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Working at Interchain GmbH - Build the Internet of Blockchains

Mihaela Popa 22 March, 2021 | 4 min read

Interchain GmbH is a small Berlin-based company that focuses on the open-source development of blockchain infrastructure. Responsible for stewarding some of the most foundational infrastructures for blockchain ecosystems, Interchain GmbH, is a subsidiary of the Interchain Foundation, a non-profit which funds research and development on blockchain interoperability, as well as other initiatives which explore the use of blockchain technology for better global economic and social systems. The Interchain Foundation’s particular interest is Cosmos, which is unique in its maturity and in the sovereignty that it provides to all its participants.

We asked the team behind Interchain GmbH a few questions about their work, product and the company's relationship with open source.

What is the idea behind Interchain GmbH?

We’re building the internet of blockchains: A fully-connected system that lets any blockchain network connect to any other blockchain network.

To get there, we focus on building a few pieces of foundational technology:

  1. Tendermint Core, a groundbreaking consensus algorithm;
  2. Inter-blockchain Communication (IBC), a new protocol layer for blockchain interoperability;
  3. Gaia, the software that ties it all together inside the Cosmos Hub.

All of our products are open-source libraries, which are used by many ecosystems and products in the blockchain space. Four of the top twenty most-valuable blockchains in the world are built with our technology, with a combined market cap of around $70B.

Check out their open roles here.

Can you tell us about Interchain GmbH’s tech stack?

We like to keep things simple. We write all our software in Go, and we use GitHub Actions to run our test suites and CI. Our software is developed alongside and reviewed against detailed technical specifications written in plain English.

What are some tech challenges your team is working on solving?

We are working on some pretty fundamental problems in computer science and especially with blockchain technology. For example, Tendermint Core (our consensus algorithm) solves the Byzantine Generals Problem in a much more environmentally-friendly way than Bitcoin’s proof-of-work consensus. Another of our products, the Inter-Blockchain Communication protocol, provides an application-agnostic way for heterogeneous blockchain networks to connect to one another (think TCP/IP, but for blockchains.) This solves some pretty foundational problems in blockchain interoperability, like atomic swaps!

What is your relationship with open source technology?

All our products are open source, and our software is an upstream dependency of many other open-source projects (especially in the blockchain space). There are thousands of forks of our core products!

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What are the benefits developers get by contributing to your open source projects?

Different developers benefit in different ways.

User-developers of our software get free, high quality and well-maintained code. They're given a path to making changes and requesting changes through our contribution standards.

Hobby-developers find an engaging and exciting code base that they can use to get their hands dirty on production-grade, critical software and make meaningful contributions even if it's their first open-source experience.

Employee-developers have a rewarding and challenging landscape of exciting and tough problems to sink their teeth into with a great balance of support and demand for their work.

You can contribute to their open source issues here.

How would you describe Interchain GmbH’s culture?

Our culture is very engineering-driven. In fact, engineers make up the vast majority of our team! This means that we have minimal meetings, very flexible working hours, and the freedom to prioritize things like fixing technical debt alongside building new features and other product work. We sometimes joke that we are a “safe space” for open source engineers: a place where we can focus on building great libraries and infrastructure!

interchain team.png

What are some traits that would make someone successful at your company?

Rigor - our work is high-stakes and secures a lot of value. Correctness is critical to our work.

Curiosity - much of our work deals with novel ideas in distributed systems or cryptography. You don’t need to be an expert in these areas to be successful here, but you do have to have curiosity and a willingness to learn.

Empathy - we work with teams and users around the world, tackling a wide variety of use-cases and working in a wide range of environments. The ability to collaborate and empathize with a wide range of people is key.

Strong communication skills - both written and verbal. We do a lot of our work asynchronously, so the ability to write a good design document is as important as the ability to write good code.

Why should someone work at Interchain GmbH?

If you like working with distributed systems, databases, blockchain protocols, or cryptography, we think you might like working with us!

Our team is multicultural and values diversity, and we make decisions in a collaborative and transparent way. We're a small team, growing quickly, positioned in the centre of one of the largest and most promising blockchain ecosystems. We are a non-profit, and in some ways, we resemble a collective more than a traditional software startup. But we’re not too crunchy: Because our software helps secure billions of dollars in value, we’re able to offer salaries that are competitive in a global market, along with a variety of other benefits and perks that align with the incentives of the products we build.

Doesn’t it sound like a dream job? Take a look at their open roles now!

Author's avatar
Mihaela Popa
Community Manager at WorksHub
    Marketing
    SaaS
    HubSpot

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