This is an edited and condensed version of the AMA. You can find the full exchange on Reddit.
Q: Does the team have any concrete plans/objectives to establish starting in 2019, or is it still too early to say?
A: Europe is looking very active. Lots of interest coming out of there, so we’re likely going to establish a sales/research office there in Q1. That’s the only new thing that’s on the pipeline for early next year.
Q: Is there a roadmap for milestones/goals and or achievements?
A: Hi, you can find the roadmap/timeline in our whitepaper on page 15: https://token.sureremit.co/SureRemit-WhitePaper-v.1.21.pdf
Q: Cant wait for Amazon to be back online the app!
A: Amazon was really popular. We’re working on it 🙂
Q: Great SureRemit app, team! Works great except there’s no way to know that the cc/dbt card function is available until last step in the checkout process. For a new user, could you…when first getting the app….show the three or four easy steps that a voucher is purchased and sent? In other wirds, explain how the app works: cc/dbt/crypto. As this has been brought up in this thread before, when will this instructions be applied to the app?
A: Thank you. Good point regarding better on-boarding. This has been noted. We might need to layer more security into the app for CC payments (like better KYC and restrictions, unfortunately). This will inform the on-boarding steps.
Q: Great! Since cc payments can already be used, the addition of beefier KYC and restrictions that you mentioned shouldn’t affect the easier on-boarding, am I right? Or are the two connected somehow?
A: Yes, they’re somewhat connected. For example, if we need you to have an ID on file before you use the CC feature, the on-boarding will need to direct you to do that on the profile page first.
Q: Love this project, and the fact that blockchain/crypto was used as a means to effectively serve a market you discovered with the SureGifts business, instead of just for the hype. This is the first app I’ve interacted with where you can use crypto and not even know it. Anyways, you knew this question was coming- can you describe the ‘coin lifecycle’ / backend mechanics?
A: Thank you very much. Please see this image for our thinking around the ideal RMT lifecycle (Click for Hi-Res):
Q: My questions: 1-What is your comission rate? 2-What do you think about the donation tab? 3-Every downloaded app creates an account both for xlm and rmt which costs 3 xlm according to my knowledge gathered from stellar expert (correct me if I am wrong). Imagine we have thosands of downloads. How is this fee going to be handled? 4-I wish there would be an option to but rmt with credit card and send it to somebody through the app as a gift. 5-Do you have a plan to run a validator on the xlm network?
A: Commissions vary by merchant. For the fees, we’ll likely eliminate individual addresses in the future and use Memos. We negotiate on a merchant-to-merchant basis. We’re working on RMT to RMT transfers in-app for the next release. No current plans to run a validator.
Q: Is there anything you can tell us about the actual process of courting and adding new merchants? I have literally no idea how you approach clients; how much they are told about SureRemit and/or RMT, and what their ultimate involvement with RMT the currency is. I think the context would be interesting for a lot of us, and hopefully provide a better framework for community members to come up with ideas of potential businesses to include.
A: I agree that, ultimately, this is what gives the app the most value. The more merchants, the more useful. We approach merchant acquisition in different ways. For markets where we’re physically present, we establish relationships with these merchants directly, at the most senior level. Deploy voucher redemption/POS systems to their stores if physical, or integrate into their online stores, negotiate settlement terms (in fiat), then autonomously generate and sell those vouchers to the public. For other markets, we have to rely on other people who have done that, and have third-party APIs we can plug into. Some major merchants (like Amazon Europe) have these APIs directly, others work with third-parties. Most maintain a wallet system, so we maintain balances that are depleted as vouchers are generated. It’s really different for each merchant and country.
At the end of the day, it’s all a function of the Business Development engine we have going on in a specific country to establish these relationships (e.g. a relationship with Booking.com for hotels in Europe if they have a voucher system), or where relationships are not required, how deep our pockets are to maintain wallet balances. For all, we hardly talk crypto, as the conversation is likely to break down then. We manage the risk and fears and FUD on our side, till we’re big enough.
Q: What do you consider to be the most important aspect on which you will focus in the near term? App improvements, marketing, merchants network expansion, exchanges, etc. I guess that all this points are being addressed but what do you consider to be priority 1 ?
Right now it’s very hard for users to understand that they can pay using the CC. No mention of CC payment till the last step in the purchase flow. Any plans to change that?
SureGifts will continue to exist or do you plan to migrate everything to SureRemit? SureGifts will use RMT, in case you plan to keep the brand?
Do you consider growing the team? As it looks today, the team seems kind of small considering the tone of work that must be done.
A: In order of priority, it’s app improvements (especially security), merchant expansion and exchanges. You’re right, all are very near term, regardless.
