What advice would you offer other technologists or developers interested in getting started working on blockchain?
Isolate yourself from the hype.
Analyze why do you want to start working with blockchain. The ideal case would be that you already have a task on hands which requires decentralized communication and/or storage media without single point of trust.
As soon as you understand why _you_ need the blockchain…
…ride the hype!
Use blockchain as a door-opener to promote yourself and your project. A lot of huge companies and enthusiastic individuals are looking into the technology right now. They are happy to talk to you about blockchain even if they are not interested in your project… yet.
But in all cases if you are in a corporate environment, first make sure a blockchain implementation is the most applicable one for the problem you are trying to solve!
Give a bit of background on what you’re working on, and let us know what was it that made you want to get into blockchain?
Currently at Norbloc, I am the architect of the KYC solution for banks. We are building a system which allows to share personal/corporate client data and verification stamps between banks in a heavily regulated environment where data sharing between parties is subject to stringent laws and limitations.
Obviously we need a distributed permissioned database for such a solution, and we have chosen blockchain as a best implementation of such a database which also brings in a couple of additional features, like elimination of the single central point of trust and independent reliable timestamping. No other distributed database suits our needs.
What do you think is most important for Hyperledger to focus on in the next year?
Key management solution.
Decentralized key management is a much desired feature which a lot of projects are asking for. All current solutions require either a separate app installed on the customer’s smartphone or putting trust into some form of centralized key management solution (e.g. Amazon KMS).
Personally I believe that decentralized trustless nature of blockchain is a perfect environment for the decentralized key management. It allows for a consensus on which keys are considered valid (i.e. revocation problem) to be achieved in a natural way, as blockchain is built on consensus. There are a couple of technical obstacles still in the way of building a key management system on blockchain, but I believe they can be solved.
What’s the one issue or problem you hope blockchain can solve?
Application: Self-sovereign digital ID.
The world needs this application, so many areas of human development are stagnating form the lack of universally accepted ID which is not dependent on a stamp of approval from at times inefficient or even non-existent governmental systems.
National borders are making isolated silos preventing growth. Also, currently we have a lot of isolated IDs: personal identity, educational certificates, skill assessments, credit ratings, all regulated separately and sometimes those regulations are contradictory.
I believe it’s time to interconnect those silos and put the owner of the ID at the center of the equation, always at control of his/her data and access to it by third parties. That is exactly the direction we are working towards with our KYC platform but we could certainly use a similar effort for personal IDs as these constitute a small but integral part of KYC efforts as well.
What is the best piece of developer advice you’ve ever received?
- Just do it.
- Use Git.
- No optimization without profiling. No premature optimization.