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Interview with Frederic Vedrunes, CEO of Piloteo (formerly PassLfix)

Interview with Frederic Vedrunes.

We speak with Frederic about Piloteo, a blockchain-based delivery solution

In this interview we will have a conversation with Frederic Vedrunes, CEO of Piloteo. Frederic is an entrepreneur and a seasoned developer with experience in the financial, building, and supply chain sectors. Piloteo is a good example of the potential of blockchain technology to improve supply chain value for both customers and sellers. More specifically, Piloteo is addressing the operations processes of the local delivery of goods, usually referred as the “last mile” of e-commerce delivery.

The last mile is often the most cost-intensive aspect of any product delivery service. It requires making deliveries to final customers over relatively large areas. This involves complicated delivery process automations, renting or owning warehouses, a fleet of delivery vehicles, and the extensive training of employees. Companies are always looking for the best ways to improve efficiency and introduce cost-saving methods to this critical process.

Companies like Piloteo are now exploring blockchain technology. Frederic kindly sat down with E-commerce Decentralized to explain the Piloteo business approach, and how they are tackling the challenges faced by companies who deliver locally.

Hi Frederic, how did you get involved in the blockchain industry?

Basically, we started consulting mainly to actors of Supply Chain, Facility Management, and Industry sectors. This experience has given us a lot of insights about the potentiality of the blockchain technology in particular for the supply chain industry.

What is Piloteo doing?

We help companies to improve their businesses using the blockchain technology. We also launched a modular platform for Blockchain applications called Smartify.it. This platform combines smart contracts on blockchain technology, real-time data platforms, and IoT (Internet of Things) sensors.

We can answer specific needs, such as transferring physical assets with or without deposit, tracking objects or the environment, registering services and business processes on a trusted decentralized ledger, or automating contractual terms execution and financial flows.

What is the technology behind Piloteo? You are using Ethereum smart contracts, aren’t you?

That’s true, but Ethereum is not the only tech involved. Our platform includes basically two key elements:

  1. Smartphone as a smart connected Human Machine Interface with camera, GPS and sensors.
  2. Smart contracts for registering business processes, services, pictures, and documents in Blockchain, as well as for managing deposit or invoicing accounts in an automatic and secure way.

This allows us to create what we call “smart assets,” with a unique digital identity and public properties like the supplier in the Blockchain. In the case of deliveries, this technology provides a decentralized way to track each package without revolutionizing the user experience or the existing information systems. Transporters use a light-client smartphone app and connect sensors in their truck for temperature control if needed.

How did you come to this idea? Have you already tested it with a MVP (Minimum Viable Product)

The idea came from a use case: what can I do if I lose my camera in a hotel on a tourist island far away from my city? Our solution is to use a “delivery smart contract” to manage the deposit of a transporter-traveller in a easy and secure way and without any third party. With the blockchain we can certify transfer and contents of packages and we can automate deposit account management. And with a connected smartphone we can track the package at any time, which allows us to reduce disputes and to easily solve customer’s complaints.

We realized in June 2017, with the company Streamr, a prototype based on our concept of a peer-to-peer package delivery. And we demoed at the last Finovate Europe 2018 our solution for a modern delivery, with a nice feedback from both financial and business managers. The demo is recorded and uploaded to Finovate’s video channel, so everybody can understand the main features and advantages of our solution.

Indeed, we have now a MVP of the Smartify.it platform with secure elements we can include in any mobile application.

The blockchain business is all about building ecosystems. Are you actively working on that?

We offer our services to companies in this emerging blockchain ecosystem and to those who are still exploring the best way to implement a blockchain solution in their business value chain. Our vision is that eventually we will have more efficient businesses due to the blockchain technology.

When do you expect to launch the final product? What is your business approach for building a revenue stream with your API?

Regarding deliveries, we developed an API for the creation of smart contracts from e-commerce marketplaces. And we work with transporters wishing to modernize their processes and increase customer satisfaction through better tracking and security during the delivery of physical products. We provide technical assistance for the mobile application and we charge a fee depending on the Blockchain and IoT data streams volume.

