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Next Facebook will be Federation of Decentralized Networks: Bill Ottman of Minds.com

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What can be a strategy for the future of social media?
Next Facebook will be Federation of Decentralized Networks: Bill Ottman of Minds.com

The Cambridge Analytica scandal and Mark Zuckerberg’s Senate hearings brought issues of privacy and data ownership starkly into the public eye, prompting even the least technologically advanced users to give some thought to the way their information is being used by major media companies.

Bill Ottman was quite ahead of the curve, launching Minds in 2011 with the aim of creating a different social network – one that would not only let users post the genius exploits of their pets, but also foster a certain kind of community with a specific set of values.

While Minds has enjoyed slow but steady organic growth over the years, the increasing awareness of decentralized technologies could now put Minds into the spotlight. It might not single-handedly topple Facebook overnight, but that’s not how Bill Ottman sees the future of social media, anyway.

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Katya Michaels: You started Minds in 2011, the web and mobile apps were launched in June 2015. What has been happening since then?

Bill Ottman: We have been constantly growing– over a million users now. It’s mostly steady organic growth, with a few big jumps based around big privacy breaches or changes in algorithms on major social networks. These types of events cause people to search for alternatives.

We considered it very unethical what Facebook did with their algorithm.

It used to be possible to drive a lot of traffic to websites through Facebook, but with algorithm changes, you couldn't even reach your own fans anymore. This really affected the whole media industry.

Now, small to medium sized creators are finding it easier to grow an audience on Minds than on Facebook, even though we are literally a thousandth of the size because we have a way to break out of the void.

When we launched in 2015, we had a point system for boosting posts. This quickly became the most popular feature on the network. Now, our Ethereum-based token system works essentially the same way, but on a Blockchain. We reward people for the engagement that they receive and referrals that they make.

Then, they can use those tokens to boost their posts through the platform or through other users. For example, they can offer another user 100 tokens to share a photo – it’s pure peer to peer advertising with no middleman. An application concurrent with tokens is a crowdfunding tool, so creators can set tiers of rewards and offer monthly subscriptions with exclusive content.

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KM: Where are you with your token? How do you expect it to be affected by regulations?

BO: Currently we're on the Ethereum Link testnet. These are not real tokens yet. We're doing going through extensive security auditing to make sure all of our smart contracts are rock solid and consulting with legal.

Before we implemented crypto over the last six months, users could send each other points or  dollars with Stripe. We took all of that out to focus fully on crypto and our revenue in the future is going to be in tokens.

On day one of any potential token sale, the tokens will be immediately usable. There will be no future products, we're not doing any kind of presales, we're not doing lockup. We're really trying to check off all the boxes to fall into the utility category.

I'm actually glad that we waited because a lot of social apps that have launched crypto over the last year are in a difficult situation now because they did SAFT agreements for future tokens or they didn't have a product.

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KM: When Minds got started seven years ago, there were fewer people who recognized the issues with major platforms like Facebook. Will rising awareness of privacy breaches and Blockchain technologies give decentralized platforms a boost?

BO: Absolutely. Without spending money on marketing, we're seeing fully organic growth directly in line with Cambridge Analytica or similar events. I think that people are becoming much more aware, they're starting to care more.

We think people deserve to be rewarded for their energy. Facebook, Google, Twitter, proprietary social media – they have an extractive model. They're assuming that you're lucky to be using the platform for free and they're going to use your data as your form of compensation.

Now, people are starting to understand that users, influencers, content creators are valuable. The people are actually what constitutes the network. Some of these independent creators on Youtube have more social reach than CNN. They are big brands, and the proprietary networks have to be very careful about driving them away.

Our strategy is the reward mechanism. Earning tokens for your contribution – that's something that everyone cares about, even if you're into Internet freedom, privacy and open source technology.

There’s a learning curve with crypto. First you need to appeal a little to the common human aspect, and as they come to the platform, they are exposed to the other layers of value such as freedom, privacy, transparency.

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KM: Facebook has billions of users and they're not going to offload en masse anytime soon. How does Minds face the adoption challenge? Would you try to get big content creators to come over?

BO: We already have some big Youtubers and Twitter influencers on the platform A lot of our big growth spurts are when a content creator with a million followers says “follow me on Minds” and overnight we will see 25,000 more users.

Certainly, the influencers hold a huge amount of the power. That is where the waves of migration to more decentralized, incentivized networks will come from.

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KM: I feel there would be a self-selection process for decentralized social network adoption, with people who are more concerned about data ownership being more likely to make the switch.

BO: For sure. Probably 90 percent of our current user base are people who are very aware of these issues and personally invested in helping to build solutions. We had an equity crowdfunding round last year, actually setting the record in the US for fastest to raise a million – and it all came from 1500 members of our community. That's a lot of people who are invested in these causes and are willing to become shareholders.

KM: Some new entertainment platforms are trying to change the advertising model to a framework where users choose to engage with advertising and get rewarded for it. Is that something that Minds is considering – third party advertisement for token compensation?

BO: We're certainly looking into having users watch ads and get compensated for that, with a distribution model that will support the creator as well. But we're staying away from third-party ad networks. We actually built our own internal ad network specifically because of issues with surveillance. I would say probably 99 percent of ad networks out there are basically spyware.

KM: With user generated content, there are always going to be issues with content quality control, legal considerations. How is Minds handling that? What is your stance on curation and censorship?

BO: In terms of copyright, we handle it like anyone else. If we get a DMCA request, we take content down, but that hasn't been much of a problem at all. We spent a lot of time over the last year working on our reporting, blocking and filtering tools, so that users can have as much control over their experience as possible.

This is actually one of my main interests right now – content policy and the best strategy for diminishing hate speech online.

Dozens of studies show that censorship amplifies hate speech.

Networks that have extensive hate speech policies think that they're fixing the problem, but what's actually happening is that they aggravate the trolls and the discussions get inflamed. If you look at the rise of political polarization in the last year or two, it is directly related to what's happening on Youtube and Twitter and Facebook.

We're not standing up for free speech just for the sake of it – we believe this is the strategy the Internet needs on a long-term macro basis. We have that larger mission to not polarize politically and create an honest, open and positive tone for the network.

People really appreciate that, even if they have drastically different ideas.

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KM: That’s a very challenging thing to do because it seems like the system selects for extremity, and then it becomes difficult to defend moderate positions.

BO: I can't agree more. It's called the Streisand effect – when you silence something, it makes it louder. If you ban books, it makes people want to read them more. It's certainly tricky, but the right to freedom of speech and First Amendment protection exists for the purpose of defending ideas that most people find controversial. You don't need freedom of speech for things most people agree with.

