In a day full of excitement and some big announcements, the inaugural Decipher event went off with a bang in Miami Florida. Split across the two premium locations, the conference kicked off with opening remarks from the Miami Mayor and inspiring words from legendary Algorand Founder Silvio Micali.
Building a Blockchain City
The DeCipher conference opened with an address from Miami Mayor Francis Suarez welcoming the audience to his city and expressing his support for Algorand. Suarez was joined by Michael Arrington of Arrington Capital, who touched on the Mayor’s political ambitions and thoughts on the future of blockchain technology. Suarez gave a vote of confidence in the technology, with a recent tweet announcing the operation of a crypto industrial mining facility well under construction in Miami-Dade. In a boost for the City, Mayor Suarez confirmed to the crowd a partnership with Algorand based air quality monitoring project Planet Watch to provide air data. This is the first partnership of its kind for a major city.
Remarks from Founder Silvio Micali and Mayor Suarez
Addressing a hyped crowd, Algorand Founder and master cryptographer Silvio Micali expressed his gratitude to the City of Miami for its hospitality in hosting the inaugural DeCipher event. Micali went on to reflect on Algorand’s journey since it was first conceived in 2017. The Turing award winner conveyed his pride that the technology continues to embody his ideals of accessibility and equality. Micali closed his speech by comparing Algorand today to a half-complete Michelangelo sculpture. He remarked that Algorand, although incomplete, is a beautiful work of art in its current form, with much potential to become something even greater.
“We live in an age where big companies are taking your data as the cost of admission, we want to flip this idea on its head.”
— Silvio Micali, Algorand Founder.
The Algorand Product Roadmap
Following Micali’s rousing address, Algorand CPO Paul Riegle stepped up to the podium to detail the development team’s key pillars including the core protocol, programing, and cross-chain interoperability. Riegle went on to assure the community that Algorand’s focus is firmly fixed on maintaining its core carbon negativity component, to uphold the integrity of the protocol’s continued development. Additionally, increasing the capabilities of Smart Contracts on Algorand remains high on the list of priorities to advance its capacity for a diverse range of use cases. The final key pillar Riegle spoke to was Algorand’s vision for encouraging protocol co-existence in a multi-chain and harmonious ecosystem.
“Our focus here is continual advancement and taking advantage of our unique protocol capabilities. We are focused on building the best execution environment and programming model possible for our developers,”
— Paul Riegle, Algorand CPO.
Off the Rails
The opening Light Box panel discussion of the day saw Algorand Board Member Staci Warden host Stablecorp COO Alex McDougall, Circle VP of Product Rachel Mayer, BNEXT CEO Guillermo Vicandi, and Six Clovers CEO Jim Nguyen address the future of payment infrastructures in the global economy. Each gave insights on the short and long-term future growth and adoption they expect from economic institutions. All agreed that there is a key generational challenge to overcome when explaining the use cases of these technologies to traditional institutions. Asked what the most appealing aspect of the Algorand protocol was, each guest spoke to its much-acclaimed attributes ranging from solving the blockchain trilemma, its green properties, and the community behind it.
Global Regulatory Considerations and Approaches for DeFi
With regulatory considerations an ongoing challenge globally for mainstream DeFi adoption, this session explored key perspectives from panelists Perianne Boring of the Chamber of Digital Commerce, Archax CCO Alexander Royle, and QCP Capital Co-Founder Darious Sit, discussing global regulatory considerations. Each panelist spoke of their experiences and challenges from a regional perspective, with all agreeing that the path forward to wider global adoption was a collaboration with existing institutions and governments.
UNLOX Expects 70,000,000 New Wallets to Algorand
Announcing a raft of new marketplace initiatives, UNLOX’s partnership with Skybridge and NAX was one of the major announcements of Day 1. The collaboration sees them launching five FutureFi projects on the Algorand blockchain. The projects were created with the goal of unlocking the hugely untapped value of a number of underwritten assets and recycling the capital to create scale in the areas of fine art insurance, customer loyalty programs, and warranty exchanges.
