Based in Poland but working internationally to develop software including blockchain products, Espeo Blockchain recently spoke to Fintech.gi:
Who is Espeo Blockchain, and what sorts of services do you offer?
Espeo blockchain is a full-service blockchain lab part of Espeo Software. Espeo Software has been operating for over a decade, while Espeo Blockchain has been operating since the Spring of 2018.
One of our most popular services is our product design workshop where our consultants work closely with a partner’s business idea and flesh it out to create a full blockchain pitch deck. This includes a tokenomics model and a go-to-market strategy. Tokenomics can get fairly complex and can really go wrong if you’re not careful. We’ve found some entrepreneurs find it difficult to explain some blockchain concepts to investors. Our workshops help solidify the technical aspects of a blockchain product.
Of course, we also develop blockchain projects. One of our clients, CloseCross is a derivatives trading platform leveraging blockchain.
In which locations are you based, and what were the factors that influenced your choice of location?
We’re headquartered in Poznań, Poland and have branch offices in Helsinki, San Francisco, Zug, and Dubai.
Our development team is based in Poland because of the deep talent pool here. The Polish market is highly advanced when it comes to software development. Educational standards are high, and developers are motivated and very professional. Wages in Poland are still competitive compared to Western Europe and Scandinavia, but the advantage we have here is a thriving community of blockchain developers. I think one of the major factors for such intense interest here is a general cynicism about government institutions and a desire to cut through bureaucracy.
Perhaps the benefits of blockchain are much more salient here and as a result, there are many talented developers on our team. One of our current side projects is a free, open-source blockchain oracle called Gardener. We developed our own tool out of frustration with some current SaaS solutions. It’s designed to improve our own development work, but also to contribute to the blockchain community.
Our branch offices are domiciled in the respective countries to establish a strong image there and to be close to some of the hotbeds of blockchain innovation.
Are you involved in working with Gib firms, or firms based in Gib?
We are, though we’re not allowed to name any names.
Blockchain technology is something that is particularly exciting for those working in finance and financial services with the advent of cryptocurrency – what services do you provide for firms working in this field, or seeking to issue an STO or develop their own coin or even their own trading platform?
Yes, we agree that blockchain is a huge game changer in global finance. But aside from some of the hype, at our core, we’re technical people. We understand the complexities of the new technology and find the best ways to leverage it for our partner. We help them launch the best possible product to the market using our expertise to guide the process from the product design workshop to an MVP, and finally to a full product launch.
It’s really important that you get the tokenomics and business logic right before you start actually developing a blockchain product. One of our current clients, CloseCross is a derivatives trading platform using blockchain technology to record and verify predictions. Users make time-sensitive predictions on the future price of commodities such as gold or bitcoin. Working together with the CloseCross team, we designed a non-blockchain mobile application, a blockchain backend, and a straightforward user interface. They’ve just raised $3m in a capital round and will continue to work with us to deliver more features.
As your company developed, what were the challenges that you faced and that you had to overcome?
Building a knowledge-based company means caring a lot about your employees and investing in their professional development. When scaling the software development business, it’s a challenge to build a qualified team, keep the bar high during recruitment and foster a friendly and transparent organizational culture.
What sorts of skills do you think that young people interested in developing careers in tech should be looking at developing, and, as potential employers, what skills and talents would you advise the education sector to aim to develop in young people?
We believe that the education sector should be focused on soft skills. Students should be aware that hard skills, programming languages or frameworks required on the market change every 5 years or so. What becomes more important is teamwork, communication skills, absorbing new knowledge and being able to use that knowledge to solve problems.
What are your thoughts about the future – what can blockchain technology do to improve the world, to improve the way we work and the ways that we exchange value across the world? What might this mean to the way that global economies and financial systems are currently organised?
For now, blockchain remains a niche technology in most of the developed world. I think its biggest promise, though, is in the developing world. Places with unstable currencies and poor access to financial services have the opportunity to circumvent a lot of legacy systems we have in the West. Cross-border payments, for example, are one of the use cases I find compelling. Faster, cheaper money transfers may help some of the world’s most vulnerable populations. The transparency of public blockchains also gives me hope for their use in breaking down data silos.
Private blockchains with specific functions, however, are likely to be the future. For all the enthusiasm for a financial revolution, blockchain technology will increasingly be incorporated into existing systems. More broadly, I think that in sectors such as healthcare or real estate, blockchain technology can help manage records and provide cryptographic guarantees that files are authentic and un-tampered with. These innovations will help companies streamline their processes and shore up profits, possibly passing savings to consumers.
I’m not sure that blockchain will completely undermine the global financial system or central banks as many claim. Instead, solid business cases will continue to emerge and the technology will fade into the background. I think the best blockchain use cases will be ones where no one notices.