I do think that we need to start having this conversation with the bigger networks. Reddit knows as much as anyone that the amplification of extremism happens when you censor, but they’ve gone down the rabbit hole over the last couple of years, censoring things arbitrarily. They've fallen away from where they originally were, and so has Twitter. It's very hard because the public pressure to cave is intense.

KM: A lot of these social media companies started out as mavericks, giving users freedom of expression, but years go by, they get big and they become the establishment. Do you think that’s something that can affect crypto and Blockchain companies as well?

BO: Well, look at what just happened to Coinbase– it banned Julian Assange. First he got banned from PayPal and there was a big uproar. Then he started taking donations in Bitcoin, and now Coinbase said no.

That's a perfect example of a crypto company that ends up becoming the establishment, but it’s very nuanced. Nuance for me is the word of the year, if not the last few years.

Obviously Coinbase is essential to the growth of crypto in general and it's a great company, but it’s also fully, totally proprietary. They've had transparency issues a little bit over the years.

Now there are also issues with privacy and Blockchain because Blockchain is immutable and forever. When people talk about publishing things to the Blockchain, but then wanting to delete them – you're getting into a complicated situation. Which would you prefer? The ability to delete or the decentralized power of the blockchain?

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KM: What's the roadmap for Minds over the next months? What are you hoping for?

BO: We're certainly aiming for a token sale this year. I think that we are seeing other examples like Steemit working – the SEC is not taking them down. Also, we are definitely focusing on further decentralization, but balancing that with the nuance of privacy versus the immutability that comes with Blockchain.

Our technology is fully open source and decentralized, so anyone can take our stack and start their own app. That's really important because those apps can be independent, but they can also potentially federate together.

We don't see the next Facebook being a singular centralized entity. It really can't be. Realistically it's going to be some sort of a federation – whether it's a federation of networks or individuals in control of their own data joining networks that are a decentralized.

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KM: So you see the future of media as stepping back from monopolization – being fragmented, but interoperable?

BO: For sure. It’s naive to expect everything in social media to be decentralized all at once. Sure, that's a great goal to have. But pragmatically and realistically, there's a reason that it hasn't been achieved yet. A lot of this tech is still very immature.

There's value in having a big community and making the process easy for everyone. Our strategy is more of centralization moving towards decentralization, as opposed to starting off in a scattered mess and trying to get everyone involved that way.

In order for Blockchain and open source, privacy networks to compete with Facebook, we have an obligation to become competitive functionally.

We're getting much closer. Our mobile apps are much better, we have a lot of the tools that they have. If you look at what's happening with Instagram, Snapchat, Google – all these apps tend to coalesce, they have the same features and compete with each other. What we want to do is provide those services, but with a different set of core values.

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CryptoComes Women in Blockchain: Crystal Rose on Blockchain Island, Governance and Open Data

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Technologist and Blockchain entrepreneur Crystal Rose talks about open data standards, ICO governance and changing the advertising model
CryptoComes Women in Blockchain: Crystal Rose on Blockchain Island, Governance and Open Data

 

Crystal Rose is a technologist and entrepreneur who has been part of the tech community since middle school, but that familiarity has not put her out of touch with the obstacles faced by women in technology.

As co-founder and CEO of Sensay, an AI communications platform and SENSE, a Blockchain protocol that recently completed a successful ICO, she has direct experience of the industry’s challenges and prospects.

CryptoComes caught up with Crystal after she spoke on the Women in Blockchain panel at CryptoBlockCon 2018 in Los Angeles.

Katya Michaels: I heard that you started coding when you were eleven, which makes you not just a digital native, but a coding native. Do you think that being comfortable with the technology from so early on makes it easier for you as a woman in tech?

Crystal Rose: I think being in the space early and being really naive helped a lot. When I was a teenager, I discovered hackathons. At that point, it was just people getting together, creating products or sharing code. It wasn't until I was 19 or 20 that someone actually mentioned to me that I was the only woman out of a hundred people participating in the hackathon who wasn’t a sponsor or working at a booth.

After that realization, I started to seek out more women and try to understand - is it that women are fundamentally not interested in engineering? Or is it really exclusive? I think it's a combination. There is definitely an intimidation factor if you're not comfortable with the “boys club” elements of it.

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Bringing men into the conversation

KM: How do you feel about the “women in Blockchain” discourse?

CR: It's super challenging for me because I would rather not see us segregating ourselves even further. For instance, the organizers of this conference pulled me off the first panel today to put me on the Women in Blockchain panel. As a result, there were several panels with only men and one panel with only women.

I think it would be interesting if we included men on a Women in Blockchain panel to get their perspective, to understand the challenges from their side, to empower them to bring more women into this space.

Events created specifically for women in the industry are helpful for us to make connections, but we also have to take the next step- which is integrate. When I host dinners for women in crypto, I encourage men to come and participate. One good approach is to invite men, but also ask them to nominate a woman who is a candidate for the space and bring her along.

If you look at the C-suite in any industry, it is challenging for women to break through to the top level. It’s good to point that out, but without creating more exclusion. I’d like to bring the topics around to the men- ask them how they are encouraging women entrepreneurs, how they are investing in women. I want to see men step up to that conversation.

Opening doors for women entrepreneurs

KM: You are a partner with an all-women investment group, Artemis. Who are the members and what makes this experience unique?

CR: So, Artemis is 11 women from all over the world who are entrepreneurs in their own right - primarily in technology, but other sectors as well. This is a side project for everyone involved, just coming together to really understand investing in cryptocurrencies, in ICOs, and in Blockchain companies.

At this point, I consider it more of a learning club rather than a venture firm. We’re here for all the women who are entrepreneurs and are unsure in the space. We'll go through the diligence process in a really kind way and open that door.

One of the things about women is we tend to have a higher standard. Being an angel investor myself for about five years now, having people come and pitch to me, women are always more polished. But the detrimental part of that higher standard is that they might not come to the table early enough.

KM: In fact, there is research showing that women need to be extremely sure of their competence before putting themselves out there, while for men that threshold is much lower - something that has been called “the confidence gap.”

CR: Well, that research is super valid then, because that's exactly how it is with the pitches. Men might be only 50 or 30 percent there with the idea - and they give the pitch anyway. Women will only pitch an idea when they think that the chances of success are extremely high.

But when you're raising angel money, you've got to have a higher risk tolerance. You've got to say, “Hey, I want to bet on this thing and I want to go for it.” I think it would be great to see women stepping up with ideas earlier because you can validate them faster, you can get through that cycle faster and get to the next stage. We want to see women accelerated.

