Internet of People: Founder of Fermat Presents Project’s Perspective Of Peer-to-Peer Economy
ForkLog talked with Luis Molina, leader of initiative on creating a blockchain-based platform for p2p apps Fermat about the opportunities of creating decentralized services.
The issues of existing internet centralization, end-to-end encryption of personal data and sharing economy emergence hit the headlines every now and then.
Sharing economy principles found in Uber and Airbnb becomes a routine element of our everyday lives. It enhances competition between sellers and benefits buyers. The approach of the new generation tech giants is quite reasonable: lots of resources are idle everywhere, so they should be used in economy.
Car owners could earn a bit more by taking people for a ride, while apartment owners could lease the real estate they didn’t use themselves to tourists from around the globe. However, earlier it was a sheer luck. Now that the internet and gadgets are here, the situation is different. New online services use websites and mobile apps to lower the entry threshold and make buyers and sellers meet online for a small fee.
However, as the worldwide web’s creator Tim Berners-Lee acknowledged at the recent meetup of Internet pioneers, the power over major online resources is concentrated in the hands of a chosen few, like centralized cloud services, corporations and nation states. It doesn’t meet the initial purpose of helping people create new things the internet had been devised in the first place. The network requires decentralization.
One of solutions on decentralization of online services is offered by open source blockchain project Fermat.
“I envision a future where humans are more important than legal fictions like companies and corporations and non-objective realities like nations and states,” says Luis Molina, the project’s leader.
The platform is named after famous mathematician Pierre de Fermat, who formulated a theorem that had been insoluble for more than 300 years. Similar ambitions are apparently found in the project, as it seeks to create a new economic formation dubbed the Internet of People.
The initiative’s leader, Luis Fernando Molina, agreed to answer a few questions from ForkLog about the project and the future’s peer-to-peer economy, which would require no intermediaries.
FL: According to your website, you’re building a platform for easy creation of services similar to sharing economy but peer-to-peer, without the need for intermediaries. Could you please describe your approach and project’s philosophy in more detail?
Luis Molina: When we first envisioned interconnecting mobile devices via a peer-to-peer network, a new space appeared before our eyes. The first space invented was the “web”, a network which can easily accommodate every use case. Later, the mobile space was created and a new universe of apps were developed and as we know, mobile apps have different properties than websites.
By interconnecting mobile applications, Fermat discovered a whole new space with its own set of properties: mobile peer-to-peer apps do not require a middleman to work together. Pure p2p transactions are possible. With pure P2P, end users can receive cost reductions, a powerful economic incentive to migrate from the web and mobile space to the mobile p2p space.
Third parties or the “middlemen” can still have their place in this new, mobile p2p world. The business of matching buyers and sellers, riders and drivers, hosts and guests is automated by the network so the third parties would have to provide additional value on top of that. This is a huge business opportunity, as this new space forces current established service providers to un-bundle their services by removing “matching” as their main value-add.
FL: What will the platform be able to do? Do you have any use cases?
Luis Molina: The possibilities are endless. Because this new space has a new set of properties, almost any use case currently functioning on the web or on mobile can be created on the Fermat system in a p2p format. This brings several advantages to end users including a cost reduction if the use cases are commercial or, if not, improved privacy, since all information is stored on end users devices. The Fermat organization is already creating the most obvious and popular services such as a p2p taxi app, p2p lodging app, p2p dating app, p2p jobs app, and a p2p classifieds app, but we expect that in the near future, users will begin to port additional services.
FL: How do you envision the future of peer-to-peer services? How will it change the economy?
Luis Molina: In the near future, I see the current sharing economy evolving into a peer-to-peer economy where end users will always be able to complete pure p2p transactions, while also still having the option to go through a third party which adds some specific value to the transaction that the user feels comfortable paying. Since this spans every industry I can only expect significant change to the status quo.
With the Fermat system entwined in several growing technological trends – the rise in smartphones, the digitization of money, the move into open-source, and the attractiveness of p2p systems – we have created a powerful project combining all of these trends with the potential to disrupt the sharing economy and to catalyze its evolution into the peer-to-peer economy.
FL: As far as we understand, all the frameworks developed on the platform will be open-sourced and publicly available. What are the incentives for framework creators to develop services for other users?
Luis Molina: Yes, Fermat is open source. We believe we are making a contribution to the open source trend by introducing the concept of component ownership, where contributors can own the components they create and receive monthly micropayments over the blockchain as payment.
If a developer develops a component, then they will receive tokens from every Fermat user using that component for the creation of another app. If the component is then reused for yet another app, then the developer will also receive tokens for the users from the second app, and so on. The network enforces this contract, meaning developers are now part of a fair system that incentivizes both component creation and collaboration.
FL: What about businesses? Will it be possible for them to provide their services? How it will be different from the regular models or sharing economy? What will be the benefits for them?
Luis Molina: Yes, there is a huge business opportunity. As the system allows anyone to create a business and market that business to a network where they can be then be found by other users, we expect there to be a multitude of individual business profiles being formed on Fermat. The different profiles of individual businesses could include anything from craftsmen, artists, teachers, therapists, and hairdressers, among other types. For each type of business profile, there is a set of specialized apps to handle the interaction between the owners of the profile and its users. Depending on the business, the interaction could be commercial or social.
On top of that, there is a business layer where these individuals or companies can run their business providing services to users via the app on the system. For example:
The Fermat Taxi Platform recognises three different profile types: the riders, the drivers, and the taxi network. Each one has their own app. Riders can connect with taxi drivers directly if they want (there is always a way to do pure p2p transactions) but they might also prefer to go through a taxi network that conducts background checks on drivers.
As you can see in the example above, there is space for any businesses that adds value beyond matching alone, and that is true with almost every possible use case.
FL: Should we await an ICO in the nearest future or do you have other sources of funding? How is the project funded and how will you make money for investors?
Luis Molina: So far the project has been funded by private investors. In the next few months we will be transitioning from an “open source project” to a not-for-profit foundation owning and managing the basic infrastructure and a startup owning the components built so far. This start-up business model will be based on collecting monthly tokens for the components developed. This is the same business model we propose other developers to use.
There is still no confirmation on whether an ICO will take place or whether the token will just be put on the open market.
Luis Molina: Our system aims to allow end users to choose from any cryptocurrency network, as well as traditional payment networks. Our token system will initially run on a fork of the bitcoin code base until other technologies mature in order for us to switch and use them.
FL: How far has the progress on the project gone yet? What are your plans for the nearest future?
Luis Molina: The Fermat project was founded two years ago with coding taking place over the past year. In version 1, we have the p2p network, the framework for developing the p2p mobile apps, and several platforms in alpha testing. These include a crypto currency platform, a digital assets platform, and a crypto broker platform. In the coming days we will also have several other developments in testing. Over the course of the next 3 months, we are expecting to initiate the blockchain and the handling of the micropayments system where developers are paid.
The first p2p app we expect to deploy will be an app for a broker to run a business of buying and selling cryptocurrency. With this app, anyone can become a bitcoin provider for their community. The app automates all the business rules, preventing the broker from running out of crypto, while also adjusting automatically price quotes to send to interested parties and helping the broker with the negotiations and execution of the deal. A second, complimentary app will then be released so that members of the community can find a broker to purchase and / or sell bitcoin. We expect to deploy this initiative within the next 3 months in a country ranking high in terms of potential bitcoin adoption.
Interviewed by Eugene Muratov
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