By tokenizing and making fungible the value of these asset-rich and cash-poor applications, UNLOX expects to be able to deliver up to 70 million new Algorand wallets. Bringing interoperability to different chains, the projects will solve customer problems behind the scenes, ensuring data privacy and security.
Where CeFi meets DeFi: The Modernization of Financial Offerings
The DeFi movement aided by the power of blockchain technology initially emerged in opposition to the established and incumbent centralized CeFi (or TradFi) industries. What started as a rebellion quickly became a revolution as players in the market mobilized with rapid innovation.
DeFi offered solutions to many citizens who sought financial freedom and greater opportunities. The products evolved to suit the needs of their communities with a premium placed on decentralization, privacy and security. DeFi is a nascent industry but it’s clearly here to stay, however, the key message coming out of this DeCipher Miami session was that if DeFi is to realize its full potential, it needs CeFi’s support.
The afternoon session saw veterans of CeFi converted into the pioneers of DeFi hit the stage. Featuring Carlos Domingo (Founder & CEO, Securitize), Andrew Durgee (Managing Director, Republic), Ian Epstein (President Global Macro Americas, Makor Group), Brett Markinson (Founder, Homium) and Cory Pugh (CEO & Chairman, Bridgetower Capital). Web 3.0 is extremely early and the “ceiling is unforeseen’’ noted Durgee. Epstein highlighted the rise of self-issuance of sovereign digital currencies, the rise of DAOs supporting financing/mergers, and the demand for efficient insurances as signs that the ecosystem is maturing.
Sentiment from all speakers was that greater adoption of blockchain technology by traditional institutions requires further confidence. Investment banks clearly have an aversion to risk which at this time includes cryptocurrencies due to a lack of regulation, noted Pugh. Domingo echoed this sentiment and went on to establish that critical partnerships like Algorand that instill trust are key to overcoming these obstacles.
Each of these speakers represent a herculean initiative to bridge the gap between DeFi and CeFi to form a hybrid of the two, which Domingo coined as HyFi. Markinson’s company Homium, through the power of the Algorand blockchain, aims to unlock the full potential of home equity, which he claims equates to $24 trillion dollars in stale equity. The future growth of DeFi will be through successfully unlocking the liquidity offered by CeFi. For those who attended DeCipher in Miami 2021, it isn’t a question on if HyFi will come to fruition, but when. Speaker Emmanuel Aidoo confirmed that for this to happen, considerate regulation is the key to giving the CeFi institutions the confidence it has been waiting for.
Modernizing Art and Ownership in the Digital Economy
The NFT industry has witnessed a proverbial explosion in 2021 with unprecedented growth sparking waves of artistic innovation. Algorand’s carbon negative platform negates the primary criticism that this emerging industry has received due to its detrimental impact on the environment. Key figures in the space have continued to pioneer innovation on Algorand which filtered its way through this insightful and cultural discussion. The speaker line up featured Pablo Rodriguez-Fraile (Co-founder, Aorist), Michelle Abbs (Managing Director, MANA Tech), Francesco Boni (Co-founder ArtSquare), Nanne Dekking (CEO & Founder, Artory) and Genevieve Patterson (Head of Applied Research, VSCO).
Algorand’s team and technology impresses anyone who dives into their credentials. It’s the fundamental reason DeCipher saw over 500 participants in Miami, with over 3,500 tuning in online. For this panel of speakers, Algorand’s ethos represents the unanimous inspiration in forging ahead with new territories and defining the future of art culture. What lies beneath the NFT umbrella shows numerous factions tackling problems at every level.
