Better, Stronger, Steady Growth Sets TravelCoin® Foundation Apart from Traditional Start-Ups

There is a lot of truth in the oft heard statements, “There’s no need to try and reinvent the wheel.” But if you want to really make change, be innovative, or turn something on its head, go big or go home!

“Go big” is exactly what The TravelCoin® Foundation is doing.

“We could have said, ‘We are a not-for-profit and we want to change the travel industry,’ and just gone after donations,” said Guimbellot. “Donating could certainly be a philanthropic aspect for you, but it’s not going to change your life.  We did the ICO process because we didn’t just want to give you TravelCoin. We wanted you to be able to say you gave to a Foundation that, for example, helped bring free Wi-Fi to the globe. Absolutely 100 percent of the funds generated from Subscribers to date has been spent on projects that benefit people all over the world.

“To be able to say that you gave AND that you earned dividends from that donation, so it changed your life too is what it’s all about,” she continued. “We’re just the funnel in and out to create that change.”

Founded in 2017, the TravelCoin® Foundation (TCF) is a not-for-profit community interest company (CIC) registered in the United Kingdom. The objectives of the Company are to carry on activities which benefit the community and, in particular, to develop software and commission research on how Digital Currency and Blockchain technology can improve the travel experience for travelers while impacting the global economy as a whole.

The TravelCoin Foundation believes the tourism and travel industry, possessing a direct, indirect and induced global economic contribution of $8+ trillion, is ripe for new approaches to solve the challenges faced by travelers and companies alike. This includes floating exchange rate systems, world economies in perpetual flux, and multiple, incompatible loyalty point systems, among others.

It is from this need that the TravelCoin Foundation was born. It is their aim to be disruptively innovative and nimble while facing these needs and offering world-wide solutions.

In most start-up structures, the new company or foundation sets a goal for how much money they need to raise, waits until they have reached that financial goal, then starts to implement the projects they promised their initial investors.

The TravelCoin Foundation is taking a very different approach.

“We stand firm in what we call a ‘Proof of Life’ concept,” said Kate Guimbellot, Executive Director of the TravelCoin Foundation. “There are plenty of other profit and not-for-profit companies and foundations out there who have great ideas, but the number of them that fund projects through an ICO is very, very small. We’re proud of the fact that we’re not just among the latter but have achieved phenomenal success in only the first 10 months of our ICO period.”

By generating a longer time for their ICO period (an estimated 18-26 months) and simultaneously allocating 100 percent of the funds generated from Subscribers to work on projects, this enables the Foundation to build and nurture a strong, global community of ordinary people.

“Our core mission is to help people change their lives while they are part of changing the world,” Guimbellot said. “That’s just one of the many things that makes our ‘Why’ and ‘How’ so innovative and forward-thinking.”

IPO vs. ICO

To understand how the TravelCoin Foundation is breaking the ICO rules – and succeeding – it is important to understand the difference between an IPO and an ICO.

An IPO (Initial Public Offering) is a public distribution of shareholdings for an established private company through underwriting by investment banks. When you put your money into an IPO, you’re given a certificate stating you own a certain amount of stock in that company and you earn dividends from their profits. This is how Amazon and Facebook, for example, made their money before going public. 

An ICO (Initial Coin Offering) is related to a company operating on Blockchain, a financial industry technology where every step of a transaction is permanently stored across a network of computers, and where every user has an identical copy of that transaction safely encoded in real time.

In an ICO, capital is raised by an entity offering digital coins (sometimes called “tokens”) to its Subscribers to fund their projects. The Subscribers simply hold onto those coins until the ICO period expires.

Bitcoin and NEO (formerly Antshares) are classic examples of cryptocurrencies that, while in their ICO periods, raked in millions of dollars in only a few hours, days, weeks or months from high-level investors who swooped in and gobbled up all the available coin. Once their respective ICO periods came to an end and their coins were made public, it was only then that Subscribers could buy, sell and trade them at will.

According to an article published on Bloomberg.com, “An ICO lets startups bypass the venture-capital process by turning to something comparable to a Kickstarter campaign. Those putting up the money get access to technology companies that are usually the realm of only institutional or high-income investors. Plus, there may not be a need for an investor to wait years to cash in (as is true with most IPOs), so long as they can find a buyer for the coins they’ve bought.

