Open Source Blockchain Developers For Hire Via FundRequestbr>
FundRequest is envisioned as a decentralized marketplace designed to help companies who need open source blockchain software work find qualified help. The platform, now in beta, will allow anyone to fund projects and reward developers for their work.
The company recently partnered with Indorse, a platform that certifies the skill level of developers and showcases their professional record on the blockchain.
CEO Karel Striegel talked with Block Tribune about the company plans.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: Tell me about your strategy and how it works.
KAREL STRIEGEL: Basically, we are developing a platform that wants to bring the enterprise world closer to the open-source developers. As we all know, open-source the quality has increased a lot, and in the last decade more and more open-source software is being used in production by large enterprises. What we see is that even though the large enterprises already use open-source software, they are not leveraging the power of the open-source developers yet. Our platform is trying to become a marketplace between those enterprises and the open-source community.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: How will this work?
KAREL STRIEGEL: Well enterprises can come on board on our platform, and they can fund any request that they have, being it as simple as just having a buck fix, to a bit more complicate as requesting a new feature for a open-source project, or even eventually the goal is that they can come and just ask to develop the full project and have the open-source developers contribute to it and resolve the full request. But the main goal of the platform, and we will achieve them by adding slowly additional features like in the beginning we will allow people to just found or pay for a specific request, and make their own legal ad crowd funding so multiple people can chip in to get something resolved. And then later on we will create the concept of teams where developers can create a team with special abilities, special skills, to be able to apply for more larger requests.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: How many developers do you have on board that are servicing these requests right now?
KAREL STRIEGEL: The goal is not that we the platform, is solving the requests. We are just a marketplace that brings the enterprises to the open-source community. The way we do it is by integrating with existing platforms, for example, the GitHub, which has 6 million active developers. And we bring the additional features that are required in order to be able to incentivize developers on a financial level.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: What are the features you bring that are not present elsewhere?
KAREL STRIEGEL: First of all, that you can add a financial incentive to a specific issue. Additionally, what you are trying to do, as mentioned before, is creating teams and working full teams of specific projects. Have the opportunity to create full, new projects from scratch, and have the full community work on it, basically.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: Is this all ready, or are you going to have to develop the technology for this platform?
KAREL STRIEGEL: Currently it’s being developed, yes. So we have an alpha, which is more or less, an MVP, and is running all the test platform. At the moment, we are currently developing the first version to go live in a couple of weeks.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: Okay. Do you have requests already from various companies?
KAREL STRIEGEL: Yes. We have made several partnerships. We have done with Request Network and Remote.com, with Landroids as well, and a few more that are upcoming. In each of these partnerships there’s always the angle that they will use our platform to outsource development. Because for other blockchain projects, it’s actually quite interesting because we will support funding in any ERC20 token. So every crypto project that has their own ERC20 token on ethereum can come onboard on our platform, and use their own token to outsource certain parts of their development. Maybe to request a specific integration, or a new plug-in, or another browser plug-in. Even as simple as maybe translations, and they can offer that immediately to their own community. Because one of the problems that they face, these projects, is that, yeah they organize here, or they have probably an MVP, and a wide space on a large community, but now it’s time to deliver in the crypto world. Yeah, everything has to move fast. People are anxious, and the quest for looking for good developers is not that simple. It’s really not that easy. This is another way of helping them to boost development, and at the same time interact more with our community.
As a community member, if you support the project and you are a developer, you can chip in by helping them develop certain additional features, and you will be able to be devoted in the token of the project that you are supporting. So that’s a win-win for everyone.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: Recently, regulators are taking a look at the tokens that are being issued, and sort of savor rattling about how they may come down on these tokens, because they’re unregistered securities. Any thoughts about how that might affect your community?
KAREL STRIEGEL: I think the main key point there is that when you’re offering the token, so doing the sale actually, you have a platform that is live, and that you can use the token in. In our case, that’s also likely the case. We deport small contracts. Not going to say it’s very user friendly, but in theory, you could already fund specific issues if you could be the right call directly to the smart contract. Of course, that’s not a version that you want to offer to the public, so the current focus is really on the usability, and the UX and UI part of the platform, we will be improving on that so we can really start onboarding other projects.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: Now, you raised your money through crowdfunding rather than an initial coin offering. Is there an ICO in your future?
KAREL STRIEGEL: We did a token sale two weeks ago, so how we did our crowdfunding was having a seat round, then followed by a pre-sale, and then we did the token sale. Describe a bit more the tokens, and also to be able to offer the chance to everybody who was supporting our project at each step, the opportunity to take part in our crowdfunding campaign. Now that part is done, so we can finally focus all the development on the platform, because having a token sale is actually quite intensive. It requires a lot of preparation, a lot of work, a lot of attention, not only from a technical point of view, but also from the community side. We are not that huge of a team, so it was quite a lot of effort for us, and we are actually very happy that that part is done, and that we can start really focusing on building up the platform, and deliver on what we promised during the sale.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: What is your background?
KAREL STRIEGEL: My personal background is very technical. My education is a software developer and network engineer, and then going out into the real world, I funneled out as a system engineer in combination with database administrator. And then it slowly evolved more to being middleware, like [inaudible 00:09:19], JBoss, Tomcat, all that stuff. But back to viewing system engineering, and by always working together with development factories, I slowly moved over to the DavOps field, where basically my main goal was to facilitate services for deploying and building rapid development projects. Based on that, I was in contact with a lot of developers, so naturally at some point the blockchain topic technology got introduced, and by following that, and some experiences that we didn’t like, for example, specifically in the open-source world, we came up with the idea of, “Okay, maybe we need another to incentivize developers about working on open-source.”
