ARK Crypto Podcast - Episode #46
Episode DescriptionThe forty-sixth episode of the ARK Crypto Podcast is here! This week we sit down with Dean Van Dugteren, Founder and CEO at nOS, to discuss what nOS is up to. They are the newest bridgechain that has announced they are using ARK technology to deploy their blockchain solution. We dive into the details on why ARK turned out to be the best choice, and we talk about what nOS is offering the 'cryptoconomy.' Enjoy!
|00:00:20||Announcing new bridgechain project: nOS|
|00:01:09||Introducing Dean van Dugteren: CEO & founder of nOS|
|00:01:38||What is nOS trying to do?|
|00:02:00||What issues are you trying to solve?|
|00:04:20||ARK & nOS|
|00:08:18||NEO Economy Store running on nOS|
|00:09:35||nOS: the "Kayak" of decentralized application marketplaces|
|00:23:18||nOS Staking system|
|00:30:06||Closing thoughts & comments|
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ARK Crypto Podcast 046
Introducing nOS Building on ARK Core
Hello, crypto land. I'm Justin. It’s Friday, wait, it’s Tuesday? It’s Tuesday, and this is the Ark Crypto Podcast Episode 46.
Well today is a special day, so special that the podcast had to come out early this week. So instead of Friday, you’re getting this episode fresh delivered on Tuesday. Today is also the very day that we are announcing a new bridgechain project building on the ARK Core, and this time it’s nOS, and you can catch a special announcement video on nOS at email@example.com. You can also catch all of our activities at the leadership summit in a new ARK Adventure video coming out tomorrow? Soon? Soon. So keep it locked on blog.ark.io and of course our YouTube channel for that. Well I’m too excited to wait, so let’s just right into it, here’s the interview with me and Dean van Dugteren, CEO and founder of nOS in Utrecht, Netherlands. Enjoy.
Justin: Hello crypto land this is the ARK Crypto Podcast, but you already knew that. I’m Justin and you already know that, but this week we are in a special country with a special guest. That’s right, we’re in the Netherlands for the leadership summit for ARK, and we have a very special guest, Dean van Dugteren joining us, how’s it goin Dean?
Dean: Good how are you?
Justin: I’m great, I’m great. So I heard that you actually went to school for music production, is that right?
Dean: Yeah, yeah and I just heard the same about you!
Justin: Yeah, the same that’s awesome! Dude, I like you already. Perfect.
Dean: Same here man.
Justin: Alright so, you gave a little presentation to us and everyone here about nOS, the new platform you’re building, nOS, right?
Justin: Can you just go into a little bit about the core approach to what nOS is trying to do?
Dean: Yeah, so what we’re building with nOS is a solution that allows any application, either centralised or decentralised, to leverage the business models that are introduced by blockchain technology.
Justin: I’m assuming that you looking at the current state of marketplaces in terms of applications and all that..
Justin: What are the current issues with what’s out there today?
Dean: Yeah, when you’re looking at decentralised applications, right, there’s a downside and an upside, and the downside is usually that they have a low user count and that is because they have an inconvenient user experience. And the upside for decentralised applications is they have a great new, innovative business models and that is thanks to them integrating blockchain technology, right? They have tokens, maybe they have some sort of governing system, maybe they do block rewards. There are so many things that blockchain introduces that applications, specifically right now decentralised applications, can leverage and with that they can have an entirely new, sort of revenue generation strategy. When you compare that against regular applications they usually have, they can get a high user count you know, they have an easier way to acquire users because people don’t need to learn about wallets, transaction times and all that stuff so it’s easy to register. But they are limited to the web 2.0..
Dean: Yeah, the web 2.0 revenue framework, the web 2.0 business model so they’re limited to the regular things you know, sales, subscriptions, advertising and privacy things like data mining. You know, non-privacy things actually.
Dean: So that kind of, you know, there’s a big upside on decentralised applications and the opposite is what’s the case for regular applications, right? Regular applications allow users limited business models, and decentralised applications innovative business models but not a lot of users. So what we want to do with nOS, is we want to combine the business models that are made possible by blockchain and give regular applications, as much as decentralised applications, the opportunity to leverage these business models.
