Decentral Appoints Gamification Pioneer Yu-kai Chou as Chief Experience Officer Visionary to Lead Gamification of Jaxx Liberty Platform

Yu-kai Chou

Decentral Inc.Canada’s leading blockchain company and the creator of the multi-platform, multi-currency digital wallet Jaxx, has announced world-renowned gamification pioneer Yu-kai Chou has joined its executive team as Chief Experience Officer (CXO).

Named the “Gamification Guru of the Year” in 2014, 2015, and 2017 by the World Gamification Congress and the Gamification Europe Conference, Chou will spearhead the company’s gamification efforts within Jaxx Liberty, the newly unveiled single, gamified interface for everyone to experience the blockchain ecosystem and the upcoming update to Decentral’s multi-cryptocurrency digital wallet and flagship product.

With an extensive background as a consultant to the world’s leading brands, including Google, LEGO, eBay, Huawei, and Volkswagen/Porsche, Chou is globally acknowledged for his unique insights into gamification and behavioral design.

Anthony Di Iorio, Co-founder of Ethereum and CEO and founder of Decentral said: “Chou’s hire marks an important point in the company’s history. We want to make the experience of interacting with our products as easy and as fun as possible for both our new and experienced users. The digital asset and cryptocurrency space is very complex and our goal is to make it more intuitive and simple but sophisticated. I believe Yu-kai is a valuable piece for solving that puzzle. I’ve studied his work for years and it’s a major development to bring him on.”

Chou said: “My focus is on amping up the game-like elements in Jaxx and making the user experience more fun and exciting. Based on my research and insight, we will be unveiling a wallet that delivers the best user experience on top of the best technology — combined in a blockchain interface that is intuitive enough to appeal to seasoned cryptocurrency enthusiasts and beginners alike.”

Chou is the author of Actionable Gamification, a critically acclaimed book on the new era of gamification and human-focused design. He developed the ‘Octalysis Framework,’ which is a renowned approach to behavioural design. This method is being used by corporate entities around the world — such as, Accenture, Fidelity and Hewlett-Packard — to increase participation and engagement of their respective work forces. Chou is a Founding Partner with the Octalysis Group, whose work has, by their own estimates, influenced more than a billion users globally. As a public speaker, Chou has spoken at Austin’s SxSW and for TEDx at Lausanne, where he delivered a popular speech on how gamification can improve the lives of everyday people.

“Blockchain will lay the foundation for the technology of the future. I’m excited to join the ambitious Decentral team and help the company maximize delight when people interact with anything related to the blockchain or cryptocurrencies,” concluded Chou.

Decentral Hosts One-of-a-Kind Blockchain Party

February 15, 2018 was one for the books. On that night, Decentral hosted more than 500 people in our brand-new 15,000 square foot office space in the heart of downtown Toronto. The blockchain party was part recruitment initiative, and part milestone anniversary celebration (#DecentralParty). You can get a taste of what the event was like by watching this video of the #DecentralParty.There were robots buzzing around. There was a hologram. There were networking opportunities both for the people new to the blockchain space and those immersed in the industry.

(credit: Tyson Fehr)

“We had 100+ all-star devs (developers), founders of Toronto blockchain projects and around 400 blockchain enthusiasts joining us. I couldn’t be prouder!” says Maggie Xu, Business Development at Decentral and who has spent the last three weeks organizing this magical night.

The highlight of the evening for many was the live, hologram speech and Q&A with Ethereum founder and Decentral CEO Anthony Diiorio. The crispness and the real-time ARHT HumaGram (or human hologram) was a wonderful surprise for the audience.

blockchain event highlight was a live hologram presentation
(credit: Tyson Fehr)
blockchain event featured robots, holograms and virtual immersive reality plus networking opportunities
(credit: Maggie Xu)

Xu declared it a one-of-a-kind event. “The night felt like a sci-fi rock concert with robots, holograms, and a virtual reality display of the plans for our new 15,000 square foot office,” she says. “Shout out to Addison Cameron-Huff and Anthony Diiorio for the fantastic delivery of Decentral’s 2018 road map.”

