Get to Know Hyperledger’s New Community Architect

By May 9, 2017 Blog

The Hyperledger team continues to grow, and we’re excited to announce that we’ve recently added Tracy Kuhrt as a Community Architect.

Tracy has had a varied career working in automotive manufacturing, pharmaceutical, microelectronics, and e-commerce industries. Prior to The Linux Foundation, Tracy was a Principal Member of Technical Staff at PayPal on the Strategic Architecture team. Tracy has also developed compilers, assemblers, and linkers for 8- and 16-bit micro-controllers at Microchip Technologies using open source software.

Now let’s get into some questions to better understand what Tracy will be working on and her aspirations for Hyperledger.

What got you interested in working on Hyperledger and blockchain?

Tracy Kuhrt, Hyperledger’s Community Architect

I became interested in blockchain when Open Blockchain (what is now Hyperledger Fabric) was announced. I put together a proof of concept — getting my hands dirty is one of the best ways that I know to learn something new. Since that time I have been following the blockchain ecosystem and teaching others about blockchain and its uses.

Blockchain captured my interest because of the number of technologies that it brings together. This speaks to the technologist in me. Hyperledger also captured my interest because of the communities that it is bringing together to develop these technologies in an open, collaborative, and transparent nature. This speaks to the way that I work best with others.

When the opportunity to work for The Linux Foundation on this disruptive and foundational technology presented itself, I knew that this was the right spot for me.

What are your main goals now that you’re part of the Hyperledger team?

As a Community Architect, there are two parts to my role — community and architecture.  Brian describes the community portion as “reducing all barriers to participation and collaboration inside and across all projects at Hyperledger”.  Architecture involves assisting with “technical conversations across projects, driving a holistic overarching architecture that makes sense to developers and the broader user community”.  With that in mind, my initial goals will be to meet the people within the community and to better understand the architecture of all projects that fall under the Hyperledger umbrella.

Next, I want to focus on reducing the barrier to entry for people who are interested in participating in the Hyperledger community.  Most people will progress through a standard set of steps.  The first step will be a need to understand the different projects to determine which is right for their use. After a person chooses the project(s) to work with, it must be easy to set up a development environment, create their first blockchain application, and deploy a blockchain network. The next phase of a person’s involvement would include reporting and/or fixing bugs that are found while working through a use case.

Each of these steps requires good documentation and training material to help jumpstart the process of involvement within the community.  A level of consistency across the projects will make it easy for our community members to contribute and move easily between the different projects.

What is most important in building Hyperledger’s community and what should be the focus for the next year?

As the Hyperledger community grows, our focus must be to continue to create an inclusive, diverse, and welcoming environment, where software development is done in an open and transparent fashion.  We need to ensure that people can quickly come up-to-speed on the work that we are doing across the different Hyperledger communities, including architecture and design discussions, code, and bugs. The contribution process must be easy to understand and follow. These items will help to make this a reality:

  • Creating a single entry point for all things Hyperledger.
  • Holding our discussions on open mailing lists to allow for a greater contribution and diversity of thought.
  • Answering questions posed on our chat channels to help others continue their exploration and learning.
  • Utilizing our shared bug tracking database to log open issues and new features while using a consistent method for tagging “first timer” or “starter” bugs.
  • Documenting our processes and systems using the Hyperledger wiki so that they are easy to find and understand, as well as, being up-to-date.

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

Blockchain will be used to solve a multitude of problems across different industries; however, there is one use case that really peaked my interest — taking back control of data about me. One of the initial articles I read about blockchain was how blockchains would allow me to take back control of the data about me even to the extent of allowing me, instead of big corporations, to monetize this data. I hope that someone will utilize blockchains to ensure that my data remains private and is only shared with the people or organizations that I choose. In addition, I will be able to see who has access to my data and be able to revoke access to people or organizations that no longer require this information. I look forward to seeing how Hyperledger Indy will contribute to making this use case possible.

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

In five years, blockchain and the technologies surrounding blockchain will have matured. We will begin to see a transformation to decentralized business models and solutions. Hyperledger and its communities will have been pioneers for making this future a reality. Related to my work as a community architect, Hyperledger will have a strong and diverse community of contributors and a modular architecture that allows people to choose the best pieces to meet the requirements of their particular use case.

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

If you are in your comfort zone, you are not in your learning zone. Change is hard, and it is easy to get stuck in a space where you are comfortable. When that happens, the one thing that stops is learning. Challenge yourself by trying something new. It will definitely be uncomfortable. You may feel foolish, and you may fail. What fun is doing the same thing all the time?

What do you enjoy doing outside of work? Hobbies?

Outside of work, I have some eclectic hobbies — playing pinball, travelling, raising chickens, and watching the Phoenix Mercury.