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Giving back for long-term solutions

KM: Have you noticed a difference in the approach taken by women versus men to adding value in this industry?

CR: I think it’s related to the likelihood of women taking high risks in things that are uncertain.

Men want a higher return, but they don't really have as much of a vested interest in the idea or the company. Maybe this is just a blanket statement, but I feel that women want to see a longer-term solution.

Men, a lot of the time, have this rocket booster mentality - I just want to get something out of the gate really fast, go to the moon, maybe it's not sustainable, maybe I've burned a bunch of fuel on the way, but it doesn't really matter. For women, it’s more of “how can I positively impact the world sustainably over a longer period of time?”

Women want to see growth and also have a harder stomach for sticking it out long term. I've seen a lot more female entrepreneurs unwilling to give up their business when it's clearly failing compared to male counterparts.

KM: You have been nominated for the Golden Token Female Leader of the Year Award. Is that exciting for you? Should there be more recognition for women, or is it just a golden star that doesn’t mean anything?

CR: That's huge, I'm extremely honored. I strive to put out a positive message and encourage everyone to ask questions and learn. Even when I stopped doing hackathons to build things, I kept going back as a mentor because I saw this need for women to be encouraged to work on something and not be afraid to fail. Out of that, I ended up doing LA Startup week, a free event to encourage entrepreneurs who either didn’t have the resources or were afraid to come out and get to that next stage. So I think recognition is huge.

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Global governance

KM: You are on the board of the ICO Governance Foundation. What do you think is in the future for this model? There seem to be two approaches- comply or insist on freedom.

CR: Or keep changing the acronym! TGE, token generation event, that's what it's called today.

The reason I wanted to get into the governance side of it is because I realized that in a global economy we have to collaborate, and understanding the global ecosystem is really important. I am fortunate to have been at the table with different governments, with Congress, the SEC, the SFC in Hong Kong. We are still operating in a world where global trade is very challenging and that is detrimental to the entire space.

The ICO Governance Foundation works on creating a governance system that everyone can adhere to and live by. In this space, you have to self-govern and have integrity, but the other side is influencing the government. We need to be the voice that says, “Hey, this is what all the companies want.”

Governance happens two ways. It's not our job to sit back and wait for rules be created. It's our job to help formulate these rules, so they are most beneficial to the companies, to the people and the government.

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Open data standards and decentralization

KM: A wider adoption of the technology should help with governance because eventually, the population will be significant enough for the regulatory bodies to work with.

CR: Yes, but I think that's going to be a really tough challenge as well. I'm excited to be at this stage because I feel like it's the dawn of the Internet. No standards have been put in place for a lot of this.

At Sensay, we’ve had a lot of trouble with our data partners when every data stream is different. So we started the Blockchain Data Alliance, which is a group of people who are all building large-scale data-driven Blockchain projects to create open standards. We don’t want to continue to silo people and have them build essentially centralized systems. The whole point is distribution and decentralization.

KM: In your opinion, which platform is currently the leader in terms of smart contracts and decentralized apps?

CR: I like to say that I'm poly-chain. I think that each one is valid for its own inherent reason, but we chose Ethereum and the ERC 20 token. You can't actually code anything on top of Bitcoin, and Ethereum is the most accessible to the most amount of people.

But now we're seeing a lot of challenges with the transaction time and with the fees for our needs. We need to be able to do micro-transactions, so we are going to be announcing in a couple of months that we're moving to the EOS chain. EOS offers faster transactions and we've been really happy with their code base.

For me personally, EOS is the clear next big winner just because the technology is good. I think you've got to bet on who is creating good technology over who is creating hype.

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Changing the advertising model

CR: I'm really happy to see that all of the ads have been banned from Google and Facebook.

KM: You're a fan of that decision?

CR: Huge fan. Fundamentally, as a company, it's against our ethos to advertise. We won't allow advertisers on our platform because that changes the quality of what we transact. Our purpose is to let humans find each other based on their knowledge.

We do have brand partners like Nike who we're working with to figure out how brands can talk to people with their permission and allow them to benefit from the interaction. We can leapfrog the process of Nike buying an ad, then the publisher, like Facebook, getting the money, with the user never getting anything other than the ad.

Instead, Nike can talk to the user directly, and if the user agrees, Nike pays them. It’s removing the intermediary. I'm sure a lot of the intermediaries are very unhappy about this, but advertising fundamentally changes the results of things.

I think we're going to watch as the current decades-old advertising model starts to unravel and I'm really excited to see it change.

KM: There is a view that the ban is not going to affect the honest players because they grow their own communities and they don't need that kind of mass advertising.

CR: I believe that fully. I wouldn't have considered spending money for the acquisition of someone to buy a token because we want people who are just interested in the product and a community that’s going to stick around with us. It's not a speculative point. It’s more like, if you love us and want to be a part of this, you’re in it for a longer game.

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Puerto Rico- Blockchain Island

KM: What's your most exciting project at the moment?

CR: Мy heart is in getting every human to become their own sovereign entrepreneur. And that's what our original mission with Sensay was - to connect people together to freely share their knowledge and get a value for it.

I’m looking at communities of people now and my biggest passion is Puerto Rico, where we are doing Restart Week. Having seen what kind of impact Blockchain can have on a place that is in need of literally every resource - that's a really big mission.

Of course, there are serious challenges that don't get solved with the Blockchain - like power lines broken and roofs ripped off by hurricanes. But when you have things like money being donated to charities and disappearing, or food never being delivered, that does get solved with something like a transparent, immutable ledger system.

I think this is our first time seeing such a massive scale social impact project. We're bringing in not only resources and people and talent, but also capital in a meaningful way.  

We're helping to create laws that are friendly to people who want to run businesses, to help improve the system.

It would be really great if we could see Puerto Rico become an example of how the Blockchain industry can be applied collectively, all in one place - a kind of “Blockchain Island.”

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Put Your Hookup on Blockchain: Adryenn Ashley Brings Responsible Sexy Back

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Adryenn Ashley’s dating app Loly is out to solve the dating crisis and heal the #MeToo epidemic
Put Your Hookup on Blockchain: Adryenn Ashley Brings Responsible Sexy Back

America is experiencing a dating crisis, and it’s about time cutting edge technology was harnessed to address it. Even prominent venture capitalist Tim Draper agrees that modern dating is a problem that needs a solution.

Adryenn Ashley, the CEO and founder of dating app Loly, is the woman getting close to providing that solution.

Loly implements all the hottest technologies– Blockchain, cryptocurrency, augmented reality and digital identity– to make the dating experience safe, secure and completely natural.