Roy Carreiro was among the attendees. He’s a new client of the company’s, and after the event, a self-proclaimed fan. “I was truly impressed on many levels. I have been following this movement for a few years now, and have been looking into how I can participate in my own way to help it along,” he says.

Carreiro likens the experience to visiting a parallel universe, or the set of cult TV series Star Trek. “What I saw was amazing. I was like a kid walking into the Enterprise,” he says.

A who’s who of the blockchain world

Ethereum co-founder and Decentral CEO Anthony Diiorio describes the event as a success, and an important moment in the company’s history. “This was our first event in our new space. It conveys the growth of Decentral. This is now our fourth location. It was our largest event ever.”

In addition to some big names in the blockchain space, attendees included representatives from the Blockchain Research Institute, the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), BMO Capital Markets, Cormark Securities, CIBC World Markets, the National Angel Capital Organization (NACO), TD Securities. The media list included social news outlet Diply and Betakit.

More blockchain events to come

Diiorio says this is a taste of what’s to come during what promises to be a year of major announcements and changes for Decentral. “This was a look at our new space and a chance to share our vision for what the future is going to look like for Decentral, Canada’s coolest office space. It was showcase for other events to come.”

Decentral blockchain party attracts hundreds of enthusiasts
(credit: Tyson Fehr)

It was, in many ways, a calling card for people interested in the blockchain space. Particularly talented people looking for a company that is looking to grow with the best and the brightest. Xu says “If you’re a developer that wants to build some cool stuff, email [email protected] We are building a platform that’ll be the mother of all blockchain projects.”

Jaxx: Balance between Security, Portability and Ease-of-Use

Nilang Vyas, CTO of Jaxx & Decentral here. I’d like to take this opportunity to describe and explain the major points of Jaxx security model and how this model provides a strong balance between securing users assets, and providing the best user experience that allows for easy pairing across any device without the need for servers and user accounts. 

  • Jaxx is a hot wallet suitable for small amounts (similar to your regular wallet in your pocket) that connects to the internet in order to push transactions and show balances.
  • As a hot wallet we believe we have found an appropriate balance between ease-of- use, portability, and security.
  • Jaxx IS NOT cold storage. For large amounts we recommend hardware wallets.
  • Jaxx master backup seed is created, encrypted, stored client-side and never sent to any servers.
  • Jaxx allows for easy pairing across all devices (thus seed can not be encrypted by a secondary pin or password when pairing as it wouldn’t be portable / pairable without account / servers)
  • We expect Users to maintain control of their devices, and we strongly encourage the use of on- device security (ie pin, fingerprint, retina, etc.) in order to secure your ENTIRE device.
  • Jaxx offers a the option of a 4 digit PIN to further secure your wallet. If activated this PIN will be required when sending, changing PIN, and when displaying the master seed.
  • Should someone get access to your device your lines of defence are a) on-board device features b) encrypted master seed c) Jaxx PIN

 

We are very comfortable with this security model for hotwallets. The fact is there will always be tradeoffs between user experience, portability and security and we believe we’ve struck a great balance. Since 2013 over 750,000 Jaxx and (our former company) Kryptokit wallets have been created. Never have funds been lost on any of our productions versions due to an issue on our end. We stand by that amazing record.

Please please please, if you do not feel comfortable with our security model do not use our products. We’re are creating for the masses a multi-platform, multi-coin interface for the blockchain ecosystem where users are in full control of their digital lives.

In the future users will be able to secure their Jaxx wallet with both Trezor, Ledger and our own hardware wallets. Until that time, please use Jaxx as a hot wallet for small amounts, and use hardware wallets for larger amounts.    

Happy to answer any questions when I’m back in the office after the weekend.

Cheers and have a great weekend!
Nilang Vyas, Chief Technology Officer
Jaxx & Decentral

 

The Fintech and Blockchain World Expo has been postponed

The following is an important announcement concerning the forthcoming Fintech and Blockchain World Expo.

 

After consulting with several of our major event partners, as well as conducting a thorough internal review, we have decided to postpone the Expo to a future date yet to be determined.

 

The principal reason for the postponement is the number of conflicting, similarly themed events taking place on and around the same time as the Expo. Some of our major event partners felt that postponing the Expo to a less crowded time period would result in a greatly improved experience for all Expo attendees, participants, and collaborators.

