Vid (Value Identity) is a project launched in California in 2016 by two founders, brothers Jag Singh and Joshvun Singh. The goal is to create a social network, ie. a mobile application that will reward users for the value created. It will give them the opportunity to earn UVI. UVI is Vid’s version of the concept of UBI (Universal Basic Income).
The original idea
It all started with the idea of making a simple video editor for sharing on social networks. Basically what later became TikTok.
Fast forward four years and a series of incredible events in between and we got the VID project in its current, largely reimagined, form.
It is a hybrid crypto project that in a unique way solves the problem of unfair distribution of created value. It provides excellent user experience, and rewards users for their activity.
We recommend you to watch this short (16 min) video. The two founders tell an incredible story about the development of the Vid project from its inception until today.
Enormous value is created on social networks
With the advent of large social networks such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and the great increase in their value, it becomes clear that we live in a time of so-called attention economy that treats human focus on a content as a valuable commodity.
In the standard model of a social network, they keep all the value for themselves. However, over the past few years, we have witnessed the emergence of new social networks that return most of the value created to their users, most often in the form of cryptocurrencies. Those are Steemit, Cent, Minds, Publish0x, Hive, Appics and many others.
Guided by this idea, Vid also returns the vast majority of the values created on the platform to its users in the form of Vi tokens.
A few days ago I had the opportunity to talk to co-founder and a CEO of Vid project, Mr. Jag Singh
Hello, Mr. Singh
Please tell us a few words about yourself, how did you end up working in a social media and a crypto project like Vid, and what is your background?
My brother and I co-founded Vid after we successfully built and exited the Lime Fuel Franchise. We used some funds from our exit to fund and build Vid shortly after.
The idea started in 2016 after we recognized a need for a simpler video creation process. We started building an app for people to create quick, well-edited videos.
The idea quickly evolved to include social media as we identified the problems of privacy and users deserving to get paid for their data and the effort they put into growing social media platforms. The top 5 social media companies are worth over 1 Trillion dollars.
Imagine if just some of that value had been distributed to the users that did so much of the work to grow the platform. That’s why we created a new social media model that remunerates users. This new model is powered by the VI token, with a revolutionary new token model that I’m sure we’ll get into later on in the interview.
Our main goal is to bring crypto to the masses and challenge the way everyday consumers are rewarded. As a social media app, we believe we are best positioned to do this.
Can you explain what is Vid and how it is different from other social media projects?
Vid is disrupting the social media industry with a video social media platform that rewards users for the value they provide to the platform. Users are remunerated with a cryptocurrency ‘VI’.
Everyday users of Vid receive payment of VI just for being active, and extra VI for their contribution to the app. Vid Is the first business to use the ‘Value Income’ model, where users get rewarded for their value to the ecosystem.
The purpose of both Vid and VI is to enable people to earn additional income that was not previously available to them.
We have a few unique features already and many more planned for the future.
For example, users can earn around 1 cent USD in VI for every like they receive. When you get inside the app you’ll be able to see all the other ways that Vid is different from other social media projects.
I encourage everyone to watch your 16 min video that explains how it all started. It was quite a rollercoaster I must say. What is the situation now? Are things less hectic now that iOS and Android applications are out?
The thing about a startup is that it’s always hectic. If there isn’t a little bit of chaos, then you’re probably not moving fast enough and somebody else will pass you. We aren’t afraid of chaos.
We actually embrace it and enjoy overcoming every obstacle that crosses our path. No matter what happens, we find a way to iterate and come out with a stronger product and team. To be fair, yes things are a bit less hectic now, but more than that they are positive.
We are definitely moving in the right direction. We have traction with great user retention, positive user growth, healthy token velocity, great community sentiment, and app updates weekly. iOS is out and we are now working as fast and effectively as we can to bring android up to speed.
(Remark: At the time of the interview, Android version of the app was still in development)
We have a huge opportunity to engage an Indian audience who have just had their access removed from TikTok, as well as the possibility of a TikTok ban in many other countries.
So there is the typical startup chaos of iterating quickly to meet the needs of our users and the opportunities in the market, but things are definitely looking better than ever for Vid.
Please tell us what is the size of your team, where are you located, and do you work remotely or from the offices?
The size of our team is now at around 20 people and growing rapidly. We just hired a few extra Android devs and a new product manager last week. The company is decentralized and our team is scattered across the world: Australia, United Kingdom, United States, Russia, India, and more.
Apart from a solid user experience, Vid incentivizes users to use the app through your reward system. Can you tell us more about your business model and the tokeneconomics of your VI token?
We believe that users, who put so much time and effort into helping social media platforms to grow and reach huge multi-billion dollar market caps, deserve to share in that wealth creation; that’s why we give 90% of Vid’s revenue back to users.
When users spend VI to get featured, when advertisers spend VI to advertise with Vid, any time that VI is spent within the app – we only take 10% for the company and 90% of that value returns to users. This is done through a “Return to Source” mechanism.
We’ll explain more of the technical details first and then come back to the “Return to Source” mechanism.
The VI tokenomics
There are 888,888,888 VI Tokens in existence and there will never be any more than that. At the time of answering these questions, there are around 29 million VI tokens in circulation. Over 95% of VI Tokens are still locked up. We have a smart contract that releases 7,000 tokens per day for the next 312 years.
Those tokens go to the Vid users who prove their active on the app for that day.When VI tokens are returned to the source, they are taken out of circulation and added to the smart contract that is releasing 7,000 VI Tokens per day, reducing the supply of VI Tokens in circulation. 90% of the tokens spent within the Vid app are returned to the source and taken out of circulation daily.