One missing point in many blockchain products is user experience. Many of the current decentralized apps seem really cloggy and confusing to regular users. Are you actively working on UX? How are you “delivering” the best experience to users?

Ha! Well, we work closely with every customer in order to design the front-end application and to develop the smart contract following user experience and customer needs. This is done with three main principles in mind: the application has to be efficient, easy-to-use, and secure.

Finally, in your opinion what is the main value that blockchain technology brings to the supply chain in general, and to the e-commerce fulfilment in particular?

The Blockchain technology brings to the supply chain tangible results as, and amongst other things, tracking of each parcel, reduced fraud, increased customer satisfaction, simplified back-office tasks and better invoice control.

Thanks, Frederic. Do you want to add something more?

The Supply Chain is probably one of the sectors where the Blockchain technology can create more value for both companies and customers. And we are proud to be involved in this fascinating evolution!

Does BitBoost actually listen to user feedback?

This past week we have been hearing some complaints about our project, regarding our marketing practices, token administration, and communication. Some people have asked if we listen to our community at all. In this post, we would like to clearly state that yes, we definitely listen to you. We hear everything you say and we appreciate your suggestions. Here, we will talk more about that and explain exactly how we apply users’ feedback, in addition to telling you about the most useful ways you can help this project to succeed.

First, let’s speak about why we are not listing our token on exchanges. The fact is, this is a complicated issue. All countries are experiencing regulatory uncertainty. Following expert advice from our lawyers and advisors, we have decided to not seek to list our token until we have a clear idea of what regulators decide. In fact, it is looking more and more like companies that do seek to list their own tokens will fall under regulatory sanctions. So, for now, the BBT is just listed in those exchanges where our token buyers, or their exchange managers, have already listed it themselves, without us.

We are also hearing complaints about liquidity. Some people in Telegram are pushing us to do some “marketing” for the token, which means basically token shilling. Once again, this is something we will not do. Anything resembling pump and dump schemes, like promoting a token as an investment, is under close scrutiny by regulators. Moreover, it is an illegal practice in most jurisdictions! In truth, our token was not created to be traded as a commodity. It is a utility token. So, just like in the listing issue, we are not doing anything that would drive token price up in the short term, only to cause harm to the company in the mid-term. We want to serve you for many years to come, not have our company shut down because we acted rashly. Therefore, we are not doing THAT kind of marketing.

Our approach, as we have said, is to build a real product with a real market value. Exchanges and liquidity will follow. Since the BBT is a utility token, its value will be in its REAL USE. All our efforts are aligned in that direction. Because of this, we are working to:

  1. Build the product. New releases of the beta will continue so you can try them for yourself, and we are testing all the features as we go. We have planned for a rigorous beta testing period in May so we can launch a very stable marketplace in late June.
  2. Grow our Seller population. Right now, we have +150 potential sellers in our pipeline, and the number is growing! Our goal is to increase this number as much as we can during the following weeks.

It is here, in these areas, where we need you. First, you can download the app, try it, and send us your opinions at [email protected]. That is really important for us to understand the overall UX of the platform, and improve the user experience. We are working on more features, so any feedback will be greatly appreciated.

Second, you can help us bring sellers into the marketplace. Our first sellers can subscribe through this landing page: https://mailchi.mp/247bc905d5c6/sellers-campaign We are also preparing a promotional campaign to activate referrals. Please stay tuned! Moreover, we are starting to experiment with the creation of local nodes in some countries. As a decentralized platform, built to empower people through blockchain technology, we are looking for the right way to do that, to find a win-win situation for everybody. If you read this, and you would like to create a local BitBoost node, email us at [email protected]. We would love to read all your suggestions and proposals on that matter!