Re: the CC, while we’re excited about the feature, it still carries a lot of risk. We’re trying to watch and manage those for now before we give it more prominence.
Marrying SureGifts and RMT will require the transaction flow in the image above to be in place first as well. The separate brands will remain, and any integration will be in the background.
Yes, we do have a hiring plan for the next 3 years. The team is constantly growing, but a lot of the requirements in the near future are “international” regional Business Development Executives etc, and domain experts like Compliance, portfolio/treasury managers, even traders; growth and stability-focused hires.
Q: We all know if we don’t market the app, there is very slow progress in building user base. We can’t really see SureRemit anywhere outside of medium, twitter at the moment, meaning they are not exposed outside those two platforms. What media are you planning to market SureRemit on? TV advertisement, Internet – crypto or non crypto websites? How heavy are you going to invest in marketing campaigns?
Volume is currently very low, what is your plan to achieve volume and liquidity of RMT token?
There are more and more remittance apps that are being released on the market and have bigger exposure than SureRemit at the moment, how are you going to compete with those?
Is system fully automated?
Do you have a plan to update roadmap?
A: This is a valid concern, and it is not lost on the team. We’ve made significant progress on the platform, and the natural next step is marketing. However, now that we’re live and seeing transactions, a few things need to take slight precedence over large-scale marketing. Liquidity is the obvious first. We need to be able to settle merchants in local currency. Unless our model for recycling the RMT is air-tight, we’ll run into sustainability issues at scale. I’m sure there will be other questions about this where I can go into more details. Secondly, we’re already learning a whole lot in the live environment, especially about fraud.
Fraud plagues the money/value transfer industry, and we might have sacrificed some security (on the company’s side) on the altar of simplicity, specifically with the card acceptance feature. In the coming days, we’ll be deploying features that might make it a little less straightforward to pay with cards, encouraging users to acquire and hold the RMT for their transactions. It will be costly (marketing and recovery) to discover nefarious customer behavior in a large-scale live environment. Finally, some things like third-party relationships and terms tend to change post-launch. For example, it became more difficult to offer Amazon US vouchers after a few transactions went through. We rely on a few third-party relationships that we’ll like to stress-test to avoid customer service issues in the future.
Nonetheless, when we do become aggressive with consumer-focused marketing, the approach will be very local, starting with regions where we have a high concentration of redemption points/merchants (Nigeria, Kenya, Middle-East etc.). The approach will vary for each market. Social media really works for Nigeria, for example, so that’ll be an immediate channel. Offline advertisement also provides a lot of credibility. Standard digital marketing and high-level PR strategies will also be deployed across-board. Already, we’re subtly placing our message in local media. Like (25:20-29:40) in this Voice of America radio programme. https://www.voanews.com/a/4524679.html. We’ll get there, but if we’re going to be around for a long time (especially if we’re going to ride through this bear market), we have to really pace ourselves.
Liquidity is not only important for RMT holders; without it, the entire SureRemit model will break down. Our community might expect a few quick solutions that’s popular with (good or bad) crypto projects, but a lot of those solutions don’t satisfy the requirements of both the token-holders and the company, while aligning our incentives. High volume exchanges are expensive. It’s a really unfortunate cloud in the crypto space, and the dynamics and politics under the hood are not as utopian as one would expect of the industry. Costs range from $100,000 to $2m, and at that cost, we need to make sure the immediate benefits are real.
To get a bit more detailed, for our use-case, we need to have a real, integration-level relationship. The RMT transaction flow requires communication with an exchange that will provide the RMT supply needed by card-paying customers in the app (this is what the initial token-holders really want). We also need to be able to conveniently push the RMT received from non-card-paying customers back to the exchange (this is what the company needs). We also need to trust that the volumes on both sides are real, otherwise volatility risk will be amplified, which is bad for the model too. We’re working tightly with an upcoming exchange called Busha, and the image below demonstrates the RMT transaction flow we’re working with. We’ll still continue our (very intense) efforts to list on existing high-volume exchanges, but we need such listing to go side by side with something like Busha.
Re-competition. We’ll try to stay on our own lane, because we believe that, as non-cash/money value transmitters, we’re running a slightly different race than most remittance services for now. Personally, I think remittance senders will always need money transfer operators (MTOs), but SureRemit will make them need MTOs less. While the competition’s message is “send money faster/cheaper/easier”, our message is more closely related to: “don’t send money if you don’t have to”.
Most of the system is automated. As we’re learning in the live environment, however, that might not entirely be a good thing.
Yes, the dog ate a few parts of the original roadmap (e.g, Latin America plans), but we’re still mostly right on track.