Justin: So it sounds like you’re trying to combine the advantages of what’s out there today with the advantages of what could be out there with blockchain technology..
Justin: And then tear down those barriers to entry.
Dean: Yeah, exactly.
Justin: So that’s definitely where ARK lives as well. Actually, I would say, simplicity is the top core value of ARK. So, for developers using our technology, for users just using wallets and interacting with blockchains, we want to make it so simple and easy.
Justin: So would you say that that’s one of the things that attracted you to working with ARK?
Dean: Yeah, absolutely. I think that your core view is really representative of what you’re saying now. So the first thing that I noticed when I really inspected the ARK core framework, it’s source code, it’s documentation, you can really feel there’s a lot of heart being put into trying to make it as easy to integrate as possible. The way I like to call it is as easy as Tribe, because Tribe is one of the easiest platforms to integrate credit card payments with. Now of course blockchain is a whole different ball game, but still it feels like it is easy in the same way. You know, the same as word press and starting a blog, it could be a difficult process but word press makes it easy, and same goes for ARK with blockchains. An important aspect of nOS as well is the app store, right? So what we’re building is an app store that is entirely decentralised. Baslicaly using ARK’s delegated proof of stake system users can not only vote for delegates, but they can also vote for curators, and these curators then have the ability to index applications in the app store. So it’s like a delegated, decentralised store for applications. So think of the Apple app store, right, but it’s ran in a transparent and decentralised way which is something I don’t think we’ve ever seen before in applications ecosystems where an app store is entirely decentralised.
Justin: So I’ll build on that a little bit because before we get into the history, which I am very interested in, you brought up this concept of, think of for example the Apple store where I think you know, being centralised there’s disadvantages there in terms of who gets visibility, who doesn’t, how do applications get promoted and do they sometimes feel suppressed. Can you go into a little detail on that?
Dean: Yeah, one big example is Spotify, for example, suing the Apple store because they were actively suppressing the Spotify app so that they..
Justin: In favor of iTunes..
Dean: In favor of Apple Music I think it’s..
Justin: Ok, yeah, sure..
Dean: In favor of Apple Music, and there are other app developers who are also suing Apple because they feel like their revenue sharing system is very unfair. So there’s a lot of darkness around an app store. That sounds kind of weird, darkness around an app store, but you know there is. Now from a business perspective and an entrepreneurial perspective there are a lot of downsides to publishing your app in such a monopolised service. So by building an app store that is entirely decentralised, we are basically putting the opportunities back into the hands of the developer, we’re putting it back in the hands of the user, everyone knows what's going on, and we’re putting it in the hands of the delegates the curators, which are being voted on by voters. So essentially it is decentralised.
Justin: So the curators get voted in by the community and then they have the authority to curate and present applications in the marketplace of nOS as they see fit, and users can get unique experiences from that.
Justin: So you’re decentralising the authority of curating and promoting applications..
Dean: Yup, exactly, and there’s also an economic perspective to it because these curators also get a share of the block rewards in the same way as delegates do. So what happens is you have curators, they might be building their own curation systems where people submit apps to the curator, and then other voters can vote on those apps and maybe the apps that are popular, maybe the curator decides to share a portion of their block rewards with those app developers of the popular apps. And that way you get a circulating ecosystem where app developers can benefit from being on the app store, where curators will try to convince app developers to submit their apps to them, and where voters are incentivised to vote for those curators because maybe the app developers give certain benefits to those voters, right? For example we have this app called the NEO Economy Store, running on nOS right now. And they’re leveraging the holding score system, and that’s sort of the predecessor to the voting system that we’re integrating with our blockchain. And what they are doing is they are giving discounts to people who have a holding score on nOS. So in the future this will change to the voting system so then the NEO Economy Store could say, if you vote for our curator or our delegates, or our partner’s curator or delegates, we will give you a discount on our store, and that’s a way that other participants in the network can benefit from it.
