Blue Whale Foundation Review: Our Interview with the First ICON ICO
Bluewhale Foundation is an interesting cryptocurrency project in that it is the first one of its kind. The foundation will be raising funds and building on top of the ICON blockchain.
Blue Whale is set to massively disrupt the "Gig" or "sharing" economy with a completely decentralised ecosystem. This blockchain as a service project is trying to give the World's freelancers the same rights and benefits that have previously not being available to them.
Taking on some of the biggest names in the industry such as Uber, Fiverr and AirBnB, Blue Whale wants to knock down the centralised barriers that have built. Only when the Gig economy is truly based on decentralised technology can the participants benefit.
In order to power the Blue Whale ecosystem, a native token called the Blue Whale Exchange (BWX) will be used. This is currently being sold to investors through an ICO that is about to open its doors to the Pre-sale stage.
In this comprehensive Blue Whale review we will take a look at the project and its technology. We will also bring you the exclusive interview that we conducted with Sophie Hall, the head of Global Operations.
We are all aware of the benefits that come with the Gig economy. We love the idea of being able to pull out an application and order a driver at the tap of a button. We love the idea of being able to hire a freelancer on the other side of the world for virtually nothing.
However, the service providers don't love it as much as you.
It is well known that those workers who sell their services in the Gig economy are viewed as nothing more than a commodity and can be driven down in price to the lowest cent. The service providers such a Fiverr, Uber and TaskRabbit charge exorbitant commission rates.
Moreover, these freelancers lack many of the benefits that are afforded more traditional workers such as unemployment insurance, health insurance and sick leave. That is all based on their "independent contractor" status.
Yet, these workers are in a catch 22 situation. Although they would like a more favourable deal, they know that it could cost a great deal more if they had to try and do it themselves. Online advertising for freelancers is incredibly expensive with centralised actors such as Facebook and Google.
This all means that the sector is ripe for a shakeup…
The Blue Whale Solution
The Blue Whale foundation will solve the problem through the use of a unique system called the WORK (Worker Optimized Reward Keeper). This will be made up of three unique parts. These are the Contribution Activity Manager (CAM), Decentralised Associate Network (DAN) and the Reward Bank (ReBa).
Contribution Activity Manager
On the Blue Whale platform, there are a number of contributor activities that can generate returns for those that are involved with it. The CAM was designed to make sure that these rewards were evenly spread throughout the broader Blue Whale ecosystem.
There are a number of activities that the community will be involved with. These will of course differ based on the type of product as well as a number of other factors. Below are some of these CAM activities:
- Referral: Those who are able to effectively refer users to the Blue Whale platform who make a purchase are rewarded with their referral fee
- Lead Generation: On the supply side of the equation, there are also rewards for those who are able to generate freelancer leads. If they are able to get other freelancers on the platform then they will get a fee
- Curation: This is a very important part of the Blue Whale ecosystem. Making sure that the freelancers that are coming on board the platform are well vetted is essential. Hence, participants in Blue Whale are rewarded for their curation efforts. Only the most qualified freelancers will be entitled to take part in the curation process.
- Verification: While the curation efforts will make sure that only the best freelancers are coming onto the platform, the work that they are producing also needs to be checked for quality. Hence, there will also be verification rewards that will be paid to those freelancers who can run quality control checks on the work of the newer freelancers.
- Arbitration: There will inevitably be disagreements as expectations of clients and the freelancers are not aligned. This is where arbitration will be used. Blue Whale will set up a "council" for the arbitration that will be comprised of only the most experienced freelancers. The protocol has also included an incentive mechanism to keep the council members honest by requesting that they submit BWX tokens as security.
- Reputation Scores: The ratings of the freelancers is crucial to the smooth functioning of a decentralised network. Hence, it is essential that freelancers are being rated for their services appropriately. This will help the customers to make the best decision on their service. In order to incentivise rating, those who are doing the rating will be rewarded with BWX.
For those that wanted to read more into how the contributions are calculated and who earns them, you can read the Blue Whale whitepaper.
Decentralized Associated Network
The DAN is quite an interesting concept on the Blue Whale platform. It works by collecting specific user data in order to best develop a decentralized advertising network. You can think of it much like a decentralised version of Google or Facebook’s ad network.
This will be done by installing a range of tools and SaaS applications on other networks and social media accounts. These will operate as a “node” of the Blue Whale network which will do the job of collecting the data.
