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Ever Heard of Smart Contracts? It's About Time You Did.

A Q+A with Jincor CEO and co-founder Vlad Kirichenko.
Ever Heard of Smart Contracts? It's About Time You Did.
Image credit: Courtesy of Stankevicius MGM
By Stankevicius MGM

Modern businesses (including the small ones) can benefit from smart contracts in many different ways, and we are only beginning to understand just how game-changing the technology is. Gartner estimates that by 2022, ratified unbundled (that is, defined impact) smart contracts will be in use by more than 25 percent of global organizations.

While industry leaders are already aware of the benefits, which smart contracts may bring to their businesses (full transparency, saving costs and time, raising trust in a business environment, and many others), most of them prefer to stay aside, due to associated risks and lack of technical expertise.

New real-world applications of smart contracts are emerging nearly every day, and some of the biggest names across industries have invested hundreds of millions of dollars to develop smart contract-based projects. Today we’ve met with Vlad Kirichenko, CEO and co-founder of Jincor, the company that is trying to bring those gleaming new technologies to more business around the world easily with no legal, technical or operational complications and in a cost-efficient manner.

You started your entrepreneurial path in 2013, in fact you’d been in trade business and then you shifted into technology. How did that happen and what did you learn during those starting years?
Kirichenko:
I’ve always been fascinated by innovative technologies and how they can change people’s lives dramatically, so I can’t say this shift was unexpected. But true, my first entrepreneurial experience was not related to tech. The company I set up just upon graduation from a Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation back in 2013 was engaged in milk production and wholesale trade. I worked on its development for about three years, and finally, it turned out to be a profitable enterprise with more than $5 million of cumulative revenue for three years of its existence. Since that was my first business, I had to learn many basic skills one should possess to run a successful business, such as investor relations, building the company’s reputation, and communication with business partners. That experience gave me not only the practical skills of running a company, but also make me feel more confident as an entrepreneur. I truly started to believe that I am capable of doing something game-changing and valuable for the society.

In 2015, I got really inspired by a concept of vertical farming, which had yet to be adopted in my country, and for the year following, I was actively engaged in its promotion among private companies in Russia. I found the technology so appealing as it represents a brand-new era in the agriculture by cutting out its dependence on the environment factors—natural sunlight, rains, or soil condition. And eliminating of those means solving global-scale issues like famine: there are currently over half billion people starving, and this figure will only rise as natural resources continue to deplete.

During that time, I noticed some major problems related to businesses of any scale and industry. For instance, it was incredibly difficult to communicate with other companies—find them, get the right person to be in touch with etc., and it was just the tip of the iceberg. It became clear to me that traditional means of business communications are obsolete in a sense, and I decided to create a unified communication platform for businesses. It was about the time when blockchain technology became booming and I realized, that combined with my initial idea, this might lead to something bigger. And I started to actively educate myself in the field of IT and crypto to build a new company which makes businesses much closer to blockchain and vice versa.

Could you share some experiences of what difficulties have you faced as a starter entrepreneur back in 2013 and how did you overcome them?
Kirichenko:
At that time I'd say it all came down to battling my own demons—fears, doubts. I had to let go of my ego, learn how to make sound decisions, take the risk of failure and bear the weight of responsibility towards my team and my family. Because once you start something, letting down people who put their faith in you becomes a luxury you can’t afford. Back then it surely took some hard work to strengthen my mindset and attitude.

Right now you are working on Jincor. Could you open up the idea behind the company and tell what Jincor does exactly and what benefits do you provide?
Kirichenko:
Jincor is a platform which makes smart contracts and cryptocurrency payments genuinely simple to any company, even a small-scale one. As for now, only industry leaders are able to benefit from the blockchain technology due to its technical complexity and expensiveness, and I find it completely unfair. What we do is creating a breezy-to-use product that allows any business to accept smart contracts and cryptocurrencies easily with no legal, technical, or operational complications and in a cost-efficient manner.

Jincor’s features will include corporate cryptocurrency wallets with multi signatures, smart contract templates, which will make it possible for companies to transfer all the legal and contractual relationships into a trustless blockchain environment, and even a decentralized arbitration system, which will allow settling disputes arising with the execution of smart contracts within the digital jurisdiction.

For regular business, all of these mean significant cost-savings. For example, smart contracts will cut costs on banking services, accounting, eliminate losses related to human factor errors and defaults on business commitments.

Imagine this: you want to order some goods from a new business partner, but there is always a trap of mistrust–you don’t want to pay until getting your goods, and your partner doesn’t want to ship it until getting prepayment. What if it’s a cheat? With smart contracts, it’s possible to sign an automatically performed and unbreakable agreement with certain predefined terms: as soon as you receive the delivery, your counterparty gets the funds. As simple as that. No more fraud, massive amounts of paperwork, and also intermediaries like banks, lawyers, brokers, and notaries, which are usually associated with high costs. And with b2b cryptocurrency payments, all settlements, including international, are carried out almost instantly, and business owner will no longer need to wait days and weeks until his/her partner abroad receive a payment for some goods or services.

