Vigor is a Crypto Borrow and Earn Community, powered by the EOS Blockchain. The Vigor Stablecoin is Crypto collateral-backed and being built out as a DAC, a Decentralized Autonomous Community.
Meet The Custodians is a series of interviews with prominent Vigor DAC Custodians, aiming to showcase the talent and personalities behind the Vigor project.
Chris, thank you for taking some time away from coding to answer some questions for us!
Checking out your personal blog/site the history dates back to 2016, where did the journey of becoming a developer start for you?
My fascination for programming has its roots in my teenage years as a gamer. Back then, anti-cheat systems were quite easy to circumvent and we had to deal with cheaters a lot. I’ve always been a very curious person who loves going down rabbit holes. At some point, I wondered how it is even possible to cheat in a multi-player game and started visiting game hacking forums, where I taught myself programming and started writing hacks myself some years later trying to out-smart other cheaters. Oddly enough, I quickly discovered that it brought me more joy writing and improving the hacks than actually playing the games in the first place. This was the beginning of my programming career and then I eventually branched out into web and mobile development and went to university to study maths and computer science.
When did you learn / become interested in EOSIO?
My first point of contact with blockchain technology was during my Master studies. I enrolled in an Applied Cryptography class and one of the class projects was about discovering a vulnerability in it and then using it to steal the instructor’s 0.05 BTC – which was about 14$ back in 2014. The submission deadline was a month away, but I remember going home that day spending all night on the assignment and being the first to steal the bitcoins. I still own these first 0.05 BTC up to this day and keep them for symbolic value. It was by far my favourite class in university. Sadly, I never invested in Bitcoin back then, because, for one, I was a broke student, and for another, I didn’t expect the average person to be interested in it. I didn’t understand much about FIAT money and economis back then. 😅
After that, I kind of lost interest in the technology until blockchain was combined with smart contracts. This is when you get excited again as a developer because now I can run code on the blockchain allowing me to build apps. While I was evaluating different smart contract platforms, EOS was announced by Dan and I agreed with many of the trade-offs he made in its design compared to Ethereum. I started to get involved in EOS with a pre-release version in early 2018 and then launched one of the first games on EOS upon its Mainnet release, King of EOS. I kept building on EOS since then and helped many projects launch on EOS or one of its sister chains.
How long have you been a part of the Vigor DAC and what’s your role, what have you contributed thus far?
Let me actually check that – it must be on-chain. Yes, here’s the transaction transferring the staking token to my account. It’s dated August 12th, 2019. I heard of the stablecoin project a long time before though, probably almost a year prior to this. Back then it was still called EOSUSD, and while I was lurking around in the telegram group I never participated because I had too much else going on. It must be around this August 12th date when Andrew (stuffed shirt) posted a video of the first MVP contracts running on Jungle testnet which convinced me to finally participate and help out.
Obviously, the topic where I can help the most with my skill set is development. I don’t have any preference for frontend or backend development, so I do whatever is needed most. Back then it was frontend – creating a UI that communicates with the smart contracts. Besides piecesnbits working on the Vigor DAC client, I then quickly became the main frontend developer and I contributed to these projects:
- Vigor Website Working group: Develop the frontend for the new landing page
- Vigor App: Develop the web app for the actual stablecoin functionality
- Vigor DAC Telegram Bot: A telegram bot that helps to simplify DAC governance by providing notifications on new DAC multi-sigs.
You obviously see a future in the Vigor project and EOSIO, where do you see these in a couple of years?
I like this Bill Gates quote:
Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.
The EOS mainnet is only 1.5 years old and EOSIO is evolving so fast through contributions from both Block One and the community. Honestly, I have no idea how EOSIO will look like in say 3 years. But my vision is that Vigor remains this great decentralized DAC and becomes a base layer that other products can use to easily gain access to all kinds of decentralized finance products. There will be many products built on top of VIGOR, similar to the current boom of projects you see being built on MakerDAO’s DAI. The future of stablecoins also depends heavily on progress made on the research front. For example, in my opinion, real mainstream adoption won’t be achieved with over-collateralized stablecoins, which is what all collateral-based stablecoin projects are based on at the moment. Average Joe doesn’t want to put up 120% in “value” to receive 100% value back – he gets a loan because he needs more cash in the first place. It would be amazing if research progress was made in this direction towards on-chain reputation systems or similar ideas. Whatever the future looks like, I’m sure Vigor will be at the Forefront of it!
