sikobaPay app once the mainnet is launched.
Margareta: Thank you for all of your questions and time!
Dragan: Thanks for the interest everyone! Hope we got you interested in our project! We are always eager to hear some feedback and answer questions, so don’t hesitate to contact us!
Alex: Hey everyone, thanks for participating and for the many questions!
Guillaume: Too many questions and so little time.. thank you all!