Meet the Boss – Exclusive Interview with Gaze Coin CEO Jonny Peters

Jonny Peters CEO Gaze Coin Interview

Gaze Coin is a blockchain-based platform that bridges the gap between consumers, content creators, and advertisers in the VR/AR industry.

Using patented gaze and eye tracking measurement and payment technologies, Gaze Coin tracks the number of time users spend viewing, interacting with, or existing inside VR/AR content which then uses a microtransaction system to reward all parties involved in the platform.

Gaze Coin also has its own Proof-of-Stake protocol that allows content creators to issue their own tokens or coins that power their transactions and links to their brand.

In a recent conversation, we interviewed Gaze Coin’s CEO, Jonny Peters, to talk about Gaze Coin and find out insights and answers regarding the platform from the man himself.

Hi Jonny, please tell us a bit about yourself.

jonny peters interview chipinAs a filmmaker for the past 20 years, I’ve always been keen on the future of media. I raised nearly $12M in 1998 for Kgrind, a multichannel music and action sports broadband TV network, which was considered very cutting edge at the time.

Three years later, I was recruited to BSkyB, where I built red-button apps for Sky’s Electronic Programme Guide (EPG). I’ve produced interactive formats throughout my career, including mobile and tethered VR experiences, virtual worlds, interactive reality TV and traditional film because I’ve always been intrigued by this idea of blurring the lines between viewer and participant.

So much so that my master’s thesis was on blending virtual worlds and traditional filmmaking and that became the philosophical basis for the Gaze Coin platform today.

How did you discover the VR/AR monetization problem that Gaze Coin is trying to solve?

So right now, essentially only two business models have ever been attempted in VR and AR — people either pay up front, a la carte, for content downloads/streams or they pay via a content subscription.

That isn’t enough to sustain an ecosystem.

When you think about the ecosystem as a larger, connected metaverse, this presents serious hurdles, including game currencies not being portable across virtual worlds, consumers resistance to paying for content (as we’ve seen from the past 15 years of media transformation) and really no incentive for users to really engage with a wide variety of content other than curiosity and the novelty factor.

That isn’t enough to sustain an ecosystem.

In order to grow a media ecosystem whether it’s old media like newspapers or new media like VR/AR, advertisers are still essential.

Ad-supported models are very promising in VR/AR considering the wide variety of creative options, from virtual signage, objects, storefronts, product placement, virtual search, the list goes on, but have struggled to gain any traction yet.

Although you could chop it up with it still being very early, and that’s true, we also believe advertisers will continue to struggle in VR/AR when they try to apply today’s digital advertising to VR/AR because, in a nutshell, you can’t measure the media the same way you measure framed media.

Literally everywhere you go, look or touch can be monetized in VR/AR, so we really needed to create a tool to do that.

It’s better for the advertisers, obviously, because they needed a tool to measure true engagement in VR/AR which is way beyond click or view-based measurement.

What we found remarkable, however, is that it’s also better for the users too because now, with these new monetization models, users won’t be forced to stop and watch an ad, which totally disrupts immersion in a virtual experience.

Tell me about the idea of Gaze Control. As some readers may not be familiar with it, please explain what it is and why you think it is an integral element on the platform?

gazecoin logoSure. Since you can’t really “click” or “tap” on something like a play button in VR, mobile VR developers came up with a new way to navigate and select items while immersed, and that’s gaze control, sometimes called “gaze input”.

Basically, by staring at a fixed point (item, play button, etc.) for long enough – usually between 2 and 5 seconds, a user executes the desired action.

So, we’ve created a way to actually measure not only this action but more importantly how long the user stays immersed.

Moreover, we’ve combined it with eye tracking measurement capturing essential engagement analytics like gaze path, fixation, pupil dilation and more to deliver a much more authentic way to track and monetize immersive media assets.

Traditional ads while effective, are sometimes disruptive and “get in the face” of the consumer. With Gaze Coin, are we perhaps shifting to ads that engage with the consumer and invites them to “play” or participate along with the ad? If yes, what are the steps in your development plan to ensure that happens?

Yeah, so the good news is that the monetization models that this platform opens up mean a whole new world of ad formats for advertisers, including ones that will feel completely native and non-intrusive to the end user.

gaze control works infographic

The even better news is that our platform also powers employing creators and influencers on behalf of advertisers and rewarding end users for engaging with content.

And the best news is that our token exchange allows for brands or creators to mint their own token for use in their respective worlds and virtual environments.

With things like Google or Facebook ads, there is a platform for advertisers to get complete analytics and laser-target their audience with various tools. Do you have a similar platform for Gaze Coin? How are you going to make ads relevant to each consumer so advertisers get a satisfying ROI?

We realize that brands expect as much customization as possible. We have some exciting partner integrations we’ll be announcing soon to address these needs.

Dream Channel is an interesting and exciting project. What makes it even more interesting is that it will distribute GZE to users experiencing it. Can you explain why you came up with the idea of Dream Channel? Are there any future developments or plans for Dream Channel?

In 2010, I got my Master’s in Virtual Worlds. I had a vision that films would become immersive – like you could actually step into the Matrix and watch it all happen around you.

