Interview

Interview with Alexandru Iulian Florea: Founder of Online.io Blockchain Technologies

  • Salman Ahmed
  • 28th Sep, 2018

Privacy is hard to come by these days, especially when tech companies are hell bound to sell user data to Governmental agencies and third parties.

To rid users of this problem and give them a safe and secure browsing experience, we interviewed the CEO and Founder of Online.io, Alexandru Iulian Florea.

Online.io is a game changer aiming at revolutionizing the internet by making privacy a top priority, especially in light of the recent news regarding unethical data collection and selling by Facebook is a prime example of how user privacy is violated.

In today’s interconnected world, big companies are monitoring users every move from the moment they open the browsers on any device and sell such private data to corporations or sharing our information with governmental agencies.

Such data is in turn used to manipulate internet users and influence their decisions. Leveraging on an increased users’ interest and need for a more private and secure browsing experience and using the latest Blockchain Technology, Online.io solution is going to free the internet from ads, trackers, and malware.

1- What is the best way to explain “Online.io” Project and how it works for beginners?

Online.io solution frees the Internet from ads, malware and trackers. Thus, it adheres by the initial vision of World Wide Web that of having a decentralized, non-discriminatory and universal way to share information easily and connect people. For Online.io privacy is a top priority along with keep users’ data safe and personal.

2- What was the core idea/reason for establishing this project?

Through Online.io, we want to offer all internet users an enhanced browsing experience by making the internet an ad-free, more secure and non-trackable place.

3- How OIO token a unique digital asset that will unleash the Internet from ads, malware and tracking software, leading to a more enjoyable and secure browsing experience, with sizeable benefits for both web operators and end users?

OIO tokens are the fuel for the entire ecosystem designed to bootstrap the development of our solution.

OIO Tokens are a key element in the ecosystem, since the web operators will be required to stake OIO Tokens in order to use Online.io technology and mine ICE tokens.

The ICE Tokens are mined through a brand-new consensus algorithm called PROOF-OF-ONLINE, an eco-friendly way that does not require massive hardware investments or pollute the environment, which takes into consideration the time spent by users of the web pages.

Investors holding OIO tokens who are not website operators will receive a percentage of all ICE tokens mined, just by holding the token in the dedicated smart contract (PROOF-OF-STAKE). You will be able to use ICE tokens to pay for your grocery, or dream holiday through our merchant system. Both tokens will be listed on exchanges and could be exchanged to fiat.

4- How is OIO token contributing to improving the online security of individuals and surrounding communities?

For Online.io, user’s privacy is a top priority, thus Online.io offers an enhanced protection of consumer data first off due to added security of Blockchain technology, which will eliminate demographic and behavioral profiling from being collected and used without prior consent.

Furthermore, internet users will be able to rate each website according to their experience, which will lead to the creation of a ranking of trustworthy websites.

Online.io solution comes to meet such threats to visitor’s privacy and to help website operators adhere to the latest regulation changes (i.e. GDPR EU regulation) by blocking the online tracking practices, which gives the user the opportunity to browse the Internet without having the feeling of being monitored and stalked.

5- What is your opinion about individually on GDPR policies?

In today’s interconnected world, when internet usage is exponentially increasing, not just in number of people using the internet, but also in time spent by users online either on world wide web but also on mobile technologies, personal data protection regulations seemed out dated.

Definitely, GDPR is a leap forward in terms of customer protection and data privacy. It is far more advanced than anything provided by other country and it will without a doubt, shape the private data landscape for decades to come.

Having the he right to ask companies how their personal data is collected and stored, how it’s being used, and request that personal data be deleted, represent an important feature for enhancing transparency and not allowing companies to use vague or confusing data regarding what types of data they are collected from users online browsing.

However, following GDPR’s entering into force, majority of websites implemented notifications regarding the fact that user data is monitored and collected. But it can prove to be really time consuming for users and sometimes even very complicated to understand where and how their data is shared since companies and websites implemented laborious and not in plain language privacy terms and conditions. Such practices lead sometimes to users giving their consent because of either lack of time or lack of legal knowledge.

All in all, the main GDPR-related rights for citizens (Breach Notification, Right to Access, Right to be Forgotten, Data Portability and Privacy by Design) generally make it a lot harder for companies to obtain and prove consent for the storing and using of personal data.

6- What’s your overview regarding recent fine on Google under the policies of GDPR? Is it the right initiative taken by GDPR or not?

If you are referring to the 5 billion USD fine from EU, I will prefer not to comment on the fine received by Google, for deploying Google search engine on Android devices, and thus breaking the antitrust laws, since I prefer letting the legal specialists share their view points on this. As far as I know, it is not a final decision and Google is going to appeal the decision.

7- Why should people use OIO tokens since there are many scams in the coin world? Are you making it different from others?

Since its emergence, the concept of ICO has made massive progress with more and more campaigns being launched each year, with many successful examples of game-changing ideas brought to life by the power of Blockchain and cryptocurrencies.

Like everywhere else, there were also people that spotted the fertile breeding ground for scams and capitalized on the increased appetite and demand of people to invest in crypto market and we all witnessed elaborate scams and frauds.

Such examples shaken the trust of investors in any ICO and let to an increase in due diligences performed before deciding to invest in a certain cryptocurrency. This for legitimate companies as ours is an opportunity, since we do believe in the power of Blockchain and the value added it brings to market and we would not like to see people losing interest in crypto world just because of illegal projects.

