The relationship between TinyTap and Open Campus is similar to the relationship between Uniswap Labs and Uniswap Protocol. Open Campus is the underlying Web3 education protocol owned by the community, while TinyTap is an educational company that uses this protocol.
On April 21st, Binance Launchpad announced that it would launch its 31st project, Open Campus (EDU) on April 28th. However, due to the lack of detailed information and unclear relationship with TinyTap, the announcement raised concerns from the community.
Therefore, Foresight News contacted TinyTap to address the concerns of the community. On April 22nd, Yogev Shelly, the founder of TinyTap, also one of the council members of Open Campus, gave an exclusive interview to Foresight News, sharing information about TinyTap’s founding team, development process, and responding to some of the recent community concerns.
Foresight News: We’ve seen that TinyTap was acquired by Animoca Brands in May of last year. Before the acquisition, what was TinyTap doing? Can you introduce the basic information about the founding team and the project?
Yogev Shelly: Our story starts at the end of 2012. Touchscreens just started to gain popularity at that time, iPads and iPhones showed us how powerful interactive experience could be. Me and Uri, co-founders of TinyTap, wanted to give that power to anyone with a good idea, such as educators and publishers.
Education is a very centralized system. The traditional education system is hierarchical and often fails to support teachers at the grassroots level. To address this issue, we developed a platform – TinyTap, which enables the creators to enjoy an interactive app-like experience on Android, iOS, and the web.
On TinyTap, educators can create visually appealing and engaging slides with animations, AI, and stickers. And the content can be put on a public marketplace, and parents can purchase subscriptions or access them directly. Our primary focus in the early stages was on content creation, rather than revenue generation, to truly make a difference.
This is what we have been doing for the past 10 years. In the first 5 years after our company was established, we focused on building a teacher community that generates content. At that time, we had about 80,000 pieces of content, but we still did not generate any revenue.
However, in the early stages, our main focus was on content creation rather than revenue generation. All of our teachers were very important to us, and they did not come solely for the money, but because they wanted to create content for students. They started creating a lot of content even before they began earning any actual income.
Until 2018, we were able to successfully sell the content the teachers created to parents around the world. Our revenue started to grow slowly from an initial $1,000 to hundreds of thousands of dollars, and now we earn millions of dollars every year. All of this money comes from families who use our content, which we share with teachers. This is our development process.
So today, TinyTap is different from other Web3 projects. We didn’t start from scratch, and our data covers over 9 million parents and over 250,000 educators, with more than 100,000 creators among them. 65% of our content is in English, while the rest is in Arabic, Chinese, and Japanese.
Joining Animoca Brands is indeed a significant milestone. Unlike other Web3 projects, we didn’t start from scratch. Our connection with Animoca Brands aims to capitalize on what we’ve already been working on, creating a decentralized application system, and utilizing blockchain technology to bring that idea to fruition.
Foresight News: Currently, there are billions of users to be discovered in Web3, and education is one of the top three priority areas in Binance’s 2023 plan. What products has TinyTap already launched in this area? What kind of ecosystem does it want to build?
Yogev Shelly: Education is a key focus for everyone, including Binance. Web3 has the potential to revolutionize education in three main ways.
Firstly, it can help transition education from the traditional approach to Web3, enabling the next generation to become Web3 natives. Schools could distribute scholarships in the form of tokens, encouraging students to use Web3 applications and familiarizing them with Web3 concepts like data ownership and privacy. Over the past decade, our population has increased by one billion, which means there are one billion children who need education. Large companies like Amazon, Microsoft, and Google are already working on this, it doesn’t necessarily bring them revenue, but they are still investing a significant amount of money because it means competing for the next generation of users.
Secondly, Web3 education can become a topic in itself. Learning how to use Web3 tools, like connecting to Metamask and participating in Binance Academy, is vital. Understanding Web3 principles, such as the fact that transactions cannot be revoked, is also important.
Lastly, Web3 can empower the community to lead education. Community members can vote on what to create and collaborate with creators. TinyTap is focusing on this track by introducing a new model for digital asset ownership.
TinyTap is attempting to introduce a new model for digital asset ownership that allows communities to decide for themselves how to approach education. Rather than having a centralized institution (such as a school or company) decide what to create, we can let the market itself be the leader and collaborate to design the education we desire.
Foresight News: How many users does TinyTap have now? What are the plans and roadmaps for TinyTap?
Yogev Shelly: Overall, we have reached 9 million registered users, and primarily serve kindergarten through middle school ages. To reach even more families, we are heavily investing in marketing efforts. While 60% of our users come organically, we can conduct experiments and try different ways to introduce new concepts to our users.
Unlike other web3 start-up projects, our platform has over three years of steady growth and already has millions of users. We have 300,000 unique visitors coming to our platforms every month. We have won many awards, including a $1 million Powerful Answers Award from Verizon and being one of the top 10 grossing kids’ apps on the US App Store. We are also one of the top 10 profitable apps in the education space on the App Store and Google Play worldwide.
We want to make education affordable and accessible to everyone. To achieve this, every customer will have a wallet that allows them to earn tokens. Students can then withdraw these tokens to use on educational experiences.
We are excited to announce our partnership with Animoca Brands to launch a new protocol called the Open Campus. Instead of a centralized company, This decentralized protocol will own the value of our educational programs. Other protocols, such as Sandbox, and schools such as GEMS Education, will also join us.
