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Providing decentralized solutions: An interview with Divi Project CEO Nick

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Decentralization has grown in popularity over the past few years and while it provides users with a system that is not controlled by any central authority, a major problem faced is that of complexity. The decentralized space can be complicated and difficult to navigate for novice users and this can deter large-scale adoption.
The Divi Labs platform aims to solve issues of accessibility and usability in the crypto space. They are bringing software solutions that would help users of all technical expertise to adopt crypto easily.

Nick is the co-founder and CEO of Divi Project. He joined Divi in 2017 as a full-stack developer and became the Chief Information Officer in 2019, in 2021 he took over as the CEO of the platform. Nick is an entrepreneur, crypto-enthusiast, and keynote speaker who is regularly featured in media.

In an interview with him, we talked about the platform, the vision behind creating the platform, their partnership with La Liga, and much more.

1. What is Divi Labs?

Divi Labs is the Divi Project’s (for-profit) fintech innovation center, responsible for developing world-class decentralized solutions powered by the Divi blockchain. Built with humans in mind, Divi Labs is developing solutions that solve the issues of usability and accessibility that have frustrated the mainstream adoption of crypto. 

The result is software and services that make all cryptocurrencies faster, more secure, and accessible to people at all levels of skill or technical expertise.

2. What is the vision behind Divi Labs and its philosophy for transforming the future of finance?

Divi Labs’ vision and philosophy is acutely aligned with that of the Divi Project. We are working towards the delivery of a new paradigm for financial services. One that is truly decentralized, accessible to all, and works for everyone.

The challenge, most decentralized wallets are complicated to use, which drives people toward custodial services that see them giving up control of their coins for convenience. 

If we are to deliver on Satoshi Nakamoto’s decentralized dream, we have to create services that are not only self-custodial but also easy enough for anyone to use, and that’s exactly what we’re doing.

3. In what ways are you delivering on your vision?

You can see our vision come to life in Divi Labs’ products. Divi’s self-custodial mobile wallet comes loaded with innovative features that deliver on the company’s promise of individual control and financial sovereignty. They include Divi’s patented 1-Click Masternode (MOCCI™) and staking vault technologies that make earning and owning crypto as easy as pressing play on Spotify.

By removing barriers to entry, innovating new frictionless technologies, and delivering use cases for the developed and developing world, Divi Labs is on a mission to help people across the globe to engage in the crypto economy and achieve financial freedom and inclusion.

Our partnership with LaLiga, which we announced earlier this month, is a key factor here. It gives us a powerful platform from which to reach and engage people around the globe and enables the Divi team to accelerate the creation of real-world initiatives that help some of the most in-need communities on the planet gain access to our products. 

4. What does the partnership involve? 

The partnership will push the boundaries of brand activation through a comprehensive schedule of activities. Key areas include:  

  • The creation of unique content and player-driven experiences that will help educate fans about crypto 
  • Leveraging key LaLiga assets and platforms including, TV, experiential events, & instadia advertising and promotions 
  • The integration of CSR initiatives to build awareness of, and facilitate access to, essential services in local communities experiencing challenges that can be solved through crypto. 

5. Why partner with LaLiga? 

There are several reasons why we’ve become LaLiga’s official crypto wallet for the MENA, South East Asia, and China regions.

  • There is a close alignment between football and crypto. LaLiga’s research reveals that 1 in 10 fans in MENA are crypto investors and 6 out of 10 crypto investors in the region are LaLiga fans. With a total addressable audience of 1 billion people across the three regions, there’s a huge market of enthusiasts to serve. 
  • These regions are establishing themselves as the next crypto capitals and centers of blockchain innovation. We are seeing a close partnership forming between governing bodies, financial institutions and the cryptosphere. 
  • Dubai’s Bitcoin Fund, the UAE’s Emirates Blockchain Strategy and Israel’s trial of the digital Shekel are all excellent examples of a productive relationship and the creation of a stimulating environment for crypto to thrive.
  • Most importantly, there is a clear alignment between the values that drive both our brands. Like us they are creating deep relationships with their users through rich, engaging experiences. Like us, innovation is at the heart of everything they do. And like us, they value accessibility, social inclusion and education.

6. What does the future hold for the partnership? 

There are a number of avenues we are exploring. This includes the potential for joint partnerships with LaLiga and its partners that leverage Divi’s technology and theirs to provide deeper experiences for fans.

This could result in a LaLiga branded wallet or a solution that enables fans to safely store their NFTs or use them to personalize their wallet. LaLiga could enable its fans to buy tickets and merchandise using cryptocurrencies or launch exclusive promotions where fans are rewarded in their favourite cryptos. The possibilities are endless.

