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Hello Arne, briefly introduce us to FriendUP?
The Friend Unifying Platform is the ultimate digital ecosystem platform, built to thrive in a decentralized form. Having been in development for over three years, it is already operating commercially for customers. Friend provides developers with a powerful open source framework that will allow freedom from technology silos. Friend makes Ethereum, and Blockchain based projects in general, more accessible and developer friendly. Friend servers are interconnected through the Ethereum Blockchain and create the decentralized Friend Network. Here, each server node share resources and create virtual Friend Cloud Computers (like AWS for Blockchain). On top of that, the Friend Store aggregates available services, resources and applications in a web store where users and developers can trade using FRND tokens, fiat or invoice. Friend Cloud Computers are primarily accessed online and can be used as end-user machines, comparable to Chrome OS. The only system requirement is a modern web browser.
Friend will become the easy-to-use unified on-ramp to decentralised applications, functionality and storage. Friend Store will be a marketplace for templates, applications, data and knowledge traded by applying a multifunctional token on the Friend Network – Friend Network Tokens (FRND). Users will be rewarded tokens by sharing resources and run Friend Core servers. Service companies and organizations can integrate with the Friend Network and participate in the market. Friend Network will be the global decentralised protocol for our cloud computers. Our Initial Contribution Offering will enable us to realise our vision.
What inspired the need to create an open source virtual cloud computer?
It is common knowledge that brands and corporations come and go. And this impermanence has become like a scare for both developers as well as users. It is a fear that compels us to pick up standardized tools – often from monopolists, to make sure that we do not lose out or get the rug pulled out from under our feet.
We built a strategy to make sure that FriendUP would stay on, keep growing and become better over time. First of all, it would have to be open source. Secondly, it would have to be widely distributed. Thirdly, it would have to be able to run, autonomously, without having to be maintained in particular by users. Lastly, it could not rely on commercial third party infrastructure.
We solved these challenges by engineering Friend for decentralization. On the blockchain. Connected to all of these other decentralized technologies. Now we get a permanent, near autonomous virtual cloud computer where users and developers can innovate in perpetuity.
Linux is a great platform for developers. And when bolted down, it can be beautiful and easy to use. But it has a lot of architectural problems – and at the end of the day, it isn’t for everyone.
We are entering a new time in our history where public distrust in central authorities and gatekeepers have brought on decentralization in almost everything. We think this is a good development, and one which can work within our existing structures – give us more space and freedom of choice. But we didn’t, yet, have a computer system which was build for decentralization. This is why we were inspired to create Friend.
What is the current market size for your industry and how much of this market share do you envisage to control in 3 years?
According to Gardner, public cloud services had a $250 billion market globally in 2017. It is ever growing, and is diversified into many sub markets for both Enterprise and medium to small business. Friend has the potential to be a significant part of this market. It is a unique technology – allowing on-boarding of new customers in potentially seconds. This rapid uptake can easily allow us a share of 5-10% over a few years. And this, only as a basic infrastructure and service provider. When adding integration projects and project based business in general, we are talking about a huge potential. See below for a more graphic description.
What unique advantages does the Ethereum blockchain offer that other blockchains cannot offer your project?
It is open-source, it has a crowd-funding platform that is ERC20 compliant- so a lot of tokens will be able to interact effortlessly. The ecosystem is thriving and a lot of projects and talent have the same values and views of how technology can evolve in a sustainable manner – this makes it easier to collaborate and partner.
How soon will your tokens be tradable on exchanges and any hints of which exchanges will be trading?
We have had unofficial dialogue with several exchanges such as Bittrex, Poloniex and a few others. As a general trend, the large an exchange a given token is trading on, the higher the traffic and popularity of that token is likely to be.
We don’t see any challenge really in getting listed. It’s more about getting the ICO done first;
Norway is a very digitally friendly nation. The Norwegian values of trust, transparency and austerity (with the lowest inequality score of the West) is well aligned with Friend’s values and the purpose of blockchain. Private companies in Norway must today disclose more information publicly than what is required by public companies in many countries comparable to Norway.
We believe that all holders of FRND tokens will benefit largely from this move.
We are now officially working with all relevant authorities and have contracted the best suppliers (EY and the biggest bank in Norway, DNB as well as MME lawfirm in Switzerland) helping us ensure compliance. We are working hard to pave the way and hope our ICO can create an example for other companies to follow.
In view of this, we have decided not to announce any intent regarding listing of the FRND token on an exchange. We know that once the ICO is done, a lot of exchanges will (some have already) reach out with offers for listing, some even for free. We will start addressing this as soon as the ICO is completed. We know that the popularity of the FRND is linked to the success of the project and that involves liquidity and listing on exchanges.
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