Over the past months I’ve seen a lot of interesting and unusual ICOs. Apparently, people are rushing to create new blockchain-based platforms to cover every area of human activity. This time, I will review Soma – a new platform that is meant to help people trade with each other directly.
What Issues Does Soma Address?
There are a lot of popular online markets that allow people to trade their goods, whether those are second hand or new. Big sites like eBay and Amazon, as well as small Facebook groups, they all help people to monetize their goods and find customers without the need to own a shop.
Now, most of the small sellers face the issue of lack of marketing, especially when it comes to second-hand products. While the existing online marketplaces do their best to help customers find the products they want, there is still room for improvement.
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Studies show that no matter how much a merchant invests into promoting their products, what matters at the end of the day is the amount of social media spotlight their products get. Small and big companies alike are switching to viral marketing because getting people engaged in social media proved to be more important than making them watch your banners on an unrelated website.
We are talking about big companies, but what about the common who cannot afford to invest into a social media campaign? Is there a way they can enjoy the benefits of viral marketing too?
Soma for Merchants and One-Time Sellers
Soma aims to help small traders to reap the full gamut of benefits social media offers.
Soma is a platform that will incentivize people to like, share and promote your products in the online peer-to-peer market. The key benefit to this is that you won’t have to pay upfront for an advertisement campaign. Also, your products will be shared by real people and seen by real people who are interested in the product – you can finally say a ‘no’ to bots or pay-to-click bs.
Soma for Non-Merchants
Soma also offers many possibilities to those of you who are not planning on selling items. Do you enjoy online shopping? Or, say, do you enjoy browsing through product catalogues, sharing the good stuff you find with your friends and talking with them about the best items and deals?
Soma is a platform that aims to reward you for being you. Every time you like a product and share it with potential customers, you get a chance to get a commission. Once the product is sold, you will receive a reward according to the amount of relevant spotlight you gave to the item.
“Soma Community Tokens are used to lubricate the trade inside the platform and facilitate Soma’s expansion around the globe.”
It would be indeed a mess if you’d be rewarded in fiat currency for every like and share you make. Few modern payment systems support micropayments, which is why Soma decided to create their own cryptocurrency.
Some of the key aspects of SCT are:
No transaction fees
Serves as a currency, as well as a token
Basically, SCT tokens can be used both to purchase products from sellers and to incentivize people who promote your products by liking and sharing them.
Once you accumulate a certain amount of SCT by promoting others’ products, you can use those tokens to purchase real physical items from merchants. Alternatively, you can exchange the tokens to fiat currency or Bitcoin.
What we love about Amazon and other big sites is that they offer protection to both sides of the trade. Merchants can be certain that they receive their money while customers have a warranty that the products they receive from the merchant are the products they’ve ordered.
Soma implements the same sort of safe trade system. Once the order is placed and the payment is made, the money first goes to a safe escrow owned by Soma. The merchant gets their money once the customer receives the product and confirms that the trade went as expected.
To make things even better, Soma is planning on implementing arbiters. Those are trusted third-parties that are present in transactions. The arbiter is the one who releases the funds to the seller once the buyer confirms the reception of the product. If the buyer receives the product as expected but claims otherwise, the arbiter is the one who takes the required steps to find out the truth and then decides whether the merchant should get the money or not.
Arbiters charge a dynamic fee from the transaction, which is defined by the buyer and the seller.
Once a transaction is completed, participants will be asked to rate each other. This kind of natural selection proved to work wonders in other platforms and Soma is using the same system to make the community more transparent and trustworthy.
People will also be able to use cryptocurrencies to pay for their products, though Soma incentivizes people to use SCT tokens inside the platform.
Any article published in the Soma network will have its own unique card. Just like each Amazon products has its own unique ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number), Soma products will have their own ID too. However, Soma brings the ID concept to a new level by giving each product its own IIC Card.
An IIC card is basically a small blockchain-based database. Besides having the unique ID of the product, an IIC card also includes the following info on the item:
Info about the owner of the card and the product it represents
Condition of the physical product
Genuineness of the item
Social value of the product – how many times the IIC card was shared, liked, etc. – this might affect the price and value of the product too
SCT sale starts in three days. 54,000,000 SCT tokens are waiting to be distributed to contributors. Those who invest in SCT tokens during the ICO will be able to later use them to purchase real goods from merchants.
Another way to get some SCT is by taking part in their bounty program. Since Soma aims to become a mainstream trading platform, you can contribute to the project a lot by talking about it on social media and blogs.
Soma combines the best aspects of three well-known elements and technologies to create a platform that aims to revolutionize online peer-to-peer trade. Soma platform includes:
Blockchain technology to create a decentralized and safe token that can be also used as currency and would support micro transactions. IIC cards are based on the Ethereum blockchain and safeguard system to prevent the card from being duplicated, modified or stolen.
Social Media core elements such as like, follow and share to create a community, rather than keeping merchants anonymous and faceless
Escrow protection and rating system as seen on Amazon, eBay and other big online stores that allow people to sort out customers and sellers
In addition to that, Soma introduced arbiters – a concept that is new to the online trading scene. While sites like Amazon do work like some sort of third-party arbiter between the buyer and the seller, the way Soma plans on delegating this job to people who are not part of the company is rather innovative.
You can learn more about Soma in their whitepaper. Surprisingly enough, the whitepaper is an easy and enjoyable read.
Thank you for reading. As always, your comments, suggestions and questions are welcome.