“The rise of ICOs has prompted the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to issue cautions to investors and startups. China has gone further, banning ICOs entirely. Widely seen as a way to sidestep venture capital funds, investment banks and capital controls, they have also increasingly captured the attention of central banks that see digital currencies as a threat to their reign. Following China’s example, South Korea has also banned ICOs.”
Because an ICO is decentralized and not beholding to a government body or financial institution there is the potential for abuse, earning ICOs somewhat of a bad rap.

Nevertheless, there is a key difference in the TravelCoin Foundation success during its ICO period, expected to end in December 2019. Their ICO was specifically designed to minimize its weaknesses, and instead capitalize on its strengths.

“We saw an incredible opportunity to do things differently and completely shake up the entire ICO process, by making it accessible to almost everyone, regardless of economic status,” explained Guimbellot. “Governments and the public are concerned about people being taken for everything they own, and rightly so. That is why we went to great lengths to self-regulate with integrity, by establishing a cap for our Subscribers’ safety and security.”

Allowing a few dozen people to come in with, say, $1 million each and control all the coin, like in a typical ICO process, was counterintuitive to the Foundation’s mission to positively impact the worldwide economy. As a result, they established a $500 USD cap, and no Subscriber can exceed that initial subscription. (One note: Because the U.S. and China have imposed restrictions, until the Foundation ends its ICO period, only residents outside of these two countries can subscribe).

“For us, it was not about raising the maximum amount of money in the shortest amount of time,” said Guimbellot. “It’s about taking the time to build up the value of our TravelCoin® so that everyday people who have $500, or less, become a part of changing the travel industry through our Foundation.”

To accomplish this, the Foundation decided to offer TravelCoin in a series of 26, thirty-day tranches, or after the distribution of all 2 billion of their initial circulating supply. Beginning at a phenomenal, deeply discounted value of $0.01, the values have been slowly rising, and are expected to reach a base value of $1.00 when the ICO period ends and the coins go public.

“It’s very easy to see that even if our TravelCoin only rises to that $1.00 a piece level, someone’s initial $500 subscription, at $0.01 per coin, for 50,000 coins, is now worth $50,000!” Guimbellot illustrates. “For many people around the world, this is a truly life-changing experience and something they could never imagine.”

Integrity through Innovation and Creating Community

Another distinct difference between the TravelCoin Foundation and all other companies in an ICO, is that in lieu of sending their Subscribers a traditional “Congratulations, you have X-number of TravelCoin” confirmation message, they receive a TravelCoin® Wallet (TCF) detailing every step of their blockchain subscription and growth process.

“This is unheard of for this to happen during the ICO process, and has never been done before,” said Lisa Salinas, Chief Executive Officer of the TravelCoin Foundation. “In other organizations you receive a Wallet once they go public. But we are committed to complete transparency and establishing trust and credibility with our Subscribers.  So, we created our Wallet simultaneously when we established the Foundation.”

The wallet includes a real-time ticker of cryptocurrency market values, and an auto-buy feature where Subscribers can allow the Wallet to work for them, among other new features.

But more noteworthy, to say the least, is the creation of a revolutionary Secondary Market Trading Platform that is a complete departure from the typical ICO formula.

As previously stated, in a traditional ICO, once someone becomes a Subscriber they have “X” number of digital currency that they cannot sell, transfer or convert into their local currency until the ICO period expires. However, TravelCoin Subscribers have the option of buying and selling coins through the Foundation’s Secondary Trading Market, whether doing so simply to own more coin, or to liquidate some of what they have already purchased.

To illustrate, suppose ‘Subscriber X’ has 20,000 TravelCoin in their Wallet, and a medical issue arises in their family. They can offer to sell, let’s say, 10,000 of their coins on the Secondary Market Trading Platform to another Subscriber and get some of those much-needed funds. And it may be at a higher value than when they originally purchased their TravelCoin.

On the other side of this transaction is the buyer – let’s call him or her “Subscriber Y.” They can not only acquire more TravelCoin, but, if they have already reached the $500 maximum cap, they can now legally exceed that amount.

