Valhalla, Blockchain Human Extraction Program in Times of Disaster, Plans ICObr>
Valhalla bills itself as a blockchain-based Human Disaster Recovery company. It plans to leverage cryptocurrency and privacy technologies with operations experience to enable people to survive major traumatic events and thrive.
This year has already seen significant natural disasters in the US, including flooding in Houston and hurricane disaster in Puerto Rico. These incidents have shown that the federal government response is not fast.
There is not, as yet, an on-demand private human evacuation service. Valhalla hopes to solve that with its team drawn from Silicon Valley executives, US Navy Seals, State Department veterans and former FBI employees. Its services include human extraction, provision of safe location compounds available for multiple-month stays (termed a “Valhalla”), and products and services like survival kits and satellite phones. All of it done via tokens available in a planned ICO.
Dr. Ken Baylor, a former Chief Security Officer for Symantec and head of worldwide compliance for Uber, talked with Block Tribune about the planned service.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: Tell me how Vallhalla works, in your vision.
KEN BAYLOR: This is the Bay Area scenario, and what we’ve done is we’ve talked and we have done a lot of validation on how things work. We’ve also done a lot of work with a couple of companies that sell helicopter services in areas like Las Vegas. And what we saw is, that most of the time, or a lot of the time, they’ve got a lot of helicopter and pilot capacity and it’s just sitting there on the ground. A lot of them are being used for things like tourism and being used for a few hours a day.
And our thought would be that if there was something along the Bay area earthquake lines, they would literally phone up a number for the company providing this service, then provide contract details and provide a pick up point of where they are and how bad things are. At that point, if there was a San Francisco earthquake, these helicopters would already have been moved to a staging location. We have a few picked out. At that point, they will pop in, collect them, and get them out. Some of the harder issues to do are gaining access to the flight permissions, where to go, and how to do that. We actually have our Navy Seals on board. They have done a lot of work on how to handle those emergency situations, because they’ve done certain very, very similar things through Hurricane Harvey.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: Who’s your target audience for this?
KEN BAYLOR: There’s actually quite a few. We are planning, eventually, going global. So in a lot of cases, wealthy people. But what we are looking at doing is figuring every way to drive down the prices dramatically. What we are hoping for is people could basically afford somewhere around $1,000 to $2,000 dollars per seat. We think that is actually achievable based on the rates of the contract fulfilling within a year or two. So, originally a rider would be the sort of people who can afford this as an actual plan B, because I think we are already getting a flood of interest. We’ve only had the website live for about twenty-four hours and we are just barely starting media outreach. We have already had people contacting us looking to drop hundreds of thousands of dollars on this, so we think some of those are either heavy investors or, potentially. customers.
We think in the short term we will just get it started and we already have the capacity of potential contracts in place for the one thousand seats a helicopter and one thousand sort of basic places for people to go. There seems to be a lot of traction on this already. So, I think in the short term, it will probably be people for who money is no object, and I think there will also be a lot of people of middle class who will be able to do this thing at some point, probably by slightly different means. There seems to be a lot of demand and there seems to also be a lot of raw materials that we could use.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: We have all seen those scenes of the last days of South Vietnam where people were scrambling and fighting to get on the helicopters. How are you going to deal with scenarios where there’s a public panic and everyone wants a seat on the helicopter? Are you prepared to take steps?
KEN BAYLOR: Yes. The thing is, we will try to avoid things like city zones and, if it is long lines, the Navy Seals will be making that decision on where people are, how to get them on, and how to identify them. So there are various technologies available, such as satellite phones, to identify who’s who, so we can get them on. It is probably going to be taken to some sort of remote location where there is going to be less urgency put in place to get our flexibility to get on there. We are hopefully going to send them to a building, a stable top of a building or somewhere they can taxi drive to. There will be a slightly different pick-up zone in a highly populated one.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: Would this be something automatic?
KEN BAYLOR: Yeah. It will be somewhere people will have to activate, so one of the conversations we’ve had are that a lot of things are going to be dependent upon the emergency. We think one of the common things will be a satellite phone and identifiable information. The people will get a satellite phone. The people will get their identifying information and separate batteries just in case of something horrific like an EMP. But still, basically, contact and our people and the whole process will kick off from there. We are very big on privacy, so in a lot of cases we need several identification for know-your-customer purposes. But once it opens their cells, we don’t need that anymore. We are probably not even going to do the KYC ourselves, so everything will be highly, highly private.