 

Planning and executing an event like the Expo requires an intense amount of work and internal resources, and one of the other reasons we’re postponing the event is to refocus some of our efforts on projects that have been left underserved in the run-up to the Expo. We think we can better serve the blockchain community by redoubling our efforts on these projects for the time being.

 

Existing ticketholders have been offered a refund.

 

For any questions or concerns regarding the Expo’s postponement, please contact Events Coordinator Matthew Brown at [email protected].

Why Ashton Kutcher & Akon are Tuning into Blockchain Technology

ashton akon blockchain technology

For many, especially individuals content with the status quo, it is unfathomable to predict the progress of future technology. For others, the idea of using decentralized strategies to further our technological autonomy has fueled ambition to create new and disruptive technologies.
 
For example, the blockchain is a technology that allows databases to be shared across a network of computers. Information on the blockchain exists on all computers (or nodes) on the network, and each block represents an up-to-date record of whatever information is being stored. The first and best-known application of the blockchain to date is the digital currency Bitcoin. However, the technology has many other potential uses, some that could have the capacity to reframe our social relations and power dynamics. The blockchain’s ability to facilitate transparency and disintermediate trust suggests blockchain adoption will bring on a paradigm shift in our culture.
 
So what do innovations like these mean to technophobes or people not particularly well-versed in technology? Disruptive technologies like the blockchain could mean that individuals no longer have to rely on a centralized authority to control social, economic, and even political transactions. This realization has gained the attention of the following celebrities who have been able to help close the gap between tech fanatics and mainstream populations:
 

1) Ashton Kutcher

The actor, producer, and now investor, has had his fair share of success acting in films such as No Strings Attached and The Butterfly Effect, along with TV roles in Two and a Half Men and Netflix original The Ranch. Kutcher, who co-founded his own venture capital firm in 2010, A-Grade Investments, has been a longtime fan of blockchain technology and Bitcoin. In a 2013 video, Kutcher spoke at TechCrunch Disrupt NY about the power of decentralized technology:
 

“…what can decentralized technology do? Imagine if we could decentralize [the] issue of security… the notion that we could civically monitor each other in an anonymous way actually keeps the anonymity of the Internet, we don’t have to worry about Big Brother and that same infrastructure that built out bitcoin could be used in the security industry for mass good.”

 


 
Kutcher also sees the political value of blockchains — especially with regards to proposals by two of the current US Presidential candidates for remittance policies that would obstruct migrant workers’ abilities to send money to their home lands.


 
Kutcher’s advocacy as a leader in disruptive technology could encourage a growing number of people to embrace blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies. It’s what celebrities do best — create trends and start conversations on these topics.
 

2) Akon

Recording artist and producer, Akon, has been a vocal supporter of blockchain technologies and cryptocurrency. When he is not making hits, he is busy doing philanthropic work. Most recently, he helped provide electricity to over 600 million individuals across Africa. Through his cryptocurrency advocacy, Akon has been a proactive voice for reclaiming personal autonomy through technology.
 
From promoting Bitcoin and digital currencies in his home country of Senegal, as well as across West Africa, Akon is hopeful for the future of charities and other initiatives. As he explains:
 

“Digital currency is going to be the future, and as you can see I can’t remember the last time I carried a wad of dollars in my pocket…there’s all these new innovative ideas, but one in particular, by the name of bitcoin… [it’s] going to change the world from a money transactional standpoint not just for Africa, but for everywhere.”

 
The message is clear: financial systems, as we know them, are changing. Blockchain technology has the potential to streamline access to financial services, override corporate influence and open up new markets wherever wealth disparity exists. This is not to say that this technology will immediately or permanently solve global economic inequality, but it throws a wrench into the system, empowering those who wouldn’t have had the chance to be prosperous. Celebrities like Akon are helping to make this happen.
 

3) Imogen Heap

As the only female artist to have won a Grammy award for engineering, the “Hide and Seek” singer has always been a leader in tech innovation in the music industry. For example, Heap invented and designed musical gloves to manipulate sounds with hand gestures that can be used to produce music.
 
