[ARCHIVE] Matt’s Quarterly AMA – Q2 2020

This is the transcript for Matt’s  Q2 2020 AMA. Click here to view the full recording. 

Hey, everyone. Welcome to another AMA. Really appreciate the time and effort that everybody put into submitting questions on our subreddit. I’m going to do my best to cover as many of those topics as I can. I know there’s a lot changing on our side in terms of the priorities and ongoing initiatives that we’re working on at the Open Application Network with Aion, with the new launch of Moves. And obviously that’s leading to a lot of questions, hopefully a lot of excitement around some of the stuff that we’re working on as a project and as a company. I will do my best to get through as many of the questions as I can. We did make an effort to try to organize questions into thematic buckets to try to make this a little bit less repetitive than maybe some AMAs we’ve done in the past.

So with that, if I don’t directly address your question, hopefully I cover the broad strokes of what you’re trying to ask within another question that’s also been asked on Reddit. So I hope that’s sort of satisfactory. I mean, if there’s follow up questions after the AMA is posted, we’ll do our best to continue communicating, especially as the project continues to evolve, and there’s a lot in front of us that we’re going to have more time to talk about as time goes on. So with that, I’m going to jump in. We decided to pre-record this AMA to make it a little bit more manageable, but thank you everyone for participating in the reddit discussion to submit questions on time. So let me jump into the questions and I’ll start on the theme of financials.

We’ve had a couple of questions come in around the financials of the project. As many of you know, we’ve maintained over the course of the last few years a commitment to being among the most transparent projects in the industry. We think we may be in fact, the most transparent project in the industry. And with that, we will continue to publish our quarterly reports. The next one of those quarterly reports is coming out for the period that just ended June 30th. And as with prior quarterly reports, that’ll get published sometime in July. So before the end of this month, you will see Q2 financials of the OAN and the foundation and the finances driving the project. And you’ll be able to sort of poke around and see how we’ve been managing our assets, et cetera.

So stay tuned for that. It’s coming in the next couple of weeks and the team is working on that. It takes us a couple of weeks to sort of get that all summarized into a report that we can publish to the community. But at a high level, just so that everybody’s aware, we have made some pretty significant changes to manage our budget, especially during the last couple of months with COVID-19. We do have a pretty extensive runway in front of us. That’s making us not too concerned about runway as an immediate priority. You know, as it stands today and given a couple of assumptions and a couple of budgeting exercises that we’ve gone through. We do expect that we’ve got runway until at least Q4 of next year. And that doesn’t include the fact that we’re likely going to be seeking new capital as a project and to fund the new product that we’ve been building. So I’ll talk more about that later in the AMA. But runway is not our primary concern right now. We did make some pretty significant changes. And we have not talked about these publicly yet, but just to get ahead of this so that everybody’s aware we did make a decision late a few months ago to shut down our offices in Barbados and Shanghai and consolidate our team in Toronto. We’re still operating a team just around 40 people, but we made a decision to reduce costs by closing our Shanghai office and our Barbados office. That means that the, the responsibilities of those offices have been transferred back to the Toronto team, including maintenance of the kernel including some of the tools that were being managed out of our Barbados, some of our Barbados staff. In fact, they’re moving to Toronto to join us in Canada as part of that consolidation, but that’s definitely reduced the overhead costs for us. We had some really great experience working with those staff and both of those offices the last number of years, the Shanghai office was open for two years, Barbados for just a bit just about the same amount of time.

I’m incredibly grateful to the work and effort that we got out of those out of those team members. But the market, you know, circumstances just sort of dictated that we make some changes. So that’s allowed us to buy ourselves some breathing room. We’re still operating a team of near 40 people. We still have a very significant engineering muscle here in Toronto. And we’re going to continue maintaining all of the priorities that were being driven out of those offices in Toronto now. So all of that hand off and transition work has been done over the last few months. And we’re very, very bullish and optimistic about our ability to continue going at the pace that we’ve been going. And so with that back to the runway, that means that we’re still very confident that we have until Q4 or so of next year in terms of the runway. The next question that we got was around the foundation and the work from home transition that we’ve gone through since COVID-19 obviously related to what I just talked about. But the question was around significant drop in office expenses and commercial leases. I mean, you can follow how that translates out to our financial reports that we publish. You won’t see a huge drop in some of those overhead costs. And frankly, those overhead costs are not that dramatic or material in the grand scheme of things as a percentage of our overall budget. But you know, as with anybody who’s ever dealt with these things, you can’t just walk away from commercial leases. So there are carry on costs. And we do have plans to bring the team back into some sort of hybrid work from home work in the office you know, set up at some point over the course of the next few months as we get guidance from governments, that that’s a smart idea from our local governments here, in Canada.

So we have not closed our Toronto office. We have not reduced any, any costs. I mean, other than small stuff like electricity and you know, snacks and things like that in the office that are obviously not being used while people are working from home. On the flip side, though, I think not related to financials, one of the things that I will say is that I’ve been incredibly impressed with the team. I think we’ve seen a dramatic change in sort of like our culture in a positive way. I think we’ve seen a huge increase in productivity since we started working on Moves. Since we shifted to working from home and the team across the board has really stepped up to the plate to make the best of this challenging, this challenging situation. So and with that, in fact, you know, one of the things that I’ll get to a little bit later in the AMA, but just to give you a little, a little update on it, the team is changing a lot.

We’ve brought on since the beginning of COVID-19 12 new employees into roles that we didn’t previously have in the organization, roles that are more directly related to being able to build and ship a consumer FinTech product. And so we’re really excited about the way the team is morphing and new talent being brought in to sort of rebalance our skills, especially in light of the closures that we’ve made in Barbados and Shanghai over the course of the last few months as well. So I’m super excited about where we’re at as a company from that perspective. And we’ve definitely, we’ve definitely found every opportunity we can to be as efficient as we can with our budgets. Next broad segment of questions has to do with Moves. I know a lot of you have been following what we’ve been working on and probably have a lot of questions.

