E-commerce was once disruptive – a generation ago. However, blockchain will once again disrupt this industry and further do so at a time when internet access is not only global but increasingly accessible.
In addition to that, the technology will help solve some of the most pressing issues today in this vertical. These start with the anti-competitive pricing of the big online sellers, to product fraud and of course data privacy.
Eligma is designed to change all that. The platform, an ETH-based system, will allow customers to find the best deals for new purchases, allow consumers to track their products during their usable lifecycle, and sell them, at the best time and price, downstream. It will introduce a unified loyalty system, based on its ELI crypto token.
Here is how it works. Consumers have access to an optimized shopping platform that guides them to the best quality/price ratio offers. They can also pay for some of the platform services the goods with the system coin. Once bought, consumers can sell the item via the same platform, obtaining the best price. The Eligma platform actually has tools which show where and what time of day optimal selling should occur. No more deprioritization in big online stores. No more fraud. And here is the best thing. Eligma can save you the one thing money can’t buy. Time.
We recently sat down with Eligma’s CEO, Dejan Roljič, to have a chat with him about the project as well as finding out his thoughts and insights.
Dejan. Thanks for joining us today. Can you tell us more about yourself and Eligma?
Thank you for having me. Basically, I have been an entrepreneur all my life. I started my first start-up when I was sixteen and I never looked back since. I first thought of Eligma about 10 years ago under a different name. The idea went quiet when I founded the ABC Accelerator, which was named the best start-up accelerator in Central Europe, but it never went away. A talk with Matej Gregorcic, Eligma’s co-founder, was key. We figured out that the technology was finally advanced enough for a project like this, so Matej persuaded me to put my dreams into reality. Eligma will be a multipurpose commerce platform that will utilize AI and Blockchain technologies to change the way people discover, purchase, track and resell items. It will transform every household into a business.
You are setting out to disrupt e-commerce. What area do you think you will make the most difference in first? Digital items? Car sales? High value or low value items?
We are hopeful it will enter all category and price segments. With our AI-driven discovery, people will be able to find the best deals for any product, regardless of the price. Our inventory tracking feature will enable users to have an overview of everything they own and enable them to sell those items in second-hand stores. This is where high-value items will come into focus first, but when users see how easy selling is, that limitation will be gone also. Our third pillar, loyalty, will also apply to all items equally.
How did you come up with the idea and what was the thought process behind it?
The idea was born in Shanghai 10 years ago. I was running a small business that was controlling the manufacturing process of products that big retailers were ordering from Chinese factories. We had to check the production process multiple times and in the end, approve the product for shipping. We discovered that there was a huge margin gap between the production cost and the retail price. We started asking ourselves how we could allow people to group up and order those products in bulk and avoid the middlemen. We named the idea Crowdordering. Through time the problem grew – there were too many e-commerce and marketplaces with so many products, differentiating themselves only by price and brand and not by the quality/price ratio. At a certain point, I left a successful company to fulfill my dream. I started to research by talking to small business first. I then moved on to larger e-commerce and finally huge Silicon Valley corporations. I finally connected with a few partners who could help me understand the problem. We established I needed a bigger team and thus Eligma was born.
What is the biggest problem with the industry or do you think there is a gap in the market for Eligma to fill?
As ironic as it sounds, there is too much to choose from and too many online stores. Consumers have to have separate accounts for every store and loyalty program with one retailer cannot be used with other retailers. We will change that with the introduction of a unified shopping account and a universal loyalty program that will use our ELI crypto tokens. In this way, our users will be able to shop in all stores on the platform with one account and earn and redeem ELI tokens with any retailer participating in the program.
What do you think is the biggest problem Eligma will solve and why is the problem important to solve?
I believe it is a complex problem. Users have too many choices and not enough time. It doesn’t matter whether you enjoy shopping or not, Eligma caters to both kind of people. You can let our AI choose the product for you or use your unified account to browse your heart out. In any way, you’ll get the best quality/price ratio offer and save time. We also recognized that a lot of people don’t know what they own and how much those things are worth.
Talk a bit about this cool piece of the platform – you actually help customers not only find the best deals but help them find the best time of day to sell their products after they are finished with them. How does that work?
