NeuCoin is a new cryptocurrency aimed at creating a uniquely customer friendly experience for users. For those unfamiliar with the workings of Bitcoin or the blockchain, the service is especially designed so that users are not required to learn about the underlying technology. Instead, users are first presented with the use cases themselves, such as micro-tipping, micro-subscriptions, p2p payments, remittances, and online purchases.
The value-first nature of the coin aims to bring users on-board out of personal benefit, rather than through interest in the technology itself.
Built upon a 'freemium' model, the team behind NeuCoin aims to always have a supply of free NeuCoins available through a varying range of channels so that new users are able to try out the service services built on top of the cryptocurrency. NeuCoin has also established three democratically controlled guiding trusts, independent of the coin's core team, tasked with the promotion and increase in coin uptake through the distribution of the pre-mine.
The system is being designed so that new users are most likely to come across NeuCoin in relation to a service, piece of software, or sales platform they're already using. In the case of a channel on YouTube for example, there might be an option to support the channel through micro-tips with NeuCoin.
Aiming to overcome the inertia and reluctance of users sharing their personal and payment details usually required for such a service, one of the independent foundations tasked with promoting NeuCoin will offer these new users a supply of free coins to initially use. This supply is currently offered to users completing an informative quiz about the new coin, but other activities will begin with time.
Once users have their supply of NeuCoins, they will be able to exchange with micro-subscription models for content, pay to remove adverts on sites or videos, and send NeuCoin balances to individuals and companies as a payment option.
The coins themselves are based on a proof-of-stake system, with the team once again aiming to demystify this process for casual non-technical users. There will be a consumer-friendly mining system, dubbed “growth account,” where users can use their NeuCoin funds as their stake for blockchain validation and thus earn the rewards for blocks completed.
Startups, companies, and individuals who add value to the NeuCoin ecosystem have the chance to find themselves funded or rewarded by one of the three independent trusts that are in charge of the pre-mine. Their chartered aim is to promote the expansion of the coin, which can be achieved through funding such useful projects or through the sale of coins to investors to fund core development and consumer marketing. These foundations are ultimately steered through by democratic votes from NeuCoin holders, one vote per coin held.
NeuCoin seeks to be a highly usable and un-intimidating coin and cryptocurrency architecture. Users are able to earn, use, and mine, the coin without becoming familiar with the inner workings of the currency or technology behind it.
The “strategic distribution” of the pre-mine to value adding actors, investors, and users, represents a new approach to the way in which a coin can create usability, scale, and value.
Founded in 2014, NeuCoin quickly attracted US$2.25 million in initial funding from a string of private investors including Patrik Stymne, the co-founder of King (Candy Crush Saga), Rob Goldman, the head of growth at Facebook, and Emil Michael, SVP of business at Uber. The trusts that guide and promote the coin are based on the Isle of Man.
To get started, a few NeuCoins are widely available for free for new users. At the time of publication the main NeuCoin website offers free coins to users completing a survey about the coin itself.
100,000,000 NeuCoins will be on sale during an initial coin offering (ICO) to the cryptocurrency community.
Cointelegraph: What first got you interested in the cryptocurrency world?
NeuCoin: One of the NeuCoin founders was an early Bitcoin entrepreneur and miner, and thanks to him the rest of us realized the amazing potential of cryptocurrency. But we also saw how incredibly techy, intimidating and inaccessible Bitcoin was (and still is) for regular consumers. The concept is complex, there's a lot of tech jargon, weird security concerns, lots to wrap your head around and really hard and scary for regular consumers... it's as if you would have to learn SMS technology in order to send a text and risk losing your phone number while you're at it. Also, Bitcoin doesn't have any real applications that regular consumers care about, other than transfers, so there's no demand, no real reason for consumers to want to get involved.
So, not surprisingly, even with all the buzz and media attention, Bitcoin has gone absolutely nowhere in terms of consumer adoption in its six years of existence: flat mainstream adoption curve. We wanted to change that and design a coin from a consumer's perspective, a fun token that is driven by real consumer applications for micropayments, which we believe is cryptocurrency's killer app from a consumer's standpoint.
