Imagine this scenario. You log on to your favorite online retailers, such as Amazon or Walmart. You pick out the items you want to buy and go to check out. But when you enter your address, you see the message that many online shoppers across the world dread the most.
"This item does not ship to your country."
For people that live in countries like India, Russia, China, Brazil, and numerous others, this kind of message has become the bane of their online shopping lives. For various reasons, online retailers restrict shipments to some countries. This is a surprisingly common and growing problem, and it affects millions of shoppers daily.
These kinds of problems are not limited to just a specific group of countries, either. Sellers on online auction sites like eBay often refuse to ship anything outside of their own home countries. Want to buy an antique watch from England but live in Canada? Sorry, the only seller on eBay with the item you want won't ship to your country.
Taxes and Duties Can Make International Buying Uneconomical
In addition to shipping related woes, shoppers from some parts of the world are charged outrageous, punishing import duties and taxes. These fees can often be more than the price or value of the actual item being shipped.
Freight forwarding companies do exist and offer services that allow shoppers to shop freer than usual, but they are often exorbitantly expensive, and not always reliable. They are also notorious for overcharging customers on lightweight items. Your package weighs 1.01 kilograms? They will charge you for 2.
Blockchain Solution to a Real World Problem
As more people join the online marketplace, this problem has only become increasingly apparent. That's why LWF, or Local World Forwarders, an European blockchain startup is launching their new and innovative P2P freight forwarding service.
Here's how it works. Let's say a shopper faces the dreaded error message above, and the items they want to buy can't be shipped to their country.
Instead of giving up, the shopper can buy LWF tokens, called LWF, and pay for a low-cost reshipment service. The package will first be sent to a country that the items can be shipped to, such as the United States. A network participant (more on that later) will receive the package and send it on to the shopper. The network participant gets rewarded with LWF tokens, and the shopper gets their package.
So who are the network participants, or private forwarders, that will receive and send packages to their final destinations? They are regular people who have undergone KYC and AML (know your customer, and anti-money laundering) checks, and have made a security deposit with the network to ensure compliance with the program. Private forwarders can earn a steady income stream just for participating.
The token itself, LWF, is based on the unique delegated proof-of-stake, or DPoS model that is used by other currencies like BitShares. DPoS allows for stake-based mining and distributed governance so that the community can guide the future of the platform.
After successfully completing their pre-sale, LWF is gearing up to offer their main public ICO this January. The LWF ICO is not only accepting Bitcoin and Ether, but they are also accepting (directly, not through Shapeshift) a wide array of interesting altcoins like Shift, Lisk, Oxycoin, Ark, PIVX, and ZCoin.
LWF could be a game changer for online shoppers and sellers across the globe. This also shows the length at which blockchain disruption has gotten to and how it is affecting everything around us.