As a part of the move to bring Permission to China, founder and CEO Charles Silver took part in an AMA on WeChat along with RockTree LEX to answer questions from members of the crypto community. Below is a transcript of the event.
Date: July 7th, 8 PM Beijing Time
Speakers：Charles Silver, Omer Ozden, Kevin O’Brien
Welcome to the 5th Demo day, we will have Founder and CEO of Permission.io Charles Silver. Charlie has built many successful companies, including an internet company he took to 60 million users in digital marketing, and also has co-founded 5 ETFs on the New York Stock Exchange. We also have CEO of Rocktree Capital & RockTree Lex, Omer Ozden, which invests into blockchain and ecommerce projects in US and China. We also have from New York the Managing Director of RockTree, Kevin O’Brien is currently supporting a number of US-China blockchain projects, prior to joining RockTree he led the go-to-market strategy for an advertising platform that has 1.2 billion digital profiles.
US-based Permission.io, which is the blockchain solution for the world of eCommerce, Advertising and Big Data and achieved very quickly 350,000 sign-ups during a beta two-month test period. RockTree Capital is a blockchain-focused professional services platform specializing in providing global expansion, overseas investment, international legal compliance, transaction execution and token exchange listing for top-tier blockchain projects. Recently Permission.io has announced that it has signed a strategic agreement with RockTree Capital to provide strategic support as part of its aggressive growth plans into Asia.
My name is Charlie Silver, and I’m the CEO and founder of Permission. My career has been in finance and technology. I’m also the co-founder of Reality Shares, an SEC registered investment adviser with five NASDAQ and NYSE-traded ETFs, as well as co-founder of BlockForce Capital, a cryptocurrency hedge fund. Prior to founding Permission, I’ve had two very successful exits and have a deep understanding of how to build a winning team.
Hello everyone. I’m founder & CEO of RockTree Capital, a boutique merchant bank at the forefront of pioneering transactions and investments between China and North America, with expertise in Technology, Blockchain and E-commerce projects, and RockTree LEX, its blockchain professional services platform specializing in providing international legal compliance and overseas market access for top tier blockchain projects. I’m also International Partner of ZhenFund, and we specialize in investing into early stage high growth projects. I was on the team that invented the VIE Structure that opened China’s internet industry to foreign investment, and has worked at the early stages of such projects as Baidu, Alibaba, New Oriental, NetEase, and Facebook. Currently RockTree Capital is in strategic partnership with Permission.io to assist Permission.io’s growth plans into Asia.
Thank you for joining and hello everyone, I’m Managing Director of RockTree and I’m based out of New York City where I lead RockTree’s New York office and facilitate in identifying and incubating high potential blockchain projects for international growth. I’ve over 12 years international digital marketing and advertising experience, most recently leading the go-to-market strategy for a major marketing AI and advertising platform with 1.2 billion digital profiles. I’ve worked as a senior marketing manager for a full-service digital agency on Madison Avenue (The Wall Street of Advertising) and led a European Telecoms company as Head of Marketing. Academically I know this space deeply too and hold a masters in digital marketing and have studied Artificial Intelligence business strategy via M.I.T. I’m excited to be working with Permission.io who is creating something lacking in the advertising industry and advancing a new scalable advertising model.
Q: Very glad to have Charlie Silver, Omer Ozden & Kebin O’Brien here. Could Charlie Silver make a brief introduction of Permission.io and the team?
Charles: Permission.io’s mission is dedicated to helping individuals be compensated for their time and data while engaging with the Internet. Web 2.0’s business model is driven by tech giants who harvest and profit from our data when we shop, search or consume content online.
Permission is about leading the new model that is emerging. We want to make sure that individuals receive value for their time and data, and we believe that asking permission will be the engagement model in Web 3.0. That is why we are creating opportunities for people to grant permission and earn our cryptocurrency, ASK, in e-commerce and other contexts.
We developed a revolutionary technology that has a book written about it, called Data Algebra. It turns data into mathematics. So now, different data sets are interoperable. Just like Cosmos in blockchain brings interoperability to blockchain, Permission.io brings interoperability to Big Data – with blockchain, allows it to scale up for E Commerce and Advertising applications.
Our team is made up of serial entrepreneurs, PhDs in mathematics and world-class engineers.
Robin Bloor, PhD, our technology evangelist, has been a world-leader in analyzing technology and trends. He founded two research companies, Bloor Group and Bloor Research, that have achieved global notoriety for their trend-spotting and analysis. Robin has authored several books and is an expert in all things data analytics, cloud computing and blockchain.
Joe Underbrink, our lead mathematician, was instrumental to developing data algebra together with his graduate professor, Gary Sherman, PhD. He also has served as leading data scientist at multiple S&P 500 companies, including EOG Resources and 3M.
