It was my pleasure to host Justin Banon, Co-Founder & CEO of Boson Protocol, for an hour-long AMA session. It was divided into two parts, the first part being Justin answering questions from my side, followed by the second part which was a short live session where everyone was open to ask him anything.
Oddgems: We have Justin Banon Co-Founder/CEO of Boson Protocol here with us.
Justin: Hi everyone, great to be here!!
Oddgems: First of all it’s a huge pleasure and an honour for us to have you here in our TG group. Boson Protocol is one of the projects that I’m personally very excited about and having Trent McConaghy as an advisor certainly peaked my interest even further. Looking forward to knowing more about everything Boson. Before we begin, could you briefly introduce yourself to our community?
Justin: As MD, I previously built a $1Bn pa revenue platform (Priority Pass Group, grown from $50m), which represented physical products and services as digital vouchers and sold them to consumers and businesses globally. This included global deals with CeFi giants such as Amex, Mastercard, Visa and over 1,400+ banks worldwide. I am now bringing this experience to crypto with Boson Protocol.
Oddgems: Great work experience, Definitely a rich CV :)
Now Let’s jump straight into the questions.. Shall we?
QTo begin with, let's first introduce our audience to Boson Protocol and what does “Decentralized Autonomous Commerce” actually means?
Boson Protocol itself is a foundational primitive for connecting smart contracts to real-world commerce.
By representing future commitments to trade as stateful NFT vouchers governed by a dynamic game mechanism, Boson eliminates intermediaries and minimizes arbitration cost and friction. We call this decentralized autonomous commerce.
As such, Boson Protocol is dcommerce lego for enabling an ecosystem of dcommerce applications.
Oddgems: Great, This made me recall about Money Legos article by Trent, Awesome :)
Justin Banon: Trent has been a huge influence on my thinking for several years now. Since I was studying blockchain at masters level and he very kindly helped with some research.
QAs per your website, it says “We eliminate intermediaries and minimize arbitration and rent extraction, making dCommerce frictionless” — How will you go about removing intermediaries and also making sure that process works flawlessly without them?
We have an automated escrow that takes buyers' payment and also a deposit from the seller to commit to providing quality within the agreed timeframe.
Furthermore, we significantly reduce the need for human arbitration as this is governed by a game theoretic mechanism.
Due to the decentralized nature and the aforementioned game-theoretic mechanism, we can eliminate extractionary behaviors and minimize friction.
QEarlier you mentioned Boson Protocol uses stateful NFT, can you describe what are stateful NFT’s?
An NFT is a distinct/unique object within cyberspace, it is to the metaverse what an object is to the universe.
Boson NFTs are objects with structure, like a ball maze game. Each position is a state. The rules governing this are part of a dynamic game.
QComing to NFT vouchers, I would also love a brief explanation about its exchange mechanism :)
Boson implements a dynamic game, which takes deposits from buyer and seller and upfront payment and escrows these with some rules to incentivize buyer to transact and seller to transact to agreed quality.
For example, if you need to book a table at an expensive restaurant, you might be asked to make a deposit on a reservation (eg $100). This is not to cover the restaurant’s losses, but to give them assurance because they know you have skin in the game. This is an example of a game with 1 deposit and 1 rule.
Boson’s mechanism is an extension. We have two deposits rather than one and a more complex ruleset.
The buyer commits to show up the seller commits to deliver to an agreed level of quality.
QHow will boson Protocol handle disputes or refunds, as blockchain transactions are irreversible?
You are of course correct, blockchain transactions are practically irreversible. But we can program the direction of funds from the escrow. Boson will escrow and the system will automatically implement the programmed ruleset.
The outcomes are fairly straightforward: Pay the seller or return the payment. Then return, transfer, or burn deposits. All based on predetermined rules of transactions.
The payment is transferred only when the buyer signs a redemption transaction.
QCan you talk about the token utility of Boson Protocol?
