One hash at a time
A day in the life of a blockchain developer
Where it all started
With its roots in Cape Town — South Africa, Linum Labs is a blockchain development studio that has, since 2016, grown into a global team of developers, entrepreneurs, advisors and thought leaders in the blockchain space.
At Linum, our two core focuses are on health and identity, with products currently in development that highlight both of these values.
On the identity side, we have Protea — an open source framework which enables communities to thrive as a collective, by providing a toolset of novel utilities.
On the health side, we have Molecule — an open source protocol to streamline the funding, research & development of patents for the pharmaceutical industry by opening it up to the public to allow for patient-specific backing. (Watch this space!)
Geographic location and make-up of the team
At our roots in South Africa, the culture of the development team can be described with two words — remote trust. We have a split team between Johannesburg and Cape Town, with recent additions in Berlin and Switzerland. This gives our team many options to either collocate or work from home and allows for the flexibility that usual desk jobs do not. Recently, we have also set up workspaces in Basel, Switzerland and are aiming to provide further dedicated spaces for our team in Cape Town and Berlin.
Across the company, we have a strong focus on diversity and equality and are proud to sport a gender ratio of almost 50%. Within the development team, our hiring efforts are aimed at finding great talent that can work in a remote team with no restrictions on location, age, skill or gender. With flexible working times, this allows our team to set their best working hours and to navigate different timezones. Cultivating an environment for digital nomads is a high priority, allowing our team to travel and work from anywhere in the world, so long as there’s a stable WiFi connection.
Travel means growth: Gathering moss in a remote culture
It is not enough to only hit the books and create reference documentation. Human interaction and community building in the blockchain space is vital. Hackathons, meetups, and conferences are great grounds for technical discussions and further scheming, ranging from the latest on smart contract standards to flipping a token curated registry on its head. It is so much more rewarding to be surrounded by like-minded people and stimulating discussions.
Having the opportunity to travel and take part in global community events is one of the many perks of being a part of our team and a blockchain developer.
In 2018 alone, we attended some of the largest Ethereum hackathons and conferences:
- Unlock The Block
- The Status Cryptolife Hackathon
- The ominous Devcon 4 during Halloween in Prague
- Ethereum Community Conference in Paris
- The Blockchain For Science Conference
- Our own Token Engineering event Token Wirtschaft in Berlin
This year, we will be hosting the ETHCapeTown Hackathon, which we are incredibly excited for!
What it means to develop on blockchain
Sounds like a walk in the park? Ha. Being a developer in the blockchain space is anything but easy. Where you could previously rely on a wealth of documentation, comment-laden Stack Overflow posts and a toolkit of tutorials that guide you through tried and trusted technologies, it’s now upon your own shoulders to produce these findings and tackle the broad spectrum of hurdles that arise when doing so. Coders who like to live on the bleeding edge of deep tech will thrive in this environment and welcome these challenges.
Within our team, a large focus is placed on research. To measure twice and cut once is an age-old adage, but perfectly applies to this industry. As thought leaders on Curation Markets and the token engineering principles that come along with it, it is vital for us to stay informed and at the forefront of new development. We have an ever-growing repository of summarized research documents, ranging from the current state of identity in blockchain to a large list of well-manicured token standard write-ups. In our two-week sprint cycle, the developer team has a dedicated ‘dev day’ to show and present new findings, to mob-program through a recent issue or to work through a new tutorial.
On a day to day basis, we are using a React & Truffle stack, with an emphasis on keeping our control flow as functional as possible (we are Redux lovers) and more recently, we’ve started adopting Etherlime and Ethers.js to assist in dApp development. We have a well-documented frontend and backend in-house boilerplate, which serves as the basis for our projects.
Working in this space is hugely gratifying as a developer. You’re faced with implementations of programs and autonomous entities that live forever on the blockchain. This process is daunting, yet exciting, as contracts will live on for as long as the chain lives, and could become the basis of someone else’s great idea. This speaks to the open-source nature of the blockchain community and to our internal culture as a team. We contribute where we can to various blockchain projects and will be opening up our own projects for open source collaboration in the near future.
At Linum Labs, there’s an incredible opportunity to grow as an individual, with great challenges and rewards to match. If you are looking to take a headfirst dive into the world of blockchain, this is the space for you!
A few noteworthy reads from our developers
A developer’s guide to encoding and executing encoded functions.medium.com
The implications of bonding stable vs unstable collateral on a token bonding curvemedium.com
An update on past experiences and key learningsmedium.com