Exploring Aki Network: Data-driven influencer network in Web3

On April 27th, Kyros Ventures hosted an exciting AMA on our Twitter Space with two esteemed guests: Ming, Co-founder of Aki Network, and Lyvz, Advisor of Aki Network. The AMA covered a wide range of topics related to Aki Network, including its mission, vision, and future plans. Participants had the opportunity to ask the guests questions about the project, as well as learn more about the team’s vision. This recap will provide a summary of the most important insights shared during the AMA, giving those who missed it a chance to catch up on the highlights. Let’s get started!

Part 1: Pre-selected questions

Benji: Could you please give a quick intro about yourself to our audiences?

Ming: Hi everyone. I am Ming – co-founder of Aki Network. My background is data science. I’ve learned about crypto a long time ago but have been deeply involved in it since 2021. We started Aki at the end of 2021

Lyvz: Thanks everyone for having me today. I am Lyvz – advisor to Aki Network. My background is in traditional finance. I was with Goldman Sachs in technology investing for a few years. I learned about crypto in 2021 when all of my friends were talking about ETH, gamefi, etc and these are things that got me into crypto. I joined Aki a few months ago. I am very happy to join the team and have a chance to introduce high-quality projects to our community. We have over 150,000 followers in our community across different channels. 

Benji: That’s an impressive number. Thanks for the intro guys. Just to give context, maybe you can give our audiences here a quick outline of what Aki Network is.

Ming: Aki in a nutshell is a place where you can find a valuable information opportunity. That’s a general way of saying it. To break it down, we need to answer 3 questions: where do you already find information, how do you find information? and two is how do we define value when we talk about valuable information and the third question is what and where are the opportunities in web3. With those 3 questions, at Aki Network, Aki really focuses on 2 keywords: influencers and data. Aki Network is a platform that connects Web3 projects with influencers and users through our campaign engine and data analysis and many Web3 projects come to us to grow their influencers including Stepn, Fusi Nist, Synfutures, etc. We also have a close connection with the Japanese community. We co-sponsor a social house last month (right before Eth Tokyo). We are going to host another online and offline event with Coinpost – one of the largest crypto media in Japan. What can you do on Aki Network? You can earn rewards by competing tasks and top users and influencers entitled to our seasonal rewards which is a special reward for our most loyal users. Meanwhile, there is another keyword that I haven’t talked about is data. Data is very important to Web3 social as well as Web3 marketing. Just think about big influencers. They earn thousands of dollars for just 1 post or 1 Youtube video. However, projects don’t know what’s marketing performance there. What we are doing is we track the marketing performance and matching projects with influencers. However, there is another thing. Strategically, we want to incubate micro and mid-tier influencers. Think about why those big names can earn so much money, why I can’t do that. On Aki Network, you can do that because we track data instead of being blinded by big names. Every one of you can come to Aki Network to earn Aki Badge to earn airdrop or seasonal rewards based on your data. Going back to What Aki is? Aki is where you can find valuable information opportunities. 

Benji: Awesome! This is a very innovative idea. Just to touch on that a bit more, is your product more toward influencers and getting influencers to come and join the Aki Network to become a part of that data pool or how does that work? If I have a project and I want to work with Aki Network to increase my outreach, what does that experience look like with influencers of different sizes?

Ming: I am going to answer this question at a high level. Aki is for 3 types of parties. One is for projects as you mentioned because every project wants to go to market. They can come to us to have their voice heard through influencers on Aki platform including big, mid and micro-influencers. We use data to help them match with the most suitable influencers. Another party that we can talk about is mid and micro-influencers. Don’t think of them as influencers on Twitter or Youtube, think of yourself as an influencer because everyone can participate in Web3 projects in building out the future of Web3 metaverse. Everyone can come to Aki Network to find this opportunity by participating in campaigns. We have 3 layers of rewards to encourage different levels of contributions including the first layer which allows users to earn rewards by completing tasks such as inviting people using referral links. The second layer is the seasonal Aki Badge. Users can accumulate data through participating in different campaigns and at the end of the season we will aggregate all data to reward users with Aki Badge which is a soul bound token. Aki Badge is also allowed to be upgraded. At the end of each season, users will be rewarded with stablecoins (for now). The 3rd layer is airdrop – the more you contribute, the more you get. We also have a data dashboard for influencers so that they can understand more about their level of contribution and that they are not inferior to big influencers. We are also going to have an influencer incubation program around the end of this season or the beginning of the next season.

Going back to the parties, the third party’s users. Eventually, we want to be a user center hub where you can find valuable information. On our campaign page, you can find really valuable information about campaigns. We have a dedicated team that filters all Web3 projects for users. 

Lyvz, anything that you want to add?

