Please introduce your company and give a brief about your role within the company?
Adoriasoft has been on the market for a decade working in the area of software development and consulting. Until recently, we mainly focused on building information security solutions but in the past couple of years our team has been gravitating towards the research and development of the distributed ledger technologies. We have experienced cryptography engineers on board whose knowledge and skills allow us to take up fairly complex DLT projects.
My role in the company covers quite a number of fields - client consulting on multiple project-related issues, business development, and technology consulting. For many projects, I act as a sort of CTO organizing the process and advising on the most effective tools and technologies to be used.
I actively participate in the R&D processes for the projects Adoriasoft is involved in. I join the project at the initial stage researching the theoretical and scientific base that will lay the foundation for the entire product.
How does your company differentiate itself from the competition?
Our main difference is that Adoriasoft never regards its software development projects as merely writing the code and deploying the final product. On the contrary, our work begins at a much earlier stage with a deep technical and mathematical research. We use our vast scientific expertise to choose the most suitable approaches to the requirements and business goals of the product. We always start a project with building a solid scientific base, architecture and a development plan that makes the development process lean and predictable.
Another point that I would like to make here is that we always build our clients’ products as if we were their owners or founders. We work together with the client to evolve their initial idea into a complete project with all components, features, tools, and work stages laid down even before the first line of code is written. We know how to interpret the client’s product vision and business goals into specific software features and often suggest valuable improvements. In addition, our consultants and engineers can identify possible vulnerabilities in the existing client’s code or infrastructure and suggest ways to prevent them.
Generally, we can describe our work as 110% commitment with the team seeing each project in a long-term perspective.
What industries do you generally cater to? Are your customers repetitive? If yes, what ratio of clients has been repetitive to you?
We mostly provide our services to companies in the industries that are at the cutting edge of technology disruption - healthtech, fintech, retail, insurance. All these industries can benefit from applying distributed ledger technologies that can bring them to a totally new level. For such companies we build layer one blockchain solutions integrating them into their infrastructure and develop basic blockchain protocols to create complete security solutions on top of them.
Our clients can be best described as ongoing rather than repetitive. We prefer to become long-term partners with our clients providing a complete set of services from product support and maintenance to marketing consulting. Unfortunately, some projects do get ramped down or closed altogether for various reasons - the client going off the market, insufficient investments, the client’s internal issues. However, I can say that about 40% of our clients remain with us for long periods and become true business partners.
Please share some of the services that you offer for which clients approach you the most for?
The main services that we provide are protocol-level R&D, distributed apps based on Ethereum, EOS, Hyperledger Fabric, Hyperledger Besu, Polkadot. We can build entire complex solutions using DLT technologies. Another line of service that we provide is a security review of the client’s existing infrastructure.
Which platform do you prefer to use when developing a blockchain application? Why?
In the context of public distributed networks, we believe Ethereum and Polkadot have the highest potential. Both these technologies are in the hands of experienced teams and are evolving into secure and viable platforms. I would like to specifically note Ethereum 1.x and 2.0 as well as Multichain/Sharding Polkadot as the most promising blockchain development platforms. We are using them in building our solutions.
In a private environment, we also prefer Ethereum-compatible platforms. Here, our environment of choice is Hyperledger Besu introduced by their member, PegaSys, a spin-off from Consensys, which is becoming a true blockchain empire with strong long-term potential. We believe their technologies are going to stay with us for quite some time, this is why we prefer using them in our projects.
At the same time, we have enough experience of Hyperledger Fabric which we find effective for developing private solutions. Moreover, one of our team members is the engineer who participated in the creation of Hyperledger Iroha.
What tech stack and tools do your developers use?
We strongly believe that the thing that matters most is the knowledge and skills of our engineers. In their experienced hands, all tools and programming languages reach their full potential. Still, I can name some of the languages that our team uses the most often: C++, Rust, Go, Java.
Speaking of tools and frameworks, we use web3 tools, particularly, web3.js, Truffle Suite, Node.js and React.
Are open source, decentralized protocols going to be more significant than their web equivalent?
