Coming up on 19-21 July in Prague, Trippki has partnered with a real Cypherpunk event, Hackatoshi’s Flying Circuit, an event far removed from the corporate world of so many recent Blockchain conferences.
The organisers, Paralelní Polis‘ mission is to bring alternatives and tools for preventing growing authoritarian tendencies in society. The Flying Circuit is an “intervention” of cypherpunks into public space to concentrate inspiration and knowledge.
They want to address the sick parts of the system and fix them with solutions resulting from privacy and decentralized principles. The key goal of the hackathon is to prototype new concepts that will help people to protect their digital identity or exploit existing systems that were built to constrain personal freedom. Hackatoshis’s Flying Circuit aim is to motivate hackers, makers and developers to take their tools and put their skills into practice.
There will be a weekend-long hacking competition focused on privacy, individual freedom, decentralization and viable system exploits, with the winning teams awarded with prize money, in cryptocurrency of course.
Events such as these are well suited to Prague, a city with a long history of struggle for human rights, famously demonstrated by its defenestrations (literally throwing the bad people out of windows) in the 15th and 17th centuries. Prague has also become one of the most popular tourist cities in Europe, famous for its architecture, art and lively night-life. The music scene varies from classical music in beautiful baroque churches to opera in the State Opera house, from jazz to techno, all best in breed. For food and drink, Prague is rightly known for its excellent beer, beef and dumplings, gingerbread and pastries. Enjoy your hard won freedoms!
Charles Bridge, you’ll recognise it from countless movies and great for a romantic meeting point, Look at the clock in Old Town Square or Check out the Zizkov television tower for contemporary communist style.
Art, Cafes, Restaurants and Clubs
There’s the Leica Museum, for a wide range of photography Or seek out David Cerny’s babies at Kampa Museum and Park
Cafe Montmartre, Kafka hung out there.
Check out U Fleku, Prague’s oldest restaurant, still going strong after 500 years! For something more modern, try Portfolio Restaurant.
And then there are the clubs…we like Chapeau Rouge, Below ground lie several stories of bars and dancefloors. The deeper you go, the madder it gets.
So for all those hackers needing accommodation for the amazing Hackatoshi’s Flying Circuit next weekend, then Trippki will gladly be of service to you.
On June 9th 2019 the 4th edition of the Blockchain Cruise set sail, with me on board.
The Blockchain Cruise is as far as I am aware, the only Cryptocurrency conference to be entirely hosted on a cruise ship.
Their largest event was last year where Coinsbank; the Blockchain Cruise organisers; hired an entire Royal Caribbean cruise ship which hosted over 2500 international conference attendees. This year however, the turnout was reported to be over 1000 attendees but felt like far less.
Many people who had only attended the last cruise felt short changed at the massive scale down; but since we had been on all 4 of their cruises and last year being the only occasion we had experienced an entire ship; we didn’t feel that worried about the smaller group or shared ship.
From my perspective I felt Coinsbank could be forgiven for this event being less flashy than their last event because this time they launched their new debit card.
Who are Coinsbank
Coinsbank are a company who deal in one-gate blockchain services. The most well known of which being their debit cards targeted to Crypto users. Coinsbank; despite the name, are not a bank. However, they do offer services to aid the management of your finances.
They were formally known as Bit-X and have operated since 2014. They rebranded to Coinsbank in 2016.
Historically, their brand gained awareness because of their crypto debit cards which had great Satoshi rewards for purchases, low fees and great compatibility – an overall great card.
However, in early 2018 just before their second cruise from Singapore; they lost their contract with Wavecrest and their debit cards became useless.
While their business was on hold trying to negotiate a new card provider they seemed to keep their staff busy by fully diversifying into conference planning; which is why I believe their last cruise was so fantastic; because it took 100% of their employees effort to organise.
This month, Coinsbank launched a new debit card thanks to winning a contract with Union Pay.
The cards were given out as swag to attendees of their last conference and are due to go live on July 1st with expiration in 2021.
I believe this edition of the conference was less glamorous because the effort level on event planning went down from 100% to say 50% while they reallocated resources to building back their core business – Coinsbank. Which I think was the right thing for them to do.
Crypto Debit Cards
During their first cruise in early 2017 which left from New York. Attendees were rewarded with Coinsbanks last iteration of debit cards as swag which was known as ‘Named White Cards’. These cards were demo’s which expired after 1 month.
