Goodbye 2019, Hello 2020

2019-12-19 in  Polkadot
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To close out the year, we asked colleagues working on the launch of Polkadot to reflect on their work in 2019 and discuss what part of their work they’re most looking forward to in 2020. We’re excited to share their answers (some serious and some light-hearted!) with you below.

Responses come from almost every team at Web3 Foundation -- from the Research and Communications to Infrastructure and Community & Growth -- and from three continents. We also asked a few colleagues at our main development partner Parity Technologies to join in.

Enjoy! And see you in 2020.

Handan Kilinc Alper

Research Scientist

Web3 Foundation

Handan@web3.foundation

Located in: Zug, Switzerland

Day-to-day tasks: With the help of math, I prove that any kind of malicious behavior in a protocol does not break the security.

With respect to Polkadot launch preparations, what was the biggest problem that you helped solve in 2019? Security analysis of the Relay Chain block production mechanism, BABE.

One event this year that boosted your commitment to delivering a decentralized internet, Web 3.0? Advances in Financial Technologies (AFT’19)

What does Polkadot mean to you? Polkadot provides reliable communication between multiple independent blockchains.

With respect to Polkadot, which problem are you most excited to work on in 2020? Security analysis of the constant-time block production mechanism.

Additional comments: We had many research challenges in 2019 and we overcame them (or most of them :D). We are much stronger now! We are looking forward to the new challenges of 2020!

David Hawig

Grants Manager

Web3 Foundation

David@web3.foundation

Located in: Dortmund, Germany

Day-to-day tasks: All over the place ;-) Officially, I'm evaluating grant applications, and I help to define the technological roadmap for our grants program.

With respect to Polkadot launch preparations, what was the biggest problem that you helped solve in 2019? It's more about all the little contributions, like helping various teams, fixing issues or setting up the Polkadot Standards Proposals GitHub, etc.

Can you think of one event this year that boosted your commitment to delivering a decentralized internet, Web 3.0? Probably seeing Edward Snowden's talk at the Web3 Summit.

What does Polkadot mean to you? I said either: It's a blockchain project that connects different chains via a shared security model. Or: It's a way to interact with each other in a trustless way.

With respect to Polkadot, which problem are you most excited to work on in 2020? The decentralization of the grants program and helping projects succeed.

Additional comments: I can't think of anything Google does not already know about me anyway ;-).

Bruno Škvorc

Technical Education

Web3 Foundation

Bruno@web3.foundation

Located in: Čakovec, Croatia

Day-to-day tasks: Copy paste knowledge. Copy from ecosystem, code or other people; paste into other people's heads.

With respect to Polkadot launch preparations, what was the biggest problem that you helped solve in 2019? Develop a technical outsider's perspective on a nearly finished product.

Can you think of one event this year that boosted your commitment to delivering a decentralized internet, Web 3.0? More of an ongoing event: Watching the ad-based Web 2.0 model tear relationships apart with anger-inducing clickbait.

What does Polkadot mean to you? Unwalled gardens

With respect to Polkadot, which problem are you most excited to work on in 2020? Bringing devs over to our side

Additional comments: Dogs > humans

Chris Hutchinson

Lead, Community

Web3 Foundation

Chris@web3.foundation

Located in: Chattanooga, Tennessee

Day-to-day tasks: My day-to-day consists of identifying trends within the community and strategizing on growth tactics to keep the community happy and engaged. I also enjoy helping support other parts of the organization from the community angle.

With respect to Polkadot launch preparations, what was the biggest problem that you helped solve in 2019? A comprehensive multi-pronged community engagement strategy. Creating a thoughtful way to connect with all the amazing community members all over the globe and help give them a voice to shape the future of the web.

Can you think of one event this year that boosted your commitment to delivering a decentralized internet, Web 3.0? Web3 Summit was amazing! My first time ever in Berlin and a visit I'll never forget in my pursuit to see the web change for the better.

