Over the last two decades, virtual reality technology has slowly but surely crept its way towards mainstream adoption. With the launch of Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s Oculus Rift hardware quickly superseded by SONY CORP (OTCMKTS:SNEJF)’s Playstation VR offering, the pool of applications and games available to early adopters is increasing daily and this – in turn – is ramping up consumer interaction with the devices spearheading the shift.
Right now, however, monetization in the space is limited to initial hardware purchases and media/application type purchases once the user has the hardware in-hand. Sure, there are certain micro-transaction revenue streams available to developers post-sale but again, these are limited in scale.
Further, the implications of this shift towards VR immersion aren’t limited to a game or a hardware developer’s potential to generate revenue. As more and more of us spend time in a digitally rendered world, the aggregate time spent in front of traditional screens (laptops, desktops, mobile devices, etc.) diminishes.
With display advertising the current lifeblood of the internet, a reduction in screen time globally could dramatically decrease the potential for media publishers to generate advertising revenues and – at the same time – reduce the options available to suppliers of goods and services that want to get their product in front of potential buyers.
A solution clearly needs to be found and a company called Gaze Coin thinks it’s done just that.
Further, Gaze Coin is about to undertake an initial coin offering (ICO) to raise the funds required to execute on its development strategy, meaning individual investors have the chance to pick up an exposure to this solution ahead of the crowd. This sort of early-stage exposure is an opportunity normally only afforded to Silicon Valley VCs but and – if the technology takes off as the company expects it to – it has the potential to be an incredibly rewarding play. Of course, when a VC takes a position in an early stage tech company, and in return for the large potential for upside on his or her position, they’ve got to be willing to accept a fair degree of risk.
So, the question here is, is Gaze Coin worth the risk?
We took a look at the company’s whitepaper to try and come up with an answer to that question and – in short – we came up with a resounding ‘yes’.
Here’s what we found that’s supportive of this conclusion.
So, the Gaze Coin solution to the ongoing (and future) problems caused by the shift towards augmented and virtual reality media consumption is rooted in an eponymous token of exchange – Gaze Coin – which is a token built in line with ECR20 standards (basically meaning it can be stored in the vast majority of Ethereum-compliant wallets). These tokens are at the core of the way the Gaze Coin system works (something we’ll get into in a little more detail shortly).
So, the company is developing an API that will allow it to monitor and track the amount of time a user (one that’s consuming virtual or augmented reality content/media) spends looking at, or interacting with, a particular piece of content. The user is paid for the time they spend interacting with the content in question (assuming it’s promotional, and within the AR/VR environment) while the promoter (so, the creator of the product or service that the user is interacting with) pays either Gaze Coin or the creator of the content that the user is consuming, depending on the specifics of the interaction.
Let’s get into this in a bit more detail.
Imagine the following scenario.
A user puts on his or her virtual reality headset and, within the headset, attends a concert that’s being put on by a band. Remember, this is all VR, so the user isn’t actually going anywhere, but they are watching the band through the virtual environment created by the headset they are wearing.
After a certain amount of time, the user that’s watching the band is regarded as ‘immersed’ in the media. How does Gaze Coin track this immersion? By using a technology (developed proprietarily, and called Gaze Control) that tracks where the user is looking. If a user looks at a particular area in the virtual environment for a few seconds, for example, they ‘enter’ the virtual gig. So long as they remain at the gig, they are considered to be consuming the music that the band is playing.
So here’s where the monetization comes in.
Say the gig is sponsored by Pandora Media Inc (NYSE:P). Pandora is able to display its logo and features in various places in the virtual environment, just as it would be able to at a real world gig it was sponsoring. For the privilege of doing this, Pandora pays the content creators (in this instance, the band) a certain amount of Gaze Coin. The amount is dictated by the number of users immersed in the experience (i.e. watching the gig).
So the band is paid by the sponsor and, in return, the sponsor gets highly accurately track-able metrics as to who was seeing its logo or product, when they were seeing it and for how long.
It’s hard to overstate how revolutionary this sort of technology could be. The above-described example is just one use case of a practically infinite number of scenarios in which the Gaze Coin concept could be applied to virtual and augmented media display consumption.
Take retail as another example. Say a user is able to head into a virtual shopping location that’s got hundreds of different, say, laptops on virtual tables spread through the environment. Using Gaze Coin’s technology, the company can track how long a user spends looking and interacting with a particular laptop (or, more accurately, a virtual rendering of a laptop) and, in turn, can charge the company that built (and is now trying to sell) the laptop display advertising fees based on the amount of eyeball-time the model in question gets.
