The blockchain revolution in eCommerce

I caught up with Andrian Galkin, co-founder of blockchain-based eCommerce marketplace Storiqa, at IRX 2018 to discuss buying and selling with crypto, blockchain and the future of eCommerce.

How did you come to form Storiqa?

I used to work with a major online marketplace, and I identified many ways in which the process could be improved for both buyers and sellers. For example, the goods being bought often aren’t as advertised, and many reviews are written by in-house staff who haven’t touched the product. This is impossible with blockchain because it’s so transparent. If I were to buy something from someone on Storiqa, and I see a good review, I can also see that this person has actually bought and received the product. So that was the first reason we decided to use blockchain on Storiqa, to implement smart review.

Another problem we wanted to solve with blockchain was the ease of sellers entering the global market. So, imagine I’m a small producer based in the Czech Republic, and I’m getting orders from Japan. The elements I would need to consider just to get a sale are language, marketing, customer support. You’d need around half a million dollars a year to run this kind of online store, and that’s before shipping the product. Storiqa provides all of these services for sellers once they sign up.

Concerning existing platforms, SMEs could go to Amazon or eBay, but the fees involved are substantial. There are also issues like refunds, with eBay for example, there are significant downsides to getting refunds from both the buyer and seller’s point of view. If a customer bought a product then wanted a refund, or a producer’s sale wasn’t completed but commission was already taken, eBay will only refund in eBay-specific rewards, so you’re not getting your actual money back. Our smart wallet and crypto based transactions completely transcends that.

So, how are you solving these issues?

Did I mention what Storiqa means?

No, go on…

Storiqa is a ‘store’ with ‘quality assurance’. When I used to sell products through a major online retailer, I often received complaints that the product I sold, which contained some hi-tech electronic equipment, often arrived with elements missing. So, one thing we thought of is that money should only be transferred to the seller once the buyer has confirmed they’re totally satisfied with the product. We charge the buyer and hold the money. Once the buyer receives and approves of the product, the money is transferred automatically. That’s part of the smart contract. It’s based on the blockchain, so it only takes a couple of seconds, unlike most online marketplaces now which will can take weeks to transfer money across. Refunds will usually take even longer.

In addition to smart review, we quality check all products to ensure they’re as advertised. Major online retailers don’t verify what’s in the box – it’s dropped off and they just ship it to the customer. Returns and refunds are very bad for any business, so that’s why we’re committed to quality assurance. We’re also setting up video calling for buyers, so they can really see the product, and know if they really want it. I don’t know why more online retailers aren’t offering this service. There are a lot of video bloggers who would like to get involved in this. Transparent affiliate marketing is part of our business, so all those guys who get involved in reviewing our products will get our tokens as a reward.

Why do you need this token on your platform?

For international transactions, it’s much faster to send everything in crypto. When you buy with fiat money, it takes much longer and involves commissions or exchanges, because of all the bank transactions and so forth.

We allow our users to buy our token (STQ) and transfer it back to Bitcoin or fiat money later. If you don’t have any cryptocurrency, you can buy our STQ with your fiat. Of course, we also offer the option of buying products purely in fiat, but it’s definitely more efficient to use crypto.

We also offer many platform incentives for both buyers and sellers to use STQ, so that will definitely keep our crypto economy healthy. In the end, cryptocurrency through the blockchain is totally safe, and incredibly fast.
We know our place of course, we’re not yet as big as someone like Amazon. But we’ve already raised $25,000,000 through our token sale, which is pretty impressive and shows that many people believe in our vision and plan, enough to invest.

How many sellers do you currently have signed up?

A lot of our investors and token purchasers are sellers – those who aren’t satisfied with the current solutions available. We already have around 150 sellers signed up to the demo version of the platform as a result of the ICO.

Are any of your major competitors experimenting with crypto and blockchain?

There are rumours, but there’s no real confirmation of anything. The thing is, however, is that it’s very hard to import blockchain into an existing system. You need to have blockchain first, then the company.

Finally, is blockchain the future?

Part of me worries about this, and part of me doesn’t. All this blockchain and crypto growth could kill governments, because they rely on the money machine. But we’ll see!

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