Why we’re building Refind and giving away 1 billion coins

We’re creating a new category—relevance—to let you discover, save, and read what’s worth your attention. To make it happen, we’re giving away 1 billion coins to early users for free and we’ll buy them back later with our profits.

A category is missing

The web has fundamentally moved us forward. Most notably, it has given us access to the world’s information and there are currently three main ways we discover an ever-growing amount of content: news, social networks, and search. We believe that a fourth category is missing: relevance—a calm, quiet place where we take a step back to focus on what’s most relevant to us.

Diversity and noise

News delivers what’s happening in the world right now. Social networks let us know what’s happening with our friends. Search is great at finding the needle in the haystack.

But how do we discover things from around the web that are new and relevant to us? There’s a plethora of curated content—from niche sites over Twitter to newsletters. While it’s interesting to see the web through the lens of the curator, our interests are unique and relying on a few curators alone is likely not diverse enough. If we add more sources to our mix (for example, following more people on Twitter, or using an RSS reader), we increase diversity but also noise.

We need a better filter.

Too much to handle

There’s a second problem. Let’s imagine for a moment that the above—discovery—was fixed: we magically had access to a list of only the must-see links every day. At times, it’s still too much. How can we handle things we find relevant but don’t have time for right now?

Bookmarks? Bookmarks disappear into a black hole: the more we put in, the less we get out when we need it.

Read later? Deferral fails in the information age because there’s always more information to read later—our reading lists pile up and read later becomes read never.

We need a more intelligent system.

Why now?

More and more content is getting produced, the problem increases. And a lot of it is relevant, high quality—it’s just too much to sift through.
Incentives on existing platforms are such that new and entertaining content wins. Signal-to-noise is low and relevance is not loud enough.
The overwhelming dominance of Google and Facebook have stalled innovation in this area. It’s about time someone tackles this problem anew.

A new category

We read the news to see what’s happening in the world right now. We check our social network to see what’s happening among our friends. We search when we know what we’re looking for. And to see what has happened around the web that’s most relevant to us, we go to our relevance place.

A new metric

Let’s first define what we want. We’d like to get a list of the most relevant links: more on our biggest interests, fewer on others. We want to see what people we follow find relevant. The list should be novel and accurate, but with a sprinkle of serendipity. It should burst the filter bubble. But it should also be limited.

This can be solved algorithmically, but a new metric is needed. A metric that takes different signals into account, and evaluates things differently. Instead of clicks, we leverage signals that better capture relevance. Instead of age in seconds, we favor long shelf-lives.

A better way to handle the volume

The solution to the second problem—too much to handle—is part human, part computer.

The human part is a simple triage: do we want to save a link—fire-and-forget style—to keep and find again when we really need it, or do we actually want to read it? This is important, as it reduces our reading lists significantly.

But it only works if the system re-surfaces links when we actually need them. That’s the computer part. It’s a lot about the right link at the right time. But it’s also about the right form: when we commute, we might prefer audio; when we’re in a hurry, we might prefer summaries.

Add only links you actually intend to read to your reading list.
Links you don’t read within two weeks will move to Someday, sorted by relevance.
Save links you want to keep. You’ll find them again when you actually need them, for example when you search on Google.
Refind app icon

Introducing Refind

We’re building Refind to tackle the relevance problem. Refind is a community of movers and shakers who discover, save, and read what’s worth their attention.


More signal, less noise

Every day we analyze an ever-growing amount of new links and create a magazine of the most relevant ones for you.

Caught up

Less is more

For every new link, we compute your personal relevance score and show you up to 50 that make the cut.

Save great links

Save great links from around the web with one click—with our browser extension on your computer or our share extension on your phone.


Find again when you actually need it

Search the web as you always do. Refind highlights links you or your friends saved when you search on Google.

Google search

A smarter reading list

Our smart reading list helps you read more of what’s relevant to you. Links you don’t read within two weeks will move to Someday, sorted by relevance. Soon is always small and manageable, and if you ever find time to catch up, you’ll find more on Someday.

On iOS, you can access your reading list anytime, anywhere—even when you’re offline.

Also, we’re trying to bring you the content in the right form: when you commute, you can listen to the story; when you’re in a hurry, you can read a summary.

Reads ios

What’s in a name?

That which one finds relevant and wants to find again is worth discovering to someone else. The name Refind touches on both core aspects—handling the volume and cutting through the noise.

What people say

Refind is a work in progress. It’s used by thousands of engaged users and we continuously improve Refind based on feedback. We’re grateful for all the input we get from engaged users—people like Chris Messina have had a tremendous impact. We’re 1% there and have a long way to go.

Dan ariely
“Refind helps me expand my horizon.”
— Dan Ariely, best-selling author
Werner vogels
“Refind is my favorite discovery tool.”
— Werner Vogels, Amazon CTO
Chris messina
“Refind has become my Chrome New Tab.”
— Chris Messina, inventor hashtag

Who inspires us

Two years ago, we set out to solve our own problems—handling the volume and cutting through the noise—by writing code. But along our journey, we continuously stumble upon people that shape what we build. It’s a long list and we’ll portray them on our blog at some point. Here are three.

