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Working at Tendermint - Build the Most Powerful Tools for Distributed Networks

Mihaela Popa 6 September, 2021 | 6 min read

Tendermint is a leading blockchain software development company that serves as the gateway to the Cosmos ecosystem. They are building critical infrastructure for open networks, like the Cosmos SDK, Starport, Tendermint Core, and Gaia. More than 240 blockchain apps and services are built using Tendermint technology, including Binance Coin, Terra, Cosmos Hub, OKB, and Crypto.com. Together, these apps and services make up the burgeoning Cosmos ecosystem that secures more than $70 billion of digital assets.

We’ve asked Natalia Puntel, the Head of Talent Acquisition at Tendermint for more details about the company’s journey so far, as well as their tech stack, culture, and interviewing process. Keep on reading to find out more!

What is Tendermint? Tell us more about the company’s journey.

At Tendermint, we empower people to create a transparent and accountable world through open, distributed, and interoperable networks. We believe in transparency, interoperability, collaboration, and sustainability. Indeed, Tendermint was born out of co-founder Jae Kwon's recognition of Proof of Work (PoW) as an unsustainable energy-intensive model and the belief that blockchains must have the ability to interconnect and transact between each other.

Jae was the first person who applied Byzantine Fault Tolerance (BFT) research in a Proof of Stake (PoS) public blockchain context and went on to found Tendermint in 2014 with Ethan Buchman. Together, they developed Tendermint Core, the first and most widely-used implementation of the Byzantine Fault Tolerance (BFT) consensus algorithm and PoS crypto-economics to date.

Blockchains built using Tendermint technology are fast, scalable, and have a low carbon footprint. Even running 100,000 Cosmos blockchains combined would use less energy than Ethereum in a single year. The original roadmap for the Cosmos Hub was completed in 2021 with the delivery of the Inter-Blockchain Communication (IBC) protocol, fulfilling the vision set out in the whitepaper in 2016. Now, any chain in the Cosmos ecosystem can easily interconnect and transfer value using IBC.

Work is being carried out to connect other blockchains to the Cosmos, including Ethereum, Polkadot, Solana, and more. Tendermint is finalizing the Gravity DEX protocol that enables interchain transactions and cross-chain DeFi for the very first time. The Gravity DEX protocol goes live on the Cosmos Hub in July 2021.

Tendermint also continues to lead developer experience in the blockchain industry by providing best-in-class tools like Starport. Using Starport, developers can easily create a blockchain in minutes and plug in to an ever-expanding ecosystem.

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What are some tech challenges Tendermint is looking to solve?

Excessive energy use: Tendermint co-founder Jae Kwon recognized the limitations of Bitcoin and the PoW consensus early on, pioneering the growth of PoS and providing a viable alternative for a sustainable future of blockchains.

Blockchain development: Tendermint strives to make building sovereign blockchains easy through developer-friendly tools like Tendermint BFT and Starport. These tools merge the networking and consensus layers of a blockchain into a generic engine, allowing developers to focus on application development instead of forcing them to focus on the complex underlying protocol. In other words, developers can fast-track the creation of their blockchain and save hundreds of hours of development time.

Scalability: Unlike Bitcoin or Ethereum that can only handle a handful of transactions per second, tools built with Tendermint technology offer high performance, can have a block time on the order of 1 second, and handle up to thousands of transactions per second.

Transaction finality: A property of the Tendermint consensus algorithm is instant finality. This means that forks are never created as long as more than a third of the validators are honest (Byzantine). Users can be sure their transactions are finalized as soon as a block is created (which is not the case in PoW blockchains like Bitcoin and Ethereum).

Security: Tendermint consensus is not only fault-tolerant, it is also accountable. If the blockchain forks, there is a way to determine liability.