Justin: Ahh, that’s very interesting. So what really strikes me in a very simple way is how, as we see the blockchain economy grow we are going to see these silos of various marketplaces or places to get decentralised applications for a particular platform. Like, Cardano applications, NEO applications, Ethereum applications and all these other things, right? So it also kind of fragments everybody into their own little micro economy of like, oh I’m only interested in apps for this, I’m holding this asset, and if I have an application that uses that asset it’ll be convenient, but I’m not really exploring outside of that.
Dean: Right, right..
Justin: So nOS is coming along, and nOS is kind of acting as the Kayak of decentralized application marketplaces. Are you familiar with Kayak? It takes all of the flight, like Priceline, the flight websites where you book flights..
Dean: Ahhhhh, yes… I was just thinking of the boat.
Justin: No, no, not the boat. So Dean, it’s like there’s a website that aggregates all the flights and gives you the best price.
Dean: Yeah, yeah it’s aggregation.
Justin: But they have a competitors that also aggregate all of the flights and give you the best price, so Kayak is a website that aggregates the aggregators, to give you the best price.
Dean: Yeah, there you go, it’s a good point. Yeah, yeah. So this is actually another part that we considered because what we’re also building with the app store, in the app store system, is we’re introducing the app store as a service. Which actually means that content that is curated on nOS, right, it’s index, it has keywords, metadata, all that stuff, and it allows third party websites, a website like Kayak, they could specifically index specific content from the nOS app store then present it and filter it in a way that they want in their own solution on their own website.
Justin: Ah ha..
Dean: So if you have a team for example that only wants to show games that integrate with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, they could pull content, the Bitcoin content, the Bitcoin game’s content from the nOS app store, then only present that in their website.
Justin: And you know what else is really interesting, and exciting really, is how I feel it is such a nice marriage between nOS and ARK because nOS is aggregating all these different applications that very likely use all types of different assets, crypto assets, and so you’ll need convenience for the user to utilize all these different decentralised applications easily without holding a million different types of assets, right? So with ARK and smartbridge technology, there’s convenience in interoperability where a user can use hold ARK..
Justin: ..and then use the use cases of other blockchains really easily. This is what’s getting built and this is part of the vision. So when nOS is in full force and when ARK is in full force, it’s like all you need is those, and it’s just like the Apple store, or just like the Android store with the same user experience of convenience, but you get that benefit of decentralization and those new business models that you were talking about.
Justin: So this is a match made in heaven, man.
Dean: Absolutely, I feel exactly the same way. There’s like, next to the fact that to make things as simple and consumer friendly as possible, which ARK is holding dear as much as we are, which is already a match made in heaven, there’s a lot of thoughts put behind the business models, the possibilities and as you said, it works very well together.
Justin: Ok, let’s back up to that previous question about history. I didn’t forget. So you brought up NEO, just in passing, and I believe you started out working within the NEO ecosystem, is that right?
Dean: Yeah, so basically, I’m a developer or have been a developer for a while, in the city of Zion which is a developer community for NEO. It’s a developer organization, and they build modules and libraries on the NEO blockchain. So that is one of the first, I guess public involvements of me with specific crypto developments. I did work on other projects and crypto related things in the past, but this is like the first real I guess, yeah, public involvement. So the way we started with NEO was as a platform where decentralised applications could easily be used and discovered, right? But there was a lot of focus on smart contract power, decentralized applications now that’s not so much the point that we want to do. We’re still going to build a file system and the name service so that applications can hold decentralized assets or be decentralized entirely but we feel that dApps are very niche and they serve specific purposes, but not all the purposes, you know? There are still many purposes that can be, are fulfilled by regular applications that only are decentralized in part. But when it comes to NEO specifically how we built the prototype of our wallet was to start with letting people build smart contracts on NEO, deploy them on the NEO testnet, and then publish their front and to nOS, so people have a way to interact with the apps built on NEO, on nOS with our libraries and APIs.