Hopefully a lot of it is relatively self-explanatory when you learn about the product online on the website at movesfinancial.com. But I’ll jump into the questions that were asked, and hopefully I can provide more light if if there’s some missing context. So first question, will Moves be publishing any financial statements or metrics regarding outstanding loans and performance? So as a general rule of thumb, the answer to that will be no. And for simple reasons that the relationships that we’re entering into with financiers that are going to be providing capital to Moves as we grow the business would not permit us to do that. We’re not going to be operating Moves exactly the same way that we would operate an open source software project like The OAN. Moves will be a commercial business. And with that, there will be different considerations that we need to have as a management team.

When we’re thinking about how to report one thing that we will do is we will be reporting on the metrics of The OAN that are related to moves. And so we’re going to be working on exactly what that framework will look like before the Q3 report that we publish later this year, obviously at the end of Q3. In terms of how can we showcase and demonstrate to you the progress that’s being made on Moves and how that translates to use and adoption of Aion and use and adoption of The OAN and just give you other insights in terms of how the product is evolving, but you probably will not get the same amount of granular detailed insights into moves the way you, you, you would expect from us historically on some of the work that we’ve done on The OAN.

So and that’ll lead me to some of the points, I think are questions that were brought up a little further down in the AMA around like the financing and funding of Moves as a business. I’ll let you know a little bit more about our plans there as well. But let’s stay tuned. I mean, the intent is starting in Q3 and moving forward in those reports, there will be insights and information provided about how Moves is progressing and how that progress is impacting out in The OAN. So we’ll commit to that, and we’re still figuring out exactly what that looks like. The next question is how many users have you onboarded onto the Moves platform? I guess, how is progress going in general? Again, just back my last point, I’m not going to give you specific numbers today, but what I’ll tell you is, is I’ll walk you through what we just went through with the entire company.

A couple of days ago, we went through sort of a look back over the first six months of the year, sort of highlighting some of the key metrics that we’ve hit as a company, but also some of the metrics that we have upcoming for ourselves over the course of the next six months focusing in on Q3, but then also some loose goals that we have for Q4 at a high level. You know, we very quickly got this product in the market. And I think one of the most impressive milestones that we accomplished earlier this year was being able to get a product launch in the market on April 6th, when we first launched moves only three weeks after deciding that we were going to get a product in the market on April 6th. So within three weeks, we turned around a functional loan product where we can originate underwrite issue loans, collect repayments from customers.

And we rushed that for the very specific reason that COVID-19 it hit. And we recognized that within this demographic of gig workers and the independent workers in the gig economy there was a need for us to provide this product into that demographic. So we launched in Ontario. We ended up launching with a web application to go faster and to get it to market more quickly. We built all of our back office processes. And since then we’ve been making some pretty dramatic and significant improvements to the product. The product today is quite different than the product was on April six, only three months later. We’re very happy with the way that our beta has happened in market and the number of customers that we’ve been able to onboard. And, and with those customers has come a huge number of lessons learned.

So we’ve issued hundreds of thousands of dollars of loans into this customer base. We just started collecting repayments on those loans. We’re very happy with the repayment rates of those loans and the default rates associated with those loans. And we’re also going an extra step and we’re actually spending time to reach out to every customer, every prospective customer, every potential customer that dropped off in the application process. And we’re reaching out to try to find time to do interviews with these customers, to learn about the pain points they have, how they found out about Moves, why they either submitted an application or did not submit an application. And now the team has done, I think, over 60 hours of customer interviews in the last few months just to gain insights, to help explore where we could take the product next, how do we become a more meaningful financial partner to this segment of the economy?

And so these are, you know, the high level milestones that we’re focusing on right now is how do we determine and prove that we have product market fit, which is a very big indicator that any investor would look at in any early stage product as it hits the market is how do you demonstrate that the product is built as needed by the customer that you’re targeting? And there are ways for us to measure that we’re starting to build those into the product. A lot of that has to do with collecting feedback from customers as they come in and also testing various channels of growth, marketing and distribution. So you know, in slightly different nuances there, but you know, how do we actually promote the product? We’ve, we’ve established a huge number of very relevant with direct to consumer channels where we can promote our product through affiliate channels.

So some of those have been organizations like Fintech organizations like Smarter Loans, Loans Connect, organizations that have an audience that we can distribute to. And this has been a big part of our testing of growth channels for us to actually translate that into user acquisition. And we’re very happy as to where we’re at considering that the product is still in beta and and the intent was to lend sufficient money into the product so that we could prove that repayment cycle. Right now, if you go onto the product and I’m sure many of you have, you’ll see that you can apply for both a 12 week and 25 week loan within the Moves products. And that means that it takes us a certain amount of time before we have enough repayment data, to be able to demonstrate confidently that our default rates are manageable or that our collection process is manageable.

And we need that data to be able to turn around and actually build a deck model that can be financed by external parties, whether those external parties be large investors, institutional investors, family offices, or whether those external parties be DeFi investors. And that’s an area that I’ll talk a little bit more about also, but people want to know how do you measure the risk of this credit portfolio that we’re building. And so that’s sort of the data set that we’re building right now, our team, just to give you some rough idea of how the team is organized right now, focusing in on the Moves product. And we have two teams working on the OAN, blockchain, the maintenance and builder, the kernel, another team working on a new version of the AI wallet and the suite of products that surround the wallet.

And I think I’m really excited about the next version of that that’s going to be coming out. But on the Moves side specifically, we have sort of three sub teams that are focusing on Moves. One team is working on the core product experience. One team is working on the way that we do data analysis and loan adjudication or qualification in the background. So when somebody applies for a loan, how do we determine whether they’re eligible for a loan or not eligible for a loan? And there’s a lot of data science being built there. And then the third team that’s building sort of growth initiatives and growth campaigns, testing different methods of getting distribution into different consumer channels. And so each of those teams have slightly different priorities, but all are focused on getting the best product in the market and getting as many customers as possible.

