Edmund Lowell: This is a really important question. The two sided marketplace is a tough egg to crack - however, SelfKey has a good head start with a functional, working marketplace in several verticals, with a number of service providers! When compared to some competitors who also claim to have a marketplace, SelfKey has more products and services available in a functional, working marketplace. For instance, users can set up a bank account (in 14 different countries), open a company in 11 different countries, get an exchange account, and soon users can get a crypto loan, where we compare lots of different companies. This is a good start, now to get users! More on this covered in other questions.
EL: An active and engaged community is fundamental to the success of SelfKey. The question here is what are the strategies to build a big and strong community? There is no one strategy, but we employ many, probably this post would be very long to explain them all, so let's stick to three core ideas - 1) traffic 2) education 3) conversion.
First and foremost, we need to get people to the SelfKey website and wallet. This is done through a number of different traffic strategies; a favorite is SEO. Search engine optimization is a longer term strategy based on writing content, and ranking for specific keywords in search engines like Google.
Although it takes time, the ROI (return on investment) from SEO is historically quite good, and we are already starting to see dividends. For instance, search traffic has grown about 4x in just this year alone. For SEO, there are writers who have a sole focus on long form content strategy and keyword targeting.
Nextly, once users are on the SelfKey website, they need to be educated on what the project is, why the product might solve their problems, and how it might be a good solution for the job they need to get done. We are constantly working to improve the website, and just translated it into Chinese. We have social links and encourage users to subscribe to mailing list, join our telegram, and other community channels to further their education.
SelfKey’s current website comes after an iteration of 4 or 5 previous websites where we are constantly working to get the messaging right, and for users to perform the next, and arguably most important task: convert into long term users! We need to convert website traffic and casually interested users into SelfKey Wallet users. We believe that crypto wallets will become even more important in the future, and what makes the SelfKey Wallet unique, is that it is also an identity wallet. There is no one thing which achieves conversion, but as we mentioned already - it's important to have traffic, and educate that traffic - a certain amount of which will always convert. Next we use a blend of quantitative and qualitative strategies to help build conversions.
For instance, there are a few community admins who are spread across time zones of the Americas, Europe and Asia to be there to clean out spam. Another good strategy is testing and optimizing the website and applications to improve conversions with iterations with split testing.
We absolutely agree that the power of the community can lead SelfKey to grow - the success of the project depends on the community! That's why we routinely ask for feedback, and feature requests - these requests were automatically prioritized and made the top features in the next development release. Your efforts as a community are the most important thing to make SelfKey succeed - keep up the good work everyone!
EL: Thanks for your comments on the Exchanges Marketplace - we do plan to do much more marketing for the Exchanges Marketplace in particular - first driving traffic, then educating users on various exchanges and the different advantages they bring, and finally, providing an easy way to sign up for the exchanges which is quicker, faster and easier than traditional methods. Also the idea of API integration for in-app trading has come up a lot - but more work needs to be done on this, in particular better ways of managing the funds, so they are non-custodial (some projects are already doing this for instance Kucoin).
EL: Although we do pay attention to competitors products, we feel that it's actually better when competitors succeed! Here's why: decentralized identity is a paradigm shift - there needs to be a change in basic consumer behavior and demands on companies. Companies need multiple choices of vendors and will likely avoid vendor locking.
Therefore, we most likely want and need multiple companies to succeed. This will help from an adoption standpoint, and technically should make it easier to acquire users, as properly designed DID's are interoperable. This means a bigger pie for all to share.
In conclusion, we are different armies fighting the same war. If "A rising tide lifts all boats" then Self Sovereign identity is a tidal wave that will impact lots of different industries, should it be demanded by consumers!
EL: The SelfKey team is a really talented group of individuals who all believe in the mission, so many of the team members come to work ready to do what they love, and to work on a project and in a direction they believe in. However, motivating a team to perform is something which good leaders do consistently in any company, team, organization or group setting.
