Wouldn’t it be great if there was a marketplace where individuals and merchants could sell their skills or product and get paid in a cryptocurrency? Or where you could buy or sell services with a trustless automated instant payments system that removes all the angst of worrying about where your crypto money is going or when it’s coming in. Well, that’s exactly the sort of marketplace Australian blockchain startup CanYa is building, with the CanYaCoin (CAN) token at its center, acting as a single bridge between currencies to make fiat seamlessly convertible into crypto and crypto into fiat.
The CanYa app, which soft-launched in Adelaide, Australia, in January 2017, already has 8,000 users and 4,000 service providers. That’s important because, unlike the majority of ICO projects, CanYa is more than just a whitepaper – it has shipped product. Sellers can offer services for sale and buyers can pay in fiat cash right now on its peer-to-peer platform.
According to CanYa’s roadmap, by the first quarter of 2018 three key elements will be in place – the CAN token, the innovative escrow and hedge smart contracts to mitigate cryptocurrency volatility risk and the asset contract to which the revenue from the 1% fee paid by the service provider on transactions and the monthly subscriptions paid by those users opting for the premium service are sent.
CanYa is also implementing a rewards system to incentivize platform users. Specifically, there is also a referral program for those who want to make money that way. These incentives and rewards will be paid out of the funds accumulated in the asset contract.
So How Does the Platform Work?
Imagine you need help and you have plenty of crypto to spare. You’re in the market for someone to do the gardening and someone else to build an app so you can make your latest greatest idea a reality. The gardener is going to be a local person but the app developer could be based anywhere in the world. A coder in Zimbabwe, say, answers your voice call (all in-app calls are free and video calling is in development) and is keen to help. He’s the sort of ‘digital freelance’ perfectly suited for CanYa.
The US dollar, which is the official currency in Zimbabwe, is in short supply and bitcoin is priced at an $8,000 premium to the average rate in the rest of the world. Understandably then, the developer wants to be paid in bitcoin. That’s good for you, the buyer, because the coder says he will take a lower price for his labour because if he’s paid in bitcoin it is worth more dollars in Zimbabwe than it is elsewhere, which means he gets almost twice as many dollars for the bitcoin that’s deposited in his CanYa wallet upon successful completion of the job.
And, in addition to that discount, hiring an app developer in Harare, Shanghai or Mumbai is going to be cheaper than accessing the same skills in, for example, Sydney, San Francisco or London. The transaction represents a win-win for both seller and buyer. The software developer gets paid in bitcoin instead of the worthless bond notes of the Zimbabwe central bank and the buyer acquires a quality service at a discounted price.
Now let’s go back to the gardening service we also wanted to source.
Perhaps there’s a gardener who has heard about bitcoin but is not sure how it all works. The gardener hears about CanYa, joins up and creates a listing advertising his services. You offer to pay the gardener in bitcoin and because the gardener wants to hold the cryptocurrency as an investment in the expectation that the price will appreciate, our green-fingered provider is willing to offer the service for slightly below the market rate.
Also, for the crypto-newbie gardener, the perceived complexity of buying bitcoin on an exchange is circumvented because the gardener’s CanYa account comes with a digital wallet (which allows a user to store their coins and associated private keys locally). This transaction, too, becomes a win-win for both parties.
Innovative Smart Contract Hedges Volatility
So where do the escrow and hedge contracts come into it?
CanYa makes doing business with crypto holders a piece of cake and the two linked contract types are its killer feature – it hedges the volatility risk by immediately creating a hedge contract with an amount in a store-of-value base currency, such as Tether which is pegged to the US dollar, to the same value as that in the escrow contract to which the client sent their funds to pay the provider.
When the job is completed, the hedge contract, through payments in or out, is used to adjust for crypto/fiat exchange rate movements that may have affected the value of the crypto held in escrow.
Wild swings in exchange rates are not what any merchant wants, or buyers and sellers in an autonomous marketplace. CanYa’s approach effectively nullifies that problem.
Let’s assume you have agreed to pay your software developer $200 to build a user account system in the first stage of your app development plan. The smart contract is created and the crypto sent to it. This is immediately mirrored in the form of the hedge contract containing the equivalent dollar (or other proven store-of-value bases) amount, too, in essence, collateralize the value in a trustless fashion.
The developer delivers the user-account system and sends the invoice to you, the client. You are happy with the work and release the payment from escrow. The developer stipulated payment in bitcoin but its price has fallen 10% since the escrow contract was created.
To maintain the value of the escrow, 10% ($20) is transferred into it from the hedge contract. The CAN token is not an afterthought with no real utility but is instead central to the design of the escrow hedged contracts.
It’s an ingenious and elegant solution for one of the major obstacles holding back crypto as a means of exchange. More details can be found in the CanYa whitepaper.
What About the Competition?
There are of course other players in the gig economy and online marketplace space, but none of them, Uber included, use blockchain technology or provide crypto payment solutions.
If today you were building the first iteration of freelance marketplaces such as Upwork or Fiverr or an artisan market like Etsy, you would do it on the blockchain, in a system like Canya’s where payments look after themselves, as it were, through the trustless integrity built into the system.
In a sign of the value to be realized in the sector, furniture and homewares giant Ikea purchased TaskRabbit in September – a business that brings local labor and consumers together. The sum Ikea paid has not been disclosed but the profitable startup has raised $50 million since it was founded in 1998 and has 60,000 independent workers on its platform.
Chief executive and co-founder of CanYa, John-Paul Thorbjornsen, is aiming high, as you might expect from someone who served for 10 years as an officer and pilot in the Australian Air Force.
“We feel the primary barriers to adoption are the availability of crypto-enabled merchants, the learning curve associated with acquiring and spending crypto-currencies, and the presence of fees. We believe we’ve solved this with CanYa; an incredibly easy, delightful and accessible tool to pay for services anywhere in the world using cryptocurrencies.”
So how do you get in on the ground floor of this opportunity to disrupt the disruptors and become part of CanYa’s effort to build a truly autonomous decentralized marketplace for services? Here’s how.
Strong Demand for Tokens
The ICO began on November 26th and runs for 30 days or until the hard cap of 29,333 ETH is reached. So far, a little under a quarter of the tokens have been sold for 6,175 ETH in less than 48 hours, so demand is strong. There will be a total of 100 million tokens in the CanYa ecosystem, with 60 million being sold in the ICO.
The allocation of tokens saw 26% sold in the private pre-sale which took place in October, 34% was made available for the public sale, 20% for the founders and advisors (with a 12-month lock) and the remaining 20% is allocated to the Reward Pool being used to incentivize users.
- Tier 1 of the sale is ongoing and investors can still grab a 20% bonus on the 3,333 ETH worth of tokens on offer (1 ETH:1,200).
- The balance of the publicly available coins (16,000) is being sold in Tier 2 and there is no discount, so 1 ETH buys 1,000 CAN.