— Vinita Gupta Malu
Trestor, an emerging Chandigarh-based tech start-up, has developed a global digital value token named trests that promises to be a game changer in the Indian IT space. The idea behind trests is to create value through social impact and community-driven activities. It is a way of incentivizing people for their contributions towards building communities as a resource. Trestor’s social business model aims to enrich communities through collective participation.
How it works
The company has initiated two community-driven initiatives aimed at promoting urban organic farming and community intranet, for which Trestor will extend all the necessary infrastructural support and know-how. All one needs to get started is a smart phone, on which one can download the mobile application developed by the company and start earning in trests through community-building activities.
Under the community-driven urban organic farming initiative named Trestor Grow, the company will provide 10 ft by 5 ft organic gardens, where people can cultivate fresh, healthy and cancer-free food for self-consumption. They can pay for these organic gardens in trests in easy installments.
Trests can be purchased from nearby retailers, who can easily be located using the Trestor mobile app or website. Community members can also use the value token to purchase freshly grown vegetables from each other. The Trestor’s crop sensor technology helps the community members in households, and they need to devote less than 15 minutes a day to tending to their crop. Harvesting the produce at its peak is an added advantage.
“Trestor organic gardens are up to 10 times more productive than rural holdings. An area of one sq m is all you need to produce 20 kg of food a year. The drip irrigation system introduced by Trestor reduces water wastage by 90 percent,” said Kunal Dixit, Founder, Trestor.
The initiative of community-driven intranet also creates immense value for end users by providing them faster speeds at zero cost and enabling them to save on data through media sharing. Called Trestor Community Network (TCN), it is a free-to-use community-powered local communication and media sharing Wi-Fi network that helps communities become more self-reliant and stay connected in case of emergencies like power outage or internet disruption. Uploaders are charged a small fee in trests so that only relevant content is uploaded. TCN has a system of tipping the uploader about the content and a community-driven approach to automatically reporting and flushing out spam or copyright material so as to involve the entire community in keeping their TCN spam and piracy-free.
Originating as a pilot project in Chandigarh in February 2015, the social entrepreneurship initiative has received an encouraging response, touching a base of about 700 retailers spread across 61 countries in a span of just one year.
Security is crucial
The security and safety of T-Net is the utmost concern, and the company has adequate safeguards in place to ensure that users’ security is uncompromised. T-Net is not only safe and secure, but claims to be also far more efficient, convenient and faster than traditional modes of transaction.
Moreover, T-Net is getting more and more decentralised with each passing day. Trestor has also enabled password-protected IDs that can be accessed through Facebook, email and phone number. Trestor’s engineers have spent over 18 months on R&D to turn trest into one of the most secure digital tokens in the world. Unlike other systems, Trestor is a protocol and a network, not a server. While servers can be hacked, protocols are hack-proof.
Scope of digital transactions
Trest might emerge as an alternative to cash transactions, but that’s not what the company is looking at. It is for the community to decide how they want to use trests.
Dixit asserted, “As a tech start-up, our role is confined to facilitating business transactions. A non-banking, non-financial company, we are not in the business of money at all. We are simply the custodians of trest, the value of which will be dictated by its demand and circulated volumes. The value of each trest will grow in proportion to the growth of the Trestor community network.”
He further added that while consumers can use trests to pay for goods and services, as is becoming widely acceptable, this value token goes beyond just digitising cash transactions owing to its incentive-linked mechanism. The fact that only 2% transactions are currently digital offers immense scope for growth in years to come.
Under a decentralised system, trests are neither linked to any commodity nor controlled by any government. The acceptability of this digital value token also lies in the incentive-linked mechanism and participative approach that rewards people for contributing to community-driven activities. This faster and much more convenient digital alternative can also cater to the country’s unbanked population in a big way. Just as we have now become so used to swiping our credit cards and using our card details for online shopping, the day is not far when we will all be using our smart phones as our digital wallets.