brifs.co NCF FAQs
brifs.co is submitting our proposal to the NCF (NEM Community Fund) and we wanted to make the questions that commonly come up have answers which could be found in a single place.
Some of the ideas upon which brifs.co is based can be a bit difficult to grasp at first because they are quite nuanced and multidimensional.
These FAQs are all very important and they each merit thorough explanations and context, which is why we hope you'll forgive us when some of the A's to the Q's get a bit lengthy at times.
How will the brifs.co token go up in value?
I’m afraid we cannot discuss token appreciation for legal reasons.
US securities laws prevent companies issuing tokens for sale from talking about the value of their tokens appreciating. Doing so would render those tokens no longer a utility token, and instantly they could be deemed unregistered securities. While we are not planning a token sale at the moment [just the NEM Community Fund], we may in the future and therefore this topic is off limits for us.
It’s a strange paradox that the number one question asked by crypto enthusiasts, is a very illegal question to answer. For the record, this is just our opinion based on how we have been advised to interpret US securities laws, so take that for what it’s worth.
I mention that to clearly communicate that the following example does not refer to any company in particular and that: This document is for informational use only and constitutes a theoretical framework for illustrative purposes only. It is not, and should not be regarded as “investment advice” or as a “recommendation” regarding a course of action, including without limitation as those terms are used in any applicable law or regulation. Additionally, this document is not intended to assert or imply any expectation of token value appreciation of the brifs.co token (BRC), or any other token, coin, or cryptoasset. Purchasing cryptoassets for speculative purposes is extremely risky and is inadvisable for most individuals.
I’m sorry to have to include that formality, but it’s pretty serious business, so we're going to play it safe.
That being said, I can propose a hypothetical framework about confidence in a token, which may or may not translate into token appreciation, here it goes: Imagine this — every time a consumer uses fiat currency (i.e. $USD) to buy a company’s tokens, they are getting “free money” in the form of a discounted gift card. It would literally be like buying $100 for $80 or whatever the discount on a particular brand’s card may be (discount is set by the open market for that card and varies quite a bit by brand). If “free money” doesn’t build confidence among that company’s consumer-users, then I have no idea what would. 😎
In that same example, if every time a consumer uses a company’s tokens they get what amounts to “free money”, how likely would it be for that company to see continually increasing user growth, as a result? Fairly likely right?!
Now, if the number of tokens is finite, but demand is continually increasing, what effect on the price of that token would you expect as a result? If that sort of market dynamic doesn’t build the confidence of hodlers/tokenholders, then again, I have absolutely no idea what would. 🤔
Does the world really need a place for people to buy and sell gift cards?
Actually, the world already has places for people to buy and sell gift cards. One of our competitors, whose name will go unmentioned here, has raised $147.2 million in venture capital to do this exact thing. We cite this competitor only because this might give you a sense of the size of the opportunity. It is substantial to say the least.
brifs.co is shaking up the existing peer-to-peer gift card market by reducing transaction costs to 0% and making the user experience super low friction.
Does anyone, who is important, think that brifs.co is a good business?
Yes, as a matter of fact, we have received essentially unanimous positive feedback from some of the most influential people in the NEM Foundation, accademia, venture capital, media, and the broader blockchain ecosystem.
It would probably be in poor taste to go on a name dropping spree here, but one of the most encouraging bits of feedback we have received to date, one that exemplifies much of the feedback we get, came from Garrett Biel, partner at Andreessen Horowitz, who said in regard to our first Medium post:
Why would anyone sell a gift card for less than it is worth?
To answer this question, it's best to take a step back and answer the question, 'Who sells gift cards?'
There are 4 types of entities that sell gift cards:
Gap, Amazon, etc.
Issuers of gift cards will discount their gift cards for a number of reasons and those reasons are commonly all inclusive:
1.It's pretty much the same thing as a storewide sale (i.e. marketing expense)
2. Gift cards act as discounted operating cash flow (i.e. in accounting, because of the TVM [time value of money], cash received now for future sales is worth more than cash received at the time of a future sale)
3. Not all gift cards are used entirely (i.e. free money)
These 3 reasons combined cause retailers to sell their cards at a discount, because in addition to being a good way to promote their brand, it also makes sense to the accounting department.
Costco, grocery stores, etc.
