We met Paul Mahone, CEO of BitBoost, a blockchain company building a marketplace over the blockchain, to discuss about e-commerce, blockchain development and the way ahead for blockchain companies building over the Ethereum network.
Hi Paul, what is BitBoost?
BitBoost is a Swiss company that we founded to change the way ecommerce works. Right now, ecommerce is dominated by a few, very large companies, and they have set the rules so that sellers can barely make a living. We are using new technologies, like the blockchain, to put power back in the hands of individuals, to take back the profits and make ecommerce a viable option for more people, no matter where they are or how small their businesses are.
How long have you been around?
BitBoost has existed as a legal entity for about a year and a half, but we have been working together for about 4 years. We started as just two developers on the NXT blockchain, and now we are a team of about 30 working in around 20 countries.
What are the main benefits that the blockchain brings to the e-commerce business?
The blockchain eliminates the need for a huge technology infrastructure – I am thinking of the vast server farms that companies like eBay and Amazon have to maintain, all over the world, and all the support staff that goes with those installations. By using the Ethereum blockchain, we have “farmed out” that infrastructure to computers maintained by thousands of miners, all over the world, and we pay them only for the computing resources we use, as we use them. We pass those vast savings directly to our users.
Who are your clients, right now?
We are still in beta, so we have beta testers, but in preparation for our live release, we have a Seller’s Program that helps sellers prepare to use our platform, and we also have an Ambassadors’ Program that we are using to seed the most promising regional markets with users who are very familiar with our technology.
You are developing on Ethereum on IPFS. What’s your opinion about the current status of these technologies?
Right now, both Ethereum and IPFS offer enough that we are able to build a working product. But there is a lot of room for improvement, and we will work to stay on the cutting edge. The current challenges on the Ethereum side are mainly around speed and scalability, and also the wild swings in the cost of gas. On the IPFS side, the number of skilled developers has been a bottleneck for us. We believe we have chosen our technology stack well, and over time, we expect these issues to be resolved.
How does it like to develop something on the blockchain?
Developing on the blockchain is frequently counterintuitive. Radical decentralization is a new paradigm, and while cloud computing and serverless computing have mentally prepared us for it to some extent, trustless and permissionless technologies are still hard to wrap your head around. Additionally, the tools that are available are often rudimentary, and while this will improve in the coming years, it is presently a barrier to development.
On a more positive note, it is an exciting frontier, and very stimulating. Pushing the envelope is great fun, and solving problems that no one has faced before is very satisfying.
Any advice for all those developers starting their journey on the blockchain?
If you are an accomplished developer, I would recommend that you try to leave behind your assumptions and be willing to let the new concepts really sink in. It’s not just a matter of learning a new language or two, it really is a shift in perspective that might seem plain wrong at first.
If you are just starting out, then I suggest you take advantage of your timing and learn blockchain at a deep level. Think of decentralization as normal, as the way we should do development, and let your imagination take you away. Some older developers like me are solving older problems, but someone who begins a coding career with decentralization in his blood may see potential that the veterans can’t. Make the most of that new perspective.
What are your next steps?
Our first product, BitBoost Marketplace, is in beta testing now. Once we release the live version, we have a lot of features lined up to add over the coming months, so that we can make the product as powerful and friendly as possible. Better integration with token conversion services, shipping API integration for delivery services, a new UI, more reliance on IPFS for lower costs, expanded localization – these are just a few of the improvements we have planned.
We are also working to release the underlying technology as an API that anyone can use to build their own blockchain-based marketplace. BitBoost Marketplace will be a market in its own right, but it will also serve as a reference product for other developers to base new and different markets on.
Finally, the code behind BitBoost Marketplace will be released as Open Source. This is something we are preparing for right now, and we hope that our open source project will take our blockchain ecommerce technology to new heights.
Fánatico de la economía, enganchado a las criptomonedas y yonki de la imagen…en rehabilitación