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Below is our recent interview with Jukka Hilmola, President and Co-Founder at Soma:
Q: Could you provide our readers with a brief introduction to Soma?
A: Soma stands for Social Marketplace. We are creating a trading platform that will unite social interactions and trading in a single platform. Soma will not only combine these two important factors of trading environment, but also provides economic incentives for its users to collaborate in a social manner. Moreover, Soma will enable a possibility for authenticated provenance tracking by implementation of blockchain, which is a crucial feature especially in certain niche industries where history of the item plays important role.
Q: Can you give us insights into your features?
A: Sure. First and foremost, I would like to present our patent-pending feature, which is called Interactive Item Card (IIC). This unique feature is designed to store crucial data of the items on the blockchain so that people can comfortably rely on the fact that the information is verified by the virtue of this features design.
Another important part of the Soma ecosystem is Soma Rewarding System (SRS), which will provide a mechanism for compensation for the value-adding services users can provide for each other. As an example, user may agree to promote a certain IIC which is listed by some other user, and receive compensation in Soma Community Tokens (SCT) out of this action. Another example could be to list IIC on a group that is administered by a community which shares interest in topic that relates to the IIC being listed for sale. Moreover, users can utilize SRS as a mechanism that enables decentralised escrow system to safeguards smooth transaction for the parties involved.
As it can be derived from the name of our application, one of the cornerstones of Soma is to facilitate social interactions in a trading platform. Trading has been a social phenomenon throughout the history. It promotes transparency and reliability in the course of trading activities and creates mutually beneficial relationships between people. Soma will bring these important factors into the digital era by creating a platform which not only enables these interactions to be available, but also incentivizes its users to act so.
Q: One of Soma’s principal innovations is the Interactive Item Card; how does it work?
A: Interactive Item Card is a feature which is based on a protocol that guarantees provenance tracking by utilizing blockchain technology. It can be regarded as a “digital representation of a physical item”. This means that users can verify certain information as valid throughout the lifecycle of a particular item. Thus, we can imagine some items that will gain high social acceptance on the platform to be increased in price as the social value can be reflected on the value of the item. This feature is especially important in certain industries, such as art, high-end or vehicle markets.
Q: What makes blockchain based marketplaces better than traditional ones?
A: I would say that blockchain in itself does not provide any value if there is no clear and specific use case for it. One of the fundamental features of blockchain is immutability of the information stored on the blockchain. Hence, we decided that marketplace which stores certain information on the blockchain could gain competitive advantage when compared to the other marketplace startups out there. Havin said that, blockchain may not be the ideal solution for all information due to a scalability issues.
Q: You also plan to include a P2P cryptocurrency exchange; could you tell us something more?
A: Yes. As Soma will facilitate secure payments in cryptocurrencies, we do think that a natural part of the platform is to lubricate trading between different cryptocurrencies. Thus, we are going to bring this feature for our users. Our long-term goal is that Soma will be a one-stop-shop platform for users that are handling their finances in cryptos.
Q: What is on the roadmap for Soma moving forward?
A: We are releasing our MVP on June, after which we are focusing to marketing and customer engagement on our platform. We will continue our development further and push forward to release our upcoming features in the said schedule.