On February 8th, CryptoVigilante invited ShareRing CEO, Tim Bos for an unscripted AMA in their telegram channel. Below is a full summary of the epic AMA. A massive thank you to CryptoVigilante for hosting and Tim for spending the time to answer so many questions!
Can you tell us what inspired you to pursue this career path? What do you want others to take from your story?
I’ve been working in technology for about 26 years, previously at Barclays Capital Investment bank, then before that I worked for a computer games developer that was bought out by Atari, and Avanade, which was a joint venture between Microsoft and Accenture.
I created my first startup in 2004, with a focus on IoT. We provided a cloud based service to allow people to track anything. We moved towards vehicles, as that was where the demand was. I sold that company in 2008.
After that, I started Keaz, with an initial focus on creating a platform for renting/sharing anything, anywhere. The idea was that we would create an API driven platform that allowed companies and people to integrate and rent out anything. The issue we found was that renting a car was very different to renting a house, or a tool, so we couldn’t scale across a lot of verticals. Once again, we were driven towards cars, so as of today, Keaz main focus is providing a B2B and B2C platform for renting cars and materials and handling equipment (forklifts, etc).
I have followed Bitcoin at a high level since about 2012, but it was around 2015 when I came across the Ethereum white paper that described a distributed computer where you could build flexible ‘smart contracts’ to run in a virtual machine. I felt that there was something there worth looking at, so started researching it. Basically, because of it’s ability to scale easily across many verticals (you’re not longer restricted by a rigid set of API’s), the concept allowed us to build what I originally planned for Keaz. Then in about 2017, we put together the original plan and foundation for ShareRing.
So in a nutshell, ShareRing are building an ecosystem for the sharing and rental economy. The blockchain platform and middleware that we’ve developed can provide a full end-to-end solution, including IoT, payments, marketplace listings, identity management, etc.. Our first major push will be into the travel industry, but we also have a number of other PoC’s that are starting, with a focus on other non Travel related areas.ShareRing CEO, Tim Bos
In terms of what I want others to take from my story…
follow your passions.. I’ve always had a passion for innovating, making a difference in the world, running my own company, etc.. so most of my career has been focused on achieving that goal.
What are the five things that you think are most fascinating about blockchain and crypto? Why?
I think the most fascinating thing about crypto is that the identity of Satoshi still (arguably!) isn’t known.. one of the most groundbreaking technologies in the past 20 years, and we don’t know who created it.
Also, the way that you can effectively have an immutable data set, in a trustless environment of distributed computers around the globe. We don’t have to trust a single company to ‘promise’ that our data won’t be changed, etc.
This also makes it censorship resistant.. so you can’t have a company, government, or individual go in and change information/data just because it suits them.
The other really fascinating thing is that blockchain tech (because of tokens and crypto) gives open source developers a chance to finally earn money for the work that they’re doing. They can still make their code open source, but they get rewarded for it (beyond just donations).ShareRing CEO, Tim Bos
And then briefly tell us about ShareRing. Plenty of people hearing about it for the first time.
We’ve developed our blockchain on the Tendermint Framework (same framework that Binance DEX is built on).ShareRing CEO, Tim Bos
We chose that because it’s fast, highly scalable, and we can do some very cool tricks with it that can’t be done on existing platforms such as Ethereum.
What is Sharering’s projected revenue for 2020 based on just current partners alone (including those under NDA)
About $15,000,000 for 2020 if we convert about half of the PoC’s that are about to start. This year is about building the foundations of customers and growing from there.
A lot of the PoC’s are focused around OneID.. and once we have a user who has a OneID account (our self sovererign identity account), then we can push other services towards them within the ecosystem.ShareRing CEO, Tim Bos
Can you give the community the rundown on the differences between App Launch Feb 8 and Mainnet launch March 8?
Sure.. today, we are moving our API, backend databases, and other bits of code to our production environment. We are also submitting the apps to Google and Apple this afternoon for them to review and (hopefully) approve quickly.