While it's uncommon to find discounted gift cards in the end caps of grocery stores (they almost always sell for a card's full value), Costco, as an example, quite commonly sells gift cards at a discount. In this instance however, it is not Costco itself which is discounting the cards, but rather the card issuers (for all of the reasons previously mentioned).
Everyday people find themselves the owners of gift cards that they don't intend to use, or intend to use, but never do. Maybe your neighbor Steve gets a $100 gift card to Red Lobster from his uncle (Stanley) every year, but he's been trying to watch his weight and knows that his willpower will implode under the pressure of their generous Cheddar Bay Biscuit™ refill policy.
Steve's been on the straight and narrow biscuit-wise for 3 years now and has $300 worth of Red Lobster gift cards which he could turn into cold hard cash. So as to not let that $300 in lobster-bucks collect dust, he lists those redbacks for sale online.
Steve's been on the straight and narrow biscuit-wise for 3 years now and has $300 worth of Red Lobster gift cards which he could turn into cold hard cash. So as to not let that $300 in lobster-bucks collect dust, he lists those redbacks for sale online.
There's just one catch; Steve can't get full price.
First, because Steve's last name isn't Lobster (which is obviously what the owner of Red Lobster's last name is) the internet has some trust issues and leverage in the deal. Based on the market price set by other buyers and sellers of Red Lobster gift cards, if Steve wants his cards to sell, he's going to need to discount them, because the internet (buyers) is only willing to pay 95 cents on the dollar.
Logically, Steve sells those $100 gift cards, worth nothing to him, but worth $95 each to the internet and buys healthier food with the proceeds.
eBay, brifs.co, etc.
There are several reseller marketplaces, like eBay and brifs.co, where Steve can sell those Red Lobster ducats. These marketplaces offer discounted gift cards for sale, not on their own accord, but because Steve discounted them. Every-so often, those marketplaces will themselves discount all of the cards for sale on their site as a marketing expense, but for the most part, the discount buyer's receive will be the discount set by the seller.
Why don't you charge commission?
The short answer is that it's the right thing to do, the NEM blockchain makes transactions so inexpensive that there’s no need and also it's a winning strategy (think Amazon and Uber's low prices for the win).
The long answer has several aspects, many of which are at the heart of what is commonly believed in the startup world to be classic indicators of a company’s massive potential. We cover this on the NEM Forum; specifically in the The Economic Solution | brifs.co Business Model & Strategy section of Part 2 of brifs.co's NCF Proposal.
How will brifs.co make money?
The team at brifs.co is not creating a commission-free gift card marketplace for the purpose of enriching its founders. We’re creating a 0% commission marketplace because it should exist.
While brifs.co is committed to not charging commission, we will still need to have some sustaining revenue to keep the lights on and this will come by way of premium services and advertising.
Further detail on these aspects of our monetization strategy can be found in the Premium Services, Advertising, Brand Promotions, Retail Retargeting, & Targeted In-App Ads sections of Part 2 of brifs.co's NCF Proposal.
How are you going to get merchants onboard?
Why would brands allow you to make their gift cards easily transferable? Isn't that just taking away their free money for unspent cards?
These are natural questions to ask, but here's the thing: merchants don't need to buy into the system. You see, gift card values are transferable without the merchant's involvement. Gift Card balances are simply represented by alphanumeric serial numbers and it would be difficult to impossible for brands to interfere at scale, without potentially harming all of their other gift card holders.
While we intend to go as far out of our way as possible not to ruffle any feathers, we believe that economic waste is not good for anyone and that there is opportunity for merchants to benefit here as well.
Our plan is to get to a significant scale whereby the brifs.co token will effectively become crypto token that binds all the gift cards together. If we can achieve this, then we will be a plug-and-play entry point for retailers to support crypto's growing user base, and we will be able to serve as a platform, where brands can reach new and existing customers.
At that point brifs.co becomes a win-win-win for brands, customers, and our community. This play is known as "The Little Bighorn" [yes, we just referenced The Social Network.]
How does brifs.co protect against fraud?
Fraud is the No. 1 issue that brifs.co needs to protect users against. First and foremost brifs.co guaranties all of the cards sold on our platform. There are several ways we go about doing that.
1. We require all sellers to register a credit card with us prior to selling. If there are any issues, the buyer immediately gets their money back, and the seller’s card gets charged.
