Following is the Q&A with Ali Sammour, CEO & FOUNDER of CREDITCOIN. Questions were submitted by members and the team of Inflow-Crypto Club through e-mail and Telegram Group.
1. Could you please make a short introduction?
My name is Ali Sammour, I’m the CEO of Flatlay Inc. and the founding Chief Executive Director of the Creditcoin Protocol. Flatlay Inc. began in 2016 initially as a platform supporting any content creator to build an intuitive digital storefront in seconds with content and not having to worry about logistics. The community has been flourishing helping to support the businesses expansion into thousands of retailers and partnerships with influencer marketing agencies. As we began to support the ecosystem through our platforms services, there were more middleman and legacy infrastructures involved with affiliate networks and influencer management platforms that created barriers and eating margins. We began exploring how to solve these issues in the beginning of 2017 with a protocol that solved our problems which led us to creating the Creditcoin protocol to support any 3rd party retailer, brand, publisher or marketplace. We knew that this would be a valuable solution not only to the Flatlay marketplace but to the entire ecosystem by decentralizing control and incentivizing participation between the parties directly with one another.
2. What’s the difference between Creditcoin and Flatlay?
Creditcoin (www.cointoken.io) is the decentralized affiliate and content marketing protocol allowing any 3rd party marketplace, retailer & publisher to leverage a token based system for affiliated smart product listings and content marketing campaigns on the network. It’s immediately leveraged as a utility with Flatlay Inc. (www.theflatlay.com), a social marketplace Dapp and publishing platform allowing any content creator to build a digital storefront in seconds. Flatlay’s middleware and workflow system amplifies campaigns on 3rd party premium publishers such as CondeNast, Hearst & Refinery29 to work frictionlessly with +100k content creators and millions of products offered through Amazon & Shopify. The platform scales campaigns programmatically against brand-safe inventory, maximizing ROI on the sourced and served creative for advertisers and agencies while helping to own the copyright.
The Creditcoin Network works complimentary to social commerce platforms such as Flatlay Inc.’s by providing benefit as an infrastructure layer that eliminates intermediaries cutting into margins on campaigns and sales while decreasing transaction fee’s. Creditcoin streamlines payouts between parties with “smart product listings” along with providing the ability to create promotional campaigns with escrow services.
3. Is Flatlay your product? On which stage of development it is?
Flatlay is the marketplace my cofounder and I began together which eventually led to the inspiration behind the Creditcoin Protocol and solving the pitfalls and intermediaries causing pain-points in commerce today. Flatlay is the social marketplace and publishing platform that helps people build, share and monetize product content and has been operational since 2017. The platform allows brands, retailers and advertisers to upload products, offers and content within a content management workflow system providing the ability to integrate products and initiate campaigns with brand advocates. Content can be distributed anywhere (web & social) through sharing tools (gifs, widgets and the platform). Some of our traction to date:
Currently working with enterprise merchants and retail customers (i.e. Zalando, Rakuten) to source and serve purchasable content into native deployments across their O&O sites, apps, online catalogues and paid social channels
- 1 of the 20 exclusive Shopify Sales Channels and an Amazon Marketplace App Store Partner
- Snap, Pinterest, FB/IG, Twitter preferred partner to run paid media against social
- Turnkey DSP delivery to over +55k premium publishers leveraging proprietary marketplace middleware
4. What will be the use of the token and what needs to happen to appreciate in value?
The protocol leverages an independent chain built on Coursera to support gas-less product and campaign registrations incorporating all product variables (color/size/quantity/etc.) and details using IPFS Hashing. It leverages an identification layer to authenticate online retailers and brands registering genuine goods onto the network to confirm authenticity while authorizing which online publishers and marketplaces represent their goods to be sold online . Every conversion and campaign executed benefits network participants with tokenized payout and escrow services due to fiat swap conducted when campaigns and products are paid out from the CCOIN reserve. Over time, all retailers and brands further benefit from the transactions that occur, regardless of whom generates the transaction, based on opting into co-pooling data and conversions. Every transaction can recontribute a percentage of the sale into the CCOIN escrow pool to increase the value of the market cap over time.
