On March 5th Vatom number 10 million was emitted on the BLOCKv platform. This was a historic moment for the company and sector, and is clearly just the beginning. The demand from companies, brands and developers to leverage the power of Vatoms is growing exponentially. We anticipate the amount of time to the next 10 million emitted will be a fraction of this milestone and will continue to accelerate.

The lucky recipient of Vatom number 10 million received a one-of-a-kind keepsake Vatom that marks the milestone. Congratulations to the team, partners and users who made this exciting achievement possible.

 VATOM TRANSACTIONS BREAK THE SOUND BARRIER WITH MAJOR PLATFORM SCALABILITY AND SECURITY CHANGES NOW COMPLETE.

The BLOCKv development team, led by CTO Gunther Thiel, has been hard at work over the last six months implementing some major architectural security and scalability improvements to the back-end platform, enabling the promised “brain” and “cycler” functionalities. 

Specifically, this has involved migrating core areas of the platform to support fully asynchronous data paths by splitting the core of the BLOCKv platform into more granular components (groups of lambdas instead of a microservices-only architecture). This makes it easier to optimize the choice of technology for each component, “to use the right tool for the right job”, as Gunther puts it. 

One key requirement was to implement a high performance asynchronous transactional datapath; the channel for accessing key Vatom properties such as ownership or state. 

“We set ourselves a goal of achieving throughput rates that could linearly scale to the millions of transactions per second [that] we believe the platform will need, whilst maintaining the level of integrity that needs to be guaranteed by ACID-like transactions”, Gunther explained. To achieve this, a proprietary transactional data path was built to store and access Vatom related data in a highly scalable fashion. 

“Our ability to handle digital object transactions at these volumes is a key differentiator for BLOCKv in an increasingly competitive market, and uniquely qualifies us to handle the kind of volume of objects that industries such as retail, entertainment, and gaming will require over the medium term.” 

Through these scalability improvements, the new architecture also allows data to be injected from different sources (like asynchronous messages, gRPCs etc.) and not just API calls. This is essential to support the integrated new services such as “brains” and is a fundamental step towards a more decentralized architecture required for the cycler-framework.

BRAIN CODE BETA NOW OPEN TO ALL

Brains have been one of the most asked about capabilities since our original white paperback in 2017. Brains enable Vatoms to have their own individual or group long-running compute threads that operate independently of the Vatom owner’s client. Brain code further allows Vatoms to self-update properties based on programmed logic, or react to external events. This opens up a range of new capabilities and use cases, from moving Vatoms around on a map, to listening to Twitter and updating a status or unlocking a reward. 

For the first time, we publicly launched brain-powered Vatoms last month, with AR butterflies during the Intel-driven Project NGAGE at NRF in New York, and gift-carrying drones at the Blockchain Gamer Connects conference in London. The reaction from users and developers to these demos has been fantastic. These Vatoms used very basic brain logic and the BETA version of the brain framework. Over the past month, we’ve been fixing bugs and making a number of changes and enhancements. 

While there’s still more to do with respect to the brain framework for its general release, it is now deployed in production and we’re delighted to be able to extend access to the BETA to a limited number of members of our developer community, who have a proven knowledge of the current platform (i.e. seasoned Vatom developers only please).

CLICK HERE TO REQUEST ACCESS TO THE BRAIN FRAMEWORK CLOSED BETA

SDK UPDATES

The end of February sees the publication of new versions of the Android, iOS, and Web SDKs. These updated SDKs add official support for the highly anticipated Web Face. Built on top of the new Bridge Protocol 2.0, the Web Face gives Vatom creators greater freedom and flexibility in both the content and behavior of their faces. Moreover, Web Faces are cross-platform, meaning only a single code base has to be maintained.

Accompanying the update to the SDKs is the release of the Web Face SDK v2.0. This SDK allows Web Face developers to quickly get up and running with building Web Faces — specifically those which need to interact with the BLOCKv platform or communicate with the Viewer. Version 2.0 also provides a simpler, more concise, and secure API coupled with improved documentation. With this, Vatom creators can now take their Web Face experiences to the next level!

Check out the updated documentation at https://developer.blockv.io 

APP UPDATE: NEW MULTI-VIEW AR MODES FOR iOS AND WEB APP!