One small thing we have done for the past few years is to have a weekly teamwide meeting each week, called a level 10 meeting. During this meeting we share various successful updates. Hearing teammates talk about their big and small wins is really motivating. Next we go into any important company wide news and goals for the next cycle. Previously we had 1 quarter goals, but crypto moves so fast! Therefore we shortened our sprint cycle to 6 week "bets".
Next up in the meeting, we go through culture points/fun questions. This is where we ask everyone to answer (in advance) a question related to how their culture might be different, or just a fun, open ended question. Recent examples: "How late is considered to be late, in your country?", "How do you say hello in your country?", and "If you could have any superpower, what would it be?" We don't want to spend too much time on this, we'd rather be writing software! But we do spend some time each meeting bonding and learning about the personality of our team members.
Finally, we wrap up with quotes from our #Quotes channel - and call on various teammates to explain why they selected that quote from a famous person, and what they interpret it to mean. Every quarter we try to have a small team meetup in a region (like Europe) and every year we have a global meetup - we try to post pictures of the meetups here in Telegram.
Also one really recent thing we did with COVID-19 is have a workout challenge. We post pictures/videos of us working out from home, since it's really tough to go to the gym! I read recently that one company got a huge return on investment for investing in employees physical fitness, they got $8 back for every 1$ invested!
EL: Based on user feedback, this is being prioritized. This service needs to be provided by a fiat<->crypto onramp. And we are trying to find the right partners. Right now what we've found is a service where users should be able to purchase ETH directly from a bank transfer, and then swap into KEY. Exact implementation details TBD but we've identified several regulated partners who could provide this service, and who have API's. We may need to integrate with several providers or there won't be global coverage.
EL: From a product perspective, we are always looking to try and meet unmet needs in the Marketplace. If someone else is doing it, usually we won't pursue this idea. SelfKey places a huge emphasis on innovation and doing things differently, and we hope that shines through. This could be reflected in our industry first Marketplace, the separate R&D team who focuses on innovation, or the uniqueness of our Marketplace verticals.
Very few, if any, crypto/self sovereign identity platforms offer bank account opening, and from what I understand, no one else has incorporation services. These two are massive markets and very unique at this point. A clear way to differentiate is by expanding horizontally to different Marketplace verticals. However, there may be ways to differentiate further in a 'vertical' approach (e.g. a new chain) or a hardware wallet, or other things we are being discussed and validated through user testing, interviews and surveys.
EL: We have considered adding more chains to the wallet on many occasions. In fact, we have a pretty exciting update to share about a partnership with a very important upcoming chain! (announcement of an announcement ? ) Like most things, it's the community who will decide this, and there is a poll on this question coming soon - stay tuned!
EL: Great idea! We are always open to suggestions for clever partnerships. Need to keep in mind a lot of this is out of our control, we can't tell another company what to do! That being said, we are aware of the issues with Zoom and think this would be a great partnership opportunity. As a reminder, if you have suggestions or ideas like this, please submit them at ideas.selfkey.org - the success of SelfKey relies on the efforts of the community!
Update: we did contact Zoom through several contacts on LinkedIn - let's see what can be done here! interestingly, also since this question was asked, Zoom acquired Keybase - we are on the right track!
EL: This is a good question! Real estate is a very domestically based transaction - for instance, in many countries in Asia, you need to be a local to own land. Furthermore, people usually want to see real estate before they buy it. But - there is a segment that we like which is real estate for passports - this is interesting because it is inherently international - also, you get a passport for yourself and your family if you buy the property - so there is no risk of the country saying "citizens only" - because you are a citizen. We want more feedback on this - would SelfKey users want to buy real estate and get a citizenship?
EL: Yes, we have an upcoming crypto loan marketplace - lots of interesting opportunities to evolve this marketplace as well here!
EL: We do have some plans around staking - but want to release a full plan before we announce anything. Ideally should be able to do it Q3 - but cannot promise this as there are a few moving parts! Patience is a virtue ? HODL!
EL: Hopefully yes! It's a great idea - buying KEY through the app with a credit card. Right now the major sticking point is API - we haven't found any company who has an API to receive KYC, and purchase with a credit card. Does the community know anyone?