Tech Republics offer ValueExperts opportunities to acquire additional skills. Przemyslaw Trepka (Blockchain Developer) and Piotr Obuchowski (Tech Lead) are currently immersing themselves in one such republic. They understand the potential that blockchain offers businesses and aim to create solutions based on smart contracts. Their goal is to learn more and share their knowledge with others who are interested in exploring the possibilities of this technology. The Commanders exchange knowledge and create a public database of materials, while also setting specific goals for implementation within the ValueLogic’s Tech Republics. They also extend invitations to developers who have a break in their project work. They participate in in-house events and ValueEvents.

How did the Blockchain Republic begin? Can you recall the starting point?

Przemek: It all began with the idea for a hackathon that we organized together with Borys Rybak. Although Borys is not actively involved in the Republic, we collaborated on the hackathon, and it was his idea. You could say that this idea eventually evolved into the Republic. The hackathon took place internally at ValueLogic in 2021.

Piotr: The hackathon itself was a kind of workshop with various software tasks. We trained a few mentors and helped manage the event. The goal was to introduce people to blockchain technology, and as a result, the subject continued to interest us. We began meeting once a week to delve deeper into the blockchain field.

Przemek: When organizing the hackathon, we focused on what was trending at the time, namely NFTs and cryptocurrencies. We came up with some exciting ideas, and we enjoyed spending time together over pizza, discussing technologies.

Okay, but why blockchain? At ValueLogic, you typically work with entirely different technologies on a daily basis.

Przemek: As for me, it came quite naturally because I have been interested in the crypto topic for several years. I vividly remember the date, December 16, 2017. If anyone else is familiar with the subject, it was the day the Bitcoin bubble burst, making it the perfect time to explore the topic. About two years later, my interest shifted to the technology itself. Blockchain was new to me at the time, and it seemed like a distinct technology that brings value to the world. Today, we can see that it is a promising technology. I am aware of the companies investing in blockchain-based solutions, which serves as proof of its effectiveness. It’s a similar situation to the development of AI ten years ago and its state today. Perhaps the same will happen with blockchain.

Piotr: The fact that we work with completely different technologies on a daily basis makes blockchain even more interesting as an additional focus. We work on client projects, and the Republic provides a break from our usual responsibilities. Previously, I had no knowledge of how blockchain worked and wanted to challenge myself with a technology that required starting from scratch. For me, it was both a programming and business challenge. I aimed to understand the processes, the value it brings to businesses, how it works, and how blockchain can be implemented in practice. I believe that the best learning occurs when meeting with friends who share the same passion. Together, we can collaborate on interesting solutions, and the results are significantly greater. Additionally, through the Republics, we motivate each other to grow together.

Check Przemek’s blog post: Blockchain in 2023 – does it still make sense?

How did you get started in the Blockchain Republic, and what projects did you work on?

Przemek: In addition to the hackathon, we also organized Blockchain Day in Zielona Gora. It was an event dedicated to anyone interested in blockchain and web 3.0. We met many people who already had experience with the technology or were simply curious to explore the topic. After the event, we were eager to turn our knowledge into practical solutions, so we created the gamification project.

Piotr: That’s correct. We adopted a learning-by-doing approach and are developing several applications as part of it. Regarding the gamification project, we have successfully completed the initial phase. We have finished the conceptual work and prepared the first version. We are also working on an application to verify university certificates and degrees. Our goal is to create an app that is user-friendly and allows users to verify their credentials. We want the Republic product to have basic functionality so that users can navigate through it and learn how it works. This will enable us to gather feedback.

Przemek: We are particularly interested in creating a solution to verify the authenticity of documents, specifically university degrees. This solution can help employers verify the documents submitted by their employees. The blockchain stage is already completed, and we are currently working on the frontend while blockchain integration is in progress. In the future, this solution could become a ready-to-use product available to ValueLogic customers.

Where do you acquire your knowledge of blockchain?

Piotr: Self-development is an integral part of our work in the Republic. It serves as an additional motivation to seek new knowledge and gain insights from various sources. This is also the goal of the Republic at ValueLogic. We read articles, review other projects, and strive to stay up to date.

Przemek: There are numerous topics we explore, including the theoretical aspects. We delve into knowledge and exchange know-how among ourselves. We also share what we learn during the company’s online meetings, such as the “all hands” sessions. However, we have to keep in mind that our time for the Republic is limited, so it takes longer to work on our projects.

Tell us more about your goals for this year, as we understand you have some plans.

Piotr: Our goals for 2024? Firstly, we aim to complete the application and create its basic version, ready for testing and further development. We are also slowly planning additional solutions that we would like to implement.

Przemek: Moreover, it would be great to organize another hackathon. We have many new people on board, and it would be an excellent opportunity to show them how it works and use the hackathon as a fun team-building activity again. We are already preparing something together with the Software Mind group, so we will provide more information about it soon.

Piotr: If we could organize an open hackathon, we might be able to attract more customer attention to blockchain technology. This type of activity also benefits the company’s business side, which is important to us. It also opens up opportunities to network with other IT experts operating locally and further enhance ValueLogic’s reputation.

Przemek: Absolutely. The purpose of the Republic is not only to develop our own interests but also to build a knowledge base that we can present to clients seeking blockchain solutions. We also participate in meetups, which are expert gatherings organized in Wroclaw. This allows us to showcase our knowledge externally and learn from other specialists in the field.

It is important to note that the Blockchain Republic was founded as an internal initiative by technology enthusiasts. However, it has had a significant impact on the development of ValueLogic’s Blockchain services. Przemek Trepka was our first Blockchain Developer. Thanks to the knowledge of our experts, we are able to offer clients solutions based on Ethereum and EVM, and we have the expertise to transform businesses and provide a fresh perspective with blockchain technology. The leaders of Tech Republic are aware that they influence the direction of the entire company, not just their own. This is one of the major successes in implementing an intriguing idea for employee development in an IT company.