Recap of OceanTalk(AMA) — SNKr Special
Host: Starry, CMO of OceanEx
Welcome to OceanTalk — SNKr special! Here comes our guest — George Yang, CEO of SNKr who will talk comprehensively about SNKr.
Today we have 4 sections in total:
- Brief introduction of SNKr
- Quick Quiz (Host & Guest)
- Fast Q&A (Fans & Guest)
- Open Talk (Fans & Guest)
Brief introduction of SNKr
Starry: Hey everyone, this is Starry, glad to be the host of today’s OceanTalk
OceanTalk is aiming to bring our community with comprehensive information and open up communication channels to projects. Now, let’s welcome George Yang, CEO of SNKr, to join our community and sharing more info about SNKr project.
Hi, George, welcome to OceanEx community!
George Yang: Hi Everyone! It’s a great honor to be here with you guys!
Starry: cool, today’s talk will start with Starry’s question, to help all community members to have a basic understanding of SNKr
Could you please give a detailed introduction of your project? What does it do? What problems does your project try to resolve?
George Yang: Sure! We are glad to finally get a chance to chat with the community! I believe your guys have already read some brief information about SNKr.
Officially, SNKr initiated by SWELL aims to bring blockchain-powered applications to a global marketplace, thus empowering and aiding the sustainable development of the industry. That’s all business talk though:), let’s make it more simple.
Firstly, we are very excited about
a. huge size of the streetwear market: By 2017, the global streetwear market size has reached over 64 billion dollars.
b. Products in this market have both Scarcity with limited version products and high premium value with luxury brands joining the game.
Take the limited version of Air Jordan Black toe as an example, the launch price is around 180USD, but on the resale market now it’s 9000+USD…..And Louis Vuitton for example has hired Virgil Abloh as the artistic director for it’s men’s wear, who is the founder of Off-white. That means the market is only getting bigger.
With this very attractive market size and high value product both in first and resale market, this industry is facing 2 main pain points,
a. The market is flooded with counterfeit goods
b. the financialization and lack of transparency on current trading paltforms have encouraged rampant speculation,but many real fans are put off by high prices and dishonest business practices.
We try to solve these problems in three ways.
First, link each physical product to a blockchain-encrypted NFC chip, so that physical assets will be on-chain from the beginning, solving the counterfeit problem (First tool will be S-cope Baas from SWELL).
Second, build trading platforms for on-chain products to connect brands with users. These will specialize in open and transparent transactions, involving verified inventories, NFT trading and physical asset custody. By creating an innovative trading model, consumer interests can also be guaranteed.
Third, a blockchain and digital currency reward system could stimulate and give power to the street culture community.
Regading concerning products, the first tool we developed for the second and third solution will be the Mine app from SWELL (It’s already available to download).
Starry: thanks George! SNKr claims to give control back to the consumer, they will be in charge of their own data, assets, and identities, moving towards an internet that is fairer, safer, and more open. What kind of services do you provide? What’s your main competitive advantages?
George Yang: It’s actually that we believe in blockchain and cryptocurrency, and what we will try our best to achieve. Take the “scanning NFC chip” function as an example.
Every product is embedded with an NFC chip. When consumers get the products, they can scan the chips, verify the products, read info from the brands and update their own pictures, etc. Consumers can “Claim Ownership” during the whole process.
claim ownership of their physical streetwear products, limited sneakers, street art peripheral products, etc. And show them off on social media. The NFT features here opens up a lot of new business models and allows customers to interact with their products in the digital world as well. We believe that’s an unexplored area that will be really popular.🤔
And talking about DATA:
Usually brands can update the info in the chips even after they sold the products, and get back data about consumers’ behavior on the chips. Such as how many consumers have clicked and read the content. That’s what a traditional internet company will do.
But once the consumers claim the ownership of their products, they can CHOOSE if they would like to share this kind of data to the brands or platforms. And the brands or platforms should PAY them for using their data.
Once you have claimed ownership of one product, this product has been bonded with your decentralized identity on the VeChainThor blockchain.
Then each owned product can represent you when you have to show your identity during some other use scenario in the SNKr community.
One simple example, with a digital identity, you can go to a sneaker shop to get your products purchased online by showing your chips on your hoodies if you forget to bring any IDs to show your identity.
Starry: S-cope BaaS of the SWELL company is the ﬁrst worldwide blockchain application development platform for the streetwear industry, could you tell us more details about it?
George Yang: Sure!
S-cope BaaS is built on the foundation of VeChain Toolchain, targeting the streetwear and sneaker industry.