The utility is in two categories; it coordinates buyers and sellers and also unlocks value from commerce data. This has the potential to unlock two huge pools of value:
- the global decentralized infrastructure for coordinating commerce
- a planetary-level web3 commerce marketplace
Boson Protocol will charge a minimally extractive fee for coordination. We also unlock value from datasets. The Boson token incentivizes users to share their product preference data, which is then ‘monetized’ via an Ocean Protocol data marketplace, but not extraction, instead, its value is then recycled to the community and token holders.
It also funds the creation of apps built on Boson to further growth. Through all of the above BSN will accrue value as usage increases.
QFor exchange of data or value it needs a data marketplace, and Boson has chosen the best out there in Ocean Protocol. Can you talk us through how Boson leverages Ocean’s marketplace?
Yes. The infrastructure which Ocean has/is building is an incredible Meccano set for web 3 builders. Buyers are incentivized to share data and they will receive Boson if they provide feedback or buying data.
This is made available via a data marketplace (Ocean Protocol), this can then be purchased by other businesses. We can then capture the value that is recycled by the Boson token. Throughout all of this, the customer can choose what data is available for the marketplace or not.
QWhat is the long term vision of Boson protocol and what major milestones are there in the near future?
Current commerce infrastructure is being increasingly captured by one or few centralized intermediaries, which as they grow and scale it makes it impossible for independents to compete unless they operate on their platform. Small independents and consumers are essentially being farmed by centralized organizations.
We see a future where we are all no longer being farmed. Instead, the commerce infrastructure is protected from capture and community-owned.
It’s almost like a swarm of specialized dcommerce applications unbundling the monopolies. Boson will enable the infrastructure and feed profit/value back, via a DAO, into further projects. This follows a similar model to Ocean Protocol’s Web3 sustainability model (Trent McConaghy from Ocean Protocol is an advisor.)
Oddgems: I kinda liked the term “unbundling the monopolies”
Justin: I used to run a $1billion extractionary platform. I didn't like farming consumers, So I left and built Boson!
QLots of queries regarding this, when will the token sale take place, and please share the details of the sale as well :)
You heard it here first with Oddgems: Our public sale will be in Q1 of 2021.
We will be releasing more details on our website. We have had lots of interest and people wanting to know when. We will release more details over time.
QCan you share some example use cases of Boson Protocol?
Sure, So Boson is a universal, composable infrastructure for enabling decentralized autonomous commerce. We will be funding an ecosystem of applications via the Boson DAO. However, we will also ‘seed’ the ecosystem with some super cool dapps.
Nifty Key — an NFT based rewards program where you can receive NFTs as vouchers of future promise for real-world goods or services. This is kind of a web2.5–3 use case. We are going where the users and stored funds are. The first job of any web3 project is to gain adoption
We are also developing a really cool app to enable digital to physical redemption of things like art or in-game items.
For example, enabling NFT artists to pair limited edition physical artworks with digital NFTs. You buy the Boson NFT and have a guarantee of either getting the artwork or your money back and a commitment for the seller to deliver.
All without any intermediaries or friction of humans. Delivered via NFT ad crypto infra.
We are working with some amazing players in this space. Lots of cool stuff to announce….
Oddgems: Just off-topic and really abrupt from me — If everything is without the friction of humans, So are you in contact with any AI-related project? I mean for example Fetch.AI has Autonomous Agents, will that be of any use in Boson’s Ecosystem?
Justin: Fetch is another project in the Outlier Ventures portfolio and a great one. So Boson could be used to execute the physical redemption of autonomous agents. In fact, Boson doesn’t know whether Buyer or Seller are humans, AIs, or washing machines. We are all building these composable protocols which will combine to create new novel super systems.
QBoson Protocol, as the name implies, is a middleware for builders to develop dCommerce applications. As the dCommerce ecosystem develops, what role do you envision for Boson?
Boson DAO, which will support the growth of the dCommerce stack as a whole through funding research and development of applications to run on Boson Protocol. It will be the nest of the swarm of highly specialized apps and protocols that will take on the centralized incumbent monopolies.