The Aorist is a platform co-founded by Pablo that aims to bring sophisticated and curated artistic experiences to connect both physical and virtual communities. Francesco and ArtSquare are tackling the issue of making desirable art more accessible by offering the fractionalized ownership of NFTs. He comments that the democratization of art will allow fans to not just buy the merchandise of their favorite artist, but invest in a part of the art itself. Nanne, who moved Artory over to Algorand from Ethereum after four years into the project, puts particular focus on bringing the traditional art communities over to blockchain. He heralds the undeniable benefits blockchain offers, such as characteristic transparency and ownership certainty which can be difficult to reach a consensus in the traditional art world. Genevieve and VSCO have just launched a new NFT marketplace which aims to guide new artists in the space, and help provide the tools and guidance they need to succeed in their careers.
Two main points found their way to the forefront of this discussion. The first was poetically exemplified by Nanne who stated, “pro-environment is not a selling point, it’s mandatory.” The second was noted by Genevieve, saying the artistic output in this space is not yet fully realized due to incumbent technology, personified in other chain’s gas fees; a non-factor on Algorand.
New Pathways to Economic Opportunity for Creators
Possibly the most spirited conversation of the day was hosted by Algorand’s Art Advisor George Howard. Centering around another industry that has been revolutionized by blockchain technology, the creator economy. Featuring a collection of influential speakers including Meltem Demirors (CSO CoinShares), Keatly Haldeman (CEO, Dequency), and Jimmy Hutcheson (CEO, Spin), the conversation got right to the point. The group gave their insights on what fair and equitable means for artists, and how Web 3.0 can foster the sorely needed change.
Hutchenson provided context as Spin has transitioned from a legacy print magazine, to partnering with NAX, and entering the NFT space to become an IP company. A strong sentiment echoed by all speakers was that the community are the ones driving the change and supporting artists for a more equitable system. In addition, Meltem strongly believes it’s not enough to just help level the playing field between artists and platforms, but for the projects to provide a custodial relationship, and help guide the reinvestment of their newly acquired equity.
Arguably stealing the show was Keatly’s announcement that the music playing at the DeCipher event was the first-ever music synchronization license executed by Dequency as a smart contract on Algorand. This announcement sparked a wave of excitement through the official Algorand based social channels from community members who wanted to know more about this exciting initiative. Howard referenced both Silvio’s drive and Algorand’s capabilities in parallel to the sentiment of this discussion, noting that what we’re seeing is a nexus of technology and art in a very humanistic way.
The Future of Fan Engagement: Gaming as an Onramp to the Metaverse
The final panel discussion of the day brought together speakers from the gaming industry, yet another market poised for exponential growth through the power of blockchain. Hosted by Rachel Jacobson (President, Drone Racing League), the speakers included Daniel Choi (CEO, Sequoia Games), Nicholas Horbaczewski (Founder & CEO, Drone Racing League), Dmitry Kozko (CEO, Motorsports Games), and Adi K. Mishra (CEO, Zone).
The gaming industry is seen by many as a gateway for further education and adoption by users interested in blockchain and cryptocurrency. What was fascinating to see, is the diverse roles each of these Algorand adopters play as custodians of their audiences to help bridge the knowledge gap. Horbaczewski noted the predominantly younger demographic audience of the Drone Racing League (DRL) had a strong interest in learning more about blockchain technology. There is a new generation entering the market who have grown up with Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies and other blockchains, Horbaczewski remarks. He announced a partnership with Rocket Insights to launch the new DRL NFT marketplace, featuring Algorand sponsored driver @mannyhimself as a crucial step to bridging the gap.
Kozko noted further consideration was needed with the more traditionally skewed Motorsports Games user-base, who are somewhat timid to exposure of blockchain partnerships. Choi’s company Sequoia Games continues to push the boundaries of the mixed reality future of gaming powered by Algorand, showing off the “Flexagon” collectible tile with integrations with the Flex NBA game. Choi left the audience with a fascinating remark to ponder on what the future of gaming holds, “It’s not me using a controller… it’s me”.
Demo: Algomart, the First Open Source, White-Label Solution for Launching an NFT marketplace on Algorand
Brandon Aaskov of Dept gave a brief cameo appearance to wrap up Day One with an explainer of Algomart, a new platform with the goal of increasing the accessibility for the creation of NFT marketplaces for the likes of artists, developers, and marketing agencies
Successfully launched on Algorand, it offers a range of modular, open-source tools such as simplified blockchain programming with payment infrastructure company Circle’s integrated pay solution. It’s hoped the platform will soon become the premier white-label marketplace creator.
