Sonali Giovino: “Education and accessibility to top-notch security tools are pivotal to curbing crypto losses and fostering a more robust and secure environment for DeFi users.”

In this Q&A, Sonali Giovino the Global Head of Ecosystem at De.Fi and producer of the Web3 Security Conference tells us about the importance of gamified learning in bringing Web3 to the masses.

Quick take:

  • Sonali thinks education and access to top-notch Web3 security tools could help in curbing crypto losses associated with Web3 heists.
  • And the best way to do that is by turning Web3 lessons into interactive and enjoyable experiences.
  • Gamified learning uses quests, challenges, and interactive modules to guide users through the intricacies of blockchain and DeFi.

Over the past two years, more than $5.3 billion in crypto has been stolen either through protocol breaches, phishing links or stolen digital assets. According to Info Security Magazine, in 2022, more than $3.55 billion was stolen, while last year saw the figure fall by 51% to $1.75 billion, thanks to increased awareness and enhanced security measures taken to protect investors.

However, creating awareness about crypto pitfalls is not an easy thing to do, given the intricate nature of the industry. Many have stayed away from the industry because they do not understand how it works.

Therefore, companies are now exploring ways of making lessons about crypto more engaging and enjoyable. Gamified gaming has emerged as one of the tools that could be used to achieve that.

So, we conducted a Q&A with Sonali Giovino, the Global Head of Ecosystem at De.Fi to understand how gamified learning could be used to mitigate crypto losses, educating people about the intricacies of the industry.

According to Sonali, gamified learning is not just about adding gaming elements to lessons about platforms and products. It also comprises certain elements of blockchain gaming, where players earn points to climb higher on leaderboard rankings.

Some multinational brands like Kids Foot Locker, Adidas, and Gucci have also launched interactive Web3 products to improve engagement with their fans. Earlier this month, global payments giant Visa launched a Web3 loyalty program featuring gamified giveaways and immersive treasure hunts.

The experiences are meant for customers to have fun while engaging with Web3 services.

In this Q&A, Sonali delves deeper into the world of gamified learning and why access to top-notch Web3 security tools could be pivotal in curbing crypto losses related to protocol heists.

Tell us about your role at De.Fi and your journey in Web3.

I’m Sonali, I am the Global Head of Ecosystem at De.Fi where I manage strategic partnerships with leading blockchains globally, overseeing the integration of their top DeFi protocols.

I entered the crypto space in 2017 because I was fascinated by the decentralization and privacy of it. It seemed to inspire a new generation that placed financial power back into the hands of the people without the requirement of a middleman. I conducted weekly educational crypto workshops and became the first female to produce Vancouver’s first inaugural Blockchain Yacht Cruise Conference in 2018. From there I received several invitations to public speak on the topics of Cryptocurrency, Blockchain and being a female Entrepreneur.

To educate more people on the topic of crypto security, I produced the Web3 Security Conference, which was inaugurated in 2023 in Milan Italy, counting media partners such as Cointelegraph, Cryptopolitan, Crypto News and Crypto Slate. The conference featured prominent security experts from zkSync, Avalanche, LayerZero, Hacken and more.

How can gamification be used to make learning and engagement more entertaining?

Gamification is a way of adding game elements to enhance the engagement and learning of a platform or a product. For example, Coinbase’s Earn and Learn program is a way to have their users learn about the utilities of different currencies and projects listed on the exchange, while getting some rewards in cryptocurrencies. These rewards can take various forms including points that can be redeemed, tokens or NFTs.

The way we borrow from the gaming universe is by creating a competition environment for users to get little dopamine boosts whenever tasks are completed. These could be illustrated through leaderboards tracking their growth, or fun activations such as confetis dropping. Robinhood has been a pioneer in gamifying their fintech app this way. In Web3, each achievement can become a token itself, for example NFTs badges, that can be collected in your wallet, which in turn can unlock even further rewards from partnering brands.

What is the difference between using gamification in learning and blockchain gaming?

Blockchain gaming brought us the concept of play-to-earn, which is about playing an entertaining and rewarding animated game. One popular example is Axie Infinity where players can earn real revenue by being consistent.

