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DREP & USYD Developer Community AMA Successfully Wrapped up

Dear DREP community,

The online developer community AMA co-hosted by DREP and USYD just came to an end. Massive thanks to all the developers and community members who tuned in. Great discussions and questions you have there!

During this event, Xiaolong, DREP co-founder, Edward, DREP in-house blockchain developer and Hill, the president of USYD Blockchain & Cryptocurrency Society shared their insights on applications of blockchain technology, trendy blockchain topics and life of blockchain developers with future-to-be developers from Australian universities like USYD, UNSW and UTS. Particularly, Xiaolong elucidated DREP’s development path and competitive advantages, which has been well-received by the audience.

Below are the highlights of this AMA.

Enjoy the read!

Part One: My Blockchain Story

|How did you get down to the rabbit hole with blockchain?

Xiaolong: Before DREP, I was the Lead Developer at QTUM, which is among the top list of public blockchains by market cap. Ever since graduating from Chinese Academy of Sciences, I worked as a game developer at Tencent’s Timi Studio. Besides, I am an instructor on some Blockchain Accelerator initiatives, and I often give speeches to university students , but mostly in Chinese. So I’ll be talking a bit slowly when I share in English.

Edward: I’m a backend developer here at DREP. It is truly an exciting experience to be on the team of blockchain developers. Here we have worked on many components like DREP Chain, DREP Explorer, DREP Wallet APP development, consensus algorithm and explore every possible way to make blockchain products with great user experience.

Back when I was in school, I was informed of Bitcoin by my professor in 2013. Then I went on purchasing 40 Bitcoins at 105 dollars, and sold at 1077 in December. My semester’s tuition was covered. This experience intrigued me to study further about how Bitcoin actually works. It opened doors for me to explore and to discover.

Fascinated by the idea of decentralizing the world we live in, I immediately jumped into the blockchain dev community after graduating from Wake Forest University in North Carolina, USA. The technology behind blockchain is genius, yet it also consists of many existing technologies that we’re familiar with: cryptography, P2P networking, etc. I am really looking forward to seeing blockchain technology being adopted by the general public and me as a blockchain engineer bringing values to the society.

Hill: I get to know blockchain from trading Bitcoin. Get fascinated by the technology behind it, then I decided to study more about the industry. I then joined a blockchain startup here in Sydney. After a year in the industry, I built some connections. As I gained experience, I feel the importance to share it with the students, otherwise they would be missing out on something that’s really big but might be hard to get into from the get-go.

Part Two: DREP’s Development Path and Competitive Advantages

|What are DREP’s development path and competitive advantages?

Xiaolong: Ever since entering the blockchain industry, I have been thinking of ways to improve the current tech and make it more convenient for all the developers and companies out there. Currently there are all kinds of projects out there but they have been relatively isolated, focusing on building their own ecosystem. As a result, when enterprises seek blockchain as service, they’re facing the problem to choose the right chain. And Even if they succeed in doing that, they have to figure out how to develop applications on different platforms next, which is troublesome for mainstream adoption.

That’s why our vision is to become a connector to connect these closed ecosystems and to become a toolkit that provides convenient solutions.

|How does DREP enhance the feasibility and user experience of blockchain solutions?

Edward: Good user experience is easy to understand. The simpler it is, the easier it is to use. Look at imToken. Basically every crypto user has it. That’s a great representative of good UX in blockchain products. So during our development, we constantly optimize the products and test them and see if this is really convenient to use for a newbie. There is no quick fix to a good product. We need to constantly iterate.

Xiaolong: Exactly. Actually, at the end of the day, people really don’t need to know the nitty-gritty of blockchain technology. What people expect is the features of a decentralized, trustless service.

Simplicity is the key! For example, the initial learning curve can be quite steep for the average users who want to be part of the cryto space. DREP Testnet 3.0 deals with such issue. we added the function of Alias — which allows users to use a human-readable nickname to represent themselves, instead of having to remember the complicated address. All these actions matter greatly — if we are to build a product that is convenient for every dummy to use.

|So far have you seen a real application of blockchain tech? Or you still think it is yet to come?

Edward: Actually I think there are quite a number of applications already in real business. For example, Chinese tech giant Alibaba has developed its own blockchain — AntChain. It enables a bunch of applications from public welfare fund tracing to logistics records, from personal credit profile management to property rental records. These new ways of leveraging the unique advantage of data irreversibility and security is a new round of innovation which could very soon lead to a lot more widespread of blockchain technology application.

Xiaolong: I am with Edward on this point. I once conversed with Tencent Blockchain Manager Aaron about blockchain’s use cases in a larger scale. We agreed that although China has been strict with ICOs and cryptocurrency, it is still supportive regarding the tech’s adoption. In Shenzhen, Walmart has already started invoicing on blockchain powered by Tencent blockchain infrastructure.

