Updates and Announcements for 2023

J.G. Whitley
December 31, 2022
Below, you'll find the transcript of the video.

Hey there, 
Happy New Year to all of you, from all of us. I hope you’re enjoying it wherever you may be.
Whether it's New Year’s Day for you, or New Year’s Eve for me like it is here locally. Welcome to 2023 huh? 

I wanted to take some time to capture these year end updates in this video format, to really emphasize our excitement and enthusiasm for the new direction we’re taking as an organization. I’m joining you from my backyard because it's gorgeous outside, so please bear with me as I try to get through my notes and minimize the birds and planes in the background.  

Now, when we started PackagePortal in 2019, we were very intentional about differentiating ourselves from a “typical crypto” project, and we publicized our intent to build legitimate b2b services based around a blockchain economy.

Rather than creating crypto for crypto’s sake, our desire was always to leverage this newfound technology, to contribute to the space as builders of value generating software services. Gabe and I built the company around shared morals and beliefs, and we put integrity first in all the ways that we manage the company, and engage with our community, and steward our resources. We never came here to get rich by selling hype, and we’ve stayed the course in our aim of designing tools for value creation in the world, rather than tools for value extraction for ourselves.

The ways in which our tools have worked over the years has been fluid and ever-evolving. We’ve had to adapt in real time as new protocols and practices are continually made available. Some of the notable changes that we made include transitioning from reward disbursements to self-claiming, or from accepting all barcodes to only select carriers. Another big change was adding and then later removing KYC requirements. Always adapting to what the tech and regulations allow.  

Even our original ZilHive Proposal and design was based off NFT coupons as merchant rewards. But, Zilliqa’s NFT contracts weren’t live yet, so we pivoted and built the ecosystem around a fungible token contract, creating PORT. However, this space evolves so quickly, that new tools and code repos are continually being released, thereby opening up new doors and possibilities for us to explore and implement. Now on the flipside, this nebulous regulation in the US, and recent revelations of systemic fraud and manipulation, by the unnamed, has closed some doors - many of which probably never should’ve been opened in the first place. 

But if one thing has been made clear over the last half of 2022, it's that markets were heavily inflated, with a lot of smoke and mirrors creating a facade of value for various projects and ecosystems. As a result now, alt coins of every kind have been marked with this sort of scarlet letter, and the world looks at anything “crypto” with intensified cynicism and contempt. Regardless of use-case or viability, altcoins are generally just scorned right now. 

And we know that Bitcoin will be just fine. NFTs with utility will be just fine, as will the platforms they’re built upon. However swaths of other fringe tokens, and coins, and ecosystems will simply fall by the wayside and be forgotten, as all this smoke clears and reveals who is creating value, and who was simply extracting it.

Now for us, we don’t intend for all of our hard work to be forgotten, nor to be named among those projects that were vaporware in disguise. We believe that in order to thrive in this new era of crypto skepticism, service backed platforms must intertwine with Bitcoin and/or NFTs to have the best opportunity to succeed in this new climate. 

So to that point, our directional focus over recent months has been rooted in that reality. Moving forward, PackagePortal will be repositioning our product offering and our brand image, to highlight Bitcoin and NFT services. And now there’s a lot to unpack there, and we’ll have documentation in Q1 providing greater detail, but the high level summary is:

  • Lightning Wallets and BTC Rewards as a service
  • NFT Coupons and loyalty rewards as a service. The original design comes full circle.

Of course the PORT community wants to know what this means for the PORT token. It means a lot actually and I’ve got you covered. But let me first unpack how these two products will look and function, so you can better understand PORTs new role. 

The first product is a no-brainer. We already support Lightning Wallets and BTC rewards. But this newer feature of ours hasn’t had proper publicity. Additionally, our brand has been entirely focused on delivery data and an “altcoin”, which adds tons of confusion in sales meetings, and stirs contempt among the Bitcoin maxis that we were engaging with. So moving forward, our brand image and marketing efforts will be less focused on packages and tokens, and find more harmony with the broader Bitcoin community. 