2. Prior to any card being listed for sale on brifs.co the funds are verified with the card issuer (e.g. Apple).
3. Once a buyer has agreed to purchase a card, brifs.co checks the balance of the card again with the issuer.
4. Newer sellers will have those funds held for a few days, until they have had a certain dollar amount of cards sold successfully. The amount of time the funds will be held will vary, but will eventually be instantly transferred, once sellers have reached a certain level of trust, as indicated by their POI (proof of importance score).
5. Disputes will be programmatically resolved, initially by way of the POI determination.
6. If disputes are not resolved satisfactorily by the preliminary POI determination, the dispute will be escalated to a peer-review conducted by high POI users, where both parties will be able to submit evidence to support their case. The review will review the submitted evidence and make a ruling. They will be compensated for this, as part of a bounty system.
7. Should either one of the parties still object to the resolution decided by peer-review, both parties will have the opportunity to submit further evidence that was found after the initial evidence was submitted and to have that evidence along with the first evidence weighed by a 3-peer panel. A simple majority will be needed to make a ruling and that ruling will be final.
As you can see, most fraud will be prevented by protection measures 1-4, but 3 more layers of protection will be added to ensure the fairest outcome possible. In all circumstances buyers and sellers will be protected.
How will brifs.co prevent money laundering?
We are fully compliant with all applicable AML/KYC regulations and report any attempts to circumvent these laws to the proper authorities.
Are you going to have Community/Bounty Program?
YES, we most certainly are! You can find details on that here: brifs.co Community/Bounty Program
Are you going to have an ICO?
While it is not unlikely that brifs.co will conduct a token sale at some point in the medium to long terms, we have no such plans in the short term.
Where can I find your NCF proposal?
Our proposal to the NCF (NEM Community Fund) can be found here.
How does your project benefit the NEM Ecosystem?
The brifs.co team is incredibly grateful for all of the help and guidance we have and continue to receive from NEM Foundation staff and the NEM community at large. Here are some of the ways we plan to pay that forward:
- NEM Community BRC Token Giveaways brifs.co’s BRC token (NEM mosaic) will come to be the sole mode of transferring value within our peer-to-peer gift card marketplace. The sole mode of purchasing the BRC token will be on crypto-asset exchanges after our gift card marketplace is fully operational. In order to be listed on many exchanges, a token must prove broad ownership among thousands of people. The prospect of securing funding through the NEM Foundation’s Community Find DAO would place the brifs.co team in an interesting position, whereby it may need to give away a large number of BRC tokens to be exchange listed — Any potential BRC giveaways would be first distributed and weighted towards the active members of the NEM community.
- NEM Missionaries Our aim at brifs.co is not only to be contributing members of the NEM community, but to be evangelists. Anytime it’s appropriate to do so, we’ll be mentioning NEM, as a core part of who we are, with phrases like “Powered by NEM” and “Proudly Built on the NEM Blockchain”. In fact, the footer of our website pages and the hero image of all of our blog posts include this image:
- NEM Community Feedback We cannot build brifs.co in a vacuum. We’ll need input on aspects of everything we do, from dev and design, to UI/UX, marketing and branding, and so on. The brifs.co team is committed to reaching out to the NEM community for feedback early and often and incorporating the responses we get into everything that we do.
- US & Global Retail Customer Exposure to NEM brifs.co is by and large a retail consumer focused company. We want to make it very easy for everyday people to save money on their purchases with the discounted gift cards that are sold on our platform. We are certain that for many people, BRC tokens will be the first cryptoassets they own and that they will see immediate value in using them. This positive association will be reflected onto NEM and should amplify awareness of XEM far beyond crypto’s relatively early adopters.
- Broadening US Crypto-Enthusiast Awareness of NEM In evaluating which blockchain to build brifs.co upon, we found NEM’s platform and plug-n-play functionality to be second to none for building dApps in 2018. There is an old saying on Wall Street, which goes, “Markets can remain irrational a lot longer than you and I can remain solvent.” We have been utterly dumbfounded that the price of XEM does not seem to reflect its inherent potential value to the smart economy ecosystem. While we cannot change the market’s mind that NEM is a fundamentally powerful platform, we can demonstrate that by example. Should brifs.co, or any other of the great teams building with NEM, be able to get a big win with their projects, then that exposure will undoubtedly transfer onto the perception of XEM held by the cryptoasset market, as well. We all win if one NEM team hits it out of the park and brifs.co is swinging for the fences for all of us.
