Interview with Gregory Shabalov, CTO of Citadel.One
Recently, we sat down with Citadel CTO, Gregory, for a conversation that hit on his personal working experience, the story behind joining the Citadel and some highlights on the project itself.
Could you please tell us a bit about your background?
Main part of my background is surely connected to IT. I worked at some companies in heavy industries like oil and steel mining, and I also worked in areas that are connected to retail. I led teams that created mobile apps for Russian retail companies, and I worked at SAP Laboratory. It was an experience connected to development of solutions for huge companies in industrial sector.
I developed BPM systems, systems that worked with large databases — I am talking about terabytes of data here and its administration. If you know solutions like Apache Kafka, Hadoop then you might understand the level of these products.
And do you remember a surprising experience that you encountered during your career?
I worked in a company as a technical specialist and my responsibility was to provide the analysis of our solutions. At the time we worked with partners that had to develop computer vision solutions for us and we had many data points with different products and different features.
At first, they had to provide us with a simple solution that would recognize a trail of a product. Instead of computer vision they provided us with a video they made in Adobe After Effects that showed how computer vision would follow the trail. It was hilarious, like a cartoon. The funniest fact is that it was a huge company (I won’t state the name here) and we had to cancel our agreements because of that incident.
That is, indeed, a strange story. Why did you join Crypto then?
So, my story in crypto starts the moment I met Victor Smirnov from Citadel, our founder. I was at IT Meetup and I met Victor. At the time I worked in a retail company. He told me about crypto. He persuaded me that it was our future, that all humankind will sooner or later go through transcendence to cryptoassets. When I got back home, I researched crypto and I decided that it might change future for all of us.
And then you became a part of the Citadel Project. How was it?
I worked in IT. I know how IT projects work and how to build teams to solve different problems. I am a technical specialist, but I am not a financial guy like Victor, David, or Alex. They told me about proof of stake, about financial instruments in the real world and in crypto and I thought to myself that if I work in this area, I could do something potentially important for our world. I have only one wish in my life — it is to make something that could change our world. I want to make a really huge impact on humankind but in a good way. I decided that crypto was a right field for it.
What was the biggest challenge in building Citadel?
A huge challenge in our project is to connect different networks, because each network has its own specifics, its own databases like LevelDB, like Redis and others, others, others. Citadel provides special analytics and dashboard — for these purposes we had to standardize it all, and we had to get information from different tables in databases and connect them in one area, in one solution to provide these graphs, dashboards with proper variables. The second huge challenge is to research the user experience problems, to research current crypto problems in networks which we support, to solve them in our product, because right now in some networks there is a ton of bad user experience. That’s my opinion.
What are the strongest sides and the weakest sides of the Citadel project from your point of view?
We want to make crypto easier for users and If we decide to do that, we must cut out much of the technical stuff. For example, in IOST, we can change wallet name, but in other networks, we cannot. If we want to standardize, we must cut things like this out, so IOST network we had to cut naming to reduce the number of interactions required from a user to create a wallet. It’s an obvious example but this is our strongest and weakest part. Our product is easier for ordinary users, but we had to cut some small features from each network to create a smooth UX.
Will Citadel be based on a decentralized infrastructure?
If we talk about decentralized infrastructure, this is not currently included in our roadmap for this year. But I will tease you and say that there are some plans to create some kind of a decentralized infrastructure. We are working together with other founders to create a proper whitepaper that will provide our community with precise information. As for today, we focus on UX/UI and service integration, but we are considering a decentralized infrastructure in the future.
So, you were talking about the roadmap. Could you share some points of what is planned for development this year?
Yeah, sure. Right now, we want to polish the version we had released on July 13. There are some networks IOST, ICON, Orbs, Ethereum, Tezos and so on. Currently, our plan is to work on a beta version of our product and get reviews from our users. We created many features that could really ease the way people interact with crypto and now we want to get their feedback. Our development plans for UX are dependent on the feedback. But if we talk about technical part, our plans are to integrate other networks, to integrate fiat gateway that will let users to buy crypto in our app, to integrate DeFi in the long-term plan. We thought about technical solutions that not only help our users, but would help networks, their programmers, and validators as well.
We invite everyone to join our open beta and leave some feedback. It will definitely make our product much better.
To beta-test: citadel.one