In this SHRAMA with TechTipsToGo, Tim Bos discusses ShareRing’s partnership with Tencent Thailand, product releases and much more!
Ron: Welcome everyone! This is Ron with TechTipsToGo. Today we have a very special guest that is going to be talking about one of the latest NDAs that is going to be released.
We have the one and only Tim Bos, for those of you who aren’t familiar with Tim, he’s the CEO and co-founder of ShareRing Global. Welcome Tim, how are you doing?
Good thanks, Ron.ShareRing CEO Tim Bos
Ron: Good good. I see you’ve been very, very busy lately.
That’s an understatement. I would say the last three years have been busy, but I think we’ve gone into overdrive over the last few weeks.ShareRing CEO Tim Bos
Ron: Like they say, no pain, no gain.
It’s true.ShareRing CEO Tim Bos
Tim Bos’s Background
Ron: That’s great. Let’s kick things off. For those of you who don’t know Tim Bos and ShareRing, maybe you’d like to give a little background about yourself, the company and more.
Sure, I started my first start-up in 2004 focused on sort of GPS tracking and telematics, and then moved into the sharing economy in about 2010 by starting a P2P caravan rental business that I sold to an Australian-listed company.ShareRing CEO Tim Bos
Then I started Keaz, which was a car-sharing platform. In about 2012 we started developing that and then we actually sold that company at the start of this year.
The idea for ShareRing had been really brewing in my mind for many, many years and blockchain tech was something that actually made it possible to solve some of the big problems that we had with developing a ubiquitous platform for the sharing economy.
That’s sort of what drove us to create ShareRing and we haven’t looked back since. But in terms of the company itself, what we’re basically doing is looking at sort of creating the backbone of the next generation sharing economy.
In the areas that we operate within most people think of us as a travel company, but that’s not true. We operate in travel, aviation, finance, banking, government, cities, logistics and transportation. So all of those areas we’re basically focusing on, with travel obviously being one of the first things that we market.
These are underpinned by our technologies, such as our self-sovereign identity platform, document storage and verification, on-demand services such as rental protocols, purchasing protocols, P2P marketplace, and then also micropayments and cross-border payments as well. That’s basically it in a nutshell.
Ron: I did actually see a lot of articles on Forbes with self-sovereign Identity, which was kind of really eye-catching, especially being featured twice in Forbes in the last month, so that was pretty incredible.
ShareRing’s Partnership with Tencent Thailand
Ron: Let’s get into this big question, the release of the NDA and the partnership with Tencent. Congratulations on that. Can you give us an overview of the relationship with Tencent? What can you tell us about it? And how big is this for ShareRing?
We’ve actually been working directly with Tencent since probably April or May of this year, so it has been kept under wraps very, very effectively for quite a while. Tencent has worked closely with us on some of our identity management technology. We work with their tech teams on things like our OCR, supporting more and more identities.ShareRing CEO Tim Bos
Things like scanning of hotel bookings, flight receipts, a lot of things that aren’t available in any other sort of OCR or AI type platforms. Also, the validation and verification of that information. We’re working with them to run some masternodes on their platform.
There’s a heap of stuff that we’re working on in the technology. The other side of the coin is really they’ve been supporting us in the development of a mini-app in the WeChat software. So basically moving some of the ShareRing ecosystem over to WeChat.
We’re working with them on a number of sales opportunities. We’re jointly looking at some sales opportunities that we’re working with them on in Thailand and a number of other places as well. We have regular sort of weekly or biweekly calls with the team at Tencent and we’ve developed a very strong relationship with them.
Tencent Masternodes in the ShareLedger Ecosystem
Ron: Well, that’s actually pretty interesting. When I actually heard that you mentioned Tencent is going to be acquiring masternodes? Can you elaborate more on that and how that will kind of play a factor in the ShareLedger ecosystem?
One of the things that we wanted to do is make sure that we can open it up so that their team can look at what’s possible with the ShareRing platform as well.ShareRing CEO Tim Bos
This isn’t about just a customer-supplier relationship. This is truly us working together and making sure that we give them an opportunity to leverage ShareLedger as well in anything that they are planning on doing in the future.
What is ShareRing Most Looking Forward to Next?
Ron: That’s great. OK, I’ve got a lot of questions here from the community. Probably way too many for us to go over. But our next question is, what are you most looking forward to next?
Taking a holiday haha, in terms of the company itself, I think you’re going to see a slowdown in partnership announcements and then a ramp-up in product releases. We’ve really got everything we need in place in terms of partnerships, collaboration agreements, technology agreements and all of that.ShareRing CEO Tim Bos
The next announcement you’ll see from us is actually the product release, which will be the app with ShareRing ID loaded into it, travel shortly after, updates to the shop platform. We’ve got the full roadmap basically planned out as well around that.