Now, Heap has embraced Ethereum (co-founded by Decentral’s CEO Anthony Di Iorio), a decentralized blockchain platform that can execute peer-to-peer “smart” contracts. By working with coders to develop a publishing method that is provably transparent, Ethereum can automatically distribute payment for sales of all copyrighted content, essentially eliminating the need for a middleperson or centralized authority. Her Dapp (decentralized app), Mycelia by Heap, will allow individual components of songs (such as a beat or a hook) to be licensed and monetized, with the owner of the content losing less (or none) of their revenue to corporate rentiers.
 
This concept isn’t restricted to music. Since the digital age, creative industries such as books, films, and visual art have experienced a loss of control over their content. When physical properties get digitized, they can be reproduced and shared by a global audience without creators receiving revenues from it. With the blockchain, respect for artistic property is being reclaimed and Imogen Heap wants to be the leader of the revolution. Her single “Tiny Human,” which is only available for purchase with ether (the fuel that powers the Ethereum network), is solidifying Heap as a foremost innovator of music distribution using blockchain technology.
 

4) Richard Branson

Entrepreneur and billionaire Richard Branson has also been an avid promoter of Bitcoin and blockchain applications. In addition to acting as an advocate for cryptocurrencies and disruptive technologies, he has invested in cryptocurrency companies (e.g. BitPay), hosted an exclusive digital currency conference on his own private island, and onramped Bitcoin as an accepted form of payment for his space travel initiative, Virgin Galactic. In a discussion with Argentinian President, Mauricio Macri, Branson outlines how Bitcoin can offer individuals:
 

“Greater levels of control, freedom and scrutiny over what happens with our money, Bitcoin addresses these concerns and that is why so many people believe it represents the future. While many of us are excited about the possibilities Bitcoin has to offer, I’m not sure any of us would argue that it comes without problems.”

 
An extremely powerful and a high-profile celebrity, Branson can use his fame to spark overdue and meaningful conversations with decision-makers about cryptocurrencies and disruptive technology and, in turn, explore applicable use-cases.
 
coyno-bitcoin-expo-wien-4-638

 

5) Mike Tyson

Boxing bad boy Mike Tyson has been an avid participant in the Bitcoin revolution. Working in partnership with Bitcoin Direct, Tyson recently unveiled two Bitcoin-related initiatives: Mike Tyson Bitcoin, a Bitcoin ATM, and a digital wallet, the Mike Tyson Digital Wallet. Underlying both products is Tyson’s interest in increasing awareness about Bitcoin and encouraging non-specialists to use the cryptocurrency. As a celebrity, Tyson is interested in using his celebrity status to promote discussions about Bitcoin and its potential to incite positive change:
 

“People don’t really understand a currency based on numerical equations. I personally still don’t … but I’m grateful to be a part of the revolution and hoping that my participation in this space will lead to more conversations and help increase knowledge and awareness.”

 

 
While Tyson’s initiatives are still in their relative infancy, such endeavours offer insights into Bitcoin and blockchain technology test-cases. By investing in products aimed at non-specialists, celebrities like Tyson make accessible what may otherwise come across as exclusive or obscure technologies.
 
Disruptive and decentralized technologies are the future and we have just begun the journey. As more and more familiar faces get on board with blockchain technology, the gap between the tech industry and mainstream culture should definitely begin to narrow. Can you imagine our current society without the influence of the Internet? Neither can we. It’s everywhere. The question is, will blockchain technology be the next Internet, and what will its capabilities and influence be? All we know is that the future is here and it’s knocking on our doors. Will you let it in?
 

*

To learn more about Ethereum, check out its website here: www.ethereum.org
 
Matthew Brown is the Event and Marketing Coordinator at Decentral. He hopes to apply his studies in cyber anthropology toward blockchain technology. An avid networking enthusiast and social butterfly, you can find Matthew at all DEC_TECH meetups, the upcoming Blockchain World Expo and other events hosted by Decentral.
 
Picture of Ashton Kutcher courtesy of David Shank

Ethereum Infographic: Homestead Release

Ethereum infographic, blockchain consulting

The last few months have been very exciting for the Ethereum community. As more and more individuals, startups and established tech firms become acquainted with Ethereum’s potential as a platform for disruptive decentralized technology, the ecosystem continues to explode. This excitement will continue as we ramp up to the March 14th release of Homestead, the second major version release of Ethereum.

