We get it. Every startup aims to be ‘disruptive’, right? The way we see it, it’s important to think big, but start small.

Here at the Rouge Project, while our overall mission is ‘to create a fair and value-driven digital marketing ecosystem that directly benefits brands, consumers, and publishers’; our goals are incremental. The way we’re fulfilling our mission is firmly rooted in what’s visible and achievable: which is why we’re starting our journey by tackling digital coupons using blockchain technology.

Intrigued? Here are 4 reasons to take a closer look at what we’re doing.

We’re Problem Solving In A Growth Area
The coupon industry is a huge growth area that’s at the core of traditional and digital marketing. However online coupons are completely open to fraud. Just search for discount codes for your favourite brand or online store and you’ll discover scores of shady looking sites where savvy bargain hunters post (often outdated) codes for all to see.

Why is this a bad thing? It isn’t for shoppers. But it’s disastrous for marketers and publishers. Brands have a finite amount of budget to spend on discounts and, as they did in the good old days of print advertising, issue coupons by paying to advertise them with publications that offer the most engaged audiences. But if anyone can redeem coupons once they’re visible in one place, the offer is completely worthless to those issuing them.

Another major obstacle are salespeople: agencies that take commission for the placement and performance of ads and offers. The prices they charge are rarely consistent with the value they offer. If the total cost of issuing a coupon is tied to ever-increasing costs, there’s little meaningful value left to pass on to shoppers.

That’s the battle we’ve picked. And we’re confident it’s one we can win: using the blockchain.

We’re Improving Processes & Fighting Fraud
We’re creating a new kind of digital coupon; fully-trackable, non-forgeable coupons that only release their value when acquired or redeemed by users.

Our decentralised apps (Dapps) are being built on the Ethereum blockchain, meaning we’re able to lock in each coupon’s value, using smart contract technology. And, in a similar way to how a bitcoin cannot be double spent (as it’s listed on a public ledger) when a coupon’s issued, the brand sending it knows that the coupon can only redeemed once, as they’re impossible to forge.

As a result, brands have full visibility of each coupon they issue; know when and where each one is redeemed; and can then attribute a monetary value to the publisher whose site the coupons were listed on. This also works in the publisher’s favour, as they have more opportunity to leverage their niche readership and command a higher premium for more targeted customer reach. And users benefit too. As there’s no sales commission being taken by middlemen, significantly reducing costs, users either gain more competitive discounts or can trade their single use coupons for Ethereum-backed tokens.

We’re Building A Value-Based Ecosystem
Our solution doesn’t just use the blockchain as a database; it’s a decentralised protocol that unlocks and distributes value. Not only that; we’re also creating an ecosystem that makes the direct transfer of value between brands, publishers, and users possible. Underpinning this are our Ethereum-backed (ERC-20) utility tokens — RGEs — which prevent fraud and can be used by brands to advertise coupons with publishers; who can in turn ‘unlock’ their value, ensuring each transaction’s safety.

There will be a finite number of RGE tokens. Over time some will be burned to deter fraud. However, a large percentage of these will be made available during our ICO and pre-sales (visit our website for more details on how to participate).

We’re Setting The Groundwork For Broader Scope
As far we know, there are no other blockchain-based projects developing a marketing and ecommerce protocol like ours. Although we’re starting with coupons, in the longer term our platform could encompass other aspects of digital marketing; increasing security during the sale and purchase of other forms of online inventory.

By creating a scalable framework that begins with coupons, but could expand to other areas, we’re hopeful that we won’t ‘disrupt’ digital marketing in the conventional sense; instead we’ll enhance the way that it offers trust and value for everyone involved.

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