This article was originally published in Blockchain Industry Review - a Crypto Curry Club Magazine published monthly and available in soft copy and the printed version.
An Interview with Featured Contributor, Manny Hernandez,
Technology Visionary and CEO of mega app, Omni
The genesis for the OMNI app lies in the frustrations we all feel when using social media. There are too many apps, all doing fairly similar things, run by tech giants and despite all the hard work only the big tech giants are being rewarded. It’s not that the novelty of social media has worn off, it has just become tiresome. And moreover the promise that social media offered in terms of online financial emancipation has just not materialized; we are all rendered busy fools.
Enter the OMNI app, or the mega app as it is affectionately termed by its founder and CEO Manny Hernandez.
He wants to offer something that makes sense and recognises the influence of WeChat on his thinking.
“For some reason no one has thought of doing this in the Western world, so we decided to steal from giants. If a feature exists in a major platform and it’s useful, then I say let’s emulate the good stuff and let’s take from the best.”
Manny gives an example of how he has taken existing common features, such as a news feed, and make it more video-orientated and multi-directional. People scrolling down through posted items have the ability to swipe left and right, so that if they like a post rather than trying to find more from that same host, they can go left and right and find more examples from the same person.
“I call it omni-directional or omni-shared and that’s where the name came from.”
The feed in Omni is for sharing but when people get into chatting, then the contents are encrypted, making them private end-to-end.
“People can also change the level of privacy attached to their posts which are meant for sharing, but chat will only ever be private.”
Manny doesn’t believe in reinventing the wheel, but in making it better. That’s the beauty of open source code and he explains how Signal technology has benefited his app.
“Our secret sauce is in taking the best from social platforms, adding in AI and re-presenting in a cleaner, more intuitive fashion.”
OMNI also addresses the issue of misplaced monetization and believes in putting the money back into the hands of the content creators using existing revolutionary blockchain technology.
“We are tokenizing the economic bandwidth. On other socials you do not own your own data, even when you cancel your account or even when you die. That is not right; we are using NFT technology to address the change in balance of ownership, and therefore remuneration.”
Using NFT technology the OMNI app grants true, authentic, and immutable ownership of social media posts to the content creators. This allows the platform to pay royalties for usage as the site monetizes the content.
Where compelling content is created and shared, it will drive likes and engagement, with the platform using AI algorithms to calculate returns. As these NFTs are transferable, it also means influencers can breakout the royalty streams to share with other co-creators or even to donate to charity if they wished.
Again, using NFTs, ownership remains with the creator even when others share the post.
When looking at making income from online engagement, Manny stresses the current emphasis is unfair and does not agree with favouring different streams except as based on engagement.
“I am not saying you will make life-changing income streams on day one, unless you go crazy viral, but if you create engaging content, you will reap the rewards.”
He compares the returns per views based on other platforms and says it is too small; sometimes as little as a cent or two per 1000 views.
“The odds are stacked against you and if you are not a VIP it is very hard to stand out from the crowd. The game is rigged in traditional social.”
The trick to OMNI’s revenue is that it gets between every transaction – no other social platform does this. Currently if a brand wants to find influencers to reach people, it is a laborious process with rather questionable results. It is estimated that as much as 50% of engagement is down to bots and other automated responses. OMNI wants to make this fair – after all social sites know exactly how much money they are making from your content; they just choose not to share or fairly reward that income.
“Platforms have it down to a science because it’s all down to the numbers, the maths.”
Manny reasons that if the platform can work out what value a creator is adding to the platform, then it is easy to give an equal amount of value back in return.
The site will also act as a matchmaker to link up brands and content creators who can promote the brands.
“Because no one wants ordinary online advertising anymore – no more banners, no more pop ups, no more intrusive online ads please."
“By getting into the middle of the transaction between brand and creator we help build a partnership, help the creator name a price, and in return generate money for the platform that is seamless.”
OMNI rewards users in its native OMNI coin which is a decentralized cryptocurrency which will be available on exchanges. The value of the coin will be market driven without any manipulation from the platform.
“I don’t care about the price, I care about our product.”
Intrinsic to the natural relationship between brand and content creator is the linking of produce sales by viewers. Manny gives the example of a makeup brand linking with a makeup content creator. Every time a product is mentioned, there will be a button on the feed to take the viewer directly to the brand booth or store. Every brand will have their own online mall within the platform.
“Viewers will know they can buy with confidence – the booth or store is verified so if they choose to buy a product, they will know it is genuine. At the point of checkout if they decide to use OMNI coin instead of fiat then they get a greater discount. It’s a win for everyone.”
Right now, Manny is eyeing up the shopping experience, but he is also looking at gaming, again using NFTs.
“We all complain a lot about how our social media serves us. And up until OMNI there wasn’t an alternative."
“At the same time, the whole thrust of cryptocurrencies has been yield farming and staking – and social media has been downgraded to second place. That has been a big mistake to my mind. There were 3.6 billion on social media in 2020 and this is expected to grow to 4.416 in 2025 – that is the sweet spot for mass adoption without anyone even knowing it is happening.”
Manny is excited with progress so far. The roadmap is holding fast. The beta is planned for release in Q3 this year, first closed and then open. Initial funding rounds have been oversubscribed, the response from investors is amazing and he is now ready to unleash his marketing to keep pace with the technology.
“The OMNI app has the potential to become the Trojan Horse in crypto. The coin makes sense and is not just something you hold in a wallet. Everyone will be able to see themselves using this coin. And they will be having fun at the same time.”
And that’s where we’ll leave it – OMNI taking the frustration out of social and putting the fun back in.