Reeve Collins, the founder and CEO of BLOCKv, is most famous in the blockchain space as a co-founder of the popular USD token, Tether. Since Bitfinex acquired Tether, Reeve has been working on an exciting new project, BLOCKv, which raised approximately $21,500,000 in their ICO during October of last year. We reached out to Reeve to discuss this most recent venture.
Can you sum up BLOCKv in a couple of sentences?
BLOCKv is the user interface for blockchain, adding the experiential layer to blockchain assets. At its heart, BLOCKv is an open source, shared protocol that enhances the underlying distributed ledger and is made available to individual applications. Our developer platform provides the toolkit to easily and quickly create smart digital goods and unleash the power of the blockchain, removing the complexity of today’s blockchain development. We are enabling the rapid development and monetization of blockchain apps, or what we call vAtoms, an entirely new asset class — which meaningfully interacts with the end user.
What are vAtoms? Can you provide some use cases?
It is a new asset class. The interactive smart virtual objects we call vAtoms are these super tokens, an “experiential currency”, that meaningfully interact with the end user. vAtoms give you all the advantages of cryptocurrency such as authenticity, scarcity, ownership, and tradability, but also bring the digital experience. vAtoms do and will take many forms from:
- Collectibles – like digital sports cards, rare digital art and media with transparent economic incentives back to the creators in perpetuity.
- Tickets – Tickets to concerts that become immersive experiences where brands can dynamically invite participants to special sponsored events, artists can engage with fans giving them backstage access and rewarding with exclusive tracks from the very event they attended.
- Gaming – In-game virtual goods that transcend the multitude of virtual worlds and the real-world with the help of AR/VR
- Loyalty Programs – Next generation brand loyalty programs focused on amazing customer experiences that build long-term value-based relationships with consumers and for the first time, provide true value-based distribution vehicles with 100% transparent data & analytics that transform the business models.
- Others – Medical records, and many more forms.
How long has the company been working on BLOCKv?
The BLOCKv platform has been in development for over two years and has a number of developers already utilizing the platform across several industries.
Has your experience with Tether led to any interesting BLOCKv partnerships?
The experience of Tether was instrumental to my career. It provided me deep insights into the financial applications of blockchain technology. Thanks to my work there, I was able to recognize the true disruptive power of tokenization technology. I also formed meaningful relationships throughout the ecosystem which have led to partnerships for BLOCKv and have shaped a real understanding of the types of innovations that will benefit the industry the most.
The example videos showing vAtoms being used with very well know brands are superb. Are you worried at all about using existing brands in vAtom demos without partnerships in place?
We have been upfront and careful about labeling these videos as demo only. We are not in any way implying partnership with these brands, promoting or spreading any vAtoms associated with them. In every material that has included a brand name, we have explicitly stated that these are demo only. It is natural for every startup to describe their potential use cases using names that consumers are familiar with but we have not used any brand IP for any revenue generating purposes or promotions. All vAtoms used for such purposes represent projects with agreements in place like the one we had with MegaFon and others.
I read in your Telegram group that BLOCKv is agnostic and that vAtom creators will have the ability to anchor it to any supported blockchain. Which blockchains do you currently support and do you have plans to add additional blockchains in the future? Any plans to push users towards a specific chain?
That’s correct. Currently, the BLOCKv platform supports Bitcoin (through Omni) and Ethereum blockchain. Others (such as EOS) will be supported in the future. We are also looking into building our own if necessary for scale.
Do you currently have any competition in the space?
There are a number of companies that are trying to tackle the digital goods on blockchain objective. Cryptokitties was one of the examples that you may have heard recently. BLOCKv, in contrast to existing players in the space, provides the tools to build these smart virtual goods. We are an open source developer platform with sophisticated SDKs, API, and tools that simplify their development and enable massive new revenue generating opportunities for developers and consumers. Most of the current players are already realizing that there are synergies in utilizing the BLOCKv platform to build and market to the world in a quicker, more efficient and scalable manner and are approaching us for partnerships. Additionally, because we have been working on this platform for over two years now, the vAtom capabilities we have built are extraordinary in comparison to what is currently offered in the space. They can be interactive, 3D, change state, listen to real-time events, just to name a few of the coolest features.
