Please tell us more about your background, how you got interested in blockchain & DeFi and what you are currently working on?
I’ve always been into tech. I started programing at 15 and have always been aware of the latest news in the space. Later on I also got into economy and finance and was investing into stocks. So when I heard about Bitcoin and other crypto currencies in 2017, it has been the perfect match. I started by trading it (it was basically disneyland compared to the stock market at the time), but I quickly moved to the technical side of it. I was so curious to know how they worked ! With time I got pretty knowledgeable about Ethereum and I am now a freelance software developer and consultant specialised in Ethereum ecosystem and all the web technologies to make interfaces for them. I work either with big startups that raised a lot of money to create an innovative decentralised application, or with standard companies that have nothing to do with blockchain but want to integrate it to their model.
What have been your most important failures and what did you learn from them?
I don’t really see anything as a failure, rather as a lesson. Otherwise it’s hard to move forward ! But I had to pick something I’d say all the times that I underestimate the amount of work a mission would be. I sometimes let my job go too much over my personal life. It makes sense since it is also my passion but I learnt that balance is important to stay productive.
If you could change anything from the past, what would you do differently?
I guess if I had to change something, I would ditch some moments when I’ve been too much of a perfectionist in my learning journey, focusing a non relevant details. I might have been faster then. At least I try to stick to that now.
What is the slight moment which changed everything for you?
When I decided to leave my 9 to 5 job to become a freelancer. We were still pretty much into the post 2017 bear market and even if it was clear to me that DeFi was going to boom, it was still a bet to drop everything and go full time with it. But I paid off and now there is a lot of demand in this space and my job is so fulfilling.
What soft & hard skills have been most helpful in helping you succeed in DeFi?
First passion and tenacity have been huge helpers. Smart contract development is a complex task that needs a lot of work to master since informations are pretty spread around the web and not always beginner friendly. Then my technical background speeded up the process.
How have DeFi and blockchain changed your life?
Well it totally changed my work life for the better. Plus it gave me a sense of purpose since I feel like this technology can lead to a change for better in the world. Rebalancing financial forces is probably a good start to fix quite a few inequalities out there and to slow down the deterioration of the environment.
What is a typical day for you? What are your work habits? (planning, how you work, rules you set for yourself, etc.)
I start my day by checking my mails and the latest news in the space. Then I move on with some coding until the end of the morning when I have some calls. After lunch I read or listen to a podcast. I usually have another call and then I start coding again until the end of the day with a team meeting in the middle sometimes. I also take a few breaks by studying new protocols and tools.
Which tools do you use in your daily life as a developer?
My mac. I love Linux but I can’t spend entire afternoons doing research to make a new packet work when I need to be productive. Then I use VS Code as a code editor. Hardhat with waffle and openzeppelin for smart contract development. React, ethers and web3-react for frontend development and nodejs with express or fastify for the backend. That is what I use all the time, but there are lots of other langages and libraries that I use from time to time.
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What are the best resources (media, blog, influencer, podcast, nl…) you follow to be always up to date on the DeFi and your niche?
I love the Week in Ethereum newsletter, it is full of news on different sides of the ecosystem. Then I follow a couple of youtube channels like Eat the Blocks. And lastly I check the blog of the different protocols and companies I’m interested in.
What is your favorite DeFi Project?
I have a special affection for Uniswap since my solidity dev skills really started to get to the next level after studying its V2 source code. Otherwise I find Synthetix fascinating.
Among the people you’ve worked/interacted with in DeFi, who do you admire most and why?
I will always be amazed by devs who know the op codes of the EVM and their gas price by heart ! (sorry if it makes no sense to you :) )
What is different working as a developer for DeFi & blockchain topics?
Security for sure. When a smart contract has millions locked in, you better have though twice about its potential vulnerabilities before you deployed it. Then tooling. It tends to improve but globally it is still young and not always handy. Best practices can also be a bit confusing when you come from more traditional development since smart contract programming is very specific. You sometimes need to do unnatural things to improve gas costs for example.
How do you manage to find clients as a freelancer?
To be honest I don’t do much, most of them come to me. But that is in the context of a bull run on the crypto market. Let’s see want happens when it comes down… I still make posts on Linkedin, maybe it brings a bit of visibility as well.
What part should developers play in DeFi and blockchain?
Educating on the best practices when creating a decentralised application is very important, and we are there at the first stage to prevent the bad moves. I see a lot of projects that tend to get more and more centralised during development because of a lack of understanding of what decentralisation is at its core.
What is your vision for your niche? What do you expect to come in the next few years? What developments in the field do you find to be the most exciting?
I think crypto assets will democratise more and more. We see many big companies taking it seriously now and actually investing in it. I think Ethereum will start to scale for real with the rollups layer 2 solutions that are coming to maturity and the sharding technology coming to life among the Ethereum 2.0 dev teams. With the reduced transaction fees we will see more and more use cases popping up that wasn’t viable until then. And finally I think crypto collectibles will become standard in video games, and more and more people will understand digital scarcity.
What kind of challenges do you look for today?
Well I have many exciting opportunities, but I guess that I would like to work for a major player in the blockchain space, and at some point to start my own project since I have a few ideas.
Any tips for the beginners who aspire to become a developer on DeFi, but feel completely overwhelmed to even start competing?
I would recommend to start with regular web development. The step will be easier to reach and will teach a lot of useful concepts before moving on to the more complex and less documented world of blockchain.