ShareRing Transaction Forecast for Q1 & Q2
Ron: That’s great. Now, you mentioning Tencent and all of the other relationships that we’ve heard about over the last year, the last two years with Dhipaya insurance, eVOA, Viator/Expedia relationships. A question that I get asked a lot is what kind of transaction volume do expect in Q1 and Q2?
It’s a very good question. We either smash our goals in terms of what we’re trying to achieve in transaction volume or we’re very, very short of it. So I’ve actually stopped giving estimates of the actual transaction volumes that we’re going to achieve. Really our focus is on achieving transaction volumes because that’s how we all make money. That’s no secret.ShareRing CEO Tim Bos
Our focus right now is when we launch the app, is how do we get sign-ups? Because sign-ups drive transaction volume. Then after that, we look at Open-World Passport, which is the COVID stuff.
As you said, the activities, the evisa on arrival and all of those, is to make sure that we launch those in a way that maximizes the number of users, which also maximizes the number of transactions.
It’s impossible to tell because we don’t know when borders are opening up again. We don’t know where the demand is right now in terms of some of the travel-related stuff or if we should focus more heavily on the banking stuff at the moment. The numbers change almost daily in terms of where our forecasts are with it.
ShareRing User Forecast from White Label Solutions
Ron: That’s great. The next question is how many users do you expect to have using ShareRing daily from the white label solutions. So the underlying API technology that you’ve been talking about.
We actually do have some sort of high-level forecasts, and one of the benefits of being a B2B to C company is that we can leverage the customer base of the user base of our existing customers and partners that come into our platform. And that user base will use a lot of the other services that we have on offer.ShareRing CEO Tim Bos
We’ve got some short, medium, long term goals that sort of start at ten thousand users to one hundred thousand to half a million users, basically signing up, getting our data and using certain aspects of our platform.
We’ve got some sort of ideas from some of our partners and some of the government-related opportunities that we’re working on in terms of the numbers of people they’re expecting.
One, for example, gave us a number of immigrant workers that we’re talking about, which was about three million travelers for next year. But we don’t expect to have all three million on our platform. We expect to have a portion of that, so that once again the numbers vary depending on what services we’re offering.
ShareRing’s Partnership with BSN Going Forward
Ron: That’s great. All right, so the next question is, how are things with BSN? I recently saw an article with ShareRing and BSN on Forbes.com, so congratulations on that. So what do you expect then for that relationship with BSN going forward?
BSN is great for us and one of the reasons why is it puts more eyeballs on ShareRing. One of the biggest benefits of BSN is companies that need technology and tools that are supported by blockchain, have an easy way to access those tools and APIs and all that. So BSN is actually providing a really effective funnel and it means that these companies don’t need to, I guess, marry into a single blockchain platform.ShareRing CEO Tim Bos
For example, they don’t have to come to ShareRing and only use ShareRing for all of what they made. They can cherry-pick and say, OK, we’ll use (through the BSN) some services of ShareRing, we’ll use some services/DApps that are built on Ethereum and so on. There’s a lot of benefits to that. And what that effectively does for us is it just makes more companies or more people use certain aspects of our platform.
The next step for us with BSN is to actually finish some levels of the integration on the API. We’ll publish that on our website so that people can start accessing it more easily and more quickly. Then we’re also working with BSN to help promote some of the other projects as well.
We’ve got a very, very strong relationship with the team at BSN. The first plan is international. Then we look at sort of how we can do the China-specific stuff as well for the permissioned requirements they’ve got in China.
ShareRing’s Biggest Challenge of the Year
Ron: Wow, that’s great. OK, so this is a pretty challenging question. What was your biggest challenge for the year and how did you overcome it?
That’s a great question. The easy answer would be COVID. But in a sense, I would actually say from a purely business perspective, COVID might have been a bit of a blessing in disguise for us in terms of where our focus was.ShareRing CEO Tim Bos
Instead of having a very, very straight, narrow focus on some of the travel products we were going to launch in March, what it allowed us to do is open that focus up a fair bit and address some other areas that were longer-term in our roadmap.
That in itself was a challenge because what we needed to do is say, instead of doing a lot of other companies were doing, which was pull back, save our money and try not to do anything this year and just make sure we survive. Instead, what we did and it’s really, really good that we did is we actually focused on growth.
We invested more money, we hired more people, we made other investments and basically grew the company and accelerated development in a number of areas, so that at the back of this COVID, we can actually come out a lot stronger than we would have otherwise. It’s actually starting to pay off for us in a big way.
Ron: Yeah, I’ve been hearing a lot of news and some rumors about the ShareRing Shop in Australia and in Thailand.