Finally, balancing community expectations and business goals is always a challenge. Building a marketplace software stack, and then marketing it into a profitable business is not easy either. A decentralized marketplace? That’s even harder. We try to be transparent every step of the way, and we always hear your opinions and requests. But, we can’t always do everything you ask for, because maybe it’s not possible. Crypto business is changing every month, and we have to react accordingly, changing our strategy and making some decisions that might be in contradiction with previous ones. Realistically, this is how it goes. Our commitment is to make choices that protect both the community and the company developing the technology. At the same time, we want your constructive ideas and opinions. If you want this project to succeed, you have already several ways to help. The company, the team, the project, the community, and the eventual token price will really appreciate that!

BitBoost allies with Status

Several months ago the BitBoost dev team contacted the crew at Status.im to start implementing our decentralized e-commerce marketplace, into their Status app. Now, we are able to officially announce this exciting new collaboration! Our alliance with Status will help our blockchain-based marketplace to participate more fully in a thriving blockchain ecosystem, enabling people to freely trade in a decentralized way.

Status is a completely open source Ethereum app with a decentralized wallet for mobile phones, which allows users to browse, chat, and make ether payments over the Ethereum network. Main features include an ETH wallet and a browser where you can find useful and reliable dapps to perform a wide range of actions. All data is stored by the user and never shared with other applications, so privacy and personal data control is fully guaranteed. Status integration of our blockchain-based marketplacewill be done through the web browser version of our app, which BitBoost released on November 21st, as an alpha version. This integration will allow users to directly sell and buy goods through their phones, paying and receiving payments in a reliable, quick and easy way. We asked our CEO Paul Mahone about this new collaboration, and he gave us his insights:

“We are very happy  to be working with Status, because this project is aligned with us on several levels: technology, ecosystem, privacy, and philosophy.

On the technology side, we both use Ethereum to build decentralized apps using smart contracts. Status is doing great dev work, so this integration will be smooth and really valuable for the users.

We also believe, like Status, that Ethereum will reach global adoption only through a strong, connected ecosystem of apps. We need to encourage this by aggregating practical apps that people can use and enjoy. Collaborating with the Status crew, who are also trying to facilitate a thriving ecosystem, makes a lot of sense to us.

And, we applaud the Status commitment to open source code. We plan to release all code as well, as soon as our blockchain-based marketplace is firmly established as a self-sustaining, e-commerce marketplace.

Moreover, we feel that user privacy is a must. Status users will always retain their data for themselves, and they could use our blockchain-based marketplace without any sign in requirements from our side. In any case, we are not storing any personal data, so it also makes a lot of sense to integrate our blockchain-based marketplace with Status.

Finally, our company philosophy is the same: collaboration, decentralization, privacy, and real, functioning products are at the core of both projects. How could we not collaborate with them? We believe that we have great synergy. This is a win/win scenario for everyone.”

If you want to be a seller and become pa rt of this project, please drop us a line at [email protected] We are looking for people like you!

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October technical updates for our blockchain-based marketplace

Since the release of our private beta, our dev team has been working hard to fix all the bugs detected by our first testers (thanks, people!). We are preparing the public beta release, which will come very soon, so we can tell you about the most important technical updates for our blockchain-based marketplace, made in October:

  • In the transaction page detail, we added the ability to enter your own link for a blockchain explorer.
  • News section is hidden until we have news pulled directly from the blog.
  • Orders/purchases sync improved.
  • Fixed beta styles.
  • Fixed beta external URL opening.
  • View All Items sorting shows active type in dropdown.
  • Added a Buy Item error handler when user has too little money to complete purchase.
  • When clicking on a tag, tag is highlighted on the page.
  • Suggested items has better logic now (it was almost always empty).
  • My Orders: fixed problem “could not get items from DB”.
  • Fixed bug where app would not run on Linux.
  • Single Item price overflow bug fixed.
  • Single item inoperative back button on image fixed.
  • Clear cache function now logs you off.
  • Block listing with 0 BBT in wallet now shows text instruction on how to get BBT.
  • Actions refactored — now every event creates an ACTION, which is shown on bottom left part of the screen. Blocks any action when another action is in progress.
  • Error reporting checks & fixes.
  • Added a tutorial on first start.

Our next beta release will include all these updates, plus a few more still in development. Of course, we will let you know when it is ready for downloading. Thanks for being there!!

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