What does Polkadot mean to you? A mind-blowing meta-blockchain; a key set of components for the next generation of Web 3.0.

With respect to Polkadot, which problem are you most excited to work on in 2020? Scaling out our ambassador program to the next level ;)

Additional comments: This community members who who I've chatted with, met and spent lots of time this year with are something truly extraordinary. Some of the most passionate and creative individuals I've ever met.

Shoutout to the trollbox, shoutout all the random amazing riot channels. Love, peace and chicken grease.

Alexandra Heller

Head of Marketing

Parity Technologies

Follow me on Twitter

Located in: Berlin ❤️

Day-to-day tasks: I help connect people to the tech that the Parity developers are building.

With respect to Polkadot launch preparations, what was the biggest problem that you helped solve in 2019? I helped teams understand why they should build using the blockchain Substrate framework. Substrate is the easiest way for teams to build Polkadot parachains.

Can you think of one event this year that boosted your commitment to delivering a decentralized internet, Web 3.0? Watching Snowden at Web3 Summit this year was a game-changer for me. I realized how important it is to have an internet that is fair and open to everyone. Access to a fair and open internet should be a fundamental human right!

What does Polkadot mean to you? I love how Shawn Tabrizi puts it here: Bitcoin is a calculator, Ethereum is a computer, Polkadot is the internet.

With respect to Polkadot, which problem are you most excited to work on in 2020? I’m excited to see who’s going to come out with a billion-dollar cross-chain application. ;) Other than that I’m just super excited to support the teams building their projects on Substrate. It’s been amazing to watch teams like Polymath, OScoin, and Centrifuge realize that Substrate gives them exactly what they need. Giving teams the ability to focus on their unique business logic and adoption instead of building something super general like networking is really inspiring. And for most teams, joining the Polkadot network is a no-brainer.

Additional comments:

I’m continually blown away by the team I get to work with day-to-day. These people are super smart and fun, but they are also incredibly passionate about making the best engineering decisions. One of my favorite parts of my job is getting to profile the team in the People of Parity series so people can hear the individual voices that are behind the tech.

I’m excited to see chains be secured by Polkadot. We don’t all have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to securing networks! The planet can’t survive any more wasteful proof-of-work networks. And even when it comes to proof of stake, there’s limited validator resources.

Iggy

Just Iggy

Web3 Foundation

Iggy@web3.foundation

Located in: Zug, Switzerland

Day-to-day tasks: I organize thoughts into visual rules.

With respect to Polkadot launch preparations, what was the biggest problem that you helped solve in 2019? Help to visualise abstract terms from researchers and developers so they can be explained in communications and technical education.

Can you think of one event this year that boosted your commitment to delivering a decentralized internet, Web 3.0? Spanish internet and media censorship. Riots and protest in Catalonia. Specifically the Tsunami Democratic App.

What does Polkadot mean to you? We learned how to cultivate and get rewards from our work. Bitcoin.

We built a market to trade those goods with contracts. Ethereum.

Let's build a city for anyone so we can do everything. Polkadot.

With respect to Polkadot, which problem are you most excited to work on in 2020? Help to kickstart identities for projects inside the Polkadot ecosystem.

Federico Gimenez

Team Lead, Infrastructure

Web3 Foundation

Federico@web3.foundation

Located in: Madrid, Spain

Day-to-day tasks: I write software to manage IT infrastructure.

With respect to Polkadot launch preparations, what was the biggest problem that you helped solve in 2019? The Kusama bootstrap. I contributed to the design of the core infrastructure (bootnodes and proof-of-authority validators) for the soft launch and the development of the tooling to accomplish it. After performing the actual deployment I also was part of the teams taking care of monitoring and incident response.

Can you think of one event this year that boosted your commitment to delivering a decentralized internet, Web 3.0? The most inspiring moments have been when the control of the Kusama network was given to the community, mainly during the transition from proof of authority to nominated proof of stake; and also when the referenda that decided the removal of sudo and the enablement of transactions was held.