“These liquidity and cap level increase options are perfect examples of what makes our Secondary Trading Market Platform so valuable,” explained Salinas. “It’s a win-win for both parties, while also building in a mutually beneficial supply and demand into the TravelCoin before it goes public. This is totally unheard of in a normal ICO yet demonstrates two significant ways that the TravelCoin Foundation is committed to be an innovative leader at the forefront of the ever-changing not-for-profit landscape.”

Moreover, like the $500 subscription cap designed to prevent potential Subscribers of significant means from buying up large amounts of TravelCoin, the Secondary Market also has a cap.

Subscribers can trade or purchase only up to 10X their original investment over the life of the ICO period (that’s no more than 5,000 TravelCoin if they came in at, or have since reached, the $500 level). The Wallet keeps track of the subscription limit and will reflect what has been spent on the Secondary Market.

Salinas said there is sometimes a misunderstanding that the Foundation is a financial institution. But that is where the education piece comes in.

“My role here is in part to help educate the public on the process and benefits of TravelCoin for Subscribers as well as travelers in general,” she explained. “As it becomes more well-known more companies will accept it, which helps it grow in value. In turn, this will allow us to engage in increasingly more projects that benefit the global community in life-changing ways.”

Transformative Global Projects – During the ICO Period

The TravelCoin Foundation is well on its way to achieving its global project goals.

“Because we had the luxury of having been started by a significant private donation, it enabled us to utilize all funds that come in for our project development,” said Guimbellot. “Most ICOs hold back up to 40 percent to pay their founders, board members, early adopters, and so forth – not to fund the main project. Our main purpose has always been to put all revenue toward creating projects that will transform the travel industry and make travel easier and more affordable.”

In addition to creating the TravelCoin Wallet, as well as the bustling Secondary Market Trading Platform for its Subscribers, the Foundation has already delved into its next two projects – Democracy on Blockchain and Private Peer-to-Peer Communication.

Democracy on Blockchain is a voting system that uses smart contract for a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) for different projects. Through it, they empower Subscribers to become a voice in the Foundation, from electing Directors to the Board to sharing their vote on which projects are developed or funded next.

“What we are offering our Subscribers is a valuable tool to have a say in where we devote their money, or how the Foundation grows, and so forth,” explained Salinas. “We really want them to be a part of changing the world. Not just with their money, but literally becoming an active member of that decision-making process. This is a sign of a true democracy using Blockchain technology.”

The Private Peer-to-Peer Communication project is designed to address the increased need and demand for higher levels of security-locked communication channels. The blockchain provides the optimum solution to the biggest problem in communication, that of placing trust in a third party for data security with a single authoritative entity. Using the same authentication protocols currently used to transfer digital currency from secure wallet to secure wallet, the TravelCoin Foundation plans to launch a global Instant Messaging (IM) system which will have multiple applications within the travel industry.

Individual Subscribers are not the only ones attracted to the TravelCoin Foundation. Global Corporate Sponsors are subscribing as well.

Among them is MyTravelBiz (MTB), the first Direct Selling company with its marketing plan built on blockchain. The company, founded by Atif Kamran and Geraldine Aquino, fuses blockchain technology with travel and Direct Selling on an innovative patent-pending platform offering the best travel deals to customers, while creating a global community of entrepreneurs in the process.

Spurt Car Rental, a premium car rental service in Dubai, allows its customers to pay for up to 25 percent of their rental with TravelCoin.  “This is an example of a real-world application of TravelCoin,” said Salinas, “because it demonstrates our Proof of Life concept coming back to you in real world value.”

This again, ties into the Foundation’s mission and vision to create an easier and more equitable experience for travelers. And to help people dramatically change their lives while being part of changing the world.

“We could have said, ‘We are a not-for-profit and we want to change the travel industry,’ and just gone after donations,” said Guimbellot. “Donating could certainly be a philanthropic aspect for you, but it’s not going to change your life.  We did the ICO process because we didn’t just want to give you TravelCoin. We wanted you to be able to say you gave to a Foundation that, for example, helped bring free Wi-Fi to the globe. Absolutely 100 percent of the funds generated from Subscribers to date has been spent on projects that benefit people all over the world.

“To be able to say that you gave AND that you earned dividends from that donation, so it changed your life too is what it’s all about,” she continued. “We’re just the funnel in and out to create that change. To learn more about the TravelCoin Foundation, go to https://www.travelcoin.org.

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