How Wize has built an infra and API toolkit to help businesses ship their NFT products to users in hours
With Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) emerging as a revolutionary way to record and prove ownership of digital assets on blockchain, venturing into NFTs was a no-brainer for entrepreneur Saurav Raaj.
For a few years, Saurav was building Senderment, a blockchain app empowering institutions to collect data from users and connecting them with businesses looking to harness user data (with their explicit consent).
When NFTs emerged as a way to record user data in a private, secure, and immutable manner on blockchain, Saurav saw it as the next step in Senderment’s journey.
“While Senderment worked on a transaction level, we now work with NFTs at the protocol level, and we have rebranded to Wize. For customers, the infrastructure comes from the blockchain, and they don't incur any infrastructure cost, and the middleware comes from us,” he tells The Decrypting Story.
The Wize offering
Founded by Saurav alongside his former Schlumberger colleague Smriti Chaudhry, Wize is now positioning itself as a one-stop NFT infrastructure and API toolkit for businesses, DAOs, and developers.
Its range of offerings span POAP (Proof of Attendance Protocol) NFTs - which are curated collectibles to show proof of attendance at online and offline events, Identity NFTs - which are decentralised identity solutions for gig workers, Certificate NFTs - for academic courses, Awards - customisable NFTs for contests, Tickets - for NFT-based event ticketing, gift cards, and more.
Like many other blockchain apps, Wize runs on the Polygon chain (which is a Layer-2 network built on Ethereum). Senderment ran on Hyperledger (a private blockchain service), but Saurav is now a firm believer in Layer-2 solutions built on public chains like Ethereum.
He explains, “Two years ago, everyone wanted their own blockchain. Hyperledger, Corda etc attracted companies looking for enterprise-level solutions that kept data private. They wanted to run it as a virtual machine in a cloud server. But now, public chains have become efficient and Layer-2 chains have made them fast and more economical.”
Now, if a startup or a large enterprise wants to build a blockchain app, it is easier to work on an existing public chain without incurring maintenance costs, server issues etc related to private chains.
Further, if they want to deploy NFTs for awards, events, certificates, etc they can use a product like Wize to leverage Polygon and Ethereum to curate and mint NFTs in an easy manner.
“We’ve been working with ecommerce enablement firms, and we identified that gig workers and delivery agents don’t have any personal identity profile or work profile, and as a consequence, it becomes difficult for them to avail financial services. Using our Senderment concept, we decided to use blockchain to record employment history and generate their profiles. This way, there’s no fuss in accessing data in a secure manner,” Saurav says.
“This is being piloted at the moment, but it led us down the road to thinking how personal and professional data (beyond just financial data) can be encoded into NFTs, and how we could build offerings around the same.”
Early days of starting up
For Saurav, NFTs were seemingly the natural progression from the Senderment concept, which was originally all about simplified data collection of personal, identity, and financial information.
In fact, he first set down this path when he took notice of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). GDPR is a regulation in EU law that gives control of personal data to individuals.
Saurav also encountered several laws in the US that protected the personal data of residents. The Schlumberger employee felt India needed products or guidelines to help individuals protect and control their personal data.
In August 2020, Saurav and Smriti Chaudhry launched Senderment in Mumbai, and was one of India’s earliest data collection applications in the public domain using the Account Aggregator (AA) framework.
Now, with Wize, the co-founders are playing in an NFT segment that is heating up in India. The likes of Rario, GuardianLink, Vibranium, Diginoor, Ikonz, Colexion, BeyondLife, WazirX NFT Marketplace, etc., are all building unique approaches to make the most of this emerging market.
However, while many startups are focussing on a marketplace or customer-centric offering, Wize is looking to work with businesses, DAOs, and developers to ship their NFTs to users in a few hours.