Anthony Di Iorio is a Canadian venture capitalist, entrepreneur, and community builder who loves decentralization and is highly involved within the crypto-space. After discovering digital currency, Di Iorio created the Toronto Bitcoin Meetup and the Bitcoin Alliance of Canada. Through his passion for cryptocurrency, the feeling evolved into a deeper excitement for decentralized technologies as a whole. So in early 2013 he created Decentral, a business development centre in Toronto for the advancement of decentralized technologies. Decentral coordinates events, and offers consulting services and software development services focused on emerging technologies. Decentral works with a variety of crypto-related concepts and is also home to Toronto’s first and most active Bitcoin ATM.
“Decentralized technologies enable the world’s systems for peer-to-peer human interaction while potentially removing middlemen by disintermediation. This will have the potential to reduce costs and force businesses to look for alternative models. It offers levels of privacy, removes certain censorship, and it's the direction I think the world is going.” — Anthony Di Iorio
In 2013 Di Iorio's time became filled with an array of decentralized services he helped establish. One of these projects was the creation of Ethereum that Di Iorio co-founded. Ethereum is a Turing-complete program first introduced by Vitalik Buterin built upon a network allowing it to perform many applications such as smart contracts. Another service Di Iorio created was Kryptokit a firm that focuses in on security and financial software. Kryptokit’s products include some distinct Bitcoin wallets like Rushwallet which creates a web browser wallet address in less than 10 seconds. The company’s Kryptokit Chrome extension claims to be a “suite of fast, easy, user-friendly applications that provide a frictionless Bitcoin experience.”
With Decentral, Ethereum and Kryptokit, Di Iorio has a lot of direct contact with the current innovators and crypto-related landscape that's evolving every day. CoinGecko spoke with Anthony Di Iorio and got some insight to his environment today in 2015. He lets our readers know how he feels about the current state of Bitcoin, Blockchain technology and the emerging disruption of financial technology.
CoinGecko: After your initial discovery of cryptocurrency what led you to diversify into financial tech and decentralized applications in general?
Anthony Di Iorio (AD): When I got into Bitcoin in 2012, everything was Bitcoin to me. It was actually when I saw Vitalik's white paper it clicked and when we founded Ethereum, — It was more of the understanding of where is the technology going to be heading? Not necessarily the financial tech but the impact is so much more than just payments. The technology is going to impact many different sectors of our lives. There's so many more creative sides than just payments.
I enjoy challenges and working with financial institutions and companies that perhaps can't be disintermediated but have to find alternative strategies. I'm working with these guys to see how we can get companies in places like Toronto here towards adopting these technologies. Formulating paths using this technology that's going to promote them to a successful global status. I find it much more of a challenge to work with legacy companies and try to work with them to perhaps become innovation leaders.
They are being disrupted, but they have opportunities, and they have strengths that they can rely on to help get ahead and help them remain relevant. They start looking at alternative ways to improve their businesses and to improve customer experience. That's why I enjoy working in that space.
CG: What does the team at Decentral do?
AD: We have many different facets of our business. We have a very active Bitcoin ATM. We do consulting with enterprise clients, financial companies, banks, stock exchanges, and many types of businesses who are looking for guidance using the blockchain ecosystem. So we offer agnostic guidance without pushing a particular product. That's what I'm seeing is a product being pushed and these people don't fully understand them. So we provide by reputation, and we offer an agnostic viewpoint for where the technology actually is and where it's going. Like how they can save a lot of time, effort and money to make sure their paths are aligned with current technology. So they're not jumping the gun without fully understanding what's out there, what's relevant, and what's coming down the pipeline. We're developing more strategies and clients according to these new platforms, and that's what we do on the consulting side.
We do events as well. We've done over a hundred events at Decentral since I started doing events in 2012. They are decentralized technology events so DEC_TECH is our brand and some of them are like 400 people events on a regular basis we do them on a quarterly basis. We also do the Toronto Ethereum meetup and Bitcoin 101 sessions. We've developed Kryptokit out of Decentral and Rushwallet and Ethereumwallet.com so we got a development side as well. We're developing products based on decentralized payments, decentralized identity and decentralized messaging.
CG: How would you describe a Canadian’s outlook on digital currencies and FinTech today?
AD: I can really only describe my outlook and I’m extremely bullish. Over the next few years we will see cities jockeying for global positioning. Factors such as light touch regulations, and access to capital markets and talent will dictate the role Canada will play. It's still a very niche market and it's about advocates such as myself with goals as a community builder. More people are learning about it and regulators are taking a smart approach here. They are learning and understanding that this is good for the economy and that Canada has the opportunity to be a leader in this technology.
So I’m happy with the regulations so far, and I’m happy with the variety of startups in the space. I’m really impressed with the amount of companies out here, and I’m excited that our events get larger and larger. Partnerships are building up, and our consulting client base is growing. In general I think we're still in the early stages and it hasn't reached critical mass yet. But I’m very impressed with the progress that’s being made here.
CG: How did you get involved with the creation of the Ethereum project?
AD: I’ve known Vitalik since 2012 and met him at the very first meetup that I held in Toronto. We got to know each other over the next year and I brought him into Kryptokit. I was the first person he showed the Ethereum white paper to and joined him as the second co-founder of the project. There were four co-founders that's pretty much how it started. I had launched Kryptokit and put it on hold and focused full time on Ethereum. Before the crowdsale I also funded the project as we bootstrapped it internally. Then after the crowdsale and we got the funding it went into more development work I continued onto my other ventures.
CG: What is your opinion of the current state of Ethereum right now and it’s latest deployments?
AD: I am quite impressed at the way things are right now. I think the development interest is steady and that will continue to grow. There's definitely challenges ahead but I'm really happy with the progress and with the amount of response and interest we are seeing large institutions around the world. Like companies such as Microsoft and that's going to keep snowballing and it's going to see more integration with society. I think it's done extremely well for a platform that's just launched this year.
CG: How do you feel about the infrastructure and price of Bitcoin in 2015?
AD: I think Bitcoin is much more than price. I don't think the store value is that relevant right now and it's not something I'm really following on a day to day basis. I think it's much more valuable in the technology. I'm happy with the growth, and I think this year and next year will be where financial institutions and more people will be getting onboard. Because they realize the potential and this was the year of the Nasdaq's getting onboard and some of the larger companies getting on board. I think it's going to keep on growing and growing as it's the biggest thing since the internet.
CG: What is your opinion concerning permissioned blockchains and permissionless ledgers?
AD: I believe that each has their place as do hybrid approaches. Our clients are interested in different models, and I see them as different designs and different choices.
CG: Do you feel there are any 2.0 technologies out there today that are currently ‘enterprise ready’?
AD: Nope. Not yet. I estimate it will be 9-12 months until I would consider any 2.0 techs to be “enterprise” ready. It’s the new mining race as platforms and projects emerge. Don’t fall for the marketing speak. Even Ethereum needs a lot more time to prove itself.
CG: How do you feel about the state of learning in this environment concerning 1.0 education? Do you feel the masses and institutions still need to learn the basics?
AD: Yes. They still need to learn the basics. They need to understand where the technology currently is. We’re in that middle ground between Bitcoin and the 2.0 tech. Bitcoin is viable for certain applications for them to get their feet wet. All the while they should be preparing for the next generation 2.0 tech.
CG: What can we expect from your projects in 2016?
AD: My focus is on continuing to build up Toronto and Canada into a Fintech and innovation global leader. The infrastructure needs work. It’s crucial to bring together the stakeholders and work towards a unified goal that will build the foundation out. We need to allow startups and entrepreneurs and technologies to flourish.