The Future Is Now: Justin Banon of Boson Protocol On How Their Technological Innovation Will Shake Up The Commercial Infrastructure
Listen to the best advice you can find, but make your own decisions.
As a part of our series about cutting edge technological breakthroughs, I had the pleasure of interviewing Justin Banon.
Justin Banon is the CEO and Co-founder of Boson Protocol, the project using smart contracts to power real world commerce. Prior to this, Justin spearheaded the Travel Experiences Division of Collinson, where he managed a group of global loyalty rewards platforms including LoungeKey, Mastercard Airport Experiences, and Priority Pass — the latter of which he scaled twenty-fold from $50m to $1bn per annum revenue during his tenure.
A serial entrepreneur, Justin has founded numerous startups over the last two decades, including Meltfactory, a blockchain strategy consultancy where he served as CEO, and Redeemeum, a crypto native rewards platform where he currently holds the position of CEO. He also serves as a Start-up Mentor at Outlier Ventures, a leading investment firm in blockchain, artificial intelligence, IoT, and robotics.
A Physics graduate from Imperial College London, Justin also holds a Masters in E-business and Innovation from Birkbeck College, University of London, and a Masters in Digital Currency from the University of Nicosia.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Firstly, I did a Physics degree at Imperial College London, and then I started working at Priority Pass, which at the time was a small-to-medium enterprise, specialising in digital and paper vouchers. Throughout that period in my life I managed a sizable group of global loyalty rewards platforms in addition to Priority Pass, including LoungeKey and Mastercard Airport Experiences. I ended up scaling Priority Pass twenty-fold from $50m to $1bn per annum revenue during my tenure. Parallel to this, I began studying for a masters in Digital Currency at the University of Nicosia, and I began thinking about what would happen if we digitized paper and plastic vouchers, and I have been bitten by the blockchain bug ever since. I realised that although you can tokenize vouchers, you still need human arbitrators, which adds cost and friction. I began using game theory as a method to reduce the necessity of human involvement in arbitration, which was the genesis of the idea for Boson Protocol, which automates decentralized commerce. We have come a long way since then, having raised $3.5m, and expanded the team across the globe.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
During the crypto winter, when we were researching the core mechanism of Boson Protocol, people asked ‘why would you build a token based decentralised protocol — even so-called crypto investors. It was absolutely barren. People suggested that we move to a SaaS business model. We kept the faith and kept doing our research through that period, then published our whitepaper last August to an incredible reception, both from the community and investors alike. Thinking back to those early days in the crypto winter, I don’t think anybody would have foreseen the level of interest we have received. For me, the moral of this story is that you can be too early, but if you conserve your cash, put your head down and build really valuable technology and IP, you can surf the wave when it comes in.
Can you tell us about the Cutting edge technological breakthroughs that you are working on? How do you think that will help people?
Boson Protocol is a web 3.0 primitive that acts as the foundational infrastructure to connect smart contracts with real-world commerce and its data to power the decentralized autonomous commerce revolution. We are providing the building blocks that can be used to create next-gen dCommerce apps and unbundle eCommerce platforms. Our cutting edge technology enables the frictionless exchange of digital and physical products and services while preventing value capture by centralized entities. Regarding how our technology will help people, we are creating new liquid markets for products that are currently being swamped by monopolistic megaretailers. The impact the decentralized commercial ecosystem we are building will fundamentally change the way people engage in commerce, making it far more equitable, fair and convenient.
How do you think this might change the world?
At the moment, we have a world where the infrastructure for commerce has been captured by massive ecommerce titans. The bigger they get, the greater the stranglehold they have on our world becomes. We are creating an infrastructure that anyone can use, ensuring competition remains strong, while more people have access to the goods and services they require. This technology gives people the autonomy and control that have been void from commercial activity since the dot com bubble. What we are doing is providing the commercial infrastructure that is not just profiting a select few, but distributing the profit amongst the participants in the ecosystem.
Was there a “tipping point” that led you to this breakthrough? Can you tell us that story?
In my previous role, although I enjoyed it very much, it got to the point where I realized that I was doing a fantastic job of controlling a market, extracting maximum value from buyers and sellers, and distributing that value directly to the money to the owners and shareholders of the company. This didn’t sit well with me. I figured that there must be a different way, which led me to study different models, utilize the knowledge I had acquired throughout my career to devise a more equitable model that gives everyone an equal chance. The tipping point for me was the emergence of this option; decentralized commerce.
What do you need to lead this technology to widespread adoption?
First and foremost, we need an ecosystem of protocols, commercial statistics and data, which we are building at the moment. To do this, we need funding, which we have been lucky enough to begin acquiring through an incredibly experienced group of investors that we are delighted to welcome to our team.
What have you been doing to publicize this idea? Have you been using any innovative marketing strategies?
We have been building our market recognition by engaging with traditional media through interviews, podcasts, question and answer sessions, and the response has been very positive. Our community is very supportive and encouraging, and its growth proves that the market for our technology is very much alive.
What is a piece of advice that you wish someone told you before you started?
Listen to the best advice you can find, but make your own decisions.
Some very well known VCs read this column. If you had 60 seconds to make a pitch to a VC, what would you say?
In today’s commerce, coordination of commercial transactions requires centralized market intermediaries to manage dispute mediation and transaction reversal Boson Protocol’s technology provides the solution for this problem. Boson Protocol is providing the de facto infrastructure that will enable enterprises, organisations, and customers to connect digital currencies and the transfer and trade of physical goods with minimized arbitration, cost, and trust. We have a team consisting of world-leading game theorists and token engineers and we are creating the future of commerce.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
You can connect with us on Twitter (@BosonProtocol), LinkedIn (Boson Protocol) and Telegram (https://t.me/bosonprotocol).
The Future Is Now: Justin Banon of Boson Protocol On How Their Technological Innovation Will Shake… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.