Leveraging consumers’ smartphones to digitalize Brick and Mortar sales while bringing Bitcoin to the mainstream
If asked to characterize the bitcoin economy in one word “opportunity” would be the correct answer. Despite great startup activity and a very loyal community the few real-life applications of bitcoin have so-far failed to create any noticeable momentum towards mainstream adoption. Significant growth of the bitcoin economy is expected in 2017 due to the intersection of various technological, financial, and social factors. The Swish Project aims to propel bitcoin into the mainstream and offers highly incentivized benefits for investors and other supporters who help make that possible. Swish is a mobile-based ordering solution for businesses that accepts credit card and bitcoin payments for goods and services. The goal of the project is to offer brick-and-mortar merchants an elegant and effective solution for increasing customer satisfaction and revenue without having to reorganize or make additional capital investment. Currently, the product is available for use in its beta test stage. To govern the project, the EU registered organization will be used. Up to 51% of the project will be sold to participants of the initial crowd sale starting December 15, 2016.
1. The starting point
1.1. Unparalleled Investment Potential
Objective: Bitcoin is the first widely used deflationary monetary base in history. It is so unique, yet remains undervalued and underutilized due to the lack of a “silver-bullet” — a bitcoin-related product for the masses. Underlying technologies are impactful, and even inspiring, but end-user products are how potential becomes actual. People don’t use “technology”; they use products that leverage a given technology to create an experience. Swish is the convergence of old and new and will deliver experiences that people have been waiting for in a way they never imagined possible. In addition to being a really cool product that offers unmatched utility for businesses as well as bitcoiners, Swish presents an exciting and lucrative investment opportunity for anyone willing to join the movement. There have been several valiant attempts to create an application that would ostensibly motivate the general public to buy and use bitcoin. Some failed, some are in development now and many more will appear sooner or later. Sadly, none have been able to leverage this next-gen technology into anything habit-forming or make any significant breakthroughs in product design. Bitcoin proliferation requires incentives for people to buy and/or hold bitcoins. Surprisingly, most bitcoin-oriented businesses don’t seem to be interested in creating these incentives. For example, debit card accounts integrated with bitcoin wallets and more sophisticated initiatives of this kind don’t create any additional demand for bitcoins; they are merely ways to make spending easier for those who are already onboard as bitcoin users. Such products do not create the conditions needed for “crossing the chasm” on the bitcoin adoption curve. Pragmatic people need to feel something real to compel them to switch or try something different. Anyone who is more deeply involved with the matter understands that, regarding bitcoin adoption, it is not a matter of if but when. The breakthrough will take place, it is just not yet clear who will lead the charge. Bitcoiners; estimated to number from three to five million worldwide, are waiting for this breakthrough. One might even be sitting on a bench in San Francisco wondering when she will be able to shop at Macy’s with bitcoins. That time is now! But, it doesn’t have to begin with big box retailers or with well-funded corporate chains. The transition to the bitcoin economy starts with small-businesses, entrepreneurs, and those consumers who simply want to transact in a more efficient and expedient manner.
1.2. Opportunity: The Perfect Storm
Bitcoin continues to improve thanks to a dedicated community of developers and visionaries, and investors. New technologies that improve transaction bandwidth are coming too. Also, some certified ETFs (exchange traded funds) are delayed but also inevitably coming. Here, it is important to make a distinction between “blockchain” and bitcoin. Blockchain is the digital, decentralized, public ledger on which bitcoin is transacted. Despite unlimited funding from Wall Street the banking conglomerates and other related “blockchain-focused” companies are struggling to create consumer value or interest through their private blockchains which eschew the one and only proven blockchain star — bitcoin. This is because the blockchain, by itself, has yet to earn social acceptance, or demonstrate any relevant use-value for people. Bitcoin, meanwhile, enjoys continued growth and daily active users number close to a million. “Blockchain” support, engineered by heavy investment and promotion from Wall St. and banking conglomerates, largely ignores the current momentum of bitcoin for reasons that are unclear. Eventually, we will see that these efforts to overlook (and in some cases even suppress) bitcoin in favor of the blockchain were fruitless. At that point, favor will shift back to bitcoin since it is the only viable consumer friendly use-case that currently exists on the blockchain. Also, contextual geopolitical and economic events like Brexit will continue to incentivize the use of bitcoin. In fact, the actual “exit” has yet to take place. Deutsche Bank is in trouble with no solution in sight. One doesn’t have to have an economics degree to see the bubble accumulating around central banks which presents unparalleled opportunity for alternative, low-friction currencies to shine. Whatever the case, bitcoin will be there and Swish will support bitcoin payments. It’s already working, as a matter of fact — imagine if it were empowering the merchants with whom you interact on a daily basis. This is not abstract — real value in real time is already here.