What does Polkadot mean to you? The platform for the future "internet," for lack of a better word.

With respect to Polkadot, which problem are you most excited to work on in 2020? We need to improve our automation. As I see it we should aim to have more autonomous systems that can observe their environment and act by themselves in case the perceived state of the world doesn't match the desired state. Solutions based on Polkadot itself would be really awesome.

Anson Lau

Technical Education

Web3 Foundation

Anson@web3.foundation

Located in: Hong Kong

With respect to Polkadot launch preparations, what was the biggest problem that you helped solve in 2019? Onboarding more people to run a validator on Polkadot.

Can you think of one event this year that boosted your commitment to delivering a decentralized internet, Web 3.0? Web3 Summit!

What does Polkadot mean to you? Polkadot is a network of different blockchains that are aiming to talk to each other in a trustless way.

With respect to Polkadot, which problem are you most excited to work on in 2020? Creating a bridge to enable a specified chain to connect with Polkadot.

Bill Laboon

Lead, Technical Education

Web3 Foundation

Bill@web3.foundation

Located in: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Day-to-day tasks: Develop workshops, tutorials, documentation and classes to teach people about developing and using Polkadot.

With respect to Polkadot launch preparations, what was the biggest problem that you helped solve in 2019? Developing the Polkadot Wiki and introducing people to Polkadot via workshops.

Can you think of one event this year that boosted your commitment to delivering a decentralized internet, Web 3.0? Just one event? I think that seeing how centralized the tech world is becoming, on a day-by-day basis, has been enough to redouble my commitment to the cause.

What does Polkadot mean to you? The spark for the next generation of blockchain projects.

With respect to Polkadot, which problem are you most excited to work on in 2020? Seeing the proliferation of parachains and helping bring people's ideas for their own blockchains to life.

Qinwen Wang

China community manager

Web3 Foundation

Qinwen@web3.foundation

Located in: Shanghai

Day-to-day tasks: China technical community and bootcamp management.

With respect to Polkadot launch preparations, what was the biggest problem that you helped solve in 2019? Working with a great team to grow our presence in China.

Can you think of one event this year that boosted your commitment to delivering a decentralized internet, Web 3.0? Gavin’s passion and vision delivered in China meetups.

What does Polkadot mean to you? The most ambitious and artistic tech project in the world of decentralized technology! It’s connecting the different layers of civilization and commerce.

With respect to Polkadot, which problem are you most excited to work on in 2020? Build a successful and reputable bootcamp.

Additional comments: Life’s short, so do it all :)

Peter Czaban

Technology

Web3 Foundation

Peter@web3.foundation

Located in: Zug, Switzerland

Day-to-day tasks: Help the Technology teams to facilitate the development of the Web3 Technologies Stack: all the way from research to funding.

With respect to Polkadot launch preparations, what was the biggest problem that you helped solve in 2019? Establish new teams at W3F: Without DevOps, Security and other teams we would have a hard time. More concrete: Determine the dot allocation process so that the genesis of Polkadot aligns with the community's expectations.

Can you think of one event this year that boosted your commitment to delivering a decentralized internet, Web 3.0? Seeing how easily Zerochain was able to develop a privacy-preserving chain based on Substrate.

What does Polkadot mean to you? Polkadot is a new decentralized network that aims to accelerate the development of decentralized web by providing an adaptable and interconnected foundation.

With respect to Polkadot, which problem are you most excited to work on in 2020? Hopefully as individuals and projects start getting on board we will start noticing their needs, the question will be how can we adapt the Polkadot network using its governance mechanisms to best serve the community.

For more information on Polkadot, visit polkadot.network or, for a more technical rundown, the Polkadot Wiki. Follow Polkadot on Twitter or join the conversation on Telegram, Riot or Reddit. The best way to get involved with Polkadot is to join the Polkadot Ambassador Program as an ambassador. Apply Now!

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