ICO Spotlight: Interview with Gennady Volchek, CEO of Shping Coin
Coinschedule: Hi, Gennady. First thing’s first. What market opportunity are you tapping with Shping Coin?
Gennady Volchek: Our mission is to make shopping a safer, smarter and more rewarding experience for all.
The global retail sector is estimated to be valued at around $USD28 trillion by 2019, and shopping permeates all of our daily habits. The problem we are trying to address is multi-faceted, but we see Shping having the most significant impact for product-makers and product-buyers in two ways.
- Counterfeiting and product safety is a global problem. Counterfeit goods and food fraud continue to present significant challenges to brands, manufacturers, retailers, and consumers worldwide. For businesses, the cost to ensure that only genuine products are sold in retail stores can be exorbitant. Shping Security can help combat the issue for any business and adds one major point of difference – it enables shoppers to act as the last line of counterfeit-defense by rewarding them to scan the barcodes of participating brands with the Shping App. Suspect scans will trigger alerts to shoppers to dissuade purchase while alerting brand owners to investigate anomalies further.
- Relaying product information to shopper’s when they need it most. Today, there is more data available at consumer’s fingertips than ever before, yet finding product information, reviews and opinions can be time-consuming, especially when you’re short on time and you’re in the store. Through the act of scanning a product barcode, Shping hopes to bring important information to shoppers at the point of purchase – when they need it most. By enabling brands to reward consumers with Shping Coin for considering promotional material and taking desired actions, shoppers are incentivized to scan products with the Shping App to learn about products before purchase. Shping can also be used for product recall alerts, giving shoppers who have scanned or are scanning products a timely warning and further instructions.
Coinschedule: What benefits will Shping Coin and blockchain bring to the shoppers and brands?
Gennady Volchek: It starts with the Shping App – which is akin to a powerful, mobile product search engine that interfaces with our blockchain-based Global Product Database to access product information supplied by a range of trusted sources (brands, certification bodies, standards issuers, product recall portals, customs and government authorities etc). By scanning product barcodes with the Shping App, shoppers can reveal useful information that may help influence their purchase decisions e.g in-depth product description, provenance information, nutritional and allergen information, product recall status, entertaining videos, product reviews and in some instances, the App will also validate the authenticity of products of participating brands and activate post-purchase warranty registration.
Shoppers can be encouraged to complete any activation offered by the platform that has been initiated by participating brands willing to offer Shping Coins as an incentive and reward for doing so. This creates an exciting new paradigm for businesses to promote to and reward consumers directly for their attention, engagement, and action. Simultaneously Shping Coin incentivizes consumers to change their behavior by scanning items they’re uncertain about before they purchase through the App.
Coinschedule: Briefly explain the Global product database linked to Shping ecosystem.
Gennady Volchek: The Shping Ecosystem is built on product information provided by a number of data sources including consumers, brands, retailers, manufacturers, government-owned and independent certification bodies and agents acting within the supply chain. Shping collects information from these sources into a continuously updated, distributed product database which we refer to as our Global Product Database. Using the Shping App, anyone can scan a product’s GS1-compliant barcode or DataMatrix code to access the synthesized product information in the Global Product Database and to help them make smarter and safer buying choices through the Shping App.
Coinschedule: Top 3 features that you think can disrupt the way we currently shop.
Gennady Volchek: The current, operational Shping Ecosystem comprises the Shping Security module, the Shping Marketing module and Shping App (which is currently in beta). These platforms work together to offer the following benefits.
- The ability for businesses and consumers to work together to prevent the purchase of counterfeit, unsafe or recalled goods in legitimate retail situations;
- The ability for businesses to serve useful and engaging information to shoppers who use the App that can help them make more informed decisions to purchase, and reward them directly for their attention.
- The ability for shoppers to earn cryptocurrency (SHPING) in a much more accessible way, which we believe can accelerate the adoption and understanding of crypto in the mainstream.
In the near future, Shping Retail will also be coming online offering a new suite of features and benefits for users and businesses alike.
Coinschedule: We see that Shping is powered by Ethereum smart contracts, any other partnership that makes it stand out? You may highlight future partnerships too.
Gennady Volchek: We are very proud of our strategic partnerships, but we would like to single out two in particular, who coincidentally represents our first and most recent partnerships respectively.
We are proud of our partnership with GS1 Australia, who we sought consultation with at the commencement of our business back in 2011-12. We developed a prototype off the back of their industry-standards which led to our strategic partnership being forged. Since then, GS1 Singapore, Malta, Azerbaijan, and Russia have come on board with more expected.
