Malaysia-based ServisHero will be developing a blockchain system based on Ethereum Fog for its platform | Source: Pexels

Can blockchain help build a reliable services platform?

BLOCKCHAIN is the talk of town and every other company is looking to cash in through raising funds via Initial Coin Offering (ICO).

Servishero, a mobile-only marketplace for local services in Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore is implementing a blockchain-based system to automate service matching, payment, and dispute resolution.

The company said in a statement that the decentralization of its system will allow for “more efficient operations and greater credibility of worker reputation scores.”

The ecosystem will be powered by the company’s own ServisHero Coin, built on the Ethereum Blockchain. Preparing for ICO, the platform’s current utilization of a merchant credit system is said to translate well to tokenization.

Speaking with Digital News Asia (DNA), Karl Loo, CEO and Founder of ServisHero said that the company is planning for an ICO sometime in the middle of 2018. He sees potential in ICOs to help raise a significant amount of money in Southeast Asia.

DNA reported: “He attributes this to the fact that ICOs are able to tap into a global investor base, hence the potential to raise a large amount of capital as compared to an ECF (Equity Crowd Fund).”

“We see the implementation of ICO to less about fundraising and more about bridging the technology in blockchain,” Loo said in the interview with DNA.

With the use of blockchain, ServisHero hopes the decentralized work and transaction history means better user experience for both their consumers and service providers. The nature of blockchain means the reputation of workers will be fair and verified.

“Trade is predicated on trust, and by enhancing trust through decentralization we believe we can open up access to jobs for many of the world’s workers based in developing countries and beyond,” said Loo.

ServisHero isn’t the first in adopting ICOs for raising money. Across Asia, there are more and more startups opting to raise funds via ICO. Earlier this month Singapore-based startup Electrify raised US$30 million through ICO within 10 days. Other startups have also built their businesses with ICOs. In Southeast Asia, there is Nitro Token ICO in gaming, HERO ICO in banking, and SelfPay ICO in payments – just to name a few.

“With more than 3.8 million internet users coming online for the first time, every month, in Southeast Asia, we will see more Southeast Asians using the internet to find paid work – providing digital services to the rest of the world will be a huge income opportunity for freelancers based here and blockchain technology will accelerate growth of this opportunity” says Loo.

Competing with companies like Urban Clap in India and Kaodim in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and the Philippines, ServisHero hopes to dominate the Southeast Asian market soon.

Along with home service offerings, ServisHero is looking to include other digital tasks on its platform, such as graphic design tasks. “This will allow ServisHero to tap into the global gig-economy opportunity currently worth more than US$250 billion,” ServisHero said in the statement.

Two weeks ago, TechCrunch reported that Malaysian low-cost carrier Air Asia is also “considering an ICO as part of a push into financial services.”

“We have two things that are very interesting which will have relevance to ICOs, one is our loyalty card where we have BIG Points, and I think those BigPoints can be easily transferred to the blockchain. We have a product that can be a currency in Big Loyalty, and we’re building a payment platform so the two can marry quite nicely,” Fernandes said in the interview with TechCrunch.

ServisHero is working with Silicon Valley-based Origin Protocol to develop its blockchain infrastructure. Origin Protocol works on protocol-layer blockchain technologies to make trading on online marketplaces fairer and more efficient.

The company will be releasing more details, along with its whitepaper about the token sales in the coming weeks. The investment is currently only open to private investors. Interested parties can register interest on the website.