More News During DeCipher
- Algorand has hired Chris Peikert as Head of Cryptography with State proofs being released in early 2022. Algorand is the first blockchain to provide post-quantum security.
- Algorand is processing 2 million-plus transactions daily and the number is steadily growing. Further data insights can be found here.
Algorand Foundation Partners with ThetaNuts
During day one of DeCipher festivities, Algorand Foundation announced a new partnership with ThetaNuts.finance to bring innovation to DeFi 2.0. A Defi derivatives protocol providing easy access to institutional-grade strategies, the ThetaNuts blockchain operates through structured product vaults. The protocol currently has BTC, ETH and the widest selection of “altcoin” option vaults.
“As early backers of Algorand, QCP naturally runs a large $ALGO options book (traded OTC),” said QCP Capital Co-Founder Darius Sit.
“The vaults on ThetaNuts add a new dimension to the Algo vol market by bringing increased access, transparency, efficiency and scalability for both investors and market makers.”
Asalp Awarded Algorand Foundation Grant
Asalp.io is the latest project to be awarded an Algorand Foundation Grant. The London based firm’s protocol focuses on Charity NFTs that act as tradable, personalized donation certificates, linked to the social cause they support. Every partner charity campaign is allocated a maximum of 10,000 C-NFTs which can be bought, sold, and rented on the asalp Marketplace.
Matt Zhang Launches $1.5 Billion Crypto Capital Venture Fund
Former CitiBank executive Matt Zhang has launched a new $1.5 billion multi-strategy fund crypto capital venture fund called Hivemind. Algorand has been nominated as the fund’s first technology partner.
“We believe blockchain technology is a paradigm shift, and we are still in the early innings. Our mission is to provide start-to-finish capital and infrastructure solutions to visionary entrepreneurs and category-defining crypto projects,” Zhang said in the press release.
Algomint Launches goBTC and goETH
Algorand based bridge Algomint announced the launch of goBTC and goETH on their platform just prior to the beginning of the DeCipher conference. These assets are created by wrapping BTC and ETH to mint goBTC and goETH respectively on a 1:1 ratio. The platform launched on mainnet in November 2021 and is already facilitating the minting and burning of goBTC.
Algorand Announces Green Initiatives Alongside ClimateTrade
ClimateTrade has today announced the launch of a new “Green Treasury” that will provide the Algorand developer community with a platform for offsetting the network’s carbon emissions. The system takes advantage of advanced smart contracts to lock equivalent carbon credits into the Green Treasury as an ASA (Algorand Standard Asset). Offsets purchased within the Green Treasury will help support critical restoration projects around the globe in a number of regions.
ClimateTrade are also working with NFT platform Aorist to offset all emissions caused by minting NFTs on their platform.
Summary: Day 1 Wraps Up with Keen Anticipation for all of the Upcoming Action on Day 2 of Decipher
Day 1 of DeCipher Miami certainly didn’t disappoint. The Algorand community got to hear from a myriad of different industry stakeholders who have all been positively affected by the greater adoption of blockchain technology, particularly DeFi, NFT and gaming. The implications Algorand has as a carbon-negative blockchain that has seemingly become pervasive through the cultures of the various initiatives utilizing the blockchain.
The excitement for Day 2 is palpable as we look to hear from COO Sean Ford, Anthony Scaramucci, and a powerful panel of prolific Algorand venture capitalists (Michael Arrington, David Garcia, Matt Zhang). Later in the day we get to hear directly from the biggest projects currently in the ecosystem, with representatives from Yieldly, Tinyman, AlgoFi, Folks Finance and Venue One. Day 2 promises to reveal even more, with a deeper dive into DAOs, the importance of decentralization, a look at the public sector, sustainability, and ultimately the future of Algorand.