More than that, putting trust and consent on an immutable ledger has the potential of encouraging people to take responsibility for their choices, in personal relationships and elsewhere. Improving humanity through a better dating experience? Sign us up.

Katya Michaels: How did you first discover Blockchain?

Adryenn Ashley: I've been in Bitcoin for almost 10 years. I'm a startup consultant, now an ICO consultant as well, and I was asked to take my consulting fee in crypto. That was 2009, and if I could ever recover those Bitcoin, I would never have to work again.

KM: What do you find most exciting about Blockchain technology?

AA: Blockchain is an un-****-with-able register of what actually happened. That means there's no go-backsies, you have to own your words and your choices. Blockchain is going to force society into a role it has not been in since the fifties, and I think that's going to be one of the unsung blessings of this technology.

There are things that need Blockchain and there are things that don't– 99 percent of businesses do not need Blockchain. However, the ones that do, voting records, health records, will be changed significantly. I cannot wait until people are no longer dying because of prescription conflicts because nobody bothered to look at their medical record. That will save hundreds of thousands of lives.

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Never break the Blockchain

KM: How does your dating platform Loly implement Blockchain?

АА: There are two different reasons why we need Blockchain. One is digital identity.

If you're like most women, you get hit on by men who are married and if you're like most men, you get hit on by women who aren't real– they’re bots or scammers.

From both sides, it is difficult to ascertain that people are who they really say they are, and we use a digital ID product to verify that.

Your sexual preference data is held in your own device and it's encrypted. Your data is your data. It's not held in our servers. We have security protocols, but even if we are hacked, all they’re going to get is a username and encrypted password. We don’t hold a database which could reveal sensitive information.

The other way we use Blockchain is sexual consent.

We have this #MeToo epidemic, people on both sides not owning their choices, not owning their decisions. But decisions cannot be edited retroactively. Verified consent gives women the safety, security and certainty that they need to say yes, and it gives men the insurance that the yes that they heard last night stays a yes tomorrow, next week, next month, next year, a decade from now.

That's a key piece of Blockchain– that it's immutable. You can't go back and change the records.

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Compos mentis: owning your choices

KM: How does the consent mechanism work in real time? People tend to be emotional in intimate situations and prone to changing their mind unexpectedly.

AA: What our consent does is it opens a consent window, so when you have your fun, then you check out. To verify that this whole experience was consensual, you're agreeing up front and then you are agreeing that you agreed, at the end. It's like a post-nup.

At any time during that encounter, you can change your mind. I factor that in because sometimes, all of a sudden, you can freak out– maybe you're doing it for the wrong reasons, maybe something comes up that changes the encounter. You can still use the app to check out successfully.

Another piece of this revolutionary protocol is about getting people to really understand what they want and to be honest with themselves. You can change your preference data and what you’re looking for in real time. If it’s 2:00 in the morning in a Las Vegas Hotel room and you just want some company, that's very different than “at this moment in time I’m searching for my soulmate.” If you're looking for a long-term relationship at 2:00 in the morning, you're not going to find the right people.

When you sign up for the platform, you enter an ethical contract that basically says– things happen, people change their minds and everybody's going to agree to be kind. I call it the “no douchebags/no crazy chicks” policy.

We're trying to weed out the problem people and create a community.

Seventy percent of the women on existing dating apps have been celibate for more than a year, not by choice but because they cannot find an appropriate match. When you're swiping through these apps, all you have is a photo. People match thousands of times, but the way it works is just not in the moment. The way that we have set it up is as organic and natural as bumping into somebody at the grocery store.

KM: You mentioned Blockchain putting people in situations of taking responsibility for their decisions and choices. I feel there's a question of how ready people are for taking that responsibility.

AA: Oh, we’ve turned into lemmings. We’ve told every woman that she's a victim, that she's got this glass ceiling and that she's not responsible because someone is victimizing her and someone else is to blame. That culture has got to end.

We have to get back to the point where we own our choices, our handshake is our word. Because then and only then are we actually going to move forward as a society.

The trajectory that we have been on is not good for women— the victim mentality and the Violence Against Women Act. I created the California Alliance for Families and Children with a core group of people and we did a large study which showed that domestic violence in the United States, it's 50/50: 30 percent man on woman, 30 percent woman on man and 40 percent mutual. Nobody ever wants to admit that. You these narratives created for power that do not serve the people. That's a problem.

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Beyond the #MeToo bandwagon

KM: I'm getting a sense that you're going to have a unique perspective on the women in Blockchain discourse. Do you feel that the space has changed in the past 10 years in terms of opportunities for and treatment of women?

AA: I have a very skewed perspective, you're right. I'm the only female ever in the cigar room with the Titans who have never asked me out in 30 years. Why? The answer was – I’m a valuable asset, not a female.

Certainly, there are men who are predators and they needed to be called out. The tech industry is similar to the entertainment industry. Everybody knows who the predators are, but nobody's talking about it. And I think that's the problem.

I did have some issues with #MeToo, with the pile on, because I have a friend who got thrown under the bus, I feel unjust. In this case, I was there, I saw that the woman started it and then jumped on the #MeToo bus.

And yet, it's OK in our society for women to behave like that. I think that is actually going to be the downfall of women if we don't hold each other accountable to better behavior and owning our choices.

The women who are dressed properly, have a business pitch, no flirtation, not leaning on their femininity–  those women getting hit on, that has to stop. I don't think everybody has to lose their femininity and vulnerability, but it's hard to create a safe place for everyone. Because of that, the fact that we have women in Blockchain and women investing in women allows us to focus more on creating opportunity in a safe pipeline, a safe funnel for women that need the extra support.

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A Blue Ocean amidst bro culture

AA:

If we create the infrastructure and the environment where women feel safe, they will thrive. We already know that women are a better investment. They're a better long-term risk. They're gonna make more money, they're going to fail less, they're going to work harder, they're going to put more into it.

We already know this, so women should be getting more investment, but they're not– just because of the way the system is designed. Unless you’re a 25-year-old Stanford grad, Asian male, you can't write something on a napkin and get a $5 mln seed round.

In addition, with this whole #MeToo thing, we now have the blowback which is men not taking any meetings with women. That's going to take a while to settle down. It's up to the women in Blockchain, the women in tech to create that safe place for the men to come in who will support women. When these men end up making a lot more money, that's where we get to have our “I told you so” moment. Then the industry will shift. We have to create our own breaks.

Instead of trying to change the existing bro culture, we have to do a Blue Ocean Strategy from scratch where we go– here's what we're doing over here. Blockchain gives women the opportunity to do it and democratizes the entire investment field with ICOs, token sales.

