Team Announcement: Matthew Wagerfield, Lead Engineer joins Zinc

Matthew ranks among the top 5 Javascript Developers in the UK on GitHub 🚀

We are very excited to welcome Matthew Wagerfield to Zinc as our new Lead Engineer. Matthew got to know Luke a few years back when the Zinc Co-founder got in touch after becoming interested in his Open Source work. After coming close to collaborating on several of occasions, Luke was quick to ask Matthew to join Zinc following the successful Crowdsale back in February.

Matthew is a well respected developer in the Open Source community; authoring popular libraries such as Parallax.js, Flat Surface Shader, Meteor Fixtures, Vue Fela and ESLint Index; contributing to other prevalent projects including Inferno, Fela, Styletron, Rambda, ESLint, Redbox React and FuseBox. As a result of his OS work and contributions, Matthew ranks among the top 5 Javascript Developers in the UK on GitHub. He’s held leadership positions for agencies such as Fantasy Interactive, Native, B-Reel, Stinkdigital and Rehabstudio; delivering projects for the likes of Google that are used by millions of people.

Read on to find out more about Matthew’s background and why he’s chosen to work for Zinc.

Please tell us about yourself & your background

Day to day I develop applications and Open Source projects. The rest of the time I like to spend time with my beautiful wife and son who joined us last Summer — being a Dad is amazing.
I grew up in a family that were very creative and capable of making things — my Mother an accomplished Chef, my Father a brilliant Mechanical Engineer and my Grandfather a carpenter. Like most children, I naturally wanted to follow in the footsteps of the people I looked up to and would spend my days making Lego contraptions, origami sculptures and models of things I thought were cool; Johnny 5, R2D2, the ship from Flight of the Navigator and the Power Loader from Aliens — I was very much into robots.
This passion for designing and making things carried through my school years and ultimately led me to study Industrial Design at Loughborough University. During this time I became deeply interested in 3D modelling and rendering; spending hours tweaking lights and materials to achieve photorealistic visuals. For my final year project I designed and developed a digital tactile watch for the visually impaired called Sentio; meaning to “feel” or “perceive” in Latin. Engineering the electronics and mechanisms to articulate 14 rice-sized pieces of metal inside of a watch face was incredibly challenging, but immensely satisfying when it all came together and eventually worked.
Alongside my studies at University I started to play around with Flash to create a portfolio to showcase my design work. I spent every spare hour that I had reading tutorials and fumbling my way through writing ActionScript 3.0 — the first programming language I learnt. By the time I graduated, this love for developing interactive applications and animations with code had taken a hold of me and I decided to pursue a career in Programming rather than Industrial Design.
Over the years I have developed large scale applications, campaign sites, visual experiments, WebGL shaders, installations, games, frameworks and tooling — a lot of it Open Source. Through the attention my OS work has garnered, programming has taken me all over the world from Stockholm to San Francisco to Salt Lake City and Tokyo. I feel so very fortunate to have found something that I enjoy doing that others value. I have worked with so many incredible companies and talented people over the years and my journey continues here with Zinc.

What excites you most about the blockchain space?

The doors it has opened to bring about positive change in business and society. It is already revolutionising industries — in time I hope it will help rebalance the distribution of power and wealth, tackle exploitation and lead to a more harmonic future.
From a technical standpoint I am staggered by the hive of activity in the space and am very eager to see how it will evolve and mature. With the technologies being so nascent, some fascinating ideas and developments are being released everyday. I believe that the technology is at a pivotal point in it’s hype cycle and am excited to help define what sticks. The opportunity to have widespread impact is amazing.

What made you want to join Zinc?

Having spent a large chunk of my career running my own company as a contracted Developer, the problems that Zinc are attempting to solve are very real and resonate with me. Data abuse, arduous interview processes and lack of trust between all parties involved are just a few of the issues that need tackling.
With the meteoric rise of cryptocurrencies and ICOs last year, it became abundantly clear to me that this was something to sit up and take notice of. Only time will tell, but given the energy, money and minds that are pouring into the space, I think it is safe to say that blockchain technologies will hold a significant place in our future.
As a technologist, you have to keep up and adapt to the ever changing landscape or get left behind. Blockchain is what I would consider a tectonic shift in the landscape. Having known Luke for some time and had my eyes opened by the findings in the research that Zinc has done, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to get involved in the space.

In your role, what are your key points in helping Zinc realise its full potential?

Making the technology as accessible and frictionless as possible to the end user. I’m very new to the space myself, so can sympathise with the hurdles that someone with little-to-no idea about the technologies in play has to overcome. There is a lot of room for improvement and I hope to lend my expertise to closing these gaps.
I’ve been helping Zinc tackle some complex technical and business problems so far. I’m looking forward to the challenge of exercising my breadth of experience as a technical leader and founder. I believe in writing clean, maintainable code and find pleasure in leading, motivating and mentoring teams. I want to help change the way we acquire and hold work claims and identities. I am particularly excited to work on ways to optimise secure decentralised apps in terms of transaction cost and speed of processing.

Bonus: do you have any hidden talents?

I spent my teenage years and most of my 20’s riding BMX, so know how to air a half pipe and 360 a jump without breaking my neck…though I don’t know if that still stands true today!