Eveline Klumpers is the founder of Katalysis, a blockchain startup on a mission to democratize the value of online content. For freelance content creators, they build easy to use software solutions; a WordPress plugin to easily incorporate their technology into existing WordPress sites. Creators can maintain ownership and make money online with their content. Find out why they’re a product-market fit, what is their long-term goal and how they use blockchain to good effect.
An Interview with Eveline Klumpers
1. Hi Eveline, thank you for agreeing to do the interview. You are the founder of Katalysis, a company that helps people monetize and spread their quality articles online. Tell us more about Katalysis, the idea that got it all started and the amazing team behind it.
Katalysis was founded by Alex Tran Qui, who is taking care of the tech part and me, responsible for the business part. The idea and development of our company grew overtime, starting with a fascination for digital ownership to how it would work with blockchain.
We have developed a micropayment and a digital ownership solution based on smart contract blockchain technology to help content creators maintain ownership of their content. We uniquely register content, creators, contributors and/or publishers and their percentages of ownership. This information gets stored on the smart contract blockchain backend.
This first implementation can be found here, on Reporters Online articles. They are all monetized via our technology.
2. What problems are you trying to solve with Katalysis? What are the benefits for the users and why are you a product-market fit?
Devaluation of content is happening on a global scale. Advertisement revenues are decreasing due to add blocking and the largest platforms are making it even harder for writers to monetize content. Writers and aggregators experience a decrease in their revenue. We believe that the value should be distributed amongst the ones creating that value in a fair manner. What we offer is a simple to install WordPress plugin available to writers and publishers. From their end, they can see via dashboard how much they’ve made per article real-time and they can cash out whenever they want. From the reader’s’ perspective it’s a pay per article view. The article is blocked by our payment button, a digital content wallet. Readers can upload money in fiat currencies and they can spend this money on all the platforms connected to our platform. This summer we will also embed a new feature in our plugin: donations. We are super excited to see the results of that new feature.
We are the infrastructure provider and not seeking a relationship between the creator and the consumer. That relationship remains between the writer and the reader because you are the entrepreneur and responsible for your own sales.
We’ve tested this technology last year with our partner Reporters Online and now we are starting to do user testing at larger scale.
3. Where does Katalysis fit into the Dutch blockchain startup ecosystem?
We are pioneers with our technology in the Netherlands in the publishing industry. There are a few projects in the Dutch publishing industry with blockchain as the underlying technology. The interesting thing is that we all take a different angle, which means we can learn from each other.
A lot of interesting projects are happening in the Netherlands and I try to keep up with them but it is getting harder as there are so many of them. Our country is doing pretty well on an international scale!
4. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) became effective on May 25th, 2018. What does this mean for blockchain companies?
Firstly, I would like to address two important properties of general purpose blockchains; transparency and immutability. This means that any person or entity who has access to the blockchain has their own copy of the data that is stored directly or indirectly on the blockchain. At Katalysis, we believe that it is complicated to reconcile with any privacy goal.
Regarding the storing of data on the blockchain, we are concerned about storing encrypted data as we believe that encryption algorithms are only able to secure data for a finite time frame. The length of that timeframe is dependent on three things; the algorithm itself, the advances in mathematics, and computer technologies. When storing data on a blockchain, we advise to only store specific data that is accepted to be available to the public.
Moving on to the transactions; anyone who has a copy of the blockchain data can run sophisticated algorithms enhanced by other information publicly available on the internet. By doing this, you are able to find relationships between participants in transactions and eventually infer an identity.
At Katalysis, we believe that technology has a role in protecting users’ privacy. In order to do this, we are looking for hybrid solutions combining public blockchains with more traditional private data stores.
5. What was last year like for blockchain startups? How big is the industry? What is your long-term goal and what’s in the pipeline?
2017 was the year cryptocurrencies dominated the news. This helped us in the sense that all of a sudden ‘blockchain’ was a term known by the world. What we at Katalysis experienced is that more and more startups are considering looking into this technology. On a weekly basis, we get requests to discuss the possibilities to see whether there is a use case.
Our long-term goal is to enable reusability of content in a super easy, transparent, honest manner for all participants in the value chain. We have already taken the first steps to do so. Soon we start testing the reusability feature with our partners.
Our BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) is to be the driving force behind an infrastructure where content can be shared, consumed and enriched, while always respecting the creators of that value. Either through monetization or other means.
The second half of 2018 will be quite busy for us. We will embed our plugin on other platforms and also on a European level as we will collaborate with Innovation Origins. Furthermore, we are working hard on our peer review project in the academic publishing industry. We are collaborating with worlds largest scientific publishers such as Springer Nature, Taylor & Francis and Cambridge University Press. This initiative will work towards developing a complete, authoritative and decentralized datastore of review and reviewer data using blockchain technology. First results of the pilots are expected this September and more on this project can be found here.
I am super proud of the project (of all of our projects to be honest) as I believe this is blockchain at its best: Blockchain technology unlocks a far-reaching new form of engagement between parties which cannot seek such collaborations due to competing for business interests.
6. What do you think is the future of blockchain? What are some trends that we should look out for this year?
I am a privileged person to work in the blockchain space. There are so many interesting and exciting things happening nowadays, that I’m learning every day. It is a technology in development, and I look forward to all the things happening such as the cross-chain initiatives, the lightning network or other DLT such as IOTA. In the end, blockchain technology will be embedded in a lot of applications without the consumer even noticing it. It will make payment processes much cheaper and efficient. I believe we will learn more in the upcoming period and there will be more development in the regulatory governance.
Thank you very much, Eveline. We wish you and Katalysis the best of luck!