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ESL Coin & Try English App (ICO Coming)
This is an idea I’ve been sitting on for a long time now, patiently waiting to see if and when the stars would properly align. Over the years, I helped Factom, DECENT, Spells of Genesis, Synereo and others achieve success with the launch of their coins, and while I learned a lot along the way, I’ve secretly been waiting for the opportunity to organize one, myself, leveraging my pre-crypto background.
I originally worked in the ESL industry, which stands for English as a Second Language. English-speaking populations constituted over 31% of the world’s GDP when measured in 2015 due to their size and relative affluence. As such, they are the primary target of consumer export-driven economies, causing English proficiency to be viewed as a sign of and gateway to professional success.
That means there is a huge demand for English education around the world, with over 1 billion students and almost double that projected by 2020. Most study in their home countries with the increasing aid of technology, yet many others travel to language schools in English-speaking countries, utilizing homestays and other tailored services. In the Canadian province of British Columbia alone, this has generated over $3 billion in annual revenue.
Unfortunately, the people involved have been generally ignorant about and even skeptical of cryptocurrency. Now that there have been numerous successful ICOs, however, and mainstream companies are considering them, I finally managed to convince the key players necessary of the pressing utility of blockchain integration. Soon, a plan was formed.
Gathering a couple colleagues whom I’ve known for years, I then reached out to some of my most trusted Bitcoin contacts, who have proven records of success in complementary areas. Together, we are embarking on a project that will enrich both the ESL and cryptocurrency communities while spreading blockchain technology further into the mainstream. Here are the details.
The history of our ESL group is intertwined with the history of Bitcoin, itself. It started as a small Meetup in Vancouver for ESL students to practice speaking with each other and local Canadians, making friends along the way. Over time, however, the Meetup grew, and it now boasts over 7,500 members who meet almost every day of the week.
With it came many connections to local event venue owners, which I (as a Co-Organizer) used to spread Bitcoin adoption. The world’s first Indian restaurant to accept Bitcoin was one of our meeting spots, and the cafe which houses the world’s first Bitcoin ATM is our most popular location. It’s safe to say it has been integral to the success of the Bitcoin Co-op and Vancouver’s cryptocurrency community.
That and other circumstances caused us to focus more on other projects for a while, but Conversational English continued to grow until our Facebook page caught international attention. Despite expending relatively little effort and $0 on advertising, we’ve reached over 20,000 likes, and our content frequently goes viral. Eventually, I was forced to create online chatrooms for us by popular demand, with most of the activity on WhatsApp and KakaoTalk.
We are expanding to other platforms, but our group will soon grow too difficult to manage. What’s needed is a multi-purpose platform specialized for the ESL community, which uses cutting-edge technology to automate some of our responsibilities and keep everything under one roof. In the process, we will use blockchain technology to build a decentralized ESL economy that gives back to the community.
Mobile phones are the future of user engagement, especially in developing countries where home computers are less common. It’s evident from the success of our WhatsApp & KakaoTalk groups (relative to Skype) that this is true for ESL students, as well, and so while we intend to produce a desktop version, the mobile app will be our primary focus.
Most of these features are currently provided by very high-paid consultants, who connect students, teachers and other clients in the industry. Our app will cut out the middlemen, utilizing small fees to fund its operational cost. Additionally, to satisfy ESL students’ demand for native English speakers to practice with, their participation in chatrooms and at events will be incentivized by very small payments (bots are ineligible).
As Try English is not just intended for the cryptocurrency community, it will be designed based on the assumption that users know nothing about blockchain technology and have no interest in it. In the background, however, it will be gradually decentralized over time, and strategically-placed links will lead many to learn more about the blockchain revolution. We are developing separate websites and marketing campaigns.
All transactions will, of course, be paid in ESL Coin, which will also be the medium of exchange for related goods and services. This makes it an access token, required to fully utilize the ESL Network and any apps built on top of it. It will also utilize blockchain technology for non-currency applications, particularly for the reputation system and user validation.
Users familiar with cryptocurrency will be able to deposit and withdraw ESL Coins to and from their Try English accounts as they would any other, and wallet support will be provided. Users not familiar, however, will buy ESL Coin directly in the app with fiat. They will see it as analogous to something like Facebook Credits or one of the many centralized tokens built into mobile games you can buy to accelerate the gameplay.
ESL Coin will be built on top of the Ethereum blockchain (at least for now). There are multiple reasons for this decision:
- We need micro-transactions immediately and cannot wait for Bitcoin’s scaling issue to inevitably be resolved
- It specializes in the features required and a lot of development has already been put into it, saving us time
- It has mainstream institutional support, which is convincing to potential partners in the ESL industry
- Immutability is not a concern for this project, as it’s apolitical. My plans to undermine the state (unrelated) are for another chain
The total initial supply of ESL Coins will be determined by the success of the upcoming ICO, and no new coins will be created. The ESL Coins used to incentivize native English speaker participation will derive from small fees on settlement of services rendered via the ESL Network, instead, which will also be used to pay Ethereum’s transaction fees. Some coins will be burned.
Although Try English will initially rely on a central server, the goal to to transition to a completely decentralized ESL economy. Therefore, Ethereum will serve as its backbone, assigning a numerical reputation to each tutor or homestay which changes according to feedback from students. Identity registration may improve users’ reputations as well as the impact of their feedback, and and all are subject to banishment from the system if their conduct is reported or they reach a low enough score.
Although ESL Coin is an access token, it will be more than an appcoin. Our goal is to get everyone in the ESL industry to accept it, which we are uniquely situated to do with our resources and expertise. We may eventually pursue further ESL Coin projects, as well… the future of English education will not be centralized!
Try English will be owned and maintained by a private company, while ESL Coin will be under the jurisdiction of the ESL Coin Foundation. Both are operated by the same team, for now, but that might not always be true, especially if third-party developers build on top of the ESL Network. Our team:
- CEO Andrew Wagner, founder of CoinFest & Blockchain Gaming, Community Manager at NewsBTC and a director of the Bitcoin Co-op who promotes decentralized technology
- President Michael Kuehn, the lead administrator of Conversational English who has many years of ESL tutoring experience
- Chief Academic Officer Aldona Dziedziedko, an ESL teacher who got her Masters from UBC and is finishing her B.Ed. with minors in international education and curriculum development
- Chief Operational Officer Adam Rizvi, the founder of Crypto Bates Group and CoinFest UK
- Advisor & Board Member Brad Chun, CEO of the Mooti blockchain ID platform, Founder of Shuttle Fund Advisor
- Concept Designer Isaac Nandgavkar, a dedicated crypto enthusiast who’s worked with multiple aforementioned projects
The date and full details of our ICO will be announced soon. We're also still working on our bounty program... please be patient.
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