For example, one of those applications is the booking software widget and the booking ad widget. The booking software widget will allow the website operators to convert the fiat bookings into BWX coins and the booking ad widget will allow for particular “windows” to be given for the ads and promotions of others.
Below is an example image of the booking ad widget on Blue Whale.
In order to collect the referral data and most appropriately analyze it, the Blue Whale foundation will make use of big data and machine learning. They will also take the user data privacy very seriously and will release their data protection policies in due course (more on this below).
This is the central repository that will hold the BWX tokens that are due as rewards to the participants on the platform. This ReBa will initially be funded with 20% of the proceeds from the public sale of the ICO.
On top of this, the reward bank will always retain 60% of the referral rewards mentioned above. This ReBA fund reserves will always be adjusted based on the needs of the community.
The funds on the Reward bank will then be used to disperse payments to the freelancers in the form of Pensions and sick leave for the freelancers on the platform.
If there is ever a situation when the ReBa falls below a 20% of the required reserve then there are emergency measures in place that will top up the bank. In this case, it will be the issuance of new coins.
The Blue Whale Blockchain
Given that the Blue Whale network is decentralized, they want to distribute the power throughout the network down to groups of network nodes. They have labelled these individual ecosystems within Blue Whale as “Provinces”.
In order to ensure trust on the Blue Whale network, Blockchain technology is used. More specifically, each node on the network will keep track of all the transactions as well as an updated record of the amount of funds that are in the Rewards Bank (ReBa). Making use of advanced cryptography, the network is kept safe from external bad actors.
The transactions through the Blue Whale network can be generated in two ways. One is when ad referrals are paid to the service providers. The other is when they are rewarded for validating work of the other freelancers. The latter will be managed autonomously through use of smart contract technology.
Something else that is quite interesting about the Blue Whale foundation is the “white labelling” of dApps to the provinces.
White labelling is a process that is used with many centralized business models where a larger organization provides the technology to a smaller business for a fee. In this case, those smaller businesses are the decentralized provinces.
This has profound implications for the small businesses as it will allow them to quickly create their own sub network with the technology and benefit from the broader network. This is all done while keeping a degree of autonomy over their own province and the freelancers within it. The Blue Whale network will respect this autonomy.
It also has great benefits for the broader Blue Whale foundation. As more businesses or “provinces” join the network, it will allow the network to scale exponentially and hence benefit all provinces. Below is an example of the white-labelling of dApps to the provinces.
Blue Whale has labelled this architecture as a “Federal” system which is a good comparison to make. The provinces are free to operate according to particular parameters outlined by the federal blockchain. This is also the best architecture for creating localised provinces in other countries that have different exchange rates or languages.
Given this federal structure of the ecosystem, there has to be some voting mechanism that will handle matters that affect the entire network. This is where the Blue Whale Foundation voting system comes in.
This Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) will allow for the participants on the network to adjust policies that were originally laid out above.
For example, there could be an initiative to change the savings rate that is going into the reward bank. In this case, a voting agenda will be agreed when 200,000 users on the platform support the addition of the voting item.
When it comes to the general vote, voting power will be proportional to the amount of BWX that is controlled by said province. This is not too dissimilar from the masternode voting mechanism that forms the basis of the DASH ecosystem.
Behind Blue Whale Team & Advisors
Something that really surprised us was the calibre of the team members at Blue Whale and the advisors that they have on board. The senior team members have extensive experience in both academic and professional settings.
For example the Founder, Will Lee, has a studied artificial intelligence at Stanford University and has founded a number of start-ups in the Bay area. He is the current CEO of Verlocal which aims to empower people to monetize their skills.
There are also a raft of high powered advisors in a number of different industries. Not only will their knowledge help Blue Whale scale but their current businesses could benefit from the Blue Whale ecosystem. They could, for instance, integrate their business operations as provinces.
Our Exclusive Interview with Sophie Ahn
As we started hearing more about the upcoming Blue Whale ICO and were digging into the Whitepaper, we had a number of questions which we were dying to have answered. We reached out to the Blue Whale team and Sophie Ahn, Global Head of operations, kindly offered to answer them. Below was the interview that followed:
Coin Bureau: What makes Blue Whale unique is the fact that you are building on top of the ICON technology. What are the specific reasons for this?
