Too often there are stories popping up of the unbelievably negative landscape that protrudes online social media platforms. Too often, we’ll come across the news of incessant and overt negativity being the language of the online space with very little incentive for doing the right thing being available. Until now.
Matei Fawzy was enamoured with the notion of giving back and spreading some positivity in the world during the lockdown in 2020 and sought to create a social media platform with a twist – it’s run with the expressed notion of gratitude and kindness being primary throughout the user experience.
It’s bold new territory but it doesn’t seem to faze the young entrepreneur who had time to sit with us and talk a little more about the platform known as ASANTe, his motivations behind it and why it’s important to express positivity in an increasingly negative world.
Hey Matei, thank you very much for taking the time to answer a few questions, let’s start from the beginning shall we, what is Asante?
ASANTe is an innovative, ethical social media- fintech platform designed to culturally disrupt toxic social media by curating kindness and bringing users together around the social and environmental causes they care about. Our goal is to ensure that people begin to “feed,” on positive, inspirational and uplifting stories about difference makers in their communities and use ASANTe to thank, acknowledge, and reward them.
Also, sometimes you want to do more, but have no idea where to go and get started, and we want ASANTe to be the first place you turn to see who you can support and empower in your community.
With so many platforms permeating the online space, what makes Asante stand out from the crowd?
ASANTe provides an empowering digital space for users to practice gratitude and supports ‘difference makers’ in their efforts to address critical social and environmental issues in their communities. On ASANTe, posts and comments have real value, allowing users to pay it forward and reward those difference makers in the community with small monetary gifts.
ASANTe has a patent pending for a mechanism that generates a stable coin currency called the Tcredit. Every time users attach 5cents and send a TCard, they generate a new digital currency transparently. We call the Tcredit, the currency of kindness. In their T-Wallets users can see the total Tcredits generated as a result of their engagement on ASANTe, as the sum of $ sent or received through TCards or comments (a Tcredits score).
With the introduction of a payment system in place with T-Credits and a T-Wallet, what can users look forward to with the investment of real-world money?
Each post users create on ASANTe supports a cause, appreciates a difference maker in their community and/or empowers their friends to practice gratitude or further contribute to the causes they care about. Users can attach min 5cents to a post but can also send a $100 TCard to an organization they want to contribute towards. We wanted everyone to be able and engage on ASANTe and make small contributions just as meaningful as larger ones.
Comments turn into mini-gifts to the receiver of a TCard, adding to the value originally intended by the sender. We designed ASANTe to reward difference makers with more than social media recognition. It is up to them to cash the funds received as appreciation gifts, use them to empower others or send them in support of a cause they care about.
What was the inspiration behind starting the company? Was it a singular lightbulb moment, or perhaps a buildup over time?
ASANTe’s story started early in quarantine last year as an idea for an application which would allow us to send a ‘Thank you’ note with a monetary value attached as a gesture of appreciation for healthcare workers and first responders. People were applauding, bringing pizza to hospitals for those working non-stop with COVID patients and we thought, it would be good if we all could send $1 or 2 to those COVID units or to some of those extraordinary people going above and beyond.
In return, they could use to buy their own refreshments or simply send their own TCards to others supporting them in this difficult period. We started to envision a chain of ‘good deeds’ and I realized that looking at this positive expression of appreciation, gratitude would bring light in a sea of social media negativity. In that moment, ASANTe development moved towards a new social network that has a fin-tech application connected to it.
Where do you see ASANTe heading in the future? Would you see the company expand?
Absolutely, we envision ASANTe as an ecosystem that brings together difference makers, and conscious businesses to affect real change and create a better world for all. We also see ASANTe as a reputational tool that differentiates those influencers and other social media users who make a real difference in our world. ASANTe was launched in the USA but we have a clear strategy when it comes to expanding globally.
Is there a piece of advice you can recall that made a real difference in the development of Asante?
Yes, during one of our meetings with the IP team, one of our advisors suggested that we call the Tcredit an ethical digital currency. That discussion triggered many others around conscious leadership and businesses who would be interested to support the difference makers on ASANTe, either influencers who advocate for social or environmental causes or small non-profit organizations who struggle with fundraising for their communities.
There’s a lot of focus on wellness and mental health awareness scattered through the application and its rhetoric, how intertwined into the user experience is having this awareness?
ASANTe was designed based on research showing that expressions of gratitude contribute to our mental health and well-being. On ASANTe users get exposed only to positive, empowering messages. Additionally, creating a TCard takes you through a mindful process that focuses users’ minds on reflecting upon the reasons behind the message they want to send. We specifically designed paid comments as a tool that discourages negativity, while hopefully reducing the pain a receiver of a negative comment might feel.
I see users checking ASANTe on their way too work in the morning, starting the day on a positive note but I also hope users reflect upon their days and send a message of gratitude or provide a supportive comment on someone’s reflection. On ASANTe, you will always find an empowering community of likeminded people living life with purpose.
Thank you Matei for your time!