Two years ago I made the decision to join OmiseGO. My reason — to help change the world through technology that empowers people to do extraordinary things and improve lives. In joining, I put my early stage peer-to-peer agriculture lending project on-hold in recognition that the infrastructure for me to deploy open financial services wasn’t available. The platform couldn’t facilitate capital flow — farmers were able to set up online accounts in minutes but couldn’t get loans or make payments. I concluded that I needed something like the OMG Network to connect my users with global market opportunities. This continues to drive me today, and in Q1 of 2019 I see us moving towards this reality with the Alpha release (Ari).

Alpha Release — Ari

In February 2019, OmiseGO came out with Ari, our alpha release. Ari is the result of months of intensive engineering work; ensuring that everything was ready for Plasma MoreVP implementation on a public Ethereum network with users.

Ari addresses several issues identified since the release of Minimal Viable Plasma (MVP) at Devcon 4 in October 2018. These issues include unchallengeable Plasma exits under certain conditions, the inability to conduct normal operations by users who were running their own watchers, and bugs that could drain ETH from the deployed Plasma MoreVP contracts.

With Ari, there is now a stable environment where testing can be carried out by external engineering teams through the OmiseGO Developer Program (ODP). Currently we are gathering information and iterating towards Beta release.

Hoard’s Use-Case and Gaming

At ETHDenver, Ari was integrated with Hoard’s 3rd party app to relaunch Plasma Dog. To those familiar with Plasma Dog, this is Hoard’s showcase of true ownership of gaming assets. The concept is simple. You play a game and have true ownership of the assets you earn in the game. The tokens earned in Plasma Dog are stored on your Ethereum wallet enabling you to store, use tokens to transact with other players, or even pay for merchandise. The game allows you to earn and take full ownership of your digitized assets.

Plasma Dog, on Ari, shows the progress and potential of Plasma’s network capability, demonstrating the ability to support a large amount of transactions. In the first 24 hours of Plasma Dog being on Ari, over 28.5k transactions were processed.

Plasma Dog with limited edition Bufficorn skin. Photo credit: © Hoard

When looking at gaming as a use-case of the OMG Network, the potential for global open commerce becomes clear — through full ownership of digital assets, individuals are able to create jobs and income opportunities for themselves and build a diverse economic community without the heavy hand of a centralized institution that can impose high fees and bureaucratic limitations on transactions.

OmiseGO’s Mission

At OmiseGO, we believe that having access to financial services can open up opportunities and improve lives. So, we’ve made it our mission to enable people to access financial services that are fast, fair and secure. The release of Ari confirms that we are heading towards that mission. Hoard’s implementation on Ari shows that different industries can create platforms that connect users in global markets, demonstrating new opportunities for financial growth.

Road ahead

While we are proud of the Alpha Release (Ari), there is still a lot of work to be done. Today, we continue to improve Ari through a series of testing and iterations. The OmiseGO Developer Program (ODP) provides developers early access to test products as they roll out, to help identify bugs and to provide us with feedback for improvement.

In the final month of Q1, we continue to finalize the technical and design strategy for the integration of the eWallet with Ethereum, alongside initial implementation work. This requires all the details to be thoroughly worked out between the product and engineering teams. Important areas we’re focusing on include the generation, storing, and retrieval of keys, operational strategies for a large number of eWallets, syncing token information and transactions, and handling connectivity issues.

Our work at OmiseGO this coming year is not going to be easy — we’re solving technological and business problems simultaneously, and the blockchain space itself is still in its very early days. I do believe the time we invested in building strong foundations in 2018 — staffing, engineering processes, early business validation and risk management — puts us at an advantage.

As a product-driven company, we continue to place emphasis on market and business validation, shipping and iterating on production grade code, and building out robust product distribution channels and partnerships. We’re always looking for ways to make our team better, from hiring the right talent, to refine our processes and to improve efficiency in our workflow and communications.

We recognize that enabling access to better financial services is a multifaceted problem. What’s exciting about OmiseGO is that it holds huge potential to influence several factors of economic inclusion. After undergoing and overcoming our first few sets of growing pains, I am humbled, yet more confident that we have the right makeup and drive to deliver on an ambitious vision of open financial services.

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