You become the payment—and the advertisement—at the same time.


You’ve heard of companies that make you take a selfie to validate your payment, to prove you are really you.

Now, this company lets you take a selfie to pay your payment.

Your face is the money.

“We believe that emotions are the new world’s currency,” said Lev Filimonov, creator of the new CHCK-N app.  “And that’s the most demanded currency, because there’s nothing better than emotions.”


Archer News is looking at tech start-ups at the 2017 Collision Conference in New Orleans.

Check out the “coffee selfie” start-up here. And why some tech start-ups put you at risk here from our 2016 coverage.


Example of a CHCK-N selfie post with Lev Filimonov. Image credit: Lev Filimonov Facebook


How it works

Right now, this emotion currency works only at bars, and will only buy you drinks.

You download Filimonov’s app, then go to a bar that has signed up for the project.

You’ll see a menu of alcohol companies that have also signed up——like Red Bull, Jack Daniel’s, Jameson, Bacardi, Jagermeister and El Jimador tequila.

Select one, take a selfie with the app, and it will post that picture—with logos of the bar and your chosen alcohol company on it—directly to your Facebook page.

If the bartender approves of the picture, you get a free drink from that brand. Free drink!

The alcohol company gets much more.


Example of a CHCK-N selfie post. Image credit: CHCK-N


“When somebody is buying a drink in Walmart, like he is buying a bottle Jack Daniel’s, they don’t know anything about this person,” Filimonov told Archer News.

But when that same person chooses a free selfie drink—for example, El Jimador tequila—the company gets rich info about his life and habits.

“We get him in our database of El Jimador tequila and we know everything about him that he does on Facebook,” he explained. “We know his name, his gender, his age, which bars he goes to, how many friends he got, how many likes he got. So we work with the data, finally after all these years of alcohol campaigns, they have access to some data which they can work with.”

Data at work

Alcohol companies will use this info to try to keep you as a customer, Filimonov’s partner said.

“I love the idea of a bar that somebody’s a regular at coming over, because they have this information, coming over and saying, ‘Hey, happy birthday!’ and giving them a bottle of Stoli,” Mark Shays said. 

“That will build such brand loyalty, to make them stay in that bar and also to their favorite liquor,” he added.


Promotional images of CHCK-N app. Image credit: CHCK-N


Lining up likes

Under this plan, everyone is hoping you get “likes.”

The more likes you get, the more credit you get toward an entire bottle of your favorite alcohol.

For example, 500 likes from any number of posts will get you a half-liter bottle of Finlandia, according to Filimonov.

Wow emojis and hearts could get you more credit. 

For every like on your post, the alcohol company pays one cent to CHCK-N. The bars pay nothing.

“The consumers are becoming channels,” Filimonov said. “The consumer is promoting the brand and the brand is paying the bill.”


CHCK-N creator Lev Filimonov shows a case study for his app at the 2017 Collision tech conference in New Orleans. Image credit: Archer News


How it started

This new kind of social media marketing—where you become the payment—was born from the recent turmoil in Ukraine.

Filimonov owns a nightclub franchise in Kiev, the capital city.

In 2014, political violence broke out.

“We had a revolution going on in the war in Ukraine,” he said. “So it was very hard to do business when it was revolution.”

Searching for a way to bring in more customers, Filimonov and his marketing team decided to turn one of three dance floors in one of the clubs into a social experiment.

“We had actually one dance floor, it was a bar that would never accept any money,” he said. “We only accept emotions.”

How do you show emotion for payment? With a selfie in front of the club’s logo, he decided, and a post on Facebook.

It brought in more customers, just like he wanted.

“They look at their Facebook and they see their friends’ pictures of my club and they want to go there,” Filimonov said.


Promotional image of CHCK-N app. Image credit: CHCK-N


Keeping it in check

But it was hard to keep track of all the drinks, all the check-ins.

He decided to create an electronic selfie check-in system—the CHCK-N app.

Filimonov and his team signed up a number of bars in Kiev, and upon arrival in New Orleans for the Collision tech conference last week, signed up ten more in The Big Easy. 

He plans to stay in the U.S. until he reaches 700 bars in major cities across the country like Los Angeles and Las Vegas.


Example of CHCK-N selfie with Lev Filimonov. Image credit: Lev Filimonov Facebook



We asked Filimonov and his partner about security.

Last year, a researcher discovered that a free drink app in Europe had security holes that allowed him to rack up fake loyalty points and get undeserved drinks on the house.

Shays said they have security in the form of bartender approval—the person at the bar has to review your selfie to make sure it’s worthy.

“They actually have to approve the picture, too,” he said. “The idea is once you take a selfie, they want to make sure that you didn’t take a picture of your shoe or something. So they have to approve it.”

“There is a level of security in the sense that people can’t really abuse the system,” Shays said.

Your face, your future

The partners show a case study of a Finlandia campaign where they said 74 people posted their Finlandia CHCK-N pictures on Facebook.

It lead to 17,000 views, they said, and cost the alcohol company $59.

Filimonov and his partner see a future where your face can buy you many things.

“We ultimately want it to become a new currency,” Filimonov said. “We want people to be able to pay with their emotions for all kinds of different goods and services.”

They’ve already tried it out, using the app to sell festival tickets for likes.

“Every like that you get would pay a little bit of your ticket. And when you get enough likes, the ticket is fully paid. So you pay for it with your emotions,” Filimonov said. 


Example of post that would earn the poster credit toward a Z Games festival pass. Image credit: Lev Filimonov Facebook


“You could pay like this for anything. You could pay for a car, you know,” he added—with a very large quantity of likes. “The value of the advertisement that you gave them is way more than the price of car.”

Attaching your face to a brand on Facebook has more value than money, according to Filimonov, especially if people are suspicious of Facebook ads.

“There’s no better advertisement than friend’s advice,” he said. “So we believe that emotions we share on social media cost way more than any money in the world.”


Archer News is looking at tech start-ups at the 2017 Collision Conference in New Orleans.

Check out the “coffee selfie” start-up here. And why some tech start-ups put you at risk here from our 2016 coverage.


Main image credit: Alexas_Fotos via Pixabay