Acqumine has many unique selling points (“USPs”), which include technological, commercial and counter-intuitive strategic features of its product. Many of its unique selling points translate from first mover advantage where network dominance translates to an insuperable barrier to entry for competitors. USPs include:
- The first commodities system developed that enables ethical miners to command a premium which rewards them for social, fiscal and environmental responsibility
- It is the first platform where the participants volunteer to assist with the collection of royalties without seeking compensation from national tax authorities. Acqumine will look to work with tax authorities in Africa, to make the system a condition of a new license being issued.
- New approach to forking in the case of proven fraud
- Sealed location-based date and time stamp algorithm
- Mined tonnage verification service and geological grade reconciliation to avoid salting
- Perhaps the most valuable of the services will be the revenue sharing of operational cost savings, where Bonus Buddy will go far in addressing low skill and motivation levels of mine staff.
Marketing and sales
Understanding the stakeholder engagement model will help to make sales:
Sales strategy is derived by understanding the needs of key stakeholders:
|Stakeholder||System benefits to be sold to each stakeholder|
|1. Host governments||Attempt to involve them from the outset to ensure that taxes and royalties are deducted at source in the same that that imports and exports are. Attempts will be made in time for the Acqumine Milestone 1 system to become a condition for awarding new licenses.|
|2. Local communities||Local communities will be educated as to how they can benefit from making mines local to their community to use Acqumine:
|3. Unions||30 years ago, in South Africa, mines employed 552,000 people, now they employ about 150,000, in a country where rural unemployment is greater than 50%. Ethical unions will support any intervention that
Acqumine will approach trade unions to support the adoption of its system to achieve.
|4. Work force||The work force will be motivated primarily by Bonus Buddy, where they will see their bonus improve with each increment on a successful job done. Simulators and virtual reality will help with worker training.|
|5. Senior management||Senior management should be interested in the system, as it dramatically improves mine profitability but experience on the mines suggests that they will not be. Technophobic and suspicious of change, they will resist mechanisation. Although the tend to be the decision-makers, senior management will be approached last.|
|6. Investors||Forward-looking investors will welcome Acqumine for many reasons:
|7. Factory customers||Factory customers buying commodities for sale to Western consumers – such as coal to UK and German households, gold and precious stones for the jewellery market and rare earths for electronic goods need auditable supply chains. As the exchange volume increases, it will increase security of supply for giving reliable ethical alternatives.|
|8. Ultimate consumers||Will be prepared to pay a premium if they know that the commodities that comprise inputs to their consumer goods are sourced ethically. They will pressurise brand owners to source from ethical suppliers. Social media is highly effective in naming and shaming perpetrators.|
|9. Financial services providers||
|10. Blockchain community||Support from this community will be sought for the following reasons:
Firstly, the Blockchain community is one of the most active and vocal on social media, a key source of publicity for the project.
Secondly, many early adopters resident in the UK will be sitting on material taxable gains as the value of digital currencies has increased significantly in the last two years. Acqumine will actively seek out and build relationships with coin issuers and engage digital currency holders with significant gains and if possible, assist them to exit these digital currencies into GBP so that they free up cash to reinvest their profits into Acqumine shares. These investors will be a key source of S/EIS investment for the 1st and 2nd rounds of funding. Acqumine will attempt to persuade these investors to crystallise gains from their volatile digital currency trading and to convert them to cash, reinvesting the proceeds into Acqumine, thereby locking in capital gains and deferring the capital gains tax liability.
Thirdly, the skills required for the levels of encryption needed for a successful Blockchain system are rare and will only be found on social media rather than via traditional recruitment methods. The fourth reason is that Acqumine will need to attract a large enough pool of miners if its contracts are processed by a distributed ledger system. A group of 60,000 Ethereum users and miners on Facebook and another 36,000 on LinkedIn have been identified.
|11. Commodity exchanges||The biggest prize of all stakeholders to be engaged will be for the Acqumine way to be adopted by major commodities exchanges around the world. If this can become a standard input to the exchange service, this software could be standard in all significant mining operations around the world.|
Indication of sales interest includes:
- Securing commitment from a first supplier – a coal-bed methane supplier of natural gas to Johannesburg households;
- A second supplier which has not yet proven any resource has also committed to support once it starts producing;
- An ethical investment fund has indicated it will use Acqumine 3.0 on its mining operations. It plans to start ten medium sized mines with a capital expenditure of £300 million;
- Discussions have been had with two tax authorities – those of Namibia and South Africa where both are interested.
The Acqumine development represents a high risk long term bet that Blockchain will provide the most effective solution to several vexing problems that the developing world extractive industries face.
Damian Gawlowski, a London-based business architect working for Lloyds Register saw an opportunity to come up with a blockchain-based solution to these problems. He accessed and purchased the rights to a software system and plans to rewrite and improve it, so that it can be sold more strategically to investors in mines in the developing world.
His solution will comprise three milestones:
- A tax and royalties collection system with escrow facilities
- A verified balanced scorecard and development of an ethical brand for commodities
- An innovative operational improvements industrial IT system to improve profitability, miner productive and safety
The company will make significant revenues from all these activities, forecasting a turnover of over £50 million by 2023 with a net profit of £7 million. Gross profit margins are expected to come in at 41% by 2023.