Dean: It’s sort of the way the prototype started and then we also did a token sale and that’s also an NEP5 token. So what we described in our whitepaper is that eventually nOS will be its own ecosystem on it’s own blockchain because there’s smart contracts only cannot realise the vision of nOS, we need to have a public blockchain that has the block rewards system that allows us to update it more easily as well, when updates come out, right? With smart contracts it can be a tough job, and also it is more efficient to have a dedicated blockchain rather than a public blockchain where your smart contracts are running on them and are reliant on the performance of that public blockchain. For example with our token sale, I think the first phase of our token sale, basically the entire blockchain was (inaudible 15:04-32:24) it was overpopulated so the entire blockchain basically just shut down and the blocks took like a half an hour, one hour, two hours to even complete. So yeah, we had a big issue during our token sale that already kind of showed some limitations that we could run into in the future if we would only rely on smart contracts exclusively.
Justin: So it sounds your vision of nOS quickly outgrew the capabilities of what smart contracts can offer..
Justin: ..and you saw a way to be, I guess sovereign and independent from other shortcomings of like a master platform that you’re just leasing, I guess you could say, right? To get to your own blockchain where you can control your own destiny in terms of development, you can respond to issues much quicker and integrate new logic and capabilities that you wouldn’t have been able to otherwise. So this is something I’ve been saying for years on the podcast and everywhere else, alright? I’m like, developers are going to need more under the hood. So I like that part about it I really like how you’re recognising the benefits of being in your own type of zone. But also having interoperability and being able to interact with other blockchains which helps with the scaling issue, helps with just connecting blockchains together and all that.
Dean: Absolutely this is a concept that we want to promote in the future as well, and when the nOS blockchain is out and people start wanting to build applications that integrate with nOS to expand their business models and deploy to the nOS app store, we have specific documentation parts about building apps and integrating nOS. We also want to have a small section about deploying your own blockchain and how to power it by building plug-ins based on ARK core.
Dean: it’ll basically be a summary linking to the ARK documentation, but the reason I want to put that in there is because I feel like something which is not seen or realized right now is that building your, deploying your own blockchain allows for so much more and it’s going to be a consideration with how easy ARK is making it, it’s going to be a consideration for a lot of start-ups. So that’s why we want to help push people in that direction. We want to be like hey, you have these specific features that you want to do, how about you consider doing it on a blockchain if it’s possible, then it might be a better choice for you.
Justin: Perfection! So you’re both a user of our technology and a lover of our technology that want other people to use it. So this is like, this is perfection right here! Alright so, in a nutshell, can you kind of explain how you arrived at the conclusion to use ARK to create your own blockchain..
Justin: ..because we’re not the only ones out there, but I want to know what impacted you the most in terms of leaning towards ARK in your final choice.
Justin: There it is.
Justin: Oh, Bitshares.
Dean: Bitshares, there you go, yeah. So that was one of them as well. What I noticed was the frameworks were quite complicated, right? I’m a web developer myself, I’m a beacon and full stack developer I do a lot of beacon work and other members of our team, other members of the team are front end developers mostly or full stack developers for our application and stuff, but they usually only, you know they’re very passionate about typescript as well. So the first thing I did was when I looked at ARK and I saw how it was presented was I joined the Slack and the Discord and I asked, like hey, we’re quite interested in a typescript blockchain is this something you guys are considering doing since it is more secure, and there’s less room for mistakes when you build on top of the framework, and the answer back then was yes, we’re planning on it and that was it. But then at some point you released the news quite shortly after, you were like we’re releasing the typescript blockchain, I was like, oh wow, that was actually quite fast! So I emailed, I sent a message on Slack to Lars, like hey, or no, I sent an email and then I sent a message to Lars saying, hey you know we’re considering using ARK technology for our blockchain, can we talk about this? and then basically I met up with Lars, he happened to be in Amsterdam, where I live, a few weeks later. So I met with him there, we got some coffee and we talked about it and yeah, like you said, it was a match made in heaven.
Justin: Alright, perfect! Well since diving into the core, how has your experience been so far working with our code, our modules and did we meet or exceed your expectations?