Hunter Jensen, our CTO, has been building technology for over 20 years. He founded a software development agency and developed a stellar reputation building applications for Samsung, Avalara, Salesforce, Microsoft and more. He sold controlling interest in his agency to Helmes, a leading software development firm in Estonia, bringing us the ability to tap into 800 developers in any technology.
Q: After the questions for Mr. Silver, we will invite Dr. Omer Ozden to share more about RockTree Capital.
Omer: RockTree Capital is a boutique merchant bank at the forefront of pioneering transactions between China and North America, with expertise in Technology, Blockchain and Ecommerce projects. Our mission is to unite the two largest blockchain markets in the world, Greater China and North America – and capture the best up and coming projects while they are still lower valuation. We also have a blockchain professional services platform RockTree LEX specializing in providing international legal compliance, transaction execution, overseas financing solutions and global expansion for top tier blockchain projects.
We are in Beijing and New York so we can have access to the top projects in the US and China at their earliest stages, and we help Chinese projects access international markets.
Q: What is the most strength or differentiation of Permission.io?
Charles: Our core strength is our technology. Data algebra’s ability to liquify data into mathematics across disparate sources allows individuals to build a personal database that can then be permissioned and monetized in multiple platforms. This is a major problem in Ecommerce and Advertising – there are so many different databases and you cannot utilize all the data on different databases because they have different coding languages – until now. Permission.io’s data algebra allows us to use all databases – and this allows our blockchain and token to work across all platforms, APIs, browsers and ecosystems. Not just using ONE browser, like BAT uses only one browser BRAVE. Permission can operate across all browsers and platforms. Permission.io’s technology, Data algebra, enables people to really own and monetize their data across the entire global digital ecosystem.
We run an independent, Permission blockchain, which enables speed and transparency of transactions. For example, BAT is an ERC-20 that gets bogged down by gas costs and lacks transparency about when earning events occur. All of our business model innovations are focused on making crypto easy to earn, use and spend.
Another distinction is our mature, well-seasoned, executive team, many of whom have built companies for decades with multiple exits.
Q: As we know, Permission has built technology and mathematics that make data liquid across silos. Please tell us why that’s important for Permission’s business model.
Charles: The application of mathematics to data is a breakthrough in computer science and has major implications for Web 3.0. Currently, the data monopolies that dominate the web don’t have visibility into the full data set – all of the data collected in the major search engines and eCommerce sites is currently embedded in each of those applications. Because the data sets are siloed, these applications are unable to capture the full value of information. Data algebra enables personal data to be separated from the application, making it possible for that data to be combined with personal data that lives in other applications and sources.
Individuals have multiple sources of data that exist in different structures and formats, e.g., clickstream data, shopping data, financial data, etc. Data algebra enables unification of individuals’ data, which allows their full data set to be permissioned and then monetized. Advertisers benefit because they receive access to a rich collection of volunteered data, resulting in significantly better targeting and increased ROI.
The Permission blockchain is how we make it possible for individuals to monetize their “data store.” Data algebra is how we greatly enhance that data’s value … the more we can integrate data with other sources, the more valuable that data becomes for all network participants.
Thus, our technology has powerful implications for our business. With the growth of digital advertising projected at an estimated $485B in 2021, and eCommerce projected to account for 40% of all advertising spend, we see enormous opportunity for a truly win-win advertising model where advertisers benefit from access to highly enriched data and consumers are compensated for what’s rightfully theirs.
Q: Could Dr. Omer Ozden tell us the reason why RockTree take Permission as strategic partner and how do u think about the project?
Omer: For RockTree, we always think the team is the most important factor. Permission.io has a team that has produced a lot of successful companies in the past. This is a good indication of ability in the future. Charlie Silver knows how to build companies, meanwhile Hunter Jensen the CTO has developed teams of over 800 developers. Together, they can scale up Permission’s users and technology.
We also think that for utility tokens, ASK is very simple to understand and use. Users get tokens for their data and time. It’s a real use case. And there is a massive budget for buying this token in the advertising world. We saw the main money behind the internet business of Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 is advertising dollars. Advertisers will pay money if you can deliver results. The ASK token allows advertisers and Ecommerce platforms to better target and convert their customers.
We really like BAT – and think this is a good model for blockchain. It is a real use case. But so far, it is very inflexible and limited how big it can get because BAT token is limited to ONE browser – Brave Browser. Meanwhile, ASK can be used across all platforms, all browsers, and ecosystems. Why? Because of Permission.io’s Big Data technology, called Data Algebra which allows Permission.io to collect and read and use data from different databases – even when they are based on different computer languages and structures.
