An Entrepreneurial Journey in a Blockchain Startup

Beyond the crypto hype

Venturing in Blockchain

I’ve always been passionate about future tech and when I heard about Ethereum’s vision in 2014, I almost invested in its ICO. It wasn’t until 2016 when an old friend of mine told me about a new blockchain programme that I heard the name Ethereum again. This time I would not let the opportunity slip away. I told my colleagues how building smart contracts could be a game changer and indeed disrupt how we do business today.

It was Karel Striegel, a fellow consultant, that pitched the core concept of FundRequest to me:

FundRequest — A decentralised marketplace to fund (open source) software collaboration. Add funds to software issues or tickets that exist on platforms such as GitHub. When the funded issue gets solved, the developer automatically receives the reward for his contribution.

I was immediately sold on the concept, especially since Karel is a DevOps engineer and he relies on open source software on a daily basis so he literally wanted to solve the problems he was experiencing himself.

We built a team from there and for over a year we worked on our white paper, released a proof of concept and engaged with our community about our future plans. On Valentine’s day 2017 we caught our major break, we raised 12,500 ETH or $12,500,000 USD equivalent for our FundRequest vision.

Action (or the lack of..) speaks louder than words.

May 31st, 3 months after our token sale, we officially launched FundRequest on the ethereum main net. We signed great partnerships and caught good press coverage but when push came to shove we were experiencing adoption issues.

This felt strange to us because most blockchain projects claim to be both open source and in dire need of devs to build there own vision. FundRequest is a working solution to fund issues and incentivize open source developers, free use and also gives them the ability to fund issues with their own token.

But still, most projects weren’t willing to trial our service.

Going to market fast uncovered what to build first

I am glad we took the running lean approach as described by Ash Maurya and to deliver products fast and to learn from that experience. This gave us the insights we needed to focus deeper on the issue at hand:

What do customers really want?
What problems are they experiencing?
Why is it a problem?
Which problem is worth solving first?

The adoption problem

It’s no secret that 2018 has been disastrous for crypto. There are more than 2,000 decentralized applications live but despite this, there aren’t many projects that are succeeding beyond token marketing or speculation.

The problem is that the entry to blockchain is still too steep. Developing blockchain applications is complicated and resembles more to coding hardware than software. There aren’t enough tools available for developers to leverage and those that exist are not on par with those offered by the likes of Google, Facebook, Hubspot and so on…

It should be easy for App Developers to:

  • build blockchain wallets and transactions into applications.
  • on-board crypto and non-crypto users
  • Integrate with other compatible applications

It should also be easy for crypto-enthusiasts to:

  • securely manage there crypto account and assets
  • link their crypto wallets with blockchain applications
  • transfer crypto assets to their non-crypto savvy friends

With these insights, we started building better developer tools for blockchain projects and a better user experience for crypto-enthusiasts. The result is a service called Arkane Network. Arkane is a translation layer between blockchain and application. It gives app developers the tools they need to develop blockchain applications faster and without needing the in-depth blockchain knowledge.

From continuous learning to continuous innovation

Instead of waiting for adoption to strike, we are glad to have prioritized a bigger problem.

One week after launching Arkane we have:

  • Our first customers live with their very own blockchain application.
  • 30+ businesses/developers requesting API access to start developing blockchain apps
  • On-boarded 1000+ active users

We still see FundRequest solving fundamental problems, it just so happens there are some bigger problems to be solved before businesses are ready to adopt such a platform. We are there to solve those needs first.

A Call To Action

Click the button, if you’re an entrepreneur looking to build blockchain applications:

If you’re a crypto enthusiast however you may want a better user experience and use Arkane to manage your crypto accounts.

Thank you for showing interest in Arkane ❤️, we would like to get to know you, so please don’t be shy and join us on Telegram