The basic and fundamental service that S-cope provide is ON-CHAIN. I guess you’ve quite familiar with this part. Brands, retailers and trading platforms, can on-chain their product info with our BaaS and corresponding app. Chips are attached to products and uploaded to the blockchain by either the brands or official distributors, which can ensure reliable data on-chain. And then Tokenization/NFT:
Brands can also tokenize their valuable products, turning them into non-fungible tokens. Specific to our industry characteristics, our database can manage from SPU, SKC, SKU and directly to each product/chip, which is corresponding to each NFT.
Meanwhile, we also generate content creation for marketing service:
All the chips embedded in the products are tools connecting brands and consumers directly. Brands can input some brand story, product concepts as marketing content to the chips. This gives us a chance to encourage repeat customers and really connect with consumers.
Last but not least, we also develop integrated online and offline trading system. When you are in some offline store, or you just get the product purchased online, you can easily place an order when you scan the chips. You can automatically claim ownership if you purchase through our platform (and connected to the BaaS). Most importantly, we have to make sure you actually own this product then you can do the ownership claim.
Starry: awesome, here comes to my last question, then we will go with community’s pre collected ones.
SNKr aims to build a counterfeit-free e-commerce trading platform with blockchain-tracked products, how can consumers use this kind of direct connection?
George Yang: Well, the idea actually is to encourage and welcome as many as possible trading platforms to join in SNKr, where consumers can purchase products with chips embedded. And online trading function of SWELL’s product Mine APP will be the first tool in SNKr where we provide trading function only with product embedded with chips and at the same time other functions available based on the chips scanning experience — tracing information, authentic proof, marketing events participation, raffles etc.
Consumers spend SNKs to use these functions and get rewarded also due to their contributions made (purchasing goods with chips embedded/create high quality social content, etc.,). We will welcome all trading platforms to join us and promote this open and trusted trading environment to consumers in this industry.
Starry: thank you George!
Starry: The community is very interested in the project. And here are the 10 selected question from community.
first one: According to the Whitepaper the community platform of SNK creates new ways for brands to interact with their customers through a combination of brand advertising, e-commerce and CRM. Can you give examples of these new ways? And what is the advantage over traditional marketing/advertisement?
George Yang: GOOD Question! My partner Theresa ,who is a person working in marketing and communication for fashion industry for more than 10 years, She wants me to tell you that “I AM SO EXHAUSTED”!
In the recent 6–7 years, “thanks to” the explosion of social communication, branding and communication are no longer practiced in magazines, TVCs, or off-line events. Instead, millions of big and small KOLs on media platforms are now generating tons of information paths, and let’s not even talk about the content quality due to fake engagement data. Both consumers and brands are lost, while brand value and customer needs become more and more difficult to be delivered accurately to each other.
A trustless bridge linked directly between brands and consumers needs to be built-up with brand new creations on B2C communications.
With chips embedded, consumers can get information directly and instantly from brands including brand story, new product launches and creative marketing events etc.,
Let me give you some ideas about the possible creative marketing event in the near future:
Brands can generate transparent and fair raffles powered by blockchain through SNKr community, every one can participate spontaneously.
Traditional off-line celebrity events can be moved to online. Products with a 1st ownership-claim by someone big, for example a famous athlete or a singer can be transferred to anyone in the community instead of a forgeable physical signature on the product. Comparing to the traditional marketing and advertisement, these interactions in SNKr are more targeted, direct, efficient, creative and reliable.
Starry: Second question: Most of investor just focus on the price of token in short term instead of real value of project. Can you tell us the motivation and benefits for investors to $SNK long term?
George Yang: Ah, the million-dollar question~
Our goal is to make SNKr a top platform in the streetwear and fashion industry. This is an explosive market and the potential here probably goes without saying. We will focus on building partnerships, expanding our user-base, and maximizing the utility of the SNK token.
After observing the blockchain industry for a long time, we’ve learned a thing or two from the magnificent failures of others, and we steadfastly believe that we have a use case and a solution that can be readily adopted. After observing the blockchain industry for a long time, we’ve learned a thing or two from the magnificent failures of others, and we steadfastly believe that we have a use case and a solution that can be readily adopted.
In order to achieve our mission, as we mentioned, we have a number of tools that depend on the SNK token to function the Baas for brands, manufactures and distributors a blockchain-based trading platform for users and retailers to buy and sell verified merchandise, and social media features where users, brands, and advertisers can interact.
