Know The Coin: Interview with Refereum Founder Dylan Jones
Hey there, and welcome to another episode of ChangeNOW's Know The Coin show! Today’s guest is Dylan Jones, a founder and CEO of Refereum, a gaming community platform based in San Francisco that brings together gamers and blockchain users alike!
It’s a pleasure to be here, thank you so much for your time and for listeners to hear about us.
Could you please tell our listeners a little bit about yourself and your background? How did you get to crypto world and was Refereum your first crypto experience?
I come from pretty long career in video gaming for spanning about 10 years. I have done basically everything: Facebook games, mobile games, worked on some platforms and analytic systems, done some marketing in game industry. Everyone from our team came from gaming companies or from tech companies here in San Francisco. What Refereum really focuses on is bringing marketing budgets back to the people. So, what’s happening right now in video game space is that most of marketing budgets are sent off to Google, Facebook and to advertising companies. The idea we’ve been working on for a while — probable the last couple of years now — allows us to take those centralized marketing budgets and redistribute them back to people. For instance, we’ve seen a rise of influencers on YouTube and Twitch recently. Maybe, someone’s talking and sharing about video games, but why can’t we get them rewards? Why can’t we get individual rewards for sharing and being a huge fan of the game? That’s what Refereum really focuses on: solving this problem. We are using blockchain to address a lot of the concerns that you encounter dealing with micro influencers like that. It’s really how to do that scale. Of course, blockchain is great at micropayments and in addition we’re trying to bring a lot more transparency to video game marketing space in general. It’s actually one of the big problems right now. So, our blockchain solution secures that, if you wanted to sell 10 things, you did sell 10 things.
Basically, if I’m a Twitch or YouTube video game streamer, I can use the platform to receive tips, right?
If you’re streaming a video game, it is very difficult for the creators of that game to find you and reward you. But they want you to stream that game, cause it’s bringing new players, right? And on Refereum platform they can announce: we will give you a dollar if you stream it, or more if you bring new players!
So now, if you are a microinfluencer, you can get paid directly by a videogame, not just your audience?
Refereum also aims to solve the problem of streamers who stream less known games, right?
Yes, and not only. We work with very well-known games as well as not so popular ones.
You used to be involved with gaming before, management and analytics. How did you first come into crypto world?
Actually, we had been in video gaming for a while and realized we all came up with the same idea: it is hard to pay a streamer when you want to. You may want to pay 5 bucks, but the gamer might get only $1 from that. Micropayments are a real problem when you want to pay somebody outside your country. And getting to crypto was quite natural: when Bitcoin and Ethereum rose, many people loved transparency, and we loved it, and continued on and on until you know us today.
On which games have you worked before? Have you worked for any titles we might already know?
As for me personally, I worked on some mobile games. For example, you might have played “War Commander: Rogue Assault”. I was a game system designer there: designed virtual economy, how coins work, RTS mechanics, strategy, stuff like that. And now in Refereum we have a pleasure to work with some pretty amazing developers, like the ones who work on Fortnight, Battlefield. I really love and support indie game community, who can’t be so popular because of unfortunate system of current game marketing, so we’ve also focused on working with them. For instance, Banner Saga, which is an awesome strategy game made by Stoic. We also have some major announcements for the next month, and they just keep rolling in, because we are using blockchain technology to solve real problems that real people have today.
If Refereum solves the problem of indie games development, it’s just mindblowing.
Before that I was running a game co-working space an San Francisco called Game Nest. We specifically focused on helping indie game developers. And I had it for about 3 years.
What do you think about blockchain gaming in general? Right now, when people think about blockchain gaming, they usually mean gambling or some stuff like CryptoKitties on Ethereum.
In 2018 we’ve seen a lot of low quality stuff that burned away. What I am hoping now is that trees, planted before, will grow and turn into this awesome forest of blockchain videogaming. We’re definitely in blockchain infancy, it’s 1992 if compared to the Internet. I hope in 2019 we will start focusing on UX and some great mechanics. It will be interesting to see how purely centralized games that we used to play interact with blockchain. I think it’s interesting, but that’s not there blockchain games are going. We started with simple stuff like CryptoKitties, where you did 2 or 3 inputs. We’re approaching the games that are fully on chain. I know a couple of them now and it is really the next evolution. Making only payments in crypto in classic video games is cool but not the same. The next move is how we can use blockchain as the entire database of a video game.
And what about the quests that Refereum offers? Are these referral points of less known videogames and streamers?
On Refereum.com we have these things that you are talking about. These are called quests. If you complete quests, you get points. The more points you get. The more rewards you get. Actions are playing games, watching streams, sharing anything and etc., and everyone can jump on.
What is the most popular game that Refereum adopters stream?
It depends on what the streamers are into these days and changes very fast.
What about your involvement with Telegram? I know that you have there a chat with people who do Refereum quests. How exactly does it work?
We are actually the first project to hit the maximum number of users in Telegram chats. We hit 50k. We asked Telegram to increase it, and it was 75k and then 100k. We’ve been a long-time user of Telegram and we have a ton of Telegram quests. We are glad to share tips on community growing with other platforms. We have a tool called RefereumGrow, which is basically a growth engine.
Let’s talk about mass adoption. Are there any plans for Refereum to partner with any major gaming studios? Do you have any future partnerships lined up?
Of course, we have, but unfortunately, I can never announce that stuff until we have signed up for a partnership. So the only way to stay tuned in to join us on social media. We’re also looking for any kind of feedback there.
A little question about the Refereum token: do you have any plans for switching from the Ethereum blockchain to your own main node? If yes, when is it going to happen?
Absolutely, and there’s more details to come out in the future. We have our own chain planned on the early stages of planning as well.
Can Refereum token be used anywhere else beside your platform? What can you do with Refereum tokens besides exchanging them to some other crypto?
In 2017 we added an opportunity to buy video games at Refereum.com. This is one of the top utility cases for Refereum token. And it can be also used in our projects, like the growth engine I mentioned above. We have some partnerships coming up, that will make spending Refereum token really easy.
Do you only have PC games, or you support any other platforms like Nintendo Switch or XBOX1?
For now, we’re definitely focused on the PC game space.
What do you think will happen with this crypto winter, and will it clear up anytime soon in your opinion?
As I’ve mentioned. I hope in 2019 we will start seeing some new trees that will form a forest. I will never make price predictions, all I can say is that we will see awesome projects that are starting to come out now. I’ve seen creators of some of them here in San Francisco and I believe it is what blockchain market is now.
Will we be able to see Refereum updates anytime soon?
We have a ton of updates on our blog on Medium, you can check them out!