Can Mainstream Decentralization Start with a Coke Bottle?

Finance Magnates spoke with Sylo co-Founder and Business Director Dorian Johannink to get the latest.

New Zealand-based software company Sylo has launched a new backend infrastructure Oya that it says will pave the way for the mainstream adoption.

Sylo has over 350,000 people in 80 countries using its Smart Wallet and messenger, according to the developer.

Last summer the project got a big boost when its wallet was first used at Coca-Cola’s Smart Vending Machines to purchase Coke with Bitcoin.

We caught up with Sylo Co-Founder and Business Director Dorian Johannink to get the latest.

Dorian, what is the new product that you have just announced?

Over the past 12 months we’ve been building out the decentralised Sylo node network that will enable our global community of users to start contributing to the Sylo network to increase its performance and scalability, but incentivised in such a way that contributors can earn in return for supporting the network.

Oya means two things. Firstly, a much better performing communications network, than not only Sylo, but any developer can build on top of, and secondly, a supercharged Sylo Smart Wallet Messenger/Wallet dApp, stacking the experience up next to mainstream messengers, but completely decentralised, and completely private.

Oya is a naming convention we decided to adopt to line up with general software release phases that you’ll see with mainstream brands, such as with Mac (Snow Leopard, Jellybean, etc), to signify a major release.

What’s the path to mainstream adoption of crypto wallets, in your opinion? Does it start with buying a bottle of Coca Cola with Bitcoin using a smart wallet?

Actual real world utility is definitely going to be one of the key areas, giving people daily uses for their digital assets, rather than just storing and speculating.

Was great to see the engagement when we launched the “buy Coke with BTC campaign” earlier this year. But also, we’ve put a lot of focus on integrating wallet functionality with users’ daily communication habits.

If you can now interact (store, send, receive, spend) with your wallet and digital assets in the same context as your chats and calls, it’s just a natural extension that users will begin to engage with more and more.

Once you’ve been using a messenger/wallet app like Sylo for a while, it becomes almost commonplace to use it to deal with payment/transfers between friends and colleagues.

Going into your separate banking app or website starts to seem disconnected.

You are integrating Tezos into your smart wallet. There are a lot of blockchains out there. Which one is most advantageous, in your view?

Our focus is on multi-chain. Currently we support BTC, ETH, ERC20, Tezos and CennzNet. We take a very agnostic approach, and plan to add support for more and more chains as we go along.

The more the better in terms of giving users a single place to engage with all their assets. This does involve a bit more dev work, so can understand why some wallets keep it restricted.

Fortunately, with our latest deployment we formed a good working relationship with TZ APAC, which helped.

How can decentralized projects offering various messengers compete with the likes of WhatsApp and WeChat?

In terms of decentralised messengers that are close to feature comparative with the likes of WhatsApp and WeChat, there are very few. In fact, we’re only aware of one other that users could genuinely view as an alternative to one of those platforms, other than the Sylo Smart Wallet.

Understandably so, it’s a lot of work, we’ve been building this tech stack for half a decade to get it right. The way we see it, is that user-first or privacy built-in communications platforms are the future, and once we reach feature and performance parity with centralised messengers, users are going to have a choice.

Choose one of the centralised incumbents, have all my data captured and privacy breached, or choose decentralised, have the same functionality, without the downsides.

It will progressively become a no-brainer, especially when you start dealing with financial value within these experiences. In the near future, users won’t put up with what’s currently going on, user privacy will be a default requirement, not a luxury.

We are from the ground up decentralized. And what that means is that we’re not sitting there and promising not to look at your data – we just don’t capture it.

It’s the digital equivalent of sitting in a private room and talking with another person without a recording device. It’s as close as you can get to full confidentiality and privacy on the open Web.

If you were to compare us to another messenger that is focused on hardcore privacy, such as Wickr, they are still very focused on very savvy users.

We’re focused on a straightforward, mainstream messenger-style experience with all the benefits of privacy involved with decentralised architecture, without the user necessarily having to be aware of it. They get it by default.

We’ve got a whole host more info available via our blog and website, I’d encourage people to check those out if you’re genuinely interested in issues such as the Social Dilemma.

What are your key target markets?

For the first 12 months since launch, we’ve been very broad in focus, essentially looking for the market to tell us what and where they like our app.

We’ve now identified the key areas, and are in the process of establishing local partnerships in our key adopted regions to get deeper penetration.

The top 10 markets we’ve seen particularly strong growth in are: India, Indonesia, Philippines, Japan, New Zealand, USA, UAE, Malaysia, UK and Australia.

Do you plan more integration in other areas and other products besides the vending machines?

Two key areas we’re focusing on are firstly, expanding the functionality of using your digital assets in more and more places, both digital and real world uses.

And we’ll be bringing yield and crypto access features to the Sylo Smart Wallet. I won’t drop the specifics, as we like a little bit of anticipation, but I can let you know that we’ll be launching new features in these areas consistently throughout the next 6-12 months, so keen an eye on the app updates!

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