What’s exciting is because Divi is a young, agile company, we can work with LaLiga to define our roadmap around their needs.

Whatever we do, we will ensure that we always ensure that users maintain control and ownership of their crypto coins and keys, thereby securing their financial freedom.  

7. Let’s look at one of your recent new features in the DiviWallet. Talk to us about the staking vaults, how are they staying true to your motto of ‘crypto made easy’? What benefits do they offer to users?

Our staking vault technology is industry-first for crypto wallets and truly groundbreaking. Vaults enable anyone who owns DIVI to earn no matter how many coins they hold or the technology/bandwidth at their disposal.

Unlike other forms of staking, Divi’s vaults do not require an always-on internet connection to run after set-up and no technical expertise is needed to install them. There’s no counterparty or middle-man risk as the user retains the coins and keys. 

In addition, it allows decentralized node deployment from a mobile device, where currently, all implementations require some level of custody.

Stakers on the Divi blockchain earn rewards, in the form of additional coins. Returns are estimated at 20.7% APY. Currently there is 1.3bn DIVI across our mobile and desktop masternodes and an estimated 873m DIVI across our desktop staking nodes.

DIVI holders can stake any amount of their coins, withdrawals are allowed at any time and there’s no lockout period. The coins never leave the wallet and all processing is done in the cloud, ensuring the highest levels of security and control. 

8. What is the ‘humanized protocol’ on the Divi blockchain?  How does the platform provide an optimum experience to its users?

To make onboarding onto our products super easy, we’ve implemented what we call a humanized protocol. Users who set up an account provide a username, photo, email, and other details, to their wallet. 

This unique feature enables them to send and request money from verified profiles with personalized characteristics. By taking this approach, we are not only attracting new users to the crypto space through a great user experience but also reducing lost crypto by helping to eliminate user error. Gone are the days of long, complex, anonymous wallet addresses.

9. Who is on the team at Divi Labs?

We have assembled a world-class team of experts to propel Divi Labs’ service and product offering forward. 

Nick Saponaro is the CEO of Divi Labs. A full-stack developer by trade, he is one of the co-founders of the business and led the development of its web services, client-facing apps, and protocol development for Divi Core. Through his expertise in programming and functional design, he has helped achieve the company’s core aim; to make crypto easy and drive its mainstream adoption.

Chris Airola is our Chief Product Officer at Divi Labs. He brings over two decades of product development experience from some of the world’s largest businesses and industry disruptors including Microsoft Research, PayByPhone, Moz, and Realtor.com.

Joshua Caleb is our Chief Innovation Officer and brings a wealth of experience in blockchain development. Previously Head of Business Development and then Chief Operations Officer at Blockchain Centre, his focus is on modernizing Divi’s blockchain to increase efficiency and the development of our DeFi bridge.

10. As part of your vision, you’ve talked about your intention to provide financial services to the unbanked and underbanked. How will you achieve this? 

The key is to get our products into the hands of people who need them most. This work has already started. We have partnered several projects run by incredible people in our Divi community that are focused on driving real-world initiatives by using Divi’s currency, platform, and technology. 

For example, the Divi Green Project in Venezuela has established a circular economy that’s improving living standards. The Spaghetti Project in the Philippines provides hot meals to local residents, and the Khayletisha Cycles Project has ensured essential workers in Cape Town can travel to work during the lockdown.

There is much more to come. We have a number of partnerships in the works that will ensure we can start accelerating the adoption of our products in some of the most in-need communities in the world.

11. Divi Labs is creating a global community with the help of Divi Nodes. Could you tell us more about it?

Due in part to the accessibility of the brand and the technology, we find that our products are attractive to a wide demographic of users. From farmers in Oklahoma who use the coins earned from our nodes to subsidize their income, to entrepreneurs in South Africa who use them to build their business, and philanthropists in Venezuela who use them to buy food to feed the local community, everyone can find a use for Divi’s Nodes in their everyday life. 

12. What are some of the future projects in the pipeline on the Divi platform?

We have a number of exciting updates coming to the Divi wallet. 

The most exciting feature coming in early 2022 is the fiat on- and off-ramp, which will also enable in-wallet crypto-to-crypto swaps. These features are also pre-requisites for our forthcoming DeFi bridge. And of course, we will be doing many exciting and impactful activations within our LaLiga partnership over the next few months and years.

There’s also a number of other new partnerships that we are very excited to announce. We’ll be able to talk more about these next year.

You can find out more about Divi Labs here.

Disclaimer: This is a paid post and should not be treated as news/advice.

With Masters in Mass communication and journalism, Anjali's interests lie in blockchain technology adoption across emerging economies.

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