We also saw how Bitcoin’s distribution to miners was hindering its mainstream adoption. Looking at Ripple and, more recently Stellar, we saw that there were alternative technologies that didn't distribute their monetary supply just to miners, and that instead we could use coin distribution as a strategic tool for growth and adoption, an incentive to reward anyone who helps increase the value and utility NeuCoin. And here the idea for a super easy, freemium-powered consumer coin was born.
With our consumer marketing background we knew that for regular people to adopt NeuCoin, we had to put consumer experience and usability first. So, we gathered a strong tech team and spent the last year building a digital currency that is:
- Easy to use, free to try, and actually useful for regular consumers through micropayment platforms with content partners,
- Designed for growth: the NeuCoin distribution model rewards all participants who grow its and utility and user base, not just miners.
- As secure, or even maybe more secure than Bitcoin is.
CT: There's been a lot of talk about micro-tipping becoming an introduction to cryptocurrencies for many people. What optimizes NeuCoin for this?
NC: For regular consumers to try something as new and different as digital currency, it has to be easy, it has to be free to try, and it has to offer some real benefit, give them something to do that they haven't been able to do before. Being able to make anonymous transactions isn't something most mainstream consumers care about. Buying a computer at dell.com is actually easier with a credit card than with Bitcoin, so that’s not it either.
International transfers is one area where cryptocurrencies have huge potential. And look at the success of Ripple. Micropayments is another area like that. Like others in the space, we think micropayments may be the killer app that brings crypto to the masses. It offers consumers and digital content providers a new experience that hasn’t been viable with traditional payment methods, like being able to pay 5 cents to watch a video, or 20 cents to get rid of all video ads for the day, or 50 cents for a micro subscription, tipping your favorite content creators. This allows for new digital behaviors and ways to monetize that haven't been possible before.
To get consumers and content providers to try this new experience with as little friction as possible, NeuCoin's micropayment platforms will be powered by freemium distribution of NeuCoin to users, who will be able to try out micropayments for free (paying for premium content, for micro-subscriptions, etc) - a significant advantage over micropayment platforms using Bitcoin. NeuCoin will also give user acquisition bounties to participating content providers for all new users that sign up for free NeuCoin, to keep the circle of adoption going.
This freemium strategy is hugely important, because it means that consumers will be able to try using NeuCoin for free with zero friction. If they like the experience, they will come back for more. Then and only then. Look at fast-growing consumer services like Dropbox, WhatsApp, Spotify, Candy Crush, they all offer a free entry-level service to let new users try the service and have a good first experience. In the digital economy this is the key to consumer adoption. And it's a huge difference compared to tipping with Bitcoin. A non Bitcoin-savvy consumer would have to sign up to a tipping service, create a wallet there, then top up his wallet - which means finding out how to buy Bitcoin (and upload banking and personal information on an exchange). It is highly unlikely that a user will jump through so many hoops just to tip someone 20 cents. It has to be zero friction, a couple of clicks. With NeuCoin, users will be able to test our micropayment platform and experience its benefits for free.
NeuCoin's micropayment platforms are also tailored to attract merchants. Premium content providers using NeuCoin's micropayment platforms will enjoy two major benefits: first, NeuCoin's freemium distribution is essentially paying the content provider for offering consumers a "free trial" of their content. Second, content providers will be also be awarded with NeuCoin for every new user that converts to NeuCoin, like any user acquisition bounties. This way the consumer benefits and the content provider benefits, twice. That's how you create a virtuous cycle of adoption.
NeuCoin's micropayment platforms are starting with three pilot partners: MondoMedia, the largest animation channel on YouTube, Jango.com, a streaming music service with 8 million monthly listeners and RadioAirplay, a artist promotion company with 250,000 musicians as customers. With them, we'll optimize the platforms for user experience and monetization and then roll out them out widely.
CT: NeuCoin places a lot of focus upon providing NeuCoin funding for those who are increasing the utility of the coin. Can you give any early examples of how this has worked?
