By: Ermos Kyriakides
I am pleased to announce that after the highly successful “Real World Applications of Cryptocurrencies” series, I will be complementing it with the launch of a new series titled “Hot or Not — An ICO Review” where I will be reviewing upcoming ICOs.
For the first post of my new series, I will be reviewing Wemark — a blockchain-based marketplace for digital content.
Wemark is developing a blockchain-based distribution system for digital content, implementing our concept of the “distributed marketplace”. Distributed marketplaces allow creators to license their content directly to customers, keeping them in full control of the rights to their content.
In other words, Wemark is building a platform that will empower content creators — without the need of middle-men. Their first use-case will be creating a marketplace for stock photography; an industry that will exceed $4B by 2020.
There are a couple of problems with the current centralized solutions (Shutterstock, Getty Images, etc.). First and foremost, most content creators work with agencies and have to give up rights on their content in order to monetize it. Secondly, these agencies (and centralized platforms) take a huge cut from content creators (up to 85%), leaving them with very little. Unfortunately, as there isn’t enough competition, players in the space are monopolizing it and have free reign to do as they like.
Wemark aims to solve this issue by giving creators back their rights and control over their content with addition to minimizing fees (the proposed fee currently stands at 15%).
Customers will be able to license curated, commercial photos directly from leading photographers. Innovative discovery collaboration, and curation tools also improve the ability for customers to find and manage the content that they need.
As a matter of fact, Wemark has already launched their stock photography platform a few weeks ago, featuring over 3,000 contributors and 40,000 photos, including some of the industry’s leading content providers.
This is a space that certainly requires an overhaul. I believe that Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies will be able to revolutionize this industry, so Wemark is off to a good start.
Wemark Token & ICO Overview
Before moving on, I would like to get a few terminologies out of the way, in order for everyone to be able to follow my posts.
- Initial Coin Offering (ICO) —Taking an extract from Wikipedia: An ICO is a means of crowdfunding centered around cryptocurrency, which can be a source of capital for startup companies. In an ICO, a quantity of the crowdfunded cryptocurrency is sold to investors in the form of “tokens”, in exchange for legal tender or other cryptocurrencies.
- Platform — Provides the utility and functionality to create Decentralized Applications (dApps) running on top of it. Wemark is an example of such dApp.
- Symbol — A unique identifier of a token. Usually this is consistent across exchanges, charting sites, etc.
- Total Supply — The total amount of tokens/coins that will ever exist.
- Soft Cap — The minimum amount that an ICO needs to raise. Typically, if the soft cap is not reached, the ICO is cancelled and funds are refunded.
- Hard Cap — The maximum amount that an ICO will be raising. The ICO ends immediately once the hard cap reached and will stop raising further funds.
- Rate — The cost of 1 token during the ICO.
Below you can find a graphic providing details about the ICO and some information about the Wemark Token. In order to participate, follow the link here.
Wemark is introducing a dedicated token to power a direct economy for digital content. Wemark Tokens (WMK), are intended to serve as native payment system for the network, and reward all the relevant parties for creating, distributing and promoting digital content.
The Wemark Token (WMK) has a very straight forward and easy to understand use-case; it will purely act as a currency on the Wemark platform.
In addition, since creators are getting paid in WMK, they could become vested in the platform, as their earnings could increase as the Wemark Platform gets adopted further; a much better relationship than what content creators currently have with agencies.
Team & Advisors
Wemark was established in 2015, has its headquarters in San Francisco, USAand Research & Development (R&D) office in Tel Aviv, Israel. The Wemarkfounders consist of:
- Tai Kaish (CEO)—Has been in the digital marketing space for over a decade. Founder and former CEO of Underline; a digital marketing agency specialized in start-ups, Israeli brands and online businesses (notable clients include Leumi Bank, Discount Bank, Weizmann Institute, TrustWare and the Trump Foundation). Besides his full-time occupation, Tai guest lectures and mentors, marketing and entrepreneurship, at the IDC Herzliya international school.
- Pavel Elkind (CTO) —Over a decade of software engineering and management experience. Former R&D Director of Linkury; leading ~20 employees in various teams. Additionally, Pavel was a guild member of the NFX Guild; a seed and series A venture firm based in San Francisco. Prior to that, he was an R&D Manager in Unit 8200 of Israeli Intelligence Corps.
- Roy Meirom (VP Business Development) —Serial entrepreneur that has been involved in a number of different roles and industries, ranging from being a founder, a director, an international delegations coordinator and much more.
Wemark has an excellent board of advisors, consisting of industry experts in a number of relevant areas. Some notable advisors are: Lars Perkins (Former CEO & Founder at Picasa, Director at Google), Lee Torrens ( Marketplace Director at Canva), Michael C. Lesser (Former General Counsel / VP at Shutterstock), Keren Sachs (Former Director of Content Development at Shutterstock). You can find all of them here.
Despite the fact that the founders do not have any experience in the space, they have a proven track record of setting up and launching successful businesses in a variety of industries. Additionally, the board of advisors behind Wemark will help offset this, as they are huge names in the space.
Partnerships & Investors
Wemark has already secured Venture Capital (VC) backing from Sarona Ventures, NFX and Elevator. This indicates that Wemark has considerable potential for rapid and profitable growth as VCs wouldn’t have backed them otherwise; a major positive point.
Verdict — Hot or Not?
Taking into consideration all points above, in my opinion, Wemark has done a good job in identifying an issue with the current centralized approach for digital content contribution. Moving the digital content marketplace to the decentralized world benefits both, the creator and consumer. The creator gets a bigger slice of the pie, and due to this, can price more aggressively, which in turn, benefits the consumer. The Wemark team and advisors look more than capable of pulling this through and having already secured backing from VCs, this gives further confidence of success to potential ICO investors.
I would classify Wemark: