On the 1st of October, 2021 at 16:00 UTC, Decentralized Club had the honor of hosting Mitch Rankin and Karnika E. Yashwant, Co-Founders from Forward Protocol for an Ask-Me-Anything session on their Telegram page with a community of over 60,000 people. It was hosted by DC Admin, May.
The session was divided into three segments. Introductions were made in Segment 1, questions from the Twitter community were answered in Segment 2, and live questions from the community members in attendance were answered in Segment 3.
If you missed this event and would like to know what Forward Protocol is all about, you can find a recap of the interview here. Note that slight edits have been made for clarity, and links in this recap lead to images, documents, or other media.
Segment 1 – Introduction
Hello, 大家好, नमस्ते, Selamat!
My name is May and I’ll be hosting the AMA with Forward Protocol.
Hello guests! 🙂
Today, we have with us two guests from the Forward Protocol Team.
Glad to be here.
Good to be with you!
You’re welcome to the Decentralized Club and it’s an honor to have you both here. 🎉
How’s your day going over there?
Really good, thanks
Right before we move forward, could you quickly tell us more about yourselves and your job descriptions at Forward Protocol?
Hi everyone, I’m Mitch Rankin and I live on the east coast of South Africa. I am a co-founder of Forward Protocol
My background is in international businesses and working with investors. Here is an intro video on me: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YSitMgTFy4s
Dear community, please view Mr. Rankin’s intro.
I’m Karnika E. Yashwant (KEY) (https://in.linkedin.com/in/mrkey) from India. I am a Co-Founder at Forward Protocol.
I’ve been running a Marketing Agency for the last 15 years and have worked with Fortune 100 brands like CISCO, AJC, etc. Since 2013, I have been involved in Blockchain Marketing working with Ledger, Verizon Media, and more, having raised $550M+ for 100s of blockchain projects. Many of you might be familiar with KEY Difference Media which I am a founder of, one of the top 3 blockchain marketing agencies – the largest and oldest in the space with a 350+ member team.
Every member of our team has 3-4 years of blockchain marketing experience and 5-10 years of traditional world experience before it.
I have helped/worked with most of the top 10 crypto media. As you can see from my LinkedIn profile (https://www.linkedin.com/in/mrkey/), I am a contributor to most of the media outlets and well connected with influencers, launchpads, exchanges, blockchains (Polygon, Reef, and more), and all parties in this space.
I have a good mix of technical and marketing backgrounds.
That’s about me.
There are some big names in your bios and we’re glad to have you both with us!
We are excited for the opportunity to chat with your community
As are we!
Let’s take some questions about Forward Protocol now 😁
Q1. Can you tell us about Forward Protocol and the inspiration that got it started?
Forward Protocol is all about Decentralized Education (DeEd). Forward Protocol’s modular architecture and ready-to-deploy fully customizable smart contracts are designed for any learning platform to adopt blockchain technology.
Consider it a “WordPress for the EdTech”.
A plug-and-play, no-code UI-driven modular application for Edtech entities to go live in a matter of hours rather than years.
Our company’s story is twofold.
After 20+ years in international businesses and working with investors, I moved to an online business model to give myself more flexibility to allow me to spend time with my family.
My wife and I decided to take 10 years off to homeschool their kids and travel. The kids were 10 and 7 years old at the time. During this period, I learned an incredible amount about online education and the problems there.
When we got the right elements in place, our children excelled. My daughter finished her high schooling at the age of 16, two years ahead of her peers.
This experience was an eye-opener for me, and during my reading of “Bold” by Peter Diamandis, I was challenged to find a Grand Challenge of humanity to solve.
I wrote down “What could I do to impact 1 Billion people?”
I started thinking about the massive difference we could make in our world if we could positively impact 1 billion people by helping them have a better learning experience.
Reading about education, and the challenges a huge part of humanity has just trying to finish their basic education was an eye-opener for me.
Focussing on the Unesco Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) which aims to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” to be achieved by 2030, and I realized that to achieve this goal a radical rethink of how the world learns must be considered.
To impact a billion people is a huge goal, and definitely not something I can do alone. I knew I had to find the right people that believed this was an important goal to work on.
In my research, I met Karnika E. Yashwant, a blockchain expert with a passion for education reform and we started working on a solution together
This was the birth of Forward Protocol.
I’ll let Key take it from here
My story is set in India.
I dropped out of the 10th grade after passing with 97.5% and turned down a scholarship for future studies to start my own business when I was 14 years old instead.
My passion since childhood was to reform how we learn, study and grow as a community. I don’t believe in traditional education. Instead, I advocate for learning and knowledge sharing and believe better outcomes can be achieved with a different system to the current standardized curriculum where children are overloaded.
I believe in making an impact and in leaving a legacy. I have really strong convictions that #Forward Protocol is the way to do it. As in everything else I have done, I am bringing everything I’ve got – my team, my contacts, and my resources – to lead a working DeEd revolution.
I don’t know whose story to reply to first because they’re equally amazing! Whoaaaa!
You’re both Inspirations!
I am going to enjoy this AMA because we share the same passions!
Great choice here with taking time off conventional living to do this! It’s amazing and I salute your courage and drive!
I’m an SDG advocate as well and the one you mentioned above is a very important goal to incorporate into your project!
It was the best decision we made! So many great memories…
I can imagine!
Mr. Key, I’m sold!
You know they say the smartest ones never had conventional education? 😁
Forward Protocol undoubtedly has a formidable foundation!
The project is in great hands!
Thank you ❤️
Let’s proceed 🙂
Q2. What innovative solutions is Forward Protocol bringing to topple its competitors with similar offerings in the DeEd and EdTech sector?
We don’t believe currently there are any competitors for the project. Forward Protocol provides the blockchain solution that connects the EdTech sector.
We don’t compete with the content creators or other platforms but collaborate with them giving them a platform to launch their blockchain applications.
The protocol is designed to be modular so any organization or application in the education space can use whichever module they need to make their platform functional. The rules are defined by the organization deploying it, but Forward Protocol sets the stage for Decentralized Education (DeEd).
If you look at use cases, we can integrate with course marketplaces, freelancing marketplaces, mobile and web applications, tutor marketplaces, Q&A and forums, universities, information training programs – any organization or platform in the EdTech space.
Every brand we see here is a potential collaborator. They all can use Forward Protocol to launch their blockchain version of the platform.
Why would a project want to spend millions on development and R&D when they can adopt an open-source protocol and build on top of it?
We’ve lowered the barrier to entry into this space and want to encourage any other organizations and developers to use the protocol and create more tools for the DeEd space.
Q3. Could you talk about the utilities of $FORWARD and $FUSD?
$FORWARD is a functional utility token used for rewards, governance, payment of fees on the platform, and for users to gain priority listing/access. The more $FORWARD tokens they hold, and the more active/contributing to the community they are, the more they can help shape up the platform.
(It’s even listed in CoinMarketCap btw 🙂 https://coinmarketcap.com/currencies/forward-protocol/)
We also have $FUSD as the stablecoin (as learners and experts do not want to sign up for a $10/month course and end up paying $30 because the token price went up).. $FUSD is pegged against other USD-based stablecoins like USDT, BUSD, and USDC in a smart contract. There will be other localized stablecoins in the future as well.
So while people can buy courses via $FUSD, the rewards will be in $FORWARD. All smart contracts that are deployed by anyone using Forward Factory will always automatically buy a $FORWARD token from the market to give as rewards, increasing the demand for the $FORWARD token all the time.
The more tokens someone holds and the more they contribute to the community, the more they will be featured and prioritized in the ecosystem. Do note that just holding more tokens does not feature them fully. Their quality contribution to the community also matters.
Utilities look great! 🙂
Love the added incentives for education!
Q4. Could you briefly tell us about your Earn As You Learn model?
The protocol’s “earn as you learn” model works by rewarding participation and excellence, motivating learners to learn new skills or knowledge, whilst earning tokens.
It’s an incentive program for learners based on completion of the course and qualitative outcomes.
It will also incentivize teachers to help students to obtain qualitative outcomes for their studies, encouraging them to focus on excellence and delivering a measurable transfer of knowledge.
Each one of the smart contracts we have looks at the different problems in the Edtech space, and for each problem, we developed a solution and designed a smart contract to deliver that solution with an “earn as you learn” model.