Interoperability: Before the Cosmos Inter-Blockchain Communication protocol (IBC) was released, blockchains remained in siloes and were unable to communicate with each other. This isolation is unsustainable as more and more applications build on top of layer 1 solutions and compete for throughput and space. Now, developers can build application-specific blockchains and connect to an ever-expanding ecosystem that is enriched by every new connection with each other.

Governance: Cosmos enables developers to build sovereign applications that let them set their own rules without having to conform to the governance of any other protocol, unlike Ethereum or Polkadot.

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Tell us more about Tendermint’s tech stack.

The flagship products that complete Tendermint's tech stack are Tendermint Core, Cosmos SDK, Starport, Gaia (Cosmos Hub), and the upcoming Gravity DEX protocol on the Cosmos Hub.

Tendermint Core is the leading BFT engine for building blockchains that lets developers write their application in any language and replicate their application on machines across the world. Tendermint Core packages the networking and consensus layers of a blockchain into a generic engine. This engine allows developers to focus on application development as opposed to the complex underlying protocol. As a result, Tendermint saves hundreds of hours of development time.

Cosmos SDK is the world’s most popular blockchain framework. Many of the top blockchains by market cap are built using this powerful developer tool, including Binance Coin, Cosmos Hub, OKB, Crypto.com, and Terra. More than $70 billion of digital assets are managed by the public blockchains built with the Cosmos SDK. Cosmos SDK uses a modular framework that allows developers to build highly customizable blockchains that connect with Inter-Blockchain Communication (IBC).

Starport is the fastest way to a production-ready blockchain that enables developers to create their own sovereign IBC-enabled blockchains in the popular Golang programming language. Starport offers code scaffolding tools, easy-to-use commands to run a blockchain node in development, client code generation, integrated wallet, and much more.

Gravity DEX is the first protocol to harness the Inter-Blockchain Communication protocol (IBC) to enable cross-chain DeFi. Swaps and pools of digital assets between any two blockchains within the Cosmos ecosystem or beyond are now possible, bringing DeFi to Cosmos and increasing the utility of the Cosmos Hub.

Tendermint are hiring, take a look at their open roles here!

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How would you describe Tendermint’s internal culture?

Open, collaborative, communicative, supportive. We are a highly diverse and distributed team united by a common goal to see Cosmos succeed. We value people of all skill sets and from all walks of life and believe in treating all employees equally with kindness and respect. We're building sustainable products for the future and we strive to create and nurture an internal culture to reflect that long-term sustainability.

culture tendermint.png

What is the interview process like at Tendermint?

Our interview process is purposefully exhaustive and meticulous. We want to build long-term relationships with all our collaborators, starting with our employees. Just as candidates want to make sure we are the right fit for them, at Tendermint we must make sure that you have the right skill set for the job and are compatible and in alignment with our company culture.

The interview process typically begins with a chat from one of our recruiters. After we assess your potential suitability for the position, a series of further interviews happens with the people you will be working most closely with. Depending on the role, you might also be asked to complete a trial assignment. We encourage you to ask as many questions as they like because you are also interviewing us to see if we are a good fit for your personality and goals.

interview tendermint.png

What are some traits that would make someone successful at Tendermint?

You need to be motivated, independent, and curious with the ability to take ownership of your work as well as collaborate with a team of people from different backgrounds, cultures, and skills. Beyond the hard skills required for the role, you need a high level of cultural and emotional intelligence to fit in with our diverse team.

Although experience working in tech-heavy companies and experience in the cryptocurrency industry is extremely helpful, we value talented, kind, and eager-to-learn individuals who are passionate about what they do and life in general.

culture tendermint 01.png

And finally, why should someone work at Tendermint?

We are a rapidly growing company made up of some of the brightest talents in the industry building innovative products that will shape the future. We value our employees and their well-being and offer competitive salaries and generous benefits to help you work better and develop your career in a positive and thriving environment. If you want to carry out impactful fulfilling work, Tendermint is the place for you.

You can take a look at Tendermint's open roles here!

Author's avatar
Mihaela Popa
Community Manager at WorksHub

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