2. Value Proposition
2.1. Right Type of Merchants
So, the establishment ignores and might even be actively fighting bitcoin? In this case, focus can be narrowed towards small to medium-sized brick-and-mortar merchants. The question then arises: “Why would a merchant want to add bitcoin into his business cycle?” Structural clarity of the Bitcoin monetary system means little to a venue manager using a point of sale (POS) system backed up by 24/7 support and multi-billion investments. We suppose that the innate benefits as well as the additional flexibility Bitcoin grants should be bundled within a value-proposition that also answers conventional everyday business needs. Tax optimization techniques, savings on transaction costs, and other benefits will become apparent after merchants have found their place within the bitcoin economy. They will benefit from bitcoin plus it solves small-business (e.g. food trucks, sole-proprietors, franchisees, etc.) pain-points related to: 1) operating time and 2) floor space.
2.2. Right Place, Right Time
Even the most well-run venue in an ideal location suffers from strain on resources during peak hours, or on weekends when tables are full and customers have to wait longer for an attendant to serve them. Adding additional labor to endure these busy hours leads to an over-expenditure that becomes apparent during lulls. Of course, staff can be added/cut at will but this kind of improvisation is taxing on management. We realize, however, that optimization solution proposals are rarely welcomed when addressed to this sort of audience. Smaller venues often don’t have management resources to properly evaluate a consultation or reorganization offers — that’s why Swish needs to meet the following criteria:
- Compatible with the existing hardware setup;
- Deployable in a matter of hours;
- Be free of any installation or start-up expense.
The merchant solution must solve the above problems and do so at each step of the commerce cycle within a brick-and-mortar venue. These steps include:
1. Goods/services selection; manual selection by customer or push-based if offers/coupons are available.
2. Order/payment; notifies the business of your order and allows payment from smartphone without interfacing with an employee.
3. Delivery of goods/services within the venue; includes order status tracking.
4. Receiving post-sale services such as loyalty enrollment, discounts and other retention techniques.
Swish presents a complete, stand-alone ordering and payment solution that enables any internet-connected space to become a profit-generating venue. One way to illustrate how such a service can cope with the described time and space difficulties is to apply some geometrical thinking. In the illustration below, the yellowish area represents the useful floor space of a venue. This could be a grocery store, a self-service cafe or a gas-station convenience store. The red “POS” icon next to the door is where the cashier operates various POS terminals. In most instances, the POS station cannot be moved due to spatial or connectivity limitations. Statistics show that areas that are adjacent to POS spots sell more per square foot. So, we can consider the area furthest from the POS as useful but less-so compared to that which is adjacent to the cashier and POS station. That’s why managers place certain clearance, sale, or “impulse-buy” items by the POS. The common answer to this challenge of floor-space involves increasing labor costs with additional service people, waiters, or sales agents. Another frequently used technique is to leverage available outside or sidewalk space, such as cafe tables, to attract passers-by. But, even if this technique is teamed with additional on-the-clock staff there is an unavoidable pressure added to POS. Furthermore, adding floor space and additional labor is limited in scale since a server cannot be expected to walk very far to an outside table and back again to the POS to complete a sale. The bottom line is that an ordinary POS doesn’t have scalability and is limited by space, electrical outlets placement, and internet wire outlets. You can’t carry it out to the sidewalk; you can’t relocate it at will to the busy section of the shop. Even if you could find a place for it and the time to move it you still must reorganize the entire place, alert staff, and change work flow costing time and money. Swish is an elegant and effective solution to the above problems that also satisfies all of the mentioned conditions. It is a hybrid shop-n-pay software for brick-and-mortar venues featuring an online smartphone (or tablet) POS terminal. Swish increases effective floor space and reduces operational strain during peak times.
