All posts by Anthony Di Iorio

Jaxx full DAO integration sneak peek

Anthony from Kryptokit here. Many users have expressed interest in our forthcoming DAO integration for Jaxx, so we thought we’d share a preview of our integration layout. We’re working our butts off to have this completed and pushed out across all 9 platforms and devices in the Jaxx 1.0 release slated for May 26th. This is our first foray into custom tokens on Ethereum, a feature we’ve received a ton of requests for. Fingers crossed we can have this out to everyone before the crowd sale ends and the real fun begins.
 
One of our main drivers for Jaxx is that our projects are all design and user experience led. The goal of this integration is to offer a robust set of tools for voting and transferring tokens that don’t compromise Jaxx’s sense of simplicity and ease of use. If you have any thoughts on our prospective design – good or bad! – please let us know in the comments.
 

DAO integration Jaxx
Fig 1
DAO Integration Jaxx
Fig 2
DAO Integration Jaxx
Fig 3

 
Fig. 1: The initial DAO screen, for viewing your token balance and transferring tokens between accounts.
 
Fig. 2: The proposals screen, which displays current DAO proposals and your voting history.
 
Fig. 3: When you select a proposal, you can read its description, as well as view the current For/Against breakdown for members who have voted so far. A slider will let you select your vote and the level of token commitment you’re making.
 
The official 1.0 release of Jaxx will be out on May 26th, marking its debut on the App Store as well as the first time we will feel comfortable with you, our customers, using the wallet to hold your Bitcoin and Ether. Until then, a reminder that Jaxx is still in beta and should only be used for funds you’d be willing to lose.
 
Yesterday afternoon, we pushed out a quick Jaxx update that rectifies an issue we noticed on our end. The Cache Reset feature we installed as a way to help users fix minor syncing issues also had the unintended effect of resetting the Security PIN. We actually pushed this update yesterday, but we wanted to allow time for Jaxx to auto-update with the fix. If you have a version that doesn’t auto-update (eg the Desktop versions), please update to 0.0.23 via the Jaxx site.

 


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Jaxx Advanced Send Tab Smart Contract Features Released

 

Jaxx Advanced Send Tab Smart Contract Features
Jaxx with Ethereum Smart Contract features

Anthony from Kryptokit here. We’re excited to announce the release of a major Ethereum-side improvement of Jaxx across all devices / platforms. Ethereum is all about smart contracts, and now with Jaxx beta version 0.0.15 users can send to Ethereum contracts.

 

GET IT NOW

 

Jaxx Advanced Send Tab Smart Contract Features

 

Once a contract address has been detected in the “receiving address” tab, an advanced panel will open, a suggested gas amount will be displayed as will options to adjust gas and add custom data to the send. Alternatively, the advanced tab can be opened manually. Enter 0 in the amount field, or the amount of Ether you want to send along with the contract in the amount field in order for the send button to activate. Also, on the Ethereum side, we added gas price display in transactions. With these new features, no longer is Jaxx just about payments, we’ve entered the initial stages of smart contract integration. More to come.

With Jaxx advanced send tab smart contract features, no longer is Jaxx just about payments, we’ve entered the initial stages of smart contract integration. More to come.

 

More to come this week with Jaxx!

 

With these major features released, we still have 2 more coming this week. Shapeshift integration and Ethereum (joining its Bitcoin counterpart) with HD (Hierarchal Deterministic) functionality. Stay tuned!

On another note, other features included in the 0.0.15 release include the option to import encrypted paper wallets (Bitcoin & Ethereum), various U/I and text tweaks, and crash fixes for Android devices.

Suggestions, comments, feedback always welcome. [email protected]

Cheers!

Anthony Di Iorio

+1 416-831-9593 (Mobile)

Jaxx Shapeshift Integration Sneak Peek

Jaxx Shapeshift
Jaxx Shapeshift Integration Sneak Peak

 

Hey all. Anthony from Kryptokit here. Super excited to show the community the Jaxx Shapeshift integration sneak peak. Rolling out on all devices / platforms a few days. Jaxx and Shapeshift together will, without doubt, be the easiest solution for buying Ether with Bitcoin (and vice versa)- and it’s done right in your Jaxx wallet!

