What Is Revain?
Revain is a blockchain-based business review and feedback platform similar to Yelp or Angie’s List. Businesses incentivize users to leave public feedback that’s posted to Revain’s digital ledger on the Ethereum blockchain. And users are incentivized to review each other – alongside an artificial intelligence-powered neural network – to determine who earns RVN, the ERC-20 cryptocurrency token of the Revain network.
RVN is then exchanged for R, Revain’s crowdfunding token sold during the ICO.
Revain’s RVN token is not to be confused with Ravencoin (RVN), a completely different project from a different team.
Both users and companies can sign up for a free basic or paid premium account to participate in the Revain review ecosystem. Companies can reject false reviews, much like on Yelp, and the dispute process is arbitrated through a combined AI and human governance system.
Consumer trust in advertising is at an all-time low, with over half of the population in countries like the U.S., U.K., Australia, and Germany associating advertisements with fake news, according to Rakuten Marketing. They’re not far off, but that’s a discussion for another day.
Nielsen’s Global Trust in Advertising reports consistently rank word-of-mouth marketing from friends and families as the most trusted marketing platform. Online reviews come in a close second.
Russia-based Revain is hoping to merge the best of both worlds, starting with its core user base of cryptocurrency project and exchange fans. Peer reviews of crypto projects are hard to come by in a unified spot these days. Publications like Crypto Briefing do what we can, but you need to source the wisdom of the crowd before investing in an ICO, STO, or existing crypto project.
Once it proves this model, it plans to expand to other markets, eventually competing with the legacy platforms listed above, along with Google, Amazon, Rotten Tomatoes, and other user-review platforms.
There are cracks in the project’s armor to look out for too. The double token system, token allocation, and documentation sound more like a spammy email selling appendage enlargement pills than a legitimate business.
To understand the team’s chances, we’ll start by reviewing Revain’s RVN and R cryptocurrency tokens.
R and RVN Cryptocurrency Token Summary
Revain’s RVN tokens are earned by posting reviews that earn upvotes for useful content. You’re awarded 0.1 RVN for posting your first successful review. From that point on, RVN is awarded by the companies being reviewed, not Revain.
RVN tokens are stablecoins with the value anchored to the US dollar, but they can not be pulled out of the Revain ecosystem, so it gets a little complicated.
RVN tokens were initially described in the whitepaper as having a fixed exchange rate of 1 RVN to 0.0001 BTC. But in a blog post on October 29, 2018 titled “Your Ultimate Token Guide. How to Receive Awards on Revain Platform,” the company states the fixed exchange rate is actually 1 RVN to 1 USD.
The only way to withdraw RVN, however, is by first converting it to R tokens (at an exchange rate that seems to be set at will by Revain with no recourse), which is then traded on cryptocurrency exchanges.
Revain’s R tokens have a total supply of 484,450,000 R. The peak price of R token so far was $3.40 on February 13, 2018.
The Revain ICO token sale was held from August 21 through September 4, 2017, selling 263,500,000 out of 700,000,000 offered for sale. The Revain ICO raised approximately $12,513,346 worth of BTC, ETH, LTC, DASH, XMR, ZEC, and more, surpassing its soft cap of 2000 BTC.
Of the collected funds, the team provided the following token distribution:
- 55 percent for marketing
- 15 percent for R&D
- 20 percent to the development team
- 10 percent for infrastructure and indirect expenses.
Revain refers to its R token as a “crowdfunding” token, and that’s cute verbiage.
The SEC and other government regulators are, we believe, likely to see them as “securities,” in which case they would ultimately represent one share of stock. This means Revain may be the majority owner of R tokens for now, but it can easily be bought out since it doesn’t control 50 percent of the supply.
Approximately $2,000,000 worth of R is traded on a daily basis. Cryptocurrency exchanges that accept R include DragonEX, OKEx, BitForex, and HitBTC. R trading pairs include USDT, ETH, and BTC.
As an ERC-20 token, R can be stored in any ERC20-compatible wallet, including MyEtherWallet and the Ledger Nano S hardware wallet.
How Revain’s Ecosystem Works
On the surface, CEO Rinat Arsloanov’s Revain project looks to be Yelp on the blockchain. It’s a great idea that’s very hard to implement in the real world.
It has KYC in place, a limit of 5 reviews per day allowed, and a machine-learning algorithm that monitors and filters reviews before they’re published to the blockchain. This algorithm is based on the IBM Watson platform.
Revain says this blockchain is immutable, so once a review is posted, it’s there forever, just like Bitcoin’s record of those shrooms you swear you didn’t buy on Silk Road in 2011.
It has surface-level online forum rules in place but nothing to control paid ads. In fact, it encourages what everyone else is fighting – fake news.
Revain wasn’t the first to discover that online reviews can sway consumer purchase habits. Marketplaces like Amazon, along with review forums like Yelp and the BBB, have long moderated consumer reviews of businesses, brands, and their offerings. It’s a constant battle.
It’s not just everyday consumers either – I have my own personal experience with pulling free products from PR reps to review on my personal blog platforms. It’s part of the content marketing industry, which includes marketing content posted on social media, blogs, media, forums, etc.
Platforms like Amazon, Google, and Yelp do their best to police fake reviews, but it’s an uphill battle with a lot of money and resources behind it. A fake review can get your site delisted, one of many reasons Crypto Briefing takes a hard stance against paid reviews and placements.
Of course, not every crypto media outlet feels the same way, and many are willing to accept paid posts in a race for content and views.
The major flaw in Revain’s platform is that it plays into the hands of the businesses and brands using paid media.
Revain doesn’t issue its RVN tokens in exchange for reviews. The businesses being reviewed do this, and (despite Revain’s marketing materials touting its blockchain’s immutability) the businesses being reviewed have the option to delete or reject reviews before they’re posted.
Consumers are incentivized to write a favorable review, something that’s obvious from an initial look at Revain’s current reviews. No project with 100 or more reviews has a score below 4.0, and the bulk of the reviews are between 4.0 and 5.0 throughout the entire platform.
Paid reviews on Amazon are negotiated offsite on Facebook to avoid being caught violating Amazon’s terms of service. Russia is accused of using Facebook to influence 126 million Americans during the 2016 U.S. election.
Fake news is rampant in this world, and it ultimately boils down to one question – who do you trust?
Revain is a typical Russian marketplace where businesses pay for reviews and everything skews positive. American marketplaces actively avoid such tactics to preserve trust in media. Who do you agree with?
Revain is a marketing platform in the form of a Yelp-like online review platform. Businesses incentivize users to leave public feedback that’s posted to Revain’s digital ledger on the Ethereum blockchain. The success of the project depends on these three key factors.
- Revain users can earn RVN tokens for posting reviews on Revain. These tokens are exchangeable for R tokens, which can then be traded on the general crypto market.
- Revain reviews currently include two categories: crypto projects and exchanges. As the project expands, it’ll include more products, businesses, and services.
- Revain is a paid marketing platform where reviews can not be considered authentic. Whether the FTC and other government regulators determine disclosure requirements have been met is TBD.
With these pieces in place, Revain has a shot at being Yelp for the blockchain. Its business model conflates media and marketing. But they may be on sound legal ground, even in the US – the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that even if Yelp manipulated reviews to penalize businesses that did not advertise with the company, it would still not be guilty of actual, baseball-bat, talk-to-my-little-friend extortion.
Money talks. And a large user base would certainly be powerful. Until then, this is a platform that seems to offer little in the way of progress beyond the existing paradigm.