On top of all that, we plan to create even more products with brands and partners to maximize the utility of the SNK token. Activities and promotional events will encourage new users to adopt SNK, bringing sustainable demand for the token.
That’s the key though, adoption, utility, and carving out our marketshare in this lucrative industry.
Starry: 3. I absolutely LOVE the cool and fun vibe from your rebranding from SneakerCoin to SNKr. Too many blockchain projects are cold, boring, and soul-less, with too much focus on technical implementations that most people don’t care about. Since the fashion industry and streetwear culture are heavily influenced by iconic personalities and key opinion leaders, what is your strategy for growing users with the help of these influencers, but at the same time, remaining grounded, and cultivating an image of originality, authenticity, and real-world value optimized by blockchain tech which earns trust and a loyal following?
George Yang: Oh thank you!!
Exactly, for the past year and a half, our team has been working hard to build the framework of an entire ecosystem dedicated to streetwear.
Our goal is to make SNK a token that represents the creative and enduring spirit of street culture fused with the value and decentralized reliability of blockchain.
Street-culture industry is a robust, booming industry filled with influential artists, musicians, athletes and a culturally-rich segment of the world’s youth.
These KOLs represents the core value of this industry by creating art works, brands, deliver inspiring attitudes and statements etc.,
With SNKr, we firstly guarantee the authenticity for the products created by them with chips embedded and available trading platforms.
And we also generate this direct communication bridge as I just mentioned between them and their followers. We also build-up and welcome social platforms with an open and fair token reward mechanism to encourage anyone including both KOLs and ordinary consumers to generate good content (photos, creations, articles).
OH btw, We are glad to announce an exciting news here, December 6/7/8th, SNKr is participating in INNER-SECT 2019 (the biggest annual fashion/streetwear event in China) with our Mine app, bringing more than 60,000 users face-to-face with our chip-embedded products that they can actually scan and interact with. In that booth, we will have artists, sneaker collectors, and brands on-site to introduce their creations physically and digitally. Raffles, trading, and ownership-claim function will be displayed to all sneakerheads and curious fans on-site.
Starry: boom! Innersect!
that’s breaking news! thanks George!
4. Having gone through the concept of this project, I found out it’s indeed good for both consumer and manufacturers to end production of fake products. How do SNKR plan to convince some of this manufacturer to integrate their products on the blockchain for effective tracking?
George Yang: Haha~We just finished some higher-level courses on business negotiation.
Let me make this question more direct. With traditional anti-counterfeiting instruments (RFID, QR-code, normal NFC chips), how to convince B-end to use encrypted NFC-chips.
First of all, it provides a much higher level of security in terms of authenticity, which will prove especially very valuable for high priced products.
Secondly, with all our conversation previously, I believe you all realize the added value of this chips in terms of CRM, marketing and branding.
Thirdly, the industry we are talking about is one of the most creative and dynamic industries, it’s not like finance, law or something more traditional like that.. People are naturally embracing new ideas.
Last but not least, we all understand that for any revolutionary technology, first movers are potentially the winners…
Starry: 5. What is the motivation for the team to start this project? Can you tell us the story behind the launch of SNKR ?
George Yang: Emm… I have to say, it’s definitely because of curiosity and responsibility, a sense of responsibility.
Me and Theresa are both big fans of street-culture and believers in blockchain. We admire the common “Real” value in street-culture and blockchain.
We hate chaos in the industry which brings huge damage to our beloved street culture and we believe that blockchain applications can solve these problems.
AND we are also both very curious about the mass market applications of blockchain tech.
We are looking forward to the day that blockchain technology is like internet nowadays in our daily life.
Starry: 6. What is the biggest rival of SNkr project in the cryptocurrency market? What are the highlights of SNkr compared to those projects?
George Yang: To be honest, there aren’t many projects targeting the street culture industry right now.
Outside of traceability solutions of course, but we believe we can take it a lot deeper and actually interact with the customers beyond the point-of-sale (or consumption). We can actually extend it through the life cycle of the product and on to the secondhand market, which makes it a lot more valuable.
Starry: 7. Will there be any benefits to holding SNK if I’m not into sneakers?
George Yang: Well, we will certainly try to appeal to as big of an audience as possible. There will be the potential for rewards and raffles, and I think everyone enjoys free stuff, regardless of what their core interests are.
Plus, we believe as the user base grows, since the spirit of street-culture is about freedom, fair and REAL
Actually people sharing the same value, you are already a member in this street-culture community!
We believe that the value in the ecosystem will grow … so there’s always that.