We are also proud of our recent partnership with Everledger. The first-to-market collaboration that will enable us to build a GS1 EPCIS standard track-and-trace platform for product information using their state of the art Hyperledger blockchain. Our companies share a common goal of building trust along the entire supply chain as well as enhancing the informed consumer experience to deliver stronger consumer and industry confidence in products and brands. Through the partnership, Shping App users will also soon be able to authenticate the provenance of 1.6 million diamonds and other high-value assets listed on Everledger’s ledger. This could be a game changer for conscientious customers who wish to avoid buying “blood diamonds”.
Coinschedule: Also, we’d love to know more about the token mechanics of Shping Coin.
Gennady Volchek: The prime buyer we see for Shping Coins is the people who make, market, certify or sell products; that is, businesses who use the Shping Ecosystem. The only way for businesses to acquire the Shping Coins to fuel their campaigns through the platform is to buy it from those who own it. This is the foundation of the Shping Coin Economy.
50% of the total distribution will be offered up to buyers during the Token Sale, which will create a base circulating supply for businesses to purchase Shping Coin. These Coins can be used immediately on our current platform to start incentivizing and rewarding consumers with the campaigns they set up. Crypto enthusiasts may also wish to become a seller of their Shping Coins later down the track once the coins are unlocked at the conclusion of the Token Sale.
The total supply of SHPING will always be 10 billion tokens. This will consist of Purchased Tokens acquired during the Token Sale and Earned Tokens. Most Earned Tokens will be acquired by using the App – a portion we refer to as the Shping App Incentive Reserve and we expect it will take several years for this to reserve to be depleted.
There is also a sub-segment of earned tokens allocated to bounties (1%) and a pool of tokens allocated to team members (2%) and advisers (5%), who will receive their tokens over a vesting period of 3 years in 6 installments.
At the conclusion of the token sale, the only coins that can be sold will be the tokens that have been purchased through the Token Sale or the much smaller amounts of Earned Tokens. Together, this becomes the circulating supply which determines the available pool of Shping Coins that will be purchasable when the market is live. While the remaining coins will be gradually added to the circulating supply, it is not at a rate that is significant enough to impact the price of the Coins at the time of purchase.
Most ICOs “burn” tokens because they have too much supply. We’re confident that to serve the USD$28 Trillion shopping industry, we’re going to need a lot of Coins in the long term, especially as we’re never going to mint anymore. So instead of burning, unsold coins will be allocated to the Shping App Incentive Reserve to be earned or some might say, “mined” gradually by Shping App Users.
Coinschedule: Run us through the brains behind Shping Coin and what are their credentials?
Gennady Volchek: As founder and CEO of Shping, I’ve always had a passion for creating businesses that connect people in profound ways. At 18 years old, I became a publisher of an ethnic newspaper in my hometown of Melbourne, Australia. I have also started a telecommunications company, a satellite Pay TV business for Australia and New Zealand and I was a pioneer of VOIP technology using Cisco systems before they became well known.
Andrei Kucherov has been our CTO from the beginning, and he comes to us with over 15 years of experience as a software developer, software engineer, and team leader. He has been experimenting with blockchain and crypto for many years.
We are also fortunate to be joined by experienced digital, marketing and innovation strategist, Tony Lee as CMO who most recently led a strategic role at one of the world’s most respected FMCG and corporate branding consultancies, Landor.
Together, we work alongside a host of skilled business development managers, practitioners, and developers. Everyone works hard and collaboratively to achieve our vision from our offices in Melbourne, Singapore, Russia, and Beijing.
Coinschedule: Any exciting update/development on Token sale?
Gennady Volchek: We’re halfway through our Presale and have just hit 60% of our hard cap. We also have a few announcements coming, but I don’t want to spoil the surprise! You may have to keep a look out on our social media channels and website for updates.
Coinschedule: We love the aspect of how you are indulging the community through bounty program. Any specific details you’d like to mention so that our readers can take benefit of it?
Gennady Volchek: It is one of our values to enable access and agency for people. That’s why we designed our Bounty Program to offer something for a wide variety of skills and influence. We also reward participants based on the quality, merit and reach of their performance – the better and more engaging their contribution is, the better the reward will be.
So yes, there are expected things such as rewarding participants for posting about us on social networks, endorsing us with Bitcointalk signatures, and creating videos and blogs. But because we believe in authenticity, we are also only interested in rewarding participants who create original material rather than simply sharing something existing.
There is even a “special achievement” category for participants who offer and demonstrate extraordinary services that significantly help raise awareness of the Shping Token Sale.
We also think our referral is one of the most generous out there at the moment. In addition to allowing referred parties to receive an extra 5% SHPING bonus on purchases during the token sale, the referrer receives a 5% commission from the sale of each purchase made through their referral links, which is paid at the conclusion of the token sale in ETH.
We’re hoping to attract smart participants who understand the meritocracy based-bounty and referral program we’ve created and choose it above others because they can see how much value they can gain if they put in the care and effort. As we like to say at Shping, it pays to shop smart.