This is the fourth in a series of Q&A’s with the City of Zion Council through which we hope the NEO community will gain deeper understanding into the members and the various projects under development. By highlighting specific projects, we hope that open-source developers will be attracted to join the community and accelerate development of these City of Zion initiatives, that aim to enable the long-term success of the NEO platform.

This writer must admit, for the longest time he thought totalvamp was just a Slack bot. It turns out he is a very real person, and his contributions to the NEO community have helped to protect the NEO Slack from the spammers and scammers that plague many other crypto communities. Totalvamp told us more about his Slack Management System, an upcoming developer portal, and his plans to open a NEO consultancy service in Japan.

Dean – NEO News Today: Some readers might be surprised to find out you’re not a bot! Or perhaps you’re just a bot that has become self aware? Either way, tell us about your background as a developer.

totalvamp: I am actually an AI based on the NEO platform. Jokes aside, I’ve been a professional developer for about 12 years now, while I started development about 20 years ago. I started humbly by using HTML when I was 11, slowly moving towards JavaScript as that became more and more popular. I then switched to PHP and became proficient in that.

As I moved on to another company, JavaScript frameworks sort of fell into my hands and since then I’ve been developing mostly with that. The past 4 years most notably the NodeJS and Meteor frameworks.

Dean: How long have you been in blockchain, and when did you first come into Antshares / NEO?

totalvamp: My first actual experience was around two years ago, when I started working for a well-known company in the crypto industry with several people that had worked for other, now big, cryptocurrencies.

Of course my interest was triggered then, however my limited budget didn’t allow me to invest at all. About 4 months ago I saved up enough money to invest, I bought some ETH in the big dip and that became my basis.

I researched currencies/platforms that were about to be released, as ICOs are pretty popular, and stumbled upon Antshares. I first bought in at $8, and then at $15 before the price dropped again.

After that, I was wondering how I could help with the community in any way to make this a bigger success. I stumbled upon the Slack channel and started developing bots for it. This drew the attention of Canesin and the rest is history.

Dean: One of the big contributions you’ve made to NEO is liberating the Slack from scammers with your Slack Management System. Not only that, but other crypto teams have also started to use the solution that you’ve built to protect their own communities. Can you tell us a little bit about how the system works and the different ways it combats spammers and scammers?

totalvamp: At first I wanted a system that could detect spam messages in direct messages and instantly delete them, however this proved impossible. After researching the hidden Slack API, I found I was able to instantly deactivate users without having to navigate the Slack UI.

This gave way to a myriad of options:

  • Public reporting: Users on our Slack can report scammers/spammers, which will be removed as the threshold is reached.

  • Blocking impersonators: There have been many attemps to impersonate NEO or CoZ members by scammers in attemps to swindle users. Now all usernames we deem restricted have been blocked. Any user that changes their name or creates a new user with such a name will instantly be removed.

  • Email domain blocking: Some scammers use specific email domains that can be blocked
  • Regex word scan: This checks every public, and some private, messages for certain key words and/or regex. If they have been detected the user is removed.

There are about 6 other options available. If anyone is interested they can find the project in the CoZ repository here:

Dean: Another project you have been working on is the Developer Portal, which will help CoZ manage developer contributions and also distribute rewards. Can you give us a little more insight on how the portal will work, and is this going to improve upon the current workflow?

totalvamp: This is still a work in progress. I’m currently thinking hard about the process and ways to make things better in the future. The current portal is not satisfactory in its use and will be rebuilt completely.

First of all, I will have to integrate a system where community members that develop for CoZ and NEO can report their work every week in an easy way, which then is listed for us council members to vote on rewards. However I haven’t thought of a good way to do this yet.

Next will be to automate the process of reward distribution by having developers enter their public addresses. The portal will contain a temporary wallet every week where the rewards will be deposited and then automatically distributed to every developer.

Further in the future I will add bounties, where anyone can post a bounty for a certain service and the portal will act as a smart contract between these two parties. Assuring the transaction is completed satisfactory. However this poses some other issues as well, and these will all have to be solved in advance.

Dean: Is this developer portal something you hope will help attract new developers to NEO? Will it ease the onramp for people who want to come in and contribute?

totalvamp: I hope the first dApp competition will encourage more developers to come to NEO, as well as many of the upcoming events.

I hope my portal will be a great platform for new talent to guide themselves towards projects they feel they can contribute the most on.

Dean: I understand you’re the first member of City of Zion to begin working on NEO full time. As part of this process also I hear you’re opening up a company in Japan to continue your CoZ / NEO work, and to consult to Japanese startups who want to work with the NEO blockchain. That shows a great deal of faith in where NEO is headed. What can you tell us about this new venture?

totalvamp: Yes, I was the first to take the leap of faith, so to say. This gave me lots of time to perfect the anti spam measurements we have in place now.

The company is indeed made for consulting the Japanese market, although this will probably start next year as we receive more information about the dApps and what is exactly required. There are currently some developments I’d like to see come to fruition before I start this process.

I will also try to organise NEO developer events inside Japan. There is a big market here that will surely react positively to this.

My goal is to be the contact point for NEO related consultancy in Japan and help NEO gain more ground here.

Dean: Starting a new company I imagine you’d have a few idea on this – Five years from now, how do you envision NEO being adopted?

totalvamp: This is more a hope of mine than anything else. I hope that BTC will be shoved to the background more and more, as its problems are becoming more apparent as time goes by.

Platforms such as NEO will take over and be the basis for what will be the start of movement towards crypto of the more common people. Banks still have too much power and influence, and I hope this gradually goes away as NEO, and other platforms, take the lead in creating a “bankless” future.

Of course I expect NEO to be more widely adopted over the coming years and I hope to be a big influence in its adoption in Japan.

Dean: The window for the first City of Zion dApp competition submissions is almost closed, and there are over 30 registered applicants. Have you had any sneak previews of some of the entries, and without giving anything away, have you seen anything you’re particularly excited about?

totalvamp: Sorry to say, but I haven’t yet. I’ve seen some of the chats about them of course, but I’ve been so busy with setting up my company and preparing to move to a new house that I’ve not been able to keep up to date on this.

This whole process should take another 2 weeks at least, so I’ll go into reviewing with an ignorant mind. I’m probably just as curious as you are!

Dean: Do you have any final thoughts you’d like to leave our readers?

totalvamp: Yes, I’d like to thank our community for being one of the best, if not the best, there is. I’m usually not someone that says things like this easily, but over the past months it’s grown out to be (mostly) a fun a loving place where many NEO enthusiasts gather to discuss all sorts of things.

It’s hard to say anything really negative about it. There have been some minor issues as it’s still the internet, but most of it was handled in a good way.

Also I’d like to give a special thanks to @satoshinaire, as without him @afong and me would probably have to spend most of our time tending to the #support channel in our Slack.

Dean: Thanks for your time, and all you’ve contributed to NEO!


Click here to read our Q&A with Canesin, here to read our Q&A with lllwvlvwlll, and here to read our Q&A with localhuman.