The token also encourages adopters to participate in the success of each other’s shops, campaign launches and even as a means of wealth. We see the potential of its adoption being widespread with so many people now creating their own content and brands. We believe content creators are the new publishers and the Flatlay marketplace supports creatives with our publishing tools for free and provides business opportunities via the marketplace platform, however Creditcoin is the mechanism that will further empower creators, brands and premium publishers by removing the middleman dictating terms and conditions eating into everyone’s bottom line.
5. What is your business plan, expansion and adoption and do you have any real-world traction yet?
We’ve already begun the initial integration and adoption of the CCOIN token into the marketplace for campaigns in which creators are hired by brands and advertisers when earning “credits”. This is where they have the option to earn a traditional payout that’s conducted in Fiat to be incentivized with a value 1.5x its worth in CCOIN. So an example being Nike having content creators hiring runners to promote their shoe in video reviews and promotional images on campaigns, instead of receiving recieving $500 USD for the campaign we actually providing them with the equivalent of $750 USD in CCOIN for use across the network to purchase new products and/or the ability to convert to Fiat after earning a minimum threshold. These are the types of use cases we ironed our within Flatlay and will now be providing to any 3rd party marketplace, app or retailer to use by being part of the Creditcoin Network. Also some of our real-life traction to date:
- Creditcoin Network successfully fulfilled its soft-cap at pre-sale (February 2018) along with having gained institutional support for international expansion from Hash Capital
- Live Dapp in public beta with Coinbase Wallet and token integration on Google Play store with +20k downloads
- Over +25k registered international participants holding CCOIN tokens currently from presale/airdrop participation with more than +150,000 social followers between – Flatlay and Creditcoin on Telegram, Instagram, Pinterest, BTC Talk, etc.
- Multiple marketplaces and apps adopting CCOIN in 2019 to expand the protocol and amplify the network effect of its expansion
- Flatlay Inc. has turnkey delivery to media placements on over +55,000 premium publishers with proprietary marketplace middleware
- A highly seasoned executive team led by Ali Sammour and Morteza Nokhodian, both ad-tech veterans in the content and paid social space with past exits. Supported by accredited advisors and angel investors Jay Samit, Mike Vorhaus, David Smith and Peggy Fry.
- Media coverage on CNBC, Yahoo Finance, VentureBeat, CCN, TheNextWeb and many more at cointoken.io
6. Any notable partnerships in the pipeline that will help speed up adoption?
The most relevant partnerships we can mention to the Creditcoin offering are that we will be working with LAToken and the BitZ trading communities this quarter to further increase adoption : )
There are other retailers, marketplaces and apps we are in discussion with interested in using the protocol as things begin to scale this year with the smart product listings.
7. There are a lot of projects similar than you already out there? Who is your biggest competition and what makes you different or better?
Shopin is an interesting project and another similar one that does not have their own coin “yet” is OpenBazaar. Both are focused on the importance of having a decentralized marketplace and provided that experience direct to consumer which is valuable. Our protocol differs in that it is particularly focused on not only supporting decentralized market listing but having content commissioned and attributed to sales. The smart contracts have a two rail system, one for retailers/brands listing products for sale with an attributed commission paid out in real-time and another focused on campaigns being commissioned with creatives based on a set of KPI parameters for them to earn “bounties”. In that they can also leverage these smart product listings to earn additional revenue while streamlining accountability for influencing sales.
It really comes down to execution and adoption at the end of the day. I think many of the other decentralized marketplace teams such as Shopin, Storiqa, Syscoin, etc. are focused on creating the “ultimate” marketplace platform in anticipation of having everyone list on their platform. It doesn’t really account for the millions of merchants and retailers that are already using existing infrastructure by providing a complimentary mechanism to their existing sites, marketplaces or online presence. We see Creditcoin as an opportunity to bridge the gap through decentralized connectivity and rewards mechanisms working alongside your existing platform/profile/site agnostically versus the expectation that everyone will make the migration away from what they have these next 5 years. Of course, there is always the elephant in the room that is Amazon. If you can’t work with them, then you’re against them and that was something we always knew wasn’t something we wanted to facilitate which was logistics and made sure the protocol is complimentary to any retailer facilitating logistics and product sales with inventory.
