Aditus co-founder Julian Peh discusses how luxury merchants can reach out to this new community of customers.
Julian Peh has a 15-year history of developing and launching luxury marketing platforms that include websites, apps, and rewards programmes. He previously founded and built Luxury Insider, which turned into one of the leading luxury portals in Asia before it was acquired by Singapore Press Holdings. He has also been co-founder and CEO of SERA, a rewards programme which has acquired rewards from over 100 luxury brand stores so far.
Amidst the growing interest towards blockchain technology, Peh co-founded Aditus, a decentralised luxury marketing platform for merchants to so-called “crypto-affluents.” The platform allows customers to access Smart Invitations for products that are personalised and private but still targeted towards them. Through Aditus, clients can also access rewards programmes previously only available for credit card holders.
In an exclusive interview with Singapore Business Review, Peh talks about how blockchain technology can be used to bridge gaps between luxury merchants and those wealthy with crypto assets. He also shares how security developments are improving the way luxury technology is being made and used.
SBR: What does Aditus do?
Aditus is the world's first luxury access platform for crypto-affluents.
Aditus is a platform where crypto-affluents can access Smart Invitations from luxury merchants to enjoy their products, services or establishments.
These Smart Invitations are based on Ethereum smart contracts, which on the Aditus platform allow users to receive offers and information that match both their personal preferences as well as the targeting requirements of luxury merchants. These Smart Invitations also offer reward tokens to users for engaging with the merchant before purchase.
Aditus also offers VIP Memberships, in which crypto-currency users may enjoy a suite of exclusive privileges and rewards previously only found on premium credit cards.
Through a seamless integration of both blockchain technology and a platform that takes into account the needs of both users and merchants, Aditus unlocks the luxury lifestyle of crypto-currency users.
SBR: How did the ADITUS project come about and what makes it unique?
We first noticed increasing numbers of crypto-affluents at our luxury events, all desiring better access to the luxury lifestyle they desire.
We quickly discovered that this group of wealthy individuals have distinct needs (e.g. privacy, ease of transactions). We also discovered that our clients within the trillion dollar luxury lifestyle industry were very keen on serving this new group of customers but did not know how to.
Aditus is unique in that it blends both a strong grasp of the technology, strong domain knowledge of and connections within the luxury space, as a track record in platform roll-out.
SBR: You coined the term "crypto-affluents". Can you define better who they are, and what potential they represent for luxury merchants?
The total market capitalisation of all crypto-currencies have increased from USD 12 billion just 12 months ago, to USD 200 billion today. It is probably the best performing asset class in the last 2 years. This huge increase has minted a significant new group of affluent people who hold a lot of their new wealth in crypto-currencies.
Contrary to popular opinion, not all crypto-affluent are programmers! The space is extremely vibrant and fast-moving and has drawn many new participants from bankers to professionals etc. And there are many different ways in which crypto-affluents created their crypto-wealth, from holding to trading to ICOs.
What is clear is that with the continued influx of capital into crypto-currencies, crypto-currency values and the numbers of crypto-affluents will continue to increase. This is a new community of possible customers luxury merchants simply cannot afford to ignore.
SBR: Are luxury merchants sensitive to this new surge of wealth or is it too early in the development cycle?
Luxury merchants definitely recognise the huge growth opportunity in serving crypto-affluents. They do need some hand-holding of course, as well as more solutions that are customised to their needs, and that is the exact role Aditus serves.
In the past ten years we have seen inflection points in luxury marketing brought about by technological shifts, whether it was online advertising, or mobile marketing, or social media.
And at every one of these inflection points, there has been savvy brands who seized the opportunity to seize market share over their competitors by being first to build up their capabilities in the new medium.
With the advent of the crypto-affluents, we are at such a point again today.
SBR: What previous experience you have had that is proving useful in you driving the ADITUS project?
I am a lawyer by training but the bulk of my experience has been in tech entrepreneurship, with my first internet startup being back in 1998.
