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Interview with Robert -

Updated: Jul 2, 2021

Welcome to the first issue of the TezEdge Blockchain Survey

This is the first in a series of interviews we plan on making with blockchain developers, project managers, CTOs, security experts and other industry insiders. We discuss common challenges and issues, what solutions they offer, where the blockchain industry is right now, and the direction it is heading towards in the future.

Last month, we spoke to Robert from Armor, a smart cover aggregator that allows users to protect funds held on a variety of DeFi (Decentralized Finance) protocols in the case of hacks in an easy, self-adjusting, pay-as-you-go manner. You can read more about Armor on their website. To find out what Robert thinks about blockchain, what could improve it and the state of the industry as well as its future, continue reading the interview below.

1. Why are you interested in crypto currencies and/or Blockchain?

Although I entered the blockchain space because of the idea of a permissionless currency that can be transferred anywhere in the world with the click of a button, once I started developing on Ethereum my main love for blockchain became the potential for automation it provides. You write a piece of code, deploy it, then it lives on forever on the blockchain, completely controlled by a computer with no need, or sometimes even allowance, for human intervention. How fuckin' cool is that.

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

My first experience with blockchain was using Bitcoin in 2011 for reasons.

3. What do you consider to be the best blockchain project (other than your own:) and why?

Ignoring base-layer projects like Ethereum and Cosmos, I think I’ve gotta say Maker is my favorite, although that may be partially nostalgia. It’s a legitimately great and useful service, while also providing the ecosystem a robust decentralized stablecoin.

I remember first using it in 2018 when I needed some cash but didn’t want to cash any Ether out. I’d read about Maker a few months before and decided to give it a shot. In just a few clicks I had taken out a loan from a computer: no approvals, no credit checks, no calls nor meetings. I just deposited Ether and withdrew Dai. My partner at the time got extremely annoyed at how much I babbled about that for the next week: “Oh, you like this dinner? A computer lent me the money for it.”

3.1 What are its advantages?

Although more projects do it now so it may not be a competitive advantage, being able to take out a loan without approval from a centralized entity opens doors for many people who previously may have had nowhere to go. While centralized services have their place, there’s an enormous advantage to a service that any person in the world can use.

3.2 What are its disadvantages?

Still talking in terms of centralized services, but needing collateral to receive a loan knocks out a lot of potential use cases. In terms of other lending platforms, the big disadvantage of course would be that loans can only be taken out in Dai.

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

The focus on money. By this I don’t mean we should get rid of DeFi, but just that it seems like all of blockchain development is tied to Bitcoin’s market price. It seems most people are only in this space to make money rather than in it because of the awesome stuff being built.

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

I would like to see more projects that make no money. I can’t claim at all that I don’t try to profit off current and past projects, but going forward I’d love to start making companies that charge users $0, or as close as possible to it. Given the amount of automation blockchain allows, I’m very interested in just how cheap we can make different services.

6. What is a question you most often ask in relation to crypto currencies and blockchain?

Why is everyone outside the space so obsessed with knowing how blockchain works? Whenever I tell someone what I do they respond, “oh, blockchain, I never was able to understand that,” and I think to myself, “I don’t even have a clue how mySQL works under-the-hood, who cares?”

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

Honestly the most common problem I have with blockchains at the moment is how damn often hacks occur. I feel like it’s very hard to trust that a protocol is safe regardless of how long it’s been running or how many audits it’s been through.

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

I’m essentially pitching Armor now but coverage for your funds really is the solution. It’s been demonstrated over and over that hacks can happen anywhere and to anyone, and the only foolproof solution to protecting yourself against them is to purchase coverage.

Lots of protocols that sell coverage are springing up, which is fantastic, and Armor specifically is trying to make Ethereum as safe as possible by simplifying the process of purchasing coverage. You can currently get coverage for many protocols at once with a single click, and soon we’ll be providing 0-click coverage. As more protocols prove themselves, we’ll begin aggregating them so users will always receive the best price and have the best experience.

So Armor actually fixed this problem for me (I didn’t want to commit to unwieldy Nexus Mutual coverage so I use it for all my holdings) and hopefully it’ll continue to fix the problem for more!

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

Blockchain can probably be best utilized in any realm of finance. As we’ve seen with all the DeFi protocols as of late, there’s enormous opportunity to make truly revolutionary products on blockchain that have the potential to wipe out traditional industries. A company that traditionally may have taken hundreds of employees to run is able to be completely replaced by a single computer program.

10. Where do you see the future of blockchain?

I see the future of blockchain in all sorts of industries, but overall I see it being melded with traditional institutions to a much higher degree than it is now. Currently the blockchain space is almost completely walled off from the rest of the market, but as the technology improves, the user experience improves, traditional companies adopt, and blockchain companies grow, what was once a “blockchain company” will just be a company.

We hope you have enjoyed our interview with Robert from Armor. If you are interested in Armor, head to their website to find out more.

Do you also happen to be working on an interesting blockchain project? Feel free to send us an email, we’d love to interview you and hear your thoughts.

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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