The number one virtue of the blockchain is TRUST. That’s the most disruptive innovation it brings.

Trust is an economic issue and a factor in many businesses. When you buy a car or a TV or a bed, you do not know whether the product you bought will match the glowing description given to you by the showroom salesman or provided by Internet. You trust that such stories are not too far from the truth. And when the vendor acquires a bad reputation, that trust vanishes. In the financial sector trust is a much bigger aspect of the business. You trust a bank with your money, you trust a broker to buy stocks and hold them for you, without cheating you, and you trust the insurance company to pay out when you have a claim.

This trust is what the blockchain challenges, since a well-structured blockchain business can implement a system where the trust is inextricably bound to the blockchain and cannot be violated in any way. You do not have to trust the owner or managers of the blockchain, you only have to trust the technology – and the technology is transparent, open for you or anyone else to examine. The blockchain is the trust.

So consider a recently announced blockchain initiative by Munchee, already a popular food review mobile app. Munchee has created a blockchain-based platform that will deliver a similar but not identical service to Yelp: food reviews. The platform provides a peer review system that leverages Machine Learning to match submitted reviews with credible reviewers in an effort eliminate bias. In theory (and probably in fact) you will be able to trust the food and restaurant reviews.

Munchee is not simply a me-too Yelp. It is a food review application and social network that reviews individual restaurant dishes. Users search for food dishes based upon what they want to eat, right now, that are available in nearby locations. So, even though a restaurant might not merit a 5-star rating for all their food, they may serve some dishes that do – and Munchee draws attention to such dishes.

If you look at the bigger picture, what Munchee is doing solves a trust problem which plagues Yelp and also the big Internet behemoths like Amazon – biased reviews. The problem can be described as follows:

• Anyone can sign up and add reviews – and there is no peer review process. So naturally, sellers employ friends or agents to provide the positive reviews they crave. Such reviews are thus meaningless and probably misleading.
• The problem is that the vendor pays. So some platforms de-emphasize or even remove reviews that don’t align with their commercial interests of their paying customers. Sometimes customers can even pay directly to get negative reviews removed. If you doubt this, you might like to read:  Think Yelp is Unbiased, Think Again.

As regards their blockchain business model, Munchee will reward its honest reviews with tokens which can be redeemed for restaurant promotions, delivery food, or traded on exchanges to convert to fiat currency. This, incidentally, is not so different to what Algebraix will be doing on its advertising platform. We will review the users by assigning and maintaining a machine learning-based reputation score. And those who engender trust in the service we provide (pay per view platform) will receive the greatest ALX coin rewards.

 


Robin Bloor
Chief Strategy Officer

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