 

About Jaxx Shapeshift

 

Shapeshift has been killing it lately with volume skyrocketing and loads of services integrating its API, allowing for crypto to crypto conversions. Erik Voorhees has been part of the Kryptokit team since 2013, so who better than him and his awesome team at Shapeshift to partner with to push out our first 3rd party integration. This will allow, for the first time ever in a Kryptokit product, users to buy Bitcoin and Ether directly inside their wallet. This is just another example of how we’re developing Jaxx with the goal to remove friction points and create awesome user experiences for Ethereum and Bitcoin.

 

Jaxx Shapeshift How it Works

 

Let’s go through the Bitcoin to Ether conversion process.To start a conversion (better known as a shift) first select your Bitcoin wallet. Open the send tab, select the Shapeshift icon (or type Shapeshift in the receiving address field), enter the Bitcoin amount you’d like to shift, then confirm the transaction. That’s it! When the transaction completes (might take some time), Ether will show up in your Ethereum wallet. It also works the other way around if you’re looking to buy Bitcoin with Ether, just start with your Ethereum wallet instead.

 

As you can see on the right, you’re also provided with the current rate and minimum / maximum deposit amounts for the shift. You’ve got everything you need right in Jaxx, all on one screen. This method is far simpler than going to the Shapeshift site as you don’t need to enter deposit or return addresses- It all gets automatically done in Jaxx using your built-in Bitcoin and Ether wallets.

 

This is one of three major features rolling out in the next few days. We’ll be announcing the other 2 shortly. In fact, we may by pushing out a new release today with one of those major ones included. shhh!

 

Feedback, feature suggestions, and comments are always welcome. We can be reached at [email protected] or you can call me directly on my mobile @ +1 416-831-9593.

 

Cheers!

Anthony Di Iorio

UK Blockchain Report 2016: A Summary

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.
 
 

The Future of Personnel

 

At Decentral I have the pleasure to work with a talented team on a diverse range of projects, each of which has a focus on some aspect of the decentralized technology space. Most of the people I work with are employed on a contract basis, and often they work at the same time for a number of the different companies located at Decentral’s space. Short term contracting is necessary due to how quickly the area we specialize in is evolving. I’ve written before about how our era of accelerated change necessitates taking a lean approach to business. Broader, long term goals can be set, but these are of necessity subject to revision. Quick decisions about changes in company approach and methodology is an adaptive strategy that fosters competitiveness.

 

The downside of having a contingent workforce is the staff I want not being available when I need them. In spite of that, a high degree of employee flexibility is desirable for both me and the people I work with. In their article The Dawning of the Age of Flex Labor, Andrei Hagiu and Rob Biederman note “Workers, employers, and society stand to benefit tremendously from breaking the cycle of hiring people in boom times and releasing them fully during economic slowdowns or contractions.” This changing nature of employment careers has been underway for over thirty years, with a workforce now gradually learning to tailor their work lives to hedge against boom/bust realities.

 

Part of this process requires a shift in perspective for employee and employer in which each sees their respective roles as a partnership that benefits both parties. For instance, one clear advantage of short term work contracting is a better accommodation of work/life balance. Millennials in particular find value in the 21st century employment trend of flexible work hours. A study by Bentley University in Massachusetts, The Millennial Mind Goes to Work (2014) found that “77 percent of Millennials say that flexible work hours would make the workplace more productive for people their age.”

 

Based on my own hiring experience, working with people who have forged composite career paths has the advantage of the unique skill set combinations they bring to the workplace. Since 2014, we have pursued multiple initiatives to establish Decentral as a trusted brand in the emerging space of decentralized tech. Everything we have accomplished has happened due to the dedication of the people I work with, including the group I am happy to have on contract today.

