What is Risidio and how does it impact the crypto space?
This article is an interview between myself (Tyrn) and Peter Ponton, the co-founder of Risidio. It is part of the “Behind the Scenes challenge where Freehold community members get the chance to interview the Stacks community from behind the scenes.
In my previous Behind the Scenes interview series, I managed to interview Patrick Stanley, the founder of Freehold. I was once again lucky this time as I got the chance to interview one of Risidio founders, Peter Ponton on what Risidio is and how it can impact the crypto space. Risidio is an innovative company with the core purpose of making sure that artists are empowered with Web 3.0 technology using the power that comes from NFTs and Bitcoin. The interview was conducted via Discord and has been edited to ensure that there is fluidity.
Tyrn: How did you get to be involved with cryptocurrency?
Peter Ponton: Mike, my co-founder, and I, first met in The Robin Hood pub in Brighton, on a Friday night in June 2019. Mike had been thinking about developing decentralized marketplaces, I’d been conducting extensive research into Blockchain technology as a potential foundation (for protecting people’s identities) for a mental health project I was working on at the time to help combat addiction — both in terms of the Opioid crisis as well as alcohol addiction.
The conversation took off and we began working together remotely, researching potential business plans, with me acting as a business advisor to Mike. After several months, as it became clear that we could build more together than we would ever be able to individually, we decided it was time to formalize our collaboration and Risidio was born.
Tyrn: What project were you involved with first in the crypto space?
Peter Ponton: Interestingly, two of our core team members imported the first Bitcoin ATM machine into the UK in 2014. They saw this as a way to make Bitcoin more easily accessible and a way to immerse themselves into the crypto space. For me, as I mentioned above, it was all about wellness and privacy, to begin with. We pursued this line of thinking in parallel with Mike’s interest and extensive experience in the auction space.
After conducting a considerable amount of market research into both of these areas (i.e. auctions and wellness), we decided to focus on the one we both felt we could build the quickest and take to market based on our combined experience and domain knowledge. For this reason, we decided to take this idea to the Stacks Foundation and apply for our first grant, to develop what is now called Risidio Xchange, a full-on-chain marketplace using Clarity Smart Contracts.
Tyrn: What is Risidio?
Peter Ponton: Risidio is an early-stage, innovative company developing an artist-centric model for Blockchain. We are currently focused on empowering creatives from across the whole spectrum of Creative Industries (artists, musicians, filmmakers) by providing them with products, services, and collaboration/support with projects that allow them to create, publish and legally own their digital works all while providing them with new opportunities to be remunerated for their worth.
Tyrn: What does Risidio aim to achieve?
Peter Ponton: At Risidio, we aim to secure our place as a market leader within the Creative Industries and extend out into Charities and the Environment where there are natural and overlapping relationships. Our strategy from Day One was to bootstrap our way to building a team, a brand, and a suite of products/applications that we could launch and begin to monetize by the end of our first year in business. Our objective was to use this as “proof of concept” both for our business and organizational models as well as for our product and business development capability.
The launch of This is Number One on May 13 already puts us ahead of schedule. The next 90 days (June through August) are all about attracting interest from and engaging with collaborators, users, clients, and potential investors.
Our goal in our second year is to consolidate these early gains through:
- Collaborations and Strategic Partnerships, such as This is Number One, People’s Republic of Movies (“PROM”), and an upcoming collaboration/platform for musicians, utilizing Risidio Xchange modular functionality and targeted towards specific audiences such as artists, musicians, and filmmakers.
- Launch of our first suite of products including r-Pay (universal payment card for crypto and non-crypto), RUMA (a universal minting app), and Risidio Xchange (marketplace), across the next 90–120 days.
- Projects and Services (for example, supporting other artists utilizing our products, technology, and know-how).
We’re currently on track with all three initiatives, together with an integrated marketing and business development strategy. Beyond all that, the sky’s the limit!
Tyrn: When did you join Risidio?
Peter Ponton: As outlined earlier, I co-founded Risidio last year so I guess you could say that Risidio joined me. Mike and I were already on the journey, so it was great to have Risidio join us when it did.
Tyrn: Any challenges Risidio faced prior to launch?
Peter Ponton: Yes, many challenges and even more opportunities from the first day. One or two highlights, for example, right at the beginning (of lockdown) just like everyone else I imagine, is how are we going to do this remotely or rather how are we going to build a team virtually? Fortunately, I’ve been doing that with teams all over the world for 25+ years so it came naturally to me, but we weren’t sure how others would embrace it, but they did! Other challenges have been working with technology that’s still so much in its infancy, for example trying to launch a marketplace on Stacks before the technology was even ready! One of the current challenges we’re working on is providing a solution for both crypto and crypto-averse users, where we need to cater for all options from the minimum barrier in which the user can simply donate or purchase through a centralized login to decentralized logins where the user is an early adopter with access to a stacks wallet and the ability to own their digital property. Think about it.
