Developer Showcase Series: Jelle Sturm, ScanTrust

Back to our Developer Showcase Series to learn what developers in the real world are doing with Hyperledger technologies. Next up is Jelle Sturm, DevOps & Backend Engineer at ScanTrust.

What advice would you offer other technologists or developers interested in getting started working on blockchain?

Start with the basics, watch some explanatory videos and take an online course. Then think about what you want to achieve using blockchain and start looking for the exact right technology to match your goals. Blockchain is still fairly new, but there are solutions popping up every week, some better than others.

If you already know a certain programming language, I would recommend you find a blockchain solution that has drivers/implementations for that existing language to get you started more efficiently. The best way to really get into it is to go to one of the many blockchain events around the world.

Give a bit of background on what you’re working on and how you got into blockchain?

I work for ScanTrust, a company focused on supply chain traceability and security. Supply chain is a really good use case for blockchain so naturally we had to explore this technology. At the moment we are implementing blockchain in our main software stack. This allows us to decentralize the data in the supply chain. In return, the end consumer will get better and more reliable track & trace data of a certain product.

Recently, we also launched a new initiative “The GoodChain Foundation,” which enables consumers to do good by donating tokens. Each interaction a consumer has with a product will release some tokens on the blockchain that can be donated to good causes or actual actors in the supply chain (e.g., farmers).

What Hyperledger frameworks or tools are you using in your projects? Any new developments to share? Can you sum up your experience with Hyperledger?

We use Hyperledger Sawtooth as we needed a very secure and industry-adoptable technology for our solution. My first steps with it were smooth, and it was nice to see that there is a fully dockerized example that works with a few simple commands to get you going.

What do you think is most important for Hyperledger to focus on in the next year?

I think 2019 is all about adoption of blockchain solutions. In particular, it will be crucial that there are more live examples of enterprise production use cases to show the value of blockchain. I think Hyperledger has already been doing a great job at familiarizing enterprises with blockchain technology and getting them to adopt it, but I think it’s critical that Hyperledger continues to play that role, especially in 2019.

As Hyperledger’s projects continue to mature, what do you see as the most interesting technologies, apps, or use cases coming out as a result?

For us, naturally, use cases around supply chain provenance and transparency are the most interesting applications. With the launch of Hyperledger Grid this year and with the formation of the supply chain working group, we also see that the Hyperledger ecosystem is strategically betting on these applications to be important use cases for the Hyperledger frameworks.

What’s the one issue or problem you hope blockchain can solve?

At ScanTrust, we are big believers in empowering consumers to trace back the provenance of their goods and check the authenticity of their goods, in particular in the food & beverage space. If there is one problem I could pick, then it would probably be solving the intransparency that we currently have in food supply chains.

Where do you hope to see Hyperledger and/or blockchain in five years?

I hope that five years from now, we will have completed a wave of enterprise adoption of blockchain. I believe that every major industry will have their own public permissioned consortium blockchain for specific use cases.

In parallel, public blockchain infrastructure will have matured a lot and will be more scalable, such that we will also see more and more applications and new decentralized business models built on public blockchains.

What is the best piece of developer advice you’ve ever received?

“A good developer should be lazy.’’ This always reminds me that we, as developers, need to find the most efficient and best suitable tools for the intended solution. Also, you can draw the line through to your coding style to minimize lines, be more efficient, automate tests/releases/deploys and so on. Never do something twice if you can build a loop.

What technology could you not live without?

I’m a big fan of Linux of course. Everything I develop runs on it, and it allows for very fun DIY projects at home. Also, I really couldn’t live without my IDE as coding in notepad is not the way to go in 2019.