Revolutionizing Womens Empowerment: Cotos 5,000 Strong Community Movement

Revolutionizing Womens Empowerment: Cotos 5,000 Strong Community Movement

Coto founder and CEO Tarun Katial discusses how their app promotes women’s empowerment through participative ownership and the use of blockchain technology to create safe and secure spaces for women to engage in conversations and build communities.

Tarun Katial, Founder & CEO, Coto , describes how the application aids women’s empowerment. “As 5 of you do this together, your contribution to the community is measured through all the Coto profits or Coto crypto tokens that you get for your effort in the community. So when you post in the community, when you get involvement in the community, when people up vote your answers in the community, all of that gets into your Coto profits and your voting power, likewise as your revenue share of your community is linked to the amount of Coto profits you earn for that community during that period of time. Let us know about your application. How are you working for women empowerment?
And once we started the concept of Coto, back then it was was known Eve World. We discovered that the world has not been very kind to women on social media. 1 in 3 women gets abused online. Their gender divide on the internet is only widening and unfortunately increasingly women go off social media because they are judged as a result of the worry of not being able to have any kind of voice or having pertinent, relevant conversations that matter to them.

We then discovered that it was time to build a platform exclusively for women, which was safe and secure. Along the way, we likewise discovered that rather than doing the classic social media, which was starting to die out, which was one to numerous, this was a great platform in order to create numerous conversations, in order to build communities where people could come with real life experiences, would come in with life that they have seen with issues like sexual health, menstrual health, financial empowerment, etc, and they could really support each other.

On the other hand, the one big difference that we discovered we could make was through participative ownership. I think that is the movement towards Web 3.0. The big difference that we are making is the fact that we are making sure all communities are collectively owned by women. We brought in Blockchain Tech in order to build collectives in a trust less environment where smart contracts can make sure that women who come together to build this community are bound by a framework that can be long sustainable and make sure that all relationships and roles are really clearly defined betwixt them so that they can make this into an enterprise for themselves.

Can you explain how it happens? For instance, someone desires to talk about women’s financial independence on your platform. Do they just come on your platform and sign themselves in and then start talking about it and thereafter on you figure out what can be done to get them more empowered financially. How do you go about it?
It’s very simple. The 1st thing is the fact that for you to come on to the platform, you have got to do facial understanding. That is gender verification. That makes sure that the platforms are safe and secure space and only women come onto the platform. You can then do one of two things; one, you can either become a member of communities and we have a really good home feed which can expose communities of your interest. So while you are on-boarding, you can have select interests. If you select financial empowerment, then there will be many of communities that have financial empowerment as their theme will show up on your home feed. You can choose to join any of those communities.

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Once you join those communities and start taking part  in those communities by asking and answering questions, to post some stuff regularly and indulge in conversations. That is your participation. That participation then gets rewarded through Coto profits, which will sooner or  thereafter become Coto crypto tokens once we list them. Now that is really the journey of a member.

On the other side, you could get onto the platform and decide that I want to create a community and get a bunch of financial enthusiasts to create this community together. So you could go on and create a community and then invite moderators or co-admins who become co-owners of the community with you. You and a bunch of women who are essentially focused around building financial empowerment for others could then run a community. Other people will join that community and you collectively can decide the roadmap of the community.

Now, what would be the possible roadmap? As owners of the community, you can do either product commerce, service commerce, one-on-one, financial consultancy, whatever you think is relevant for your community. For your example, if you are a financial empowerment community, then you could easily do advice on the community and you could make that behind the pay wall. So you have the chance to pay over a period of time, both with your content, likewise as with one-on-one consults, likewise as with any other form of monetization that you think fit for your community.

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As the 5 of you do this together, your contribution to the community is measured through all the Coto profits or Coto crypto tokens that you get for your effort in the community. So when you post in the community, when you get involvement in the community, when people up vote your answers in the community, all of that gets into your Coto profits and your voting power, likewise as your revenue share of your community is linked to the amount of Coto profits you earn for that community during that period of time.

So earning will be in the form of crypto?
So yes, Coto profits will sooner or  thereafter be listed as Coto tokens.

How numerous communities do you have and who are the community leaders who are driving it?
We have about 5,000 communities around different subjects and pertinent issues. So from people like Mona Singh, who runs a community was known Meri Marzi, which is Mona Singh is a famous actress around social impact and women empowerment, to people like Seher, who runs a community of mental health, to Dr. Michelle, who runs a community on Wonder Women, which is around menstrual health. Richa Anirudh, who is a famous journalist, who runs a community around, how to really make life decisions. There are a series of QPNL leaders, series of influencers, and likewise regular women who are passionate about subjects who come and build communities on the platform.