The distributed samples of their new cards have a 2 year life which is pretty fantastic; however when reading the terms and conditions the account has a 49.95 Euro a month ‘inactive account management fee’; but if that means it only charges when the account does nothing (no log-in or activity) or if its a rolling standing charge I’m not really sure.
Still the cards look nice and they are compatible with loads of different FIAT and cryptocurrencies; so it cant be that bad.
As always there were some really good speakers talking about some really cool stuff but beyond that I thought it was super novel that they did their talks on an ice rink. Granted it was defrosted, but it was still pretty novel.
I am slightly gutted they didn’t get forced to wear ice-skates and actually skate while they presented. Now that would have been epic!
Content wise Gordon Einstein presented some fascinating revelations about US ICO legislation and Alexandr Kerya from Everstake (ex-CMO of CEX.io) promoted the rise in Staking as opposed to mining – which as we have seen in the media is definitely becoming popular.
The key talking point however was John McAfee who was unable to attend in person this year and instead did a live-stream presentation.
As I said previously the event was less finely tuned this year but I forgive them because they were sorting out their actual business.
They seemed this year to be more focused on entertaining VIP guests rather than normal guests.
Apparently, they had a suite which VIP guests could go to and hang out however surprisingly we never managed to blag it in this year. Maybe next time.
They also did an Art Auction where they sold off arts pieces being auctioned in bitcoin. Unfortunately they didn’t really take off but it was a novel touch.
Although its nice having a private ship I think sharing the ship with normal people is actually a better way to promote our industry to both other people on the ship and the Royal Caribbean staff.
I had various bar staff and holiday makers stop me and quiz me about crypto, bitcoin and blockchain; and I think that’s really positive.
These events generally are quite expensive to attend and as such they see participation of some well educated and high profile people in this space.
For normal people and Royal Carribean employees to get the opportunity to glean information from these people with whom they would have never interacted before I think is great.
Is it Worth it?
I love conferences and Coinsbank cruise offer a true amalgamation of business and pleasure.
I mean where else can you watch a conference talk while sitting in a hot tub drinking a cocktail? That in itself gets bonus points.
Also living with other attendees in such close quarters gives you a chance to build real connections and relationships that no other conference can really contend with.
Once a year the Blockchain Hotel located in Essen, Germany hosts the ‘Blockchain Hotel Conference’ which showcases international speakers, and enthusiasts from the Bitcoin & Blockchain industry.
The Blockchain Hotel can be thought of as a combined arts community, co-working space and hotel.
The shared building consists of various different environments including a luxury hotel, an apartment block, a restaurant, artist studios, co-working spaces, chill out areas including outdoor terraces, and a glass auditorium for staged presentations.
The aim of the Blockchain Hotel is to facilitate creative-thinking and networking which encourages development in the Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency sectors.
Format of Blockchain Hotel Conference (BHC2019)
The event itself usually runs over 2-days with a casual welcome party the night before.
This year however, they expanded the event with an optional 3rd day for a networking breakfast and salt mine tour.
The agenda typically consists of staged talks followed by two panel discussions in the late afternoon on the outdoor terrace; as well as regular breaks for food and beer.
This is the 3rd year the Blockchain Hotel Conference has run. However, between these conferences the Blockchain Hotel hosts regular meet ups, as well as their team attending a range of conferences across Europe.
My Favorite Talks
Below I have listed my personal highlights from this 2-day event which hosted over 38 international speakers.
The first being the launch of a new German based company presented by Martin Albert called ‘Lamium’. Which is essentially a tool for bitcoin maximalists to exist in a non-bitcoin adopted society.
Lamium is a platform where Bitcoin HODL’ers upload invoices for bills which need to be paid in FIAT. FIAT HODL’ers then pay the invoice and the Bitcoiner sends the BTC to the invoice Payee.
Lamium’s goal is to let people accrue BTC without using an exchange; thereby reducing fees to buyers and sellers by cutting out middle men and removing the need for liquidation.
It charges 2% of the invoice value to the invoice uploader. Of this 2%; 1% goes to the Invoice Payee and 1% is held by Lamium.
However the thing that made his talk stand-out beyond the infamous Liberland project was his presentation of an actual medal to Blockchain Hotel as a sign of appreciation for Blockchain Hotels support to the Liberland cause.
He also promised them citizenship which was pretty cool.
And the proud Blockchain founders did look dashing wearing a medal on their chest the rest of the day.
Overall I thought it was very touching to see a mutual appreciation between these two really cool projects; both of which are working towards similar goals of education, freedom and challenging the status quo.