This Lightning Network integration allows merchants and private parties to implement Bitcoin Wallets for their user base, AND integrate various triggers, sort of functioning as a self-serve platform for wallet creation and reward issuance. Now, from a business model perspective, wallets are free, that’s standard practice, but we’ll apply a one-time fee and a price markup to each reward pack of sats or bitcoin purchased. So then, the organization will keep the one-time fee as revenue, however the profits from the BTC markup will accrue in a treasury wallet, to be governed by the community for charitable giving. So as the network grows with use, on the Bitcoin side, the community becomes stewards of sats leveraging #BitcoinForGood.

An example of what this might look like: is Company X wants to send $1000 worth of bitcoin rewards to its loyal customers. So they can come to our site, create the campaign’s parameters and triggers, and then send links to users via email or SMS. We would charge say $50 as a service fee, and then add a 10% markup on the BTC, so Company X pays $1150 to use the platform. The organization keeps the $50, and there’s $100 worth of BTC sent to the treasury, to be governed by the community. Now, these numbers are just examples for the sake of easy math. Please don’t hold me to them, they most likely will change.

As for NFTs, our second product focus is the implementation of the original design: NFTs as coupons with merchant metadata. We didn’t have the tooling in the beginning to do this, but as this space has evolved, so do we. This service allows Merchants to create and customize their own NFT attributes, with discount codes and other metadata baked in, creating a fully controlled loyalty campaign. 

Users will still earn these NFTs from our delivery ratings and surveys, as has been the case. But with this transition in rewards from fungible to non fungible tokens, we gain composability and traceability for those rewards. Which is a powerful metric for merchant clients. This lets us position the platform as a base layer protocol for the creation and distribution of commercial NFTs for business, and alongside a vibrant ecosystem for users to earn and trade those rewards. Plus, an added bonus is that NFT rewards should be acceptable by Shopify’s standards, so all of our work there this summer may not be in vain, and the Shopify plugin could potentially see the light of day. So that’s encouraging. Not promised, but now there’s a glimmer of hope to see that. 

As for an example of how the NFT product might look like, let’s say the same Company X now wants to send 20% off coupons to everyone who shops during a particular sales week. So they can come to our site, create an NFT campaign, add coupon codes, attributes, art, or whatever to the metadata, and send links via email or sms, just like the bitcoin. We would charge say $100 as a service fee, and then also $150 as a network fee. So that Company X is paying $250 total for the service. And then we as an organization, we keep the $100 service fee as revenue, and the $150 network fee will be used to take PORT out of the market. More on that later. 

But with this update, PORT evolves from default reward token, to network transaction token. When we implemented meta-transactions earlier in the year, it allowed PORT to cover the ZIL network fees. So each time one of these NFT coupons is minted, traded, transferred, redeemed, or burned, those transaction fees and ecosystem fees will accrue in the form of PORT. So all the network activity will require PORT as gas, and all of that PORT will be distributed to certain community members. 

Which brings me to a third product, not yet mentioned; another kind of NFT. The good old fashioned digital collectibles with utility though. While NFT coupons will make up the service side of our offering, NFT collectibles will make up the metaverse side of the platform. These collections will be unique and creative, and their collectors will share ownership of all of the network gas fees, earning indefinitely as the platform grows.

Now, to mint these NFTs will require a payment of ZIL and a burning of PORT. A full collection mint will burn a total of 1M PORT, reducing the max supply by 10% down to 9M. And all network transaction fees will be distributed to these collectors in perpetuity. Again, greater details to come in Q1, but this is a good high level overview of our 3 pronged reintroduction.

We really believe that this new focus on Bitcoin and utilitarian NFT services will reinforce our foundations, as these aftershocks from the Luna/FTX earthquakes linger on. Because creating tools for merchants and consumers to generate actual value for one another has always been our goal. Whether it's a bear or bull, we build. We’ve built, and we continue building. And we do so with virtue and determination, so that we can stand behind our work and be named among those who bring good to the many, rather than the few. That’s never been our aim. 

This has been our approach when nobody knew us, and remains true whether the token price explodes up, or implodes down. It’s always been about the value we can bring to the table, not what can be scraped off of others’ plates. Which is often the case within this cryptosphere that we’re all a part of. Initially, bootstrapping costs ourselves, meant that we had skin in the game. And liquidating some tokens last year to accelerate development meant others bought into the vision with us. We take both seriously and have sought to properly steward our resources and energy, and give it our all. 