The second team, the loan adjudication, the qualification and data science team, that team needs data. So our primary focus in the last couple of months was to provide enough customers into the product to develop a data set. And that data set is effectively, you know, who are these customers? What’s their financial background? How much money are they borrowing from us? And are we paying on time? Once we have that data set with some history behind it, and we can start to use that to go raise money and the product to finance the growth of the tech capacity. So if you’d imagine any debt company, any lending company, like what we’re building with Moves right now you can only lend as much money as you have access to. And so for us to be able to lend 10 million, a hundred million, a billion dollars, we first need to be able to prove that we’ve demonstrated that on a few hundred thousand dollars, we’ve been able to perform well with that debt. So that’s a lot of the first priorities in the product today. The next question is around the timeline roadmap for expansion into other geographies and other product offerings. So I’ll give you a little bit of the framework that we’ve built within the product strategy for the company. So one is how does the product expand into other product offerings? Two is how does the product expand into other customer segments? And three is how does a product expand into other geographies? And so all three of these are sort of expansion opportunities. On the first it’s the idea that we started with a term loan product. We do see a need for other financial products within the gig economy. We’re trying to figure out what’s the next logical extension that we could do.

A lot of our thinking right now has to do with how do we help an independent worker solve a financial challenge? A financial challenge could be paying for an education, could be purchasing a bicycle to do food delivery. It could be paying off high interest credit card, anything like that in order to help somebody solve that financial challenge. We’re right now experimenting with loans. So we’ll lend you money to solve that financial challenge. There may be other ways to help people solve these financial challenges. And we’re still toying around with a few different versions of what that product could evolve into. I I’d expect that the product will change form in the sense that it will likely look like more than one financial product over the course of the next few months. We haven’t committed exactly what, which one we’re focusing on yet, but we’re doing a lot of research and product discovery.

When I say product discovery, that means we’re spending time with customers talking to them about what we’re thinking, showing them prototypes and asking them for feedback. And that sort of informs how to prioritize our next release on the customer segment. What I mean by customer segment, this is all within the broad umbrella of independent workers in the gig economy, but customer segments that range from rideshare drivers, Uber, and Lyft, and food couriers on DoorDash, Instacart, Uber Eats, to freelancers on E-Lance, Upwork, Toptal, laborers on Taskrabbit, Handy, you know, et cetera, et cetera. There’s a huge number. We just did a partnership recently with a company called Hyr, which specifically works with service staff that you pop up, restaurants, pop up shops, things like that in a gig economy way. And so those, those all are various various customer segments within the gig economy.

And, and each of them has slightly different needs. A bike courier might need a bicycle, but a a service staff on Hyr does not need a bicycle. They might need something else. So, you know, how we position our financial products and which ones of those platforms we support is something that we’re actively looking at as well. Right now, we started with a focus on rideshare and food courier services. We just recently launched a partnership with Hyr, which takes us outside of rideshare food services but into you know, a relatively similar space around food services at the restaurant level or at the popup shop level. So there’s going to be more expansion across different customer segments, and that takes us into partnership conversations with each of these companies. And then finally the geographic expansion a couple of weeks ago, we added support for Alberta and British Columbia, two other Canadian provinces in addition to Ontario.

So now we’re covering I’d say about two thirds of the Canadian population with the product, current legal structure, meaning we can support loan applicants in those three provinces, we are doing active work to investigate the legal requirements to offer moves in the US. We do have a view and a priority of getting the product into the US. In fact, our first, our first go to market was supposed to be the US but COVID-19 sort of interrupted that, and we couldn’t get on planes to get down to the US as much as we wanted to, to be able to test our market. So we started with the Canadian market, but we do have a high priority item of building the product so that it’s ready for a US customer. The exact timing of that is a little bit out of our control because that timing has to do with border closures.

It has to do with licensing in different States, but we are starting to network. So just just know that the US is our intended market, or I’d say North America is our intended market. All the work we’ve done in Canada to date is our beta, and we do want to make sure that this is a North American wide product, because the problem in the US is definitely significantly larger than the problem in Canada. So that’s how it works, sort of prioritizing that. Let me see if there’s anything else that I’m missing on this point, geographic product offering. Yeah, I think that’s probably, that’s probably a good overview of that piece. Next question, in terms of venture capital, what forms of support do you see as critical to scale Moves?

Are you getting sufficient support from existing investors? If not, what are your plans for pitching to other VCs? This could boost awareness of the project as well. We’re, we’re spending a lot of time thinking about our capital requirements or our fundraising requirements. This is a priority of mine for the coming six months over the course of the second half of this year is to start working on closing additional financing into Moves. Moves as a financial business building technology using the OAN and using Aion, but separating the capital structure. So moves will finance itself, not using Aion exclusively. It’ll finance itself by raising equity investments, that’ll finance itself by raising debt investment. And so that’s a big priority of ours for a couple of reasons. One, eventually we need capital to continue scaling the business, but two, getting through the door of a notable venture capital fund, also validates that the business is working on something interesting.

As the person who wrote the question sort of alluded to, it also sort of validates that this is a business worth paying attention to, and it definitely adds brand and credibility to what we’re doing. So two priorities that say between now and the end of the year is to get an equity raise started if not completed. And so that’s a lot of conversations with venture capital investors that have portfolios in the FinTech space in Canada and in the US, and then a lot of conversations with lenders who would look at this type of business as a potential avenue to lend money into a consumer market. So both of those ongoing, and those are setting some of my priorities for Q3 and Q4.

The next question in my poking around online, it seems like Moves has engaged a lobbyist. Of course, a lot of your recent articles addressed the need for policy reform. To what extent has Moves been in conversation with government? So we, we do not currently have an engagement with a lobbying firm. We have done some work with a lobbyist in the past specifically at the beginning of COVID-19. We were trying to see if we could position Moves to be a distribution channel for government funding. And we met a lot of very relevant connections doing that. And so as the business scales, I think there’s going to be an opportunity to get closer to government on some of this stuff, especially if we position ourselves as being a product that supports the financial prosperity and financial inclusion of a growing demographic of workers but nothing material came out of that other than relationships to date. Policy reform is definitely an issue that is very near and dear to my heart.