Hence, we have realized that self-imposed restrictions are mandatory for ensuring our investors’ trust and by extension OIO token users. Therefore, we underwent a long period of extensive research to find out the best solution for translating our idea (which first appeared in June 2017) into reality (whitepaper published in March 2018).

During this time, we have studied blockchain in terms of platform integration perspective, performed risk analyses associated with blockchain as well as partnered with a team of experienced developers and liaised with of experienced and savvy people in their domains, from tech, business consultancy services and blockchain finance who spotted the potential of OIO token and adhere to our vision.

Furthermore, since the very beginning of launching Online.io project we have also started working on the development, hence in August, we release the beta version of Extension for Chrome/Firefox and ICE Token is now available on the Ropsten test network.

We also participated in renowned cryptocurrencies conferences and competitions (top 4 finalist at WebIT Festival Europe, 1st place from the Investor prize at d10e conference in TelAviv) and collaborated with Bancor Network as well as CryptoVoucher. The team behind Online.io is continuously working at concluding even more partnerships that are beneficial.

8- Is OIO project an open source platform? If yes then what kind of suggestions you would give to developers that how they can contribute effectively regarding your project?

Yes, the demo is already live for human detection, tracker detection and guardian source code – https://demo.online.io. We currently have 20 dedicated team members are assigned to Online.io project including developers, project managers, QA, business analysts, designers, DevOps. We consider that our partnership with Zfort Group a full-scale IT outsourcing service provider is one of the cornerstones in the success of Online.io project.

9- What challenges/ barriers do you face in your mission? And how you are tackling them?

Challenges are everywhere, but I do believe that we, at Online.io, have a powerful, experienced team both of developers and advisors driven by passion and strong commitment to the project and that together we can overcome any challenges that may appear in our way.

Also, we benefit from the support and positive feedback from a robust Online.io community that cherishes and values our work and project. I am happy to tell you that we surpassed 50k members on our Telegram Community (please check it out here https://t.me/OnlineIO)

10- How are the next ten years like for OIO tokens regarding online data security of users?

Trying to predict what’s going to happen next is never easy, especially in a such a fast-growing and changing environment as online data security. But I have a strong belief that OIO tokens will play an important role in shaping the user’s privacy and security when browsing the internet, especially since users are becoming more and more alert regarding how their private data is used and how safe is for them to browse the internet.

Furthermore, Online.io values also the online content created by legitimate website operators, aiming to take over the web revenue system, which is based on ads. By rewarding unlocking a new revenue stream for website operators, replacing the traditional revenue model with a revolutionary noninvasive one which capitalizes on the time spent by users online, thus increasing the focus on websites with enhanced quality content.

Since Online.io system will check URLs in multiple database sources like Google, Avast, Bitdefender, Avira, our solution will protect users against websites that have malware URL’s, are hacked and/or trying to exploit their visitors.

11- What is Privacy according to you? (What’s your definition of Online Privacy)

For online.io, privacy is the ability of surfing the World Wide Web and benefit from its vast resources without being afraid that personal information is tracked, monitored, stored and used for malicious purposes other than those a user agreed to share in full awareness.

Therefore, in our vision a user should always have the right to opt-in or opt-out from sharing certain information considered sensitive by each individual. Hence, privacy cannot exist in our view with the notion of informed consent.

12- Do you think user behavior is changing around data privacy?

Today, everything is stored as data, most likely on a public network. Security and privacy should be a primary concern for every business and or individual and especially in light of the new media disclosures regarding how big giants and governments are monitoring, storing and even using as a manipulation tool private data gathered only, more and more people have become aware of the extent of data surveillance practices.

In the past, users tended to accept the opaque terms-and-conditions in a blink of an eye, thinking that the downside was just some annoying ads, but since the scandals with how personal data was used to influence behavior and even swing elections, internet users are more careful to what they agree with from the very beginning.

The new European GDPR regulation aims at ensuring that users know, understand, and consent to the data collected about them, thus forcing companies and websites to become more transparent regarding how exactly they are using internet users’ data. Although, most of the rights under this legislation were already established in the EU, they were not enforced.

However, GDPR’s impact depends on how aggressively consumers wield their new rights. Recent trends indicate a growing interest in privacy, as depicted by the rising usage of ad-blockers and VPNs.

13- What tips/advice you would like to share that can help protect the privacy of users at present?

Invest in Online.io and start using our browser extensions for a more private, more secure and ad-free browsing experience (laughing).

At the beginning, data tracking started with the aim of helping marketers customize their messages and offering based on online behavior tracking, but nowadays, data surveillance has become more and more invasive and its scope has broadened and today it can be used to track and circumscribe people’s behavior across space and time dimensions.

Seriously, nowadays it can be rather difficult even for an experienced and knowledgeable internet user to protect his private data from complex tracking techniques used over the internet, thus making it nearly impossible for an average internet user who does not invest in protecting himself.

Therefore, I do strongly believe that only by creating a strong online community, where to safeguard each other by highlighting scammy and not trustworthy websites, which is our aim at Online.io we can better protect our private data.

Salman Ahmed's Biography
Salman Ahmed Siddiqui is a passionate writer who loves to write about online privacy, crypto economy and trending technological developments. He loves to provide effective tips and guideline related to rising cyber challenges. When he is not writing, Salman watches Manchester United play and demonstrates his love for football with his mad FIFA skills.

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