I see decentralized technologies as the 3rd generation internet. Many of the 3rd generation decentralized protocols now in the market are open-source. The previous generation internet protocols (1st and 2nd) were open-source, too, however, they were not decentralized. This is what makes the most important difference.
To answer your question, we believe that decentralized technologies bring completely new values to the current state of internet technology. They may eventually become a dominant player in this field. For example, static websites hosting on top of the decentralized IPFS protocol can effectively replace classic HTTP. Generally, there are quite a lot of decentralized equivalents of Web 2 protocols.
What scalability and throughput challenges are there with blockchain? What solutions would you suggest?
The main challenge is compatibility. The market is full of decentralized protocols many of which have no interoperability. In this respect, the main challenges blockchain now faces are, on the one hand, standardization allowing to achieve compatibility and interoperability and, on the other hand, the network throughput. Speaking of throughput, I again recommend looking at Ethereum 2.0 and Polkadot, as the most promising platforms in terms of scalability and throughput.
Of course, there are also security challenges. Many blockchain protocols contain vulnerabilities that present a risk of attacks. The reasons may be various - from code errors to insufficient decentralization. Here, we also set our hopes on VeriBlock and its unique solution of enhancing another blockchain security by using the power and decentralization of Bitcoin. In its turn, Polkadot with its shared security concept also holds a certain promise.
The main solution is in enhancing the collaboration between blockchain development teams towards achieving higher compatibility and reducing the security risks.
Will the success rate of ICOs be better or worse than tech start-ups?
Most ICOs have been and still remain startups. The main idea of ICOs was creating a crowdfunding opportunity, this is why I prefer not to mix these two concepts.
Speaking about ICOs, their main problem was lack of regulation. Many projects were set up just to collect money and, with no regulation, there were no mechanisms designed to protect the investors. In fact, IEOs that succeeded ICOs became a crowdfunding form that contains such regulations both before and after the IEO completion.
Another problem was the availability of advertising with no evaluation of projects by the advertising platforms. What could really make a difference at that point was community approval but that came too late. The only thing advertising platforms did was blocking all blockchain-related projects. From this point of view, ICOs did significant damage to the industry. At the moment, for blockchain R&D, it would have been better if many ICOs had never happened.
At the same time, ICOs gave the world a lot of innovative solutions advancing the entire DLT industry and having considerable value. For example, such major projects as Polkadot, Ethereum, VeriBlock, IPFS, and others became possible after token sales.
What are the key factors that you consider before deciding the cost of a project?
Often, clients come to us with just an idea, therefore, it is not easy to determine the project cost at that stage. We need to work together with the client to complete the discovery phase, build a proof of concept, a prototype, an MVP before we achieve the production-ready stage. Each of these works has its cost.
Generally, we base our project cost calculations on the complexity of the solution to be built, the requirements to the skillset, the number, and the complexity of user flows. In this context, the main factor, I believe, is not the costs as such but careful and detailed planning. We prefer planning our projects in logical increments so that we have a deliverable result at the end of each stage.
What kind of payment structure do you follow to bill your clients?
We use the Time-and-Material payment model. The specifics of our projects often do not allow us to apply the Fixed Price model as too many variables may be involved. Of course, for small projects, we might apply the Fixed Price model, too, but they do not occur very often.
In addition, we often work according to the team augmentation model assigning our team members to the client’s team. This way, the client does not need to choose between their team and ours but, rather, has a united team under single management. We use popular collaboration tools to set up an effective team operation - Jira, Slack, other observability solutions providing various metrics, such as test coverage. With such a model, we use monthly billing.
What is the price range (min and max) of the projects that you catered to in 2019?
The projects may vary greatly in the number of man-hours required to complete it and the number of developers engaged in it. For example, small projects requiring two dedicated engineers, and taking up to 3 months to complete may cost about $30,000.
As for ongoing projects, we apply an hourly rate that, depending on the required skill, ranges from $50 to $65.
However, we place the main focus not on the price but on the value that we bring to the client’s business sticking to a lean development process. We either build reliable, effective, and secure software solutions that are ready for marketing or we build a proof-of-concept or a prototype ready for pitching to investors, depending on the short-term goals of a client. We always try to become a complete technology partner for our clients setting up an efficient, transparent, secure, and convenient working environment.