8. Which exchanges will CCOIN be listed on?
Orderbook.io, LAToken, BitZ are one’s we are currently working with for certain while we have lots of inbounds daily. Currently exploring Huobi, Coinbene, BitInka, IDAX and others.
9.What are the most important roadmap milestones ahead and are you on track with them?
Currently we are heads down on completing the Smart Product Listings component of the protocol to be pushed to Mainnet this year. We then will begin to partner with 3rd party marketplaces, publishers and apps that are looking to migrate their infrastructures into a decentralized affiliate network for CCOIN incentives for early adoption versus sticking with the traditional “centralized” affiliate networks. This will be a big focus and push for us based on various verticals and communities 2019-2021 and beyond. Currently we are on track with everything we’ve promised and are excited for 2019 regardless of the Bear Market since we are doing the work! The CCOIN protocol and network adoption will continue to grow as the crypto market rebounds.
10.What is your biggest current problem and hinderance that you are working on?
Currently we are primarily focused on building the infrastructure to make adoption as frictionless as possible when converting retailers and brands from their existing affiliate infrastructures to migrate into Smart Product Listings while building for scalability. We want to make sure microtransactions are easily conducted & cost sensitive while also giving the brands and retailers the ability to co-pool data and conversions for incentives.
11. How did you deal with regulatory aspect of your project, is everything 100% clear regulatory-wise?
Yes, we’ve established Creditcoin Network as its own independent entity in a tax free trade zone (Cayman Islands) so that any 3rd party could adopt the usage of CCOIN as a utility while taking care of their respective tax implications based on geography and regulatory compliance by their country of origin. The organization was established as a foundation that’s managed and run by a board that votes on network decisions based on consensus and priorities set by the community. We’ve worked closely with our legal advisors and partners to abide by all best practices ever since the entities establishment.
12. What competency does your team have to see through with the project?
Highly seasoned executive team led by Ali Sammour and Morteza Nokhodian, both ad-tech veterans in the content and paid social space with past exits.
Ali Sammour – CEO & Founder (Linkedin Profile)
Serial entrepreneur and former media executive having cofounded startups with successful outcomes while leading operations teams at media agencies & digital publishers. Deep knowledge of traditional & digital ad channels with strong c-level executive relationships. Formerly Director of Publisher Operations at AddThis (acquisition to Oracle), Entertainment Group Director for Omnicom handling strategy, media buying and global distribution for Focus Features & CW Television, founder of 12oz Denim Lab. A dynamic group leader that thrives on executing innovative concepts disrupting traditional media models.
Morteza Nokhodian – Founder & CTO (Linkedin Profile)
Double-masters specialist having won top technical awards in Europe for efficiencies in protocol layers & systems formation. Technical lead supporting platform development to scale with power retailer relationships in the EU (Zalando & Rakuten). Former technical lead and platform architect leading product development teams at PixRay, Microsoft Europe & John Deere.
Khalil Claybon – Chief Blockchain Architect (Linkedin Profile)
Senior technology architect specialized in Agile Methodologies & UXUI. Having built and scaled some of the most well-known Fortune100 enterprise platforms and content management systems. Led development and successful fundraise efforts for the Props ICO and BadgeForce protocol (raising more than +$40mm USD).
13. Any closing thoughts that you would like to communicate to investors?
Our vision is to evolve the way commerce is conducted online by removing all centralized organizations and intermediaries cutting into margins while empowering brands and retailers the most streamlined way to go direct to consumer.
Currently the tech deployed to list and sell products online are contingent upon legacy tech that is deprecated and lacks transparency. We see the Creditcoin protocol and network becoming that needed infrastructure layer in the retail space creating a new ecosystem changing the way products are created, launched and distributed in market based on real-time feedback and pre-order fulfillment models incoroporating incentivized ways to purchase.
The goal is to allow the Creditcoin Network to eventually operate autonomously by further building in hooks that reward contributing users for data points along with the option to complete various tasks that train the network on its services such as product recognition/suggestion, automated smart product listings and product lifecycle tracking by leveraging a mechanical turk.
Thank You for you this AMA session. We look forward to having you join our token sale.
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