So I’ll get into those questions later. But as we go through the Telegram channels, you see a lot of people talking about it. It’s quite interesting.
What Does Next Year Look Like for ShareRing?
Ron: Where do you see ShareRing next year?
Next year for ShareRing, our focus is on user growth. We’ve got a roadmap of products that we’re going to be releasing, and the areas that we focus on next year really are and not necessarily on bringing more and more partners on board.ShareRing CEO Tim Bos
It’s really on how do we focus with the existing partners to get user growth, get the products out the door, also involve the community as well in terms of their skills in helping to build our products and allowing them to build their own products on our blockchain as well.
Next year for us is growth. It’s transaction numbers, its revenue, its growth, its community involvement and more products because this year was all about building the foundations.
ShareRing’s DeFi Release Forecast
Ron: That’s great. All right. The next question we heard about is DeFi. So I know in one of your last AMAs you did discuss DeFi. So a lot of questions are when is DeFi products going to be live?
The first priority at the moment is to get the apps out with ShareRing ID sign up, with the wallet functionality and a bunch of other things in that. DeFi will happen either in parallel or shortly after that. DeFi is basically a foundational part of our ShareRing Pay platform, which is the payment system.ShareRing CEO Tim Bos
What it does is it basically will make it easier, cheaper and faster for us to do currency exchange across different currencies, by allowing people to effectively stake various stable coins or even fiat currencies to basically allow for quick and easy swaps across currencies.
Updates on ShareRing Shop Australia & Thailand
Ron: OK, for the next question, this is a question that a lot of people were asking in the Telegram group. Can you give us an update on the ShareRing Shop in Australia, Thailand and beyond?
Yep, so Thailand through our partner there, we’ve also got other additional sort of go to market partners. The plan there is to launch that, at this stage, they’re looking at mid to late December for the launch.ShareRing CEO Tim Bos
ShareRing Shop in Australia is going through a relaunch with another partner. Our plan with ShareRing Shop was always to basically incubate it ourselves to show that it works.
To show that you can make money, learn as much as we can from it, get some customers to use it, and then look for partners who will actually roll it out under their name, powered by ShareRing.
Because we’re not an operational company, we don’t want to do the deliveries and all that sort of stuff. It’s not who we are, we’re a platform company, we provide the technology.
That Australian one is launching imminently. This week or next week that will basically be launching under a new name and that’ll be advertised then, they’re starting off sort of with Web.
Then when we launch the app at the end of the year, that’ll actually incorporate some of the functionality. So within the app, you can actually shop through the app as well.
Community Questions – Cold Storage Staking
Ron: Let’s get into some of the community questions. If you’re not familiar with the ShareRing community, there are a couple of Telegram groups. We have the ShareRing Hodlers group as well as the ShareRing main group. If you wanted to ever ask questions for the next live AMA, you could always do a #SHRAMA.
Ron: The first question that was asked was any chance we’ll be able to stake from our cold storage devices?
Staking from things like Ledger and Trezor and that sort of stuff, absolutely. One of the big benefits that we’ve chosen Tendermint and Cosmos is that it does actually have native support for Ledger devices and cold storage devices. So there’s no reason why you won’t be able to take from those.ShareRing CEO Tim Bos
Updates to the Blockchain Explorer
Ron: That’s great. The next question is, I was wondering if the team is making an explorer with a better user interface and visualization of transactions like Elvin showed told us in his weekly AMA on October 7th.
Yes, the updated explorer has been launched and it is going through other updates. We do have a roadmap for that explorer, some of the things on our roadmap is to extrapolate out the transaction types. So people can see if there’s been a ShareRing ID transaction or things like that.ShareRing CEO Tim Bos
At the moment, you can sort of see them flowing through. But what we want to do is provide some good reporting so people can graph out the type of transactions. We could even go down to point to see the merchants it’s coming from and things like that if we decide to open it up.
ShareRing Wallet Release Date
Ron: So the next question, are there any dates when the ShareRing wallet will come out and what are the condition requirements for staking our SHR tokens to a masternode?
Before the end of the year, we’re looking at mid-December to the release of the app.ShareRing CEO Tim Bos
Has ShareRing Fulfilled Expectations and Targets?
Ron: Excited about that. Next question, has the team’s success regarding the onboarding of clients and the development of the product offering fulfilled your expectations and targets?
In terms of timeline targets, I mean we’ve missed a lot of deadlines that we’ve set, and some of the reasons why is this is not easy. We’re doing stuff that people haven’t really done before and we’re sort of stretching the boundaries of what we can do with the technology.ShareRing CEO Tim Bos
One of the other things is ShareRing ID has gone through a lot of different iterations for us in the past 18 months. We started with this concept of ShareRing ID where we decided that when people sign up for an ID, it would be a passport, a driver’s license, in India maybe an aadhar card, or something like that.
