What is your name, function and role at Stratis?
Jordan Andrews, Smart Contracts Lead. Bascially it’s my job to work with the team to design and implement all of the “smart contract” side of things.
How did you first learn about Bitcoin and the crypto space?
Ha, it’s a pretty standard story for me! I should say I was aware of people using it to buy illegal things online, ordering things straight to their house. To obtain these things one had to acquire and transact in this virtual currency called “Bitcoin” which was more of a nuisance than anything — it didn’t appeal to me then. This was like 2011 or 2012. It wasn’t until far later on that I came to appreciate why the world needed it.
Which aspects of Bitcoin and the crypto space made you choose to explore it more?
I’ve always been pretty opposed to authority, and I get sucked into big ideas, like what if there was a completely different way of doing things? What if we could drastically restructure society? I feel like even startups aren’t really thinking that far ahead or that large. When I started getting into crypto I was obsessed with these ideas — like why do we let a subset of fallible humans make such grand decisions as the monetary policy for a country? What if we could do it completely differently in a way where the power wasn’t concentrated in a few hands?
I think we’re still pretty far off collectively realising these ideas in crypto but it’s this kind of rebellion against existing power structures that got me into it.
Did you work at anything crypto related before you joined Stratis?
Yeah a few things. The most popular thing was a compiler called EthSharp, which compiled C# -> the Ethereum Virtual Machine. I wanted to replace solidity at the time. That blew up a little bit and led me to my work at Stratis.
Also built a lot of things on Ethereum. One I’m more proud of is Handshake.tech, which aimed to help out migrant workers with some issues they’re facing. Can read more about that here (https://hackernoon.com/reducing-exploitation-of-migrant-workers-via-the-blockchain-handshake-tech-d358482ea120), unfortunately the website no longer exists.
How did you learn about the Stratis Platform?
Early on in the alt golden days when Poloniex was all the rage. Was just researching a ton of coins and heard Stratis was all about .NET / C#. Well, so was I!
When did you join Stratis and why?
November 2017. I wanted to make smart contract development easier. Around this time I’d been through the Consensys Academy, so was up to date with the best way to do everything, and I was just really underwhelmed. I wanted to use .NET and C#. So after some discussions with the guys at Stratis, we made it happen — I’d continue my work on EthSharp in a bigger way than ever.
How does a typical work day look like for you?
I generally head straight into my office, grab a coffee and find out what happened overnight. I work out of Melbourne, Australia, so my nights are when Stratis HQ is working. I see what I need to answer to. Very often there are things that the other team members need that I can only tend to when I wake up, so I get that out of the way, and then it’s straight into development. I spend most of my day working closely with Rowan, delving into new features, bugs, architecture, or whatever the order of the day is!
In the evenings we often have calls with other parts of the company so I’ll often spend most nights working too, either on calls or exchanging details on Slack with everyone (it’s the only time we really cross over!).
What would you consider as the greatest joys in the things you do for Stratis?
It’s breaking down our code into little reusable packages that benefit the .NET / blockchain ecosystem as a whole. There are so many primitives and tools that are actually shared across chains, and I love figuring out how we can make everything as accessible as possible. Moreover, seeing people use those tools is even more joyful.
What’s the moment that made you most proud so far at Stratis?
We had a formal implementation of a token contract that made me a little bit emotional. For a couple of years I have been trying to build “smart contracts in C#” and recently we did it! Seeing that, working, was a pretty big deal for me.
In your own words what is Stratis?
It’s a big toolkit. A decentralised staking network, a node, pluggable features, .NET block explorers. They’re all tools to enable decentralised development, and they come inside a big blue toolbox.
Do you see any room for improvements in Bitcoin and crypto?
All the usual ones, but emphasis on user experience and adoption. Should we really be sending little hex strings to each other to transfer funds? Should I have to wait x seconds to interact with a DApp?
Oh and to be a bit controversial I’m really scared of people putting all their eggs in the basket that is Lightning Network, like it will solve every problem. Whenever you enable higher throughput you have to think, what are you compromising on? And with LN, one big compromise is usability: running a node 24/7 and securely storing your keys, and having to lock up the funds that you’re expecting to transact with, for a start!
Do you see any room for improvements in Stratis?
Yeah of course. I’ll focus on the development side, because it’s what I know. We could have wider contribution, and we could make the platform more modular and broken down, so we start to see our code used in more projects, especially big name ones. This is something I’m working really hard on, always.
What is the thing that drives and motivates you to build a better platform every single day?
I’m pretty convinced this stuff is going to change everything. Once it starts happening, even if it’s 20 years from now, people are going to want to move to a trustless version of everything.
When that demand is there we’re going to need good tools.
What’s your future vision for Stratis and what is the thing you hope to achieve in the long-term for Stratis?
Modularity modularity modularity. I talk about this a lot but I don’t really see anyone else thinking (or at least vocalising their thoughts) this way.
We’re not far off providing a platform where you can easily spin up your own blockchain network with whatever features you want. Once we’re there, there will be no reason to ever start building a new chain codebase from scratch — it will just be too easy and make too much sense to do it with Stratis.
I hope I can steer Stratis to a place where most new protocols are building on top of and connecting to Stratis. It’s optimistic, but it’s definitely not ridiculous.
When will Stratis have succeeded in your opinion?
A good start will be in a few years when people are writing articles comparing the 2 best tools for building blockchain applications. We’ll have succeeded when the best protocols and toolkits are whittled down to a final couple. And we’re one of them.
Just like you see “Should you use React Native or Xamarin?” articles for building mobile applications now, you’ll see something like “Stratis vs Hyperledger” in private spheres and “Stratis vs Ethereum” otherwise.
And I would like to end with giving an opportunity to say anything you still want to say to the community or in general
I don’t really talk about the price or anything usually but I want to say at this point the market is ridiculous. I hate seeing Stratis sink down the rankings and I can only say the markets are completely irrational.
At this point we’re providing probably the best codebase to build new blockchain nodes. We’re providing extremely innovative features, trying things noone else has tried, like putting CLR smart contract execution on-chain. We have functional sidechains in an open-source codebase that could feasibly recreate Blockstream’s Liquid. We have a dope ICO platform being pushed by Azure. We provide privacy on top of Bitcoin with Breeze. We have cold-staking soon to be enabled which allows passively and securely contributing to the network and earning block rewards.
… And like, we’re behind doge. It breaks my heart.
Thanks a lot, Jordan for taking the time to answer all of the questions and sharing all of this information. Follow Jordan on Twitter here.
You can find all of my interviews here: https://medium.com/khilone/interviews/home
Follow me on Twitter to get all the news right away: https://twitter.com/Khil0ne
And be sure to read all my stories on Medium over here:
Other things to keep your eyes on: