Coin Tokyo: Exclusive Interview with SynchroLife’s Tomochika Kamiya!
“I want to build a service where consumers can experience crypto assets for the first time”
Earlier this summer, Japanese cryptocurrency news site “Coin Tokyo” sat down with founder and CEO of SynchroLife, Tomochika Kamiya, for an exclusive interview!
They discussed the history of SynchroLife, why SynchroLife adopted blockchain technology, the problems SynchroLife is trying to solve, what to expect in SynchroLife’s future, and more! It’s a lengthy interview filled with a lot of great insight from Tomochika, check it out below!
We recently sat down for an interview with the founder and CEO of GINKAN, Inc, the company behind SynchroLife. SynchroLife is the world’s first social restaurant reviews service that uses blockchain technology to offer cryptocurrency rewards for quality restaurant reviews. SynchroLife also utilizes AI to help diners find good restaurants instantly no matter where they go, and it is working to fight the problems of restaurant search. SynchroLife already has over 190,000 user reviews at over 100,000 different restaurants.
Thanks for coming today. Inside the SynchroLife app it’s not obvious that you’re using any kind of blockchain technology. What’s the reason for that?
I decided I wanted to use blockchain to build something after I realized the potential for it to be a solution to so many problems. But SynchroLife’s target audience is the average consumer and restaurant — the kind of people who are often not yet familiar with blockchain technology.
In order to build a service easy for all people to use, I didn’t want to push too much technical talk and jargon at them. I thought it would be better to build something easy to use and understand.
Our vision is to improve the restaurant industry, and blockchain is just a tool to make that vision a reality.
Was the idea for SynchroLife born from blockchain?
No, I was imagining a token economy over 4~5 years ago and didn’t know about blockchain at the time. My original plan was not to use cryptocurrency but to use an original point system where the value of the points would grow as used within the restaurant industry.
I see, you were more interested in building a token economy and blockchain just happens to be a useful tool for that.
Yes. I learned about blockchain in detail in 2016. I had heard of Bitcoin around 2014 but although it seemed interesting I didn’t look into it at the time.
In early 2016 many financial and tech-related businesses began discussing cryptocurrency and blockchain technology and I began studying it then as well. It didn’t take long for me to want to build a service that utilized this new technology.
As I mentioned earlier, I was already thinking of a closed token economy service to help solve the problems in the restaurant industry. But at the time I was stuck on how to design the system to grow and function globally, and how to provide incentives to the users.
When I began reading up on blockchain I realized there were already services with token economies that worked on it, and I felt like it was destiny — this was the perfect tool.
I already knew the business model so moving into the development phase once we decided to implement blockchain technology was very smooth.
Is the blockchain used by SynchroLife your own original blockchain?
No, we use Ethereum as a base. However, we developed the smart contracts for the SynchroCoin and wallets inhouse.
Thank you. The theme of your service is “dining”. What lead you to building this service?
For the past ten years, the restaurant industry has faced several major problems: with high advertising fees, empty seats, and the high cost of opening a new restaurant.
All three of these problems are the result of money issues. It’s expensive to open a restaurant, and even once you open one it’s expensive to pay for the advertisements needed to attract customers and fill seats.
The restaurant industry is one plagued with “capital advantage” and to become a popular restaurant having money for marketing is even more important than having good food. This means that today, flavor is no longer the most important aspect of a restaurant.
I agree, sometimes you discover restaurants that are delicious but almost always empty. So SynchroLife was born from the idea of solving that problem for restaurants.
Yes. In addition to using blockchain technology, SynchroLife is also unique for its use of AI. SynchroLife uses AI to help diners find good restaurants.
I think the further recommendation and personalization AI evolves, the better our AI will become as well. It learns from user behavior in the app, automatically giving personalized restaurant recommendations and recommendations for restaurants popular in the SynchroLife community.
We’d like to ask another question about SynchroLife’s AI — when searching for restaurants on traditional restaurant discovery services a lot of people enjoy looking at user reviews when making their decisions. But the reasons for certain reviews being displayed at the top of the page or highlighted in the search results isn’t transparent. How is SynchroLife approaching this problem?