It’s not an area that I would say the company is going to be focused on, but it will be an area that you see me talking a lot about and writing a lot about because the safety net that needs to be built for the gig economy is more than what we can solve as a company. We’re going to do our best to tackle the major problems in this space, but there’s also legal reform that needs to happen as it relates to different laws in different countries, in different states, in different provinces, but unemployment insurance and different protections that are provided to people that have jobs that don’t necessarily exist for people who are in the gig economy. So we’ll be continuing to talk about that, or at least I will be continuing to talk about that and advocating for policy reform that sort of do right by this demographic.

Our perspective in building Moves has always been that this is an important segment of the economy. This is going to be a new normal for people in their careers. And we need to make sure that if you choose a career in the gig economy, you’re not making a trade off of losing out on a safety net that should be available to you. So how do we rebuild that safety net with great financial products and with modern policy reform, obviously policy reform is outside of our control, but we’ll continue harping on that as well. If you’re interested in sort of the introduction to that conversation, I did write an op-ed for the National Post about about some of the reforms that I think need to happen. And I’ll do more of that over the course of the coming months to keep that conversation top of mind.

And I’d say one other topic that’s probably relevant for everyone to understand in terms of why we decided to build Moves and focus on this segment of the market. If you follow the trends happening in the gig economy one thing that was really appealing to us in terms of the need for this to exist now in terms of timing, is that these companies are under significant pressure. And when I say these companies, I mean, Uber and DoorDash and Upwork and TaskRabbit and others like them are under significant pressure to figure out how to create that safety net for their workers. And there’s now active legal debates and new laws being passed in different states in the US that are changing the relationship between these platforms and their workers. And we think it’s the perfect opportunity to step in and provide a creative and unique way to solve some of these challenges through a third party company like moves.

And so we’ve had some of these conversations about Moves with teams at Uber, teams at DoorDash, teams at Instacart, teams at Lyft, and we’re going to continue developing those relationships. Cause we do think there’s going to be an opportunity for us to be seen as a very complimentary and value adding company to them. And obviously that would be hugely valuable to us as well, if we can get deeper into those relationships. So that’s going to be a continued area of effort that I spent some time on. Next question, if I understand the Moves business model correctly, right now, you are planning to use institutions and high net worth individuals, possibly VCs to raise debt capital and then use it for loans to gig workers. Correct? Why not a bit more of a decentralized approach? No, I mean, you’re, you’re sort of already kind of hinting at where we’re taking the product.

We have a couple of problems that we need to solve. When we think about the product today, we need to solve debt capacity as we grow our customer base and the fastest and most efficient ways to get access to that debt capacity. And then we need to solve a better way to get that capacity over the long term. When I think about Aion, the OAN and its relevance to Moves, this is probably the number one problem to solve is how do we use Aion as an instrument to create a new debt capital market so that we can actually get access to more affordable debt, pass on more affordable debt to our customers, and do it in a way that is more decentralized and less reliant on institutional capital. Part of our team is actively working on this.

We have a segment of our engineering team and two of our product managers, and one of our product designers now working on active prototypes against some of these some of these areas around how Moves is going to be using Aion. And one of those is a peer to peer lending infrastructure that we’re looking at. It may be that we look to leverage existing systems, whether they be DeFi systems or CeFi systems as articulated here. But we may also build something ourselves. So we’re looking at all mechanisms right now of how do we allow somebody who holds Aion to lend that into a marketplace, earn an interest rate and have that be made available as dollars to somebody who needs to borrow money.

On the other side, obviously all that is still predicated on the fact that we need to be able to capture customers. We need to be able to risk classify those customers, to know if we’re lending to a customer that has a high probability repayment so that the person lending on the Aion side is not falling into a default. So then this is all part of the plan. When we look at our our crypto strategy within Moves, there’s three themes or three questions that we’re asking and that we’re exploring right now. One is how do we use Aion to improve the credit efficiency of Moves? The second one is how do we use Aion to align the interest of our customers with the interests of the company? And third is how do we use Aion or the OAN to bootstrap an open system of financial reputation.

And this kinda goes back to building out a longer term vision where people are in control of their own financial data, they’re in control of their own credit scores and broadly speaking, financial reputations. This is the frame within which we’re doing a lot of prototyping, a lot of research to be able to articulate, these are the mechanisms we want to build that allow us to improve credit efficiency. Credit efficiency primarily will mean the cost of credit. So how much do we have to pay to borrow money so that we can turn around and lend that money to somebody? Can we use DeFi type infrastructure to get access to cheaper credit? Can we use the blockchain to create methods of micro guarantees to increase our confidence and underwriting? Can we use the blockchain to provide mechanisms for our customers in Moves to earn Aion so that they feel directly connected to the success of the protocol?

And that’s something that we’re actively working on right now as well. And then finally, can we use the OAN to create a system of digital identity, a system of financial reputation that is owned by the end customer? So these are some of these are short term and they’re feasible in a very short window of time. Some of them are bigger technical research questions that need more time to flush out. I think, I think somebody asked the question about this later in the AMA, you’ll remember the research relation or research partnership. We announced last year with the University of Waterloo, it’s still ongoing and it’s still going really strong. We have a number of PhD students at the University of Waterloo working on this research with us. This has to do with the Tetryon privacy test network that we built last year. But now very specifically targeting how do we use that privacy preserving technology to maintain data like financial data on the blockchain so that you’re not compromising the privacy of some of these data by going to one of these open systems. So there’s a lot of work being done on these topics to get to the end state that we, that we envisioned for Moves as a product longterm.

To go back to the question around like access to decentralized sources of financing, the way I would view it is we’re going to have a pool of financing that we go after. Some of that pool will be traditional, institutional, and some of that pool will be DeFi or crypto. The balance is to be determined. I think we’re going to test out crypto borrowing and Aion rails as a small prototype, and if it works and if it demonstrates what we want it to demonstrate, then we’ll rely on that more aggressively and we’ll rely less on institutional funding. But again, if we’re talking about borrowing in the neighborhood $50 to $200 million over the course of the next year to two years, then we need to make sure that we have access to sources of capital that can provide that amount of debt.