To celebrate the milestone ahead, we’ve updated our What is Ethereum infographic… Homestead style. This will serve as an excellent primer for beginners and anyone else who’s interested in getting a high-level overview of what Ethereum is all about. Enjoy!

Ethereum infographic
By Anthony Di Iorio

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UK Blockchain Report 2016: A Summary

UK blockchain report 2016: highlights, blockchain consulting canada

On January 19, the UK Government’s Department of Science released an 88-page report on blockchain technology, titled Distributed Ledger Technology: Beyond Block Chain. (They’ve also released a short video to accompany the UK blockchain report.) The report is just the latest effort by a government department to not only define blockchain technology and Bitcoin for a non-technical audience, but to lay out a plausible game-plan for potential blockchain implementation for government services and major industries. Here are the highlights of the UK blockchain report.
 

UK blockchain report: A groundbreaking technology

Since the report is designed to sell legislators on the Department of Science’s specific recommendations, the report’s writers have gone to great lengths to state their case for the revolutionary possibilities of blockchain technologies. The language is simple and accessible, and designed with its non-technical audience in mind.
 
The report begins by offering a historical context for disruptive technological innovations like Bitcoin and blockchain. For example, the UK blockchain report considers the entire history of money itself, from “cowrie shells to hammered pennies to Bitcoin,” and looks at these technologies as key stops along a continuum of innovation. This theme of evolving processes and technologies, with the role that decentralized systems could have to play in the continuation of that evolution, is a consistent motif.
 
Another major focus of the report is to explain computer code as both separate from and related to legal code, examining the ways in which the former influences the latter and vice versa. As the report explains, legal code requires external enforcement, while computer code is self-enforcing. The report suggests services that could benefit from a hybrid approach – legislation developed with with progressive coding in mind, in collaboration with experts. It also outlines the differences in practice between private rule-making (governance) and public rule-making (legislation), arguing the need for new models of governance for these systems that take into account the needs of both regulators and users. As the report points out, some important internet technologies, such as TCP/IP, were the direct result of government technology initiatives, so we know that successful collaboration is possible.
 
The report emphasizes the importance of the UK’s continuing efforts to act as leaders for technological innovation on the world stage. It argues that the UK already has some crucial initiatives in place that could be put to work on inventing tomorrow’s solutions, including the Alan Turing Institute, and warns of the dangers of being too cautious or waiting for perfect solutions to emerge before getting a strong foothold in the space.
 
The report also dives into a variety of case studies, in support of its argument that decentralized technologies are already finding compelling applications of interest to government actors. It looks at the Estonian government’s assortment of blockchain-based financial solutions, the European Commission Energy Union Framework Strategy’s investigations into modernizing the management of the Euro electrical grid with distributed ledgers, Everledger’s system for assuring the identity and source of individual diamonds to help crack down on the market for “blood diamonds,” and more, while also speculating on potential solutions that have yet to be developed, such as using distributed ledger technology to shield civil infrastructure against cyberattacks..
 

UK blockchain report: potential threats

Alongside the opportunities, the UK blockchain report also identifies key challenges and threats. It notes the security challenges that arise when permissions are used, highlighting the need for comprehensive review of the specific security needs of individual sets of users, especially in cases where sensitive information (health records, financials) are being accessed. It identifies the greatest threat to these proposed technologies as obsolescence; non-adoption by potential users, generally because the new option is too intimidating or complex, could prove fatal.
 
The report’s final sections consider the global outlook, highlighting the features of what it calls digital nations, from government awareness of emerging technologies to investment in industry and the integration of business leaders and digital engineers into positions of influence. The report argues that the UK has a lot of work to do if it’s to become a leading digital nation, and offers incentives and strategies to do so. It also examines the current state of (and potential for) data and policy interoperability in matters of identification and authentication.
 
 

Buy Bitcoins in Toronto with Our Upgraded Bitcoin ATM

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buy bitcoins in toronto, Bitcoin ATM

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!

My first experience with a Bitcoin ATM in Toronto

bitcoin toronto, bitcoin atm toronto, buy bitcoin toronto

 

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.