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Exclusive Q&A with Alastair Johnson, CEO of Nuggets

George Miller

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Exclusive Q&A with Alastair Johnson, CEO of Nuggets
Reading Time: 5 minutes

 

Let’s start with your personal story. Our readers love to learn more about top entrepreneurs. Tell us about yourself. How have you become the person you are today?

AJ: I come from the North of the UK (The Midlands if you’re from further North). I learned respect and the value of teamwork at an early stage—a value I still apply to my work to this day. I went to Uni, developed my thinking, then after leaving  got taken down a peg or two along the way. I started in tech during the last recession, which, as it turns out, is a handy training ground for the modern world. As an early adopter of the internet, I quickly rose to the challenge. I had my own tech business for a good number of years, and was fortunate enough to work with some of the best tech-heads in Skype and Microsoft. After bumping into the pain of privacy and security problems one too many times, I strived to find a better way.

I always liked the Jeff Bezos quote where he had to tell everyone what the internet was when he was starting Amazon. I know how he feels; it resembles the initial stages of blockchain.

 

You pride yourself on being a problem solver. Perhaps, Nuggets is a direct result of that trait. You have said that in other interviews. But could you share the details behind what led you to the idea behind Nuggets?

AJ: I had my personal and payment details used fraudulently and had to wait two weeks for a bit of plastic to turn up. After having to input my card number back into numerous services, I thought: “there has to be a better way than this.”

Always lead with the problem, not the tech or the product. Blockchain resolved many of  the boxes that previous tech offerings hadn’t, allowing for a fundamental change in how personal data was stored, owned, and controlled. I was lucky to have a different perspective to those that had come before, and driven enough to set out on the journey that everyone else had shied away from.

                                                                 

The idea was great and the technology was ripe. But how hard was it to start and develop Nuggets? We would like to hear your struggles and victories?

AJ: I think one of the more recent examples is when it came time to self-quarantine amid the coronavirus outbreak. Coming to the realisation that I had been effectively self-isolating already, demonstrated how consumed I was by the work.

Nonetheless, it’s been an amazing journey of highs and lows. From having to explain, in the early days, what blockchain was and the potential it had (I feel you Jeff), to fantastic opportunities that I would have never been afforded if I wasn’t doing this. I’ve felt on top of the world and—sometimes—like I’ve been knocked off it, but I always end up with the need to do it all again the next day, with an almost evangelical zeal.

I now have a kinship of understanding and appreciation for anyone who has been a founder, big or small, and when you meet other founders, it’s like you’re talking the same language and an empathy that is hard to reach with others.

 

Nuggets’ motto is to “Take back control of your data”. Here are some novice’s doubts regarding the claim. First, wouldn’t it affect the data analytics thing that marketers and companies use a great deal at present?

AJ: You can still have behavioral data on the merchant or services side, which can bring benefits to both merchants and customers. We don’t believe, however, that you need to know my first dog’s name and my email to facilitate an order for socks. There’s still metadata available, but not the user’s personal data. Through reputation and provenance, greater value can be gained than ever before. The old model is broken—if the data breaches don’t teach you that, the regulator will.

 

Following on the previous question, second, is the data really safe when using Nuggets? Data has to be stored somewhere, the users’ devices, for example, which makes the data vulnerable. Isn’t it?

AJ: With Nuggets, the data is encrypted at the source, with a private key that only the user has access to—negating the use of usernames and passwords. The nuggets of information are encrypted individually, hashed on-chain, placed in decentralised storage, and atomised so only the private key holder can access and control them. We believe the future is going to be based around your identity—devices and products will simply act as an interface to the identity that travels with you. You will be your identity combined with multiple biometric verifications.

      

How have the users responded to this disruptive innovation? Could you tell us some stats about the customer reaction so far – both in terms of end-users and business providers?

AJ: We have had the most amazing response to Nuggets with tens of thousands of advocates. We’ve been approached by the top global banks, payment services, and merchants. And, to have the industry acknowledge the direction as well, has been amazing.

