Posted: July 14, 2018 -
Value Protocol is the “new kid on the block” which uses artificial intelligence, computer vision and machine learning to fingerprint any physical item’s unique material structure and integrate them into a blockchain. We had the pleasure to interview its founder and CEO Roman Komarek.
Could you please give us a little background about you, your company and your team?
Before starting Value Protocol, I had previously founded ARTSTAQ (the art-fintech company focused on rating and valuation model) and ONEPROVE (the Authenticity of Things “AoT” company, which protects an item’s authenticity and proves its condition using A.I.). Prior to ARTSTAQ, I had worked as a system analyst, architect and capital market investor. As a serial entrepreneur, I focus on supporting creativity in decentralized ecosystems. And the blockchain is a natural continuation of my journey.
I understand that your company has been active for more than three years. How have you been funding the development of your company?
The standard way. First of all, I spent all my personal resources. Then I borrowed money from FFF (Family, Friends and Fools) and after that, from angel investors and venture capitalists. It could be +$1 million.
You are developing an open source blockchain infrastructure and three platforms. Could you please describe your infrastructure and services? What is Value Protocol?
The Value Protocol is the authenticity protocol and infrastructure for physical assets that allows anyone to connect the physical world to the blockchain with artificial intelligence.
What can Value protocol be used for?
The Value Protocol secures two roles:
The protocol can be used by any blockchain solution as the new authenticity standard to protect the authenticity and to prove the condition of physical assets. In other words, to protect the value of physical assets.
The protocol’s infrastructure allows businesses to build their own decentralized solutions for physical assets. It features a powerful economy model with rewards and incentives, its own currency, and ready-to-use platforms and modules for trading, rating, provenance, insurance, lending, shipping and innovations, like secure fractional ownership.
Can you describe the purpose of ready-to-use platforms?
Ready-to use platforms are an important part of our infrastructure. They help businesses integrate quickly into the new decentralized economy. We’ve got serious feedback and offers from B2B partners, who’ve already asked us to build platforms that allow them to test and examine all their features before deciding how to use the blockchain. We plan to launch protection services, shares trading and fractional ownership as our first services.
Please elaborate on your business and especially your revenue models?
Our revenue model is very simple. There is a negligible protection fee for every item’s listing and verification. And a 0.5–3% service fee for any other operation and service like shares trading, shipping, insurance, etc. As a pure decentralized protocol, 100% of this income is redistributed back to active market participants and businesses as rewards, thus avoiding security classification.
One of your major services is to offer AI work authenticity. Can you please elaborate on that, explain your technology?
We are using computer vision and machine learning for fingerprinting the unique material structure of physical items and integrating them into the blockchain – all with just a smartphone. From a technical standpoint, we see any physical item’s unique surface structure as sufficient information for authenticity verification. And with that, the item itself can’t be tampered with and anyone at anytime can easily verify its authenticity in any phase of the process (be it trading, shipping, storing, insurance …) As well as this you can also trace what has happened to the item (aka the item’s history – provenance).
…. and discuss your processes from an end-users point of view?
The process is simple. Let’s say that you are a famous artist and you want to protect your beautiful painting. You take an overview picture of the whole item and our technology pre-selects several unique areas on the painting to fingerprint. Then, our augmented reality guides you to the selected area and the app takes the pictures automatically, once you are close enough. And that’s it! Your artwork is now protected and our “protection hash” records itself in the blockchain. You’ve just connected your physical item with blockchain forever.
The verification process is similar. Let’s say, you are a buyer, a shipper, or an insurance company – you just use your mobile phone to check the item’s authenticity. It’s fast, simple, effective and for everyone. It can be used for any physical items with unique material structure like art, collectibles, packaging, security papers and more.
What is the biggest drawback of current blockchain solutions for physical assets?
Without a secure way to link the physical item to its blockchain entry, it is easy to replace it with a fake at any time. Current blockchain solutions say they solve authenticity by recording all the steps from manufacturing to the buyer. But the problem is, that during each step, the item can be replaced by a fake! And blockchain can’t help since it does not have any secure link to the physical object itself. This is a major issue with all current blockchain solutions. Also, the blockchain can’t assess the physical item’s condition. We’ve conducted an analysis of many blockchain solutions and the status is not good. It’s obvious that this issue has been underestimated.
At your recent presentation in Lugano, Switzerland, you started your talk by saying that one very important aspect of your business model is that you “bring back money to the people creating value”. How do you do that? What kind of guarantee can you offer to “people creating value”.
Yes. I’m a big supporter of creativity. As I mentioned, 100% of the income in all the solutions built on the Value Protocol is automatically redistributed back to the active market participants – meaning the authors, artists, designers, and producers of unique things. The beauty of the blockchain is that all principles are set in advance in smart contracts and they are immutable. It also allows for a decentralized governance by Proof of Stake. This way, the businesses and market participants using the Value Protocol can decide the course of the protocol’s development and the overall fee distribution.
Your objective is to soon launch your own ICO and create “Value Coin”. What is the purpose behind this new coin? Why do you need a coin to implement your business model?
Value Coin (VLU) is the currency and utility token that is used for all operations and services in all markets built on the Value Protocol. It also serves as B2B and B2C incentives and rewards to active market participants and businesses; and it is a key element for achieving a decentralized governance.
What is your ideal ICO roadmap?
We’ve got a solid team of 30+ experts and products that are currently operating while we start to build the infrastructure. To meet the growing interest from institutional investors, we’re currently scouting the investment interest through SAFT and ready to increase the private sale from $20 to $35 million. The rest would be raised during the public sale when the time is right. Our goal is to choose the right and balanced mix of equal investors before the public ICO.
How much are you looking to raise from this ICO? and how are you going to spend the money?
We’re building an industry standard and infrastructure for many markets. As a team of serial entrepreneurs and advisors with B2B experience, we know that it’s not possible to build a decentralized solution with only unique tech – it must also support and build a robust infrastructure and to help businesses make the quick transition into the decentralized economy.
All this of course costs a lot of money. In our projections, we need 50,000,000 USD minimum to build an infrastructure that features a powerful economy model, its own currency, and ready-to-use platforms and modules for trading, rating, provenance, insurance, lending, shipping and innovations like secure fractional ownership. As well for scaling to many sectors like art, collectibles, luxury goods, security papers, pharma, and logistics.
Any dreams for the future?
We took on a great challenge – to fight counterfeiting, black markets, and to protect millions of jobs while bridging the gap between the physical and the digital. My great dream is for this to be a stepping stone in shaping the future, where wealth is fairly distributed and creative people are supported and nurtured. This would be an amazing future to wake up to.