And going further than that, I thought that audiences would soon be able to become characters or even the protagonists of these new story worlds. But how? The answer lies in virtual reality.

A place where you could be fully immersed and where you could trigger the drama by your own actions. The actual topic of my Master’s was “How to Make a Virtual World/ Film Hybrid”.

As part of this, I started looking at game currencies. I looked at Second Life and Linden dollars. It was interesting how people gravitated towards that economy – paying for virtual islands, real estate, and other digital goods.

Gazecoin dream channel vr

I realized that for these currencies to expand, they needed portability. You needed to be able to move from one world to another. So I wrote a blueprint for VR – and called it ‘The Dream Channel’, with the currency of the world as ‘Dream Coin’.

The plan won me recognition at The Cannes Film Festival where I won pitching competition about ‘The Future of Film”. Then in 2013, I discovered Bitcoin and the blockchain.

This was the solution that I’d been looking for. It was the mechanism that allowed multiple virtual worlds to all use the same base. It allowed virtual worlds to scale.

Dream Channel has a story – it’s kind of dark, but most science fiction stories are. The story actually involves digital currency as a plot device.

It begins as people in the future of discovering a lucid dreaming elixir called ‘Gaze’. Gaze elixir allows people go back to their dreams and expand on them and ultimately share them with each other.

They create this space called The Dream Channel – a place to which they venture to each night. One day, a dreamer called ‘Lucy’ invents a thing called ‘Gaze Coin’ and everything changes.

Mined by dreamers, Gaze Coin allows people to sell access to their dreams. Soon, lucid dreaming stars emerged who could become millionaires literally overnight.

Dream gangsters emerge, dream gangs and even an evil corporation. The game changes for Lucy when her boyfriend discovers that she has a dream about a Hunger Games-style deathmatch game – where superstar lucid dreamers face off with each other in a winner-take-all battle.

When The Corporation steals Lucy’s dreams, she must play the game herself to win her dream world back.

In Dream Channel, audiences venture into an immersive world and soon discover that they are the protagonist of the story.

The first version plays out like a ‘choose-your-own-adventure’ story. Next, we are adding a multiplayer aspect. Then it becomes an epic eSports game. It’s the proof of concept for how Gaze Coin can be used.

Editors Pick: Upcoming ICO

Are there already any partnerships or projects in development with Gaze Coin right now?
If yes (and if it’s possible), can you share some brief details on interesting projects that are being worked on with Gaze Coin?

The answer is a definite yes on many fronts, including technology partners and creative partners especially in the gaming and EDM spaces. That’s all we can share for now, but stay tuned!

What do you think is the biggest challenge that you and your team will face in the development of Gaze Coin?
What is something that needs to be dealt with?

We have an amazing opportunity to create connected worlds where world builders can use Gaze Coin to mint their own currencies, driven by exchange tech provided by our CTO ‘Bokky Poo Bah’ (the name he goes by in the Ethereum dev community).

Discover the ROI they could get from this model.

The sell to virtual world builders is a good one – your own world where people spend a coin with your name/brand on it – where every audience interaction is measured and monetized in gaze seamlessly.

But, the challenge is to get brands to discover the ROI they could get from this model, to get them to see just how far they could go with this.

It’s a very future-facing and forward-thinking value proposition and we’re early. We have a process to loop existing ad buyers into this process by first being able to purchase campaigns across a number of connected worlds.

gaze coin backend infographic

The challenge is to provide advertisers with the templates that lead them into this process. That’s what’s been lacking in the VR/ AR space.

So, in a nutshell, education and an easy point of entry. That’s the number one challenge. Dream Channel is part of that education.

What is your proudest moment so far working on Gaze Coin?

Going live on Saftlaunch. This only happened a few days ago. This was the moment when the pre-sale began and everything we’d been working towards becoming reality.

Where do you expect Gaze Coin to be in let’s say, 3 or 4 years from now?

gazecoin logoAt that time, we see Gaze Coin as having laid the foundations of the decentralized, gaze-based metaverse economy and built out the infrastructure to support other world builders.

Features from that infrastructure will be democratized for other developers, and include intra- and interworld navigation systems (our Wormhole Transport System), a connected choose-your-own-adventure story engine and asset replication powered by procedural generation to expedite world and sector proliferation.

All with the currency and contract underpinning of the Gaze Coin blockchain.

Moving on to more personal stuff, how did you end up working in not only the VR/AR sector but also dealing with the blockchain?

I’m a film director and virtual reality director at heart. I studied the craft of directing actors and the ability to create a compelling and coherent narrative within.

I want to tell stories in a way that transcends technology.

But the vision is to create a solution for how audiences can become the protagonists of these stories. Virtual reality is the answer and blockchain is the mechanic that allows it all work.

Finally, what other personal goals do you want to achieve besides your career? Is there anything in life that you want to achieve?

I want to tell stories in a way that transcends technology. I don’t just want to tell stories about the future, but actually, help to create that future. It can’t be done without the crowd.

I want to make that happen. It’s what my life’s work has been all about and I need to leave that legacy proven.

More Interviews to come

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