Serve’s Shahan Ohanessian: Blockchain can solve world problems
Shahan Ohanessian, CEO and Founder, Serve, talks to RTIH about why all the hype around blockchain is more than justified and lifts the lid on how his company is using the technology to decentralise logistics services
RTIH: Tell us about Serve and the Serve token.
SO: We’ve built a next-generation service-gig-economy and logistics platform and created a decentralised, frictionless marketplace connecting users, enterprises and providers. We are well on the way to fulfill our mission to tackle the most challenging problems facing the industry today. Our mission is to provide an intuitive, transparent, decentralised, and open source platform to increase efficiency and reduce costs for all parties in an open source global economy.
The Serve tokens are used in the Serve platform to incentivise logistics providers to provide delivery and transportation services and the tokens do not comprise business or consumer delivery costs. The tokens are used to validate and verify services and quality of goods and services through staking mechanisms while concurrently capitalising on a decentralised and direct delivery service. Tokens can be found on the Bittrex and Upbit exchange.
"Every new technology has to find its place and with time and utilisation the true solutions will survive"
RTIH: You say that your company is making last mile delivery logistics a viable option for every business, from large businesses to small mom-and-pop shops. What are the key challenges/issues faced by these businesses and how can you help?
SO: If we conservatively estimate a waste factor of only 5% in the last mile, then the logistics industry would be wasting almost $2 billion annually in the US market alone. Additionally, middleman fees often add up to between 30% and 40% to the price of the delivered product or service.
The underlying concept for the Serve platform was developed in the wake of one seminal event. Perhaps this might be a little dramatic, but like most good ideas have their roots based in dealing with a simple issue - the so-called pizza problem. I happened to order pizza one day and found that it charged an exorbitant price where the middleman took a large portion of the revenue, while all the hard work was done by the delivery guy.
Having spent the last few years solving various problems in the last mile logistics industry for several significant market participants, our team brainstormed how to make this process more efficient. Our platform eliminates excessive fees by deploying a series of smart contracts to facilitate transactions. Users of the platform are subject to fees up to 2.5% rather than existing fees of up to 40%.
Rideshare, on-demand delivery of goods, electronics, etc. are all part of the change brought about by the Serve platform. Market incumbents, including Uber, Lyft, Eat24, GrubHub, DoorDash, Deliveroo, and Meituan Dianping, require their vendors and logistics providers to allocate extensive investment into background checks; buying, leasing and/or maintaining vehicles; and third-party service fees. Those costs and fees are eliminated when using our platform.
RTIH: There are many high-profile critics who argue that blockchain ventures are offering solutions to problems that don’t really exist. How do you respond to them?
SO: With any new technology, the world tries to find the proper implementation. Others want to join the hype and contribute to unnecessary use-cases. We believe that blockchain is a very important and useful technology that solves a lot of problems, even ones that we have not seen yet. As the technology evolves, we might find a lot of new use cases that bring valuable solutions to simple and complicated problems.
Every new technology has to find its place and with time and utilisation the true solutions will survive. We believe that blockchain can solve world problems and provide a system for the world to work as one, with transparency and trust. We believe that our model of creating a global service economy and global workforce can facilitate this type of global relationship.
"I happened to order pizza one day and found that it charged an exorbitant price where the middleman took a large portion of the revenue, while all the hard work was done by the delivery guy"
RTIH: Do you believe that widespread crypto adoption is coming or will it remain a niche thing for the foreseeable future?
SO: According to a recent report, the blockchain market is expected to rise at an astonishing CAGR of 58.9% between 2016 and 2024. Rising at this CAGR, the global blockchain technology market is likely to attain a valuation of $20 billion by 2024.
If you analyse just the North America market, it is expected to lead the global blockchain technology market in the coming years. This trend indicates the presence of several players in the region and rising adoption of cryptocurrency in retail and other distribution chain indicates that the digital economy is here to stay.
Even though we are experts in the logistics space, we want to solve the world's perception of cryptocurrencies, and educate the public of the advantages of having a complete open source, and trustless economy. As a part of Serve’s awareness initiative towards the crypto industry, we are conducting two large pilot programmes, one in Dallas, Texas, and one in the Cayman Islands. The result of these pilot programmes will help us build an education campaign for the rest of the world as well as learn and understand acceptance of the open digital economy.
RTIH: And finally, where would you like Serve to be by the end of 2019?
SO: We would love for Serve to be global and we see that happening; our immediate goal is to have a nationwide footprint by the end of 2019.
We are partnering with some of the larger players such as Wahoo’s Fish Tacos, Pieology, Capriotti's, Falasophy and others throughout the US. We have received an unbelievable demand for our service and will continue to push the boundaries and push to our global goal.