SOMA Decentralized Marketplace Scores Funding from Finnish Govt.
Business Finland, a government-owned corporation focused on funding research and boosting competitiveness in Finland, has entered into a funding agreement with the Helsinki-based SOMA, a new decentralized “social trading” platform. If all goes well, the project may soon be eligible for millions more euros in funding.
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Funding Comes as Finnish Govt. ‘Sees Potential’
Gone are the days where governments can ignore decentralized innovation. And some nations are taking that dynamic more seriously than others. As for Finland, the national government there has officially dipped their toes into blockchain with the announcement today, August 29th, that Ethereum-based SOMA will receive an inaugural funding round of €50,000 EUR from Business Finland with potential eligibility for future fundings up to €20 million.
The platform, akin to a tokenization-driven meld between eBay and a social media platform, will be a decentralized marketplace aimed at trustlessly facilitating commerce in general — everything from peer-to-peer Craigslist-like item sales to enterprise-grade business dealings.
An arm of the Finnish Ministry of Employment and the Economy, Business Finland has greenlit a two-month funding trial wherein the SOMA team will receive the first guaranteed €50,000 allotment. The team will use the money to help accelerate and expand their marketplace. After that, the play will be eligible for up to €1 million in a second round and up to €20 million in a third if Business Finland is impressed with their ensuing progress.
Bitsonline reached out to SOMA co-founder and CEO Jukka Hilmola and asked what he thought the backing meant for his team and the space in general. Hilmola said:
“Business Finland has examined SOMA’s business model and has seen potential. This is an amazing milestone, as it is to the best of my knowledge the first time a world government has given resources to a private-sector blockchain company. SOMA is proud to be the company to achieve this milestone on behalf of all legitimate blockchain projects. SOMA’s success will reflect positively on Finland and raise attention to the country as a leader in rising technologies.”
Inside the Nuts and Bolts
SOMA aims to see social capital take on robust dimensions in their marketplace, with P2P marketing and social interaction giving new means for entrepreneurial monetization.
Community members can perform trusted escrow services. Promoters can get paid in SOMA Community Tokens, or SCT. Popular content that is highly shared can bring in more tokens. The idea is to incentivize all commercial interaction.
As for logistics, the platform uses an artificial intelligence system to “coordinate the fastest and most cost-effective way of transport.” When it comes to guaranteeing physical items in peer transactions, SOMA relies on its so-called Interactive Item Card solution. As the project explains of the IIC on their site:
“Every transaction that happens inside the SOMA™ platform will transfer ownership not only of the physical item but also of its Interactive Item Card (IIC). The IIC is a digital representation of the physical item. It includes ownership history, the condition of the physical item, the genuineness of the item, price history, and other critical data. Most importantly, an item’s IIC will accrue social value inside the SOMA community via user interaction, and these social interactions may be reflected in the value of the physical item.”
Tying physical items to digital content can be gamed, which is where the play’s Heimdall Protocol comes in. The team’s 101 on the protocol is as follows:
“SOMA’s Heimdall Protocol ties an item securely to its digital representation on the blockchain. This digital representation provides (a) waypoints and timestamps for key benchmarks or milestones, (b) certificate of ownership and record of chain-of-ownership, (c) authentication of provenance, and (d) a comprehensive repository of all documentation and multimedia associated with the item.”
It all makes for an ambitious project, to be sure. But it’s one that Business Finland found intriguing enough to put “soft power” skin in the game. Let’s see if that backing can make a difference going forward.
What’s your take? Do you think other governments may start similar endeavors? Let us know in the comments below.
Images via Pixabay, SOMA