The advent of blockchain technology brings a new system and model for businesses. Before blockchain, companies and organizations that operate for profit must find a way to bill their users to ensure profit. Also, they have to go through multiple channels to ensure that they are transparent (which they sometimes still find a way to evade).
With blockchain, an organization can issue its own tokens based on smart contracts which gives users a surety of transparency and direct involvement in the organization’s choices according to the consensus model.
This change of model is finding its way into the ecommerce industry. The rise of online shopping giants in the last 2 decades have been profound. The centralized nature of the industry, however, creates issues that cannot be truly resolved if the system stays centralized. Issues such as unfair pricing, hidden costs and data abuse. The purpose of decentralization in the ecommerce industry is to create a system that benefits the sellers and buyers equally, and also prioritize an excellent user experience over profits.
One project with the aim of putting the ecommerce industry on the blockchain is ApolloX, which aims to create a blockchain-based ecosystem for all things ecommerce.
ApolloX is designed to enable ecommerce services and applications in a manner that is fair and efficient beyond the current standards of the industry. ApolloX believes that with the implementation of their model, ecommerce costs can be reduced by up to 40%. Their goal also is to create an ecosystem that thrives on community.
The team involved in ApolloX has an existing ecommerce platform known as Apollo Box. It was launched in 2016 and has over 1 million active users today.
What Does ApolloX Do?
The rise of the ecommerce industry in the last 2 decades has led to the emergence of giant online shopping companies such as Amazon, eBay and Alibaba. However, the centralized nature of this industry has created issues of unfair pricing, hidden costs, data abuse and more.
The problems that the e-commerce industry is facing are based on their centralized model, which can be summarized as follows:
- The expensive nature of trust between buyers and sellers on existing ecommerce platforms. Sellers have to pay substantial amounts for their products to be listed on big ecommerce sites.
- There are hidden costs of advertising and marketing that are centrally controlled. Sellers have no option but to abide by this model, which minimizes their profitability. Also, middlemen fees such as transport and storage fees are expensive on big ecommerce platforms.
- Users do not have control over their data on these platforms. The data is often resold to sellers, many times without the knowledge of the buyers (who are the owners of their own data).
ApolloX Provides a Decentralized Ecommerce Solution
ApolloX solves the above problems with a blockchain-based protocol that empowers decentralization in the e-commerce industry.
The ApolloX protocol is a set of built-in functionalities for all essential ecommerce transactions. Developers in the ApolloX community are encouraged to build on the platform to increase the robustness of the ecosystem.
The following are the primary features of the platform, as set out in their whitepaper:
- ApolloX has an Attribution Protocol which keeps every transaction and ecommerce activity in decentralized databases. Each participant on the blockchain can verify the integrity of the data with permissions.
- Affiliate sales and referral traffic are managed via the Attribution Protocol. This allows sellers to review the performance of ads from all channels. Publishers get paid directly by sellers, which removes third party agencies and their commissions from the equation.
- The Attribution Protocol also helps to track the traffic source of each visit on the ApolloX platform, and hence incentivize community members who share shops or products through their social networks. Each community member has a referral link that makes this possible.
- The Payment Protocol enables secure peer-to-peer transactions based on smart contracts, thus eliminating fraud.
- There is also a smart contract for shipping time guarantee. This means the product will either arrive on time or the consumer will be reimbursed for the delay.
- The Arbitration Protocol resolves disputes between buyers and sellers based on a Deposit-Challenge-Vote system. A buyer or seller can open a case when they cannot resolve a dispute with another party on the ApolloX platform. Each party deposits an amount of tokens and state their case. Once the case is set up, a broader vote is opened up to a randomly selected group of community mediators who cast votes with ApolloX tokens to make a decision about the outcome of the case. After the vote is complete, the losing side will lose their tokens. The winning side and mediators who voted for the winning side get a share of the tokens from the losing side (as incentive). The mediators who voted for the losing side gets their tokens back but with no extra reward.
- The Reputation Protocol rewards honest reviews and penalizes fraudulent reviews. Those who give fraudulent reviews lose tokens, and also lose their ability to review other products.
- The Oracle and Data Protocol is used to provide external information concerning issues like logistics, personal information and advertising.
History of ApolloX
The team behind ApolloX earlier founded the ecommerce platform Apollo Box, which is focused on selling creative home and lifestyle products.
Apollo Box was designed to be a social ecommerce community, and has now grown into a global marketplace with $15 million in annual gross sales. It has 800 vendors from 20 different countries, and serves over 1 million active users.
The issues they faced in their experience in the ecommerce industry is what motivated the creation of ApolloX.
The Team Behind ApolloX
The ApolloX team consists of experienced personnel with strong academic background as well as expertise is ecommerce and blockchain:
Will Li (Co-founder, Technology Lead) is a serial entrepreneur, who has founded 3 companies. He started his first company, Carrot App, in 2010 during his senior year at MIT and it was acquired by Sophos in 2012. Li is the inventor of the first application locking solution for Android, a feature now adopted in almost every Android phone. He has been investing in blockchain since 2013.
Claire Zhou (Co-founder, Product Lead) received her Masters degree in Biomedical Engineering from the University of New York State. She co-founded Carrot App with Li in 2010. She then worked as Senior Marketing Analyst at Google and Newell Rubbermaid. She left Google and co-founded Apollo Box in 2016.
Li and Zhou are supported by a team with varying roles such as cryptography researcher, marketing lead, logistics specialist, and more. You can view the full team line-up here.
Notable advisors include Zaki Manian (executive director of Trusted IoT alliance), Jun Wu (partner at Amino Capital), Chris Li (founding partner of ForgeLab), Felix Li (founder at Hofan Capital), Huican Zhu (partner at Amino Capital), and Jennifer Wang (CMO of DealMoon).
The APXT Token
The APXT token is the utility tolen for rewards and payments on the ApolloX platform. It is the primary incentive for the community to contribute to the ecosystem.
The chart below expresses the dynamics of the APXT tokens in the ApolloX ecosystem:
While their token sale date is still unknown. ApolloBox has announced that they have completed their private seed round funding of several millions.
The inefficiencies of the current state of the ecommerce industry creates an opportunity for a decentralized system of operations. These inefficiencies are addressed by the ApolloX protocol and it offers a way for buyers and sellers to transact with the transparency and trust that blockchain brings.
Currently, ecommerce blockchain projects are still in their infancy as the industry is heavily dominated by big centralized companies. Different projects such as Ecryptostore, Elysian, and Bezop are still working hard to establish themselves, and it remains to be seen which ones will emerge as leaders in the ecommerce industry from the blockchain world.
ApolloX can make a big impact on the ecommerce industry if they are able to to reduce the total cost of ecommerce by as much as 40% as expected. As the ApolloX platform is built on the experience of Apollo Box, there is high confidence that the team will succeed at their aims.
Taking on traditional e-commerce companies is a big challenge, but the ApolloX team looks ready to transform the industry into one that is more transparent, cost-efficient and fair.