2.3. Leveraging Power of Customer Smartphones
What’s one thing that every shopper, restaurant-goer, or traveler has in their possession? A smartphone! These ingenious devices on which our lives now depend can be understood as a super computer. Why not take advantage of the free processing power that is literally attached to every single customer instead of investing in expensive, limited, and stationary “tech solutions” like incumbent POS systems. Swish leverages the power of customer smartphones and Bitcoin to improve experiences and increase sales. Browsing and paying are simplified while Swish analytics tools provides all the data your business needs to grow and retain customers. Swish POS can be deployed anywhere inside a venue or even down the block in a nearby office space to make to-go or delivery options easy for your regular patrons. Bars, restaurants, lemonade stands, salons, food trucks, juice bar… anytime, anywhere. Swish on-boards customers with ease and guides them through the four stages of purchasing mentioned above. And most importantly — bitcoin payment processing is built-in. Order points can be scattered all over the place, effectively making every square inch of the venue and surrounding area function as if a POS terminal was sitting on each of the tables (when in fact it is since the customer’s phone is the POS terminal within the Swish system). Meanwhile, actual serving staff can remain at full attention to delivery orders, attend customer needs, restock goods, clean, etc. 3. How Swish Works Swish is a disruptive tech-solution for businesses. It improves business efficiency while creating better user experiences.
3. How Swish works
3.1. User Engagement.
Swish utilizes coded locations with which users interact “on-demand” to let the Swish system (and the venue workers by extension) know their location as well as their desired order. This is called a “QR code” and is ubiquitous within bitcoin communities as well as in certain international markets, notably Greater China and parts of Europe. Those QR codes are generated by merchants in their dashboards and can be placed anywhere – offline and online. QR code represent “Order Point”, so the receiving party (staff member, waiter , etc) knows from which order point the order was placed.
3.2. Orders taking and serving
Regardless of the venue or business type, orders and delivery-of-goods process requires a lot of physical communication and can cause operational bottlenecks and customer dissatisfaction. Swish removes the need in person-to-person communication during the ordering process, thus - the possibility of human errors. Ordering and delivering is streamlined and both parties enjoy the benefits of this value-added service.
Bitcoin is catching-on all over the world. The incredible speed, security, and low transaction costs make the coming ubiquity of bitcoin payments only a matter of time. Powering Swish’s acceptance of bitcoin is a cutting-edge piece of software called Mycelium Gear. Mycelium is a bitcoin industry leader and community favorite. Gear is their continuously updated payments API that has a dedicated team to ensure continual improvement. The beauty of bitcoin payments is the fact that there is no central authority to slow-down transactions or to charge high fees. Bitcoin payments are fast, cheap, secure, and getting better all the time. Furthermore, bitcoin can be easily exchanged to fiat currencies or traded on exchanges. Legacy payment methods, such as credit cards, (and in some markets cash) are also readily accepted with Swish. To start accepting credit cards via Swish takes 3 min is and requires minimum information. Business from 25 countries can accept credit cards using Swish.
3.4. Summary of Swish Modules
Swish also includes excellent management tools for merchants to track sales, inventory, and the effectiveness of each staff member and more. These tools feature interfaces that maximize functionality without being too complex. One will not need to be a “tech-wiz” to utilize the Swish manager dashboard.
3.5. Feature List
Swish has many cool features — let’s highlight several of them:
- Payments: credit cards, cash, bitcoin.
- No surcharge for payment processing.
- Order points: QR codes; free venue URLs.
- Service App for Staff app: Android, iOS.
- ERP/CRM integration: yes.
- New order points inside your venues increase ingress availability with no extra.
- Order points can be placed anywhere in or outside of your venue to effectively increase your sales area or to bring in take-out sales. Spaces like sidewalks or parking lots can be incorporated into the primary business within a matter of hours.
- Swish tags can be placed anywhere in the vicinity: on signs around the block, stickers at bus stops, in the local press, social media, etc. A smartphone provides its owner a safe-zone of increased psychological comfort that merchants can leverage:
- A smooth process of goods selection, immediate ordering with any mobile OS, automated payments, the elimination of errors by personnel, order status notifications.
- Various upselling techniques increase average check significantly. People tend to accept add-on offers easier when buying stuff on their own within their trusted devices without the outside pressures from waiters or salespeople.
- Swish brings the efficiency of online and mobile commerce to a brick-and-mortar spot. Swish customers are not anonymous; their individual needs can be more easily targeted to increase brand loyalty.
3.6. Deployment Procedure
Swish easily deploys in a matter of hours without the need for costly hardware installations. You don’t need to have a website; your clients don’t need to install an app. It has never been easier to improve your business with technology.