In almost all traditional restaurant discovery services, the managing company or restaurant clients can adjust what gets recommended or shown. SynchroLife is like Instagram or Youtube, where you see users’ real posts and AI gives individual recommendations based on all the reviews and user actions on the platform.
Restaurants also have the option of becoming a paying participating restaurant to increase their visibility in SynchroLife. As I mentioned earlier, today many restaurants struggle to attract customers. Restaurants that already have a certain amount of reviews can grow and attract new customers easily in SynchroLife just by organic user discovery, but for restaurants that don’t yet have many reviews, we offer the option of becoming a participating restaurant to help raise awareness of their restaurant within the SynchroLife community.
Thank you. Do you think SynchroLife has helped consumers experience blockchain and cryptocurrency more so far?
I think it has. Most of our users don’t know a lot about blockchain and cryptocurrency. But they’re earning tokens by posting restaurant reviews, and I believe many users have gotten curious about what cryptocurrency is after receiving some.
I think getting the chance to “hold” cryptocurrency like this is very important for cryptocurrency to really penetrate into society.
The majority of people who enjoy cryptocurrency today are interested in the investment side of it. But I believe if you’re building up a token just to please those people then it is sure to collapse over time, even if it goes well at first. We believe the growth and quality of our service is the most important thing in making SynchroLife a part of daily life and successful worldwide.
Thank you. SynchroLife has a very high percentage of users who leave reviews, especially compared to other services. Do you think this is an effect of the token?
I’m sure the token economy contributes to the high percentage of active posting users, but I think the biggest reason for this is that SynchroLife is a social media service like Instagram.
In traditional restaurant search and review services, many services require or have normalized writing fairly lengthy reviews. This made it hard for the casual diner to feel motivated enough to write and post a full review. SynchroLife is purposely designed in a social media style like Twitter and Instagram, allowing diners to post quick reviews in realtime. I think it’s the ease of posting that’s really increased the review rate.
I see, and it’s also designed to help resolve the issues of the restaurant industry. What was the hardest part of designing this service?
SynchroLife is the first of it’s kind in Japan to be using blockchain technology and a token economy like this, so there were not a lot of companies we could look to for examples regarding our business model or incentive system. It was quite challenging to create everything from scratch.
However the regulations surrounding cryptocurrency and blockchain technology were already coming into place when we were building SynchroLife, so we were able to design it without too much unknown.
This industry still holds a lot of reputation risk and it’s one that’s difficult for both startups and large companies to enter. But I think it was a huge plus for us to be able to be a first mover and deepen our expertise here.
You have to be careful with regulations. Moving forward, how do you expect your token economy will grow?
Japan has long been a country with a lot of token economies using regional currencies and original points, and in this field, I believe Japan is one of the most advanced in the world.
Bringing blockchain technology into this kind of service allows us to unlock so much new potential that hasn’t been seen in point economies up until now.
Up until now, points were limited in their use case and often only usable within certain services, but by trading this for tokens and blockchain technology these “points” can have true value as an asset for the very first time. I think this will allow us to expand and grow our service in ways that haven’t been feasible before.
We can’t wait to see where SynchroLife goes from here! This is our last question for today, what do you see in store for the future of both SynchroLife and yourself?
I want to make SynchroLife a service that allows the average consumer to experience cryptocurrency for themselves just by dining out. And to make that a reality I want to keep growing our community. As for our token, I hope by connecting crypto assets it can become a bit of a fintech hub for consumers and solve the problems facing the restaurant industry today.
For me personally, my dream is still the same as when I first made this company — I want to make our service the number one of its kind in Asia. I will be continuing to work hard to make this happen!
Thank you Coin Tokyo for speaking to our founder and CEO in this exclusive interview!
You can read the original article from Coin Tokyo in Japanese here:
And follow SynchroLife on Medium to keep up with our latest news!
SynchroLife is the world’s first social restaurant review platform with token rewards, connecting users and restaurants…
Please visit the following links to learn more about SynchroLife! 📲
Official Website: https://synchrolife.org
White paper: https://synchrolife.org/whitepaper.html
SynchroLife Mobile App:
iOS App Store: https://itunes.apple.com/app/id557532449
Android Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=jp.co.synchrolife