Please introduce your company and give a brief about your role within the company?
Serokell is a software research and development company focused on creating innovative and well-protected solutions for complex, challenging problems.
Our team is composed of developers, site reliability engineers, designers, computer scientists, and mathematicians, all to guide you from the initial idea to a complete product.
Serokell engineers are the top experts in their fields and have received awards such as the 1st place in the Telegram Open Network smart contracts contest.
How does your company differentiate itself from the competition?
Serokell is a community of open-minded people, whose goal is to provide the society with new convenient and protected software solutions.
Our main assets are functional programming languages and a strong mathematical background. Together, they let us solve complicated non-trivial tasks.
What industries do you generally cater to? Are your customers repetitive? If yes, what ratio of clients has been repetitive to you?
Among our main priorities are financial, educational, and e-commerce industries. We are also ready to design medicine, insurance, banking software, cover automation for regulators, and do big enterprise projects. The majority of our clients are working with us long-term. As to particular figures, the retention ratio is about 80-90%. Even our first clients are our regular customers now. And we are proud that they are satisfied with the results and that we can help them grow a successful business.
Please share some of the services that you offer for which clients approach you the most for?
Serokell offers custom software creation. We are very flexible and can provide our clients with software development from scratch or audit the existing solution to find vulnerabilities. We think that collaboration of business people and technicians is very important. This approach helps to recognize the hidden needs and to work out the optimal way for their realization.
Which platform do you prefer to use when developing a blockchain application? Why?
Each platform has its own set of features and limitations. For example, public blockchain solutions like Ethereum or EOS store all of their transactions in open access. At the same time, private blockchain solutions, such as Hyperledger, are limited in the provision of verifiability of the data stored on them. We analyze the client’s demands and decide on what platform it is better to develop a particular application. Sometimes, to create a new custom platform from scratch is the best option to answer all the demands. We do not have any preferences, we are flexible and design the solution based on our client’s needs.
What tech stack and tools do your developers use?
Our tech stack includes functional languages: Haskell, Agda, Nix, etc. We use TypeScript as the most predictable frontend language. We can work on C++, Python, and integrate other object-oriented languages if it’s optimal for the particular problem-solving.
Are open source, decentralized protocols going to be more significant than their web equivalent?
This question is not clear to me. I guess you wish to compare decentralized and centralized protocols. In this case, the answer will be: both of them are valuable and important. There are digital projects, like e-commerce stores, social nets, which are designed for centralized platforms. But some ideas, like smart contracts, demand decentralization. To develop decentralized systems is more complicated, and it’s more expensive to maintain them. Serokell developers are always ready to have a chat about which technology and platform is the best option for your business idea.
What scalability and throughput challenges are there with blockchain? What solutions would you suggest?
Scalability and throughput issues arise due to the decentralized nature of blockchain. Multiple parties have to reach consensus, i. e. consistently decide which transactions are valid. These parties are distributed all over the world, so network latency is inevitable. Both theoretical and practical sides are quite important if you want your blockchain to be scalable and have high throughput.
First of all, you need an efficient algorithm, but that's not enough. You also need to implement it properly and efficiently because the poor implementation can neglect all benefits of your algorithm.
Possible solutions to these issues reside at two layers. The first layer is the blockchain itself. For example, modern PoS-based blockchain algorithms are generally more efficient than PoW-based ones. The second layer is above blockchain: the idea is to have another network on top of blockchain and occasionally commit to the main blockchain. An example is Lightning Network.
Will the success rate of ICOs be better or worse than tech start-ups?
I saw a great interest in ICO several years ago. But later on, the whole mechanism of ICO was compromised.
Such investments were much easier to gain, but the regulations for the projects were really weak. And actually, there is no guarantee for the investor that money would be used for the purpose now.
On the other hand, for the business owner, ICOs demand to answer some requirements in terms of token management. You need to maintain the liquidity of your ICOs, and work with the tokens on the stock exchange to organize secondary trading.
So, ICOs are useful now only to a very limited segment of tech startups and will not gain back their bygone glory.
What are the key factors that you consider before deciding the cost of a project?
The cost of the project is the multiplication of the programmers’ working hours by a fixed rate. So, after a deep investigation of the demands, we evaluate the software system as a whole and plan all the components. In such a way, the software agent can provide the exact price of the project before development. And Serokell does not change these prices on the go.
What kind of payment structure do you follow to bill your clients?
The project is usually divided into several parts (stages). Each stage has a detailed description of services, working hours, and cost. We work on a prepayment basis, but the client pays only for the current stage. When it is implemented and accepted, we move to the next. So, the software development investment flow is crystal clear and can be easily planned in advance.
What is the price range (min and max) of the projects that you catered to in 2019?
In 2019, we worked on small and large projects, so the price range varies from 2000 Euro to more than 500 000.