In terms of what made the Blockchain Hotel Conference unique – there were a few things.
Firstly, they had t-shirts printed for the event which were available for purchase. Beyond the default ones, 20 were uniquely numerically serialised between 1 and 20; in keeping with common crypto passions of scarcity and non-fungibility.
Of these 20, 9 were kept by the organisers and the other 11 were auctioned live by Theo Goodman which was incredibly comical.
The auction was conducted in FIAT numbers, but the payment could be made in any currency the buyer preferred; crypto or FIAT.
T-Shirt number 7 went for 77Euros, while a pack of 10 went for around 400Euros.
This was the first time I personally had seen a t-shirt auction at a conference. The only other event to host an auction (I know of) is HCPP in Prague who auctions off collector coins loaded with bitcoin.
Another unique stand out event was the launch of Satoshi Spirits which is a new Gin and Brandy being produced in Germany and flavoured with oranges from Sicily.
The special thing about these products (beyond their fantastic taste) is their super cool bottle. Its covered in Bitcoin references!
Honestly, even if you don’t drink gin its worth buying it for the bottle alone.
During the event two potential future cool things were announced.
As we all know, 2018 was a brutal year in crypto for most holders of digital assets, cryptocurrencies and ICOs. The bear market led to many projects crumbling under the pressures of rapidly dropping prices and crypto treasure chests – it wasn’t such plain sailing!
At Trippki, our first goal was to create a product that enhanced the real world hotel booking experience, and our second goal was fundraising in order to do so!
Whilst many other ICOs threw in the towel, Trippki delayed and extended in order to counter the market conditions and attempt to achieve our target raise, which we missed [slightly]. However, we never threw in the towel and the market conditions made us stronger, more highly focussed and more motivated.
Over the last year, Trippki developed many strategic partnerships and signed a landmark deal with a US based Travel Tech company to give us a travel booking engine with a whopping 1.6m hotel inventory worldwide! More importantly, our hotel platform allows payment with either Fiat or Bitcoin, Lightning, Monero, Ethereum, Litecoin, Ripple, Dogecoin & Decred.
The Trippki Hotels Platform is launching in May 2019
Our Smart Rewards programme (TRIP) follows shortly after the launch and our Trippki Travel Club membership gives access to up to 70% discounts on hotels!
Since our last update we have also gained some new team member. Dr Nick Almond, who adds fresh perspective, knowledge and expertise in Token Economics and Blockchain governance.
Dan Eve moved up to become our Chief Operations Officer brings both Blockchain and Business Analysis expertise.
So, what else is happening in 2019?
We are in advanced talks with a number of crypto conference and event planning partnerships as preferred partners
We will also be introducing the Trippki Travel Club with exceptional travel discounts up to 70%
In August our Rewards system will be live with users being rewarded at least 5% of their booking back in TRIP tokens
More key innovations and updates will be announced in the coming months!
While others with far larger cash reserves have failed after the wind was taken from their sales, we at Trippki have survived and produced a product before fully funded ICOs even reached alpha testing.
Now we’re going to fly.
We have a much leaner and organic team who are fully behind developing and growing Trippki with a highly achievable roadmap in 2019 and will be looking to secure a second round of funding for marketing and further development of Trippki Hotels & the Trippki Travel Club.
So on behalf of the team at Trippki, we thank you for your patience and support and wish you welcome to the Trippki travel revolution.
I am originally from South Africa and started my career in the late 90’s in online marketing. I have worked in all areas of marketing and have almost 20 years’ experience with digital marketing. I spent more than a decade focused on affiliate and performance marketing working with some of the largest brands online and had the opportunity to learn from and develop relationships with some of the most successful affiliates in the world. I eventually decided to become an affiliate myself and operated various affiliate websites across multiple sectors including cryptocurrency. I have attended and spoken at conferences in more than 20 countries as well as written for publications in multiple sectors as a marketer and an affiliate.
Tell us about your experience of blockchain and cryptocurrencies?
I discovered bitcoin in 2013 and I realised that it had far-reaching implications for the world and the way that we interact as human beings. I started learning more about it and trying to understand it and found that there was not a lot of information available for the general public, so I started a blog detailing my journey and what I was learning. The blog developed and later became one of the largest affiliate sites in bitcoin. At the same time, I started connecting with bitcoin early adopters trying to learn as much as I could about it and try to understand the potential impact. I began speaking at various blockchain and bitcoin events around the world and started contributing to different industry publications. Since then I have sold my affiliate sites and built two new cryptocurrency businesses as well as advising to various ICOs/
How did you get involved in Trippki and why?