Additionally, there’s the potential for the content consumer (so, the user that in the above example is looking at the laptop) to receive payment in Gaze Coin, based on the amount of time they spend interacting with the device.
It’s an everybody wins model.
The ability to pay users to consume digital advertising has long been seen as the next step in media advertising. However, due to transaction fees, third-party payment platforms, all the sorts of things that provide friction when trying to transfer a token of value, the concept has to-date been unrealistic. Further, the issue surrounding fake advertising consumption (so, bots programmed to click on display ads, for example) it’s rife with the potential for malicious operation.
With the Gaze Control technology and the Gaze Coin token system, the company has created a viable solution to both of these issues and has – in turn – potentially created what will become the next industry standard in business to consumer interaction.
So what are the technical points that people should know before taking part in the Gaze Coin ICO?
Well, Gaze Coin will be ECR20 compliant, as noted above, meaning it falls in line with what is currently the industry standard for these sorts of tokens. Basically, it just means that the tokens are built to interact with the Ethereum platform and that they can be stored in any (well, practically any) Ethereum wallet. The tokens themselves will be called Gaze Coins but on issue will be tickered as GZE, subsequently migrating to Gaze Coin’s own ‘proof of stake’ blockchain.
At launch (so, at the start of the ICO), 1 GZE will be roughly equivalent to $0.35 in ETH, which is the token used to store and transfer value across the Ethereum platform.
In terms of issue, GZE will become available on 28 November 2017, at 11 am and the ICO will run for 7 days. Of the total tokens issued, 70% are targeted to be distributed during the token sale, while the remaining 30% is reserved for various insiders – Advisors will get 5%, the Team will get 10%, Contractors will get 5%, and 10% will be reserved for the User Growth Pool.
When it comes to insider token retention like this, we see it as comparable to an insider interest in a particular company’s stock. It’s a great thing since it aligns the interests of those tasked with driving growth of the company in question with those of the shareholders (or, as is the case here, the token holders).
The company wants to raise a minimum of $2 million but is ideally seeking to raise $12 million, with a hard cap on completion of $35 million.
In terms of budget allocation, the capital raised will be spent as follows:
- Game Development – 48% of budget
- Administration – 10% of budget
- Marketing – 22% of budget
- Contractors – 13% of budget
- Contingency – 7% of budget
There’s a neat outline as to where Gaze Coin expects to be at various stages of its roadmap in the whitepaper, so for anyone considering an exposure, it’s well worth taking a look here (page 16) so as to get an idea of the deliverables and – in turn – pick up some insight into when a return might be expected on any initial outlay.
So that’s the technology, the issue, and the expenditure.
Who’s behind all this?
This is one of the most frequently ignored areas of the ICO space and yet, in our opinion, it’s one of the – if not the – most important elements of an ICO as an investment asset.
And with Gaze Coin, things look incredibly strong.
Jonny Peters is Founder and CEO. Peters has a vast amount of experience in leading projects at the forefront of entertainment and tech, and has spearheaded projects at BSkyB, KGrind and Bravo.
Bok Khoo is the CTO at Gaze Coin. Many reading might already be familiar with Khoo – he’s built up a strong reputation over the years as one of the leading developers in the Ethereum ecosystem and, outside of the blockchain, has worked with banking and corporate treasury clients, investment managers, exchanges, government agencies and financial soft vendors throughout APAC and Europe for over 28 years.
Landon Curry is an interesting appointment as VR Technical Team Director. He’s the guy behind eBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY)’s first VR department store and also built the world’s first VR racing simulator for Red Bull.
Advisors include Jeremy Lam, Product Lead at OmiseGO, George Samman, co-founder bitcoin and cryptocurrency trading platform BTC.sx (now Magnr) and Travis Rice, VR Industry Advisor and the co-founder of The LENS Group – a global VR company with a focus in China.
So what’s the bottom line?
This is a standout ICO in a space that is teeming with startups looking for investor capital right now and we’re almost certain that the company will have no problem raising the capital required to get some real traction towards completion of its roadmap near term. The concept is revolutionary, the problem it’s solving is very real, the technology is cutting edge but, at the same time, realistic and achievable with blockchain integration and the team charged with bringing it all together is a who’s who of the crossover between media, VR, and blockchain.
To take part in the ICO, investors need to register here.