Jack Nikogosian is a Danish blockchain expert with a vast knowledge of the cryptocurrency space. In 2015 he became internationally known as Bitcoin Jack after paying solely with Bitcoin for an entire month. With his outgoing personality and quick thinking, he delivers inspiring stage presence and has displayed his capabilities at numerous European expos and conferences.
Professionally, he has worked with major players in the Danish crypto/payments arena. With a vision of making payments faster, cheaper and smarter he founded the fintech company ARYZE in 2017.
With a great insight in terms of trends within cryptocurrency, blockchain technology, digital payments and tokenisation Jack has the unique skill of being able to combine new technologies.
Based in: Copenhagen, Denmark
Company website: www.aryze.io
When was your first encounter with Blockchain technology, Jack? What about it really caught your attention?
I’ve always had a great interest in technology, so when I first stumbled upon bitcoin, I was naturally very curious. Shortly after I purchased my first bitcoin in 2013, I watched how the price increased very rapidly which even further fuelled my curiosity. My interest in the cryptocurrency space led me to apply for an internship with the only Danish cryptocurrency company BIPS that later became globally known as Coinify. Here I had a chance to work with the underlying technology, Blockchain, to build various proof of concepts and conceptualisations with numerous partners and industries.
The understanding we had then, and the understanding we have now… how do you reckon it has evolved?
When I initially started working with cryptocurrencies, it was challenging even opening up a dialogue with any potential clients as many people still associated bitcoin with illicit activities and trading on the deep web. The situation today is a lot different as cryptocurrencies and Blockchain technology is being used or tested or explored almost any industry everywhere. Currently, we are having dialogues with senior executives, central banks, large retailers and even government entities all looking into understanding this new technology much better.
Would you say the ‘crypto craze’ contributed to this much? Any other factors that helped bring blockchain technology to the limelight except that?
Yes. The massive attention from the media regarding Bitcoin’s price really helped. Now people at least have that as a reference point when crypto is mentioned.
Do most solutions being developed today really need Blockchain technology to support it? What main features of Blockchain technology make it so prevalent or relevant in your opinion?
There is an excellent Blockchain Applicability Framework shared at the moment which very clearly shows that Blockchain technology is not needed for many projects. There is much hype around blockchain technology, and I understand that. In my view, blockchains are technology with particular use cases that can, in some scenarios offer extreme benefits. However, it is not something that will solve all problems that we today see in other centralised solutions. I believe that we are going to see many different hybrid models that utilise both legacy technologies as well as blockchain technologies to achieve specific goals. It is not about having an autistic approach that aims to disrupt and eliminate current market standards but rather to use new technologies to optimise what is now becoming very inefficient.
How has the experience been in building ARYZE so far?
It has been a great journey with ARYZE. I started it with Carl Jenster at Copenhagen Fintech Lab, and since our CFO Morten Nielsen also came on as a co-founder. Today we have a big family of eight members in the core team, five people in our extended team as well as our very competent advisory board of 10. We are backed by our wonderful community, and ARYZE will always be community first.
Today we have offices in the very heart of Copenhagen, and we are in the closing stages of our pre-ICO. The funding will allow us to onboard our technical team and from there begin to build our platform.
You are based in Denmark, presently. Has the Danish government been quite welcoming for Blockchain startups. Can you please give us some insight into the local ecosystem?
At ARYZE we like to think that we have a great relationship with the government. We have had meetings with the government as well as the FSA, and we always offer our opinion and help. Obviously, the entire ecosystem is moving very fast, and rules have to be updated or even invented. This is something where we have valuable input due to our CFO Morten Nielsen’s experience and knowledge.
The above is regarding regulation in the crypto and ICO space. When it comes to blockchain, of course, there is a great hype. And politicians, large companies and even the broad public are slowly beginning to understand the possibilities that blockchain technology offers.
Any important developments that you’ve recently noticed in terms of government support extended to understanding, adopting and regulating the technologies?
We are currently experiencing a much more fragmented banking environment in Denmark, where individuals and select organisations engage in ICOs and cryptocurrency as a business. Due to the regulatory uncertainty, a collective financial sector approach towards crypto and ICOs does not seem plausible at present time.
Clearly, further work on establishing a regulatory guideline and framework is needed, as well as further expanding on understanding of cryptocurrencies from a taxation standpoint in Denmark.
Fact is, lack of substantial and clear regulation on cryptocurrencies and ICO frameworks is hindering innovation and promoting an environment ideal for fraud — if European regulators do not maximise their efforts on establishing legislation on the topic, the continent will fall behind the progress of the rest of the world, and leave European investors exposed to scams.
What are the main areas of interest for you and ARYZE in the next 1 year?
I can answer that quite shortly; Closing our pre-ICO, build our technical team and publish our technical white paper and launch our ICO.