Normally, we would have to pitch a VC, and in my case, they wouldn’t touch a dating app– even though the only apps out there are mostly built by men and they don't address what women need, to feel safe, secure and certain to say yes.

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Omnipotence addiction

KM: Many people feel that technology has infringed too much on human interaction. We have apps to help us communicate, take care of each other, spy on each other. Now Blockchain introduces a kind of technology-assisted trust. Do you feel that’s something that might be difficult for people to accept? Or are we tired enough of ambiguity to be ready for it?

AA: I'm tired of being asked out by married men. I’m tired of going out to dinner with men that I think are single and available only to find out that they are not. I'm definitely ready to only date available, eligible, appropriate people, and I need technology to do that.

What's interesting is it's already in our everyday life. Our phones are listening to us all the time. I've sold my soul to Google and Apple, and I'm OK with that, it makes my life easier. I have tried to function without them. I go on cruises where they don't have internet and it's frightening– I’m on shore in Turkey, trying to figure out how to type on the Turkish keyboard in an internet cafe.

Is there an addiction? Yes, I have an omnipotence addiction. I am omnipotent when I have my phone and my laptop, I can find or do anything I need to. There's no escaping technology.

I think that you would have to convert to be Amish if you want to avoid it and that is backbreaking labor, I'm not sure I'm up for it.

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Bitcoin, Blockchain and love

KM: Any predictions about Bitcoin and mass crypto adoption, when is that coming?

AA: So there are several apps coming out, mine being one of them, that are mainstream and understandable. We're calling them apps, not wallets. These are projects that everyone can adapt and learn to use. People will create digital identities in order to use these products.

That will help with mainstream adoption. We're at five percent now– it's the tipping point. I expect we’ll be 30-35 percent by the end of 2019. I think Bitcoin is going to hit $30,000 by the end of the year.

I said $10,000 by the end of last year and it hit $20,000, it was $10,000 in November. I said that when it was $800 and my friends thought I was crazy. It's math, and I majored in math, so I'm pretty sure I can read the algorithm.

Because it’s diminishing supply, proof of work gets harder– Bitcoin is designed to increase in value, so it will.

KM: Your token generating event is coming up. Do you think regulations are going to impede token offerings in general?

AA: I think there will be laws passed that will make it easier. I think that every prosecution so far should have been prosecuted, in the same way, had they been stocks, not tokens. Fraud, Ponzi, misrepresentation– that's already illegal. That should continue to be illegal in the token economy. Do the right thing, own your choices.

I prefer to run token sales like a Kickstarter for subway tokens– full utility. I check with the SEC first. We're running a fully compliant utility token. If you want to buy in bulk, you're going to have to get a reseller agreement, but it's not for investment purposes.

It’s for love. Who doesn't want to get laid?

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Future of Blockchain Series: Vicky Barker on Mass Adoption

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Dacxi’s boss aims to bring more clarity for novice crypto users
Future of Blockchain Series: Vicky Barker on Mass Adoption

Once in a while, an exceptional technology comes to light. As everything else under the sun, those technologies have a certain cycle, almost a fruit like process. That initial seed of an idea turns into a sprout of potential, that becomes a tree giving us sweet and juicy benefits.

Vicky Barker's crypto exchange Dacxi is focused on bringing wonders of Blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies specifically to mainstream audiences.
We touched upon the growth of Blockchain technology, the role of team and the need for clarity for rookie crypto enthusiasts.

Cyril Gilson: Give us a brief story of how you first discovered Blockchain and what it meant for you?

Vicky Barker: I was at a conference in Hong Kong at the end of 2015 and accidentally stumbled into a breakout session that was all about how Blockchain might disrupt the beauty industry. I was really intrigued to hear about how Blockchain might have the potential to solve major issues in the cosmetics industry for both companies and consumers alike. At the time I was a beauty product manufacturer and I realized that Blockchain could be used to stop the counterfeiting of products and also provide supply chain transparency in an industry that is famous for smoke and mirrors.

From there I went down the rabbit hole and started devouring books, Ted-talks and whitepapers. Having lived through the Dotcom revolution, I realized that Blockchain had the same potential to turn the world on its head and I knew I had to get involved. I’m fascinated by the idea that our monetary system could be transformed and so create a fairer world. So my husband, myself and our investors set out to create Dacxi, the world’s first Community Exchange. Our goal is to help solve mainstream adoption of crypto assets.

CG: Tell us about your team. How did they get to the crypto industry?

VB: One of Dacxi’s strengths is our team. We have around 52 team members who are based in four offices in four different countries. They are a fantastically talented and diverse group of people with skills across the board from marketing, acquisition, community building to cryptoanalysts and also our dev and technical team. Some have been in the Blockchain world for years and act as crypto evangelists to any members of the team who are new to crypto!

CG: When in your opinion will mass adoption of Blockchain come?

VB: That’s the big question isn’t it? I think it is going to be like any new technology. At first, adoption is very slow and people question the value of the technology. We’ve seen this already. And then as Blockchain starts to spread it will follow an s-curve adoption cycle and quickly become unstoppable. When a new technology does take hold, it is very hard to stop. I think this will happen with cryptocurrency because of the network effects that strengthen and expand as more people use it. We need digital money for our digital world. That’s one of the first uses cases, and then once the more exotic DAPPs start to come online and scale there will be no looking back!

CG: Do you think your project may significantly influence Blockchain adoption? If yes, why?

VB: Yes, absolutely! Dacxi’s mission is to help solve the mainstream adoption problem. Our goal is to be the number one community exchange brand in crypto. We’re going to onboard the next wave of mainstream retail investors into crypto and that means up to 500 mln new investors and a market worth $1 tln by 2022. We’ll do this by pioneering a new category of crypto exchange, called a Community Exchange. The Dacxi Community Exchange has two key parts to it. Firstly, a user-friendly interface that is simple and intuitive to use. Secondly, it includes a dedicated community platform that provides new mainstream investors with the knowledge, tools, discussion groups and learning resources they need to engage with crypto assets in a safe and responsible way.

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CG: Name the factor that could be a major turnoff as it comes to cryptocurrencies and Blockchain. What can be done about it?

VB: The major turn off for people at the moment is they simply don’t understand it. It takes a while for people to get their heads around what Blockchain and crypto are all about. And of course, the barriers to entry are high. It’s a big challenge for new people to even get their first crypto and most people give up. Current exchanges are very technical and intimidating and not designed for mainstream users. So at Dacxi, we’re removing those barriers to entry, so new mainstream retail investors can get into crypto in a safe and responsible way. We’ll show them what they need to know and how to do it!