Dean: Let me put it this way, I never expected that I could call myself a lead blockchain developer, but with ARK I can. So we built a lot of modules and features already and they’re done, they’re 100% passing in our tests and they’re functional in our private development testnet and most of them have been built entirely by myself alone, these features. Yeah it’s been a dream come true to be able to build like this. I didn’t expect that I would be able to build so much already only by myself, so..
Justin: So it sounds like a real testament to simplicity and everything that we do and I really appreciate your validation in terms of that being true. So that’s fantastic, it’s outstanding, it’s outstanding!
Dean: Of course, alone, doing it alone would make, you know you always have oversight so the rest of the team members they do review, they review everything that’s being done and they come with their own contributions and also one thing that has been super useful has been the help from the ARK development team as well. Whenever I have a question, you know, we have a dedicated channel on Slack, you guys, your team they answer so quickly and efficiently and we seem to have this common understanding about what we are trying to achieve. So they are able to think along with us, make suggestions, and is like oh, you want to do that? Then you best do this, and this and this. And then also you know, they’re building 3.0 so they’re like, oh this is uh, what you’re doing is great demonstration for us for what we need to modularize because these are the things that we imagine, other changes we will want to integrate as well.
Justin: That’s awesome.
Justin: And I am just so excited to hear that. You know, something else Dean, is you should never be afraid to make suggestions back to us about how to improve the experience, the code, the documentation..
Dean: Absolutely, and I am!
Justin: ..and I’m sure you have been, and that’ll just help the next organization or the next developer get to where they need to go that much quicker. So..
Dean: One of the things we are doing in that regard is actually, we are trying to make every feature that we’re building as modular as possible, so that when the ARK Marketplace comes out in the plug in system is full on going, we want to open source all the modules that we’re building, put them on the ARK Marketplace, and make sure that anyone, any other blockchain can use it, integrate it, and implement it to build their own blockchain. So we have a staking system for example..
Dean: ..so if you want to have staking in your blockchain, then you can just import the module that we built into your own ARK based blockchain.
Justin: And that staking system you mentioned, it refers to a type of vote weight bonus you receive for time locked voting periods, right?
Dean: Yup, yes. You paid attention during the presentation.
Justin: Yeah, I was glued.
Dean: So the staking system basically gives you a bonus on your voting weight. So you have the voting weight with the delegate system, not going to go too deep into it because any ARK fan will know what it entails.
Dean: What we have with staking is basically your balance represents your voting weight, but only 10%, so if you have 1,000 nOS, your voting weight will be 100. But if you stake, if you stake for 3 months whatever you stake will be representative of 100% your voting weight. So if you stake for 3 months, 1,000 nOS staked will be 1,000 voting weight. And you can stake up until 2 years, and 2 years gives you twice the amount, so 1,000 nOS staked for 2 years will give you 2,000 voting weight, and this system allows people to be rewarded with an increased voting weight, simply by devoting time, right? It rewards time dedication rather than just volume dedications.
Justin: Sure, and when we’re talking about vote weight, we’re talking about the users getting an increased voice in the network..
Justin: ..and then whether or not voluntary pay outs are occurring and delegates following various algorithms to do what they need to do independently, separate from this, we’re just talking about the voting situation, the vote weight and all that. So something I like, is that when you’re offering an incentive for users to stake their vote weight to receive a bonus, it kind of allows delegates to feel a little bit better about investing more into the community. And I'm talking about investing energy and expertise and all these other things. Because delegates on the ARK public network, they run community services, ideas they just come up with that improves and benefits the ecosystem.
Justin: Now you have curators, which are doing a direct service, ok that’s like clear in what it is, it’s part of the core function of nOS, they’re declaring their view on how applications should be laid out in the marketplace and offering their point of view on how curation and everything. Then you’ve got delegates, which are securing the network, maintaining copies of the ledger and all these other things but they’ll also likely be running community services that will be benefiting nOS in some way. So if you have users that are telling the delegates, ‘look this voting weight is good to go for this period of time, after this period of time is over I may or may not decide to change my vote.’ But during this period you can run free and execute your ideas as you want, knowing that you won't get voted out tomorrow.