 

A flex workforce of independent contractors is part of the broader on demand economy that large sectors of the population have found easy to adapt into their daily lives. In addition to high profile initiatives like Uber and AirBnB, there are newer entries into the field like Handy or Homejoy (for small home repairs and cleaning) or BloomThat (flower delivery) and Fancy Hands (an on-call personal assistant), among many I could cite. Job task specialization on a granular level creates a new form of employment, one that makes best use of excess capacity, whether it be of a workforce’s time, living spaces, or vehicles. As the Economist notes “this marks a striking new stage in a deeper transformation…[that]…will challenge many of the fundamental assumptions of 20th-century capitalism, from the nature of the firm to the structure of careers.” The future of work is now, it’s the everyday reality of our new 21st century.

Changing tactics: Why I am not doing a Fintech and Blockchain Expo this year

 

As we announced at our most recent DEC_TECH event, Decentral will not be hosting a Fintech and Blockchain Expo this fall. I want to extend my apologies to anyone we are inconveniencing as a result of this, but we have good reasons for this change in tactics.

 

In response to opportunities, our business at Decentral is changing in exciting new ways. In recent months, our focus has been shifting to our consulting business and strategic partner development. In my last blog post, I wrote about the benefits of taking a Lean Startup approach to building a company. Prioritize innovation, create time-based benchmarks for the testing of products, and pivot to new approaches if these benchmarks, set according to clearly established criteria, aren’t met. I advocate this approach out of necessity. Our era of accelerated technological change demands it.

 

Decentral’s recent pivots include changing the Meetups we organize (over 100 events to date) from an emphasis on Bitcoin and related cryptocurrencies to the broader topic of decentralized technologies. We chose DEC_TECH as the new moniker for our Meetups to ensure that these events can accommodate the newest developments in the space. In a further pivot, as of March, Decentral has been organizing its DEC_TECH events in partnership with the MaRS Discovery District. Working with MaRS has many advantages. The partnership allows us to organize large events that are free for anyone to attend, and this helps grow our community. Use of their first rate facilities cuts down on the time we need to commit to organizing events, strengthens our bonds with many of the exciting tech companies that work out of the MaRS space, and creates synergies attractive to event sponsors.

 

Recent DEC_TECH events include gatherings at MaRS in March, which featured a keynote speech by Andreas Antonopoulos, and in July, featuring Ethereum inventor Vitalik Buterin, the CEOs of many exchanges in Canada and two top VCs working in the blockchain space. With each of these events we were able to attract an impressive range of sponsors — including Deloitte, DC BANK and Bitmaker Labs — and many hundreds of attendees. Decentral is planning more events at MaRS, as well as developing further strategic partnerships to help grow our business, and equally important, foster a strong sense of community in Toronto’s fast developing but still young tech scene.

 

Deciding not to do a Fintech and Blockchain Expo this year is another pivot for Decentral. We were all looking forward to another Expo this year. But changes in the business focus of the company – and, frankly, bigger event plans that are yet to be announced – are now taking center stage in our day-to-day operations.

 

Anthony Di Iorio is a co-founder of Ethereum. He is president and founder of Kryptokit and of Decentral and Decentral Consulting Services, offering technology consultancy services specializing in blockchain and decentralized technology integrations for enterprise, small business and start-ups. Anthony is the cryptocurrency adviser at MaRS Discovery District, organizes the Toronto Ethereum Meetup Group and DEC_TECH (Decentralized Technologies) events, for summer 2015, is lecturer in the The Principles of Disruptive Innovation course at the University of Nicosia’s Masters Program in Digital Currencies.

Digital Strategy in an Era of Constant Change

 

More than once I have been accused of pivoting my business direction too quickly — but to paraphrase Heraclitus: “change is the only constant.” This is especially true of the digital age, which is experiencing change at an ever accelerating pace.

 

One significant factor spurring the rate of change is the way the network creates a multiplier effect. Brad Feld of Tech Stars notes “the shift from hierarchical to networked society has been emergent throughout the Information Era.” Enhanced by an expanded (globalized) field of play, the multiplier effect of the network creates an extremely dynamic innovation environment. The financial services industry in particular is experiencing “significant uncertainty,” to quote from the World Economic Forum report I wrote about in my last blog. This is a problem stemming from the industry’s lack of common understanding on recent innovations and what impact these innovations will have on incumbents. Alex Rampell, an entrepreneur and newly announced partner at Andreessen Horowitz, has pointed out that banking and insurance are especially vulnerable to digital innovation because of their “dependence on legacy technologies.”

