“This app lets you shop 100% off at your favorite sites!”
“Giving away $100 for free as a sign-up bonus!”
These and other flashy promotions from the SocialGood App are certainly grabbing the attention of shoppers around the world.
There are currently more than 2 million people in over 200 countries using the SocialGood App. These users engage with a “Shop-to-Earn” system, which allows them to shop at partnered sites and earn back up to 100% of their purchased amount in crypto rewards.
The app’s international rise in popularity comes at a time where interest in cash back rewards is at an all-time high. According to market survey data, 55% of shoppers prefer to earn cashback or rewards online. The interest in cash back opportunities has led to the rise of various apps that offer rewards for shopping. The U.S. has Honey, which was acquired by Paypal for $4 billion. Europe has TopCashback and RetailMeNot. Shopback and Maya (formerly PayMaya) are well-known cashback apps in Asia.
The market for these types of apps is incredibly lucrative as well. Rakuten (formerly Ebates), one of the largest cashback service providers in the U.S., has a yearly GMV of nearly $11.4 billion, supported by thrifty spenders who want to shop wisely. The main source of revenue for cashback apps is the advertising and affiliate fees paid by the partnered ecommerce sites, in exchange for the business brought in by the cashback app.
Each country has their own localized cashback service that has gained a monopoly on the market, leaving no room for competition. These apps only give around 0.5% to 3% cashback rewards to their users. After all, for the companies that run those apps, the amount given back to users is considered a loss of the company’s own revenue. However, shoppers are now demanding more generous reward rates.
That’s where the SocialGood App comes in, with rebates of up to 100% rewarded back to shoppers every time they shop via the app at partnered sites including eBay, Walmart, Best Buy, Macy’s and more. These rewards are distributed in SocialGood (SG), the native token of the SocialGood project. SG can be traded for BTC and USDT on exchanges, and the SocialGood App gives SG holders staking rewards of up to 15% APY.
The SocialGood App has a maximum reward amount per purchase set at $1,000, but there is no limit to the number of purchases that users can make via the app. The app is also giving out $100 sign-up bonuses to all new users. As a result, unsurprisingly, the user base is experiencing exponential growth. After its initial launch, the SocialGood App surpassed 2 million users and gave away rewards worth over $50 million in only six months.
Though the model is well received by its users, its ability to put the shoppers first has led some to ask questions: How is the SocialGood App able to offer 100% back to shoppers? Why would they offer such a high reward rate when they could easily offer lower cashback percentages like their competitors? Is there any economic rationale for this business model?
To answer these questions, we spoke with Soichiro Takaoka, the founder and CEO of the company that runs the SocialGood App, SocialGood Foundation Inc.
How did you start this company?
I have a background in finance. I previously founded a hedge fund investment advisory company servicing wealthy individual investors in Japan, and I have been leading the company for over 14 years. With over 130 billion yen (approx. $1.3 billion at 100 JPY = 1 USD) total in investment advisory contracts, we rose to become the most successful fund investment advisory company for individuals in Japan, the country with the second-highest GDP of any capitalist country in the world.
After working tirelessly to build strong trust with each and every one of our customers, we reached no. 1 at last. But I found myself thinking that I had just spent over a decade of my life simply making the wealthy in Japan even wealthier.
When I originally founded that company, my ultimate goal was to enrich the lives of people all over the world, so I returned to the drawing board and launched SocialGood Foundation Inc. in 2018. My idea was to create a global system that would allow ordinary people – the 99% of the world who have never owned assets before – to gain assets even while living their daily lives as usual.
In capitalism, there tends to be a one-way flow of cash: The more people shop, the less money they have on hand, and that revenue flows only to corporate shareholders. The economic gap between those who have assets and those who do not inevitably keeps growing over time.
Conversely, with the SocialGood App, the more you spend, the more you accumulate the SG asset. As we have seen with Bitcoin, limited-supply tokens tend to increase in value as more addresses hold that token.
In other words, we aim to update capitalism so that the more that you shop for what you want, the more assets you can gain.
But can the SocialGood App really sustain a viable business if users get 100% back? Other cashback sites usually give back only a fraction of a percent or 3% at most.
The reason for the SocialGood App's high reward rate, to put it simply, is that we are a Web3 company that can expand globally by utilizing cryptocurrency. In other words, it's an advantage of scale.
In regions that use the U.S. dollar, there are cashback sites that give rewards in USD, and in regions that use the euro, there are cashback sites that give rewards in euro. Those services are run by the corporate giants of the Web2 era. There are many different fiat currency zones worldwide, and each separate zone has its own dominant players. Therefore, markets are fragmented into local areas, unable to make the entire globe into one single market.
On the other hand, our app rewards shoppers in the SocialGood (SG) token, which is a borderless global cryptocurrency. This allows us to give rewards back to people all over the world, without being tied down by the localized limitation of fiat currency.
Being able to target a much larger market than more traditional companies means that we can expect to earn a higher revenue than those companies. As a result, we can give our users higher reward rates.
And that’s not the only advantage of using crypto for rewards. Shoppers usually had to wait about three months after their purchase was verified to redeem their rewards from regular cashback providers. This time lag is caused by the hassle of transferring fiat cash. With SocialGood, which pays out in crypto, those rewards can be redeemed instantly, on the same day that the purchase has been verified by the site where the purchase was made.
In the crypto world, sustainable projects that manage to run an actual business with a decent income stream are few and far between. Even now, 13 years after the launch of bitcoin, there aren’t many tokens that can prove an actual use case in society. While crypto is often criticized for its lack of use outside of speculative investment, it sounds like SG has actual use outside of investment.
With SG, the average consumer can shop at a lower cost. Partnered sites gain more business as customers shop with the SocialGood App. There is a clear societal value in how SocialGood facilitates economic growth as a platform.
So is that how, with over 70 patents related to Crypto Back rewards registered worldwide, Social Good Foundation Inc. became the world's first truly global cashback provider?
It is said that Amazon’s rise to become the top platform in the world after its creation at the dawn of the e-commerce era was largely due to its patent registration for the “1-Click” innovation as a barrier for entry, as well as the strong network effects working in its favor.
Today, at the dawn of the Web3 era, as the SocialGood App aims to become the world's top shopping platform, there is a large significance to the fact that we have registered patents for our “Crypto Back” innovations, just like Amazon did for their own business model.
Our app has already become the world's top Shop-to-Earn app, and because strong network effects work in the crypto space as well, we aim to continue scaling up and increasing the rewards for our users.
In the vision statement for the SocialGood project, it says that you aim for the SocialGood App to gain more users than any other app in the world. Are you truly serious about this goal?
At any rate, we are happy that we have been able to give out more than $50 million in rewards to our 2 million users in the 1.5 years or so since our app first launched.
If you were going to shop at eBay or Walmart anyway, wouldn’t it be better to get 100% of your purchased amount back, essentially allowing you to shop for free? Who wouldn’t want to get a free 65-inch TV?
More than 3.5 billion people worldwide have downloaded TikTok, which is an app just to fill time.
For the 5 billion people in the world who use a mobile device, which app would they be most unwilling to give up? I am confident that we can create a definitive answer to that question within the 20 years that our patents will remain valid.
One could truthfully say that SocialGood App is the shopping platform with the largest selection of products and the lowest prices in the world. This is because we have partnerships with major sites all around the world, and therefore the app naturally has a large selection of products. And because our app offers the most generous rebate rate in the world, users can shop at the lowest cost in the world.
It will not be long before the SocialGood App is known as the Web3 version of Amazon.