You will basically have the helicopter company come in and say, in this scenario, that something super bad happens. We will have one thousand seats available and then, on site, they will be auctioned off in one-seat increments. Then whoever purchases those contracts will get the information on how to contact the team in an emergency and how exactly those things are being planned out in detail. Our Navy Seals are going to explain how it’s going to work and they are going to set up the whole emergency process, because it is something they have dealt with themselves multiple times.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: There was a big problem in New Orleans, when Hurricane Katrina struck, whereby the first responders went to help their own families rather than help all the people. How are you going to be dealing with that?
KEN BAYLOR: Great question. Part of it is because of the regional nature of it. And you’re right, if the helicopter pilots were in New Orleans, and they needed to rescue people in New Orleans, then you’ve got a conflict. You’ve also got the probability that your helicopters or your first responders are going to have their own equipment damaged. The main focus of what we are doing is taking the wheel and spoke approach. Most of the resources will come from a centralized area, which will be a different one than the one affected. For example, most of our resources, especially from the helicopter side, will be coming from places like Las Vegas who would not be effected by a San Francisco event. Having them in Florida, they are going to be coming from a different region. So you’re right, then that is probably going to generate focusing on where there is a ton of resources and then allocating them to where the emergency is.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: What do you perceive as the biggest threat we’re facing in the next year? Is it North Korea, it is the weather, or is it something else?
KEN BAYLOR: I think for certain regions, North Korea is absolutely terrifying, Whenever we’ve talked to people in Hong Kong and they have a lot of mainlands contact, they are worried about the political crackdowns over there, so that’s another area. Whenever you’re talking to New York, they are constantly seeing financial collapse. Everyone’s got their different scenarios. I think they tend to be very geographically based.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: Tell me about the ICO you have coming up.
KEN BAYLOR: We’re still figuring that out. We have the dates, which is going to be the 28th of November. It’s going to be the pre-ICO. We haven’t finalized what exactly the terms of those are, but it’s a 20% discount coming in early. Demand is definitely there for some parts of the service. It is quite interesting in that the polarization between the people who are saying, “Oh, it’s a crazy idea,” versus those going, “Yeah, I’ve thought about this.” This is the Achilles heel of everybody’s plans of how do you get out of the realm alive and when we get out, how do you stay there. Then we are going to have the actual ICO in January, but the pre ICO is three or four weeks away.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: How much are you hoping to raise?
KEN BAYLOR: Probably around fifty million.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: Okay, got it. For that, how many bases will you establish to start?
KEN BAYLOR: For that, we would actually get three bases in the US, one in South East Asia, and one in Europe.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: What are the legal issues that govern something like this? Are you going to be empowered to use deadly force, if needed?
KEN BAYLOR: No, we will not be authorized for that, for deadly force. It will be one of those situations where you could do such a thing to defend yourself and your assets, so that would be the only reason. If you look at who we have on our team, we have the Department of Justice and the FBI, or people from those teams. We also have partnered with State. We are going to work for a policy with law enforcement abroad, and, if need be, we can enlist their support.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: Why is this a blockchain project?
KEN BAYLOR: Considering some of the digital currency projects – because there’s a lot of people who want to have this capability, who don’t want their identities discovered, so blockchain is perfect for that, number one. Then, number two, if you’re looking at things like financial collapse, potentially central computing will be gone, so the idea of it being a fully enabling escape center for those people to survive the end of the world. Blockchains are built on a concept of decentralization, so privacy is probably the absolutely main thing, and actually, disintermediation. That is part of a lot of the common scenes in there.
For example, if you imagine a normal scenario, you build a marketplace and a bunch of vendors would go under it who would never be vetted, and they would be doing all their dealing in their own currency. If something bad happens in Syria, basically, people wouldn’t even show up. We are going to avoid all those issues using this. Like I said, for this situation, it’s all about privacy and enabling encrypted currency. We consider this an encrypted currency enabling project. I think people will come into crypto who are not in crypto, specifically for this case, and I think that will draw a bit more widespread adoption.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: Are there any clients that you won’t accept? In other words, say if Alwaleed bin Talal decided he wanted to leave Saudi Arabia because he was charged with corruption. Would that be a project you would take on?
KEN BAYLOR: There would be a couple of interesting cases, such as political crackdowns. We generally are in favor of getting people out. But if you are looking at anything to do with terrorism, or actual loss of life or murder, or that sort of thing, then that’s an absolute no.