Volareo Launches ‘Alternative’ Blockchain Smart Speaker

Netherlands-based startup Volareo today launched the “world’s first open source smart speaker” on the crowdfunding site Indiegogo.

Described as an alternative smart speaker, Volareo “makes the benefits of blockchain accessible and cryptocurrency easy to use” through partnerships with Musicoin, Choon, Emanate, Soundeon, Jazz de Ville, and other blockchain-based music platforms.

The company said it aims to “capture the blockchain music market” by delivering an “easy platform for artists and users to interact [that] can be used to intelligently search for and discover music using voice.”

Here’s how Valareo describes its namesake speaker on its website:

I am Volareo. At first, I am a smart speaker. You can ask me questions and give me commands, or you can have me play your favorite tunes. I am here to help you! I am also completely private and fully open source. I am built for you, an independent thinker who values privacy and believes decentralization is the future.

I am Volareo. An open platform that allows creators, developers, cryptocurrency enthusiasts, blockchain partners and voice commerce to thrive within my decentralized ecosystem, where privacy and anonymity is guaranteed.

Volareo said its partnership with Musicoin “makes for seamless and free listening for users, whilst fairly compensating musicians for each stream.”

The speaker comes preloaded with 500 Musicoins (the equivalent of $10) allowing listeners to tip their favorite artists by speaking or clapping; a double authorization system allows listeners to verify all tips before they are sent.

“Blockchain music has huge potential to drive much needed revenue to artists, particularly independent ones, transparently, directly, and instantly,” explained Valareo founder Nick Yap. “The listener gets the chance to connect on a much closer level with the artist, by being able to tip artists or buy merchandise, for example, via voice commerce,” which he said is poised to reach $45 billion in 2020.

Yap pointed out that an artist earns only a fraction of a cent per stream — $0.00397 per stream in the case of Spotify — which means he/she needs 380,000 streams to earn around $1,500.

“As an upcoming artist, that is not enough to cover your living expenses,” he said. “Volareo makes it possible for listeners to give a musician a 'tip'. You support a musician with a donation, by pressing a button or by clapping your hands.”

Slated for delivery in early 2019, the Valareo speaker is priced at $199 but can be pre-ordered through September 15 for $99 on indiegogo.com. As of 3 p.m., only 14 out of 300 “early bird” offers had been claimed but the company had already exceeded its $20,000 funding goal with 30 backers pledging $20,759.

For more information, visit volareo.live .