The apps will allow people to sign up for OneID and book hotels. We’re progressively adding activities, car rentals, etc after that.Initially, we’ll be running on our testnet for 1 month, then we’ll launch the production blockchain.
The ShareLedger blockchain is feature complete, but we have 2 outstanding items that we want to do before we call it the ‘main net’. There’s already a plan in place to migrate any OneID wallets and accounts over to the main net when it launches.
Having the API, etc in production will allow us to start the PoC’s and a couple of production ready projects with our partners, so we’ll start seeing some real tx going into the Shareledger pretty quickly.
Those include the eVOA project, car sharing, and a PoC project for a very large insurance company. Whilst it’s a production launch, we’re still calling it MVP. We’ve held back some features on purpose so we can soft launch to the public and take feedback and make fast improvements.ShareRing CEO, Tim Bos
ShareRing had a seed raise of $3.8M and ICO funding in early 2018. Do you mind me asking why your first product is just coming out now?
If we built on top of an existing blockchain (ETH, etc), we would’ve been out over a year ago, but we didn’t feel that it would scale with what or plans are, so we effectively decided to start from scratch. It hasn’t been an easy task..
We’ve effectively built everything on top of a BETA version of Tendermint and made sure it’s production ready, built a whole middleware and API infrastructure, and also a number of apps.. it hasn’t been an easy feat to do. We could’ve launched an MVP a number of times, but we wanted to hold off until we had solid software, the right partners and a solid plan in place.
In the meantime, we’ve had a number of large distractions. At the start of last year, we won a large project to provide a reward system for an Australian company… so we diverted a lot of our effort towards that for a couple of months. Unfortunately that company had their funding pulled, so it was a wasted effort. After that, we decided that we wouldn’t take on any new projects that distracted us like that.
(we got paid for the work done, so it wasn’t all that bad)ShareRing CEO, Tim Bos
Besides your proprietary OneID solution, are you developing any product ideas that solve different problems suitable to other industries, not necessarily connected to KYC and OCR?
Also, how secure is a distributed ledger technology? Any guarantees for this claim?
Yes, other than OneID, we have a document management service for things such as electronic visa, VAT refunds, insurance policies and claims, etc. We basically take a ‘fingerprint/hash’ of a document that’s scanned with our OCR engine, and store that hash on the blockchain, while storing the digital scan of the image with the client. Then can then use that ‘hash’ to verify that a document hasn’t been altered any way in transit (ie. between the customer and supplier). We’re also building an immutable review engine, we have a payment system that allows crypto and fiat payments with little to no FX on it (by using a number of different providers, depending on the payment type), a booking engine that utilises blockchain to manage and monitor the chain of custody of an asset, an IoT engine for tracking, etc.
One quick thing on OneID.. I mentioned it’s our self sovereign identity platform.. but it goes a bit further than that. We’ve developed it in a way that allows you to ‘attach’ other types of documents to it. ie. a ‘hash’ of your passport, license, etc, but also things like an insurance policy, maybe a rental agreement, etc in a way that makes sure nobody is going to change the information on it.ShareRing CEO, Tim Bos
You mentioned a PoC for an insurance company.. can you elaborate on that?
ahh. the insurance company. I can’t mention who or what type of insurance, but if the PoC is successful, the projected tx from it in year 1 will be 24,000,000 transactions, growing to 45,000,000 in year 2. It will also add more than 30,000,000 new OneID accounts to our platform. The PoC is commencing within the next 2 weeks, with a quick transition to production if it’s successful.
They’re using OneID, our OCR AI, and the document verification for policies and claims.ShareRing CEO, Tim Bos
Let us switch to current events for a second if you don’t mind. A large portion of the SHR TX’s forecast is expected to come from Chinese people travelling to Thailand using SHR’s eVOA solutions. Is it possible to already have any estimates on how the Coronavirus outbreak is going to affect these numbers?