NC: NeuCoin's three non-profit foundations - the Code, Growth and Utility foundations - will award coins to fund projects that increase the utility and consumer reach of NeuCoin, which in turn, increases the value of NeuCoin.
Right now, the Utility Foundation is offering a bounty of 1,000 NeuCoin to anyone who completes a survey to give feedback on the NeuCoin Project, that you can find on www.neucoin.org. Those who take the time to write particularly thoughtful suggestions - negative or positive - receive even more.
When the coin launches, the Utility foundation will award NeuCoins to companies that make NeuCoin useful: content providers that accept micropayments in NeuCoin, exchanges and payment processors that integrate NeuCoin, wallet companies, any infrastructure or applications that help increase the value of NeuCoin, etc. These could be remittance services, discount shopping services, gambling sites, gaming applications, etc. The first companies who will be awarded NeuCoins are our pilot partners helping us launch the NeuCoin micropayment platform: Mondo Media, Jango, and RadioAirplay. More to follow.
The Growth Foundation will also distribute some NeuCoins for free to consumers so that they can try out NeuCoin with the least friction possible, through the various onboarding experiences, or the micropayment platforms for example. Even more coins will be awarded to individuals and companies that recruit other users through referral programs, celebrity endorsements and other marketing and distribution partners who help recruit new users, to get a positive cycle of user adoption going.
The foundations will also sell some NeuCoins to investors and use the proceeds to fund core development, marketing and user acquisition, and projects to further develop NeuCoin's utility. Here are a few of these projects, some of which are already under development and/or close to being finalized:
- MyNeuCoin, a consumer-friendly online wallet, which features brand name gift card auctions for NeuCoin and an easy-to-use consumer proof-of-stake mining service in the form of a simple “growth account”.
- The NeuCoin “vault”, a storage/mining/holding service for sale restricted coins.
- Micropayment platforms for tipping and premium content in relevant verticals like music, video, games, blogs, photo, editorial, adult, social media platforms, etc.
CT: Any upcoming releases or updates you can share with us?
NC: We will be releasing our tech white paper in March, which will show how NeuCoin’s proof-of-stake design is more secure, more decentralized and lower cost that proof-of-work, while addressing all commonly raised objections to previous implementations of proof-of-stake technology. The release of the white paper will be closely followed by the beginning of our presale, which will last for about a month. After that, Neucoin will launch in the spring of 2015 with a number of fun, consumer-friendly services that make it easy for mainstream consumers to discover, earn and start using digital currency:
- The first on-boarding website, GetNeuCoin.com, is a gameified tutorial, that lets users learn about NeuCoin and digital currencies in a fun and engaging way, and earn a few free coins while they're at it, a few more if they recruit their friends. These types of on boarding experiences are core to our strategy: zero friction, fun, easy and useful right away.
- A super easy online wallet, MyNeuCoin - that is as user-friendly as any leading Bitcoin wallet (Circle, Coinbase) that's easy and intuitive without any tech jargon on the front-end, but heavy security and robust Blockchain.info style handling of private keys on the backend. MyNeuCoin will have lots of fun ways to earn and use NeuCoins, MyNeuCoin will also have auctions for gift cards for NeuCoin - giving users a useful way to shop at brand name merchants like Amazon, iTunes, Google Play and Zynga from day one. At MyBeuCoin, consumers will be also able to claim the NeuCoins bought during the presale and earned by giving us feedback and taking the NeuCoin survey here.
- A seamless cloud mining service that lets regular consumers effortlessly earn proof-of-stake awards on their coins simply by drag and dropping them into “growth accounts”, without ever having to even hear the word "mining".
Shortly after launch, NeuCoin will roll out freemium micropayment platforms for tipping and paid content through pilot partnerships with MondoMedia, the number one animation channel on YouTube with over 2 billion show-views, RadioAirplay.com, an artist promotion company with over 250,000 independent musicians as customers; Jango.com, an online music service with over 8 million monthly listeners; and These platforms will be tested and optimized with pilot partners and then rolled out for use by any content provider looking for tipping or micropayment solutions.
