Developer Showcase Series: Mark Anthony Morris, Coding Bootcamps

Back to our Developer Showcase Series to learn what developers in the real world are doing with Hyperledger technologies. Next up is Mark Anthony Morris from Coding Bootcamps.

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

Focus on Hyperledger projects because Hyperledger is all about blockchain in the enterprise. The interest and use of enterprise blockchain is rapidly growing. In the next couple of years, skills in enterprise blockchain will be in great demand.

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?

My work in blockchain is multifaceted. I enjoy lecturing on, writing about, training on, hosting meetups for, designing, and developing blockchain technology. Currently, I am working on launching a blockchain-based startup company, which is developing a SaaS for enterprise and government solutions. I am co-authoring a book for O’Reilly Media titled, “Hands-on Smart Contract Development with Hyperledger Fabric V2,” and author and conduct a 90-minutes to Hyperledger Fabric online training through O’Reilly Media. I host monthly Hyperledger meetups and consult for select clients in need of expertise and guidance on blockchain technology, as well as cybersecurity and advanced enterprise and cloud computing.

I became enthralled with blockchain on a quiet Saturday in early 2015 when I downloaded and began reading the C/C++ source code for Bitcoin. I was not excited about the cryptocurrency use case, Bitcoin, because I had already invented a peer-to-peer funds exchange solution. When I reached the blockchain code, everything changed. I immediately saw the potential use in enterprise and government. I realized it had the capability for ushering in a transformational change to process and collaboration. From that moment I could not get blockchain out of my head. I began reading, studying, learning everything I could find on blockchain, including the use case cryptocurrency, which I see as evolutionary for token use, and eventually a replacement for fiat, manifesting the epoch in the historical evolution of money. I armed myself with the knowledge I needed to design, develop, invent, consult, and teach blockchain technology, which I vigorously continue to pursue.

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

I design and develop enterprise and government SaaS solutions powered by Hyperledger Fabric and Hyperledger Sawtooth. I am currently developing Fabric and Sawtooth interoperability software while integrating a suite of enterprise applications, like ERP, CRM, CMS, ECOMM, HR, and MRP, as well as AI, AR, IoT, and robotics. My aim is to build a complete enterprise and government SaaS solution targeting complex, diverse, and simple supply chains and marketplaces.

The future for large-scale Hyperledger blockchain technology is bright. I see great interest in the type of SaaS blockchain platform I am developing. For example, I am in early talks and beginning to work with two governments. In one case, the discussions are around a blockchain solution for ecommerce and tax collection. In the other, the focus is on industrial hemp regulation, an agricultural co-op for industrial hemp processing, and a Class 1 railroad consulting company for rail automation. The use cases for blockchain are very diverse, and interest for blockchain solutions will only grow as more and more solutions demonstrate a profitable ROI with a production status.

My experience with Hyperledger began in 2016 when the Linux Foundation first created the project. I immediately founded a meetup I called Austin Hyperledger. It was renamed Hyperledger Austin six months later when the Hyperledger Foundation reached out to me, asking me if I would be interested in running one of the first official Hyperledger Meetups in the world. I graciously accepted, and we now have 750+ members. I was ready because, in 2015 shortly after founding the meetup called Austin Blockchain Technology (2,200+ members), I publicly predicted IBM would announce its formation of an enterprise blockchain initiative within a year or sooner. It was my gut instinct, garnered from a career as independent hired-gun for IBM, Sun Microsystems, Oracle, and the Big 6. Since 2016, I have been lecturing, presenting, developing, consulting, and educating audiences, companies, and entrepreneurs on Hyperledger technology and projects with a strong focus on using Hyperledger Fabric and Hyperledger Sawtooth in the enterprise and government.

What are the main differences between teaching Hyperledger to students and developing Hyperledger applications?

While teaching at Coding Bootcamps, I often get lots of questions from students that help me in looking at blockchain development differently. The differences between teaching Hyperledger and developing Hyperledger are contextual. Teaching Hyperledger is all about the fundamentals of blockchain with a focus on how to use blockchain technology in the context of enterprise solutions. Developing Hyperledger is all about applying those fundamentals and extending them to solve problems that only surface in the context of developing real world enterprise solutions. This requires moving far beyond the fundamental and extending the technologies to meet the demands and expectations of stakeholders that will use the Hyperledger solutions.

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

I think Hyperledger should continue doing a great job promoting enterprise and government blockchain visibility and benefits to the world.

As Hyperledger’s incubated projects start maturing and hit 1.0s and beyond, what are the most interesting technologies, apps, or use cases coming out as a result from your perspective?

I think blockchain interoperability is the most interesting and important work incubating in Hyperledger because we are at a stage of maturity where it is vital for continued growth that blockchain platforms develop the capability to interoperate.

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

I hope the promise of blockchain brings transparency, provenance, and trust to our government at the local, state, and national level.

Where do you hope to see Hyperledger and/or blockchain in 5 years?

I hope blockchain becomes ubiquitous like the Internet, a network of networks, and is demanded and utilized by all enterprises and governments across the world.

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

The best developer advice I ever received was from my first mentor, who told me, “write software that reads like a novel. The reader should never have to turn back to a page. Keep your methods, functions, and routines to no more than one page, two pages maximum.”

What technology could you not live without?

I am a software developer and architect, so I could not live without software languages. I need at least one software language, but the more the merry to live the life I enjoy, which is designing and developing software and systems solutions for enterprises and governments.

Added note from Mark: I would love to hear your feedback. If you want to share your questions or comments with me, you can reach me directly via Linkedin at https://www.linkedin.com/in/markmorrissupergeek/