We here at DREP are helping a number of enterprises in Australia, China and the Middle East to embed the technology into their existing infrastructure in industries such as real estate, O2O, etc.

The adoption is happening slowly but surely. We have great admiration towards builders in the industry.

Part Three: Trendy Blockchain Topics

|Recently Facebook has been making the headlines. Facebook is planning to launch a cryptocurrency called Libra with the hopes to “transform the global economy.” What is your view regarding Facebook’s Libra Initiative?

Xiaolong: I personally think it is a great initiative.

Firstly, Facebook’s initiative really puts blockchain and cryptocurrency under the spotlight. As we all know, the total number of all crypto currency holders worldwide is around 40 million. In comparison, along with WhatsApp and Instagram, Facebook group has about 2.7 billion active users globally. The amount of exposure our industry has received is beyond imagination. It could really raise the awareness of the industry and hence the liquidity as well.

Technically, Facebook isn’t bringing much to the table. It excels by gathering the top players in the financial and tech industry, its potential is understated. In the regulatory aspect, Facebook may face a long process. But even if Facebook’s coin idea fails to pass the technology threshold or regulatory framework, it is still a great step for the industry, because it creates a new paradigm of borderless currency.

There is not one single currency that can be used as a global currency, not even US dollars. But if Libra really takes off, we are very likely to see a new international financial system. That’s incredible!

Edward: I actually think Facebook Libra’s tech is underestimated. It is a commercially viable model by allowing major institutions like VCs and banks to become nodes. It is a relatively mature idea, because it to some extent helps with the speed and efficiency.

Second of all, it is built on the research and experiment result of the past 30 years from ICT, Fintech and DeFi (decentralized finance).

We have many reasons to believe that it will overcome quite a few bottlenecks.

|What would you say are the biggest challenges facing the blockchain space?

Xiaolong: Players in the blockchain space face challenges in two big areas: finding real world applications and regulations.

Other regulations are also introduced by governments and other financial institutions in an attempt to control the blockchain industry. Players have to stay aware of these regulations and work correspondingly.

Edward: From a technical viewpoint, blockchain platforms seem to be unable to achieve the perfect balance of scalability, security and decentralization. We see congestions on existing blockchain networks in regular basis. However, newer platforms that have innovated around this, such as using delegated proof-of-stake (DPOS) mechanism, end up compromising decentralization. Beyond this, the recent General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) mandates that data must be removable. Players will have to innovate around this, given the immutable nature of transactions on blockchains.

Part Four: Life of a Blockchain Developer

|What is a typical day for a blockchain developer?

Edward: I think I’m more qualified to answer this question since Xiaolong as co-founder is engaged with many different things.

It is quite interesting for me as a developer. I write automated tests for the code written so I never shut down my computer. For me, everyday coming to work and seeing the test results generated is quite exciting (it means bugs to fix).

Also I love to chat with my colleagues during lunch hours about different things we come across during dev work. Since the team use different languages and frameworks, it is stimulating to hear about different perspectives.

|What traits you value most when hiring blockchain developers?

Edward: A “T” shaped person. A blockchain developer must possess not only blockchain skills — the long, vertical stroke of the “T” — but also cross-discipline broad skills — the horizontal part of the “T” — such as Design Thinking, Agile, DevOps and Continuous Delivery. In short, someone with strong data structures and algorithms foundation, and understands prevalent cryptographic and consensus algorithms alike. The point is you need to know your stuff.

Xiaolong: Apart from professional knowledge, we look at blockchain development talents who are practical, who care about the real needs of enterprises and could find easy solutions to address those issues. I think an acute sense of how to make use of the existing algorithms and techniques, and the drive to build something new and practical are what we are looking for. Because ultimately, the meaning of the technology is not to simply pursuit high throughput but to remove all business limiting bottlenecks and allow individuals and corporate users to seamlessly use blockchain services. That’s also exactly what we do here at DREP.

After that, the floor is open to questions. Many views raised their concerns about blockchain regulation, blockchain application and consensus algorithm, to name just a few. Both Xiaolong and Edward gave their opinions regarding each question. Their deep technical knowledge and comprehensive outlook on blockchain space received many praises from viewers, which successfully wrapped up this event!

That’s all for the developer community AMA. Thank you for joining us!

As blockchain space is ever changing and evolving, it is mission–critical for players to build partnerships with high institutions. DREP is well aware of the importance, and will continue to engage and motivate students towards a promising future for our community!

About DREP Foundation

DREP is committed to building “connectors” and “toolkits” based on blockchain technology, providing solutions that combine ease of use, flexibility and frictionless integration. Based on DREP Chain, DREP ID and DREP SDK, DApp R&D teams are able to release multi-public-chain asset versions, built-in wallets and asset trading platforms with one-click.

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DREP 2.0 is the decentralized credit-data middleware based on layer-2 facilities, to be the backbone of DeFi Credit Era.