To give an example, at the time I was a develops engineer, not a software developer, so I was using a lot of open-source software, but if I found a bug or a problem where I wanted to have real integration, the only thing that I could do was just mention it in a ticket, or raise an issue, say, “Hey, this is not okay. This is a bug.” Or [inaudible 00:10:32] integration, and then wait. And then hopefully, someone would pick it up that might find it interesting. That’s more or less the only thing I like to do. So in many cases I have to wait three months, six months before getting it fixed. But yeah, if you’re working in an enterprise, usually it’s something blocking, or you can not move forward, or you could not improve on something. And then waiting six months is a very long time, enough to switch to a new project or just drop the issue at all. So that’s why from that point the idea came to life that, “Okay, what if we could add funding to that?”
And by seeing certain cases where we offer a fix that other people were offering the same thing, but just were not heard. The idea also came, what if we could crowdfund the issue, that for example, we put $15 US dollars on the issue, and maybe three, four, five other people also chip in, and suddenly the issue is worth $200 US dollar. Maybe that would incentivize the developer to say, “Hmm, okay there is really a demand here. Maybe I should totally take a look at it.” And on same time, he will be rewarded for his time, and if he add the percentage of that and give it back to the project, then also the project gets some financial incentive and a new revenue stream. Which is also a bit of a problem in the open-source world.
If your project becomes very popular, yeah it takes a lot of time, and people are not being rewarded for that. So in a way it’s like if you have a popular project, the popularity becomes like a handbrake on the evolution of your project, because every request that is being done, every addition to the code has to be reviewed, has to be checked by the person who’s maintaining it, doesn’t maybe work full-time on it, is not being rewarded, so it’s very difficult to keep track of all of that. And then we hope as well with our platform to be able to solve at least some parts of that specific problem as well.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: Does your platform hold the funds that are pledged in escrow, and what’s your customer satisfaction? How does that work? Is it tested in a sandbox, and then the code is released?
KAREL STRIEGEL: The way we want to build our platform is by really going full out for the integration. Developers like their tooling, like their platforms. Our goal is not to create the new getup. It’s working very well, it’s very popular. We don’t want to compete with that, because we don’t see any reason to. Therefore we prefer to integrate, and add new features on that platform regarding the funds. What we are doing is our service, an enterprise, or a person, or whoever has an idea and enough funding, he creates an issue, and we create a smart contract for that specific issue that will lock in the funds. And then the developer can come up with a solution just using [inaudible 00:13:47] as he normally does, and our contract using an oracle can verify the solution has been accepted or not. Based on that result, the funds will be divided or allocated to the developer.
And then we have specific mechanisms in place. For example, if the funds are released, there’s a small code where the funds are allocated to the developer, but can’t transfer them immediately, so that any party who might have a problem with the resolution still has a chance to raise a dispute, and then we come into a dispute flow where the community can decide to develop the dispute or not, and based on the outcome we can still reward the developer, or say, “Hey, this is not correct. You are trying to cheat the system, so we cannot reward you.” And maybe even try to punish you with some deduction of reputation, or a bad review, or maybe the financial leave there. If he has to stake our token or to claim the reward. Eventually the system has to work autonomous. Decisions have to be made by the community. As imagined, we are funding, let’s say 10,000 issues, and 1% has issues or has a dispute, we cannot build a team that can, first of all, handle that amount of disputes, and secondly, a skilled in every project, in every technology to make the right call, or make the right decision. So we will count on the community itself to be able to distinguish right from wrong by having a community vote.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: Okay, those are my questions. Do you have anything else you want to tell me about that I didn’t ask you about?
KAREL STRIEGEL: I think another interesting part of our platform is the reputation. So if you see our platform from a very simple perspective, the person has a problem and has the reward, and someone else solves the problem. We are just the party in between that creates the functionality that they can interact very user friendly. But that means that we also see who is able to solve which specific problem, and since we are focusing on development, we can see, okay, who are the people who are resolving difficult problems, and which technology are they resolving these problems. And we see, also, the resolution or the solution, because it’s open-source. So if we combine then that information with the reputation system, we can start pointing out, okay, this is really a strong Java developer, and we know he is strong. For example, the US area or more from Europe, maybe Germany, maybe even Berlin, to be more precise. That’s valuable information that we are able to publish and show. And then the goal could be that the developer can create a profile and show his skills, his reputation in different domains. And all that will be backed by actual work, by actual codes, by actual solutions to specific problems, and not just a developer that says, “Hey, I have 10 year experience in Java development, and I’m a senior.”
The easiest way to look at it is, for example, LinkedIn many people have a profile, and you have a skill section where basically you can fill in any work and ask your network and your friends to up vote that specific skill, and suddenly it appears that you are a master in that certain skill. We could replace that section with our information, our data, but that look he indeed is really an expert in Java, because he was able to resolve these problems or fix these requests, or created a new project in that specific technology. If you want to go into more detail you can check it out. You can see his skills, you can see the comments, and support, and support, and support. And we believe that’s actually a valuable side, effective side part of our platform.