• janslobodnik

Interview with Chuck - Blockswell

This week, we’re talking shop with Chuck, who represents Blockswell, a family-owned Tezos baking and Cardano staking service based in the United States. As we are developing a new node shell for Tezos, we are always interested in the opinions of bakers, and if you share our curiosity, then read on for the interview.

1. Tell us a little bit about Blockswell - as a baking service, what makes it interesting or unique?

Blockswell is a family-owned and operated staking service providing Tezos Baking and Cardano Staking. We are currently developing and planning nodes for a few other chains as well. I strive to be an active member in the communities we are validating. I really love blockchain technologies and enjoy contributing when and where I can.

2. Why are you personally interested in cryptocurrencies and/or Blockchain?

I’m a true believer. I have been since I first began to scratch the surface of this technology. Blockchains have the ability to bring about a brighter and more inclusive world. This industry is empowering people with the knowledge and access to economic tools which have been previously unavailable to most individuals. I am hopeful that the future will have a more resilient and decentralized world, in which individuals are able to pursue more of their passions, participate in local and global governance, and live happier lives. I’m interested in cryptocurrencies because I believe they are an essential part of that future.

3. What was your first experience with crypto-currency or blockchain?

I first heard about cryptocurrencies from friends that were using USB sticks to mine BTC. At the time, they weren't making much with their BTC and I eventually dismissed the idea. Of course with today’s BTC valuation, they were swimming in cash! Fast forward a bit and I picked up a news article about the MtGox hack. The article was talking about the BTC Core dev group, and how they had the hashing power to rewind the blocks and reverse the hack. As we all now know, the BTC core did not reverse the transaction, and although millions of dollars were lost, the chain retained integrity. Watching this decision unfold was really an important moment for my discovery of blockchains. Even though I was now interested, it took a bit longer for my first BTC purchase. I held my BTC on paper wallets, and it was a pain to interact with...but I loved it! I quickly fell into the rabbit hole of researching altcoins and began mining a few PoW coins. I enjoyed interacting with various core wallets, and soon I found myself helping others troubleshoot and manage their wallets and transactions. To this day, I still love reading a good white-paper or exploring a new wallet. I’ve even been fortunate enough to alpha test a few wallets and contribute to their development.

4. What do you currently consider to be the best blockchain project and why?

It would be really hard for me to pick a favorite right now. I’m continually amazed by decentralized layer1 blockchains. Tezos has a wonderful budding ecosystem. Its also really easy and feels native to interact with Tezos, because wallets have done a really good job with integration. I also love the low risk and ease of staking that Tezos offers. I really love the self-amending ability of Tezos, and the voting process is rewarding to engage with. I’m also a big advocate of Cardano. I appreciate its large, diverse, and engaging community. It’s planned and methodical development process is fun to watch unfold, and the Project Catalyst incubation program is an amazing asset. QAN platform also has some really interesting technology and I can’t wait to know more. I am also very interested in blockchain gaming as a whole, and I’m thrilled to watch that space develop.

5. If you could change one thing about blockchain and crypto in general, what would it be?

I think I would just like to see the cryptocurrency space as a whole mature. I would like to see increases in adoption, development, and interoperability between chains. I can see a lot of future adaptions and uses of this technology, and sometimes it’s tough just waiting for it all to come to fruition.

6. What would you like to see implemented in blockchain? Either in your own project, in your favorite blockchain or in blockchain in general.

I’m very intrigued with the idea of decentralized digital identifications and how they may change our daily lives. DDIDs have the potential to offer greater individual sovereignty, increased access for all, smoother day to day interactions, and probably even some unforeseen revenue streams. Giving individuals the complete ownership of their identities is an incredible notion, and I believe there is much more to come in this area.

7. What is a question you most often ask in relation to cryptocurrencies and blockchain?

When researching or interacting with a new project, I am always asking a few questions. I first wonder how secure a project or transaction is. Its still early days in this space, and its good to stay vigilant protecting yourself. Once I feel like its safe to explore further, I begin looking into use cases. What makes a project different, how is it going to effect the space, and what value does a project add to it’s users? Next I’m asking, “Who is behind the project?” and “What kind of dedicated road-map or long term vision are they committing to?”

8. What is the most common problem you have with blockchains/cryptocurrencies?

As you begin to interact with more and more blockchains, you end up with a giant stack of passwords, wallets, and locations for your assets. If you are doing it right, then you are keeping your funds off of centralized exchanges. So, it can become cumbersome to keep track of it all. Its still early enough that a lot of these assets will appreciate a great amount. And what happens if you were to pass away? You need to be organized and prepared enough so that family or loved ones can access your assets if they need to. Its a real problem, and I believe more funds will ultimately be lost through forgotten wallets and passwords than through nefarious actions.

8.1 What is the solution to that problem?

Things have really come along way from the paper-wallet days. Hardware wallets help with both security and organizing your stack of wallets. They also offer redundancy with their backup seed keys. Still, not everything allows interacting with hardware wallets, and sometimes you may not want to expose your hardware wallet to a project. So, you end up making a burner wallet..which requires passwords and has a new location you may want to keep handy. So, in the end, you end up having a compilation of written notes, encrypted password keepers, and hardware wallets.

8.2 How difficult is it to find a solution to that problem?

I would say its very difficult to a concise solution. We need a solution which is decentralized, trust-less, kept up-to-date with various protocol changes, and easy for non-crypto natives to understand, access, and use if needed.

9. How would you (or how did you) solve this problem?

Currently, I preach using security best practices, utilizing redundancy measures, and educating those around you. You also really need to take some extensive notes. Cryptocurrencies offer some wonder and powerful tools to enrich our lives, but they also require an immense amount of personal responsibility.

10. Where do you think that blockchain could be best utilized?

Blockchains have the ability to disrupt just about every legacy system we use in society. Many of these are unseen and unimaginable to me. I’m very excited to watch it all progress. For example, blockchain gaming will absolutely redefine the global labor market. If an individual can create more value and security for their family by playing a game, they won’t participate in their local economy. Local and global economies will need to streamline, innovate, and produce more incentives for participation. I believe this will ultimately produce a more inclusive, fair, and optimistic labor market. This is just one example of the type of disruption blockchains are capable of producing.

11. Where do you see the future of blockchain?

The impacts of this technology will be much larger than the impacts of the internet. From the food we eat to the clothes we wear, I envision a world where blockchain technology has been completely integrated into our day-to-day lives. We will use it for transacting goods and services. Blockchains will be used to provide proof of ownership and identity. We will be able to establish self sovereignty and monetize personal resources, such as attention, that we have allowed others to monetize. And, blockchains will allow people to completely empower themselves with personal financial freedom.

Thank you, Chuck, for taking the time to do this interview with us. If you are interested in baking or staking with Blockswell, then go visit their website.

Do you know of an interesting blockchain project that would be interested in having an interview with us? Feel free to send me an email, we’d love to hear your thoughts and publish them on our blog.

To read more about Tezos and the TezEdge node, subscribe to our Medium, follow us on Twitter or visit our GitHub.

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