Cypriot Blockchain Startup Raises US$1.4M Seed to Fix Online Reviews

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Blockchain Platform Raises US$1.4M Seed to Improve Review Industry
Image: Gil C / Shutterstock.com

Review.Network, a new blockchain project that has set out to improve online reviews and market researches, has raised US$1.4 million in seed funding from undisclosed private investors. The capital injection will be used to grow the team and develop the platform, the startup said on Tuesday.

Review.Network MVP user mobile app
Review.Network MVP user mobile app

Developed by Cypriot company RN Software Trustees Ltd., Review.Network was born out of the desire to solve the current broken online reviews model, CEO and co-founder Filip Karaicic, told CoinJournal.

“There are two major problems with the review industry – efficacy and transparency,” Karaicic said in a statement.

“Reports and data have proven people are more inclined to leave reviews when there is a negative experience, which means there is not an accurate representation of all experiences; and that many reviews are often fake. However, thanks to distributed ledger and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, we have figured out a way to incentivize reviews – positive and negative – and ensure their accuracy.”

According to Pew Research, around four in five Americans turn to reviews when buying something for the first time. But evidence shows that reviews are not necessarily all that reliable.

For instance, businesses or their agents may post fictitious favorable reviews for their own products and/or post fictitious negative reviews for the products of their competitors. And the case of The Shed of Dulwich, a fake restaurant in London that went number one on TripAdvisor last year, showed how easy it was to manipulate review sites.

According to Karaicic, there are many ways that blockchain technology can improve review platforms notably by creating transparency and auditability for reviews, making reviews community-driven, and rewarding users with crypto-tokens for contributions.

Review.Network uses blockchain technology, artificial intelligence (AI) and a token-based reward system to do just that.

Review.Network MVP user mobile app
Review.Network MVP user mobile app

On Review.Network, REW tokens, the native tokens to the network, are used to both incentivize truthful, comprehensive reviews, and penalize fake, misleading reviews.

Writers are required to submit a stake in REW tokens when posting reviews to ensure they are legitimate. Reviewers stand the chance of losing their tokens if the review is rejected by the community for not being useful. Reviews are approved or rejected by trusted community members called validators who vote in blind fashion. Validators also submit a stake, and if a validator is out-voted, he/she loses their stake.

Once a vote is complete, it can still be challenged for a fixed period of time. If challenged, the challenger also submits a stake, and the review goes through another round of validation with a different set of validators. If proven that the validators’ decision was wrong, those who voted wrongly lose reputation standing and the challenger gets a reward. Otherwise, the challenger loses his/her stake.

All lost staked tokens are transferred into the Review Rewards Pool, a pool of tokens from which the rewards are distributed to users.

Besides the review platform, Review.Network will also provide its technology to businesses looking to conduct market researches. The network will allow companies to directly interact with people providing reviews for straightforward and accurate market research. Users will be rewarded for sharing their opinions and answering survey, while companies will be able to access targeted demographics based on their needs, tapping directly into Review.Network’s social community.

The beta release of Review.Network is scheduled to go live by then end of the year, Karaicic said. More than 101, 000 people have already signed up for access.