As mentioned before, and this is crucial for adoption, the platforms will also be powered by freemium distribution of NeuCoin to users, who will be able to try premium content for free. This is a significant advantage over micropayment platforms using Bitcoin, because 99.9% of consumers don’t have Bitcoin, and as we know not easy to get for non-techy people. Content providers who use the platforms will also receive user acquisition bounties for every new user converting to NeuCoin.
CT: NeuCoin's advisors and angel investors include famous tech entrepreneurs and executives from companies like King/Candy Crush Saga, Spotify, Hotwire, Facebook and Uber. What does it mean to have people of such high caliber contribute to NeuCoin?
NC: It's a unique group for a cryptocurrency startup, but that's the world we come from. Our advisors and investors were invited based on their ability to support the project, forge strategic partnerships and help drive consumer adoption. We know them well and have worked with many of them in the past, all successful entrepreneurs, executives and investors - from tech companies putting the consumer experience front and center, just like NeuCoin. Coming from consumer-driven media and tech, companies like King, Uber, Facebook, Spotify, Hotwire they have a very consumer-oriented and growth-driven look on any type of project. They were fascinated by the potential of cryptocurrencies, but agreed it has so far been totally inaccessible for mainstream users, and that no one had approached it from a pure consumer experience angle. Like us, they saw the potential for mainstream adoption, by offering an easy, freemium and actually useful experience. That’s how you get consumers onboard, just like with any other digital consumer product.
CT: Neucoin is supported by three independent non-profit foundations in the Isle of Man, each with its own focus: code, utility, and growth. Tell us more.
NC: NeuCoin’s core development, consumer marketing, and projects to increase the coin’s utility will be handled by three independent non-profit foundations based in the Isle of Man – the Code, Growth and Utility foundations. These three foundations also control the allocation of NeuCoin's pre-mine, and are bound to use this resource to maximize the value of NeuCoin. Three separate foundations with distinct functions and resources were created rather than a single one, with the object of making the currency more decentralized. This structure also affords NeuCoin greater flexibility and adaptability to navigate the international regulatory environment for digital currencies that is still evolving.
Although the three foundations are independent of each other, they all share the same mission – to maximize the long-term value of NeuCoin. Each one is overseen by independent Council Members, who are aided by Strategic Advisors with experience in digital currencies, consumer marketing, economics, finance and regulatory matters.
All foundations are ultimately controlled by NeuCoin holders (1 NeuCoin = 1 vote), who have the power to hire, fire and set compensation for the foundations’ Council Members, and have a right of approval on annual budgets, spending priorities and other matters.
The NeuCoin Code Foundation’s mission is to maximize NeuCoin’s long-term value through stewardship of the source code, fostering projects that relate to security, decentralization, scalability, development and maintenance of NeuCoin’s voting mechanism, supporting the development community, etc.
The NeuCoin Utility Foundation works to maximize the value of NeuCoin by making NeuCoin both “as easy to use” as possible, and “more useful than traditional currencies” for specific applications. This means awarding NeuCoins to service providers for integrating NeuCoin into their platforms, services like exchanges, payment processors, gambling sites, remittance services, discount shopping services, etc. It also funds and supports specific projects that increase NeuCoin's utility, for example MyNeuCoin, the consumer-friendly online wallet, auctions and other e-commerce applications, a consumer-friendly proof-of-stake mining service in form of simple “growth account”, a “vault” for sale-restricted coins, micropayment platforms for tipping and premium content, etc.
The mission of the NeuCoin Growth Foundation is to maximize the long-term value of NeuCoin by attempting to grow the largest possible base of users. It does this by distributing small amounts of NeuCoin for free new users, as well as to people and companies who refer new users to NeuCoin, referral programs, celebrity endorsements, marketing partners, educational programs and so on. It also funds the development of onboarding websites, consumer marketing and other programs to grow NeuCoin's user base.
The foundations are located in the Isle of Man, as per the public record on: