What do Henry Ford, the Peace Corps and Bitcoin have in common?
They all served as inspirations for Crowdholding, a platform with the goal of creating an independent ecosystem where businesses and supporters create products and share the revenue.
Currently engaging in its ICO for the YUPIE coin, Crowdholding allows the crowd to build a portfolio of products they have helped to influence, earn YUPIEs for community involvement that can be reinvested, used to buy products, or be traded for other tokens, and to get early access to the next big thing. Participating businesses receive digestible feedback from thousands of people, validate ideas, and drive marketing efforts.
Co-founder and CEO Ethan Clime once worked for the Peace Corps in the Republic of Moldova where he specialized in community business development.
“That was a great apprenticeship for being an entrepreneur,” Mr. Clime recalled. “We were literally creating a project from scratch.”
What Moldovans needed were jobs and the means to create local industry, Mr. Clime said. Facing high unemployment, 30 per cent of Moldovans work abroad and send money home, incurring fees along the way.
Mr. Clime would think back to this period of his life after being exposed to cryptocurrency.
“Anything that is decentralized and which opens borders to allow people in third world countries to keep more of their money is great,” he said. “They’re the ones who are hurt most by this.”
Not long after Mr. Clime was introduced to Bold, the well-known business book by Peter Diamondis and Steven Kotler. It includes a story about Henry Ford wanting to give his 1916 dividends back to employees and customers. If the company reduced the price of their vehicles, more people would drive them. If more employees could afford the cars they made with their own hands, they would become ideal brand ambassadors. This would ultimately result in a higher stock price and more value for all shareholders.
Mr. Ford’s vision stalled for a few reasons, but its intent resonated with Mr. Clime and forms the backbone of Crowdholding. Labor has never been mobile. People living anywhere can work for anyone.
How do they choose? The quality of the employer is one factor. People want to care and be part of something bigger than themselves. Develop a vision, share it with your team, and treat them well. Those who buy in will give you everything they have, they will own it.
Look no further than the Crowdholding team for proof, Mr. Clime said. In November 2016 CMO Aleks Bozhinov joined Crowdholding from Google, where he ran their Bulgarian operations. Spurning an offer to double his salary, Mr. Bozhinov chose Crowdholding where he and Mr. Clime contributed $10,000 each to bootstrap the operation.
“We were supported by volunteers willing to work at three-month internships in Prague,” Mr. Clime said. “A ton applied, and in the interviews, it was quite fascinating. People came to us (and remained) because they loved the idea.
“It wasn’t about the money.”
Crowd holding’s ecosystem will unfold in three phases, with the first being a bounty system launching in February 2018. The market will initially be driven by pre-selected startups who will be awarded five per cent of tokens issued during the ICO, but beginning in February additional companies can join the bounty system where they can acquire YUPIEs directly from the market. They can give them to their supporters when they complete tasks, and the supporters can exchange them for their preferred currency.
Scheduled for July 2018, step two introduces the Decentralized Open Innovation (DOI) and Distributed Online Funding (DOF) platforms. The DOI platform serves as an intermediary between businesses and the public. Companies can launch tasks and provide YUPIE rewards and the community can provide feedback. Companies can use the DOF platform to raise capital through token crowdsales, beginning with creating a community and then using their feedback to refine their product.
The final step is the marketplace, which should be unveiled late in 2018. Businesses on Crowdholding will begin selling products and services while receiving payments in YUPIES. In Crowdholding’s ecosystem, a user can buy products and services, invest and earn YUPIES without relying on any traditional ecosystem.
“Right now our main focus is on co-creation, making sure the features are tailored to the users,” Mr. Clime said. “Then we’re focused on the bounty period where five per cent of the tokens will be given to businesses on the app to give out for tasks and to engage users right away so we can improve the experience. We’re seeding the business with a real asset businesses can give out to users.
“We’re sharing revenue in YUPIEs so you can help find startups you love.”
Bankless Times was paid $350 in United States currency by Crowholding for preparation and publication of this article.