3.6.1. List Goods Products, service, and other items for sale are easily listed in the Swish Dashboard. Customize each listed item with description, photo, and other necessary service data.
3.6.2. Designate Order Points Choose where you want customers to order from, create Order Points from your Dashboard, and print them out for display. Place them inside, outside, down the block, on social media, or in nearby offices. Creativity is the only limit to your reach.
3.6.3. Assign Serving Staff Every Order Point allows for automatic sales. Assign staff to physically deliver and release the goods. Each Order Point can have unique servers or can be shared. There is also a special Swish Waiter app for Android and iOS.
3.6.4. Configure Accepted Payments Swish accepts payments from all major cards in addition to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. Periodic reports can be uploaded to your accounting system. Payments are easy, trackable, and come with analysis tools built-in!
3.7. Competition and Related Business Segments Swish versus the competition Swish is easy to deploy; can be fully set up operational without any technical assistance. Competitors are complicated, heavy, and require technical activation. Swish is browser-based — it’s not an app. Customers need only to have any of the many generic QR reader apps to use (many Android phones have built in QR code scanners already). Competitors have venue-specific or proprietary applications. Swish does not require user registration. Swish uses a simple approach to location and customer identification. Competitors apply registration and complex locating technologies. The profitable execution of “guest-facing” technologies is the number one goal of the retail and hospitality industries. More and more venues are experimenting with new ordering and loyalty-building technologies. One of the important factors here is the development of these applications in anticipation of innovations in “big-data”. Currently, venues, payment processors, and new tech providers are storing relevant but separated sets of data. The merging of different sets of user-behavior-data will open new horizons for the development of this industry sector. Merchants are confronted with many options when it comes to managing all the tech that empowers their business, e.g. mobile payments, online ordering, and customer loyalty services. Smaller merchants have an especially tough time wading through the complexity of these multilayer offerings and finding out which ones can suit their business best. The services are not complementary and it is often not clear what is needed and what is not. That makes it hard to cover all stages of the business cycle without total dependence on one service. Moreover, even after careful examination it becomes clear that the currently available “cyber stuff” for merchants is far from perfect. It is not obvious that any of it actually increases profits at current high fees and the thin margins of merchants. Swish is designed to be uniquely positioned in this extremely chaotic and competitive environment. Swish improves operations at no extra cost. Swish does not invest in promoting a catalog or any other such “listings services”. There’s no fundamental reason for Swish to charge much because there is not much overhead, hardware expense, or need to milk customers of their hard-earned profits.
3.8. Helping Merchants Build Competitive Advantage
Swish leverages the processing power of customers’ phones and puts it to use for businesses. Think of it as physical e-commerce or a shopping cart CMS designed specifically for brick-and-mortar businesses. Swish brings the same convenience and fun of ordering online to any business, anywhere. Many franchisees and sole-proprietors find it difficult to compete with online e-commerce giants. Adopting Swish gives brick-and-mortar stores some fancy online weaponry of their own. Swish venues also increase customer convenience which easily translates to improved loyalty for the current generation of “on-demand” patrons. Customers are more likely to return to a business where they feel well-served or where “things go smoothly”. Using Swish decreases wait times and improves order tracking so you can always know the status of your orders. Swish effectively increases the reach of a retail space without having to rearrange any existing layouts or furniture. Even optimally organized businesses that are staffed in order to answer the usual flow of customers plus additional surges during peak times overspend on personnel, POS stations, and other issues. With Swish, you can always serve more customers exactly when and where there’s a need. Swish-enabled businesses never have long queues and getting the attention of assistant, servers, or managers is as easy as pushing a button on their phone.
4. Swish Coin
4.1. Crowdfunding and Initial Swish Coin Offering
The financial capital required for the goals mentioned above will be secured through a crowdfunding campaign known as an Initial Coin Offering (ICO). The company part of the project is to be owned by crowdfunding participants whose “shares” will take the form of “Swish Coins”. Parameters of the crowd-sale and the Swish Coin Project status Beta test (mostly complete, feedback and testing stage). Ready for the market penetration in January 2017. Over 550 venues committed already. You can set up your shop and test Swish by creating your own account here swish.mycelium.com Offer 51% ownership of the company (see Terms of Sale). Blockchain / tokens Blockchain-based tokens of value.
