Developer Showcase Series: Joshua Smith, MonetaGo

We return back to our Developer Showcase blog. This series serves to highlight the work and motivations of developers, users and researchers collaborating on Hyperledger’s projects. Next up is Joshua Smith from MonetaGo. Let’s see what he has to say!

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

Be willing to ask questions, keep an open mind, and stay humble.  Blockchain is bleeding edge technology, there are difficult problems that many people are trying to solve in different ways. There is no gold standard or best practice guide to follow, the whole community is figuring it out as we go along. There are so many different blockchain implementations; do some research, pick one, and dive in.

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

Before becoming a software engineer I was a physicist. After leaving academia, I was focused on finding another career path that would allow me to be a part of a community dedicated to solving complex problems. I was familiar with public, permissionless blockchain implementations before formally entering the field and learned a lot about Hyperledger and its projects while preparing for my interview with MonetaGo. I felt pretty confident that getting into blockchain would be fun. A year and a half later and I’m still having a really great time solving tough problems with my team and the broader Hyperledger community.

What project in Hyperledger are you working on? Any new developments to share? Can you sum up your experience with Hyperledger?

For the past year we’ve worked towards launching a production blockchain network for a group of exchanges in India seeking to mitigate fraud in the process of invoice factoring. I spent a long time writing chaincode, working with the node sdk, and customizing channel settings to make sure our solution met the necessary standards to go into production. We hit our go live milestone at the end of March 2018, making us the first production enterprise blockchain solution in India. Now most of my focus is on scaling our architecture to support our growing user base.

I’ve worked with Hyperledger Fabric since version 0.6.5 and I’m really happy with how the project has evolved. I really appreciate the transparency maintainers have with regards to project direction and priorities. As the community has grown over time I’ve found members to be consistently helpful and friendly in both hackfests and rocket chat. There’s a great wealth of knowledge available if you know the right questions to ask.

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

The passing of GDPR and some US states looking to adopt similar privacy rules is going to make data privacy of huge importance. Although it’s currently possible to implement your own privacy solutions, I think Hyperledger projects will need to include guarantees out of the box for widespread adoption as production solutions.

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

The biggest difference between expert and novice problem solvers is the time it takes to begin. Experts take a much longer time to ensure they understand the bounds of a problem before starting to implement a solution and end up saving time by doing it right the first time.

What technology could you not live without?

Definitely my phone, I use it for so many different things throughout the day it may as well be a part of me.

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