QNFTs are a very hot topic right now, with most of the use cases being related to NFT Art, Games, and VR. Boson seems like a more serious play, focused on commerce. Do you have plans for art, games and VR usecases?
In addition to the art example already mentioned…
An example of VR could be in Cryptovoxels or a game. We could enable a situation where 2 people that don’t know each other can trustlessly transact and agree on getting something sold to the other party and agree in the physical world. Transactions can be anonymous but trusted.
With games, you could find a rare in-game item and actually receive the item in the physical world as well. Like a relic that is hard to get hold of, and when you get it you also get memorabilia with it. Unless we have this transactions between the metaverse and the universe will need to be managed by humans. Doesn’t seem very efficient to me…
QHow different is Open Bazaar or Origin’s dcommerce when compared to Boson’s dcommerce?
Boson is fundamentally different. Boson is a protocol upon which marketplace and dcommerce applications can flourish, not a marketplace with a blockchain backend.
The major problem with current dcommerce architecture is the reliance on arbitrators, which add friction and cost, removing the benefit.
With Boson we automated commerce transactions via our game-theoretic mechanism, backed by one of, if not the top game theorists in the world Dr. Akaki Mamageishvili. This reduces costs and friction by incentivizing positive outcomes for all parties.
Oddgems: Ok, that’s it from my side, Now the channel will be unmuted and it’s the community’s turn to ask any other questions they wish and Justin will answer them :)
Now we jump into a few live questions which were answered by Justin.
Question: Devil’s advocate: what stops Jeff Bezos from buying all your tokens and sitting on them to stop you from replacing Amazon?
Justin: I think the Bezos question is a good one for all decentralized projects. I am sure we will see such attacks in some cases. But the value is us all, the community, the network. You cannot buy that without destroying the value.
Question: Has there been any interest shown by enterprises to integrate dcommerce in their ecosystem?
Justin: One of the reasons that we have taken a while to announce is because we have laid the proper regulatory groundwork. I previously signed multiple billion-dollar deals with big enterprises, so know the importance of being regulatorily sound in order to enable this. yes, are in conversation with some big players. Watch this space…
Question: Amazing experienced background. How big is the team? I saw you're hiring devs for which objectives/tasks?
Justin: The team is about 15 atm. Yes hiring to expand the team to hit some pretty aggressive goals. Also to deliver some substantial demand from customers / partners / users
Question: Can you provide an example of how a contract would determine if the delivery of a real-world product has been delivered to the buyer's satisfaction or not?
Justin: Well, the Buyer unilaterally signs a redemption transaction atomically with receipt of the item. If the buyer is unsatisfied they can sign a compliant transaction. The seller can choose to admit a fault or not. The mechanism extends the toolkit of rational game theory with behavioral economics. So the fine balance of the game is also impacted by mechanisms such as the ultimatum game effect- where sellers will not admit a fault unless it is fair, even if it is economically rational to do so…
Question: With Amazon, for example, a lot of buyers fraudulently claim products didn’t arrive, and Amazon absorbs that because it’s huge. How would a private seller cope with that if they couldn’t blacklist the buyer?
Justin: Boson works on the basis of a sliding scale of trust. Boson supports an end to end trustless exchange where a Buyer signs a redemption transaction upon receipt of an item. This is as atomic as cash for the coffee exchange in Starbucks. Alternatively, a buyer could delegate signing to a courier oracle, for lower value items say…
Oddgems: And with that my friends, we conclude this AMA. Thanks a lot Justin for answering all the questions. It’s been an awesome session to be honest where I’ve learned a lot and am looking forward to all the great things which will come in 2021 and beyond. Wishing the entire Boson Protocol team the very best for future endeavors.
Hopefully, we see you again soon :)
Justin: Thank you for having me Oddgems and thanks to the Oddgems Family. Seasons greetings!
Boson Protocol Links: