Affiliate marketing is one of the most popular ways of online advertising, especially in the gambling sector. Over the years of its existence, one has been facing a range of challenges able to cause significant damage to all participants of the CPA network. Jan Sammut, a speaker of coming Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference Cyprus, explained in the interview about the role of blockchain in the modern digital economy, the way to eliminate weaknesses of advertising networks using smart contracts and to expand the audience of your project as fast as possible.
— Jan, according to Linkedin, you founded your own blockchain project, RefToken, after several years of working as a manager in large companies. Why did you decide to link your personal business to blockchain? Was there a turning point, or were you deliberately and persistently working on it?
— It was definitely a combination of the two. RefToken came about as a solution to several pain-points that have been afflicting the online marketing industry more or less since the first referral link was created. My background is in the online gambling industry, which depends on affiliates for between 40−80% of user acquisition (depending on brand recognition and market). Despite the importance of this marketing channel, it still relies on platforms built on decade old technology which are very prone to abuse from malicious actors. Discovering Ethereum's smart contract functionally was the moment when all the pieces of the puzzle fell into place and I realised that this technology offers the basis on which a trustless, fraud proof marketing tracking solution could be built. Things moved pretty fast from that point onwards as the team has years of first hand experience in the space, so we simply set about building the platform that we knew the market needs.
— RefToken project is an affiliate marketing technology based on smart contracts. What do you think are the advantages of blockchain for affiliate marketing? And how can decentralized technologies change it?
— Smart contracts are the silver bullet that resolve most of the pain-points I mentioned previously. These can be summarised as follows:
— On October 16, your project started an ICO. How new to you was the experience of organizing a token sale? In what way did you find it useful? Was there anything that caused difficulties?
— Fortunately our pre-sale went very smoothly. We have built a custom wallet for our users, which while costly, eliminates most attack vectors and possibilities for user errors. We did learn a huge amount throughout the process, and have decided to launch an ICO hosting company out of Malta which would offer a turn-key service from company incorporation to exchange listing.
— As a manager, you gained experience in various business areas. In your opinion, which sectors would benefit the most from transitioning to blockchain?
— Public records, voting, identity and remittances are probably the best candidates for the current state of the technology. We are still in the very early days, and should see its suitability grow exponentially as scaling solutions are rolled out and transaction fees are reduced. The paradigm shift will come when blockchains will begin to cross interact and port services across each other without the user needing to acquire native tokens for each product they use.
— Your company is registered in Malta. Why did you choose specifically this jurisdiction? What are the advantages of Malta for ICO startups today?
— Malta is a fantastic place for blockchain start-ups. The government is determined to replicate the island's success in online gambling and finance with our industry. Therefore, the regulatory regime is very attractive, with significant tax advantages over any other Eurozone member. The workforce is highly educated and are native English speakers, and the government has an exceptional grants program in place.
— The topic of your presentation at Blockchain & Bitcoin Conference Cyprus is «Supercharging blockchain adoption». What's behind this title? What do you mean by «Supercharging»?
— Supercharging is a term that I borrowed from my passion, which is racing cars. Supercharging is a way of dramatically improving the efficiency and power output of an engine. In the context of my talk, it refers to the techniques we will cover that will empower blockchain businesses to rapidly scale their user base.
— Will centralized technologies really become a thing of the past? Why do you think they will lose to smart contracts and blockchain?
— I believe that there will always be a place for both centralised and decentralised technologies. Decentralisation is a great thing, when it adds features such as transparency, auditability, consensus or faster transactions, to a product, however not all challenges can be fixed by slapping a blockchain to an application. At an enterprise level I envisage a class of applications running on tokenised, permissioned blockchains emerging in the medium term.
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