Back to our Developer Showcase Series to learn what developers in the real world are doing with Hyperledger technologies. Next up is Tomisin Jenrola, Software Engineer at SecureKey Technologies, Inc.
Give a bit of background on what you’re working on and how you got into blockchain.
I am working on a service that makes it easier for companies to share data and digital assets amongst themselves in a secure and private way enabling consumers to quickly get access to the services and products they want online, in person and on the phone. I got started in blockchain about three years ago. I actually heard about it five years ago, and it took me a while to involve myself with the technology. I did a lot of research and jumped into it because I thought it was such a promising new technology. I ended up going to the University of Waterloo in 2017 for the first Ethereum Blockchain Hackathon, and my team ended up winning one of the top prizes. From there, I did some consulting and decided to start a community around the technology while beginning to work full time in this space.
What Hyperledger frameworks or tools are you using in your projects? Any new developments to share? Can you sum up your experience with Hyperledger?
I have been using Fabric VS Code ID extension and heavily using the Hyperledger Fabric SDK Go, which was mostly developed here at SecureKey Technologies. I also have used a few other command line interfaces. In terms of new developments, SecureKey is actively contributing to Hyperledger Aries, which is a tool that allows individuals to create and share verifiable digital credentials and do much more with their digital identity. I have mostly been involved with architecting and building out these blockchain networks and, more importantly, turning business logic and intentions into code that eventually runs on the network. These are more commonly known as smart contracts or chain code.
What do you think is most important for Hyperledger to focus on in the next year?
I think there are two main things: scalability and interoperability. Those are not unique to Hyperledger — all blockchains face this issue. For Hyperledger and blockchain in general, scaling is an issue because the data being stored requires validation and endorsement by multiple parties before it gets stored on the network, which takes a while to happen. Interoperability across the networks is an issue and important issue one that needs to be solved because companies would like to move around among between blockchains and move the data and digital assets in that process. SecureKey’s contributions to Hyperledger Aries are working towards that goal.
What advice would you offer other technologists or developers interested in getting started working on blockchain?
I’d say the most important thing is to not feel intimidated by how complex the system is. It is complex, but not complicated. They should take this as a new opportunity to learn something. They should spend time understanding the basics and utilize the resources from places such as YouTube, media articles and Udemy. Pick one blockchain and build a very simple decentralized application and later try to implement it on a different blockchain. Another tip is to make all of these projects easy to demonstrate so other people can utilize your work.
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?
There is potentially a large amount of data that can be stored in the network. Based on this, I think the most interesting use case is being able to create services and tools that can go into the network, extract the data, churn them and create meaningful interpretations of them. People can then use them for analytics or predictions of their products or really understand how their users behave.
Where do you hope to see Hyperledger and/or blockchain in five years?
I hope to see blockchain and the technology that comes out of it being seamlessly used by several people, companies and governments in production environments without any technical limitations.
What is the best piece of developer advice you’ve ever received?
The best piece of advice I have ever received as a developer is that I don’t need to be an expert or have complete knowledge of how the technology or system works to do something meaningful with it.
What technology could you not live without?
My standing desk! It is a very simple addition to my workstation, but a very impactful one as it helps with ergonomics, my posture and enjoying the whole experience of typing all day.