Turning to our public ‘Vatoms’ app, in addition to general bug fixes and improvements, we’ve made some exciting AR enhancements. The updated Web Viewer now includes experimental AR functionality which adds a whole new dimension for interacting with Vatoms on Web. The iOS Vatoms app now supports multi-user AR, allowing Vatom locations to be synced to other nearby iOS devices. This lays the groundwork for some interesting future AR experiences.

In January at the National Retail Federation show in New York, BLOCKv partnered with Intel to showcase Vatoms to leading retail brands, demonstrating how programmable digital objects are the future of customer engagement. The response was overwhelming and our retail experience was recognized as a Top Five Digital Transformation Trend by Forbes Magazine. This sent a very powerful message to an important audience and confirms BLOCKv is ready to bring our technology to the mainstream. Now is the time to grow our ecosystem and continue to spread Vatoms across the world.

The BLOCKv founders always envisioned a wide and diverse set of partner companies and developers working to enhance the capabilities of the platform and create exciting new Vatom-based concepts. Over the past year, BLOCKv has worked closely with a number of partners to develop & pilot Vatom campaigns, and in doing so we learned the best way to accelerate adoption is to encourage ventures on the platform that will open up new markets. Two of the initial companies we have supported are Varius Solutions and Vatom Labs.

Varius Solutions is an enterprise level professional services company that specializes in blockchain technology and customer engagement using Vatoms and our platform. BLOCKv helped Varius launch, which independently raised five million dollars from a great outside investor group. The team, based in Venice California, is now actively building advanced features, analytic dashboards, security, and self-serve tools on the BLOCKv platform. Varius is on track to play an important role in the emerging ecosystem.

In addition to Varius, I’m extremely excited to announce the formation of a new company that I will be leading — Vatom Labs. From the very start of my journey at BLOCKv, a passion project of mine has been to apply Vatoms to digital advertising and create a new asset class that distributes tangible value to targeted audiences instead of simply spreading messages. That passion has now become Vatom Labs, which will focus on increasing the adoption of Vatoms and making it easy for brands and agencies to use Vatoms for customer engagement. I am looking forward to joining my co-founder, Tyler Moebius, as co-CEO of Vatom Labs and working with a proven team of talented rock stars. I will still maintain ties to BLOCKv and support the initiative but will transition out of my day-to-day operational role, leaving the company in solid hands with a highly experienced leadership team.

It has been an honor to be part of BLOCKv and to work with an amazing team to develop a new asset class and the standard for digital objects. This is not goodbye. This is my new focus and I look forward to bringing Vatoms to digital marketing and in doing so, help grow BLOCKv’s vibrant ecosystem.

Reeve Collins 

BLOCKv and Intel at Shoptalk

BLOCKv’s second activation with Intel this year took place at the sold-out ShopTalk conference in Las Vegas, one of the top conferences in the retail sector, with major technology companies jostling for the attention of over eight thousand attendees. BLOCKv, Intel and the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) hosted a “Night of Innovation” for top retailers and journalists at the Venetian Resort. The event was both an opportunity to network and showcase the potential for digital objects to transform consumer engagement in retail. There were a number of Vatom demonstrations seamlessly integrated into the evening’s entertainment. Prior to the event, guests received their entry tickets along with an experience guide in the form of Vatoms, which started their digital journey. The ticket Vatoms were scanned at the door using, for the first time, using industry-standard POS hardware, which then emitted additional demo Vatoms.

Guests received a left or right half of a casino chip Vatom in one of five different colors. The challenge was to find someone at the party with the opposite half. The team programmed a new “shared combine” action which allowed either guest to scan the other’s matching half chip and both would then received a prize. This gamification dynamic was well received and had guests talking and engaging with each other at the party.

Another new Vatom experience on display was the “Twitter Challenge”, where guests were encouraged to tweet #vatoms in order to fill up the three champagne glasses displayed on a billboard in addition to a Vatom in their wallet. Once this was achieved, everyone was rewarded with a glass of champagne!

The event was really well received by all and generated a lot of interest in BLOCKv’s technology as well as the Intel and BLOCKv partnership to standardize digital objects across retail. More information can be found in Intel’s blog here.

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