We as a company would verify it. We would reach out to Onfido or a verification partner. We would verify we would log that verification in and do the digital identity or the hash on the blockchain. Then and then that would be it.
What we decided over the last few months is it doesn’t make sense for that, as what it does is it makes us a bottleneck. And it also creates a single point of failure, which is us as a company. So what we decided to do is actually effectively redesign ShareRing ID to make it so that it’s flexible and just as a company doesn’t have to verify every ID in that process.
We’re going to publish more information about that soon. But it’s something that I guess none of the other digital identity or even self-sovereign identity providers actually do, which is the ability to create verification of an ID that may or may not be trusted by the third party that’s receiving it.
For example, let’s use COVID testing as an example. I go to a test center, they do a COVID test, maybe they verify it. They’ll actually create a hash on the blockchain. Send me the document, I have that in my ShareRing ID folio. Then I travel to say Sri Lanka, and when I travel to Sri Lanka, I show them that ID and then they’ll look at it and say oh that was verified by test center ABC. We don’t support that test center.
They can actually choose, even though it says verified, and it’s verified by this test center, they may or may not support that. But test center X, Y, Z they may support. So we’ve created this sort of web of identity verification that no one else is really doing at the moment.
Relationship Between ShareRing App & COVID Pass
Ron: That’s great. Now, the next question, could you tell us more about the plans regarding the travel part of ShareRing and about the app launch? Is there any connection to the COVID Pass?
We’re actually treating Covid Pass and ShareRing travel as two distinctly separate areas. Not to say that they will sort of obviously potentially be used together, but some of the companies and partners we’re talking around COVID Pass, they’re looking at being the consumers of the identity or the COVID tests of that data. We are creating the modules separately and looking at them separately.ShareRing CEO Tim Bos
COVID Pass, there’s a lot of discussions going on at the moment. It’s a slow process, we’re talking about getting approval from governments and legislation to say that they accept this and this is how they’ll open the borders up.
It’s not a matter of just saying, hey look we can show if someone’s had a test or not. It’s a matter of them saying, A do they trust those results. B, do they want to open the borders even if there are negative tests? There’s a huge amount going on in the background in terms of that, we’ve got a whole team that’s dedicated to that.
Opportunities ShareRing Could Take Advantage of
Ron: For the next question, are there any opportunities that exist in your marketplace and do you think there are any that you could take advantage of?
We’ve got more opportunities right now than we can handle. We need to cherry-pick the ones that will give us and the project the biggest benefits, then also ones that we have the highest chance of actually rolling out quickly. It’s a good position to be in, to be able to actually say no to opportunities that come to you.ShareRing CEO Tim Bos
We do have people in the community come to us with opportunities very, very often. And we listen to those, we don’t forget about them, we do try to respond and action those activities.
What I’m hoping is that we get to this position in a few months time, maybe even six months time, where if somebody in the community has an opportunity, they don’t have to rely specifically on us to take action on that opportunity, that they can actually do something and build a project around it and put it on our platform without too much effort from us. So I’m hoping that we get to that point.
Anything Else to Cover?
Ron: All right that was all the questions from the ShareRing AMA. Is there anything else that you wanted to cover? Tell the audience anything that you wanted to release?
Great question. I guess the release was the Tencent stuff at the start. We spoke about some delivery dates on the app. The app that itself is code complete.ShareRing CEO Tim Bos
Right now, we’re basically going through testing. There’s a small change that we’re going to do on the way that we do the hashing of the documents for the ID.
Then it’s basically test test test, and then release. We are going to run a campaign as well soon to get more people to sign up for ShareRing ID. So definitely keep an eye out for that because there’ll be some giveaways as part of that if you sign up early.
Mobile App – Branded by ShareRing?
Ron: Wow, so I’ve actually have a couple of questions about the Tencent partnership. How is that going to be? Is it going to be powered by ShareRing when a user opens up the mobile app?
With our app, it’s actually going to be ShareRing branded app. The way that the app itself works is we release a ShareRing branded app and then any of our say B2B partners that the come-on will get a module within that app.ShareRing CEO Tim Bos
For example, if a bank signs up with us to allow for a sign on, they will have their own app and they might have a website to allow for quick signing up to sign in, but we’ll optionally also add them as a kind of mini-app inside our app, where people can use sign up for their bank and use their bank.
At the moment in the app we’ve basically got accommodation, we’ve got activities, we’ve got shop there, we’re adding flights, and then there’ll be things like ferries and that sort of stuff as well. So travel stuff. But I mean, it’ll really sort of just be more icons on the app that people can use.
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