I was introduced to Ed by a mutual friend and he began explaining to me his vision for Trippki. The passion for the project, industry knowledge and elegance with which Trippki deals with inequality and the skewed distribution of market share in travel that got me excited. As I spent more time with the team and understood the scope of the project better, I was hooked.
What excites you about Trippki and how do you see it growing?
One of the most exciting aspects of Trippki for me is how it naturally aligns incentives of all actors to improve the travel experience for everyone involved. Unlike traditional travel and rewards programs where it is business versus customer, Trippki provides an environment where everyone is rewarded for the same thing; a better travel experience. Coupled with a true incentive for sharing experiences, Trippki is the first truly inclusive ecosystem for operators, marketers and consumers alike.
What’s the most interesting thing happening in the wider market?
There are so many developments happening so fast today in cryptocurrency it’s tough to pinpoint one thing. For me, though, the understanding of the wider market that cryptocurrency represents and will change more than just money is extremely exciting. As we see real world solutions, like Trippki, impact on non-financial sectors and people begin to understand that this is a revolution that will change all aspects of human life for the better. This allows people to begin imagining what might be possible with this technology and that is truly exciting.
My name is Leonardo da Silveira, a 40-year-old Brazilian. Throughout my adult life, I have been fortunate to collaborate on projects that gave people opportunity, being it experiences, capital or the development of ideas. I have also been fortunate to bring to life projects such as Couchsurfing.com. Currently, I am a founder of Gravity Berlin, a consulting company that helps people pull off successful ICOs, from whitepapers, token economics to management systems.
Tell us about your experience of blockchain and cryptocurrencies?
I am the CEO of a company that supports ICOs on Stellar and we are currently advising on 3 projects. We help them write stories, build transparent communities, reasonable token distribution models and work directly with economists to create useful token economies.
How did you get involved in Trippki and why?
I met Ed at a blockchain meetup in Berlin. I saw the usefulness for the Trippki token and I liked how he spoke eloquently on behalf of the project. I thought that my experience in Couchsurfing.com could be helpful, especially when it comes to building ambassador teams and cohesive and memorable stories.
What excites you about Trippki and how do you see it growing?
I am excited because it breaks up an inefficient monopoly that makes travel less fun. It is genuinely stressful to get entire families involved in hunting for a hotel deal as algorithms try to use psychology to trick us into buying something we do not want. Moreover, I think it is fair to say that the owners and managers of hotels would never charge such an enormous commission to anyone and find it very unfair. The market is not giving them (and us all) better choices. There is also massive potential in using a token economy to incentivize hotel employees so we all get better service.
What’s the most interesting thing happening in the wider market?
The trend towards decentralized economies, stable tokens and low bureaucracy smart contracts. This trio of concepts, once they find critical mass, will change the way we own businesses, relate to co- workers and experience the world.
We are really pleased to say that the MVP is progressing incredibly well and is very much on track to being delivered by the 30th June as planned.
We are almost complete with the booking process and back office functionality needed by the hotels to put their properties and rooms on the platform for sale.
Skins selected by you
We have also fully integrated the new skins that everyone seemed to like so the application has a really professional look and feel to it now as well.
We will shortly be showcasing the Trip wallet, the Blockchain functionality at the heart of our booking system.
Here is the booking process
STEP ONE – Search for your hotel
STEP TWO – Choose your hotel
In this case the Columbia Beach Resort, Pissouri, Cyprus
STEP THREE – Choose your room type
STEP FOUR – Confirm your booking
Once you have confirmed, see how much Trip you’ve earned!
STEP FIVE – View your Trip wallet and profile
The wallet is created the first time you use the Trippki booking app and platform and Trip tokens will be deposited after checking out or ProofofStay. All guests will have direct access to their wallet from the app and booking platform. Customers can see how much TRIP they have earned, from room bookings and reviews, and how they have spent their TRIP.
Mobile app developed in parallel
In conjunction with the web application, our tech team is also working on delivering a mobile app together with MVP web platform for the 3oth June. The Trippki team has been working hard and is dedicated on all levels in bringing both products to this ICO. We will constantly tweak, add and evolve the product as we go along taking onboard community comments.
A Trippki contributor? Why not participate in the beta testing.
MVP customers to start testing – From next week we will start letting our MVP customers have access to the application to give us their feedback and views on the process, functionality and overall look and feel. We will also be in a position to demonstrate the product to some of the larger hotel groups we have been speaking too, as well as other channel managers that are keen to work with us.