Lyvz: Yeah, Ming already touched on basically everything about Aki. One thing I want to add a bit from a user perspective like I am a user. All I need to do is visit the Aki website, connect my wallet, and choose campaigns that I want to join. After completing, I can be rewarded with a NFT that could potentially give me some advantages in the future or I can also join a lottery round to earn some rewards. Apart from that, after completing the tasks, you will automatically get a referral code that is uniquely generated for you. If someone uses your code to join and complete tasks on Aki Network, that will count as 1 referral for you. The more people you refer, the more likely you will get an Aki Badge. Aki Badge is entitled to stablecoin rewards and future airdrop on Aki. We have already awarded over 300 influencers. Some of them might not be visible on Twitter, but they are very powerful referrers. 

Benji: You guys are opening the door for any person who wants to be an influencer. You mentioned before that Aki worked with some top-tier projects such as zkSync, CyberConnect, Aptos, etc. What kind of value did you bring to those partner projects? 

Ming: We work with each project in different forms, not just only campaigns. The main form is still campaigns. However, we have different levels of campaigns. We can help them to do influencer analysis and product background information check for them or co-host AMA with top projects in different fields or do some consultation work. Going back to the previous question, why we started Aki as a Web3 protocol? We invested in projects and we wanted to help our portfolio companies to go to market. One of the pain points was that they didn’t know whether influencers would do anything or not.

How do we work with projects? We will first have a call with the team to discuss more. After that, we do a campaign survey form to understand the projects’ needs and goals. We co-design some campaigns after the campaign survey form and then follow up with a proposal that finalizes all details. Sometimes, we also do research, design NFT, and report for projects. All qualified users that join campaigns during the season will be rewarded. 

We already have 140,000 core users and influencers. We already collaborate with at least 30-40 projects. Our team is expected to collaborate with a lot more in Q3 or Q4 this year. 

Benji: You guys do a lot of marketing campaigns for projects. Do you mind elaborating on some pain points that some of these projects have faced? How did you get involved in the process of overcoming that? And what are the most effective tools that you use?

Ming: About pain points, I think that a lot of builders do not want to deal with marketing. Many builders think that if I build a good product, people naturally are going to use it. However, it is not always true. Different projects require different pain points, and they want to use different marketing strategies. Lyvz did research about it, and he will share it in a few minutes. 

The general pain point is, first of all, the influencer pain point. We don’t  always know if a tweet from an influencer actually works or not, even though projects pay a lot of money. The second pain point is finding the right type of KOL. For example, DeFi projects might want to look for KOLs in the DeFi space

Lyvz, do you want to say anything?

Lyvz: I think I will give you a concrete example of how we help projects nail down their marketing strategies. There is a trending project on our website. When we discussed with them, they weren’t sure about how they would get the first batch of users. They thought that if they had a great product, it would naturally attract high TVL users. When we talked to them, we explained to them that it is not the case as there are so many similar projects out there and what they have to do first is increase their brand awareness. We broaden the reach first with the help of DeFi and trading influencers. We understood which are the target markets such as SEA. After that, we connect the influencers with the project and then broadcast the campaign to the influencers’ followers. We also design the reward as NFTs instead of stablecoins or tokens because we want the users to have the mine share that this dex is something that will distribute value or give airdrops in the future. We persuaded them to prepare 1000 NFTs for our users to make sure that all of our users will have a fair chance to get this NFT reward. 

Benji: Moving on to the next question, who do you think is your biggest competitor in the space and how do you guys position yourself as a unique competitor? 

Lyvz: We think our biggest competitor in the space is Galxe. We are similar in the sense that users come to our platform to complete tasks of campaigns and get rewards. However, what we do much better than Galxe is that we care a lot about our community. We have 3 telegram channels in English, Japanese and Chinese. Our team interacts with all users on daily basis. We want to make sure that they get the best Web3 experiences. Therefore, we have been hand-picking the best quality Web3 project. We make sure that each project that has been delivered to you will not be a rug. We make sure that the experience is rewarding, safe and the users are being well taken care of. On the influencer side, if you are an influencer and you are using Galxe, they are consuming your social capital. With Aki, we want to help influencers to grow. That’s why we have this referral mechanism and we intentionally approach micro and medium-level influencers because we want to help them understand Aki’s missions and help them to grow larger so that they can work with Aki more in the future. Based on my experience, micro and medium influencers has much higher investment ROI than super popular guys because medium and micro-influencers have more vertical audiences. On the user side, we give more care and on the influencer side, we help them grow. These are the 2 main major ways that differentiate us from Galxe. 

Benji: I am going to touch upon the market condition because I think we can have the right influencers, we can have a really strong marketing campaign, but then to some extent, it is limited by the market condition. I’d like to get your opinion on that and how is your revenue model adapted to this?

