Since launching BTZ we’ve had a lot of feedback and questions.
To recap, BTZ are an easy-to-use digital currency, designed and built from the ground up by Bunz. You can send, receive and trade them with anyone on Bunz, and redeem them for coffee, beer, and more of our favourite products and services at coffee shops, breweries and retailers around Toronto.
Soon, BTZ will be a decentralized cryptocurrency that will allow for distributed ownership of the way we get things we need, standing in opposition to the way centralized internet giants transfer value away from the communities they serve. Today, BTZ exist as a component in the Bunz application infrastructure, and cannot be used outside of the Bunz app.
Admittedly, the approach we’ve chosen to building a cryptocurrency is a departure from the more common ‘infrastructure-first’ methodology. Let us explain why.
The problem with going infrastructure-first is that you end up with usability issues. See this article, this one, or this teardown; all commenting on the substandard state of the user experience in cryptocurrency.
This poor usability is the primary reason we’ve chosen to focus on the user experience for BTZ first, while working towards a cryptocurrency capable of widespread adoption.
The rest of this post details how we think differently about the way to build a cryptocurrency at Bunz.
The thing about blockchains is they don’t like to change. This makes them incredibly valuable for a number of reasons, but it also means you need to know exactly how they’re going to work before you build them. This is similar to the way we used to think about building products before the lean approachand building minimum viable products became popular. The wisdom comes from admitting you probably don’t have all the answers to how people will use your product, but moving forward respecting the unknowns, in a way you’ll be able to learn and iterate.
Checking boxes. We considered launching BTZ as an ERC20 token but determined it wouldn’t be the right move for Bunz right now as doing so would introduce unnecessary risk and complexity. We also ran experiments integrating BTZ into both private and public blockchains. We are now confident that we can bring BTZ on-chain in a way that doesn’t detract from the user experience on Bunz. We plan to continue experimenting with the technology and work collaboratively with the crypto community until we get it right for our community.
The future is unclear. Everything the world knows about crypto is still a little grey — a byproduct of working with new technology. There are legal, regulatory, and social implications changing all the time, so we are proceeding in a cautious and optimistic way. Our goal is for Bunz to be owned by everyone, rather than the few people who built it — and that is our path as a community and company.
Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). It was recently reported that 46% of last years ICOs have already failed. ICOs started as a way to fund interesting projects in the blockchain and crypto space, but have become synonymous with scams and empty promises. This is likely a result of building (or promising to build) infrastructure before knowing how people will use it. We chose not to pursue an ICO to launch BTZ, and have instead invested our current funding into the project.
We love Bunz. The community comes first. We want to create the best experience possible without compromise, and then figure out exactly how that experience can best benefit from a cryptocurrency and becoming decentralized. Bunz is still a bartering marketplace and BTZ are here to help make trading easier by reducing the demand for gift cards and providing a commonly accepted currency to fallback on when a true trade isn’t in the mix. The work we are doing will always be underpinned by our commitment to the community and that includes the app and the Bunz groups on Facebook.
There have been a number of questions focused on terminology and the infrastructure we are building since launching BTZ on Monday. This is encouraging because it means people care about what we’re doing, and we appreciate hearing from the community. We hope this post provides some clarity for what BTZ are today, and what they are becoming. Moving forward we ask that the community be patient as a lot of this has never been done before, and we’re determined to take the time needed to build something amazing for everyone.
We are happy to share that since the launch of BTZ five days ago, there have been over 7 million BTZ deposited into wallets on the Bunz app. This is a great start and we have a long road ahead. We appreciate all of the support and hope to surprise you in the coming months as we improve BTZ and make everyone’s Bunz life a little better.
Sascha Darius Mojtahedi + The Bunz Team 🖖