 

Whereas previously most companies, including banks, would have a “digital strategy” as one component of their business operations, today the entirety of a company’s strategy now takes place within a largely digitized world. Digital is now at the core of every business. To understand the truth of this statement look no further than the consumer culture of today, which makes potent use of the leveraging power of the internet.

 

Consider recent changes in customer behaviour and the expectations digital culture creates. Consumers today know they can comparison shop and crowd source information about products, as well as actively participate in such conversations; they can unbundle services and opt for personalized versions of these according to information they get online about companies; and not least, they have expectations about business being transparent and accountable that will only become more prevalent as applications for the blockchain and Fintech, the areas we specialize in at my company Decentral, get popularized.

 

The speed of digital innovation and the newly empowered consumer it creates means the imperative of our time is for enterprise to be on a war footing — to not only adapt but adapt constantly. My own experience provides an excellent case study about the necessity of adapting within the current environment of constant change. Starting out in 2012, I created Toronto’s first Bitcoin Meetup group, a regular event that welcomed a small group of cryptocurrency enthusiasts. Within months, I had shifted my focus beyond cryptocurrencies to decentralized technologies and changed the name of the Meetup group to DEC_TECH (a coinage from “decentralized technologies”). The business and software development hub I opened in early 2013 was first called Bitcoin Decentral and initially was launched as a coworking and event space for the Meetups. Within a year I had shortened the company name to Decentral while my focus shifted to co-founding and working on the Ethereum project, alongside the development of other cryptocurrency-related activities.

 

Decentral has Toronto’s most active Bitcoin ATM on-site and is home to my company Kryptokit, a security and decentralized tech software firm. Founded in 2013, Kryptokit has always been a core operation within our business that has allowed us to experiment with other ideas. For a time, we contemplated becoming an accelerator, and in 2014 started Decentral.tv, an online channel for information about decentralized tech. As of January this year we have further expanded our activities to launch Decentral Consulting, advising commercial entities (including banks and financial institutions) about how to implement the blockchain and other Fintech solutions. This has been a business pivot that is keeping us busy, as more and more companies are looking for guidance in this area. And as always, we are contemplating further changes to Decentral.

 

With fewer than 10 employees, Decentral is essentially a lean operation. Facilitating understanding of the blockchain revolution is at the essence of what we do and, because of our professional focus on developments in the space, we have been able to adapt and adapt quickly within this rapidly evolving environment.

 

A guiding principle of entrepreneurial world is that wisdom that comes from experimentation; in the words of Brad Feld, “trying equals learning.” As Eric Ries advocates in his influential book The Lean Startup (2011), the mantra for successful companies today is “fail fast and pivot” — be ready to experiment and create timed benchmarks for deciding whether or not a project is viable. If not, you can pivot to take another approach, a practice we have found to be necessary and effective at Decentral.

 

In this era of explosive change, large companies must essentially be prepared to adopt a lean startup ethos. In their report Being digital: Fast forward to the right digital strategy, Accenture has formulated a methodology for how this might be possible. Decisions about an overall direction for the company will provide a set of goals, but within that direction “a multi-speed strategy [ensures] that each part of the organization can move at a different pace.” Further inflection of the strategy comes from the understanding that the speed of change will most likely require a revision of investment horizons, “leading to strategies based on sequencing of multiple bets on the future.” Finally, within this framework of organized contingency, companies should “experiment intelligently…to quickly verify and refine ideas in the face of changing demands” — companies should “fail fast and pivot,” in other words.

 

If recent experience is any guide, this programmatic for a new way of doing business will be widely adopted out of necessity not choice. As someone who has built their business as a rapidly evolving entity, it’s a necessity I am OK with. I’ll take the charge of changing quickly as a compliment.

