Please introduce your company and give a brief about your role within the company?
MixBytes is a team of blockchain developers, auditors and analysts keen on decentralized systems. We build open-source solutions, smart contracts, and blockchain protocols, perform security audits, work on benchmarking and software testing solutions, consult universities and enterprises, do research, publish articles and documentation.
How does your company differentiate itself from the competition?
Initially, we have been focusing on blockchain development and security audits. We are a niche DLT market provider and believe that this is our main advantage. Together with proven expertise, this is what distinguishes us among colleagues.
What industries do you generally cater to? Are your customers repetitive? If yes, what ratio of clients has been repetitive to you?
Our customers are from different spheres. These companies consider blockchain technology to improve their business processes and prioritize product security and prefer to have the code audited before its (main net) release. Our most repetitive clients are primarily representatives of the fintech sector and the so-called sphere of decentralized finance (DeFi) - one of the most promising niches in blockchain development.
Please share some of the services that you offer for which clients approach you the most for?
Since we specialize in blockchain development, our services are mainly related to research and development of decentralized protocols and their adaptation to specific business cases in finance, gambling, supply chain and other industries. Blockchain R&D aims to find the best solution that will help increase the efficiency of business processes and reduce operational costs. Another critical service is security audits of smart contracts and decentralized protocols. If audited projects involve financial assets, finding a security vulnerability becomes crucial. Our main task here is to eliminate security threats and risks that may undermine a safe project launch.
Which platform do you prefer to use when developing a blockchain application? Why?
We use Ethereum for development of public blockchain solutions, as it has a developed community and a proven track record of working solutions. We also use EOS as one of the fastest operating blockchains at the moment. It supports many internal algorithm customizations and has a rich and versatile smart contract system. We build on Substrate Polkadot as well. It is a framework for creating customizable blockchains and organizing data exchange between them. It supports a maximum number of customizations in all blockchain modules: cryptography, consensus, contracts, additional logic. We also developed our open-source framework called Haya. This solution is based on the EOS blockchain and has a list of other capabilities that extend its functionality.
What tech stack and tools do your developers use?
Our stack is based on the above-mentioned platforms, namely Solidity, C ++, Rust, JS, WebAssembly, Python, TypeScript, Java. As for blockchain development and security auditing, we use Infura, Truffle, Geth, Embark, Ganache, Mythril, Slither.
Are open-source, decentralized protocols going to be more significant than their web equivalent?
Definitely. Safe management of private data, immutability, and transaction traceability are areas in which decentralized protocols can demonstrate real value compared to classic web applications. Open-source software is an integral part of the upcoming WEB 3.0, which promises a global paradigm shift in communications between companies and users.
What scalability and throughput challenges are there with blockchain? What solutions would you suggest?
Indeed, blockchain scalability and bandwidth issues are now among the ones that prevent its mass adoption. However, leading blockchain vendors, including Ethereum and other teams, are actively developing solutions to handle these problems. These are the so-called L2 solutions, mainly focused on sharding. In a nutshell, sharding helps to divide transactions into "fragments." Each node in the network doesn't process the entire block, but its components. This allows you to process transactions faster and scales the network. Several new "scalability-priority" blockchains are also being developed. They serve users and developers as more scalable payment networks (Bitcoin Cash, Algorand) and platforms for decentralized applications (Cosmos, Polkadot, Dfinity). Though these projects are at the initial development level, they establish a fundamentally new scalable network architecture and look quite promising.
Will the success rate of ICOs be better or worse than tech startups?
The era of ICO and fast money ended in 2017. Few technological startups that develop low-level solutions and protocols aimed to solve the current scalability problems still have a chance to raise funds through IEO (Initial Exchange Offering). It is said that more than75% of all the ICOs did not deliver anything and thereby damaged the reputation of the industry itself. From this point of view, traditional venture financing is perhaps more fair, since it imposes the responsibility of startup founders on investors. On the other hand, the very approach of decentralized retail investment attraction through the issuance of tokens seems promising and innovative, as it gives a wide range of people an opportunity to join a venture capital market.
What are the key factors that you consider before deciding the cost of a project?
Estimation depends on the planned labor costs (time) of the development team and solution complexity. The more innovative the project is, the more time will be spent on design and implementation, the higher the price. As of security audit pricing, we usually take into account source code volume, its complexity, and the presence of dependencies with other source codes.
What kind of payment structure do you follow to bill your clients?
All depends on the service itself. If we are talking about R&D, we use the T&M (time and materials), model. For dApp development, we make an estimate based on the planned labor costs (hours and days), client specification and necessary stack. Security audit rates are mainly based on the amount of source code. In most cases, we divide the payment into parts: an advance payment at the beginning and a post-payment upon delivery of a product or service.
What is the price range (min and max) of the projects that you catered to in 2018?
Blockchain R&D and technology consulting services ranged from $5,000 to $20,000;
Custom blockchain development ranged from $10,000 to $200,000;
Security audit of smart contracts and protocols ranged from $1,500 to $30,000.