Lyvz: This is a great question. The result of advertisements depends on the market condition. We are super optimistic about the crypto industry outlook. If you look at the micro economy, the US economy is slowing down. We expect the liquidity will be back around June and that means the liquidity will be back and it will be super bullish for crypto. We see a lot of projects that have been building throughout the bear market of last year. When we see a small uptrend this year, we see those projects shine. I think it is a great time to be promoting projects and also be participating in a lot of projects campaigns because a lot of these projects are old projects that started 2 years ago. If they generate good results from marketing campaigns, they would be able to be financed more from the venture capital. I think generally, users are actively looking for new projects to contribute to. Some projects might think that “oh big projects give a lot of rewards and that might be affecting smaller projects.” That’s yes and no because if you just target a general public, then yes, the share of time would be compressed as the larger ones are taking more share of people’s energy and effort when they look for projects to contribute to. If you find influencers that have the community that you want to target, it will still be very highly effective and the ROI is good based on our data. 

Ming: Bear market is a time for builders to build. Projects prefer to do multiple campaigns at a smaller scale for a longer period of time. As Lyvz mentioned, big projects started to build more features and they want to cover the area that they haven’t touched before. The third point I want to mention is for us, we are also building. Our team just built OpenAI-integrated bots for community management. We are testing it now. We are also looking forward to implementing ZK into our product to balance privacy and transparency. 

Part 2: Live Q&A section

@brightObi77: What are your top priorities for the next 6 months and how will you attract more users to your platform

Lyvz: I think you answer the first question yourself. We are trying to get more users to the Aki network. How do we do that? First of all, we make sure that the projects that are on Aki Network will be able to target the web3 users very well. Users might spot that they are approached by Aki to promote projects. In the end, they will become very loyal users to us. We have also been generating useful content to our community such as hosting AMAs, partnering with projects to host marketing workshops, or publishing alpha information to our community. These are very organic ways that we use to grow our use base. 

@heanutie: Can you share more about use cases of Aki tokens?

Ming: I want to emphasize that participation is the key, promotion is the key to get rewards. Firstly, users can earn Aki tokens by putting in your promotional effort. Secondly, Aki tokens can be used as a payment method for data access, research reports, insights, etc in the future. Holders can lock their Aki token to join an influencer incubation program. Users use Aki tokens to gain strategies to make your voice heard. Aki can also become a DAO governance token. Going back to the first sentence, Aki is where you find valuable information and at Aki, promotional effort is the key. Come and hangout on our website!

Lyvz: Another point I want to add is that in the future, we will be requiring project partners to make payment in Aki token. Whenever they are trying to reach influencers or to pay for services on our network, etc, they will be required to pay in Aki. 

@jeffreybj22: Is it possible to apply to work for Aki Network?

Lyvz: It is possible. If you want to work with us, feel free to DM us on Twitter or send an email to BD@akiprotocol.io. However, there are many different ways to reach out to us or learn more about opportunities such as joining our discord or global and regional telegram channels. 

Lexon: Are you planning to expand the community to different regions? 

Lyvz: We are planning to open more regional channels such as Vietnamese, Korean, Russian, etc. However, we think that our roots is in Asian specific. Ak is very strong in Japan, China and we know that SEA is growing very well. We want to have our present there before moving to other regions

@Diago836: What is the technology that Aki plans to implement in the next 6 to 12 months?

Ming: In the short term, we are going to re-release the Aki info and Aki profile for everyone. Those were exclusive to KOLs previously. However, we want to open it up and it will be released within 3 weeks. We also plan to help projects to automate everything. We have done an automated NFT distribution and right now we are working on automated FT distribution which will help projects and influencers to reward their users by themself. The third thing that we are working on is integrating more ZK. We want to make sure that we care a lot about data ownership. That means, we want to make our data valuable and in the future, we want to make it private as your choice. Of course, we also want to integrate with more chains. The next one we want to work on is AI tools. We want to tap into the creator economy and content creation to help our influencer base.

Benji: I think we finished up the AMA. Do you have any closing remarks before we end the Twitter Space? 

Lyvz: I think I will just end here by saying that at the core of what we do is that we are a community. We want to build up our vertical communities in different languages and bring the best quality projects for them to interact with and to get rewards from. We want to help influencers to find their best followers in our community. As long as we have a strong community, we will be able to achieve a lot of different things and will be able to deliver that value to you guys through stablecoins, Aki airdrop, or tokens. I think it is a very interesting social experiment imho. It is different from socialfi, but it is also a part of Web3 social. We hope that all of you can join us and try out 1-2 campaigns with us or tell us what you think on Twitter, Discord or Telegram. 

Benji: We will repost this AMA so you can read it as well. Thanks, everyone for joining us today.