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Simon Yu, CEO & Co-Founder of StormX – Interview Series

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Simon Yu is the CEO and Co-Founder of StormX, a mobile app and browser extension that makes earning crypto as easy as possible. By offering Crypto Cashback in the form of bitcoin, ethereum, Litecoin, DAI and StormX’s native token (STMX), StormX allows its members to receive crypto rewards while purchasing everyday items, at their favorite stores.

Simon Yu previously worked as a financial analyst intern for Amazon and senior credit risk analyst for KeyBank. After graduating from the University of Washington in 2014, he participated in a Berkley Blockchain Xcelerator held by the University of California in 2020.

Could you share the genesis story behind StormX and how it originated from the BitMaker app that your Co-Founder created that rewarded people with Bitcoin for watching a short 30 second video?

My Co-Founder and I struggled financially through college, paying our own tuition and bills while at school. After creating BitMaker and seeing the user base grow, we realized the demand to earn money without a catch. In 2015 we set out on a mission to create more opportunities for people to put a little more in their pockets, because in our experience we came to understand that sometimes even a little bit can go a long way. 

StormX then began with the options to earn Bitcoin by watching videos and taking surveys. When did the second iteration of cashback first begin?

Our white paper reflects three different methods to be aligned for people to earn cashback: Play to Earn, Shop to Earn, and Perform to Earn. Early on, we discovered just how many people were willing to watch 30 second videos, even if the rewards were lackluster. We wanted to offer our users more opportunities to earn money because it was clear we had stumbled across a need and willing user base.

At one point StormX pivoted away from Bitcoin to Ethereum, could you discuss the reason behind this and what it meant for the company?

We pivoted away from Bitcoin in the summer of 2017 when Bitcoin went up from $400-$3,000 in less than a month. The transaction fees spiked to the extent that we would lose money from attempting to withdraw StormX profits out of our wallets. Our shift to Ethereum gave our company more flexibility and lowered fees so that we were able to grow the different ways we could allow our users to earn cashback.

Could you share some details behind the Portland Trail Blazers partnership and how it has benefited StormX?

We became the first-ever crypto jersey patch partner in the NBA a year ago. This has been a tremendous service to StormX due to the notoriety of the NBA. We have been reached out to by a number of different companies who recognize us just because of our connection to the Trail Blazers. Partnering with Portland has been an excellent opportunity to bridge people interested in sports and crypto as well as onboard new users. 

Could you discuss the StormX revenue model behind consumer shopping and offering cashbacks?

There are two sides to the Storm Market, the StormX Makers and StormX Players. The Makers are sellers, advertisers and companies who use STMX tokens to place tasks on the Storm Market. The players are subsequently the users who participate in the “micro-tasks” we offer which make up the various avenues we offer for our consumers to earn cashback.

StormX is working on offering a debit card, what will be the advantages offered to users?

The advantages include 5% Crypto Cashback on all purchases among a number of different coins; this is a very inclusive offer compared to other rewards programs. Our users can spend and earn $STMX at millions of locations globally as they seek to spend, earn, and save through our card.  

Could you discuss some of the tokenomics behind the STMX token?

The STORM token is an ERC-20 token that facilitates transactions on our marketplace. Consumers can earn bolts from completing particular tasks which may be redeemed for ETH, BTC or STORM tokens which can be used in a variety of ways. One example is to use the STORM token to pay for a listing of tasks on the Storm Market, which makes for a win-win for players and makers.

What are some of the core challenges behind reaching mass adoption?

One of the core challenges behind mass adoption rests in user experience. To draw a parallel, we are in the Dial-Up days right now, where it used to take 2 days to download a video game. As UI/UX developments take shape, we will see many more users onboard to Web3 because by then, it will feel like a seamless transition for them. We are focused on making our user experience as smooth and easy as possible.

Is there anything else that you would like to share about StormX?

StormX was made for people who want to earn money without a catch. We are proudly being used in 150 countries in the world with millions of users, dedicated to helping people out who need extra income.

Thank you for the great interview, readers who wish to learn more should visit StormX.

Antoine Tardif is the founding partner of Securities.io, the CEO of BlockVentures.com, and has invested in over 50 blockchain & AI projects. He is the founder of Unite.AI a news website for AI and Robotics. He is also a member of the Forbes Technology Council.