These smart contracts will deliver solutions for quality participation and contribution (not spam), the transfer of value (like courses) and completion of it, micro-transactions of rewarding people passively over some time, a way to protect and monetize educational ownership, and a mechanism to enable fundraising for quality course creation and early participation.
Q5. What are the advantages of Forward Protocol on the Ethereum Network?
We decided to use Ethereum as the layer 1 because it is the most decentralized blockchain after Bitcoin and has a large engaged community.
Ethereum enables the deployment of smart contracts and decentralized applications (dapps) to be built and run without any downtime, fraud, control, or interference from a third party.
As our layer 2, we are using Polygon, for faster transaction speed and lower fees.
The protocol is designed to be deployed in any EVM-compatible blockchain. So any EdTech application irrespective of blockchain choice of theirs can use Forward Protocol.
Q6. What major news should we still look forward to from Forward Protocol by the end of the year?
We are having our token launch and IDO at the end of Oct or early Nov. Watch our Twitter (https://twitter.com/ForwardProtocol) and Telegram (https://t.me/forwardprotocolofficial) for updates on it.
We are building 3 of the 5 core smart contracts this year.
1) Proof of Value
2) Proof of Value Delivered
3) Initial Knowledge Offering
We are also deploying FUSD stablecoin, governance, staking and yield farming, and more.
And then we have our first deployment on a major platform EnglishForward.com, and this will make available an open-source Q&A platform for anyone else to use as well.
There will be more partnerships built during this period as well. Stay tuned.
Looking forward to these!
Dear community, please keep tabs on this project! 🎉
It’s now time to take questions from our Twitter community.
Segment 2 – Twitter Questions
Q1. I read that forward protocol will bring IKO for course creators and help them develop their content. How will this help Forward Protocol? Can anyone with ideas start IKO on your platform? Do you have any upcoming IKOs?
Twitter Username: @Albertjaison2
Yes, anyone that has an idea for a course can start an IKO.
The IKO system resolves the problems associated with market uncertainty and financial risk by enabling content creators to introduce themselves and the course outline and to sell their courses before producing them while protecting the funds transferred to them by prospective students using smart contracts escrow.
IKO will enable high-end and expert content creators to invest quality time in producing great courses, increasing quality, and attracting amazing talents. This will help the entire learning ecosystem and Forward Protocol in its adoption worldwide.
IKO smart contracts will go live later in the year. So no current upcoming IKO’s.
Q2. A thriving community not only attracts innovative ideas but also major project partners. So, how does ForwardProtocol plan to expand its user base? Is there a plan in place for the ForwardProtocol team to hire Blockchain?
Twitter Username: @Shanthi87800845
That’s a great question.
Our first deployment partner is EnglishForward.com, the largest learn English community online which has served 310+ million users, and is used in 240 countries with more than a million social following
The global EdTech market is massive and may reach 404 billion USD by 2025. It’s estimated that EdTech spending will nearly double in the next 5 years.
Our vision is to develop a Decentralized Education platform with a similar model to “WordPress,” a plug-and-play model which any EdTech app, expert or entity can install and use.
Forward Protocol uses a B2B model to acquire users. The objective is to onboard various applications, partners, websites, and so on to adopt Forward Protocol. Forward Protocol is not going to attract users one by one.
This B2B model enables us to partner with various organizations to continue expanding our ecosystem. Here are our current partners:
There are many more lined up. And yes, we already have blockchain developers hired as we are very active in our development as you see on our Github.
Q3. Has your project been completely decentralized, and will there be any risk of centralization in the future?
Twitter Username: @Lutformal
The platform is fully decentralized with all transactions being on-chain. It will be up to the users of the protocol to replicate the data off-chain or not.
As we use Ethereum Layer 1 + Polygon Layer 2, we do not have the risk of centralization in the future.
A platform deploying Forward Protocol can semi-centralize it to make it easier for beginners just like how bitcoin is used in centralized exchanges and dexs. In English Forward when deploying, we will provide both basic and advanced interfaces to make it easier for experts and beginners, so anyone who does not use blockchain can still use it. Fiat On/Off Ramp will be provided with the applications developed to ensure easier adoption.
So essentially it’s up to the platform deploying the protocol to decide how they want to use it. But that only changes the application layer and does not affect the 100% decentralized nature of Forward Protocol.
