A new app is coming to the UAE that employs a freemium, mobile-game-inspired operating model, where users are rewarded for recycling plastic bottles with in-app achievements, crypto tokens as well as rewards from certain brands, such as discounts, creating a reward feedback loop to encourage users to join the circular economy revolution.
Here’s how ZeLoop works:
– Users gather used plastic bottles that would otherwise go to landfills
– They drop them at third-party collection centers for recycling
– They then upload a picture of deposited bottles to the app, which gets verified and levels up their “character”
– users win tokens to get exciting rewards
Hoping to learn more about this interesting new concept, AMEinfo spoke with Eric Schaffner, CEO & Founder of ZeLoop and SmartBlock Beverages who is a veteran of the packaging and beverages industry. The ZeLoop app is hosted by UAE firm SmartBlock Beverages FZ LLC.
1. Can you run us through the core of ZeLoop’s business model?
The ZeLoop business model is composed of :
– a mobile application: focusing on rewarding consumers with a first focus on plastic bottles
– a platform that hosts our mobile application but is designed to host other eco-friendly mobile applications creating a suite of solutions reducing the human impact on our planet.
2. In which countries will you operate?
ZeLoop will be available on iOS and Android app stores worldwide, however we will focus our pilot launch in the UAE for effort concentration purposes with regards to partner and user acquisition.
3. Can you walk us through how your Ethereum-based utility tokens work? Also, was the blockchain side of your business developed in-house or by a third-party?
The Ethereum based Eco-Reward Engine which serves as the backbone of our circular economy reward platform has been designed and developed by our shareholder (SmartBlock Technologies) prior to bringing it into ZeLoop. They’ve already put it into use in operations, and [the platform] been in development for 3 years.
We have minted 80 billion tokens for the ZeLoop ecosystem which are ERC20 tokens. Our tokens: Eco Rewards (ERW) are distributed in ZeLoop App. They will be exchangeable against goods and services in the first phase. Then once Eco rewards are listed, they will be tradeable on an exchange.
4. The game-like framework that rewards small, consecutive eco-friendly actions is quite an interesting model to adopt in the sustainability field. How did you come up with this idea?
I have worked for 25 years in the packaging industry and was well aware of the challenge the beverage industry is facing with plastic pollution. Plastic is not an issue as a material but in the way we dispose of it, most often in the wrong way for the planet.
Schaffner explains how given his previous experience as a business angel investor, he engaged in the development of the concept of a reward engine, where some gamification concepts were applied.
Making the link between our capability to reward in a fun way and eco-friendly actions needed to make an impact on littering was quite evident for us.
5. What kind of rewards can users expect, and which businesses have you partnered with to supply these rewards?
First, users will accumulate Eco Reward tokens. They can make the choice in saving them until they [are] listed so they can trade them on the exchange.
Otherwise, they will be able to redeem them against goods and services or donate to partner NGOs (still to be selected).
Goods and services will be made available on a market place that we are working on and also vouchers from partners that are sponsoring Eco Missions.
As the user base grows, we will ramp up gradually, enriching the choice of rewards. We have Thaely (who produces sustainable sneakers made out of plastic bottle and bags) as a first partner. Some other discussions [with potential partners] are ongoing.
6. How do you confirm the authenticity of a photo sent in by a user at one of your collection stations?
Firstly, users cannot take a picture if not at a validated collection point (so no possibility to doctor photos) then we have in place several algorithms and processes to check the declaration of users when they deposit the bottle.
Note that we will not manage collection stations ourselves – there are already large companies doing that.
ZeLoop is positioned on the missing part of the circular economy: from the moment the consumer has used the product he has purchased and the moment the waste eventually reaches a point of collection if not discarded in nature. We drive consumers towards collection stations and reward them so there is no more [waste deposited in] nature.
Users can declare a new collection station (not on the ZeLoop network) that once validated by us becomes visible to the whole ZeLoop community. Users will also earn tokens for every new station that they declare and that gets validated.
7. How will ZeLoop generate revenue, given that it is a freemium app?
– B2B within ZeLoop App: partners will sponsor in-game challenges knowns as “Eco Missions” with extra rewards. Example: “The Coca Cola Eco Mission will reward the best collector of Dubai in June”) by way of membership/per Eco Mission & rewards.
– B2C within the ZeLoop App. The application is free for users. However once the user base is large enough: an on-demand advertising, premium version is envisaged in our roadmap.
– B2B on the platform: Offer ZeLoop as a white-label [product] for eco-friendly mobile applications that want to use the reward engine.
8. What are your expectations for the first 3 years of running ZeLoop?
Our ambition in 3 years:
The COVID-19 [situation] is likely to [prolong] that.