My contact alerted me on very promising IT startup in Russia - i-chain.net - and I packed my things and got a flight to Moscow, known by its talented programmers.
We are meeting in the World Trade Center. This place was built in Soviet times in 70s as place for foreigners which were working in USSR as ecosystem with apartments, offices, shops, restaurants, dry-cleaning, fitness center…It was oasis of global economics in Soviet Union.
Pavel, Sergey and Yuriy has started their revolutionary project when they met at WTC and someone can consider this symbolic, those Russian guys are starting global project in the blockchain, ecosystem for insurance industry, i-chain.net.And it is not something unusual. Blockchain is global by itself, one of its guru – Vitalik Buterin is native Russian and behind around one third of successful blockchain projects are Russian programmers.
They tell me that they are up to – new insurance ecosystem. Platform which the will automate insurance business, which will run over blockchain to ensure transparency, which will be provided for free. And they not only dream of it in the whitepaper, but actually already implementing it. And knowing that there are many Russia-born (actually USSR-born) among successful IT entrepreneurs (take Sergey Brin, Google; David Yang – ABBYY or Pavel Durov – Telegram), I tend to believe them.
Partners complement each other. Pavel Pribylov is successful entrepreneur, Yuriy Mukhin – top manager with huge business development expertise and Sergey Chekriy – IT expert with vast of experience. Yuriy and Sergey were friends for a long time and share a hobby – piloting. Sergey brought his of insurance platform idea to Yuriy, Yuriy packed idea into business project and found Pavel to finance it.
Strategic investor, Pavel Pribylov has full cycle business in pharma – production, distribution and retail (pharmacy net). He has liked the project and decided to invest in it, $4 mln USD for the start. After years in business Pavel came to the approach that business should be socially responsible first of all. Pavel believes that blockchain technology will penetrate different areas of life. And in discussions with Yuriy and Sergey agreed that insurance links different areas (banking, logistics, healthcare etc) and can be a key to build transparent and fair future, thus insurance is first candidate to build blockchain solution.
Partners organized Glass Cube LLC, a blockchain startup which is currently developing global platform that will do the revolution in the insurance industry. Partners decided to call it “i-chain”. Partners believe than i-chain will ease barriers for new players to tap the insurance market; it will allow insurance companies to significantly cut their costs and get access to new customers; it will allow consumers to get tailored insurance products at lower prices. Insurance companies will be able to develop and sell their own insurance products on the platform, saving a big chunk of operational costs by using the built-in functionality. Micro-businesses will be able to provide tailored services, such as a call center in a specific language or expertise in certain areas, and many more. Individuals will be able to provide small services as insurance brokers or emergency commissioners, and many others. Global and Independent software developers will be able to offer their applications and services to insurance companies on the platform's internal marketplace, similar to the AppStore. Together, this will make insurance more affordable and fair and will stimulate the growth of the USD$4+ trillion global insurance market.
As Pavel believes in that only socially-responsible business has perspectives in modern world, by building platform he has made a responsible commitment – make fair insurance available for everyone.
Sergey says, that I-chain will simplify the access to insurance products and make them cheaper. The platform will also create new jobs for small and mid-size businesses. The fact that the platform relies on the blockchain with its decentralization and transparency of transactions will ensure transparency in decision-making in insurance.
Sergey describes the key platform feature:
- First of all, platform will be open sourced, we will provide it for free.
- Second, platform will cover key needs of insurance company ( BPM, CRM, risks analysis, products factory etc), so if you use platform you can start your own insurance business from scratch or you can optimize your current insurance business and cut costs significantly.
- Third, to integrate with existing insurance companies, banks and other business which work in full contact with insurance (like healthcare, banks, car dealerships and others) platform will provide open API.
Sergey continues, anyone will be able to download platform and run it, similar to Ethereum node. By running platform, you can earn. To earn you need to provide some add-on services. For instance, platform is providing call center functionality in general, and if you run your business on platform in Bulgaria and platform needs Bulgarian speaking call center employees, you can provide Bulgarian speaking call center employees to platform. As simple as that. Or on your node on platform you can run full-scale insurance business.
Yuriy adds, by rollout of our platform costs will go down (no duplication of costs, as currently all insurance companies are creating this kind of infrastructure and software for themselves and duplicate efforts and costs). Prices for customers will also go down. We are not creating huge insurance company on blockchain, it is platform which will server insurance companies. We plan to provide insurance licenses over the world and thus new business (not only insurance companies with license) can join platform and drive prices down for customers.
Partners stresses, I-chain will ensure maximum transparency (due to blockchain tech.), thus significantly reduce the costs of preventing fraud and simplify the reporting to regulators. Which will also drive prices down for customers.
When I start to talk about cryptocurrencies hype, Sergey emphasises, we are not speaking about new cryptocurrency here, we use blockchain as technology. We will issue Utility Token.
To build presence on the platform Utility Token will be needed. One utility token allows to serve 1000 customers on the platform, 10 tokens – 10000 customers etc.(i.e. access to market share).
Yuriy continues, we are planning to start crowdfunding in May/June 2018.
Those who will invest in our utility tokens will get at least 2 years of exclusivity to build their presence on the platform and will be able to build your own successful business with minimum costs and efforts. I-chain will provide insurance license to partners, who need it. I-chain will also provide an opportunity for its financial partners to invest into risk pools (pools to cover insurance risks).
Yuriy adds, we are not aiming to extract profit from business which is made on platform. But to support and develop it the platform will charge 0.5% of each transaction. We already built prototype of platform and currently improving it with team of 16 people. Crowdfunding will help us to move faster, but we are going to continue project in any case with strategic investor.
In few words, says Yuriy, I-chain will change the global insurance industry in the same way as Uber changed the taxi industry or Airbnb changed the hospitality business. We believe that quality insurance products should be affordable to everyone, and the industry should become more transparent and fair, regardless of which part of the world we are talking about.
I am flying back to Brussels, understanding that world is changing very fast and talented people from any part of the world can and will drive that change.