CG: The number of hacks is growing today along with the volumes of the sensitive data and the funds were stolen. How will you make sure that very personal user data is not going to be compromised?

VB: Yes, well obviously one of the strengths of Blockchain is that it allows users to take control of their data and keep it out of the hands of big companies that are more likely to be hacked. For us, as a crypto exchange, the security of our systems, assets and user data is one of the core principles upon which our business is built. We have best practice security protocols in place, a secure cold wallet storage facility in a remote location and our team is constantly assessing and testing our systems.

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CG: What major obstacles do you foresee for your project?

VB: One of the challenges for us in 2018 and I’m sure it’s the same for many others in the space, is the current bear market has meant that new investors aren’t ready to enter the market yet. In some ways, this has turned out to be a positive, as it has given us a longer runway to build out the Dacxi ecosystem platforms, so when the market does turn and we enter the next bull cycle we’ll be well positioned for the next wave of new investors.

CG: How big is the community you are working with? How do you describe it?  

VB: Our community is growing fast! I would describe our global crypto community as welcoming, friendly, empowering, inclusive, collaborative, credible, knowledgeable, aspirational, inspirational, entertaining, enthusiastic and positive. Because we’re global, our team is just as global and diverse as the community. We have people from over 20 different countries on the team.

CG: What is the role of women in your company?

VB: We have some great women on our team and it’s very important to me that we help encourage new female crypto people. It’s estimated that less than five percent of crypto investors are women and I find that quite shocking!

I think there are a few reasons why. Firstly, women are more risk-averse than men. And while crypto is becoming more recognized as an emerging new asset class, it has always been seen as risky. Secondly, knowledge or access to information. Bitcoin first became popular in the geekiest, nerdiest corners of the Internet. In those days you did need some technical knowledge to get into crypto, and while things are much easier now, and getting better all the time, it’s still true today.

Too many women think you need to have an economics degree or be a computer coder to be qualified to invest in crypto. That is not true! Also, did you know that woman make better investors than men? It’s true! According to research by Warwick Business School-  women’s returns on their investments were 1.2 percent higher than men. If crypto is going to achieve mainstream adoption, we must welcome more women into the space and I’m certain that we will.

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CG: What are your major principles when working with your community?

VB: We're all about our community. Our members are here to increase their crypto knowledge and learn more about how to take part in the crypto revolution. To help our community members grow in confidence on their crypto journey, we value and respect constructive contributions from anyone, regardless of where they are on their journey. We will all help each other to succeed.

Dacxi.com

Dacxi (Digital Asset Community Exchange International) is a global start-up pioneering a new category of crypto exchange, called a Community Exchange. Dacxi’s mission is to help solve the mainstream adoption problem by removing the barriers to entry that have prevented retail investors from entering the crypto market. Once these barriers to entry are solved, Dacxi estimates that up to 500 mln new retail investors will enter the crypto market by 2022.

The Dacxi Community Exchange has two key parts to it. Firstly, the Dacxi Exchange has a user-friendly interface that is simple and intuitive to use, not technical and intimidating like most existing exchanges.

Secondly, the Community Exchange includes a dedicated community platform that provides new mainstream investors with the knowledge, tools, discussion groups and learning resources they need to engage with crypto assets in a safe and responsible way. Beta versions of Dacxi’s platforms have been launched and can be accessed via dacxi.com

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NEM, Dash and Petro in Venezuela: Head of NEM Latam Explains

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“We can confirm that the Venezuelan government is intending to use the NEM Blockchain”:Pedro Gutierrez
NEM, Dash and Petro in Venezuela: Head of NEM Latam Explains

Is the Venezuelan government using the NEM platform for its oil-pegged Petro cryptocurrency? Head of NEM Latin America Pedro Gutierrez answers the question in a first-hand exclusive interview.

It’s been reported that the controversial Venezuelan cryptocurrency Petro was officially released as an asset on NEM’s Blockchain rather than on Ethereum’s Blockchain, with the total supply capped at 100 mln Petro.

Pedro Gutierrez answers and explains why the NEM platform, its competition with Ethereum and specifics of doing business in one of the most promising regions on Earth.

We asked Pedro Gutierrez about NEM’s involvement with the Venezuelan government and the platform’s perspectives in Latin America and globally. As the Latam leader of NEM.IO foundation, Gutierrez sees his major task in s publicizing Blockchain technology and NEM in industry, commerce, education institutions and government in Latin America and Spain.

Cyril Gilson: Is the NEM platform used for the oil-pegged Petro cryptocurrency?

Pedro Gutierrez: We can confirm that the Venezuelan government is intending to use the NEM Blockchain. We can’t comment on how it works as it’s not a project we’re actively involved with. The NEM technology is freely open to any individual or organization that wants to use it. The NEM Foundation abstains from political endorsements.

CG: Have the NEM developers been involved in developing the Petro?

PG: No, our developers are not involved with this project. NEM’s technology is easy to use and to build applications upon while having a near perfect record for being secure. A person reasonably skilled can work on the NEM platform within a day.

It does not take much to learn how to use NEM’s technology. So it is therefore easy to imagine why the Venezuelan government wants to implement using NEM technology.

NEM in Venezuela

CG:  How big is the NEM community in Venezuela?

PG: The NEM community in Venezuela is growing steadily. We have raised significant interest in the academic and business sector. NEM is the best technology to make this happen because our platform is plug n play for business- making it the easiest and safest Blockchain network for enterprises and developers.

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CG:  When the story of NEM started in Venezuela and what are the major achievements?

PG:  NEM started in 2014 and its tech is widely adopted by hundreds of companies all over the world because the platform is so easy to use. A huge portion of global industries such as the financial sector, insurance, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, supply chain management and the entertainment industry sectors need a cost-efficient way to manage and authenticate data in an immutable and secure way. There’s no question that these companies will play a vital role in incorporating Blockchain technology in the next few years.

Venezuela is an attractive region for NEM to expand into. NEM has hubs in Malaysia, Australia, Japan and New Zealand. All of the NEM hubs are key to expanding visibility and opportunities where the NEM team can engage with the public, do training on our platform, and support startups who are interested in Blockchain.

In May, we opened an embassy in Venezuela and this is critical to providing Venezuelans with quality resources and training for developers getting into blockchain. We are hopeful that adding Blockchain services to the list of Venezuela industries can help the economy and people. In addition to this, we hold meetups to help educate the Blockchain community on the benefits of building on NEM’s ecosystem.