Anthony Di Iorio is a co-founder of Ethereum. He is president and founder of Kryptokit and of Decentral and Decentral Consulting Services, offering technology consultancy services specializing in blockchain and decentralized technology integrations for enterprise, small business and start-ups. Anthony is the cryptocurrency adviser at MaRS Discovery District, organizes the Toronto Ethereum Meetup Group and DEC_TECH (Decentralized Technologies) events, for summer 2015, is lecturer in the The Principles of Disruptive Innovation course at the University of Nicosia’s Masters Program in Digital Currencies.

Plan for Disruption – Fintech Ushers in New Era for Finance

As the saying goes, it’s not if but when. Will your industry be disrupted? The answer is yes. How you prepare for it is the real question large incumbents need to be asking.

 

This summer I have had the pleasure to be teaching a course in Disruptive Innovation, which is part of the MSc in Digital Currency at the University of Nicosia in Cyprus. Lecturing online to students from around the world my key point has been that, by definition, disruption can come quickly and unannounced. Disruption happens by working within the framework of a well-established industry with the objective to cannibalize it — either by discovering methods for new efficiencies, or through the wholesale innovation that creates a new industry. Of course, the marquee examples of this phenomenon are music and publishing, still trying to find their footing in a fast changing digital landscape.

 

Digital is the driver of the transformative epoch we are now living through. Fifteen years into the 21st century, this point is well-understood. The new reality of our everyday experience consuming news or listening to music helps ensure that. But the industry-specific nature of disruption, its shape-shifting tendencies, and the inevitability that vested interests will resist change means the experience of disruption will continue to be one of an interloper unwelcome by the status quo.

 

As Joseph Schumpeter, the Austrian economist and popularizer of the concept “creative disruption” wrote “Capitalism is by nature a method of economic change.”

 

A simpler way of saying this is Don’t get too comfortable — in whatever business you happen to be in. Just over a decade ago in 2003, Futurist Ray Kurzweil stated “We’re entering an age of acceleration”. As if to prove his point, today 2003 sounds like ancient history. Business innovation and disruption is an everyday experience and a general public that books Airbnb for their vacations and take an Uber instead of a cab, are perhaps more acclimatized than ever to our era of accelerated change.

 

This new receptivity to change can also be a driver of business success. At Decentral Consulting, our focus is on advising clients about developments in Finance Technology (popularly known by its coinage Fintech), the most significant new wave of disruption currently underway. With a sharp eye focused on the newest innovations, the companies we advise are actively working to understand the risks but also cultivate the opportunities Fintech will bring.

 

In its recently released report on The Future of Financial Services, the World Economic Forum noted there is “significant uncertainty” in the financial services industry, a problem stemming from a “lack of common understanding” on two points; 1) which innovations are most relevant and 2) what implications these innovations have for incumbents.

 

The WEF report predicts that the effects of Fintech will be “most immediate” in banking, but “most profound” for the insurance industry. Decentral’s corporate clients in Toronto are already adapting to meet this challenge, using test projects and innovation teams to promote company adoption and incorporate new Fintech & blockchain technologies (including the upcoming blockchain 2.0) into their business prognostics. The WEF report notes “the pressure to innovate will be continuous” and this “will shape consumer behaviour, business models and the long term structure of the financial services industry”. Toronto, a relatively young and rapidly growing metropolis is well-positioned to take advantage of the immense opportunities Fintech holds out. In future blog posts, I will map out my vision for how this might happen. In the meantime, interested readers can find the full WEF report here: The Future of Financial Services How disruptive innovations are reshaping the way financial services are structured, provisioned and consumed.

Anthony Di Iorio is a co-founder of Ethereum. He is president and founder of Kryptokit and of Decentral and Decentral Consulting Services, offering technology consultancy services specializing in blockchain and decentralized technology integrations for enterprise, small business and start-ups. Anthony is the cryptocurrency adviser at MaRS Discovery District, organizes the Toronto Ethereum Meetup Group and DEC_TECH (Decentralized Technologies) events, for summer 2015, is lecturer in the The Principles of Disruptive Innovation course at the University of Nicosia’s Masters Program in Digital Currencies.