We are accepting a limited number of Trippki contributor testers, so if you would like to access the platform and give us feedback, please just submit your request through to firstname.lastname@example.org
Imagine a world where every time you stay in a hotel you leave with something more than a sewing kit, a small bottle of shower wash or if you’re really daring, a monogrammed bathrobe a size too small. Every time you stay in that hotel or anywhere, you get something you can use there or elsewhere. A drink, a spa treatment, a meal, something you genuinely want.
The modern traveller is increasingly disenfranchised by traditional rewards systems. People are more and more used to points they can use elsewhere than where they originally earned them. Just because you enjoyed your stay at the Marriot in New York, it doesn’t mean you are going to stay at the Marriot when you got to Paris. Rewards and loyalty are different. If you do go to the same hotel and you earned enough points for a spa treatment on your last stay, you might just want to use those points to reduce the cost of your next stay. But you can’t. Just as importantly, that boutique hotel you love in Berlin may not have a rewards programme at all and even if it does, it’s unlikely to be part of the same network as that boutique hotel in Bali you also love.
Trip tokens will change all this. When you book through us, our system automatically creates your Trip token wallet and deposits Trip tokens into it at the point of departure, or Proof of Stay. You carry them with you on a mobile or web wallet so no need to remember which reward programmes you’re on. They will be fully transferable between all participating hotels. They can be transferred to other digital assets or to good old fiat money. You get to choose where and when you spend them. They are smart rewards for smart people
You don’t need to understand the Blockchain or the world of Crypto to understand Trip tokens. All you need to know is how or where you want to spend them.
Of course consumers also like a bargain on the price of the room itself. Due to the high margins that traditional OTA’s take at the moment, it is difficult for hotels to reduce their rates substantially. As Trippki charges massively less commission than these OTA’s there is also an option for that saving to be passed onto the consumer. Even better news and something major to watch out for.
The last, but certainly not least, key reason why consumers love Tripkki is that they not only get rewarded for staying at the hotel, they can also get rewarded for reviewing the hotel. Watch this space for more information on Trippki’s smart review system, a landmark step forward on its own.
We are Trippki
Hamish MacDonald Trippki Media and Marketing
You travel – We reward you You travel – We revive you
The hotel booking industry is, we have said before, an enormous economy in its own right, conservatively valued at $500bn annually and projected to double in the next few years. Currently that industry is dominated by two major players, Priceline and Expedia, who are on course to account for up to 90% of hotel bookings. The general public is aware of these two behemoths but are still labouring under the delusion that there is much more choice in the market than there actually is. For example under the Expedia brand are the companies Expedia.com, Hotels.com, Hotwire.com, Travelocity, Orbitz, HomeAway and the “independent” travel comparison site Trivago. Priceline owns amongst others Booking.com, priceline.com, KAYAK and agoda.com. The public is therefore under the illusion that there is a lot of choice, which is not necessarily the case. We will address this in a separate blog on why the Trippki revolution is great for hotel guests/consumers.
The upshot of this situation for hotels is even more blunt. The business model employed by these giant Online Travel Agencies (OTA’s) is to dominate both the Search Engine and Advertising markets (both online and offline). Their combined spend is north of $5bn a year and growing. When you search even for a specific hotel, more often than not it is not the hotel’s website that comes up first on search results but the OTA window onto their hotel. Of course someone has to pay for this spend and the chief victims are the hotels. In order to bring the hotels customers, OTA’s charge high commissions on the room rates, sometimes up to 30%, hurting the bottom line of the hotels and further reducing their own marketing and brand budgets. This makes them ever more reliant on the OTA’s and the “death spiral” continues. In addition to this, the hotels own brand is further minimised as the OTA’s effectively “white label” each constituent hotel under their own branding. Unsurprisingly, hotels are not happy with this arrangement but have had to endure it for lack of a credible alternative.
Trippki’s business model is not based on delivering through SEO and advertising. Our commission structure is so much lower than traditional OTA’s (2.5% to our platform) that it positively incentivises hotels to take bookings through our channel rather than existing ones. We will not create skins over the hotels existing brand and we further give them an automatic rewards based scheme which is both smart and transferable. The building of the Trippki universe will be through network effect and we all know how fast and powerful that can be. Both customers and hotels are incentivied and the middle man is cut out. The desire for Trippki is tangible in the hotel industry and our growth will be unstoppable because of it.