And even though things may appear grim when looking at candlesticks, we now have a vast framework of proprietary code to build upon, and we intend to continue development and operations for the foreseeable future. Even with PORT at zero, we can press on, because we are building actual services, and software systems designed to integrate with blockchain, not live and die by a token associated with it. We were fine before PORT was deployed and nobody knew us, and we’re fine now. Financially, we can continue operations for another 2yrs without any new revenue. But we have every intention of growing revenue in 2023. It’s goal number 1, obviously.

The only thing that can really stop us, is us. Losing the desire to win is really our only foe, and I never want to not win, honestly. This last year was the toughest of my life; on both a personal and business level, I faced more obstacles than I can count. So many things went wrong, or backfired, or fizzled, that if ever I wanted to quit, this should’ve been it; this year should’ve broken me. But this old mustang isn’t broken yet! We’re looking to buck trends this year, and show this space what we’re made of and what we made.

Now for some quick housekeeping notes; the Dock rewards ends today. Staking for the Dock, 19% its over with this year. The early withdrawal penalty will be disabled, and you can unstake without issue as of tomorrow our time local, Jan 1, 2023. The Buoy staking will continue as is, for the time being. But expect more updates and changes around staking as we progress in the coming months. We’re looking to revamp that. Liquidity Provision rewards as well, looking to revamp and change and do something different than the norm, because there’s just a lot of manipulation, and we want to avoid that. 

Also, the mobile app will be taken offline, as our core services are now web apps supported by native browsers. We don’t need a mobile app. We think also, that Web3 mobile dapps in general are at a crossroads. This being one of those closing doors mentioned before, with Apple seeking totalitarian control over apps, while slashing profitability and stifling creativity. So it’s just better to unshackle ourselves from the iOS tyranny now, and remove those app store burdens. 

Also we’ve still got a number of relationships and potential partnerships being nurtured by the team; including retail clients in the U.S., and tel-co services in Africa. But we’ve held off on any new marketing efforts until the relaunch is complete. Because this rebrand is not just a new name and website, but also means new sales decks, updated documentation and collateral for sharing across sales meetings. So having that in place will be an immense help in telling the story of who we are and what we do as we meet with prospects moving forward. 

Well I think that’s about the sum of it, and I know that there’s a lot to take in. To recap, in general, we will be rebranding the platform, introducing two types of NFTs; collectibles and coupons, and really leaning into Bitcoin wallet services. While delivery confirmations and feedback remain a featured product, the rebrand serves to soften the narrow focus on “packages”, to showcase a more marketable suite of services for Web3 consumer engagement. 

Those collectible NFTs will burn up to 1M PORT once fully minted, and owners will earn all network fees generated by the NFT coupons. Our devs have already made progress on ZIL contracts as we have so much existing infrastructure there, and they’re working on NFT contracts on two other unnamed networks. Once deployed, we’ll revisit the Shopify approval process and try to get listed in their marketplace for visibility, but we’ll continue to be primarily focused on standalone integrations for customers. That’s the real goal. 

So all in all, there is much to be excited about, many major updates ahead. We’ll unveil the new branding, website, whitepaper, roadmap, media, blockchain integrations and all of that sometime in Q1. In the meantime, I plan to be more present in the chats, and perhaps host some twitter spaces along the way to open up community dialogue and unpack further some of what I’ve just touched on here. But we will continue our unique approach and we will not always do things the way other crypto projects do things. We really want to be apples in a room full of oranges, and you know, kind of buck those trends as I mentioned before. 

I know 2022 was a tough year for every single person that has a crypto wallet. A lot of traders and builders alike have walked away from this space. But our conviction in Bitcoin and NFTs as the future of tech, alongside our resolve to rise from the rubble that this year brought, is what really keeps us leaning in, adapting, and excites us for what we’ll do in 2023. It's time to ring some bells. God bless you, wherever you are; good afternoon, good evening and goodnight. Peace.

J.G. Whitley
Hi, I'm JG, one of the founders of PackagePortal.

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