Interview with Alexander Busarov, Co-Founder of TaelPay
1. Hey Alex. Thanks for joining me today. Can you tell me more about yourself and your time in the crypto industry? How did you get started?
Of course. My name is Alexander Busarov, CEO and co-founder of Tael. My background is in consulting at McKinsey & Co., and I’ve guided project development for Russia and China-based companies as an independent advisor. I was also Sales Director at a leading infant formula producer.
Back in May 2017, a friend was telling me about ICOs. As a means of fundraising, my first reaction was “come on, this sounds like a scam!”. But after delving a bit deeper and understanding how crypto works, I saw that there can be viable and innovative models in which the tokens are integral to the overall system. In our case, using crypto tokens added several unique advantages, such as easy integration with other loyalty systems. It turned out to fit the project even better than the alternatives.
Blockchain as a technology is something we’ve been looking at for quite some time – since around 2014-2015, as its supply chain applications were clear from the outset. Combined with the physical protection of products through our label, the blockchain also allows for robust digital protection. It’s an exciting technology, when used correctly.
2. What function does Tael serve in your ecosystem? Can you briefly elaborate on the rebrand from WABI to TAEL?
We’re an ecosystem of safe consumer goods, in which each product comes equipped with our NFC anti-counterfeit label. We’re currently focused on the China market where counterfeits and fakes are a persistent issue. Inside this ecosystem, Tael is an integral element, uniting all the participants (brands, users, merchants etc). It’s a consumer incentive, it’s a marketing tool, it’s an element of gamification within the ecosystem, and much more.
The word Tael itself is derived from a historical silver currency in Asia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tael). It reflects our vision of building the ecosystem across countries. Its function as a system for bartering also mirrors the usage of Tael in our own ecosystem.
3. Where are the team members based out of?
Most of our team works on location at the Tael offices in Shanghai. With our target audience being young Chinese parents, it seemed only natural to headquarter ourselves here, in the thick of it. Being a company that sources products internationally (over 300 different SKUs, with hundreds more in the pipeline), we also have employees, offices, and warehouses in Australia, Japan, Singapore, and Europe. Worldwide, we have over 40 Tael team members.
4. What is possible with the Tael vision?
Tael can become one of the most adopted cryptocurrencies. When we first said this, people didn’t take it seriously. Judging by how the number of holders is growing, I think more and more people see the future of Tael and are starting to believe it. You can see it for yourself at https://adoption.taelpay.com
5. What is the business model of the project?
In short: an important part of the Tael Ecosystem is our own Techrock sales platform, in which our loyalty system keeps consumers coming back for verifiable authentic products. Every product on the platform is equipped with our Tael technology anti-counterfeit NFC label. On top of that, brands & merchants use Tael for marketing campaigns within the Tael Ecosystem.
6. What are the technological innovations of the project?
Innovation in regards to the token itself is mainly apparent in its application and pivotal role within the ecosystem. If we’re strictly talking technological innovation, I’m confident in saying our NFC labels are the most secure anti-counterfeit solution for consumer products available on the market today. QR codes are easily cloned, faked, or used fraudulently. Holographic stickers can be replicated by counterfeiters, if the consumers can even tell the difference between these stickers in the first place. Our combination of digital and physical protection is pretty unique in this industry and, thanks to the Tael loyalty system, consumers are far more willing to engage with the technology.
7. What do you think is the biggest problem Tael can solve that that its competitors is not solving now, and why is the problem important to solve?
I think we are solving a very specific problem for the crypto community (as in, apart from what we solve for our Chinese consumers through our anti-counterfeit technology): being a project with some actual usage.
Crypto is suffering from “if we build it, they will come” syndrome but more and more people realise actual usage is needed. By being an example of a project that works beyond the promise of partnerships and hype, we do our bit (or maybe even byte) in moving the crypto industry forward. You can even follow the adoption numbers yourself through: https://adoption.taelpay.com/
8. Who do you view as your current competitors or projects aimed towards the same mission?
I know what you’re getting at, but I’ll have to let you down: I don’t consider supply chain traceability projects, or even other anti-counterfeit companies utilizing scannable labels or QR codes, as competitors to us. Our focus is on B2C and activating real consumer interaction with new technology and our token. If anything, BAT is actually most similar in tapping into marketing budgets (as detailed here: https://blog.taelpay.com/our-ecosystem-detailed-actors-in-the-ecosystem/), even though we don’t compete directly.
9. What’s the added value of the Tael in comparison with its competitors?
In a general sense, what sets us apart from other crypto projects is, to put it bluntly, real-world adoption. Real people utilizing our token in a system built from the ground up to integrate the Tael token. Until other projects start seeing our level of real world adoption, comparing ‘value’ is senseless.
10. Where are you now in your roadmap?
We’ve just released our look back on Q3, detailing how we’ve been hitting our milestones, improving our technology with enhanced labels and updated applications, expanding our reach through online KOL marketing and offline promotional marketing, publicizing new partnerships such as Wakatsuru, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hokuriku Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Ltd., while also giving a preview of what’s to come in Q4. You can find it here: https://blog.taelpay.com/q3-quarterly-review
Suffice to say, right now we’re all about growing our adoption numbers further; real, mainstream, non-’crypto holder’ users of our token in daily life. We’ve achieved mainstream adoption with over 25.000 consumers, with the first month of Q4 outpacing the entirety of Q3. I believe we’re going to see some real fireworks for Tael going forward.
Thank you for taking the time today, Alex!
You can also follow Alex on twitter, here!