Advertisers need to advertise with VI, so if you hold VI Tokens, you basically hold the future advertising space on Vid.
That’s why our business model and tokenomics have been getting a lot of attention lately, but we still feel there are relatively few people who truly understand how revolutionary this is.
UBI or Universal Basic Income has become quite a hot topic since the COVID-19 pandemic started. Do you think that UBI (or in Vid version: UVI) aspect of the project is the main element that will attract users, or will it be just a convenient feature?
Can users really expect to earn minimum wage only by filming short videos?
Let’s look at the rise of influencers and social media marketing. There’s plenty of individuals and even entire agencies that make much more than minimum wage by using social media. Will everyone earn the minimum wage? Maybe not… That’s not the point.
VI is a supplementary income, not a replacement for your job or even UBI.
That’s why we often say its similar to UBI in that it shares similar goals of being a source of additional income. It is our vision and goal to share the wealth of this huge industry with everyone who uses social media, not just those who make it their full-time job.
A little extra money can do a lot for families and individuals all around the world.
We don’t expect Vid to replace people’s jobs, but we would like to relieve some of the financial pressure that people face. Receiving money for using social media, something that many people around the world already do every day makes this possible.
The accomplishment of a Universal Value Income with VI depends on multiple factors – the user number, the token velocity, and each individual’s usage of the platform among many other things.
At the end of the day, it’s up to our users and community – we have to grow the app together. If Vid becomes the next big social media platform, then many people would say, yes. It’s very possible.
Technically speaking, you are a hybrid project. VID is using standard cloud storage solutions like Instagram of Facebook does, and Ethereum blockchain is used for token distribution only. Does that mean you are centralized, i.e. have control over users’ accounts?
Do you have any plans to move on blockchain to become a fully decentralized system?
Yes, we are a hybrid project. This means we need to balance the needs and expectations of traditional social media users with the needs and expectations of our token holders.
We need usability and we need speed, which is something that decentralization traditionally doesn’t allow for. But we really believe in the privacy and protection of user data and are open to all options as we scale. We strive to incorporate all the upsides of blockchain without the downfalls.
What is your strategy towards content restrictions? Will you allow pornography, hate speech, violence, and what mechanism do you have to balance freedom of speech with law requirements that may differ between countries.
This is a topic that we’ve been focusing on and discussing heavily with our internal team and advisors. Our statement on the matter is not yet prepared, but we do have plans to release an answer and community guidelines around this shortly. So look out for that.
(Remark: since the interview, the document was published).
With the recent TikTok ban in India, its largest market, and rumors about banning TikTok in the US and some other countries, there is a huge vacuum on the market.
Do you see VID as a TikTok replacement?
We see Vid as a replacement for many social media sites where users want to be remunerated for the value, they create on the platform. But, yes, replacing TikTok is a natural step with the current events, and also considering that we are both video social media platforms. But other than that, Vid is a very different app than TikTok.
Unlike many of the TikTok clones that are rushing to fill this space in the market, you won’t see us changing anything about our plans, features, or concept to replace TikTok.
More than a TikTok replacement
Our concept is much bigger than one single app being banned in one single region.
Vid’s focus is on memories – we want people to have a private space to create things just for themself or their smaller circles, as well as sharing on the platform at large. Our company also has an inherent focus on the protection of user privacy and data, which is obviously one of the main flaws and complaints with TikTok.
How do you look at competitors like CanCan, an app developed by Dfinity (another established crypto project), Zynn, or Howdoo?
How did Facebook look at Myspace?
Will participation and token withdrawal require any form of KYC? How the user data is protected?
Yes. We have a KYC feature developed out and we’ve been polishing it and testing it. It will be released when we think the time is right for this functionality.
One of the methods for the acquisition of new users is promotion through social media influencers. Can you reveal any names and numbers to us? Do you have some projections of user-growth in the following months and years?
All will be revealed in due time 🙂
Recently you introduced a referral program that rewards users for onboarding new participants. Can you tell us more about that program and do you plan to keep it indefinitely or is it just for this early phase?
Part of our fair compensation model includes remunerating users based on how much they contribute to the platform. So a user that is creating a lot of Vids, watching a lot of Vids, and inviting new users will have a higher impact score than a user that’s just opening the app and watching a few Vids and leaving.
This allows users to earn a higher “impact bonus”. Everyone earns the same basic amount every day, but someone who uses the app more, will earn more through the “impact bonus” feature.
Growth is important for any company, but at Vid, it means even more to our community because we all succeed together. Inviting new users is one of the more impactful actions you can take for the Vid platform, so inviting new users is weighed heavily in the Vid app.
I understand that you avoid publishing any strict roadmaps because of your past experiences, but in general, can you give us a broad long term vision for Vid?
I wish I could talk about all the features we have planned for the Vid App and the mass adoption of VI currency. Let’s just say, you can expect to see a lot of innovation from us – things that you’ve never seen done before in the crypto industry. Anyone who knows the Vid Team knows that we dream big and we follow through with actions and resilience. So, unfortunately, we can’t give any hints or roadmaps, but you can follow along with our journey in real-time on:
Telegram – https://t.me/vid_app
Medium – https://medium.com/vid-foundation
On a technical side, if you face a huge influx of users, say millions of them, are your servers capable of handling that kind of traffic?
We can cope, the question is can Ethereum? We have a plan in place for this.
Do you have some closing notes or something you deem important that is not covered in our questions?
The Vid App is available on the Apple App Store and in a few days on the Google Play Store.
(Remark: At the time of the interview, Android version of the app was still in development)
The VI Token is available on KuCoin and MXC.
Thank you for the time that you spent researching into the Vid app and creating such a well-thought out interview.