In November 2018 we became the first genomic blockchain free market for data to go online. As of today, we remain the only such marketplace. Other companies that came along in 2017 promising to develop similar products have all deviated from the model, offering subscriptions, of shares in public benefit corps, or other models, none of which have any evidence of using blockchain, and none of which offer users the ability to earn up to 90% of the value of the data they sell. Because of how we developed our product, nothing threatens our ongoing operations. People are using the product in a limited way, because we need more users to be suitable for large scale studies, but we have created a platform we can sell, and with a range of potential uses, that is flexible and cheap to run. Our major challenge has remained customer acquisition.
We had hoped that some deals we have entered would jumpstart the problem of customer qcquisition, but those have largely stalled. One reason is that the perceived need for a marketplace like ours is not universal. This is why our competitors too remained stuck or well below where they should be in terms of adoption. But we have used the time to develop intelligence about customer acquisition methods and costs. The primary market for our product, the low hanging fruit, is current users of 23andMe. We know how to get those customers through direct marketing. The cost of doing so is about 20 USD per user. We continue to seek funding for a B2C effort to acquire users through direct marketing at that cost. To get about 50000 users that way will take about 1.5 million, and that number of users should be profitable.
We continue to find interest in and to pitch to those with capital to help us meet that goal. Other channels for customer aquisition include our continued attempts to break into the self-insured employer market. We continue to strive to do so with our partner Genomics Personalized Health, and current work in platform development with them is aimed at that, including our Microsoft Store product that we recently launched. Other strategies include more partnership deals with those who abide by our philosophy of user control and profit from data, and without being able to elaborate, there has been significant progress on those fronts.
As always, the vagaries of the market, the current economic climate, the nature of the genomic data marketplaces as totally new frontiers, all combine to make the future uncertain. Regardless, we remain committed, invested, and hardworking every day to make the Gene-Chain not only the first and only free market for genomic data, but also profitable for everyone. We are grateful that you help every time you recruit more users of the platform, and always happy to have your support in getting the word out.