Gamification in learning takes a unique approach to education by infusing game elements into the learning process. It goes beyond traditional teaching methods, turning lessons into interactive and enjoyable experiences. I’m excited about applying these concepts and making the world of crypto accessible and exciting for learners. Gamified learning initiatives incorporate quests, challenges, and interactive modules that guide users through the intricacies of blockchain and DeFi. By earning rewards and progressing through levels, users not only gain knowledge but also develop a sense of accomplishment. It’s a dynamic way to empower individuals with the skills and understanding needed to navigate the ever-evolving landscape of Web3.

What are the biggest challenges to bringing Web3 to the masses?

Bringing Web3 to the masses comes with hurdles, such as the intricate nature of blockchain, smart contracts, and decentralized applications. Most Web3 applications are still pretty complex to access which further complicates the onboarding process, especially for those not tech-savvy.

Convincing users to embrace new technologies is no easy feat, particularly when they are accustomed to existing systems. Additionally, a lack of awareness and educational resources makes it challenging for users to grasp the benefits and functionalities of Web3 technologies.

How does gamified learning address any of those challenges?

Gamified learning can be a dynamic solution to these challenges allowing people to experience and comprehend complex concepts in a more intuitive and entertaining manner.

  • – Through reward systems like tokens and badges, gamification incentivizes users to explore and adopt Web3 technologies.
  • – Games break down complex ideas into digestible components, enabling users to progress gradually and build their understanding.
  • – Gamified learning also fosters community building, providing a collaborative space for individuals navigating the complexities of Web3

What is De.Fi doing to promote the mass adoption of Web3?

At De.Fi, we wanted to gamify the exploration of the rich DeFi ecosystem that spans across 50 blockchains with many different applications such as DEXes, swaps, borrowing and lending and more. Our SocialFi profiles gamify this process by creating a decentralized identity and reputation. Users can learn more about DeFi, and enhance their experience by engaging in various activities such as holding crypto, swaps, participating in quests, gaining followers and more.

It’s been an incredible journey experiencing organic growth and support from followers worldwide throughout 2023. Despite the market being deemed slow, we welcomed millions of new users to our De.Fi platform, exploring and engaging with our products. Now, with markets picking up momentum once again and a surge of fresh interest in crypto globally, we’re eagerly anticipating the influx of new audiences. The enthusiasm is palpable, and we can’t wait to see how this surge will shape the crypto landscape.

Last year you launched the Web3 Security Conference. Are Web3 security cases overblown compared to the attention paid to traditional cybersecurity issues?

The Web3 Security Conference brought security experts from across the globe together to engage in vital discussions on smart contract security, monitoring, auditing, DeFi challenges, and cutting-edge solutions that are reshaping how individuals engage in crypto. The security landscape in Web3 poses both unique challenges and opportunities when compared to traditional cybersecurity. With individuals taking charge of their own wallets and assets, security in Web3 demands special attention.

It necessitates native security models, such as smart contract-enabled tools operating across multiple blockchain networks. At De.Fi, we’re serious about security. We’ve pioneered the creation of the first crypto antivirus and a suite of unique tools that are user-friendly, reminiscent of traditional antivirus solutions, addressing root cause problems in Web3. Our De.Fi Shield allows users to revoke access to malicious dApps, while the De.Fi Scanner swiftly examines any token’s code, helping users identify potential vulnerabilities that could lead to harmful exploits or crypto scams.

How important is Web3 security in decentralised finance?

In the world of Web3, where individuals hold the reins to their wallets and assets, security is paramount.

Continuing to build easy-to-use security tools and platforms is not just about safeguarding assets; it’s a game-changer for the entire user experience. As we’ve seen in the unfortunate annual losses, with the De.Fi Rekt Report tallying up to $1.95 billion in 2023, the bulk of these losses hit the DeFi scene, including DEXes, lending and borrowing protocols, and yield aggregation platforms. Predominant attack vectors like Phishing, Smart Contract Exploits, and Rugpulls underline the pressing need for robust security measures.

Education and accessibility to top-notch security tools are pivotal in curbing these losses and fostering a more robust and secure environment for DeFi users. It’s not just about putting up defences; it’s about empowering individuals to navigate the DeFi landscape with confidence. This commitment to security is why we organized the Web3 Security Conference in Milan, Italy. By convening experts from across the globe, we delved into crucial discussions on blockchain and cybersecurity, aiming to fortify the defences of the entire Web3 ecosystem. This collective effort, coupled with ongoing advancements in easy-to-use security tools, will not only bolster the resilience of DeFi but also alleviate apprehensions, making crypto a more welcoming space for all.


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