Have you heard the latest news about Facebook? They recently lost billions in market value and were hit with two class action lawsuits over a scandal involving Facebook data being improperly obtained by Cambridge Analytica and Donald Trump. Ouch!
Blockchain Marketing expert Rafael Deramas believes Facebook is now blocking crypto companies from advertising because they’re trying to create their own cryptocurrency. But, he says the company he’s working with, Suchapp already has Facebook beat. Their messaging app offers advanced groups, unlimited membership and a cryptocurrency ecosystem that can never be hacked because it’s powered by the blockchain.
I talked to Deramas about how he got into Blockchain, his latest project, how to avoid ICO scams and the latest industry trends.
How did you start working in Blockchain?
In 2011 I started an SEO agency called Search Engine Primacy. Eventually this evolved into my current company, Upranx.com. Most of the people working with me at Upranx have either invested in crypto or have worked with ICOs. So after working with one of the pioneers of Bitcoin in Switzerland I decided to specialize in blockchain projects and ICO (Initial Coin Offering) marketing.
I’m also a member of The Blockchain Advisory Council, a group of 35 blockchain experts that support the industry. I handle most of their marketing efforts for Asia. So, apart from Upranx, I work as a contract ICO Marketing Director and I’ve now worked with eight ICOs in Asia, Europe, and North America.
Tell me about your latest blockchain project
One project I’m currently working on is a blockchain startup called Suchapp.io. This is a peer to peer location-based messaging platform with advanced blockchain features including cryptocurrency wallets and 4k video calls. What’s unique about it is that all these features are integrated into one app.
Suchapp can be used by business owners, non-profits, consumers or any group that wants a cryto-enabled platform where they can collaborate. Unlike other apps including Facebook, Suchapp groups let you have an unlimited number of members. It’s easy to search for and join other Suchapp groups in your area, too.
A business owner could use their group to advertise, send offers or give out rewards in the form of cryptocurrency with Suchapp tokens. And our app is intuitive so people who have no idea what blockchain or crypto is will have no trouble using it, including senior citizens. Our goal is to bring crypto to the average person.
How are Suchapp groups better than Facebook?
While our groups are similar to Facebook, everything is live so you can react to messages, create posts or add files. And the biggest advantage is there’s no privacy risk. It can’t be hacked.
Instead of our data being maintained on a central server like Facebook’s, Suchapp is powered by the blockchain with secure end to end encryption. It’s hackproof because there’s no server sending messages from one point to another. Each message is sent directly from your phone.
Now Facebook is becoming even less useful to businesses because they’re limiting how you can advertise. With SuchApp we’re bringing your target audience directly to you, the advertiser.
How do you market and promote an ICO like Suchapp?
ICO marketing is unique in that it takes a combination of online and offline strategies. While we use some SEO, it’s rare. We start online by reaching out to people and building communities. We also use ICO review sites and online advertising to bring traffic to our website and read content like our white paper. We’re trying to build good connections with the right people, either online or offline.
Offline we market at ICO roadshows and events. While online marketing generates some investment interest, creating visibility at live blockchain events with face-to-face interaction works best. We’re going to roadshows in 10 countries and we’ve already been to Switzerland and Turkey.
We advertise on Google and Facebook but now Facebook has banned crypto ads. I think they’re trying to eliminate the competition because they’re developing their own cryptocurrency.
What’s your greatest challenge in marketing Suchapp?
For me, it was a challenge to move from the typical 6-month digital agency project to short-term ICOs. ICO projects can be as short as 2 months from the start of the promotion to the end of the ICO. And the marketing must succeed or the entire ICO will fail. So, there’s a lot of pressure.
You only have a few months to raise funds and make the project a success. This means your startup must hit its investment goal for your soft cap. This is seen as an intermediate milestone that proves to investors your ICO is a winner.
The investment terms are put into a digital smart contract, not with software but using blockchain. Once a smart contract is published its content is permanent. Depending on the contract, your funds are returned automatically if the fundraising fails. The smart contract also determines how many tokens investors can cash out and when. This lets the company have enough cash flow to keep growing your investment.
But Investors must be careful. Some ICOs are total scams. For example, anyone could create an ICO with a million tokens having a value of 1 cent, give it away, and buy it back. If that company got listed on a crypto exchange they’d have made money out of thin air. Some project founders disappear after raising money, so doing some research before investing is crucial.
Legitimate ICOs are evaluated based on who their advisors are, and the background of their core team. Investors will carefully consider the result of the ICO, so there is great pressure on myself and the entire marketing team.
Is Suchapp a success so far? How are things going?
Our beta Telegram group has grown from 200 people when we started to around 40,000 community members. We’ll be having a public beta release sometime in June or July 2018. At that time everyone is welcome to download the app for free.
Our soft cap was 2 million US dollars and we hit 2.7 million on the pre-sale, so it was a huge success. VCs and cryto-enthusiasts are already contacting us to make investments. We’re getting a lot of positive nods from other industries as well as the blockchain community. I think people are seeing the practical application of SuchApp.
We are set to achieve our hard cap for the ICO starting on May 25th up to June 25th. While we give out bonus tokens to early investors, our token’s price will be higher after the ICO and there’ll be no bonuses. Once our token gets listed on a crypto exchange it’s value will increase significantly and we’re already in discussions with several crypto exchanges.
What’s in the future for Suchapp?
Our Initial Coin Offering (ICO) starts on May 25th, 2018. We will accept Paypal, BTC, ETH, and possibly credit card investments.
Suchapp is already available on Android and iOS privately to a select group of people, and will be publicly tested in July. We’re aiming to be one of the top 5 messaging Apps in 3 years. So far, we’re getting a lot of interest from big names in the telecom industry. Eventually we plan on partnering with other companies who’ll accept Suchapp tokens as a payment method for their products and services.
I think 2018 will be the year of the blockchain. This year we’ll see more practical applications of blockchain other than just the cryptocurrency side of things. Technologies like Suchapp will make the world a better and more secure place.