Yes, the Coronavirus has definitely already had a negative affect on the numbers. We went from about 3000 applications per day, down to a few hundred at the moment. But it’s not all doom and gloom.. our plan was to only feed about 10% of the applications through ShareLedger while we scale up.. so instead, we can feed 100% of them through and scale as the Coronavirus panic dies down. We also have a number of parallel projects that aren’t affected by tourism downturn (including the one I mentioned earlier).
We’ll also be releasing a dedicated eVOA app for Thailand soon… this downturn gives us time to release that before the numbers go up!ShareRing CEO, Tim Bos
We have heard a lot of comparison between Travala and ShareRing, May I ask what is the big difference between you guys?
Travala basically just allows people to book travel with crypto. It’s not a blockchain company. They receive crypto, and they convert it to fiat to pay their suppliers. It’s a great solution to push crypto forward.
ShareRing is creating a blockchain ecosystem.. travel is just one part of it (it’s our first ‘public’ product we are marketing). The crypto to fiat is one small part of the overall picture.
With what we’re building, you could have 1,000 other people launching their own Travala on our platform, but you could also have 100,000 hotels using ShareLedger to improve their service and customer retention, plus any other business that’s in the travel industry.ShareRing CEO, Tim Bos
Do you have any special announcements or updates to make before I make this public?
Yes, we’re launching a competition! I’m going to give a secret code at the end of the AMA… you can use it for extra entries.
The link is here… https://blog.sharering.network/launch-contest-2020/
As a thank you for joining our AMA, we’re offering 25 extra entries..
Just use this code.. SHRAMA2938FJDKF244ShareRing CEO, Tim Bos
How long before the staking feature is activated in the app?
That’ll be March. We’ve got the wallet done in the app with SHR transfers, etc, we just need to add the staking. It hasn’t been a priority until now.ShareRing CEO, Tim Bos
In its current form, is Sharering a relatively centralized solution?
- It restricts access to the ledger unless through your centralized APIs.
- The licensing of the masternodes is decided by you.
- The buybacks are executed through your centralized servers and APIs.
- You control a vast majority of the tokens.
What are your plans to move towards a more decentralized and trustless solution?
True, it’s only centralised while we prove the technology. Our first step will be to open up ShareLedger for people to build their own ABCI layers, etc.. this will be around Q2 this year, then early this year we will start opening up the masternodes for more nodes that are decided by the community.
We’re in this for the long haul.. it’s not an overnight project.. so we need to do it properly.ShareRing CEO, Tim Bos
Hi Tim, the white paper and LPOS document on your website are quite old and a lot has changed since they were originally created. Should we be expecting updated ones to be published? If so, when might that happen?
Yes.. we’ve been collating all the tasks from our sprints so we can put them into an updated document. I spent a bit of time last night reviewing some updates, so I’m expecting we’ll release a batch of these by next month. One of our PoC partners also requested some updates, so we’ve already sent these over to them.ShareRing CEO, Tim Bos
Hi Tim, thanks for all the info and AMA today. If mainnet release is only March 8th, what chain will the app upcoming tomorrow be based on?
It’s on our ‘pilot’ chain that’s been running for a few weeks. about 80% of the external node holders are already running it.. we’ll be cycling up our nodes today (we only have 3 running at the moment).ShareRing CEO, Tim Bos
Can you tell us a bit about the tokenomics? Does the team hold any tokens, if so how many?
The team holds tokens that are locked up. The company also still holds just under 50% of the tokens in circulation. We have all of this information that’s ready to add to our website, including the addresses, etc.ShareRing CEO, Tim Bos
Why did you name the project ShareRing? What was ShareRing created to solve? What is the business model of the project?
Look at the big ‘ring’ for the ecosystem we’re building. The name came from that and a play on the word ‘sharingShareRing CEO, Tim Bos
What are the advantages of SHARERING to compete with competitors of the same model?
How many wallets that can support SHARERING until now? And do you have any plan to build your own wallet?