Q4. You talk about changing the way the world learns, what are the deficiencies you have found in the current system? Why is it important to implement reforms? How would we benefit from this new method of learning that Forward wants to implement?
Twitter Username: @KevinSalom1
That’s a big one…
A good education is hugely expensive. Students end up carrying study debt for years after they graduate. Right in the city we live in we had riots, with students burning the university down, campaigning that fees must fall.
Every news channel speaks about the failing education system.
We read about trillions in student debt, low course completion rates, high dropout rates, teaching fatigue, and apathy, a learning system that does not create job market readiness.
We hear about overcrowded classrooms, children sharing dogeared textbooks. It’s a broken system and one that is failing its students.
Imagine being able to access the best global experts in the subject you want to learn at a fraction of the current costs to learn from them? And teachers can also earn more and not be in poverty at the same time!
Forward does not create a new method of learning but an opportunity to connect all the stakeholders in the Edtech space effectively with open source blockchain tools that incentivize the qualitative transfer of knowledge. With on-chain data, it increases transparency, trust, and cross-border education, while reducing high costs, inefficiencies, and massive middleman fees. In short, it makes it drastically lower in cost for learners, increased revenue for teachers, increased quality, and transparent, verifiable growth/results.
I am sure most can resonate with this 🙂
I can imagine! Mind-blowing!
It’s a massive challenge!
Last question before we take Live Questions.
Quick Reminder for the community to join:
Q5. I believe that A project is only good if its token value goes up because of real demand and not just a pump and dump. So how does your project create that demand needed, and how can you keep it going in the long term?
Twitter Username: @ama_tort
$FORWARD token is used as the reward token in the protocol. Every platform integrating will be giving rewards as $FORWARD tokens. This means the smart contract will automatically keep buying from the market to fund these rewards. Funds flow in as stablecoin, but rewards go out as $FORWARD. As we already have partnered with millions of users, that’s millions of transactions happening as well. So there is a very strong demand, more than most platforms out there because this is not confined only to crypto users, but massive real-world users too. As we expand our partners, the demand will continue to rise.
$FORWARD functions as a loyalty membership point as well, so users will be classified into different loyalty tiers based on the amount of $FORWARD held and quality of contribution in the ecosystem. The premium membership tiers would allow users to get greater access to protocol features and more preferential terms, for example, certain exclusive products/services or lower levels of protocol fees charged.
There is staking, yield farming aspect too. Another way of incentivizing token holders to hold long-term for reduced fees. The longer they hold, the less the fee charged to them.
With a massive user base, all these will drive demand drastically.
Now coming to revenue, there are 2 primary revenue streams:
1) There will be a percentage of fees for all smart contract services. For example, if someone uses an escrow service with the Proof of Value – Delivered model, Forward Protocol will charge a small fee for all transactions. Each of the 5 smart contracts will have a “fee” which will act as a scalable-revenue model with more integration partners added, each with its own growing user base.
2) Every transaction on the Forward Chain (when deployed in 2022) will have a fee, and $FORWARD will be used to pay the transactional fees.
A minute for the community to read 😁
Yes! Thank you 🙂
It’s now time for the most popular part of the AMA!
Could you do us the honor of picking an emoji?
As a measure to deter bots and reward hunters, could you please pick an emoji that will be included in the questions so you can tell original questions apart?
Perfect! 💪 💪💪
Please pick five original questions to answer.
Try to ignore generic, vague, and copy-paste questions 😊
Kindly prioritize those questions with this emoji 💪 💪💪
—Chat was then opened for the live community to send in their questions—
Segment 3 – Live Questions
Hello Mr. Karnika,💪💪💪
I heard you say “The more tokens someone holds and the more they contribute to the community, the more they will be featured and prioritized in the ecosystem. Do note that just holding more tokens does not feature them fully. Their quality contribution to the community also matters”.
Can you please tell us which comes first In order of importance??
Holding $FORWARD & $FUSD or a user’s contribution??
That’s a good question.
$FUSD is just a stablecoin, it does not have any relevance in these metrics.
$FORWARD holding and the user’s contribution both have value. It’s algorithmically determined.
We do not want a user with a lot of tokens (rich teacher) with poor quality getting the benefit, while an honest and poor teacher is unable to get visibility.
So we will balance both. But how it is balanced changes from every platform that deploys the Forward Protocol, and the criteria could change.
