Exclusive! hack.summit() & HackVCEd Founder Ed Roman Discusses Central Blockchain Issues

Venture capital firm Hack VC is in the midst of its bi-annual event, hack.summit(), a gathering and hackathon of some of the world’s key technical leaders in blockchain. Now live and held virtually until 11 July 2018, this year’s hack.summit() theme is blockchain, with headline speakers including technical founders of projects including ZCash, Ripple, Mt.Gox, Kadena, Stellar, DFINITY, Monero, Oasis Labs, Orchid, Bancor, TrustToken and Basis. On the first day, over 16,690 developers & blockchain enthusiasts logged in to the virtual conference.

All ticket sales from the event will be donated to coding nonprofits, particularly those that support diversity in coding, including Women Who Code, Black Girls Code, Free Code Camp, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Coder Dojo and Bridge Foundry.

[clickToTweet tweet=”On #Blockchain: Catching up with @hack_summit founder #EdRoman ” quote=”On #Blockchain: Catching up with @hack_summit founder #EdRoman”]

I recently caught up with Ed Roman, the AngelList alum, hack.summit founder & VC firm HackVCEd founder, to discuss his views on issues facing blockchain, including security, scaling, innovation/ disruption and open education. Our interview follows:

Erin: What are the current issues facing blockchain concerning security? Scaling?

Ed Roman: Even though blockchain projects are de-centralized without a single point of failure from a security perspective, there can still be security flaws in code that allow for exploits. We encourage all early-stage blockchain projects to conduct a security audit, and to leverage 3rd party services to perform bug bounty testing on their protocols.

There are a number of scams that occur for well-known blockchains where 3rd parties will masquerade as the company using fake URLs to try to convince unsuspecting investors to invest in fake tokens.  Investors should always be careful and ensure they’re only proceeding using official company channels.

From a scalability perspective, the transaction throughput volume of BTC and ETH have historically been sub-par which has limited the types of dApps built on blockchains.  A good example of this occurred when CryptoKitties launched and caused a six-fold increase on Ethereum network congestion. This is the year of next-generation blockchains where more scalable algorithms are being introduced into the market from projects such as DFINITY, Kadena, Oasis Labs, SKALE Labs, Thunder Token, and Hashgraph. Many of them are speaking at our virtual conference this week where you can learn more about these protocols from the comfort of your home.

[clickToTweet tweet=”‘There is a deep need for privacy on the blockchain,’ opines HackCV Founder Ed Roman. #blockchain @hack_summit” quote=”‘There is a deep need for privacy on the blockchain,’ opines HackCV Founder Ed Roman. #blockchain @hack_summit”]

Erin: What are the next steps toward innovation and/or disruption?  

Photo courtesy smemon on Flickr: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/Ed: There is a deep need for privacy on the blockchain.  Especially at the enterprise level, no large organization is going to want sensitive private data to be publicly available, especially if they’re accustomed to being in-control of that data in private data centers. For enterprises to embrace the blockchain they’ll want to be using private-chain solutions as well as privacy chains that give them comfort of secure data. Kadena and Keep Network are good examples of solutions in this space.

Erin: Where is the field headed? 

Ed: More scalable blockchains are coming to market this year and the next.
In addition, this is a year where a 2nd layer of picks and shovels are being built on-top of the blockchain, which enable application developers to more quickly build applications without writing all of the underlying infrastructure.
Examples of this include services such as the Origin Protocol (tools to build a marketplace on the blockchain), Trust Token (tools to build tokenized versions of real-life assets), or Blockdaemon (devops/hosting for blockchain projects).

As services like this become more readily available, the mainstream application developer will be able to harness blockchain without necessarily needing to be an expert on blockchain.

[clickToTweet tweet=”‘We believe that free education such as this can help grow the blockchain field, but also provide career opportunities to those who are in-need around the world.’ @hack_summit ” quote=”‘We believe that free education such as this can help grow the blockchain field, but also provide career opportunities to those who are in-need around the world.’ @hack_summit “]

Erin: What will free tech ed yield?

Ed: At hack.summit(), which is occurring July 9-11, we are providing free education on blockchain to engineers in 157 countries around the world who would like to learn more about how to build blockchain applications. By democratizing this education and making it available to all regardless of socio-economic status, it empowers those who believe in the technology but may not be able to travel to an expensive conference.

We believe that free education such as this can help grow the blockchain field, but also provide career opportunities to those who are in-need around the world. The beauty of blockchain is that teams are geographically distributed which provides unique opportunities to aspiring developers worldwide.

The tweet embedded below includes a lineup for today:

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