How Blockchain can help Tell! Africa: a selected African publishing company.
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Blockchain is simply a database that has a digital record of information or transactions. Blockchain technology has resulted in Transparency, and decentralization. It has solved many problems in the fintech industry. However, Blockchain can be applied to other industries asides from Fintech. The goal of this essay is to show how Blockchain technology can be used to solve problems in another industry. An African company , Tell! Africa, located in Nigeria is used as a case study.
About Tell Africa
Tell! Africa is Africa’s first fully integrated company for online learning, Book publishing, and talent hiring. They have an online community of over 11,000 creative young Africans. As a member of the community, you get to read, write and connect with Africa’s foremost creatives. If you are an employer, you can hire employees or freelancers via the platform.
The company has several arms;
- Tell! Books
2. Tell! Academy
3. Tell! Internship
4. Tell! Fellowship
5. Tell! Tippings
From research, Tell Africa is first a publishing company, then a platform that connects businesses to customers or clients.
What Tell! Africa does
As established earlier, Tell! Africa is a publishing company. Authors, and content creators publish their content in form of blog posts, books(audio books included) on Tell! Africa platform for free. Creators can also build an email list, grow and monetize it. Asides from that, expert creators can help other budding creatives grow through teaching them. The creator descides if he or she would tutor for free or for an amount of money. Payments are accepted and made to the creators of the content in Fiat currencies. You can publish for free on the platform but when you decide to sale your ebooks, courses. Tell takes 10% commission on each sale. Asides book publishing and content creation, Tell Africa helps to hire outstanding and result driven creatives for companies thus helping companies to be more productive as a result of huring best talents.
So How can Blockchain help Tell! Africa company to achieve its business goals of helping African creatives?
In freelancing, freelancers often complain of customers going back on their promises or refusing to pay for a service or job after it has been delivered excellently. Aside from that, contracts between the employed and employer can be tampered with by one of the parties. The employee can decide not to meet the delivereables as stated in thecontract. The employer can decide to withdraw the terms of contracts. Further, only one party has superior access to the contract. The employer can decide to rewrite or make some changes to a contract to suit his or her terms to the detriment of the employee. In cases like this, 9 out of 10 employers who do this win cases like this in the law court.
Asides from freelancing, publishing content creators, have to deal with intellectual theft. After publishing content in form of books or even audio or video content with clearly spelled out copyright rules, someone will still go ahead to plagiarize it and even claim ownership of it. In an interview with Simon Pierre Marion, Joana Penn shared an experience of how it was annoying for an author to wake up one morning only to read a mail from Amazon requesting from him to show proof of ownership as someone was trying to claim ownership of his book.
Imagine if the couldn’t do show proof of ownership within the specified time frame as a result of Technical issues or circumstances beyond his controlled, his content would be stolen.
This shows that Fraud/ intellectual theft is a challenge in the publishing industry.
How does Tell! Does Africa come in?
Tell! is solving the problem of helping African creatives to grow themselves, publish and monetize their content. Their content here means that the company believes in creators owning their content. Howbeit, in the process of achieveing their vision, they encounter the problems i identified above.
It’s not new anyways. It’s something common to traditional publishing/hiring houses. I have heard a freelancer lament how a client vehemently refused to pay for her services after it was done and delivered via a freelance hiring platform. Also, Influencers and thought leaders talk about how they have to deal with internet thieves. So I guess it’s a common problem with a solution from Blockchain.
How can Blockchain Technology Help Tell! Africa?
If Blockchain Technology is integrated into the Tell! Africa system, this issue of inhumane employers& employees, fraudsters, and intellectual thieves would be solved. First, the contract will be written in Smart contracts so the employer can’t just wake up one morning to change his or her mind or change the terms of the agreement without confirming or dialoguing with the employee.
This will help the company to build trust, establish credibility with its customers and prospective customers and attract prospective customers. Trust will attract a lot of African creatives and employers alike as they know they can trust one another while conducting business through Tell! Africa.
Further, creators are paid with Fiat currencies. Those who access the platform to learn or buy books or digital products pay wth fiat currencies. Fiat currencies takes so much time to process but with cryptocurrencies, transactions are very fast. In fact , transactions can be confirmed in less than 5 minutes. For faster transactions, Tell! Africa can accept both Fiat currencies and Cryptocurrencies.
Here is how they can do that
● First, they should research their audience to find out / predict what their reactions would be. I am guessing it will be positive because their audience is people aged between 15-and 45 at least.
● Sign up and get a Crypto wallet(a multi-purpose wallet is encouraged)
● Research and get sufficient information on cryptocurrencies to accept, transaction fees, taxes, and the like.
● Sign up on a Crypto payment processor like Bitpay and Coinbase Commerce. Bitpay is good because it automatically converts Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin into cash(desired currencies) with little time. This will shield the company from the volatility of Cryptocurrencies.
● Communicate/ announce to users and members of Tell! a community about the latest development.
● After doing this, including the option to pay in Crypto in Tell! Tippings, Tell! books etc.
However, as of the time of writing this article, the Nigerian government placed a ban on Cryptocurrencies. It won’t be advisable to integrate crypto payments now because of consequences. But, the company can leverage other aspects of Blockchain Technology to provide lasting solutions to the problems of African creatives.
In conclusion, Blockchain Technology has the potential of disrupting the publishing industry but if applied. If applied, It has the capacity of increasing the revenue of a brand, establishing solid brand presence and gain loyal customers.