My team and I have been at the forefront of "luxury tech" since 2005. We were the first to sign luxury brands as online advertisers through our website Luxury-Insider.com, the first to sign luxury brands as mobile marketers through our Luxury Locator series of apps, and a pioneer in retail marketing solutions through our Visa-linked mobile rewards program SERA in China.
Starting from 2008, I was also a luxury consultant for banks and credit card companies, helping them package premium and exclusive rewards for their top end credit cards. The experiences I had was in tech, luxury marketing and premium rewards are all being put together for the betterment and long term development of Aditus.
SBR: How do you address the important issue of members’ privacy which is important to so many crypto-currency users?
In traditional luxury marketing, a centralised third party (bank, online marketing platform etc) constantly tracks user data, and matches them with targeting requirements by luxury merchants.
On Aditus, we are pioneering the twin concept of firstly: User Controlled Data, and secondly, Decentralised Matching.
User data, which is necessary for merchants to make customised offers, is stored and encrypted on the user's device, and never leaves the device without the user's express permission.
In order that merchants are still able to target-market despite there being no centralised 3rd party, we use Ethereum powered Smart Invitations to carry out decentralised matching on the user device instead.
In this way, user privacy and merchant targeting can both be satisfied.
SBR: How key are the Tech components in the development of ADITUS? How are you ensuring maximum security of the ADITUS overall architecture & wallet?
Aditus is at heart, a decentralised lead-generation and marketing platform for luxury merchants, and for users, a privacy-centric access and transaction platform.
To ensure stability and security for both users and merchants, we code and integrate only the most tried and tested components within the platform, from the wallet to the payment gateways.
While as a business Aditus is innovative, our tech will be developed for stability and security in order to give peace of mind for both users and merchants. We are also working with innovative companies in this space like PundiX who have components that add value to our ecosystem.
SBR: Tell us about the partnership you have already established for ADITUS and why they are key to the success of your Token and business model?
In any business it is ultimately the number of users (i.e. customers) and the soundness of the business model that determines success. As such, Aditus has a detailed road-map for user and merchant acquisition.
On the user acquisition end, we have signed partnerships with notable blockchain companies like Kyber Networks, Digix in which we create special access to our rewards programs to their token holders. This gives us a effective marketing channel to existing communities of crypto-affluents, while providing unique value for our partners.
On the merchant acquisition side, the founders of Aditus can draw on decades of experience and relationships in the luxury space, so we are quite confident here. We will work with large luxury shows that we own (e.g. The RendezVous series of events) as well as partners shows around the world to roll-out Aditus.
SBR: What are the reasons driving your choice to anchor ADITUS in Singapore?
Singapore is a major global hub for blockchain related companies. Indeed it is one of the top 3 jurisdictions for ICOs in the world along with the US and Switzerland. The talent in the blockchain space in Singapore now is vibrant and the interest is rising. From a business perspective, being based in Singapore made complete sense.
Although I have been based in China for the past 8 years, I am a born and bred Singaporean, and my luxury-related business all began in Singapore, and it was my HQ until it was acquired. Thus, basing Aditus out of Singapore was an easy choice from a personal perspective as well.
SBR: You having started your career as a lawyer, what are your view on upcoming cryptocurrency regulations? What potential impact on the ADITUS token?
Regulations will inevitably come, and we welcome them. We view this as extremely positive for the community because they weed out bad apples and increase protection for everyone involved. We believe regulations can only be positive for companies with a proper business plan like Aditus.
SBR: Why are you confident ADITUS will be a success?
The blockchain and crypto-currency space is still in its early stages and there are a lot of technical innovation and developments happening daily.
Yet the rise in market cap of crypto-currencies, and the accompanying rise in numbers in crypto-affluents, is an almost certainty.
Aditus is first in the market to serve crypto-affluents and is well-placed to ride the rising trend upwards.
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