Since the early days of blockchain development, Ukrainian specialists have been working on this technology adoption. Many companies have been established with the sole purpose of developing new blockchain-related solutions and helping other projects do so all over the world.
Today, we will speak with one of the founders of such a company – Aleksei Korobeinikov, the CTO of Blaize. He will share the knowledge and experience gained in the blockchain industry for the last 5+ years, as well as the outlook for this field in Ukraine.
Could you briefly tell us about Blaize? What are your main work areas and the services you offer? What projects do you do the most?
Blaize is a reliable technology provider that focuses on outsourced blockchain development and related areas. Our team takes care of the following services:
Blockchain L1, L2 development (EVM, Ethereum-like chains, Aptos, NEAR, Polkadot, Solana)
Blockchain security (smart-contract security audits, penetration testing)
Technical due diligence (tech assessment, validation)
Investing and securing projects, connecting to VCs
Besides, we have created and are currently running a few stand-alone products, including hackless.io and omomo.finance.
How did you start, and why did you choose this direction?
Blaize as we know it now was founded in 2017 by four experts: Sergey Onyshchenko, Dmitry Kovalchuk, Maksym Shcherbyna, and me, Aleksei Korobeinikov. We had different expertise, which allowed us to launch a successful company and complete our first few projects in blockchain development.
So why blockchain? The thing is that I was really impressed by this technology since the first time I heard about it in 2013. At that time, I was working in financial consulting for large international organizations. As a person who understood key working principles of the traditional financial system and the aspect of inflation, I got fond of Bitcoin's limited emission. It still implied inflation, but in the case of Bitcoin, it was incorporated mathematically, and everyone understood how it works.
This idea seemed as topical to me as the concept of limited resources’ value (like gold, for example). In fact, Bitcoin was the first fully decentralized digital limited resource with transparent and predictable rules.
Then, I came up with a very logical question – if this new currency has value, why has no one hacked it yet? I did my research and realized that blockchain was created as the most reliable system of data storage in the modern world. And as we live in a data-based society, this technology can be applied to many issues in different spheres of life.
That is how blockchain has entered my life and inspired the founders or Blaize to start the company and work in this field.
And what challenges did you face along the way?
As early blockchain adopters, we started working in the industry when there was no solid documentation, which is always a challenge for developers. Besides, we had to work with the blockchains that had performance troubles and constantly updated their versions, so the team had to adjust our solutions all the time as well.
Another challenge was to start working in the blockchain sphere when there was very little information that would give profound knowledge. And there were very few high-class developers, so at the beginning of our journey, we had to teach people on our own.
And, of course, let’s not forget about crypto winters when the whole market drops and everything goes slower and tougher. So far, we’ve successfully gone through two of them, and currently, going through the third one.
Could you share one of the most interesting cases/projects? It would be so interesting to our readers.
One of the most interesting projects that we have worked on was Nomo Fantasy Leagues by LeagueDAO. We have collaborated with the team for over 2 years, developed a blockchain-based protocol, a dApp, and keep deploying new features and maintaining the protocol.
The project is particularly interesting for our team because it unites fantasy sports, NFT, Play to Earn, and DeFi. Such a combination is pretty challenging but exciting to work on.
Actually, how long has Blaize worked in the blockchain field?
We founded the company in 2017, so it’s been more than 5 years.
If you compared the demand for blockchain developers a few years ago and now, has it grown?
Yes, significantly. Even if we take into account Blaize alone, we have grown our team from one person to over 65 blockchain developers. And speaking about the whole Ukrainian job market, I am sure there are thousands of specialists in demand.
The thing about blockchain development is that even though there are a lot of Mid- and Senior-level experts, the demand doesn’t drop since there are many new projects emerging every month.
Let’s now talk about blockchain in Ukraine. How do you see the development of the direction in Ukraine?
At the moment, there is a lot of hassle around the blockchain industry in our country. Many world-known projects like NEAR and Solana have Ukrainian roots, which adds to the overall image of Ukraine as a progressive country with a high level of blockchain adoption.
You might have heard that a few years ago, our government was beginning to introduce the concept of e-hryvnia, our own CBDC. At that time, it didn’t gain that much support, but recently it’s reemerged and will hopefully be implemented in the near future.
Besides, there was the Bank ID project by the National Bank of Ukraine. This is, again, a governmental initiative, which might be surprising to many Europeans.
On top of that, there are plenty of blockchain-related projects and outsourced developers who work in this field. Many software development companies have adopted blockchain technology to their tech stack. Many others have even released a few blockchain-based products that gained worldwide recognition.
For instance, Blaize has been providing outsourced blockchain development services for over 5 years now. We have successfully completed 70+ projects and 400+ smart contract audits. Besides, we’ve released several stand-alone products like DeHive, OMOMO, and Hackless.
And what about the forecasts for the nearest future? Could you share your thoughts about this?
We can observe a distinct trend lately – blockchain gets more and more attention, many new products emerge, and many people who haven’t been into this before start using cryptocurrency. However, more regulations are introduced as well, which might be repulsive for some of the existing users.
With the existing geopolitical situation, it’s hard to give some precise forecasts since blockchain is influenced by many outside factors from the real world and traditional industries. But I am sure that this technology will only expand its influence on our lives in the future.
What advice would you give to developers who start their journey in the blockchain industry?
The best advice I can give is to start working with professional blockchain developers as soon as possible. You will get the necessary experience much faster if you have support from a highly qualified team.
At the moment, the entry threshold in the industry is pretty low. So if you have prior experience in software development, taking online courses in blockchain development would usually be enough for you to get hired.
There are plenty of online courses these days, so the only challenge would be to choose the worthy one. Of course, I cannot guarantee the quality of such lessons – it depends solely on their provider. But I know for sure that the course we created with IdeaSoft is worth it, so you might give it a try.
These were the thoughts and tips shared by Aleksei Korobeinikov, the CTO of Blaize. We hope they will help you better understand how to develop in blockchain, what challenges you may face on your way, and how to move in the right direction.