UTU AMA Recap
UTU Trust API seamlessly serves up personalized recommendations for trusted service providers on sharing platforms to drive your conversion, satisfaction, retention, and viral acquisition.
This AMA allowed users to connect with UTU CEO Jason Eisen,CTO Bastian Blankenburg and Token Sale manager Rahul Srivatsa, who answered the questions and listened to the feedback.
I’m Jason. I’m a serial entrepreneur. Grew up between Boston and Nashville. Spent 10 years in Washington DC, first at university at The American University (studied International Relations) then 7 years as a consultant for USAID, World Bank, and others. I started spending time in East Africa through that work in 2010 and moved to Kenya in 2013 to start (at the time) the first Taxi App anywhere in Africa, MARAMOJA. We realized in the process of building that taxi app that we were solving the wrong problem. we realized the problem was actually about Trust and began to focus our attention there, building better models of digital trust. This was the birth of UTU.
I’m Bastian, CTO and co-founder of UTU. Originally German, did a PhD in computer science/multi-agent systems, also known as distributed AI, using game theory, risk models, trust models etc.
Later I worked in industry, then moved to Kenya because of private reasons — my wife is Kenyan, and I had seen that there’s this awsome tech startup scene in Nairobi. There I met Jason who convinced me to join his startup, the taxi app MARAMOJA, because he had this great idea for a trust mechanism. That’s because the taxi sector had traditionally a lot of crime here, and people prefer known drivers. Then from that we spun off UTU, to make its own product of the trust mechanism.
I’m Rahul Srivatsa, Token Sale manager and Chief of Staff at UTU. Born in India, but grew up in Tanzania and have spent a good amount of time in Kenya. I have a Masters degree from Boston University in Economics and have previously worked with @databu on the Tokenomics section of the white paper. Previously, I have also had experience in the consulting and research world and currently training to be a data scientist. I met Jason a few years ago in Kenya and was immediately convinced about what UTU can bring to the world! Been with them ever since!
Question from the CryptoRank team
#1. Can you describe the UTU platform, the milestones you have achieved, and about your upcoming plans?
Jason: – Sure, UTU’s vision is to become the trust infrastructure of the entire internet. Our mission is to bridge the gap between how people trust in real life and how they are asked to trust online.We believe in a more human friendly internet, data as a human right, and the need to avoid digital trust dystopias as we’ve seen portrayed and played out in various contexts around the world. As @databu says, we provide trust infrastructure as a service to make the internet a safer more trusted place to gather, work, share, trade, etc.
Bastian:– The basic premise is that online platforms are currently building their own mechanisms, such as 5 star ratings and anonymous reviews. But people usually trust specific other people, and our mechanism is built to reflect that, and to be easily integrated into any site — centralised or decentralised.
Rahul:– Some of the milestones we have achieved in the past few years have been successful implementation of our trust infrastructure in the centralized space, including deploying on a p2p lending platform in Tanzania with a company called Jamborow and also a marketplace for services with Kaazi.
CryptoRank community questions
#2 What kind of Different sectors do You look to partner with?And What kind of Users are you looking to attract on UTU platform?
Rahul: – We have already implemented UTU trust into multiple sectors: Fintech, online marketplaces, Mobility etc. We also have concept notes in place for multiple other sectors, this includes blockchain gaming (Animoca is an early equity participant), hospitality, delivery services etc. We usually need to fine tune our algorithms and have access to enough contextual data and training/testing samples in order to successfully implement in each sector. This is why we haven’t rushed to implement in each sector but are taking the time to integrate once we believe the implementation will be successful. After all we do plan to become the trust infrastructure of the internet ;)UTU trust will be incorporated into platforms and this will allow users of that platform to directly access UTU trust recommendations.
#3 Why does UTU need to use blockchain as infrastructure for its recommendation platform?
Jason: -This is about transparency/verifiability but also ensuring that people’s private data is owned and controlled by them. We think about things like, What if @databu and I were hit by a train and someone else were to take over the helm of UTU. Could what we’ve built ever be turned evil? Is there a possibility that it would lead us to some digital dystopia? We thought that building at as we have ensures its future as a benevolent systems, and protects it, even from us.
#4 What are some of the core values Utu Trust carry along with it? How complaint are you to the rules and laws guiding the crypto industry?
Jason: – Ohhhh I can’t resist a question about Values!
Our core values are of course about trust, privacy as a right, transparency, fairness and inclusivity. We try to insert these values into both our product and our operations every chance we get. We are actually in the process of obtaining a B Corp Certification.
#5 How UTU will protect its platform from deliberately harmful user recommendations?
Raul: – Just as we have reward mechanisms, we also have punishment mechanisms to incentivize users to be accurate and truthful in their endorsements. For example, users may be punished (we have a function predefined to determine both rewards and penalties) for endorsing a service that other users will not recommended (i.e disapprove of). This concept is described in much greater detail in our whitepaper.
#6 How will UTU solve the scaling problem? And what can UTU offer to overcome the threat of centralization? What UTU uses chains?
Bastian: – While UTU Coin is launched as an ERC20 token on Ethereum, we’re building the actual trust protocol on æternity, and are considering supporting other low-fee, high tx frequency blockchains as well.