Starry: no.8 I certainly believe digitizing assets like sneakers by embedding a NFC chip will be the future in streetwear. However, why do we need a specific token for it. Couldn’t you just build this business with VeChain’s ToolChain?
George Yang: This is a great question, and one that we get a lot. VeChain is an infrastructure and technology provider for some of the biggest enterprises in the world. We are in awe of their progress with clients like Walmart China, BMW, and DNV GL, to name a few. However, VeChain’s primary goal isn’t to build front-end apps for every possible use case while at the same time managing a massive sales department that pushes their services into every corner of the Earth. Their goal is to work with partners who can create sustainable businesses powered by the VeChainThor blockchain.
We are one such partner, and we have the resources and expertise to become a leader in the streetwear industry. Our specialized branding and promotional strategy is well-positioned to target an audience of young, independent and creative consumers, while providing a service for other brands and designers in the industry. VeChain has long talked about creating valuable transactions, and we believe that every SNK transferred on the VeChainThor blockchain will carry value for the brands and users that take part in our ecosystem.
And since we are on the subject, I have one question for you: Sunny Lu is a nice guy and all, but does he really have what it takes to be the face of street culture?
Starry: 9. Will or are there any vegan brands?
George Yang: Hmm, maybe we misread this question.
But we don’t usually take a bite out of our sneakers. (Just kidding)
We understand that some vegans object to the use of leather and wool in products — that plays a lot into sustainable brands that use organic materials.
This is an area we think blockchain can help out a lot with. Regardless of your preference — we believe blockchain can help tell and verify that story.
So yes, this is something we can take a serious look at as we create a diverse and well-rounded ecosystem.
Starry: cool last pre select one: What is your favorite shoe brand at the moment?
George Yang: Hah, well we need to be brand-agnostic but we are big fans of the CLOT x Air Jordan 13 Low “Terracotta”, presented by Edison Chen, founder and creative director of CLOT and INNERSECT.
The idea comes from the Chinese Terracotta Warrior built in QIN dynasty 2000 years ago. We showed those off last year with the Swell chips embedded in the bottom of the shoe.
Some of the “Terracotta”s released during INNERSECT 2018 exhibition were embedded with our chips and on-chained too. (So I guessed we are biased)
Starry: thanks George.
Q: What is the leading Utility of SNK token? And what is tokenomics of it?
A: Finally got you! Compared to other crypto projects, we can introduce new cryptocurrency users from street culture fans. Most of them are 15 to 25 years old, with high purchasing power.
The key method to introduce new crypto users is the valuable asset NFTs trading. There is not a better physical asset NFT trading than sneaker yet.
First, we will cooperate with some sneaker resale platforms, and help them to on-chain their sneakers, mint to NFTs, which can also protect them from fakes.
Then, we will build a trading platform for these sneaker NFTs, traded with SNK. So you have to buy SNK first then you can sell and buy sneaker NFTs.
Every physical sneaker of the trading NFT should be custodied by authorized third-party in the SNKr community. If the buyer of the NFT want to get the physical sneaker, they can get it from the custodian once the NFT owner is verified.
Q: I’m bit confused that SNKr is working on Fashion Industry which is great But why Blockchain ? Explain the connection between fashion and Blockchain in SNKr project?
A: This is a good question. Personally, I first get to know about blockchain is in year 2015 and by then, I still work as Marketing and PR manager in Louis Vuitton China. I am so attracted into this decentralized and trestles technology. And I really hope and believe in that one day it will be penetrated into our daily lives.
Q: What Is mine app . What is relationship between mine app and SNKr?
A: Actually mine app the first tool SWELL developed for SNKr facing C-end consumers. We aim to bring blockchain technology to mass market daily life. And the mine app is the tool, that consumers can read encrypted NFC chips with is bonded to products to verify the authenticity and participate into the direct and creative interaction with brands. Raffles, product trading, and social interactions could be participate in a trestles platform. We are looking forward to more tools like mine to join in SNKr to promote this sustainable community culture together!
Q: SNKr looks good but it confuses me that there are so many other Blockchain projects. What should I pay attention in SNKr to give it the importance it deserves? What are you planning to achieve with your project?
A: Hah we totally get that. Blockchain projects are a dime a dozen, but adoption is so rare. We learned from the best with VeChain, trying to find business applications that address pain points in the industry (Fake products, lack of transparency). Our business model is simple: create trading platforms and social media tools that bring users onto the platform transacting (in SNK) new and used streetwear products. There’s a huge demand for verified products and we can capitalize on that by being innovative (blockchain) and having shared rewards (a circular ecosystem model where users get rewarded for for taking part)
Q: What’s your adoption plans for SNKr project ? How you attract users who are not related to crypto-industry ? is there any plans of SNKr to non-crypto users too?