Forward Protocol facilitates the model and the types of algorithms.
The end goal is to use a mix of platform loyalty, history, quality contribution, recency of activity, and all factors to dynamically display content prioritization that is fair to everyone.
I hope that answers your question.
💪 💪💪 What is the relevance of Forward Protocol for Education?
What are the solutions provided by Forward Protocol to the problems in the EdTech space?
Our vision is to develop a Decentralized Education platform that any EdTech app, expert or entity can install and use.
This will allow other entities to join us in growing the smart contract library and creating more solutions for challenges in education that can be solved faster by a contributing community.
3️⃣ more to go 🎉
💪 💪💪 What is the go-to go market strategy that Forward Protocol uses to acquire new users and what is the list of 5 Core Smart Contracts of your project?
Forward Protocol uses a B2B model to acquire users. The objective is to onboard various applications, partners, websites, and so on to adopt Forward Protocol. Forward Protocol is not going to attract users one by one.
This B2B model enables us to partner with various organizations to continue expanding our ecosystem
The list of the 5 core smart contracts are
– Proof of value
– Proof of Value Delivered
– Distributed reward/revenue sharing
– Proof of ownership
– Initial knowledge offering
Good job by the Co-Founders 👏
I’d like to know if Forward Protocol is compatible with all MOOCs or if there are a select few that have been tested and approved for smart contract deployment? Could you also please share maybe a video or links to a self-help post where we can learn to use your protocol?
💪 💪💪💪 💪💪💪 💪💪
Thanks for that question.
Yes, Forward Protocol can be integrated with any platform, including MOOCs.
Proof of Value Delivered smart contract works in those instances.
It can be used by anyone. English Forward will deploy a version of the contract later this year for their course marketplace as well.
You can see a lot of video materials on various parts of the Forward Protocol and how it works here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsXXdemjff0tnYMMRfom4rg
All smart contracts developed will be audited and audit reports will be published as well. Since parent contracts are audited, all Forward Factory deployed child contracts are safe and secure as well.
1️⃣ more to go 🎉
💪 Forward Protocol will allow parents to explore and evaluate the things they want their children to learn. Let’s talk about the education that Forward offers, what are the areas of learning that this platform offers?
Forward Protocol will also offer a sponsorship or scholarship model, in which nonprofits and other sponsors can buy the tokens from the market and deposit them into a sponsorship bucket. Any parents, teachers, friends, etc. that want to sponsor a student will need to buy the tokens from the market or using the fiat ramp.
Parents can top-up the reward wallet with allowances that will be shared with a student upon preset milestone completion instead of giving the children their allowance directly.
Without proper marketing and capital infusion, the project dies, how do you convince us you have adequate marketing power and capital to push this project to the top? 💪💪💪
Well, as someone who has been leading the marketing world for 15 years, and in blockchain marketing for 8 years now, marketing is what I do best 🙂
KEY Difference Media is one of the top blockchain marketing agencies with 350+ People in it.
One of our investors and PR agency is MarketAcross.
We have top influencers, VCs, partners, and more to help us with marketing.
The best part of marketing is not just marketing by getting the word out, but having an amazing product that everyone loves to use and spreads by word of mouth.
What we are building is a revolution, not a project.
It’s something every one of us has to market together. We need to set the stage for DeEd to bloom, together. It’s a community project, driven by the community to change how the world learns.
What do you say? Let’s do it together? 🙂
Aaaaaannnddd it’s a wrap! 🎉
Thanks, May! That was great
Thank you, May!
Thank you for your time with us today!
Any final remarks for our community?
Yes. This is a revolution. It’s not a project.
We all want the world’s education to change. We all complained about it once.
Now we have a chance to change it.
So why don’t we all together create the DeEd space?
Alone, I can only do a bit. Together, we can be the next wave in the world to show what a strong inspired community can do together.
Big challenges like changing how the world learns can’t be done alone – they take a community to join and make the change.
Let’s move #Forward. Together. As a community. Let’s change the way the world learns. Thank you!!!
Thank you, everyone!!
A standing ovation for your closing!
We’re grateful for the opportunity to host your very forward-thinking team!
Until next time, do have a pleasant day!
Thank you, you too!
The AMA with Forward Protocol is now over.