So there’s going to be a blend until we get to a place where the infrastructure surrounding a decentralized credit market is well enough built and liquid enough that we can actually take full advantage of that as a source of debt capital. Next question: for Moves’ current and future product offerings. What are the market sizes? What are your projections in terms of your market share for each moving forward, given existing data? So I think this is probably one of these topics that are one of these questions that is always near impossible I think to answer for startups that are just getting into a market that still has a lot of lack of definition, but I’ll tell you the broad strokes that we looked at. We define our customer as being the independent worker. And what that means is a person who earns their primary source of income through a non employment work source connected through an online marketplace.

Okay. So let me break that down a little bit. The independent worker, you are earning your primary income, not from a job, but from some sort of freelance contract base income stream that you find on an online marketplace. So Uber drivers, Upwork, designers, Taskrabbit, et cetera, you name it. There’s dozens and dozens of these platforms now by our estimate, that definition of an independent worker already captures north of 20% of the labor force in North America. And so that’s everyone from what today would be called maybe a gig worker to historically somebody called maybe a freelancer or a contractor. And the reason it’s starting to capture the freelancer or the contractors cause the freelancer or the contractor today are much more likely to be finding their work through an online platform. And the reason the online platform matters to us is because that’s how we validate how you make money.

That’s how we validate your income. What’s been difficult for banks historically with gig workers or freelancers is a lot of them were in cash transactions. They’d be advertising in the classified ads in the newspaper or something like that. You would have no data to support how much money a person made or about money, how much money a person didn’t make. Now that we can grab that data from a marketplace, from Uber, from Upwork, all of a sudden we can now demonstrate consistency of income. We can demonstrate income capacity, net, disposable income things measures that matter to us as a lender. And so our demographic of users we think is, is definitely north of 20% of the North American workforce. And we think it’s growing. We think more and more skills are being enabled through online marketplaces. And the partnership we just announced last week with Hyr is a good example of that, Hyr is a relatively early stage company, that’s already servicing tens of thousands of workers in the services industry, connecting them to one off shift shift work and restaurants shift, work and bars, but doing it sort of in, through, in a gig way.

And so that would be an example of our customer segment. The size of that market is very difficult to say, there is a really good Business Insider article that came out late earlier this week, sort of talking about why banks should be taking the gig economy more seriously as a customer segment. Our view on that is that banks will never be able to adjust to this trend as quickly as we could. So we’ll be able to capitalize on that. We do expect that our driving motivation as a company is to be the leading North American financial services provider to independent workers in the gig economy. And I don’t say that without realizing the size of that aspiration. Obviously this is a multiyear journey for Moves but that’s our goal. Our goal is to be the number one brand that provides financial services to independent workers in the gig economy across North America.

We believe that’s going to be a massive market and financial services can be defined very broadly. We’re starting in consumer credit. We may end up in savings products and goal setting products and insurance and benefit products. But time will tell exactly how we execute on that roadmap. But we think this is a massive market opportunity. How that translates down into the underlying rails that we’re building is that gives us a very unique opportunity to encourage this market of consumers towards a new financial system. This is a market of consumers that is underserved by banks or has a hostile relationship with their banks for the most part. That means they’re more open to a new method of finance. They’re more open to a new system. That’s our ability to educate this customer towards the benefits of some of the stuff we’ve been talking about in the crypto space for years, but to a real consumer, to a non crypto consumer.

And so we think we’re going to be in a really interesting position to not only generate demand in terms of this massive market that we’re going after, but also connect that demand to the benefits of decentralized finance, the benefits of these open systems that we’ve been talking about on the OAN. So that’s our longterm vision, is how do we generate demand and how do we connect it to the vision that we have for a system of open finance in the world. And so we’ll continue to push on that, but without being able to quantify the size of the market, I hope that gives you some rough parameters as to how big we think this opportunity is. And that’s obviously with a view on North America, there’s nothing that says we couldn’t also take this product of North America, but, you know, one step at a time. Next question.

Why do you think that offering services to gig economy workers will lead to more adoption for Aion? And if you’re building services for traditional companies, workers. I think I briefly just touched on it. I think the biggest, the biggest indicator for us was finding a demographic that one is underserved, that we had an opportunity to step in as a solution to a problem that they don’t currently have an answer to. And two is a demographic that is open to new systems. They’re open to new concepts, they’re open to being convinced of a new technology. And so that’s where we think that there’s a really, really nice overlap with the gig economy. We can have a disproportionate impact in this industry. We also believe pretty firmly that the gig economy over the course of the next decade is going to be the primary labor economy. We think that most jobs are going to shift to gig style work. And then the one missing piece is the ability to provide sort of a financial safety net to support those people as they shift from full time employment to gig style work. And that’s where we come in. So that’s a very intentional decision and the more exciting direction we’ll be taking the project.

A couple of questions on DeFI. I think I already touched on timeline and progress for the integration of Aion into Moves. There’s active prototypes already in development. You know, we do have a goal before the end of Q3 to have like a demonstration of what moves using Aion actually looks like and feels like. And so there’s time required to get these products out the door. But you know, within Q3 you’ll see some significant progress that we’ll be able to share with you by the end of next, by the end of this quarter. Is it possible that the future of Moves will benefit the Aion holder? Yeah, I mean, I think a lot of this for us is how do we use Moves to generate and build, to bootstrap demand for a system that we’ve been working on for the last four years?

I mean, no one is more motivated than us to see adoption of The OAN, adoption of Aion. And this is our strategy. This is the priority that we’ve decided to take on as a project is to focus on a massive but singular stream of effort. And I think we’ve talked about this in the past, but that means that we’re not prioritizing spray and pray. We’re not prioritizing, let’s go after a hundred apps. All of which will fail in the way that many other blockchains have done in the past. We’re prioritizing a significant and large and deliberate bet on an industry that we’re really excited about, all with a view towards generating value for Aion generating value on The OAN and demonstrating the type of financial system we can build using the technology that we’ve developed.