So far, in the crypto-scene at least, BLOCKv has been somewhat under the radar. Do you have any plans for a bigger marketing push within the industry soon? Perhaps in time for the SDK launch this quarter.
Yes, we had not focused much on marketing. Our priority has been to develop amazing technology. We have successfully generated our tokens and built a very supportive community in 2017. This year, we will spend more time on bringing awareness, marketing and education. In the first month of the first quarter alone we are taking stages at three of the most influential conferences in blockchain and technology: BTC in Miami, A360 in LA and Blockchain Forum in Davos. But the amazing part is that people are hearing about us without any marketing dollars spent. MegaFon, for example, approached us to form a partnership right after our TGE close. The fact that big brands are hearing about us without any ads is the proof of our tech demand and adoption. Furthermore, BLOCKv’s platform being developer focused will drive attention organically as more developers start utilizing our SDKs and build amazing businesses. Soon, everyone will know about the power of vAtoms.
Do you have plans to tackle GPS spoofing? If so, is there anything you can reveal?
Not at this moment. We see this as a device problem, but in important circumstances, we can validate position through multiple factors, such as a surrounding visual or audio confirmation.
What are your thoughts on the future growth of augmented reality tech? I’ve read that interest is high, but adoption remains low.
Augmented reality adoption has remained low because of lack of engagement value. In order for a consumer to adopt any new technology and go over the learning curve, there needs to be a value-add. Only a few have been successful to provide such value-add, like Pokemon Go. In the case of businesses, BLOCKv’s tech will be able to add just that. The engagement value and scarcity, these will be unique digital objects. This enhances the nature of digital ownership with the power of human imagination. In the case of MegaFon, we saw this proof when fans of the Leningrad band went on an augment treasure hunt in the freezing temperatures of Moscow because they got objects of value – vAtoms that gave them a chance to win a concert ticket. We believe that AR brings a significant potential in consumer markets. Through virtual goods and BLOCKv platform, we can add tremendous value to this market because vAtoms bring an actual value to the user expanding A/R tech beyond just the fun aspect.
Are there any plans for to use BLOCKv to improve VR experience? Can you give us some example use cases?
We are not a VR technology company and can’t improve VR experience from a hardware perspective. But our vAtoms can cross platforms, from AR to VR and that capability to change environments improves the experience significantly. You can collect virtual goods through an AR platform or mobile or scan, etc.. and you can input and integrate the objects to the VR environment. For example, we have built a demo of such scenario in a VR game. Once a user collects a digital good (for instance, a branded energy drink) in an A/R environment, they can use that for their character to load on energy in the VR game. This opens up the opportunity for brands to create virtual goods of real value that can be collected in the real world and used in VR experiences.
How will BLOCKv be integrated with existing POS technology in retail? Have you had any discussions with Micros/Oracle about potential hardware requirements?
We have built prototypes with existing POS systems where vAtoms can display QR codes that are scannable by the POS system. We have functional demos with a number of POS systems. Clover POS is one example. We will provide a connecter-based model for more POS integration in upcoming releases.
Do you have any external marketing partners that you will use to implement vAtoms in different businesses?
Yes, in fact, we are just finalizing a partnership agreement with the biggest players in the space. Stay tuned! This marketing agency will use our technology to design, build and develop vAtoms for Fortune 500 companies across a number of industries. We are excited to see the use cases that come out of this.
Where do you see BLOCKv two years from now?
Two years from now, we hope to have disrupted the way businesses communicate with their users through objects of engagement value, and through this new asset class, the vAtom. We hope to achieve worldwide acceptance of our supertokens as we believe that vAtoms have the potential to be the defacto standard of what a digital object is. There are over 5 million apps across Android and iOS and over a billion websites, all with numerous objects. That extrapolates to over a trillion digital objects which can be enhanced as vAtoms by having cryptocurrency characteristics. It’s perhaps one of the biggest markets in the world. And we know that we can’t tackle it ourselves, but by providing our platform for bright, curious developers that want to build businesses on top of the blockchain, this will enable us to achieve this goal.
To read more about BLOCKv and vAtoms, you can explore the following sites:
Disclaimer: I am an early investor in BLOCKv and believe in their vision and technology. I hold all tokens from my original purchase and have no plans to sell any tokens in the near future.