CG:  Are other Latam governments considering something similar?

PG: NEM is an open-source platform so any government, individual or company can build on NEM. At this time, I’m not aware of other LATAM governments building on the NEM Blockchain.

CG: What advantages and disadvantages of the Petro do you see?

PG: I don’t have a comment on this. I’m working on other projects, though, that I’m happy to talk about. We have some projects that at the moment we can not announce since we have signed NDAs, but I can tell you that they are in the financial sector, in Mexico and Colombia. We are also working on projects of agricultural traceability, electricity for rural areas among others that we will announce very soon.

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Dash and NEM

CG: Is there a competition between Dash and NEM in Venezuela?

PG: Dash is one of the most innovative and interesting Bitcoin forks, but NEM does not compete with Dash since Dash is a transactional platform and NEM is a platform of Blockchain Services. So we are not in competition with Dash because the two platforms are designed for different purposes. We have a good relationship with the DASH team and are supporters of their community, in several countries of LATAM, we have participated in events together.

What’s next

CG:  What's next for NEM in LATAM?

PG:  Education and training are critical to helping ensure the future of Venezuela to remain competitive and thrive. NEM is supporting LATAM by building Blockchain hubs, offering training to developers at all levels, partnering with companies in all industries, and building a strong community to help keep the NEM ecosystem healthy.

One way that we do this is through the $70 mln NEM Community Fund. The NEM Community Fund promotes the development of the NEM ecosystem by having the NEM community vote on funding NEM startup companies.

It’s an alternative to doing an ICO and something that could be beneficial to many people in LATAM.

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CryptoKitties Co-Founder Benny Giang: Spend a Week Understanding Why Crypto Matters to You

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How much psychology is involved in the crypto industry? Do ICOs have a future? What’s the next thing?
CryptoKitties Co-Founder Benny Giang: Spend a Week Understanding Why Crypto Matters to You

CryptoKitties’ co-founder Benny Giang philosophizes on the kitty’s latest adventures, Vitalik Buterin, cats and wallets, cryptopsychology and incentivizing Blockchain adoption, and revolutionizing ICOs.

Cryptophychology

Cyril Gilson: How much psychology is involved in the crypto industry? I think there is a lot of talk about finance, trading, these kind of things but people underestimate the role of psychology.

Benny Giang: Well really what got me into it was, when I first started to dive deep into Blockchain, it wasn’t necessarily the technical aspects that drew me in, what drew me in was the philosophical approach on why does this matter, why does this technology matter. Then the psychology of it, the whole game theory, incentivizing behavior and trying to solve the classic problems in computer science that have been so difficult to solve, like the Byzantine Fault Tolerance or the general problems.

These things in combination are so interesting to see. I would encourage to listen to a couple of Vitalik’s talks. Vitalik along with a couple other people are really really smart. He is super deep into economics and he is also deep in philosophy and then he talks about the technical aspects.

One of the things I encourage for new people who have no clue what crypto is, is for you to spend the first or second week to try to understand why it matters to you. Why do you care about it? With anything you do in life if you don’t understand why you care about it, then why are you doing it? Besides money. Why is this technology going to change everything?

That took me about two weeks to really just keep asking myself that question and reading more until I found that answer and I was like okay this is the reason why!  

I encourage you to read Naval Ravikant, the founder of Angellist, he has a lot of tweet storms about crypto. Andreas Antonopoulos, he is amazing. He did a talk, and the whole talk wasn’t about Bitcoin it was about why does this matter. It’s about decision making, collective decision making, where a corporation is a group of people making decisions, or back when kings and monarchies when one or two people or family.

Understanding why is so important and then you can dive in the technical aspect. Then you could go to these conferences and network with people. If you don’t then you are coming in for the wrong reasons I think.

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Kitty goes to the market

Cyril Gilson: How are things going with CryptoKitties lately?

Benny Giang: Well we recently just raised 12.6 mln venture funding. We had investors from Silicon Valley and Union Square from New York City. Chris and Fred have been super helpful in really guiding us, we have a bunch of angels as well.

Right now we are focused a lot on growing CryptoKitties to new markets. We are going to be launching the Android version very soon in China. We have been exploring Japan and Korea. We have been talking to lawyers and figuring out the crypto and the gaming laws that exist in those two areas.

But really for CryptoKitties we want to expand this concept of KittyVerse. KittyVerse is third party developers who are building on top of CryptoKitties. So imagine that you buy a CryptoKitty from CryptoKitties ICO, right from the marketplace, and then you can use the same kitty you bought to raise it. You can play a racing game, you can play a battling game, you can put a hat on your cat. And so these experiences are built by third party developers who are part of our community.  We call this the KittyVerse because they play the game as well, they are incentivized to create content and experiences for the kitties. So that’s Kittyverse!

At the core of CryptoKitties is making it easy for people to come in and buy a kitty. Right now if you come into the marketplace there is over 750,000 kitties, so it’s a little bit difficult for you to select the kitty you want or you don’t know which kitty you want to buy.

Imagine Amazon where instead of curating things they suggest you to buy, they had millions of items just displayed in a list and they are like ‘hey go buy it.’ That’s gonna be a huge problem! We are actively solving it on the CryptoKitties side.

On the other side we formed a team to really look at the full UX experience. So that includes everything up until you are interested in CryptoKitties and then you need to buy crypto, you need to buy Ether, and then you need to download metamask to play the game, and then you go to the marketplace. So the team is looking at every single step and seeing what can we do to make it better, make it smoother. What kind of tools can we create to bridge this gap, so the its seamless?

The ideal experience is you have a credit card and you can buy a kitty. But right now you capped your card and you need to buy crypto, then you need to buy a cat. The US is a huge unwrap for us, and we are working on both of these things.

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Not a joke

CG: I was just thinking that you might consider some other project besides CryptoKitties? Because for many people it’s still a joke, for some at least.

BG: Well the funny thing is that CryptoKitties has always been an experiment. We are part of a larger parent company called Axiom Zen based in Vancouver, Canada. Axiom Zen is a five year old company, venture studio, it’s a startup that builds startups. So previous to CryptoKitties, we were building B2B Saas companies. We worked with fortune 500 companies to build ventures and products together, then we took the revenue from these fortune 500 partnerships and then we built our own startups. We spun out two startup companies, and they are both profitable.

Around last summer we started poking around: let’s explore Blockchain, let’s explore what we can do with smart contracts. So we built CryptoKitties and we decided we are not going to do an ICO, because everything last year was the price of Bitcoin, ICOs and the hacks and scams that were happening. That’s really here in Coindesk and Cointelegraph. We were like it just can’t be like this forever, there needs to be more real products that are building their shipping code and building real products. So we didn’t do an ICO, we launched a product, a Blockchain game.