Nuggets has also won a number of high profile awards, including;

  • The Blockchain Project of the Year at the FSTech Awards, beating HSBC and Commerzbank to the prize;
  • The Best Innovation in Security Management award at the FDATA Open Finance Awards, after being recognized as the company that has done the most to protect consumer data.
  • Shortlisted at the Europas Award for Hottest Tech Startup, and shortlisted for five awards categories at the Payments Awards — more nominations than any other company.
  • They were one of only 10 out of 400 global businesses to make it into the final of UBS’s Future of Finance Challenge 2019, in the ‘Foundation Setting: Technology Enablement’ category.
  • Finalist in the MoneyAge Awards for ‘Innovation in Consumer Finance’,
  • Shortlisted for two payments awards alongside companies including HSBC and Mastercard for its use of biometrics and blockchain,
  • Named winners of the Anti-Fraud or Security Solution of the Year 2018.
  • Most Influential Women in Payments 2020 (not me, Seema)
  • 10 best Payments Startups globally in Efma-Capgemini’s Financial NewTech Challenge 2020.

 

We usually focus on industry news related to gaming, betting and gambling. In what ways do you think Nuggets can be a game-changer for the gaming and gambling industry?

AJ: Like finance, the gaming industry is one of the most regulated in the world. Applying the same principles of identity verification, KYC, proof of age, verified payments with reputation and provenance, along with privacy and security, we are sure to make a resounding difference.

 

Just to clarify, what kind of technological adjustments do existing gambling, betting and igaming platforms have to make to incorporate Nuggets. Is it going to be seamless and quick?

AJ: Onboarding, Access, Payment, and Verification can be quickly executed through SDK, APIs, and micro service container models that make integration modular and easy.

 

We are going through a global business turmoil caused by the Corona outbreak. Once things get back to normal, how do you foresee the situation for block chain technology? Will a new beginning help block chain technology to gain more access and popularity? We would love to hear your views.

AJ: During times of upheaval, disruptors prevail. New technology has been proven time and time again to leapfrog the broken past in order to create a better future. Blockchain will be a part of that, along with other technologies—maybe even a sprinkle of 5G thrown into the mix.

 

About two years ago, you wrote an article that said “Europe has unbridled potential to become one of the leaders in fintech”? Has Europe lived up to your expectations? Do you still subscribe to this view or is there any change in estimate?

AJ: I still think the UK and Europe have some of the best potentials. This map of challenger banks by country globally shows that in 2016 the UK had 40 challenger banks. India, with the next biggest number, only had 8. This gives you a good idea of the potential in Europe compared to the rest of the world.

 

Blockchain

Stelios P Michaelides Appointed as CCO of Quanta

George Miller

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Stelios P Michaelides Appointed as CCO of Quanta
Reading Time: < 1 minute

 

Quanta, the Isle of Man based Blockchain Lottery pioneer, is pleased to announce the appointment of Stelios P Michaelides as the Chief Compliance Officer of Quanta.

“Stelios has sound judgment and ability to identify and resolve complex issues in a dynamic environment,” said Harmen Brenninkmeijer, Quanta’s CEO. “I am confident that he will further Quanta’s ability to successfully navigate the ever-changing business and regulatory landscapes.”

Stelios is a strategic thinking, internationally-minded and versatile Chief Financial Officer with over forty years managerial experience of ensuring optimal financial and business operations across extremely diverse geographies and sectors.

He is well-versed in managing stakeholder relationships, building support and loyalty in order to achieve shared goals and further business success. And, with experience in restructuring internal operations and processes, executing Change Management techniques, developing innovative accounting and financial management systems from the ground up, creating processes that have stood the test of time and guiding companies across large-scale transitions with outstanding management skills needed to optimize and exceed performance expectations.

