Tokens24 team had the pleasure of talking to the co-founder and CEO of Ink Protocol, Gee Hwan-Chuang in order to understand what Ink Protocol is all about.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your background
I grew up near Boston, MA and later attended Cornell University, where I received a masters degree in electrical engineering in 2001. After college, I moved out to Silicon Valley to pursue my startup dreams. However, just as I got settled in, the dot-com bubble burst and I had to put those dreams on hold. I ended up working as a software engineer, but learned a lot during those first few years.
In 2009, after some moderate success with our online marketing business, my college friend, James, and I started Listia, a peer to peer marketplace for buying and selling used goods. Over the last nine years, more than 100 million items have been transacted on the marketplace.
How did you come up with the idea for Ink Protocol?
After running the Listia marketplace for more than 9 years, we realized that all marketplaces were basically solving the same problems. Marketplaces all have a transaction system, a reputation system and some way to handle disputes. Using our experience from running a marketplace with more than 10 million members and 100 million items transacted, we built a blockchain-based peer-to-peer (P2P) transaction system, called Ink Protocol, that could solve all of these problems in a decentralized way. Ink Protocol does this by creating a safe and trustworthy P2P transaction system that has built-in transferable reputation, escrow and dispute resolution.
What is the Listia Marketplace and what is the connection with Ink Protocol?
Listia is a P2P marketplace for buying and selling used goods. It was founded in 2009 as a YC Company and currently has more than 10 million registered users. Initially, Listia used a centralized virtual currency, called Credits, for all of its transactions, but recently the Credit system was replaced with Ink Protocol’s XNK token.
The most exciting thing about Ink Protocol is that it is already live on the Listia marketplace. Over 4 million items have already been listed using XNK, and Ink Protocol’s XNK token is now the primary currency on Listia. Users can buy and sell all kinds of goods using XNK exclusively. As you earn XNK, you can also transfer and use it outside of Listia on any P2P transaction using our Ink Pay app, which makes it very easy to buy and sell using cryptocurrency on any marketplace. We believe Ink Protocol is one of the largest deployments and best real use cases for the blockchain so far.
What is Ink Pay and how does it work?
Ink Pay is a marketplace transaction app that allows users to buy and sell on any platform or marketplace using cryptocurrencies such as XNK, ETH, and Dai, while earning transferable reputation. It is also a browser that allows users to view the transaction history and feedback of any other user via their Ethereum address. With Ink Pay, you can buy, sell, and earn transferable feedback on marketplaces like Craigslist, FB Marketplace, OLX, and more. Our vision is to bring blockchain and Ethereum technology to the mainstream by helping people use it in everyday situations.
How will the new InkPay feature influence the user experience?
Ink Pay’s newest feature, Checkouts, allows sellers to easily create listings and sell for cryptocurrency on ANY marketplace. Sellers can now create a simple buying experience for any item they are selling. Checkouts is accessed via a web link that the buyer can use to view the seller’s feedback, pay for the item and then leave new feedback, all of which are stored on the Ethereum blockchain using Ink Protocol.
Sellers can create listings and use the Checkouts link on any existing marketplace, such as Craigslist, FB Marketplace, classified forums, and others. Buyers can then simply click and open the link on any web browser and pay using the address and instructions there. They can use whatever cryptocurrency wallet they already have, including exchanges and services like Coinbase or even Bibox, where you can buy XNK easily.
Can you tell us a little bit about the background of your key team members?
Our team is comprised of experts including James Fong, the co-founder and president of Listia Inc, who previously built several profitable e-commerce sites and worked as an engineer at several large Silicon Valley companies such as SUN Microsystems and Micron; Ngan Pham, the CTO of Listia Inc., built all of Ink Protocol’s contracts, designed the protocol and is the resident blockchain and Ethereum expert; and Gee-Hsien Chuang, the head of product at Listia Inc., has been heading up product at Listia since 2010 and previously worked as a software engineer at several startups and Silicon Valley companies including Cerego, Slideshare (acquired by LinkedIn) and Cisco.
Gee Hwan-Chuang is the the co-founder and CEO of Listia and Ink Protocol. After working as an engineer in the tech industry and building a successful online marketing business, Gee founded Listia in 2009 as a result of his frustration with antiquated peer-to-peer (P2P) marketplaces. Since its launch, Listia has amassed 10 million members, and inspired Gee to create Ink Protocol, a decentralized reputation and payment system that can be used for any P2P transaction.
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