- Growing Retail Brand C-Level Interest in NEM The brifs.co team is operating under the assumption that, if we offer the lowest cost for a product that is as highly price-sensitive, as gift cards are, particularly on the secondary market, that could lead to critical mass of the gift card market share. As a matter of course in this paradigm, while the use of BRC grows, corporate executives will surely take notice and this exposure will likely lead to NEM being considered more intently by major brands, as they roll out their own blockchain tech initiatives. Adoption of NEM blockchain by Fortune 1000 companies would almost certainly exert upward pressure on the price of XEM.
- Documenting NEM Integration Along our journey of building on the blockchain, brifs.co will inevitably find itself needing to plug-in the mainstream SaaS products, such as our Customer Support software, our CRM and marketing automation software, and so on. The SaaS products we use will be essential to our business operations. In order to manage everything effectively, we will no doubt need to integrate SaaS with aspects of the NEM blockchain and our smart contracts to create a closed-loop and avoid redundancy etc.. We may, in fact, be the first such project to do this in a number of cases. All of this we will document and share, and this documentation will be crucial in making NEM an easier choice for other blockchain entrepreneurs, who follow.
- Supporting NEM Blockchain Builders brifs.co has and will continue to seek out ways to add value to the startup community with a focus on helping other blockchain entrepreneurs. The free flow of knowhow is what makes being part of the early stage tech sector so fulfilling. Inspired by many highly successful folks in this space, we try to conduct ourselves in accordance with the “give before you get” philosophy. As such, we go out of our way to help folks, where we can and are committed to doing so particularly within the NEM community of builders and thinkers.
- Supporting NEM Blockchain Entrepreneurship In addition to helping NEM entrepreneurs with elbow grease and sharing our experiences, we fully intend to help with our wallets. As NEM-built businesses continue to emerge, we are committed to “shopping locally” so to speak. Furthermore, in instances where enough of the right signals are in place, we will gladly support NEM projects with our personal investment capital and make introductions to private placement decision makers. And, of course, allow open access to the brifs.co community via cross-promotions (for lack of a better term).
Rest assured that we’ll be taking every opportunity we get to advocate for NEM and to create content around our experience with their technology and organization.
While brifs.co supports global brands, our focus is aimed squarely at US brands and their US customers. We believe that our project has the potential to greatly amplify American interest in NEM/XEM.
Where is the best place on my body to put a brifs.co tattoo?
- I thought I'd sneak an easter egg in here just to see if you're paying attention.
- PLEASE DO NOT GET A BRIFS.CO TATTOO
What does brifs stand for?
brifs.co stands for freedom, justice, and peace around the world. Well, we stand for that too, but you are probably asking what the letters mean, though huh?
Funny enough, it began as a simple placeholder just to call the project something, and the name just sort of stuck.
Please tell us what you think it should mean. If we decide that you come up with a great meaning and it becomes official, then you could win a major award. Here's where you can submit your answer:
I have read your proposal &/or whitepaper and I hate brifs.co!
That's neither frequently asked, nor a question, but reasonable people can disagree.
If you have any questions or concerns please don't hesitate to reach out:
- brifs.co Telegram
- NEM Forum
The team here is confident in our analysis and we are "all in" on building a peer-to-peer marketplace for gift cards.
It won't be easy, but we are very experienced with startups and are confident that we'll continue to learn and get even better everyday. We have the strongest conviction that we can make it wildly successful and we're not going to rest until we have done everything in our power to make it a rocketship.
That said, if you'd like to take an active role in destroying brifs.co we welcome you to support the I Hate brifs.co Club by sending your contribution to the club's XEM Wallet: NDGGFI-3TYBPB-2M2DFT-WVGA6G-XMFK4Y-RQHQKN-LNXX
!!!DO NOT SEND ANY XEM TO THAT WALLET!!!
I have a question that is not here. What should I do?
Why do you need a blockchain for this?
We can’t imagine any other way to make gift card assets be fully liquid without having them be transferable at 0% transaction costs. We can’t see any other way to have 0% transaction costs, except for blockchain. Additionally, we can’t imagine a non-blockchain approach which affords the same level of security for the assets themselves. All those aspects, plus the adoption and funding advantages that blockchain offers, rules out a non-blockchain approach, as we see it.
That said, if our explanation on why blockchain is needed is less than salient in your mind; please tell us in what ways you think not using the blockchain would improve the project?
Shoot us an email with your thoughts: firstname.lastname@example.org
Why can't you do this on AWS?