We believe that decentralizing education will allow people to preserve their cultures in technologically advanced ways. Our focus for Open Campus is getting as many partners as possible to adopt it. We are building a community that will govern education and allocate funding to those who need it. We are excited about the possibilities and the experiences that will be available to everyone.
Foresight News: Open Campus is a Web3 education protocol that logs into Binance Launchpad. What is the relationship between Open Campus and TinyTap? What is the relationship between Open Campus and Animoca Brands?
Yogev Shelly: Open Campus was initially launched by TinyTap. We have had several launch events, and we are excited to create a completely decentralized foundation from scratch.
The relationship between TinyTap and Open Campus is similar to the relationship between Uniswap Labs and Uniswap Protocol. Open Campus is a community-owned Web3 education protocol, and TinyTap is an educational project that adopts this protocol.
TinyTap has a lot of history in partnership with companies such as Oxford University Press, and Sesame Street, we are trusted worldwide. We want to bring all of that information, traffic, and work to our customers and partners. Our goal is to bring our reputation, users, partners, and expertise into the Web3 world.
We started working with Animoca Brands in 2015 when the founder of Animoca Brands made a private investment in our company (TinyTap). Our goal is to connect with brands that are already focused on education and to establish a Web3 education ecosystem with excellent educational projects, companies, and schools.
Foresight News: Can you briefly introduce the token model of EDU and how it empowers TinyTap?
Yogev Shelly: EDU is both the native utility token of the Open Campus ecosystem and the platform token of TinyTap.
Teachers on TinyTap already earn income for producing content in a traditional Web2 framework, but now the Web3-based Publisher NFTs allow them to significantly improve their earning opportunities.
Content creators first generate educational content (can be interactive games, short-form videos, or any creative medium). Creators will pay in EDU to have their content reviewed by peers and once approved, creators can mint their content into “Publisher NFTs”.
Peer review will prevent offensive or low-quality content from being posted. Just like on Wikipedia, anyone can submit content to the platform, and the community will review it. If the content is approved, the creator will receive 90% of their EDU back, while an unapproved submission will result in only a deduction from the creator’s EDU.
Creators can sell the Publisher NFTs in marketplaces to receive the proceeds from NFT buyers minus the marketplace fees (which will be accrued to the EDU Foundation).
The NFT buyers are also active participants in their ecosystem. They will act as “Co-Publishers” by marketing and localizing content for their communities. The more they sell, the more EDU they earn that will be accrued to the Foundation.
All of the Publisher NFTs launched by TinyTap so far are backed by real recurring revenue generated by content developed by the top teachers on their platforms.
Creators will buy EDU to mint, Co-Publishers will pay in EDU to purchase, and on-chain revenue sharing among contributors will all be done in EDU.
In addition, the locked EDU concept will also be introduced, where EDU can be locked in a smart contract that can only be unlocked for specific subjects. This is another utility of the new economy. Governance will be implemented through voting on projects that the community wants to pursue.
In summary, the education economy will be based on four pillars – governance, operators, content ownership, and locked donations. Open Campus aims to create a new education economy that is controlled from the bottom up, where participants are rewarded for their contributions.
Foresight News: After the announcement of Binance Launchpad, some users found that the official push and website content of Open Campus was too brief and rough to obtain more detailed project information. I’m wondering what is the reason for this. Is Open Campus a so-called “shell” project?
Yogev Shelly: Our team had to keep things “very lean” as we do not want to release too much information prior to the Binance launchpad announcement. Although project information is currently limited, we are releasing more detailed information that we have already prepared back then.
To build trust with potential users, the team has released a list of council members including some high-profile individuals. Myself is one of the council members, Yat Siu, the Co-founder and Chairman of Animoca Brands, and Jay Varkey, CEO and owner of the Varkey Foundation, will both be on the council (The Varkey Foundation is known for its annual million-dollar award for the best teacher in the world, similar to a Nobel prize for education). Jack Chorowsky, former president of the Kipp Foundation, and founder of Shima Capital, Yida Gao are also on the council.
We believe that adding people who are not solely from the Web 3 industry will help make Open Campus a global project.
While the launch was fast and materials are currently limited, we have a whitepaper on GitHub for people to check out.
Foresight News: Some people believe that “Web3 education” is a key way to bring incremental users into the Web3 world. How does TinyTap view this narrative? Do you think that “Web3 education” can bring more users into the Web3 world? What’s your thought on this?
Yogev Shelly: I believe that interactive learning, collaboration with traditional EdTech (educational technology) companies, and creating community projects together are the three key components for the development of Web3 education.
First of all, Web3 education has become one of the biggest challenges for the development of the crypto world, PDFs and online resources have always been the mainstream choices for learning Web3, but Web3 Learning needs more simulations, experiments, and interactive videos. Now we have Binance Academy and Metamask Learn, which we’re also connecting with and hope to bring them onboard. The goal is to create educational content that is interactive, engaging, and accessible, to attract more users by introducing what Web3 is and how it works, and make Web3 more accessible to everyone.
Secondly, we have to partner with traditional EdTech companies and schools and help them build wallet-connecting functions. In this way, they can accept cryptocurrency payment methods such as EDU, and they can help bring a large number of students into the world of Web3.
Lastly, web3 education projects/content should be co-founded and co-owned, as a community. In this way, when good projects show up, we can push and promote them and have them reach millions of Web3 learners in the community.
Web3 education has immense potential, with a strong focus on interactive learning, traditional EdTech partnerships, and co-founding community projects, it can create a generation of Web 3 natives. We believe that in five years, students will be maturing into a world that is vastly different from what we see today.