Shankar Nathan

@shankqr

How to penetrate into the Blockchain space as a developer without having a concrete project

Lets go through various entry points into the Blockchain space

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”

This is one of my favourite quote from the ancient Chinese philosopher Laozi. The purpose of this article is to get you taking that step.

The year is 2019 and Blockchain has the potential to emerge as one of the most disruptive technology known to mankind. Some of you might argue that AI is more disruptive, however in order to reach singularity we will require several breakthroughs in the field and I am not sure if that is going to happen in our lifetime.

Blockchain on the other hand is where I see the low hanging fruits are. The technology has matured and its applications such as cryptocurrency, ICO, STO, digital identity, smart contracts has already begin mass adoption.

Start with the Problem not the Solution

Blockchain like any other technology has emerged to solve problems. So ask your self what are the fundamental problems that you are most passionate about solving.

For example, the problems that I am most compelled to solve are:

  1. Self-governance, autonomous systems
  • resulting in removing the middle man, reduce human errors, increase efficiency, reduced cost of operations.
  • example: a platform where traders could effortlessly transfer securities among themself without paperwork and a middle man.

2. Transparency while maintaining privacy

  • resulting in equality and non biased outcome.
  • example: a peer to peer insurance platform where policies are made transparent through the smart contract and insurance premiums are non biased because user data remains private.

Choose a platform

Once you have identified the problem that you want to solve, ultimately the next step is to choose the right platform for the job. I believe there is no one best platform for Blockchain as it all boils down to your motivations on what problems you want to solve.

Generally there are two main categories of platforms here. One is public blockchains and the other would be private blockchains. Based on your requirements, one would be more suited than the other.

If both categories does not seem to meet your requirements, you should also consider developing your own blockchain platform. Now this might seem far fetched, but since almost all blockchain code is open source a more practical approach would be for you to clone an existing project and build upon it the functionalities you require. Quorum is an example of this case, it was cloned from Ethereum code base and improved upon for enterprise usage.

Generally if you require more control and flexibility over the consensus, security or execution then a private blockchain is best. However if you require more user adoption, easier fund raising and do not want to maintain an infrastructure a public blockchain would be best.

Public Blockchain

If your goal is to solve problems with a decentralised application (Dapp) and you would require to raise funds for it as well, I would suggest you go with a public blockchain with robust smart contract functionality. Your best options would be to use EOS, TRON or Ethereum.

For public blockchains I am a believer in EOS and have so far written 3 guides on how to get started on this platform. I urge you to check them out:

  1. How to Deploy and Run a Smart Contract on the EOS Blockchain
  2. How to build a simple Front End for your EOS smart contract
  3. How to integrate Scatter with your EOS Front End

It would be a good idea for you to browse dappradar to see what are the popular Dapp’s being launched. Popular categories are exchanges, games and gambling.

Private Blockchain

In the world of private blockchain I would recommend looking into Hyperledger. On its website explains:

Hyperledger is an open source collaborative effort created to advance cross-industry blockchain technologies. It is a global collaboration, hosted by The Linux Foundation, including leaders in finance, banking, Internet of Things, supply chains, manufacturing and Technology.

If you are looking to solve problems for Fortune 500 companies I strongly suggest mastering Hyperledger, as there are currently more then 100 members comprising mostly of industry leaders in tech and finance. There is definitely tons of money to be made here as a developer or entrepreneur.

There are 2 frameworks under Hyperledger that I think are worth looking into:

  1. Fabric : This is the heavy weight champion in the Hyperledger world. It has full on support from major industry players and IBM is sitting on the driver seat. To me, Fabric is very appealing for its customisable plug and play DIY features. I found this interesting article on the real world solutions being built with this framework here.
  2. Indy : This framework is suitable if you want to work on digital identity. As more and more of everything is being done online today, managing identity has become crucial. The market for mobile identity verification alone is currently estimated at $10 billion and is expected to double in the next four to five years, according to consulting firm McKinsey.

The Future

At this point in time we can never know who will dominate the future of Blockchain. Could IBM do to Blockchain like what it did to personal computing in the early 80's?

IBM with its industrial might and countless partnerships could possibly position Fabric to be the ultimate Blockchain for the Enterprise.

On the other hand EOS is blowing ETH out of the water on transaction speed. Could there be a future where Enterprise start running their own EOS side-chains and syncing them with the main-net?

Summary

What ever the outcome, there is never a better time to start your journey into Blockchain. Once you know what problems you want to solve and have decided on a platform, all you have to do is start learning to code for that platform.

A tactic I suggest to fast track your entry into the Blockchain space is to apply for a job at a Blockchain startup. Join as a frontend or backend dev but pickup the blockchain part along the way.

I hope that this guide help you in making the first step in planning for a good entry. If time permits I would like to write more on the technical skills and tools for you to start off with. I also wish to explore Fabric and Indy more so I can write about it in detail in the future.

I would love to hear what you guys are working on and if you need any help don’t be afraid to reach me.

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