ShareRing have started from the ‘platform’ layer.. so we’re not necessarily competing on the ‘end user’ or ‘product’ layer.. instead, our focus is on utilising our partners to build on the ecosystem and build our user base and tx volume that way. So far, it’s paying off… as an example, with the insurance company I mentioned, those 30,000,000 OneID accounts… they all then become prospective customers of all the other companies that are utilising the ShareRing ecosystem… it grows exponentially from there.ShareRing CEO, Tim Bos
As for how many wallets.. we’ve designed it to scale out beyond 1bn wallets. We haven’t tested that yet, but there’s plans to test it within the next 3 months on our private network. We want to see where it starts to break and what we can do to ensure it doesn’t.
Tim, many projects out there have used Cryptocurrency and blockchain as buzz terms for increased hype and adoption. What makes the use of blockchain and tokens necessary for the implementation of your platform? What’s the value added by having a token versus using existing crypto like Bitcoin or Fiat?
Our token is necessary to keep ShareLedger running. If we didn’t have a token and tx fees on our platform, there wouldn’t be an incentive for the node holders to host the blockchain platform.ShareRing CEO, Tim Bos
We’ve developed a true blockchain platform that uses the functionality of blockchain (immutable ledger/censorship resistance, distributed tech, scalability, etc).. it’s not just a ‘hype’ to jump on the blockchain wagon. We started with a problem that we wanted to solve, and blockchain was the obvious answer to solve it.
Will buybacks occur after the app launch in Feb, or after the Mainnet launch in march? It was said by the team that buybacks will happen weekly from last November but suddenly stopped with no further info. When are buybacks going to happen, and will they be stable every week from now on?
Let’s not call them ‘buybacks’. We’re actually not buying anything back.. we’re receiving transaction fee’s in fiat, and converting those to SHR by using the API’s of our exchange partners, then distributing the SHR to the masternode holders. This allows our partners to keep utilising Fiat or any crypto without having to actively purchase and hold SHR (which would be a roadblock for them).ShareRing CEO, Tim Bos
These transactions will kick off again from next week.. and the existing holdings will start to be distributed to our node holders.
Will ShareRing show what’s under the bonnet, with a documented illustration/blog, that explains the entire token flow and their interactions that occur across the platform – ShareToken, SharePay, Merchants, OneID, Transactions (and fees), Customers, Platform modules?
Yes.. we have a lot of diagrams… here’s one that we sent out to a partner yesterday.ShareRing CEO, Tim Bos
It would be great to see a roadmap on your website that shows this long term vision and dedication to making it a trustless platform.
We have the roadmap completed.. we’ll get it up asap after we have some breathing space next week.ShareRing CEO, Tim Bos
Are there any talks for SHR to be listed on new exchanges?
There will be.. our focus is to launch firstShareRing CEO, Tim Bos
What countries are next for eVOA?
We’re talking to a few countries that are close (geographically) to Thailand.ShareRing CEO, Tim Bos
In one AMA you mentioned you needed help to update the explorer… is it still needed?
Yes.. sorry, we’ve had a number of people offer, just haven’t had the bandwidth to share the code and other info. We’ll get to it soon. Our current explorer definitely needs some work.ShareRing CEO, Tim Bos
So there is a possibility we won’t see app launch tomorrow?
It’s going into the play and iTunes store for approval today. If they approve it straight away (doubtful), then you’ll see it tomorrow.ShareRing CEO, Tim Bos
How quickly after the app is launched, will we be able to trade coins such as ETH, BNB etc for SHR?
From within the app.. it’s planned, but not soon.. we need to make sure the payments is working with as many options as possible first. We also need to be careful not to take on the role of an exchange.ShareRing CEO, Tim Bos
Even after opening up the platform for other players to create ABCI’s, wouldn’t the transaction purchasing mechanism still be used and run through your centralized APIs/servers? Do you have any future trustless and decentralized mitigation for this?
No, not true. The transaction fee’s will be in SHR, so if they have their own mechanism to procure SHR, then they don’t need to use our purchasing mechanism. They can make their own token or run their own stable coin too.ShareRing CEO, Tim Bos
Sneak preview of the play store listing!
A sneak preview of our Play store listing… ready to submit.ShareRing CEO, Tim Bos
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