On your blog you list yourself as an author and I noticed you have an ebook https://learneos.dev, can you tell us more about it?
I started developing on EOS before its Mainnet release and the documentation consisted mostly of how to set up your development environment by manually compiling the EOS source code.
Naturally, to figure out how to write smart contracts you almost always ended up reading the EOS source code or other open source smart contracts as there was no other option available.
I, along with many other developers from the community, was frustrated by the lack of up-to-date learning resources for EOS development. Having already built dapps on EOS at that time, I decided it was a good idea to write everything down that I learned through that process and from reading the EOS source code.
So I packed all this information into a bit over 260 pages, such that all levels of experience can benefit from it – from beginners to experts. The only prerequisite is that one should already be familiar with general programming concepts in any language.
Do you work on any projects outside of EOSIO? If so what are they? If no why not?
No, I work exclusively on EOS projects. Even in my free time, all my personal projects are EOSIO. 😃 There are so much news and opportunities in the EOSIO ecosystem that I find it hard to keep up if you don’t do it full-time. Blockchain is also the most interesting field to be in right now – there are so many problems that still need a solution. I think I’d have a hard time going back to a traditional non-crypto job.
The projects I work on are for Vigor, Malta Block and some others that I’m not allowed to talk about due to NDAs. Besides my software development work, I also do smart contract security audits and write about whatever interesting things I come across on my blog cmichel.io.
Everyone is itching to start using Vigor as a DeFi product, how is the progress coming along from a dev stand point?
It’s going really great. In the last months, we picked up pace like never before. More developers joined the DAC and there are daily dev meetings (even on weekends) for all time zones. We successfully launched our second MVP on testnet, and already another iteration of it a couple of days ago. On top of it, we’re tackling important issues that we’ll run into, such as reliable decentralized price feeds or performance with thousands of concurrent users.
What’s the best thing about being a custodian of the Vigor DAC?
The great office location in the city center with daily fresh fruits. 🙃
When I heard about DACs/DAOs for the first time, I was immediately excited by the possibilities of it and wanted to be part of one. I’ve always been a big proponent of open-source software, and DACs are like the much-needed extension of an open-source company. It’s still 100% driven by its community members, but now you have a way to code any business behaviour. Starting with the consensus rules that require a majority of the 21 DAC custodians to approve a proposed change before it takes effect, it allows us to run a highly flexible operation implementing any ideas we have. For example, we implemented the fairest DAC I’ve ever seen so far because we want to value each contribution. Even if you didn’t make it into the top 21 DAC custodians you’ll still be compensated the same, proportional to the number of votes you received. I think it’s part of the reason why we have such a big and thriving community representing VIGOR. As a custodian, it’s amazing to see how everyone is excited about VIGOR and is doing their part to lead it to success.
Also, the simple fact that all this decision making and coordination across fluctuating DAC custodians from all around the world, who are voted in and out of the top 21 on the daily, works better than in most traditional businesses is just mind-blowing to me.
What advice would you give to people starting out in the dev world?
Start small. I get many questions from beginners trying to build huge projects. It’s awesome that you have ideas that you want to build, but unfortunately, I can confidentially say these projects will never see the light because they are way too big and would take several years to build. Estimating timelines is a really hard task that only gets better with experience, so I’m not surprised beginners almost always overreach themselves.
Become familiar with basic programming skills, and then focus on either smart contract development or frontend development first (don’t try to do learn both at the same time). Then pick the smallest project you can think of and learn along the way. Eat. Sleep. Code. Repeat.
Thank you again for your time Chris and keep up the great work!
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