Laurence will be presenting a series of technical workshops on developing DApps as part of Post Covid Hack 2020
Brendan: Hi Laurence, great to have you on board as part of #PCH2020!
Laurence: It's a pleasure to be here!
Brendan: You're the CEO of Extropy.io - can you tell us a bit about Extropy - perhaps let's start with the name - it seems like a play on the word "entropy"!
Laurence: Extropy is actually a philosophy - it's defined as an "evolving framework of values and standards for continuously improving the human condition" which is what we strive for at Extropy. We're the vehicle that gets our clients from where they are, to where they want to be - quite the opposite of Entropy, thankfully!
Brendan: What does Extropy do?
Laurence: We're a consultancy for distributed ledger technology and cryptography. We place alot of emphasis on security, therefore we carry out independent audit reports for smart contracts, as well as full stack development work.
Brendan: How did you come about the idea to start Extropy, and what pushed you to do it?
Laurence: I had been following blockchain technology since 2013, when Ethereum was introduced I was intrigued by the possibilities, and wanted to be part of the movement towards decentralisation.
Brendan: Apart from being CEO, you're also Senior Blockchain Developer at Extropy. So you're wearing two hats?
Laurence: Yes, we're a small company, so all of us have multiple roles. Sadly, I don't get to code as often as I would like.
Brendan: I think it's fantastic that you're very much a hands on and technical person, and in management at the same time. As a software engineer, I find it quite frustrating sometimes - and I'm sure this isn't an uncommon opinion - when I'm being managed by someone who doesn't necessarily "get" the technology.
Laurence: Yes, it certainly helps with a very technical team.
Brendan: You have already held your first workshop in this series - "Blockchain basics: Writing your first smart contract" - unfortunately we did not manage to do this interview ahead of that.
Laurence: I very much enjoyed the first workshop, thanks to the partners and everyone that attended.
Brendan: For those of you only hearing about this now, not to worry, we'll be sure to publish the recorded video, along with the accompanying resources from that ASAP!
This event is over, and the recorded video will be published soon. Watch this space!
You have three more workshops coming up, "Blockchain for hackathons: How to build a DApp as quickly as possible", "Blockchains and smart contract security: Essential safeguards for your DApp", and "Zero-knowledge proofs: A practical guide to developing ZKPs for a DApp". Can you tell us a bit about what to expect in those?
Laurence: In Workshop 2, my colleague Tom Dwyer will show how to create a useful application as quickly as possible, involving smart contracts and a user interface, along with an overview of useful technology and development tools. It will be very practical and just what you need to get started in a hackathon.
Brendan: That sounds like an absolute not-to-be-missed event for anyone participating in a hackathon involving DApps! Do go on, workshop 3 and 4...
Laurence: In Workshop 3, I will go through the essential security you should implement in your smart contract, along with a few horror stories and puzzles.
The final workshop covers zero knowledge proofs, and associated cryptography . I will explain how they are being used to preserve privacy in applications, how to develop them and integrate them with a smart contract.
Brendan: That sounds excellent - I'll be sure to attend all of them. (Kind of need to being one of the organisers anyway!)
I think anyone who is participating in #PCH2020 should too - these are extremely useful skills when it comes to building decentralised applications quickly and securely! Plus, a dash of advanced wizardy (ZKPs) just to flex your skills!
Laurence: Indeed, I still sometimes think that magic is involved in zero knowledge proofs, I hope to explain them yet still keep a sense of awe.
Brendan: Well, Arthur Clarke's 3rd Law does indeed state that "any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic," after all. Sounds like that was true in the 70s, and still holds true today!
Alright, perhaps let's wrap up with a bit of advice from you: What would you say to someone if you were asked today, "I'm a developer, and only just heard about blockchain recently. I would like to become a DApp developer - what is the best thing for me to learn, or do, now?"
Laurence: Firstly that you've made a great choice its a fascinating area to get involved with. There are many resources available to help you, including of course our workshops. I also recommend getting involved in open source projects, maybe go to meetings and conferences. The communities are full of people doing what they love, and are truly inspiring.
Check out Extropy's other workshops
Brendan: Thank you very much Laurence, and it was great speaking with you!
Laurence: Thanks, you too!
See the original Post Covid Hack 2020 partnership announcement