Can you explain, how do you see Moves evolving five to 10 years from now? Always tough to say, but the aspiration of the business is probably a good way to frame it. And I wrote a document internally that’s sort of like a view five years from now is like how a customer would view what we’ve built. But just broadly to reiterate our aspiration: our aspiration is to be the leading North American financial services platform of independent workers in the gig economy. That’s the aspiration within that. I think there’s a lot of opportunity to go beyond that. I think one thing that’s sort of always stuck with me when I was just getting started as an entrepreneur was the early story of Uber.

And that originally, you know, when people first started looking at Uber’s business model, I think where many investors fell short, and many of them talk about this quite publicly – is they thought of Uber as an alternative to the taxi industry. And they said, “Uber’s market size is the taxi market. And so if Uber does really, really well, they’ll just steal business from the taxi market.” What they failed to recognize is that by existing, Uber changed the size of the market, it completely transformed transportation. It completely transformed behaviors of people who maybe would not normally have taken a taxi. Now we’ll hop into an Uber without a second thought. And so the market size for Uber was dramatically larger than any market size ever created by a taxi company in the past. And so when I think about becoming the leading financial services platform for the gig economy in North America, it’s not just about defining what financial services means today.

It’s about redefining how financial services might evolve over time. And we think for one, this market is completely untapped. There’s huge potential or very high potential customers within this market. And the way that financial services seeps into their lives is something that I think we’ve barely scratched the surface on. So trying to innovate outside of the traditional framework of banks allows us to sort of think beyond just interest or not a credit product. That’s where we start, but we can get to significantly more creative products that really change the size of the market. So five to 10 years from now, I don’t only think that we’ll be the leading financial services platform by then, but I think we’ll have changed the definition of financial services because the labor market will now be the gig market.

And that gig market will predominantly be consumers of ours, and we’ll have the ability to influence and develop and define trends within that market. One simple example, if I’m being really, really cocky and aspirational is the idea that today as a gig worker, I have very little leverage when I enter into a relationship with a platform, that platform sort of owns my reputation. They own my data. They tell me when and when I can and can’t get a job rather than how do I pass that leverage back to the worker. If I owned my reputation, then Uber and Lyft would have to compete for my attention as a driver, not the other way around. And I think there’s a way to sort of flip this industry on its head, after we’ve gotten to a certain size of a certain scale. So this is where I’d see us really going after the visionary outcomes of the product longterm.

Next question. What metrics are you using to make your loan decisions? Any minimum requirements you can share, any cases of securing your loans with car titles. So we’re not doing anything in the securitized loan space right now, and we’re doing everything is unsecured, personal loans. They’re all structured as term loans, meaning they’re all structured on the basis of of consistent repayments over a period of time that are all the same number. So weekly repayments or monthly repayments and all structured with automated withdrawal and automated deposit. So we deposit the money into the user’s account. We withdraw the money on whatever that frequency is right now. Customers have the option towards a 12 week repayment or a 25 weekly payment. They also have an option of borrowing between $500 and $2500. That’s sort of the frame of the product today, but that will change and evolve over time.

The basic loan criteria, and we publish this on our website as well, to a certain extent, is we’re looking at banking data. And increasingly now we’re starting to gather gig profile data. So data about your Uber work, data about your Doordash work, but primarily our lending decisions are being made on cashflow data. We can see within a user’s bank account. And so that cashflow data would help us understand the consistency of the income they’ve had deposited into that account over the course of the last six months or 12 months. Have they had penalties on that account, like in NSF fees or do they rely very heavily on their overdraft protection or do they spend a lot of money on payday loan interest, things like that. So we pull out these indicators and our squad two is the loan adjudication, the data science team, they build indicators off of that data to inform our lending decisions – effectively we’re scoring people based on different risk indicators that we identify.

And then that score determines yes or no. So that’s sort of the current state of how that part of the product is built. And that’s progressed quite a bit over the last few months, the very automated process today that still has sort of a manual review at the end of it, but eventually it’ll be a completely automated process.

Next question, most gig workers data are generated and starting platforms like Uber. However, these platforms definitely have no motivation to integrate The OAN. So we have Moves, which is a loan app, and also can look at credit history data, but if no platform integrates, what’s the plan for collecting other data of gig workers? That’s a good question. I mean I don’t want to give too much away on this because this is something that we’re developing that I think is going to become sort of proprietary IP of the company. But we are building a mechanism to collect data from gig platforms without needing them to integrate with us. And so I’ll stop there. There’s a lot of work being done on this. This is our ability to be able to view and verify ratings and reputations and things like that to answer this question. So this is a big focus within the product and engineering team and we’re actively working on that.

That being said, I’ll add one more point on that. We are also working on relationships in many of these platforms, and in some cases, those relationships could lead to integrations. They could lead to more direct or API sharing, but right now we’re building on the assumption that that’s not the case and we can definitely solve for that with part of the product that we’re currently working on. Next question, given that Moves is being built with resources from the Open Foundation, human and financial capital, how is that being accounted for? And to what extent will the Foundation benefit? Is this structured like a loan and equity and trust revenue share, or something else? It’s a good question. We are working on legal structure that surrounds Moves and the Open Foundation and the relationship between those legal structures.

We’re going to have more to share about this in the next probably month, if not two months, as we get to an answer on that, we’ve been working with our board of directors, our legal counsel, to get to sort of a good outcome that is both financable, so that Moves could grow. And so that Moves can be sort of the spearhead that drives value into The OAN. I mean, I think many of, you know, having followed us for a long time, that we’ve done a lot of programs in the past where we’ve been trying to incentivize adoption of Aion and adoption of The OAN. This is sort of another version of that, right? This is us using resources of the Foundation to instigate adoption of the protocol. We’re going to be sharing exactly what that structure is going to look like once we have a conclusion on that, we don’t have a conclusion on that yet, but this is something that I’ve been spending a lot of time on with our board of directors and some of our advisors.