A: Thanks for the question! As blockchain projects go, our use case is very easy for fans to understand. We find fans and connect them to real products. There will be a slight learning curve as people discover blockchain traceability for the first time, but we think that blockchain is getting pretty commonly known, especially thanks to government exposure of late. When we add a strong branding strategy (aimed directly at street culture fans) and add some collaborations with big brands and artists, we feel that SNKr will be an easy sell.
Q: What do you think about the future of DeFi in this space? Will DeFi one day take over traditional financial systems? In my opinion, DeFi brings a lot of benefits to users, but in fact, DeFi conflicts about benefits with the Bank. How do you solve this problem?
A: Good question! What is the main problem of DeFi now? I think less of real use scenario restricted the development of DeFi.
Financial systems, especially banks’ services, are based on TRADING. Which means, when our trading platform and trading system are growing up, the real needs of DeFi will come up. Either B2B trading or B2C e-commerce will create a lot of scenarios for DeFi.
Because of the globalization of streetwear industry, there are lots of payments crossover different countries and currencies. I believe cryptocurrencies, especially stable coins, can be used broadly in our communities.
I don’t think we need to solve the problem of conflicts between banks and DeFi, but the banks need to change and work with DeFi, maybe start from the stable coins.
Q: Will Snkr work together with Plair to promote streatwear at Gaming events?
A: One of the big selling points for VeChain was their collaborative ecosystem — we are very happy to work with other projects if the business model makes sense. We haven’t spoken to Plair, but down the road co-hosting events and collaborating with other partners is definitely something we are open to. This is an area the community can help out with as well, so thanks for the suggestion!
Q: Community Contribution is most important for project sucess ,, I want to know your opinion on the amount of contribution community can make to SNKr ? Any further plans to build up SNKr community?
A: I totally agree, the community is really important for us. Fortunately, our community is always open to learning more about new trends, and is far more passionate than other cryptocurrency communities (Ever heard of a decentralized finance fan? Compare that to the diehard streewear fans) Community members can get involved in a number of ways, such as a KOL or influencer that creates or posts content (photos, videos, blogs). Under traditional social media, the platform would own all the content and get all the financial incentive, but in the SNKr ecosystem users contributions are incentivized through token rewards from brands, users, and the platform itself. Community members can also earn tokens by trading products and taking part in raffles and events.
As far as recruiting members, we think that will be the fun part. We already mentioned having access to 60,000 sneakerheads at Innersect next month, through events like that and strategic marketing, we should be able to grow the SNKr ecosystem.
Q: Why is there a need for SNKr coin when it could be easily achieved by using toolchain. Enlighten me on this.
A: Easy answer: ToolChain isn’t properly branded or marketed for the streetwear industry. Street culture fans worship their favorite brands religiously, we need to fit the image and culture of what they are looking for. Our BaaS platform is technically based on ToolChain, but the SNK token incentivizes users and brands to use it. We are also building advanced features into our platform that ToolChain doesn’t currently have — like the ability to claim ownership of products, generate and trade NFTs. ToolChain was created to be white-labelled, that’s essentially what we are doing. It’s just a service-provider, and it needs people to build applications and use cases around it. That’s what we are doing, and we won’t be the last industry to use ToolChain in this method.
Q: How do you assess the potential for SNKr development in China? How can SNKr be known, trusted and used by the service when the level of understanding of blockchain and cryptocurrencies of many people is still limited?
A: Actually we will focus on the Chinese market first. Although the biggest market size in the whole world is in the USA, China has a much more bigger potential market.
Take the numbers of 15–30 year old people as an example, there’re 300 million in China while 70 million in the USA. And the growing rate of streetwear market, 62% growth rate in 2017 compared to 2016 in China while only 17% in the USA.
We are a strategic parter with INNERSECT in China. INNERSECT, CLOT, Edison Chen are very famous in China, especially among our target users. We will also show up to INNERSECT 2019.
How we will educate the users who don’t know about blockchain? We DON’T! We just let them use it without perception. They will find and study it once they feel the intrigued by blockchain and cryptocurrency.
Here’s the end of the 10 selected questions today. SNKr team would love to thank all of you for your passion, and support which give such a great confidence to continue the fighting!