Meet the Hydranet Team — Part 1
If you have been following the updates in the Hydranet Discord group (and if you haven’t, you’re encouraged to do so here), you’ll know that the project has been effectively split into two main development teams: one focused on Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) development, and one focused on the Multi-Currency Light Wallet and Decentralized Exchange (MCLW/DEX) development.
Along with this restructuring of the project has come a new commitment to transparency. While project updates will continue to be released at regular intervals, we also wanted to take some time to introduce the community to the team members who are working to make this project a success. We hope that doing so will provide some much-needed context for the project, as well as boost community confidence in the developers.
In this article, we’ll be meeting the MCLW/DEX team: s54, Victo, Kilppari, and Philipp. We’ll start with a summary of each team member, then take a look at their thoughts on a number of related (and some unrelated) topics.
After learning about the DEX open beta in 2020, s54 first got involved with the project as a beta-tester. In 2021, he then became more involved with the community, working as a Discord mod, helping to organize the closed beta, logging issues, and bug reports, along with a handful of other behind-the-scenes tasks. He has a background in Technology Strategy, Security, Architecture, and Product Management for traditional finance, and he currently works full-time as a security architect and consultant. In addition to his full-time job, he is involved in the MCLW/DEX as a product manager, offering developer support, facilitating team communication, and overseeing task assignments.
When a friend introduced him to the concept of the Stakenet DEX, Victo immediately began researching the technical limitations and untapped market potential behind it. With confidence in the project, he threw his full support behind the developers and the community that had rallied around them. With experience in outage coordination, a number of certifications and qualifications starting with CCNA and NSE, and a full-time job as a cybersecurity engineer, Victo was in a prime position to head up the MCLW task force when internal development stalled. He currently handles logistics and planning for the team, along with pushing transparency updates for the community. Rumor has it that a “Victo swear jar” would bankrupt the Rothschild family.
Having spent most of his career doing freelance work, starting when he was just 16, Kilppari has developed a wide range of technical skills, along with an impressive ability to adapt to new technologies, concepts, and conditions. He has been following the project for the last few years and was helping with the task force from day one while still working full-time as a tech lead. As a self-described “duct tape applier”, Kilppari has performed a wide range of fixes for the MCLW, including but not limited to: UI/UX changes, removing hardcoded logic, and reworking transaction sending flow, fixing Connext channel creation, and more.
After a successful shilling campaign in the Thorchain telegram group grabbed his attention, Philipp began following the Stakenet DEX project in late 2020. As an avid open-source enthusiast with a background in Linux and Unix development, he was excited to begin working on bug fixes for the MCLW after its code was made available. Like Kilppari, he has been working with the task force since its inception while also working full-time as a freelance IT consultant for Cloud, DevOps, and Automation Technologies. So far, he has replicated the hub, implemented test chains, and performed numerous fixes on both the client-side and server-side to improve the DEX and reduce the strain on development resources.
Along with a bit of background on each team member, we wanted to provide some insight into their perspectives on both the project and crypto in general, so they were asked to respond to a simple interview.
Q1. How do you feel about the future of crypto? Where do you see it heading in five or ten years?
s54 — I could write a substack on this — in general I see a lot of the TradFi controls coming to crypto; the days of the cypherpunk origins of the industry are slowly dying, but that contingent will continue to push the forefront of the industry and promote the ideals in whatever manner we can.
Victo — I see it being regulated more and more by governments who seek to maintain control of their own currency
Kilppari — The barrier of entry to using crypto is getting lower and lower, so we will probably see mass adoption.
Philipp — I think crypto is one of the most groundbreaking technologies after the internet, which will bring a lot of positives but also has some dystopian potential
Q2. Cryptocurrency is still a very niche field. Do you have any concerns about mainstream adoption?
s54 — Long and short — no.
Speaking from a TradFi viewpoint, all the innovation in the finance field is going to crypto-oriented products; mainstream custody products are coming, institutionalized adoption is slowly trickling in, and dev resources (and dev salary targets) are increasingly being set by crypto-native products; where the talent goes, the industry will follow.
Victo — No as long as there is a link between non-technical people and crypto allowing it to be made easier with simplified tax reform to cover it
Kilppari — Not in particular, this space is evolving fast and adoption will surely follow suit.
Philipp — Cryptocurrency needs to become more user-friendly for the mainstream and needs some regulations to improve its reputation as an investment before it can become as adopted as stocks for example
Q3. What role do you see the MCLW/DEX playing in the greater crypto ecosystem?
s54 — I think in an ideal state, it offers a “pure”/low-hurdle option for high-throughput trading between blockchain ecosystems. To that end, there’s some work to be done to ensure proper functionality, but the end state is to ensure custodial options to consumers that give people a low-friction product that enables cross-chain trading in a self-custody manner, bridging the gap between pure on-chain “bridging” solutions, and the full-custody centralized solutions offered by some centralized exchanges.
Victo — Non-custodial wallets that allow users to avoid CEXes that require KYC or prevent restrictions on certain locations from easily using the platform
Kilppari — I’d like to see it become a place where people can freely trade cross-chain, KYC free, with as CEX-like experience as possible.
Philipp — I think it’s more than likely that central exchanges will experience a crackdown in terms of KYC and regulations, which will be a breeding ground for projects like ours
Q4. What is the toughest challenge you have faced working with crypto thus far?
s54 — Pure volume of data & speed of progress
Victo — Facilitating getting our hands on the source code and the 8 hours that went into discussing with Draper
Kilppari — Keeping up to date with all the new tech
Philipp — People working unprofessionally and having terrible work ethics.
As a bonus, we asked a few non-sequitur questions to probe the inner workings of each team member’s psyche. At his own request, Victo’s responses have been withheld, which speaks volumes on its own.
Q5. What is your biggest fear?
s54 — Missing out on the opportunity to provide a legacy for my children I can be proud of. I want to live an ideology in my life that sets a formative example for my children, so I can speak to them with authority on the things I value and how to live your values, no matter your path.
Kilppari — Personal stagnation
Philipp — Getting old
Q6. What is your favorite smell?
s54 — Context matters — I love the smell of burnt ethanol, and the smell of fresh rain, in different contexts. My favorite cologne base is cedarwood or sandalwood.
Kilppari — That fresh, clean smell after it rains
Q7. How well do you think you would fare in a zombie apocalypse?
s54 — If I can get through the initial wave of terror/slaughter, pretty well.
The greatest risk is always in dealing with the density of humanity that will be converted in the first wave(s). After that, it’s a game of mental attrition and resourcefulness — which is something I think I could be very successful at.
Kilppari — I would probably get bitten on day one due to sheer recklessness
Philipp — I would try to rebuild the global communications network
Finally, do you have anything else you would like to share with the Stakenet/Hydranet community?
s54 — Just that I’ve been connected with this work for several years of my life now, and I’m committed to it — the purpose speaks to me in a lot of ways, and I really appreciate the opportunity to work with such talented people in realizing the core vision of the MCLW/DEX product.
Victo — The team’s first and foremost concern is getting the DEX to the production stage that we’ve all been waiting for. I and the other members of the task force are steadily working to make that a reality, and we appreciate the support that the community has shown us.
Philipp — WAGMI
Thanks to s54, Victo, Philipp and Kilppari for answering these questions. Special thanks to Findleton Jibbler for writing this article.