This is where our Inventory pillar and blockchain come in. Everything you buy through the platform gets its digital item profile (DIP) and is written into our sidechain. The hash value, connected to that data block, is written into the Ethereum blockchain itself, ensuring this data cannot be falsified. Why is that so important? Our AI will track the value of these items and allow a simple way to post listings for these items in different second-hand marketplaces. With data stored on the blockchain, buyers will always be sure that they are getting what they are paying for and not relying on buyer reviews that offer no guarantees.
In the whitepaper, you talk about the issue of privacy – an online store knows all your movements and behavior. How does your platform help safeguard the consumer’s data? Will they ever be compensated for selling it?
When users shop in many different stores, their data is spread all over the internet. That means it’s hard to track and delete it. We will be gathering all the data in one place, meaning tracking will be easy and efficient. We will give users the option to depersonalize their data, so it can’t be connected back to them. We do not plan to buy and/or resell user data. Its only purpose is to improve the personalized discovery process.
Regulation-wise, what are the toughest challenges you will have to overcome? Per region which is the hardest market for you to crack or stay in compliance with? The US? Asia? Europe?
As you know, the legislation for crowdsales and the use of cryptocurrencies, which Eligma will enable, differ greatly from country to country but they are the strictest in Canada, China, Singapore, South Korea and the United States of America.
Where do you expect this model and your customer base to grow the fastest and why?
We are hoping all over the world. I think Slovenia is a safe bet since we are starting and testing Eligma here and then countries where the most money is spent shopping online, e.g. the USA, the UK and France.
What are the services you plan to offer that excite you the most?
For me personally, it’s the ability to track your household’s worth and selling items at the most appropriate times. The concept of transforming households into businesses is what I really love.
What has been your happiest moment so far working on Eligma? On the flipside, what has been the most painful, or perhaps the most regretful decision you’ve made with Eligma?
Once you establish a vision that you pursue passionately, every day becomes a joy. Just working with the talented team that we have is rewarding in itself. Of course you get tired in the process, but when you have your goal clear in mind, you tend to overcome that easily. To be honest, I don’t regret anything. Even mistakes can be used for learning and becoming better.
What is the indicator you are looking for to tell you that you have begun to achieve your mission?
Community recognition. We are building Eligma as a tool to improve the shopping experience for everyone. Once the community is on board, everything else will fall into place.
Editors Pick: Eligma ICO
Blockchain is about to disrupt the online commerce space. Hard as it is to remember, what is now seen as “traditional” e-commerce was highly disruptive only a generation ago. Now blockchain technology is poised to upend this segment again. This is happening just as internet penetration is truly becoming not
Tell us more about the ELI coin.
What are the selling points and what does it do in the system?
ELI token will be the foundation of our universal loyalty program. It will replace loyalty points and coupons. Users will be able to earn ELI tokens with every retailer on the platform and then spend them at that or any other retailer, consolidating separate loyalty programs. They will also enable the use of some of the platform’s advanced features, like the escrow service and decentralized sales on the blockchain.
Your founding team already seems to have a good relationship with existing real-world retailers that seem a perfect testing ground for this platform. Any juicy details about strategic partnerships you want to share?
I will just say that we have already signed letters of intent with five major retailers in BTC City, one of the largest retail centers in this part of Europe, for testing our cryptocurrency transactions system, EliPay. We just entered in a partnership with Microsoft and much more will follow soon.
Moving on to more personal stuff, what does a typical day in your life look like?
As you can imagine, most of my day is occupied with Eligma. It’s a good thing I never get tired of working with such a wonderful team.
Can you express one personal opinion of yours about the blockchain? It doesn’t matter if it’s negative or positive, we just want to hear your thoughts on it.
It’s very positive. With safety and transparency features that it offers, it will shape not only the commerce world but the world in general in the future.
What’s something that you believed to be true for a long time until you found out that you were wrong, or if you don’t like that dichotomy of right versus wrong, what’s something significant that you really changed your mind about over time?
I used to believe that if you approach something honestly and keep telling the truth, people will eventually see that you mean what you say. I have learned that there will always be doubters, but you should not let them divert you from your chosen path. If there is something you strongly believe in, follow your path.
Finally, what other personal goals (besides your career) do you have in life? Is there anything else in life you want to achieve?
Right now, Eligma is my almost exclusive focus in life. What little spare time I have, I try to dedicate to my family and friends.
That concludes our Interview with Dejan Roljič
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