Sophie Ahn: Blue Whale is 1st DAPP of ICON and we have great relationship with ICON council members hence why Blue Whale debut on their summit earlier this year. We’ve got the full technical support and their investment.
CB: ICOs are finding it harder to raise funds in the current market. Is this something that concerns you?
SA: No, we do understand overall ICO fund raising is not so good. But, BW is going well now.
10M private sales is now closed, 15M pre-sales would be closed by the first week of April with public pre-sales (5ETH Or 1500 ICX cap where first 1000 contributors will be able to participate).
CB: Will you be operating an ICO bonus structure with pre sale etc. or will it just be one homogenous crowdsale ICO at one price?
SA: There will be three stage ( private - 8M SGD/50%bonus, pre-sales - 15M SGD/30%, public token sales - 10% early bird for 10M SGD - total 30M public token sale)
CB: You guys are taking on some really big players in the Gig economy. What specifically motivated you to provide a decentralized alternative for the World’s freelancers?
SA: Many of worker in sharing economy don’t get proper benefits with considering their hard work. All platform provider like Uber,AirBnB and FB take the fruit of them.
CB: You mention that medical and health benefits are still TBA. Do you have any guidance on how these may eventually look and when more information will be released?
SA: Medical and Health is not a easy thing. Basically, we are considering pension and unemployment insurance. For those complex part (health and medical), we will definitely need a couple of experts and proper system for handling abusing or so later.
CB: With data protection and privacy such an important factor today given the Facebook fallout, what sort of data safeguards for data protection will there be at Blue Whale?
SA: We don’t keep personal information as much as we can. CTO (Dr. Choi) is security experts in NASA and Samsung Mobile. Security is VERY important thing in Blue Whale.
CB: When making transactions from one network participant to another, what consensus algorithm is used?
SA: Modified PVFT. It’s called LFT (we are using ICON blockchain technology)
CB: The idea of various provinces operating their own white label of the Whale dapps is indeed interesting. Why was this done and what are your expectations for growth?
SA: For this year, we would be DAPP of ICON. But, from next Q3~4 of 2019, we will launch our own mainNet with getting support from ICON and etc. We are considering 3rd generation of blockchain for sharing economy.
CB: The voting system on the DAO looks similar to Master node structure with coins such as Dash. How do you combat the concerns many may have of centralisation with high powered Provinces?
SA: We are aware of the problem. To combat that, we are thinking of changing voting algorithm, for example, such as applying logarithmic function in calculating voting power of each Province. We know that changing this scheme can affect DAO system, so we want to test many different functions before finalizing one.
CB: It seems that you already have quite an extensive list of partners who you will be working with. How will you leverage these partnerships to boost adoption of BlueWhale?
SA: It’s a VERY good question. We introduced DMA (Decentralized M&A). All the partner would be connected under the name of DMA. For DMA, please check our blog and others. It’s fantastic concept.
CB: Is there any interesting potential announcement in the pipeline over the next few months?
SA: Yes, there will be. First, P2P exchange wallet for DMA. And many surprising partnership for DMA.
For those interested in taking part in the Blue Whale ICO, below are the details of the crowd fund:
- Token Name: Blue Whale Exchange
- Ticker Symbol: BWX
- Technology: ICON
- Pre Sale Date: 2nd April
- Pre Sale Bonus: 30%
- Total Supply: 52,800,000,000(Token Sale) + 52,800,000,000
- Soft Cap: SGD25m
- Hard Cap: SGD55m
- Accepted Crypto: ETH, ICON
Blue Whale is no doubt one of the most interesting cryptocurrency projects. The use case for the Blue Whale blockchain is compelling. Decentralisation is one of the only ways that power can be given back to the freelancers.
Blue Whale is also raising funds on a completely new blockchain which makes it unique amongst all of the other Ethereum powered ICOs that are raising. The ICON blockchain is viewed by many as the one of the many threats to Ethereum dominance.
Given the extent of questionable ICOs that have been raising funds lately, it is great to see a project with such highly esteemed developers and leaders. It makes an investment case more compelling when you have such dedicated team members.
So should you participate in the ICO?
We urge you to do your own research but, based on our analysis, this project does seem like it could be a prized possession in a well-diversified crypto portfolio.
Disclaimer: These are writer opinions and should not be considered investment advice
Disclaimer: These are the writer’s opinions and should not be considered investment advice. Readers should do their own research.