When Uber stormed onto the scene and really kickstarted the sharing economy, they were hailed as disruptors of an antiquated industry. But as later investigations show, there’s more going on behind Uber – driving down the price of their service to a point where many drivers are unable to turn a profit. With their Ubereats food-ordering platform, there’s concern out there that it could do the same to couriers and restaurants.
Enter Blockfood – a nonprofit with the goal of creating the world’s best decentralised food-ordering platform, in such a way that it doesn’t destroy businesses or livelihoods at the same time. Seems like a laudable goal, and I’m not just saying that because I’m feeling a little guilty about the pizza I just ordered…
Founder Conrad is here to talk to us about Blockfood and the power of a decentralised sharing economy.
Tell us about BlockFood - what do you guys do?
BlockFood is the first decentralized food ordering platform.
We want to disrupt the food delivery market by creating a truly mutually-beneficial platform for the consumers, restaurants, and couriers.
Where did the inspiration for BlockFood come from?
During the last year I witnessed the growing dissatisfaction of the sharing economy from both consumers and service providers. The main companies who facilitate the relationships for the sharing economy often act without care and empathy for the business or couriers who make their own business models feasible. I wondered, "what if we could change the game of the industry by using an altruistic approach?"
I set myself on the path to create a truly mutually-beneficial platform for all actors in the sharing economy.
That's how BlockFood was born.
Apart from as an investment, who would receive the most value by investing in your ICO?
The biggest value add is to the service providers in the food delivery market. The current platforms do not treat them fairly. We believe they should own the tool that connects their customers to their services.
We want to provide these tools with the most reasonable commission rate, adjusted to match the actual cost of the platform.
How does BlockFood differentiate itself from its competitors (if there are any)?
We have four characteristics that differentiate BlockFood from our competitors: we are a nonprofit organization, our governance is open, our business development is decentralized and we have a better balance of power.
We are the only platform that advertises itself as being nonprofit. We genuinely care for the service providers, which is why we don’t want to generate obscene profit from their participation. All revenues will be injected back into the project itself in order to create a self-sufficient ecosystem.
Another differentiation point is the governance: in our philosophy, users should always help steer the wheel of a public platform. A voting mechanism using smart contracts will allow BlockFoodToken owners to voice their opinions in a secured and transparent way.
We also have a decentralized business development program, where independent users – the BlockFood Ambassadors – canvas their local businesses and introduce them to the platform. In exchange for their actions, the ambassadors are rewarded through a fixed commission on the transactions of the restaurants they helped introduce.
And – last but not least – our vision for the couriers is that they should have more leverage. That’s the goal of the courier cooperative; a courier can join in order to get more leverage. Courier cooperatives will be autonomous organizations where their members can decide about policies as a whole. This creates a better balance of power between consumers and service providers.
How have you grown BlockFood presence in the market?
We announced our project on the discussion board BitcoinTalk on December 22th 2017.
BlockFood is still in its early stages and we’re doing everything to gather support and share our idea to the world. Our main actions are the creation of a bounty campaign to reward early supporters, the creation of a Telegram group, communication on Twitter, posting articles on Medium, listing of our website on ICO websites (such as ICOAlert).
Our latest action was to partner up with Origin protocol, a talented team from San Francisco, USA. We want to maximize our exposure in the crypto space and partnering with a project with similar values is very important for us.
We are currently having a public pre-sale where everyone can get in early on the project. Theses early supporters are vital for us and they are rewarded through an important bonus. Pre-sale is planned to end on February 8th 2018.
How is your team structured? What benefits do you believe that brings?
In our team, we all know each other personally. We are distributed across France, but we all worked together in the past.
The huge benefit of this is that we already knew we like working together and we already knew each other’s way of thinking. We’re in this together, no matter what happens. It’s important to have a strong core of true believers that dedicate their time and energy to the project.
What are the biggest challenges in the industry you have had to overcome?
The biggest challenge we’re going to face is resisting the pressure of already established companies. I believe they’re not going to like our presence and they will fight us in some way or other. We’re prepared for that fight, and we’re ready to win it.
How have you found starting a cryptocurrency and trying to take your company global?
It’s a crazy journey!
You start with an idea and then you work all the way up to a point where you can share this idea with the public. I thought the hard part was getting the concept right.
I was wrong: the hard part is getting your concept out there!
There is no easy way to reach crypto investors. Once you get public, you get a ton of solicitations and it’s really hard to distinguish the scams from the people who could help you.
The other difficult part is getting your communication right, as each communication channel has its own codes, syntax and style. Getting an experienced community manager is a big plus.
Another hard part is to distinguish yourself from all this other projects starting at the same time. Some of them have huge means at their disposal and it’s hard to compete when you’re trying to build your brand.
What’s next for BlockFood? Do you have plans to grow, expand or diversify?
Our ambition is huge. We created the project with a structure called the Open Sharing Economy foundation. Our goal is to go beyond the food delivery market and offer the same kind of fair platform to other markets, using common resources between projects.
Parallel to this diversification, even though we started by focusing on the restaurants cooking food for customers, we would like to expand into other food-related opportunities. We envision a solution to strengthen the link between consumers and local producers. But we can’t do too much at a time, as we know from experience: doing too much at the same time is the perfect recipe for failure.
Where would you ideally like to be in 5 years?
In 5 years, our ideal situation would be to be available across the world with the best food-ordering platform out there. Not just from a customer point of view, but for all actors from the food delivery market. We want to be proud of our work and we want to create something that has meaning.
If you had to give one piece of advice to an up and coming blockchain entrepreneur, what would it be?
Be prepared and patient.
Forge a strong strategy and find great partners.
And above all, enjoy yourself.
Thanks, Conrad. I’m excited to see where Blockfood goes in the next five years. Right now, this interview has made me hungry. I have a pizza waiting ...