- ICO period 12/15/2016 3:00pm PST — 01/15/2017 3:00pm PST.
- Coin supply 100 000 Swish Coins.
- Ten days after the end of the ICO, we will issue, distribute all Swish Coins.
- Within one month after the end of distribution Swish Coin will be listed on at least one crypto-currency exchanges.
Token of Value 100% of the Swish Coin will represent 100% ownership of the Swish software platform and business comprised of all assets and liabilities, as well as each and every right and obligation, including but not limited to intellectual property rights, branding and trademarks. Swish Coin will be a blockchain-based token of value. Such tokens constitute a digital asset, bearing value by themselves based on their underlying assets, properties and/or rights. Swish Coins represent ownership of the Swish software platform and business, allowing their holders to receive dividends and vote on Swish related issues. While bitcoins serve as an excellent example of a successful token of value, Several platforms enables the creation of a more sophisticated system that would answer all our needs that include:
- Lack of central legal entity but inclusion of digitally-represented equity-like rights for participants/supporters
- Operational funds/budget stored in secure and widely accepted cryptocurrencies
- The “intellocracy” voting procedure standard based on stake/status/power
- The automated process of bringing new proposals to the table, voting on proposals, and executing budget-split delivery for winning proposals
- Procedure for resigning from decision-making to another member Importantly, these goals can be achieved through blockchain with very little entry costs. Blockchain-based tokens rely on a well-suited infrastructure, benefiting from several advantages:
- Security and predictability (as opposed to, for example, having to run an independent blockchain network)
- Use of robust and well-supported clients (blockchain-based tokens can be managed with existing clients)
- Acceptable liquidity level (interchangeable with other blockchain-based tokens)
- Easier listing on exchanges with infrastructure already in place
- Smart contracts enable a very transparent and secure way of sharing profits among token holders.
All funds sent during the ICO in the form of cryptocurrency will be immediately — within the next block after they are received — sent to a “cold storage”, i.e. multisignature addresses. Tokens will be transferred automatically via smart contract that is already developed and tested with the current Swish Coin deposit handling software. Private keyholders will be announced before the ICO starts and will include prominent, independent individuals from the crypto community. In order to gain access to the assets acquired during the ICO, a sufficient time from the issuance of Swish Coins will have to pass. What is more, independent escrow holders will have to approve the transfer. The Swish development team will not hold the complete set of private keys required for gaining access to the funds. Swish Coin will be issued with the deployment of a smart contract on the network and transferred to a blockchain address that users will be able to provide through the ICO management interface. Users who fail to do so will still be able to access their Swish Coin via the ICO management website.
4.3. Swish Service Operator
The service operator of the Swish platform and business provides a way of materializing the actions of the autonomous blockchain-based organization. In the same way that a legal entity manifests its actions through authorized individuals, Swish establishes its relationships with other legacy businesses, individuals and official authorities through the at-the-time elected service operator. SIA “Mycelium” will serve as the first service operator of the Swish platform. Having at its disposal the required knowledge, technical skills and manpower, as well as a longstanding relationship with both the crypto and investment communities, SIA “Mycelium” will undertake to develop and manage the platform in accordance with the vision outlined in this white paper and continuously detailed in the official Swish blog. Service Operator does not and will not claim or register any kind of property, trademark or other rights pertaining to the Swish platform.
4.4. Initial Moratorium on Voting for New Service Operator
Swish Coin ownership entitles its possessor to participate in Swish platform related voting. One of the most important voting issues will be the selection of service operators. Swish Coin holders are free to vote on a service operator at any time after the Swish platform has been launched, but not before a six month moratorium has passed.
4.5. ICO Use of Proceeds
4.6. Revenue Scheme
Merchants pay the share of the total amount of goods sold through Swish (in all currencies merchants accept). Advertisers pay for ads placements in Swish ecosystem and various data. Swish Autonomous Organization (see below) gets everything. After that it manages the budget according to owners’ votes. The revenues that are originally received in fiat by a legacy company (service operator) will be cleared of taxes and other obligations and brought to crypto-pool of the distributed organization for further distribution according to shares of Swish Coins owned.
Swish Coin is the native token of the Swish blockchain-based distributed application. It is not or cannot be deemed to be any kind of equities of any real world company. This Initial Coin Offering is about products, not equities. The blockchain industry is a new industry and may contain technological, policy and market risks.