Photo: Kiwis Mitchell Pham with Leigh Flounders and Mark Pascall at the Lina soft launch event in Bangkok.
Kiwi tech business experts – including 2017 New Zealand Chief Executive of the Year award winner Leigh Flounders and NZTech and FintechNZ chair Mitchell Pham – are at the forefront of the launch of Lina.review, which they hope will disrupt the online review industry.
The blockchain platform was soft-launched earlier this month in Bangkok in front of an audience of more than 1,000 potential investors from around Asia, Europe and the US. “There’s huge interest right now,” says Pham. “This particular solution is for a real-world problem. There’s an increasing interest globally in blockchain.”
Pham says that to do something on a global scale, New Zealanders need to join global teams and work with a diverse range of people from around the world, because the Land of the Long White Cloud is too small for folks to fly solo. “We can even lead these international teams in some instances,” he says. “We saw a great idea being developed internationally that will change an entire global industry and demonstrate how blockchain can solve real-world problems. So, being can-do Kiwis, we joined them in taking it to the world.”
Yet although Aotearoa isn’t the largest of markets, Pham says its online review industry is robust. “New Zealand has a relatively immature online review industry with little recent innovation,” he explains.
Yet there’s also a gap in the market. “Except for TradeMe, consumer.co.nz and Canstar, there is little in the way of a central, reliable, easily accessible New Zealand ledger for ratings and reviews.”
Pham says Lina is not just a website, but a blockchain-based platform that everyone can build their own review system to develop community and manage their own businesses. All Lina-based review channels are globally connected, he says. “With Lina.review being a truly global product, Kiwis can interact with Lina for international product and service websites and domestically. Being part of a global review platform will also make it easier for Kiwi businesses to market their products globally.”
Pham says it boasts other features, too. “Lina can also be integrated into existing platforms such as e-commerce and bookings platforms through the upcoming Lina API,” he says. “Kiwis can now get value from trustworthy, transparent reviews, whilst being able to monetise their involvement with the Lina platform by providing quality content and engagement.”
In short, blockchain is a continuously growing list of records – called blocks – which are linked together and secured using cryptography or coding. Today, it’s being used to solve problems in an increasing number of industries.
Pham says one particular industry is insurance. “It’ll help tremendously with transparency,” he says. “That’s one of many examples.”
Pham says Lina is the first, and only, fully-functioning blockchain platform for a multi-billion-dollar industry developed through understanding some of the fundamental weaknesses of the existing industry and how blockchain technology can fix those issues.
Other New Zealanders involved with Lina in prominent roles include serial tech entrepreneur Greg Kushnir, and blockchain and cryptocurrency experts Mark Pascall and Paul Salisbury.
Says Pham: “This is a great example of NZ tech entrepreneurship, expertise and leadership being applied on the world stage, to change an entire global industry. Consumers love using online reviews pre-purchase, yet over half of online consumers say they don’t trust online reviews or ratings.
“So, what happens when a consumer reads a review about a product or service and they don’t trust the content? They either stall their purchase, or worse: do not buy at all.
“Lina is the first and only blockchain platform built specifically for the multi-billion-dollar online ratings and reviews market. It has been built to restore trust again into this industry and provide tangible value for all participants in the review and ratings ecosphere.”
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