How a passion for travel has inspired a blockchain ecosystem that can change the way we see the world.
In September of 2021 we had the opportunity to engage in an exciting Q&A discussion with the CEO and Co-Founder of Tripedia, Mr. Jospeh Zheng. What we found in Joseph is inspired entrepreneurship and strong determination to change and improve the way we travel, an industry and a pastime that he cares very deeply about. Speaking with passionate startup founders is always fun, so we are very glad to present today this very enlightening Q&A conversation with one of the crypto sector’s most creative minds.
What’s your crypto ‘origin story?’ What led you to the idea of Tripedia?
I was actually a fairly early investor in blockchain. I bought my first bitcoin in 2013 for around $50 USD, I later sold all of my BTC at $200, which at that time I considered to be a good return. Looking back now, of course selling my BTC was a massive mistake! But I still consider it to be a great learning experience. I then stepped away from cryptocurrency investments for a while and started focusing on my own business pursuits in the travel sector, an industry which I have always had a lot of passion for. It was around 2017 when my business began becoming stable, and in parallel the blockchain industry was developing strongly in Singapore, so it was then that I started to see a whole new opportunity. What if I could run my travel business on blockchain? I saw the vast potential for blockchain, and how it could solve lots of pain points in the travel industry. After lots of research, and with the help of some good friends, the concept of Tripedia started to become a reality.
What is your background in the travel industry?
Traveling is the greatest passion of my life. I love going to different countries and experiencing different cultures, and seeing different natural landscapes and cities than what I am used to in my home country. The reason I got started in the travel industry, funny enough, is because it was my dream to have a honeymoon with my wife in Bora Bora, Tahiti. At that time I was a new graduate from university, and thus travelling the world to exotic destinations like Bora Bora was out of our budget. So like most people would do, I tried to find a way to get to Bora Bora via discount travel sites, but the the options were simply not there. Then one day I suddenly thought, what if I set up my own travel agency and represented Tahiti tourism? I thought maybe with my own travel agency that I could obtain cheaper fares and hotel stays, which would make a Bora Bora getaway more accessible for my wife and I. At that time there were no companies in Singapore or South East Asia that I could find which were representing the Tahiti tourism market, so I started my own travel company that did, and it worked! My company grew to represent tourism products from Fiji, Maldives, Samoa, The Cook Islands, Guam, Bali, Mauritius, Seychelles, and more. And then with the further development of the internet, our business gradually moved from offline to online, and we began to play a supplier role for big online travel agencies (OTA’s) like Booking, Agoda, CTRIP, etc. At first the partnership benefited both my company and the OTA’s, but gradually, the big platforms began to take advantage of their strong website traffic and increased profit sharing, and that began to create a difficult situation for businesses like ours.
What problems in the travel industry do you see?
The big OTA platforms are monopolizing the industry. Not only do they make money from consumers, but also they are making money from suppliers, simply by acting as an intermediary.
Why did you start Tripedia?
I think blockchain is the best chance to end the monopoly from OTA platforms. Blockchain will be the game changer.
What is your vision for Tripedia?
Tripedia aims at solving the problem of the tourism industry being severely centralized due to the monopoly of the OTA’s. Our mission is to provide all the tourism market participants with a platform where they can equally participate in the information sharing and resource trading. But the biggest difference between Tripedia and other projects like Travala is our AITD (Artificial Intelligence Travel Designer). We believe that this will set us apart!
How important is community to Tripedia?
We look at Tripidea as an ecosystem that will eventually be run by community by DAO (decentralized autonomous organization). We hope that after successfully building this platform, one day the management rights will be handed over to the community and all the tourism market participants of the Tripedia platform will equally participate.
How will the $TRIP token be used in the Tripedia ecosystem?
Our vision for the $TRIP token is for it to be used in various ways, such as making hotel reservations, designing itineraries, booking airplane tickets, etc. In the future perhaps $TRIP’s use will also extend to things like travel items such as luggage, etc. Anything is possible, and we don’t want to be limited. And of course, $TRIP can also be earned by sharing information via our Tripedia Data Collections tool which powers our AITD (AI Travel Designer). We debuted that last week and it’s off to a great start!
What are your hopes for the tourism sector? Are you hopeful for a rebound in business and a resurgence in people traveling?
It’s a very difficult time for the travel industry, but in some countries we are seeing that tourism is recovering, but there is still a lot of progress needed to be made. I believe the travel industry needs to rebuild with new innovations and technology for the post-covid era, like digital vaccine passports, etc. Via technology I am confident that we can speed up the pace of the tourism industry’s recovery.
Why are you so passionate about travel?
Life is short, and the world is vast, travel is the best way for us to get to know the world. Travel is the best way to understand people from different countries and cultures.
In 5 years, where do you hope to see Tripedia?
I hope people, especially crypto enthusiasts, will be able to rely on Tripedia as a main solution for travel, and I hope we will see lots of people and organizations participating in the further development of the Tripedia ecosystem.
Special Note of Thanks: “I would like to take this opportunity to give everyone in our growing Tripedia a community a very special thank you. Our team has received so many great emails and messages of support from community members from all over the world. It’s truly amazing! Thank you all!” ~Joseph