Dean: Well I mean, it depends, because you stake but you only stake on your own wallet, you can still change your vote if you want to..
Justin: Sure, sure. And it aggregates across users, it’s a bigger picture, it’s not just like one whale guy is voting..
Dean: ..yeah, yeah.
Justin: ..but it does give the delegate a slightly better idea on where they’re at.
Dean: Yeah, because also it makes sure that the “little guy” can be not a whale in terms of nOS balance but they can still become a whale in terms of voting weight.
Dean: So you as a delegate will have to please not only the large holders, you have to please everyone who is either a large holder or a large staker. And one of the things we have been doing right now in preparation, without these developers even knowing we had introduced this holding score system, right? And this was like a prototype, entirely centralised basically. It was an account system where if you hold nOS on your wallet you basically get an increase on a virtual score. And this score is not a currency you can’t transfer it it is literally just a number on a screen, and if you send your nOS outwards of your wallet then your score goes back to zero and you have to start building it up again. So it’s like a predecessor to a time commitment, you know, but it was only a number. But what we did was, we recently had a developer competition, where apps could win nOS if they integrated the holding score in a creative way, into their apps. So I already told you about the NEO economy store..
Dean: ..there’s also a lottery app, where one lottery ticket gives you an extra chance to win, basically one lottery ticket could be worth one and a half if you have a holding score of at least, uh, you know, 1,000.
Justin: Sure! So it’s like a way to uh, quantify hodling and then offering benefits based on that. In terms of a service.
Dean: Absolutely! So service is to give benefits to the holding score. But the holding score is being deprecated and what we actually want to do is we want the services to maybe introduce themselves as delegates, make themselves electable as delegates or curators, or work with other delegates and curators and then change this holding score system that they built and migrate it to a voting system, where instead of you having a holding score, if you voted with “x” amount of voting weight for this delegate or this curator then you will get a discount in the store, or you will get this bonus on this game. You know, stuff like that. So what you’re going to see is what we want is for consumers who have the ability to maybe hold a smaller amount of nOS, but they can stake it so they can increase their voting weight, not only might they be able to benefit from the other incentives and curators could distribute, they can actually benefit from things like discounts, apps, features, games and game items, and all that kind of stuff.
Justin: Suuure, like a rep. Kind of like a reputation, like a rep score.
Dean: Yeah, yeah exactly.
Justin: Well Dean, it sounds like you have and nOS, nOS has breakthrough ideas, fresh perspective, this is what we love and it’s all the better that you’re making a number of plugins open source for the marketplace and other developers and communities can dive into them and even integrate them into the deployer to make their own blockchain and everything. This is just exactly what we want to have happened since we started doing this, and we’re just so excited.
Dean: I know, and we are incredibly excited that we get to be like one of the first, you know?
Justin: One of the first! All we have to do is this, like a couple hundred more times and it’s like we’re good to go!
Dean: Yup, there you go!
Justin: Dean, I want to thank you so much for coming on the show, it was a delight..
Dean: Thank you for having me.
Justin: ..and a pleasure to meet you here in the Netherlands, and fantastic and thank you for coming to meet all of us!
Dean: Yeah, thank you so much as well. It’s been great meeting you guys.
Justin: Now, what do you want people listening to do, right now?
Dean: Go to nOS.io.
Dean: Download the nOS client, you know, play around with it and follow us, and just keep up to date. If this entire system interests you and specifically if you’re a developer and you want to expand your business models and your revenue strategy, have a look at our whitepaper and what we’re offering. Umm, because when the blockchain is out, a lot of it is already going to be in there so you know, keep up to date with us.
Alright. That’s going to do it for this episode of the ARK Crypto Podcast. You can subscribe and read transcripts of episodes at the ArkCryptoPodcast.com. You can also subscribe direct on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, SoundCloud, Spotify and Castbox. Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @Ark_Podcast where you can stream our episodes directly inside of our tweets. How cool is that? We’ll see you next time.
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