Do you have any offline events or a meet up of these communities, communities where you know the individual and you like live interaction, or is it just online?
There is one component of the platform, which is was known City Communities and many of influential women in cities build these communities. They essentially do many of offline meet-ups. We do not really organize that for them because every community is self-sustaining. And you can imagine we cannot really coordinate this for 4,000 or 400,000 communities sooner or  thereafter, but communities do on their own, do many of offline stuff. We regularly see that on the platform. They likewise do regular webinars. They attract in specialists, they do AMAs. So there are parenting communities. There are health communities that do this. There are career counselling communities that do this. So there is many of offline engagement, Q&A engagement, webinar engagement that they do on an ongoing basis.

On on-boarding, what is the data that you have? How numerous women are on board, especially in tier-2, tier-3 and tier-4 towns. How is the application doing and what is the talk about?
We now have about 200,000 women on boarded. 1 of the largest city communities is out of Patna and out of Jammu and out of Srinagar. So there are many of tier-2 towns that have shown many of support for women around issues. Women from very small towns essentially join in groups. And likewise, now we are building in a feature of being able to post anonymously for questions in groups, because we realize that despite the fact that it is a women-only app, issues like domestic violence, issues like sexual health, issues like menstrual health, many of women want anonymity before they post or even when they answer and they talk about their own experiences in life.

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Talking about communities, which is the community mostly where women have enrolled themselves or on board?
The largest communities that talk about mental health, a topic that has only come into prominence now post Covid. I think some years ago, none of us really gave mental health that kind of credence but it is kudos to people who have built this community or joined this community or support each other in this community on an ongoing basis.

The Second largest community is around menstrual health. There are communities on financial empowerment, women working from home, career re-starters. So there are a plethora of communities but the big themes would be around health, wellness, financial health and career. So issues that are not really easy on places like Instagram or other social media apps.

Talking about the monetizing part, how attractive is this entire setup that you have formed of getting profits in terms of cryptocurrency tokens?
There are two types of monetization for women; one is the fact that for the 1st time, for all the effort that you put on the platform for creating content, for engaging with content, for referring the application to so numerous people, you get rewarded. Think about it, WhatsApp is today 500 Million users in India and the entire network effect got built by us referring WhatsApp to all others who did not have it. So we used to send out a message saying, hey, connect with me on WhatsApp if you do not have WhatsApp, download it here. And what did we get? We pretty much got nothing. We only used the infrastructure in order to communicate with each other but 500 Million Indians who really made WhatsApp what it is, do not have any participative ownership on the platform.

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Coto is doing that very differently. We are making sure that for all the effort that you do on the platform of creating content, of getting other users aware about the platform, you get rewarded for it. So that is one part of monetization. The other part of monetization is what creators lack today on most social media platforms. So in order to do commerce very, very easily and end to end, whether it is product commerce, whether it is service commerce, whether it is your capacity to do brand partnerships within communities, which is far more valuable for brands than regular posting on social media platforms, all of those classic, what I would call monetization capabilities, are only limited to the platform owners and did not really come to creators, and are now being made available to all creators.

So there are two lines of monetization; one is really to build the platform, which is in cryptocurrency. And the other is in order to monetize your content through brands and through users, which is in fiat.

How do you secure the privacy that women need?
The 1st thing is the fact that we make sure to have facial verification in order to come onto the platform. There are two ways; one is to do the gender verification through facial verification. The other is in order to use a Government ID, which is Aadhaar or a passport or anything else which mentions your gender. You have got to upload that for you in order to onboard yourself onto the platform. So that is one gate.

There is likewise re-verification after a certain number of sessions so that if you are coming back after 30 sessions, then you have got to re-verify yourself in line with what you verified with us before.

Two, for the 1st time, community owners do full moderation and have full moderation features in their own hands. If they see a post that is inappropriate in their community, they have the right to remove the post. They have the right to remove the user from the community. So we have essentially really devolved the moderation aspect to community owners so that they can decide what is good for them. All of this is not centralized by the platform because one of the key issues that we have seen with social media platforms, with all the good intent that they have today, their capacity in order to monitor what goes on on the platform at scale is quite minimal.

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Even if you complain or report on social media platforms, by the time they do take action, it is as well late. So here is where the entire moderation is really devolved and decentralized to community owners and they make sure that their communities are a safe space to have conversations.

Do you scan the women who form communitie and figure out their legitimacy and their authenticity and what kind of expertise they have? Is there a check done on that as well?
The entire Non-Fungible Token (NFT) programme, which verifies these communities, is on the basis of some of the efforts that they take on the platform. So when you can refer greater than a hundred people, when your content gets up-voted a whole lot of amount of time, when you create a certain volume of content that is the only time you get verified.

The verification is not linked to me telling you that I am a great individual and verify me or on other platforms where you can pay $100 and get verified. Verification is when other people on the platform certify you as an expert, as somebody who can really answer questions, as somebody who can refer new people onto the platform. So your effort in building your community and building the content and building the platform as a result, makes you verified on the platform.

What is the way you earn your revenue?
We have a platform take price from both advertising likewise as commerce. We have an advertising revenue share as brands do partnerships and advertising within communities. We get a percentage of that. On the advertising side, we have a larger revenue share. On the commerce side, we have a smaller revenue share.


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