That’ll be made perfectly transparent to the community, and it will be become part of the reporting process as well. If Moves becomes a successful product, will some of the profits be directed to fund and support The OAN? Again, back to that last question, one of the mechanisms we’re looking at is how do we return value to the Foundation as the success of Moves is generated? There’s a couple of ways that we’re looking at doing that, but that is one of the motivations behind this structure is to make sure that there’s a mechanism for value to return to the Foundation, to continue financing hopefully the next 50 years of work that needs to be done in terms of getting this technology to where it needs to be. Maybe 50 years is an exaggeration, but definitely the next 10 years. And so we’re building that into the way that this structure is playing out. So that’s one of the priorities as well as to make sure that The OAN is well supported, that the Foundation has sort of a view towards its own sustainability over a period of time and then Moves is built in such a way that it can be capitalized and it can find success in the market.

In the last AMA, now you said that investors would be satisfied within following 12 months, even on a scale investors. Is this an actual statement? I don’t remember my exact statement. And I assume you’re referring to my AMA that I did a quarter ago. I, you know, I’d say this year will be very telling for us, this year will be you know, by the end of this year, we’ll be able to demonstrate success or demonstrate that we have not achieved success in our current strategy. This is going to be a multiyear journey, but there’s going to be very early indicators as to whether we’re on the right path. And we’re going to share those indicators back with the community. So I think I’ll leave, I’ll leave the data to speak for itself, but this is absolutely the priority.

The priority is to make sure that Moves drives value for its customers and drives value for the underlying system and a network of The OAN and the community of Aion holders. And so that’s being designed into how we’re prioritizing our product, it’s being designed into the structures that we’re working on, the capital raising that we’re working on, all of that as the view to answer this question. Next section, there’s a couple of questions about Aion in The OAN. So question number one, I can’t see any Github activity recently. Can you tell me what your engineering team is working on currently? So there, there should still be some Github activity happening on the kernel. There’s, you know, as, as most of, you know, the last major engineering milestone that we decided to take on that we completed late last year was the completion of Unity, Unity being the hybrid proof of work / proof of state function that we built into the network in our last, in our last significant hard fork.

That being said, there’s always work to be done to improve the protocol. There’s occasionally vulnerabilities and bugs that are found and design flaws that need to be fixed. And so that work continues to happen. We have a team that is still dedicated to the protocol and the kernel and working on fixing some of those issues. And those are going to be coming out on a cadence, we tend to try to keep forks sort of scheduled for like one to two every year, but sometimes we need to rush a fork because we identify a vulnerability that needs to be fixed. And so in many cases, this is being done in collaboration with our mining community, our staking community, when they identify an issue they’ll feed it back into us, we’ll figure out how to prioritize it, how to solve for it.

And sometimes that takes a little bit of work in terms of researching the right answer and in building the right answer to then ship it. But you’re not going to see the same frequency of changes in the protocol, because the protocol from where we ended up in our roadmap at the end of last year, we’ll say the protocol is sort of 90% where we want it to be right now, we’re working on making sure that it’s being maintained, being sure that every once in a while there’s necessary enhancements happen to it, and then if a bug or a vulnerability is found, they’re being fixed, that’s what you’ll see on the public GitHub. Because that’s the open source piece of the project you won’t see on the public Github what’s being worked on, on Moves, Moves is not being built as an open source product.

And so, you know, know that the engineering resources focusing on Moves are actively working. On the Aion side, I’d say the other big piece of work that’s coming is an active effort to launch a new Aion wallet – we haven’t really finalized the name for it, but a product that will be sort of a one stop shop as a wallet and staking interface and search function for a better user experience compared to some of the user some of the tools that we’ve had over the last couple of years. And so there’s a team working actively on that. And I expect that we’ll have more to say on that probably in the next month, as we get closer to completion to make that wallet available to the community. So that’s a pretty exciting project as well.

Cause I’m pretty, I’m very happy about how that’s come together so far. And that may also be the basis of which we end up testing future features like peer to peer lending through the same wallet infrastructure. But stay tuned on that. Next question. Can you please share insights into how many different dev teams Aion has including Moves and what they’re working on? I think I broadly touched on this. There are five dev teams, not including our dev ops team, so six, if you include dev ops, and those are sort of broken down as to dev ops and two of the dev teams are working on Aion and OAN related things. So the wallet and the protocol and just maintaining sort of relationships with miners, stakers, node operators and measuring network health on a, on a consistent basis.

And then we’ve got three dev teams working on Moves: the core product, the loan adjudication, and growth initiatives. And those tend to be a blend of engineers, product managers and product designers. So hopefully that answers your question. Next question. In communication, you seem to be very, very optimistic about OAN’s future. Does this also translate to being optimistic about the value of the Aion token? Well, what in your view will drive the Aion token price higher and how important is this to you? I see these things as being directly linked to each other. I think the health of The OAN is directly tied to the price of the asset. I think confidence in the asset is important. I think it drives not only more adoption longterm, but I think it also drives network security as an important factor.

And bear in mind that I still am a very significant holder of Aion. I want to make sure that my interests are aligned with the community. So success for Aion also means success for me. Right. So and I don’t say that lightly. I mean that in a way that I want to make sure that our interests are aligned longterm. And, and I think how we’re going to get there is by developing more use cases of economic value that, that leveraged the OAN, some of the work that we did last year, some of you may remember the name Prysm Group is a firm that we worked with on the design of Unity. But also a firm that we more recently did work with, in terms of evaluating sort of the crypto GDP of Aion.

And this firm is, they’re a bunch of economists. They build models to effectively predict how you generate value for a cryptocurrency. And how do you separate different types of demand behaviors, demand that is consumer driven, demand that is speculator driven, and demand that it may be functionally driven. So functional would be staking, gas, speculation would just be trading, and demand for consumer would be like products that are actually using Aion. A healthy cryptocurrency leans very heavily towards a very consumer heavy demand curve. And so that’s what we’re working on. Everything that we’re working on in the design of Moves is to enhance that consumer curve. And the speculator curve will always be important. And the functional curve is sort of relatively static cause the functional curve is a number of Aion kind of cycling through mining, staking and powering sort of gas or energy for smart contract execution.