So we aim to build a private blockchain and the platform that will make it possible even for a smart enough five-year-old kid to register in Jincor ecosystem, initiate the smart contract and pay to a supplier with cryptocurrency. And that’s all in a very

user-friendly, legal way, compliant with all the known requirements of regulators. And what’s probably even more important for businesses, in a cost-efficient manner—at the moment, the integration of smart contracts and cryptocurrencies is a very complex and expensive process. Development costs for some of the simplest and most basic smart contracts vary from $5 000 to $10 000, because coding and proper security testing of a smart contract require many working hours of professional blockchain developers, whose salaries have risen enormously high in the recent years. We plan to cut the costs to roughly $100 to $500 per contract by removing the need to program them and make smart contracts creation genuinely easy even for users with no technical skills.

In our opinion, this will lead to a complete changeover in the corporate interactions model by eliminating injustice, defaults on business commitments, and human mistakes factor.

By the way, we already have a working private beta, which is now being tested by more than 30 companies, and plan to release it in public in a couple of weeks. As for now, more than 300 businesses from all over the world have already joined the waiting list.

You are also starting an ICO on December, 1st. Does that mean that you are also planning to have your own cryptocurrency? How it’s going to work and what price is it going to be sold at?
Kirichenko:
Yes, we have issued a limited supply of JCR tokens. While registering at Jincor.com and evaluating the advantages of Jincor’s ecosystem is free of charge for any business, the most amazing blockchain-powered features, including digital verification, smart contracts constructor, and cryptocurrency payments, will be available only for JCRs which will serve as a native currency of the platform. The tokens will be intensively used by a growing number of Jincor corporate users thereby giving advantages to our early supporters.

During the ICO we plan to raise up to $26.6 million by putting on sale the respective amount of JCRs at a price of $1.

Could you tell how soon after the ICO contributors could expect a return and what is your plan for scaling the business?
Kirichenko:
Since the price of JCR tokens is straightly dependent on Jincor’s customers (the supply always stays the same), the revenue projections are also based on this factor. According to our estimates which take into consideration businesses demand for cryptocurrency payment solutions and the pace of smart contracts mass adoption, in two years from now there will be around 20,000 businesses registered in Jincor ecosystem. On average those will be a medium businesses of 150 hires, that require about $750 equivalent of JCR tokens per month to pay for basic needed platform’s services which give us a projected revenue of $18 million in year two. And in four years, we expect around 50,000 companies to be registered on the platform and actively using its paid services. We don’t plan to issue additional tokens in the future. But the demand for JCR tokens will continue to grow as well as its value and the returns of the project supporters.

As for the prior scaling directions, we plan to get to Japan/Asian markets first, as the regulatory landscape for crypto and smart contracts seems the most adequate and unobstructed there, then Europe, and then shift to the global market.

The driving power of any economy is business. And the project we are working at is about to involve as many businesses in the industry as possible, giving them an opportunity to use smart contracts and crypto payments easily and build more and more enterprise blockchain solutions, keeping all the laws and compliance in mind. Building up this huge argument for more world leaders to accept those new standards of business operations, to accept new money. That’s what Jincor is all about.

Jincor is doing great now and assuming you’re going to succeed in your ICO what will be your next steps for the next five years for Jincor? Are you aiming in acquiring a certain percentage of the global industry’s market share?Kirichenko: We have a clear and realistic roadmap with the account of funds raised during the ICO. Given that the hard cap is reached (the maximum possible amount), we will be able to develop all of its core features, including verified digital wallets, enterprise digital signatures, 1-click cryptocurrency payments etc., as soon as by the end of 2018. By the same time, we are planning to achieve a stable cash flow, and by 2020 Jincor will become a self-sufficient business. Although we are getting to an enormously large market, we are not aiming at acquiring a certain share, because we don’t see the world as a zero-sum game. The battle Jincor is going to fight for the next few years is not to prevent our competitors from succeeding, but to legitimize the entire blockchain industry, that’s why many of existing and potential competitors can end up being our partners since we develop a modular solution with robust integration capabilities. And by the end of the day we are building our own private blockchain with an open API to allow many of talented IT entrepreneurs in the field to build up the value to Jincor platform by developing their own blockchain enterprise solutions and have a market full of businesses registered at Jincor.com willing to use them.

What book have you read lately that has inspired you to keep moving forward in terms of business development?Kirichenko: Paradoxically as it may sound, classic literature has been the best source of inspiration for me so far, Brodsky’s poetry in particular. It simply allows you to keep sight of what’s really important, in some ways even helps you to evolve and grow as a human being, and that translates into everything you do, making you a more rounded businessman, as well.

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