Holiday Meetup: Decentralists, Toronto’s Bitcoin ATM, Refreshments and More

Bitcoin ATM toronto

Wrapping up 2015, Decentral celebrated with a holiday meetup party at our office last night. More than 70 people showed up to connect with fellow decentralized tech enthusiasts over snacks, wine and beer. When not networking, they were taking turns using Toronto’s Bitcoin ATM we have on site. Hayley was one of the first in line, handling that Bitcoin ATM quite well considering it’s her first time.

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Our little decentralist Hayley buying her first Bitcoin. It’s good to start early.

Among others that were present were Mat Cybula of Cryptiv, tech-entrepreneur William Mougayar, Vitalik Buterin’s father Dmitry, familiar faces from the Toronto Ethereum Meetup group and the DEC_TECH community, along with some new faces who were eager to find out what this disruptive space is all about, starting with how to use Toronto’s Bitcoin ATM.

 

We kept the event casual, so there wasn’t any ultra-technical, code-filled presentation on Ethereum or the blockchain technology. Instead, our CEO Anthony opened the night by introducing Decentral: We are an innovative hub for decentralized technologies, provider of fintech and blockchain consultancy, software developers, and home to Toronto’s first Bitcoin ATM. We are the first global hub for Ethereum, and the headquarter of Kryptokit, the security and privacy-based software company behind Rushwallet and EthereumWallet.com.
 
Shortly after Anthony opened it up to the crowd to introduce themselves and share what they do.
 
First to begin was the Decentral team. Or rather, we were put on the spot (all good though).
 

The Decentral Team

Nancy, Decentral’s administrator and Toronto’s Bitcoin ATM expert, went ahead and introduced herself to the crowd. Richard, the software developer behind our wallets was next; followed by one of our consultants JuanAsem, our quiet UI/UX designer; Anne, who just joined us last week as a marketing director; Josh, our COO who does a little bit of everything; Addison, our dapper legal counsel; Alex, our consultant and copywriter from the UK; Simon, our consultant and copywriter from Tiny, Ont. (yes, the place exists); myself, Decentral’s copy writer and social media manager (make my job easier by following us on Twitter @DECENTRALca and like-ing our Facebook page!); and finally, the man who needs no introduction, Anthony.

 

See you in 2016!

With that being said, thank you to everyone who made the time to celebrate the holidays with us. We wish you a happy holiday and see you in 2016!

Decentral happy holidays

Buy Bitcoins in Toronto with Our Upgraded Bitcoin ATM

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While everyone’s waiting for 2016 to start anew, we’ve got ourselves a head start here at Decentral with our brand new Bitcoin ATM. Like the previous machine, the new one is also a two-way machine that lets you sell and buy bitcoins in Toronto. You can say this is our anniversary gift as we celebrate two years since we first introduced Toronto’s first Bitcoin ATM in January 2014.

What’s new?

If you’ve been here before, you would know that our old machine has four slots performing different functions. Customers often confuse one for another.
 
Our new Bitcoin ATM has only two slots: one for cash, and another one for receipts. Instead of bending down and looking for a slot to slide your phone in, you can now scan your QR code by holding your phone above the gleaming rectangular screen (pictured), which takes about a second or less. There’s no more need to bend down and look for a hidden scanner or worry about the lack of light when scanning a paper wallet.
 
For now, the machine is clad in a clean, white colour, but it will soon be decked out in a Decentral-themed façade.

Why buy bitcoins at Decentral and not elsewhere?

Unlike some BTMs, ours always have bitcoins. On the occasion of the machine facing technical difficulties, we will help you buy or sell bitcoins manually. If you’re buying your first bitcoin, there’s always someone to help you out. In other words, at Decentral we provide our customers with a white-glove service.
 
As always, all you need to perform a transaction are your phone that can receive texts, a Bitcoin wallet and some cash. If you need more information on how to buy bitcoins in Toronto — such as how much you can buy or sell, which wallet to use, etc. — our recently updated FAQ page would be helpful.
 
We’ll soon be unveiling some changes to better serve you (including opening our ATM after hours) so stay tuned for more updates!

Join the DEC_TECH, Decentral, and Ethereum Holiday Party!

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It’s been an exciting year for decentralized tech. Join us to celebrate with a year-end holiday party meetup. Drop in to connect with other Bitcoin, Ethereum and decentralized tech enthusiasts, and hear about the latest activities at Decentral. Snacks and holiday refreshments will be served.
 
Time: Wednesday, December 16, 2015; 5pm – 7pm
Venue: Decentral, 123 Spadina Avenue
RSVP here: http://www.meetup.com/DEC_TECH/events/227339260/

 

My first experience with a Bitcoin ATM in Toronto

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Bitcoin is a completely new territory to me. As someone who is not at all tech-savvy, the concept of owning a digital wallet, converting my cash to bitcoins using a Bitcoin ATM (BTM), and performing transactions with the cryptocurrency is mind-boggling.