But the ratio of consumer to speculation is what we’re working on. How do we drive significantly more demand on the consumer side by building use cases for Aion into the Moves product. And that’s sort of the roadmap that’s being in terms of how Aion is integrated into Moves. And again, we’ll share more of that as that becomes closer to reality in the coming quarter. And just to reiterate your question sort of nailed it. I’m super optimistic about this and you know, without dwelling too much on this, I think an important point is when we decided to launch Moves late last year, early this year, when we started working on this vertical strategy, one big consideration for me personally was, am I five years committed to this, 10 years committed to this?

Do I believe in this so much that I’ll take on the opportunity costs of not doing the next thing I could do? I think I could probably go do really interesting things with my career, but I want to do this. I believe in doing this, I think there’s a huge amount of value that could be created and generated here. And the fact that this is still my focus, my life, this is what I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about, I hope is demonstration enough that the team is very committed. I continue to be very committed and that hasn’t changed. If anything, my level of confidence has gone up as we’ve gotten better at defining who it is that we’re solving a problem for, who our customer is, what problem do we think we’re solving. All of these things give me a lot of reasons to be optimistic. Token price, coin holder. One question on, does price liquidity play a role in securing the network, does low price tokens get accumulated and easy to control the network. Yeah, they do. They do play a part – liquidity and price absolutely play a part. Access to the token, liquidity, the token, all of that. So this is going to be something that is a continuous effort for us. You know, we worked on a few exchange relationships last year. You remember that we launched Bithumb in Korea, you remember that we launched a USDT pair on Binance. All of this is with a view towards enhancing liquidity and there’s still some ongoing exchange conversations that I find frustrating because some of these have been ongoing for over a year, but we can only go through the hoops that are presented to us.

And some of them are legal hoops and regulatory hoops, and we’re going to continue working on those because I do think that price and liquidity are important factors for us to keep prioritizing. Are there any Aion holders, tools and resources being updated releasing? I mentioned this earlier, there will be a new release of a new wallet. I can’t commit to a date right now, but I’d expect that’ll happen within this quarter, probably sooner than, than that sooner than the end of the quarter. So stay tuned. I’m really excited about the way that the new product is coming together on the Aion side. The new wallet, product and staking product. Privacy research, couple of questions on that. To quickly touch on that, I think I mentioned it earlier, the research that we started doing on Tetryon last year, the privacy relationship that we developed at the University of Waterloo is still very, very much a priority and is being directed towards the privacy problems that we think need to be solved to build a system of financial reputation for our workers.

So I’ll leave it at that, but it’s still an active effort. You’ll remember that we signed a three year partnership with the University of Waterloo. We’re about six months into that partnership. So we started about two and a half years of active research that we’ve committed to with the University of Waterloo. Last question – I think on Flipside, and I think we’re going to call it quits after this. So question, I personally found the Flipside of Prism and data analytics, that consensus pretty eye-opening. How has the team been using this data? Are there any changes to the economic design being considered in light of it? Do you have any thoughts about the Aino eighthening coming in November and how it impacts economic design? I mentioned Prysm earlier in the in the context around how we’re going to think about measuring economic value of Moves contributed to Aion.

I think we’re going to use a lot of the tools and formulas that we’ve been working with Prism on to determine that and to measure that, to be able to show a measure of what’s the economic value that Moves has created for the OAN. And so some of these are going to be the exact frameworks that we use when we’re actually measuring those KPIs for the company. And so definitely using the data and definitely keeping that top of mind. This is now becoming part of a reporting dashboard that we’re keeping within the company to show once we get to an active use and a live use of Aion within the product, how do we show that growing over time? So that we can report that back to the community in the form of our quarterly reports the Aion eighthening, I’ve seen this term flying around on Twitter and on Telegram.

I can’t say that it’s an official term, but I think I know what everybody’s referring to – the end of the TRS. The end of the TRS is a milestone in my mind, because I remember designing the TRS in 2017 and thinking that three years felt like an eternity away. Like, how could we possibly know what was going to happen over the course of the next three years? What would the market look like? What would we look like? And so it just makes me reflect back on what the last three years have been and really what the last four and a half years have been since I started the company. But I’m really excited about the end of that of that, because I think it’s sort of a graduation for us to say, Hey, that was a ramp up period, a ramp up period towards full circulation, a ramp up period towards full liquidity.

And I think moving forward from November the network is sort of static in its design. The circulation of the asset, the inflation of the asset, the rewards being distributed to block producers. It becomes a lot more approachable for new entrants into our ecosystem who don’t have that historical context of what TRS is. And so I’m very excited about the conclusion of the TRS from that perspective. I don’t think it’s going to impact our economic design in a significant way, because I think we had contemplated the end of the TRS when we came up with our inflation measures that we worked on with Prism when we launched Unity. And so Unity was always designed to be sort of the right design post TRS. So TRS right now sort of skews some of the inflation numbers, but post TRS will be on a much more stable and predictable inflation curve.

Again, if you remember 4.58 Aion being distributed, every block on a reducing percentage of the total of the total distribution over time, and we think that’s a really, really good economic design to be able to provide confidence into our network that’s quite different than, than some other systems that still have a very hard time actually defining what their circulating supply is. And so looking forward to the end of the TRS from that perspective, it’ll probably be a celebration for us too – I think we’re sort of out of our diapers at that point and into grown up product development moving forward. So I’ll make sure that we make a milestone of that in November. Thanks for the reminder. Anyways, that’s it, that’s all the questions that I have summarized here that we’re going to cover today. So I appreciate everybody taking the time to contribute.

Hopefully I gave you some insights and some valuable information about what we’re working on and hopefully there’ll be more questions and conversations that stem from this after this this video goes live. So I appreciate all the time and always appreciate the forced accountability we get from our community the dynamic interactions we have with you. And for some of you, we’ve really developed a very close rapport over the years. So I appreciate you still being here, still believing in me, still believing in the project. And hopefully we’ll show you some pretty incredible things over the coming quarter and over the coming year. Talk to you soon.

written by