Tristan harris
Tristan, a former Design Ethicist at Google, started a movement that demands a new kind of technology—a technology that isn’t driven by time spent, but time well spent. Watch his TEDx talk.
Erica berger
Erica has lived and breathed the news and the internet for much of her life. She’s an adventurer in conscious media and she’s given us new perspectives on the landscape. Read her Peak Content.
Eli pariser
Eli’s theory about the filter bubble had a lasting impact on us and we’re trying to be aware of it when tuning our algorithms—the importance of which will increase as we grow. Watch his TED talk.

We’re on an important mission: creating a new category—relevance—to let you discover, save, and read what’s worth your attention. To achieve this, we need millions of users and links on each and every topic, so we’re trying something new: the world’s first token-based referral marketing and buyback program.

1 billion coins

We invite you to be part of Refind—not only as a user, but also as an owner, participating in Refind’s success. We issue 1 billion blockchain-based Relevance Coins and give them away to early users for free. At a later point, we’ll buy them back with our profits.

How it works

For the last two years, we’ve built and validated Refind. We’ve reached product-market fit, Refind is used by thousands of engaged users and it’s growing. But now we want to accelerate growth.

We allocate coins to early users based on actions that benefit the network (see below) until 1 billion coins (total supply) are used up. This is designed to be roughly when we reach the first 10 million users (with early users holding the majority of coins). For users who signed up prior to this announcement, we allocate coins retroactively. At some point, we’ll ask you to verify your identity (e.g., SMS-based, like many apps). We do this to discourage fake activity and bots so you get your fair share of coins.
Once 1 billion coins are allocated, we’ll actually issue the coins on the blockchain and distribute them to verified users. At this point, it’ll most likely be an ERC20 type token on Ethereum. No worries, we’ll help you set up your blockchain wallet when the time comes.
Once you have your coins in your blockchain wallet, you’ll be able to trade them (sell/buy) on exchanges, depending on supply and demand, but even long before we make any profits. Or you can simply hold on to them if you believe in Refind’s success.
Monetization begins
Refind is free and always will be. Once we reach the first 10 million users, however, we’ll start monetizing. Our revenue model will most likely either be targeted ads (like Facebook or Google) or freemium (like Dropbox or Slack).
Buyback program begins
Periodically (quarterly or annually, depending on admin overhead and transaction costs), we’ll use 10% of our profits to buy back coins at market price. All purchased coins will be burned, thus total supply decreases. The buyback program runs indefinitely, until 99% of all coins are purchased and burned. At any point, you decide whether you want to sell or hold on to your coins. Current supply and demand on the exchanges will determine the price. However, we’ll add a repurchase option, allowing us to buy back coins at USD 31 per coin at any time.
Get coins
Sell coins

Why we give it away

We wouldn’t be where we are today without our early pioneers. And we won’t get to where we want to go without your continued support.

First, growth. Refind has network effects: the more users and the more content, the more relevant it will become. So far, we’ve focused on tech. Now we need pioneers who break into completely new topics: psychology, philosophy, politics, finance, economics, sports, arts—whatever interests you.
Second, give back. Our early users have helped us tremendously. If Refind becomes a success, we want to give back to the ones who have helped make it one. What if Google and Facebook gave away part of their success to early users? We see this as a grand experiment—if it works, we hope others will copy.

How you get coins

We’re giving away 1 billion coins based on actions that benefit the network.

Sign up
You get 20 coins when you sign up via an invite from another user, 1 coin otherwise.
20 coins
For every friend who signs up via your invite, we’ll give you and your friend 20 coins.
20 coins

See your balance and details in your wallet on Refind.

News app icon
Facebook app icon

We’ll add more ways for active users to get coins. We’d like you to add Refind to your daily information mix. We’d like it to be in your tool chain, in your new tab, on your home screen—a habit.


We see this as a grand experiment and don’t know all the details yet. We reserve the right to amend and update this as we go.

Is this an ICO?
No, it’s not a token sale—it’s a token giveaway. We mix referral marketing (à la Paypal, Dropbox, or Airbnb) with buyback programs, and stir it on the blockchain.
I don’t know blockchain.
You don’t need to be a blockchain expert at all. In fact, this can be an easy way for you to get a glimpse into the fascinating crypto world without investing any money.
What are coins anyway?
Think of coins as digital assets that can be transferred. The blockchain is an enabler for new, innovative ideas. It’s very early, but likely a game changer.

We’re a small team with big ambitions.

We’re passionate about the web, search, data science, and so many other topics. Fundamentally, we’re fascinated about what can be done with an idea and a computer. We want to move the edge. There’s so much to be done, but we focus on one task at a time. Let’s get to it.

We’re hiring! Reach out if you want to contribute to our mission. At this point, we’re mainly looking for mobile developers, data scientists, search and scalability engineers.

Dominik Grolimund
Lifelong entrepreneur, Computer Science ETH Zurich, Refind is my fourth startup—it’s the idea I always wanted to work on.
Florian Hanke
Lifelong coder, Neuroinformatics ETH Zurich, PhD in Linguistics & Computer Science at the University of Melbourne, and all around infovore.

Refind.com  →