For us it’s always been about education and mainstream adoption. If we can get your mom and dad to think about and get excited about Blockchain and crypto means our mission has gone right. Frankly a lot of people have struggled to explain Bitcoin, Ether, especially smart contracts to your mom and dad or whoever, they just don’t understand or are uninterested.

We had so many emails sent to us like the boyfriend is in crypto, my girlfriend never understands what I do, I tell her about Bitcoin, but she doesn’t care. Then we get an email like I told her about CryptoKitties and she is all like I wanna buy one, and she went through the floor of buying a kitty, and she was like wow now I own this kitty, and she got interested!

For us that’s perfect, that’s what we want. We want a billion people, a billion consumers to be on the Blockchain. We are not targeting a few 100 people who would download a crypto wallet app or a 1,000 people who want to use a fintech investment app. Not everybody in the world are investors, there are more gamers than investors out here.

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Beyond ICOs

CG: Last year was a year of hype but now comes some sobriety, ICOs are becoming more like VC investing, those people from VC are getting more like ICOs in a way. So do ICOs have a future?

BG:So ICOs to be clear are an amazing funding mechanism that allowed people from areas in the world that don’t have access to VC funding to get to raise money to build their own businesses. I have heard many stories of people in Singapore, Indonesia or some place in China, they are just not in Silicon Valley where they could walk to the office of a VC firm and ask for money.  So ICOs are a revolutionizing funding for business and companies.

That being said there were so little parameters around ICOs that there were a few bad players that took advantage of ICOs and just ran away and took the money and bought expensive cars. It’s the mentality that kind of was set by some of the early crypto people, where they spent a lot of their money on Lamborghinis. There was at New York Blockchain week, Consensus 2018, they had a boat party and the Aston Martin Giveaway. We look at it as a team and we are like sure those things are really cool but for us if you think that perspective ‘I want to be at a boat party, I want to win a Lambo’ it’s just really toxic kind of behavior.

CG: It doesn’t help with adoption...

BG: Exactly it doesn’t help with adoption. Then you ask yourself a great funding ICO mechanism to help business around the world to acquire capital, to build business, now people are just taking the money and running. We see people facing the consequences, like those guys in Miami who ran away with $12 mln and then the FCC came after them and now they are in jail. Those are some examples of like you taking advantage of many many many people who invested in your project and ran away with it. You certainly can’t get away with it.

So from my opinion regulation is good for ICOs. There needs to be more proactive regulation that allow for ICOs to happen, but happen in a way where it’s more safe for the normal person who wants to buy into an ICO.

The second thing is, Vitalik Buterin had this concept of a decentralized autonomous ICO, where the community that bought the tokens of your ICO, that they get to control the percentage that is basically given to the team. They are like this month we wanna give five percent of this money to the field of development and the community controls it. Now that’s just one example of kind of taking the ICOs and raising money but then having responsibility in place where people can’t run just run away very easily.

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The next thing

CG: The next thing is another way of tokenization...what do you think?

BG: There are people still building protocols who want to raise money. There are people who are building dapps on protocols who want to have tokens. For us it’s the CryptoKitties they are non-fungible tokens, they are ERC7-21. People are thinking CryptoKitties is a digital asset, it’s a gaming item, but its a digital asset so a lot of people are exploring this space.

Now there is also this hybrid. I have seen these people basically using a hybrid approach of I have a Van Gogh painting and I want to tokenize it, so then multiple people can buy parts of the Van Gogh like a token, and then we lock up the Van Gogh somewhere where nobody or one person or multiple people have access. This kind of hybrid approach of a physical item being tokenized is something that is challenging. You can say the same for real estate or registering your land.

These are physical things that have existing systems in place that people now want to tokenize, but it’s going to take some time to do that. We picked a digital world where you can create a digital item and then you can tokenize it. Everything is digital because in the future there is going to be a combination of physical and digital, as the Internet and the Blockchain get bigger, they allow for digital assets to exist.

Soon enough it will be like Ready Player One or West World where people can live in two worlds and own things in two worlds. It can be just as real as the physical world.

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Kitty and the wallet

CG: So you are interested in arts?

BG: Right now we are focused in three areas. It’s the crypto area, the gaming area and the arts area. We are going to be in an art exhibit in Germany, I forgot the city, it’s a very big exhibit for contemporary art. In September we will be back in Berlin at the Schlinker Pavilion, and we will be doing an exhibit with a very famous contemporary artist. That is to say that this is not only a crypto project, it’s a gaming project and its an art project. That is just building the dialog just think of this as a digital asset, it’s not just one thing.

CG: Is the coming arts project going to be digital art as well?

BG: It’s still early to tell, I think it will be a combination of physical and hardware. Two weeks ago we were in NY and we had an art auction for the Ethereal Summit. We had a Christie’s auctioneer there and we sold a kitty for $140,000. That all went to charity to help artists to fund art projects. It’s not the first time we had Kitties raise lots of money to help charities.

In the beginning, Nick Johnson from the Ethereum Foundation sold one of his Buck hats for $90,000 and he bought a bunch of cows for farms in Africa. A 10-year old girl Bella raised $15,000 and gave it all to Seattle Children’s Hospital in the US. So people are using these Kitties to really solve big problems and help other people and teach other people. It’s more than just the image, it has something deeper to that.

For us the whole art angle, digital asset is very interesting and you can have a hardware wallet. Right now you think of the hardware wallet it looks like a usb stick, now they work but they don’t look that cool. But imagine a Tamagochi, which is a hardware wallet, and you can put your kitty in it. Imagine all the people playing our game, but the normal consumers- maybe your children, will want to carry it around. Its my kitty I own it and it’s in a Tamagochi device. They would want to carry the ledger around then right?

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User experience

CG: How secure is it?

BG: We haven’t built it yet. It’s just an idea. If someone robs you they steal it. If someone robs your ledger they also steal it too, right? When you bring it to the physical world whether its a software or a hardware wallet you always run that risk. Losing your phone, you lose everything right? People have lost millions of dollars.

That actually brings us to the point that user experience for a crypto is really difficult as I mentioned. This one area specifically about decentralized wallets and key management, people can’t even remember their own passwords. People use the same password all the time, so if you tell someone you shouldn’t use the same password, you shake your head ‘yeah that’s true’ but then you still use the same password. Then you go tell a normal person, hey remember your safeword and your private key, and make sure you don’t forget it or you lose all your money. That’s just too much to ask from a normal person.

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