 

About Quanta:
Quanta is a pioneer in the development of blockchain technology solutions. Quanta’s powerful technology connects consumers with decentralised products and services via its transparent payment gateway – Quanta Pay. Quanta aims to provide a single mobile interface for its users to manage crypto and make payments to its lotteries and all other Quanta-built and integrated 3rd party products and services. In 2017 Quanta launched the first licensed blockchain lottery which fully utilises blockchain. The company also launched its NMI-certified random number generator (Randao), itself entirely built and operated on blockchain. Both its lottery games and Randao are or will be accessible via Quanta Pay.

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Blockchain

Announcement on Launch of Quanta Pay

George Miller

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Announcement on Launch of Quanta Pay
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Quanta is pleased to announce the launch of the Quanta Pay payment gateway.

Quanta Pay’s Transparent Payment Gateway service works with both public and private blockchains. Users can send and receive Ethereum, Bitcoin, QNTX* and ERC20 tokens by using Quanta Pay all whilst keeping 100% control of their private keys. All transactions are logged for complete transparency. Simple installation, no registration and protected by a PIN, with Quanta Pay you only need to sign in once to access all Quanta-built and integrated 3rd party products and services.

Quanta Pay is safe and secure as it is protected with a 5-digit pin with encrypted private keys backed up with a 12-word passphrase. Interaction between Quanta Pay and integrated products and services is as fast as the blockchain can be.

Quanta is committed to the continued development of Quanta Pay with plans to incorporate even more features and functionality as well as to leverage the potential of the rest of Quanta’s product ecosystem, particularly the new QNTX token scheduled for release later this year.

Currently, Quanta Pay is available to the general public on the Google Play store (Android) and it can be downloaded using the following link. Download Quanta Pay

For QNTU holders that are swapping and staking into new QNTX tokens, please download Quanta Pay (Android-only version now with iOS version released this summer) and wait for instructions on how to get the new QNTX tokens in July/August 2020 (subject to Know Your Client (KYC) requirements). Stay connected as more information will follow in the coming few months.

To learn more about Quanta Pay, please visit https://www.quantapay.com/.

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Blockchain

Topps trading cards arrive on the WAX blockchain

George Miller

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Topps Trading Cards on blockchain
Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

Garbage Pail Kids launching today!

The Topps Company is the most prestigious producer of trading cards and collectibles in the world. Since 1938, Topps trading cards have become synonymous with Major League Baseball, Star Wars, WWE, Garbage Pail Kids. As well as other major sports leagues and iconic entertainment properties.

And for the first time ever collectors can buy, sell, and trade Topps digital trading cards on the blockchain. Starting with the pop culture phenomenon Garbage Pail Kids.

Be the first to purchase GPK packs on WAX by registering now. The sale goes live on Tuesday 12th May 2020.

Win an Ultra-Rare Golden Card!

For a limited time, buyers of GPK Card Packs on WAX will automatically be entered to win an Ultra-Rare Golden Card! Only 100 of these cards will ever be minted. Golden Cards come in 41 characters, each with an “A” name and a “B” name.

Garbage Pail Kids history

Garbage Pail Kids is a series of sticker trading cards produced by the Topps Company. Originally released in 1985 and designed to parody the Cabbage Patch Kids dolls, which were popular at the time.

Each sticker card features a Garbage Pail Kid character having some comical abnormality, deformity, and/or suffering a terrible fate. With a humorous wordplay character name such as Adam Bomb or Blasted Billy.

Many of the card backs feature puzzle pieces that form giant murals. While other flip-side subjects vary greatly among the various series. From humorous licenses and awards to comic strips and, in more recent releases, humorous Facebook profiles.

Blockchain advantages

The use of blockchain technology will allow users to:

  • Trade collectibles instantly, with anyone, anywhere in the world
  • Trade with ease from a smartphone or computer – for free!
  • Trade with confidence that every collectible is certified authentic, unique, and can never be altered
  • View a collectible’s full ownership records and trading history

What can you do with the cards?

Collectors will be able to get their digital Garbage Pail Kids trading cards by purchasing them on the soon-to-be-released website. Users then choose to trade their digital cards to a friend. Sell them on an online marketplace. showcase their inventory on social media. Search wishlists of other traders and gift them their cards, or propose an exchange/trade.

 

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