Due to the 0% commission business model and the nature of tokenizing gift cards, as digital assets, Amazon Web Services, as their offerings currently stand, would neither be feasible from the perspectives of cost or technology. AWS may offer a competing toolset in the future, but for now and foreseeably we're sticking with NEM!
Why did you choose NEM?
While this may be preaching to the choir, we have found NEM’s BaaS (Blockchain as a Service) to be second to none. Competing blockchains can’t compare to the functionality offered by NEM. Namespaces and Mosaics do much of the heavy lifting of core blockchain requirements, employing a very intuitive UI and with plenty of flexibility. Plus, NEM has Catapult rolling out soon, which will be increasingly helpful for brifs.co as we scale and begin requiring enterprise-grade solutions.
- Programming Language Flexibility
Other blockchains rely on Go and Solidity to build dApp software. While those programming languages are powerful for blockchain-specific applications, their shortcomings are well documented. Using Java at its core, software built with NEM is inherently more robust and simpler to use. Beyond Java’s fundamental advantages, NEM’s API wrappers allow for other programming languages to be used when they are a more appropriate solution in certain scenarios. From a technical perspective, NEM is the total package!
- Development Costs
As mentioned above, other blockchains which rely on Go & Solidity have a talent bottleneck, which drives development costs up by several factors. Technical talent for these languages is in such high demand, yet has a relatively short supply, and funding for blockchain projects seems almost limitless in the current frothy capital market. This dynamic makes attracting and retaining developers extremely difficult and expensive. With NEM that is one less stressor or point of failure for the team to battle.
- Transactional Advantages
The unpredictability of both transactional cost and transactional speed common on other blockchains prevents them from being viable candidates for a retail consumer-focused dApp like brifs.co. NEM transaction are fast & cheap and we have no doubt that they will continue getting faster & cheaper as time goes on.
- NEM Community
The brifs.co team has jumped right into the NEM community and one of the first things we noticed was how friendly, helpful, and enthusiastic everyone is. NEM’s Telegram rooms and the NEM Forum are significantly better than others in terms of avoiding negativity, encouraging others as to become good citizens. The discussions are full of bright people and self-regulate much of the unpleasantness, spam, and nonsense that can plague other online communities. Everyday the brifs.co team strives to reciprocate the welcomeness and generosity we receive, and that makes us damn proud to be NEMbers!
- NEM Organization Support
It’s a common notion that the best leaders lead by example, and that absolutely has been our experience with people within the broader NEM organization. Our interactions — with NEM Foundation decision makers like Jeff McDonald, Mark Pui, & Alexandra Tinsman, and with NEM devs & mods like gimre, pawelm, & Saul Grey, and with NEM’s regional rockstars like Paul Christian, Dona, The Ninja, & Trikar — have all been honest, respectful, and full of valuable insight. This speaks volumes about NEM, as a whole and is a reliable indicator that the NEM blockchain is poised to continue to thrive.
- Proudly Built on the NEM Blockchain
Beyond a well-built core, NEM’s client/server model is a key feature, which is crucial to our user’s mobile requirements, as are POI & P2P time sync for user transactional security purposes. The public/private blockchain solution is something that brifs.co cannot do without, based on the nature of gift card serial numbers requiring tightly controlled permissions.
Finally, the Changly Module, messaging, & voting capabilities are features, which will greatly remove friction for our users and the API wrappers will help us streamline backend business processes. Building on NEM allows us to focus our efforts more on providing value to our users, rather than having to build these solutions from scratch.
Why don't you want to use ETH?
As mentioned in the Why did you choose NEM? Q&A, ETH transaction costs, Ethereum network transaction timing & scalability concerns, and the requirement to write smart contracts using Go or Solidity are the core reasons(among others), why we are choosing to building on NEM. We are unwavering in this decision.
Will you use more than a single Mosaic?
brifs.co will employ 2 separate mosaics using NEM’s Smart Asset System; one public and one private. Transaction details will be recorded to a public mosaic, while gift card serial numbers and access rights to those numbers will be managed with a private mosaic.
How will you keep transactions secure on a public ledger?
Transactions will take place on 2 separate blockchains using NEM’s Smart Asset System; one public and one private. Each will be its own mosaic.
Public information such as price, balance-at-sale, participants' wallet addresses, timestamps, etc. will all be recorded on brifs.co's public mosaic. The serial number of each gift card will be stored on a private blockchain, with access assigned and removed by way of smart contract execution.