We see the ASK token growing very fast because the technology of Permission is so good and it can scale very fast to something Advertisers will pay for. Advertisers have a massive budget for this and are moving away from Web 2.0 Facebook and Amazon style marketing. And users are seeking to be compensated for their time and data. The trends are all in favor of Permission.io.
Q: The token economy design and incentive will be really important, could Charles please share with us how to design Permission.io’s token economy?
Charles: It starts with individual members that are attracted to our mission. We recognize the importance of incentivizing individuals to become Permission members and to begin engaging with our platform, and have created a multi-variable incentivization model that considers price, velocity and growth
As members come on board, advertisers will seek to reach them on a permission basis and can purchase ASK to reach a targeted audience. The economy further expands as eCommerce merchants, publishers and others who transact online deploy our plugins to offer ASK to drive clicks and conversions. The acceptance of ASK on our platform, as well as by other eCommerce and payments companies, further enhances the network effect.
Q: What kind of supports RockTree will provide to permission?
Kevin: RockTree is very good at picking which early stage projects will grow into large projects with big market caps. We work with ZhenFund for developing Ecommerce and Internet companies and also do this for Blockchain too. Permission.io is a blockchain project for Ecommerce and see the project growing very fast. A lot of its users are already in SouthEast Asia, and we will help it expand further in Asia.
RockTree understands that in advertising ‘audience reach’ is just as important as the product itself that’s why we are helping Permission.io internationalize their go-to-market strategy to give wide spread utility for ASK in other global eCommerce markets around the world and creating industry demand for use in major cross-border advertising agencies.
Q: Please share with us the roadmap and objective?
Charles: In August, we are relaunching our application that allows members to create a wallet and earn from their data while shopping, viewing advertisements, and interacting with content. This new version of our application will have superior security protocols that provide financial security while maintaining a delightful user experience and will serve as a vehicle to ignite our community and to grow our user base.
Also, we will complete in Q4 a significant plugin for eCommerce operators on Shopify, Magento, Volusion, etc. to use ASK to incentivize user behavior. Following the plugin, we will be releasing a browser extension for major browsers Chrome, Microsoft, Edge, Safari that will serve as the vehicle to collect data and connect to other disparate data sources. The purpose of the browser extension is to enrich the value of members’ data and also to improve the quality of targeting data for advertisers.
Finally, we will be actively building our developer community to support the open source project focused on eliminating data silos, a monumental problem that has plagued the software industry since its inception.
Q: Any plan for H2 2020？How do you see the market?
Omer: I see that there are two areas that will dominate 2020 and 2021. First, we still need infrastructure. Layer 1 protocols are important because the rails of blockchain need upgrade. And also we will see layer 1 protocols that are specifically designed for a certain vertical. For example, we need layer 1s that are specifically for finance. Such as a layer 1 that works for DeFi. Currently, ETH is that layer 1. But we know it has some serious limitations in terms of through put and scaling. EOS cannot be the suitable for DeFi either because it has issues with decentralization. For a layer 1 that suits DeFi, it needs to scale with fast throughput AND also be truly decentralized. There are some really good ones coming out in the second half of 2020.
We like Permission because it is a layer 1 specifically designed for Ecommerce and Advertising. The vertical for advertising can be built upon Permission’s blockchain because underneath it, the fundamental aspects of Ecommerce and Advertising of mining data sets is made possible. The blockchain is designed for this specific vertical.
We will likely see other blockchains that are designed specifically for a vertical. Such as for trade finance, or industrial applications.
We also see use case as key. And this comes down to fundamentals. On Wall Street, we access companies and stocks by fundamentals. Meaning, their KPIs. Their performance. For example, for IPO companies, that can be measured through audit reports and public filings – and the valuation will go up or down based on actual fundamentals. Now for blockchain, its time we see actual fundamentals. For example, in DeFi, we can see transparently how many assets are onchain. We can measure how much yield a token can provide. We can see how much distributions a dividend on a token can give the token holder when its based on transactions on the network. These are fundamental performance indicators. We see 350,000 wallet holders for Permission.io using the token – i.e. the actual utility of the token. This is measurable. Basically, for 2020 and 2021, we want to see usage and be able to measure it in a transparent way – not promises related to 5 years in the future, but actual usage now. Many tokens 3 or 4 years ago are based on speculation and their only usage was for trading – but 2020 and 2021 demands tokens that actually have utility and because its public blockchain, we can measure it publicly.
The statements made here represent a high-level plan based on assumptions and estimates and is subject to change, without prior written notice or explanation. It contains forward-looking statements, which, by their nature, are subject to significant risks and uncertainties.