 

Fortunately, being a part of the Decentral team makes my immersion to the Bitcoin seamless — not to mention operating the BTM we have here at our office in downtown Toronto is simple and comparable to normal ATMs.

 

It’s easy to look at the Bitcoin ATM and instantly get intimidated. But just like intimidating people, if you give the machine a chance, you’ll find out it’s quite OK. The instructions on the orange screen are pretty straightforward and easy to follow. It first prompts me to enter my phone number. A second later I get a text with a code, which I enter onto the screen. The Bitcoin ATM gives two options: Buy bitcoin or Sell bitcoin, so I choose the first one. It asks me whether I have a bitcoin wallet, and since I have downloaded BitWallet onto my iPhone, I press yes.

 

Here’s the first tricky part.

 

It asks me to scan the QR code to my wallet, but the location of the scanner is not immediately obvious. It’s a mini slot on the right side of the machine. I slide my phone in instead of holding it up in front of a red flash-emitting device like at Starbucks. Once I scan my QR code and take my phone out, the machine prompts me to insert cash.

 

Here’s the second tricky part.

 

There are three slots that look like they would accept cash but it’s actually the one closest to my left foot. I insert cash and tap “I’m Done” on the screen and voila! I have some bitcoins in my wallet and I find out the Bitcoin ATM is anything but difficult and intimidating!

 

And now off I go, booking a trip with my newly purchased Bitcoin!

 

FYI the Bitcoin ATM is located inside Decentral at 123 Spadina Ave, Toronto.

Decentral-Deloitte: Ethereum at the Greenhouse

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Our blockchain consulting arm at Decentral has been involved with Deloitte and the Rubix team for almost a year now, providing them with blockchain expertise and teaming up to run community and blockchain and decentralized tech events. Last night on December 2nd, Deloitte and Decentral partnered to hold an Ethereum event at their Greenhouse space in downtown Toronto.
 
The Greenhouse is a place designed to help Deloitte clients experience breakthroughs through innovative means – to give them that ‘aha!’ moment when they’re stuck in one mode of thought or just going round and round in circles. Deloitte gets that innovating is not as simple as ‘going and doing it’; sometimes it’s not obvious where or how to begin.
 
Events at the Greenhouse aim to spark new ideas by disrupting ordinary ways of approaching problems. It was an ideal venue for us to introduce Ethereum to some of their clients. Deloitte invited banks including CIBC, RBC, and TD, technology firms D+H and Teranet, and the TMX group. When great minds from these sectors begin to understand Ethereum and its disruptive potential, new, brilliant ideas are bound to be generated.
 
Attendees had the chance to hear how Ethereum enables developers to build the next generation of distributed applications and what are some of the strategies they need to be adopting to prepare for the inevitable disruption.
 
The event started with Vitalik Buterin, the creator of Ethereum giving an overview of his brainchild and how its blockchain works. Vitalik joined us via a BeamPro robot-proxy, which he was remotely controlling from Switzerland!
 
This was followed by a talk from our CEO and Ethereum co-founder, Anthony Di Iorio. Anthony emphasized that decentralization is the key to understanding what is happening. Blockchains have made it possible for secure systems to exist without a central authority, giving individuals more power and increasing the system’s resilience. Decentralization can also unbundle services and products and firms need to anticipate for what is coming and prepare accordingly in order to not be rendered irrelevant and obsolete. Implementing changes might well be costly, but it would be far more costly to be idle. Anthony’s presentation highlighted some of the steps firms should be taking to begin this transformation, and also identified some of the opportunities that will open up.
 
Jeff Coleman from Ledger Labs then spoke about ‘smart blockchains’ and the advantages of developing and using the technology. Platforms like Ethereum offer far more flexibility and extensibility than more static platforms. Jeff’s talk was quite comprehensible, considering the audience was not primarily from a tech background.
 
The evening concluded with a talk from Joseph Lubin of ConsenSys – also an Ethereum co-founder. He joined us from New York by taking over the robot-proxy from Vitalik. Joseph gave a talk on dApps and gave substantial information about what ConsenSys is building on Ethereum. During the Q&A session, he gave the audience an interesting perspective on New York’s ‘Bitlicense’ and how a lot of firms – including some of his startups – are considering locating elsewhere.
 
Decentral was established to promote decentralized technologies and a large part of what we do is helping enterprises take advantage of the opportunities that these technologies generate. It was a motivating experience to see traditional financial institutions paying interest in this area, and we are looking forward to more of them actively engaging with Toronto’s thriving decentralized technologies community.

 

See the event updates on our Twitter here or by searching #EthereumAtTheGreenhouse.