Hello, world! We are 4K. We are building the world’s most incentive-aligned peer-to-peer marketplace, one that is owned by its users. Our mission is to empower people to transact with more trust, more transparency, more speed, and with a 95+% reduction in fees. Unlike incumbent marketplaces that win at the expense of their users, we win alongside our users. In this post, we’ll share our solutions to problems that have been plaguing peer-to-peer markets and announce the launch of our first product. Let’s dive in!
There are several critical problems in existing peer-to-peer marketplaces. These problems include high rates of fraud, long delivery times, and high fees. An even more fundamental problem is that the equity and debt holders of peer-to-peer marketplaces are accruing the vast majority of the value while the users, the people without whom these marketplaces would be worthless, receive no upside. This has been the status quo for so long that many have taken these market dynamics as a given. We have solution to more equitably distribute value and create a more resilient business. Before diving into that solution, let’s begin by brushing up on the offerings of existing marketplaces, starting with eBay, to get a better sense for the current state that we are improving upon.
When shopping on eBay, buyers have no way of knowing whether the condition of the item in the pictures is an accurate representation of the item’s current condition. Even if the item is in the same condition, the buyers have no way of knowing whether the item is a worthless knockoff or an authentic item.
We are not the first to point out these issues. Several teams have recognized these issues and sought to solve them by serving as a curation and authentication layer. They whitelist certain goods for sale and whenever a buyer and seller reach a price at which they want to transact, the seller sends the items to the curated marketplace to verify that it is authentic. If verified, the marketplace then sends the item to the buyer.
While these curated marketplaces offer improvements over eBay, we believe they take two steps forward and one step back. They solve for curation and authenticity, but the price one pays, in addition to higher fees, is that the authentication layer adds significant time to the settlement process. Also, because buyers are charged immediately, buyers have charges on their credit card for potentially weeks before finding out whether the transaction will be cancelled due to inauthenticity.
We see curated peer-to-peer marketplaces as a feature set improvement and not a magnitude of improvement.
So, if current marketplaces are leaving much to be desired, what is the solution? 4K is the solution, of course ;)
At 4K, we offer a marketplace with less fraud, significantly lower fees, and faster settlement times than any Web2.0 incumbents. We do so by pre-authenticating and storing the items offered on our marketplace before sellers find buyers so that buyers can shop with confidence knowing that what’s listed online is available, authentic, and could be at their door the very next day. Here’s how it works:
To overcome the even more fundamental issue of equity and debt holders accruing value at the expense of their users, we will be issuing a token in the future that will align our incentives with those of our community and enable our community to win alongside us. We will share more about our token as we get closer to the token’s launch.
Our mission to build the world’s ultimate peer-to-peer marketplace is ambitious and we’re doing so with new technology that may take some getting used to. That’s why we’re excited to announce the launch of our first product, 4K Provably-Fair Drops! We’re starting with drops for three reasons:
A “drop” is when a company offers a high-demand item to its customers, usually one that will sell out instantly. Sometimes these drops are in-person, leading people to wait in line for hours, and sometimes days, in order to be one of the few to have the opportunity to buy the item. More often, these drops occur online so people will rapidly refresh their browsers at the specified time to have the opportunity to buy the item.
Product drops today are plagued by two critical issues:
We have designed our provably-fair drops product with these issues in mind.
A provably-fair drop is one in which participants need not fear rigging nor bots.
We solve the rigging problem by using provable randomness to select a winner. The source of this provable randomness is the Ethereum block hash of the first block added to the Ethereum blockchain after the end of the drop enrollment period. The wallet address that is closest to this block hash wins the drop, which makes it impossible for us to rig the drop.
To protect our drop participants from bots, we require drop participants to sign a transaction from a wallet that has enough funds to purchase the drop at the time of drawing. While this doesn’t guarantee the elimination of all bots, it makes it significantly more expensive to use bots and will dramatically reduce their impact.
To sign up for our drops or to simply learn more about them, check us out at 4K.com!
Our investors provide us with more than just capital; they also offer us invaluable guidance that makes our endeavor possible. That is why we are so grateful to be supported by the exceptional funds that participated in our first round of funding: Electric Capital, ConsenSys Mesh, IDEO CoLab, Collab + Currency, and Crosscut Ventures.
We gave you plenty to chew on so we’ll leave things here, but stay tuned for the launch of our marketplace in August! To get the latest updates from us, be sure to sign up for our mailing list at 4K.com.
We’re Hiring! https://angel.co/company/4kcom/jobs