Tyrn: Moving on, how did you first find out about NFTs and what were your thoughts then?
Peter Ponton: It took me some time to understand what an NFT was and fully grasp the concept. Mainly because I’m not the technical person in this relationship and so a lot of it sounded like gobbledegook to me, to begin with. But Mike was patient with me and walked me through what he’d been working on with Loopbomb. Since I already knew Morris, the artist who came up with the idea, it all seemed pretty cool to me.
Tyrn: Where did you buy your first NFT collection (if you did), under which blockchain was the NFT?
Peter Ponton: Another admission, I never bought any NFT collection let alone my first, although I’ve been very tempted to buy at least one of these This is Number One projects that we’ve been working on with Chemical X. There’s still a bit of time left in which I might just do that! If I was going to buy any collection it would have to be on Bitcoin with Stacks of course!
Tyrn: Risidio is all about NFTs on Bitcoin right? What part do you see NFTs on Bitcoin playing in this NFT space already dominated by Ethereum based NFTs.
Peter Ponton: “Here at Risidio, we believe that, in time, Bitcoin will come to dominate the NFT space for reasons of efficiency, cost, and environmental impact. Risidio is pioneering Bitcoin smart contracts on the Stacks blockchain”. Our first contract deployment was designed to create limited edition NFTs for This Is Number One, a curated celebrity NFT art gallery. Our next project, RUMA (Universal Minting App), aims to promote the broader use cases for NFTs with more advanced smart contracts by making them easy to program and accessible to everyone. The entire NFT space across all cryptocurrencies is still in its nascent phase and what better place to continue the evolution of smart contract applications than on Bitcoin with its added security and reduced costs.
Tyrn: 2021 has surely seen NFTs going crazy, do you see them going far beyond 2021 especially now that the first NFTs on Bitcoin project Risidio was launched?
Peter Ponton: NFTs are a generic and foundational technology that can be applied in many fields from the Creative Industries — our chosen starting place — to more general domains like supply chain, asset, and inventory management. The recent NFT craze has been centered around the use of NFTs as certificates of ownership in the art world. The broader use cases for NFTs are only just beginning to be considered and applied. They extend well beyond the current sphere and can be applied in some way to most transactional business models. In our view, 2022 will see the widespread adoption and application of NFTs in sectors such as live events, real estate, and retail and this is still the tip of the iceberg.
NFTs will soon be applied to our communications and will change the way we browse the Internet. NFTs have not yet reached a fraction of their potential and will be an inevitable part of our technological future in perpetuity, less like large companies like Google or Amazon. More like the Internet.
Exciting, isn’t it?
Tyrn: Long term, how do you see Risidio impacting crypto space?
Peter Ponton: At Risidio we’re building some of the first smart contracts on the Stacks network which is open source. This means the network is geared towards accelerated innovation where all new code can be forked over and over again through copying and pasting. This allows the contracts to be perpetually improved upon by successive new developers with each new iteration. In this way, Risidio smart contracts, being so early in the space, have the potential to evolve through the growing community and will most likely be a parent to a great deal of future smart contracts built using Clarity in the decades to come.
Tyrn: What advice would you give to newbies interested in starting their projects just like Risidio?
Peter Ponton: It’s funny you should ask because I had this conversation earlier today with two young artists who asked me pretty much the same question. After an hour or so of discussing things one of them concluded with “Right ideas, right collaborations, right timing… and with the right people.” I think that sums it all up well. I’m not sure I could say it any better myself. If I was going to add anything to it, I think I would just add “with the right purpose”, because this is the “why” behind the “what” and I sincerely believe that if your project is well-aligned with your purpose and/or the purpose of your partner/customer/user and yours and their passion then it goes a long way. That’s why all Risidio projects are aligned with charities, corporate social responsibility (CSR), agendas sustainability, and environmental initiatives. It’s not just good marketing or “greenwashing”, it’s good business sense.
Tyrn: In any way do you think Risidio can help in the growth of both Bitcoin and Stacks 2.0?
Peter Ponton: Yes, we are looking at this right now, ways in which we can reach a much wider mainstream audience and introduce them to both Bitcoin and Stacks 2.0. Building on our experience with This is Number One, we are planning to mint and distribute thousands of NFTs and engage with both the existing crypto market as well as the crypto averse to help them “cross the chasm” — watch this space in the coming days, it should get very interesting.
Tyrn: With this, I say thank you for your time.
Peter Ponton: You’re welcome, hopefully all works fine at your end.