Coin Rivet: Could you talk us through the launch of Olyseum and the migration to blockchain technology?
CG: Olyseum started in 2016 after many conversations with sports stars who felt disenchanted and dissatisfied with the current model on social networks and with their inability to get closer to their fans.
These stars have millions of followers, yet their engagement levels are low. Furthermore, they feel the need to give back to their fan base but don’t know how. We spent some time playing around with many ideas, some of them quite crazy, all of them with the goal of finding ways to bring fans closer to their sports heroes in meaningful ways.
Another guiding principle in our discussions was to find ways to reward loyal fans for their support, and the idea of using blockchain then came about. The rest, as they say, is history. We are still working on some technical challenges, but we do believe that blockchain technology is a very good way to achieve our goals.
The other thing we discovered, after doing several tests from the product side with prototypes that resembled a social network, and after spending time with fans and sports stars, is that keeping the model as simple as possible paid off.
The result is the current approach, which is building a simple, yet easy to navigate and enjoyable social-commerce marketplace, where fans can have unique experiences using tokens obtained as rewards for their engagement and activity. This is what we are working on now.
Coin Rivet: Olyseum is the result of collaboration between former FC Barcelona players, a hacker and a trained neuroscientist. How did this unlikeliest of pairings come about?
CG: In the most natural way. Kevin and I were researching fairer interaction models, and after the conversations with Ivan, Carles and later Andrés, as the first sports celebrities, the use case came up naturally.
Coin Rivet: How is Olyseum tapping blockchain tech to forge closer relationships between sport stars and their fans?
CG: Olyseum is working on building the best experience for fans to relate to their sports heroes. A loyalty rewards component seemed like an obvious addition to the mix, given the unique and sometimes passionate relationship that fans build with their sports heroes.
We wanted to recognise that support, and leveraging the blockchain technology with our own token made a lot of sense, as it is well known that this is one of the most advanced use cases.
Bells and whistles
Coin Rivet: Blockchain has more than its fair share of critics, who label it all hype, no substance. How do you respond to that?
CG: Blockchain is a system that offers the possibility of communicating (and exchanging value) in an environment between strangers, and without a third-party or intermediary. Hype or not, the substance is there and it’s clear. The question is what use do we give to this technology? I think loyalty and rewards are obvious use cases, and we are including a few additional bells and whistles to the experience that we hope will surprise our future users once the platform is ready.
Coin Rivet: Your blockchain announcement was timed to coincide with the 2018 World Cup. How did that go and what are the next developments we should look out for?
CG: The 2018 World Cup was a great stage for us to take advantage of. We spent time in Russia and had a lot of fun talking to some of our users and promoting the current app. However, the new version of the app, the one that will include the blockchain-based features and the token, is still in the works. We are focusing on, and taking the time to, make sure we have a great product for our fans and sports stars.
Coin Rivet: Where would you like Olyseum to be in a year from now?
CG: We would love to see more and more sports stars participating on our platform, and fans from all over the world enjoying some of the experiences we are planning to launch for them. Fandom is a universal language and all cultures around the world can relate to it.
Our hope is that every fan can get to know their sports heroes a little better and maybe even share some personal experiences with them. Achieving that would mean we succeeded.