Experienced in blockchain, FinTech and utilities solutions, with extensive background as architect and full stack developer, Dragos Rautu – Modex’s Chief Technology Officer – speaks about the upcoming BCDB updates, the feedback received from companies and what the future holds, also offering some interesting insights related to the daily workflow in the programming department.
Let’s start with the BCDB new release you’re going to make. What’s new, which functionalities it enhances, and what these functionalities do in real life.
The team has put a lot of effort and passion into this new release that will be out soon. For this particular Modex BCDB (Blockchain Database) release, our main focus was on performance improvements, security, a better API documentation, faster deployment of a test environment and to be able to support Elasticsearch as a database. The overall aim behind the release was to allow the developers who use our product to focus on their business case and implementation.
Modex BCDB brings some innovations to the market. Which are these? Tell us briefly about them and how they raise the innovation bar even further.
First of all, we are taking the blockchain component from the developer’s line of sight. Having this layer of abstraction, we provide a way for the developer to work with different blockchain engines (frameworks) without forcing him to learn how to code on a chosen blockchain engine. Basically, our software solution will be much friendlier with its main users: the developers.
Also, we certainly do not wish to neglect the needs of the enterprise sector. As such, we have decided to integrate a classic database component into the Modex BCDB architecture. This way, enterprises that rely on SQL or NoSQL database engines can enhance operations and strengthen security by enabling data immutability and integrity. One feature that makes Modex BCDB stand out is its ability to facilitate data synchronization among different types of databases. We managed to unlock all these functionalities and features with a minimally invasive approach, in the sense that we do not need to make any significant changes to a company’s existing software to integrate the BCDB solution.
Which are the next steps related to Modex BCDB? What can we expect in the near future? Did you look at other technologies besides blockchain (AI, machine learning, automatization)?
For the moment, we intend to change the industry one step at a time, or more appropriately said, one tech project at a time. Of course, we are constantly looking at new technologies, analyzing them to see how we can best integrate them into our projects or how we can contribute, with our products, to improve those technologies. Speaking about the next steps, we are looking at faster production deployments, more precisely at cloud services. We want to enable companies to build a Modex BCDB network on their cloud infrastructure, basically to bring blockchain and all of its advantages to the cloud.
Moreover, we are planning to bring new features which will make our data sharing mechanism even stronger, allowing companies to build software solutions that empower entities to share data completely anonymously. I’m calling this ‘zero-proof knowledge’ – sharing a result without sharing the way you’ve reached it. This is very useful in AI (Artificial Intelligence), when you want to prove that your model is doing what you are saying it does.
How did enterprises respond to Modex BCDB so far, which was their feedback? Name a few problems that you and your team managed to overcome.
So far the feedback has been very good, positive. Many people are saying that blockchain could solve lots of the current issues, but in numerous cases it is hard to explain and to prove the benefits to the end beneficiary. At first, it could seem that blockchain technology brings higher costs, but in the long-run we are speaking about lower costs.
We have also focused on the immutability feature that blockchain brings. This is, by far, the easiest use case that anyone can understand from the benefits and the technicality point of views. One problem that my team has managed to solve is the immutability in audit trails, without being forced to store logs into a blackbox system (a pseudo-immutable storage) where the access key is being kept by an admin.
How can other technology partners benefit from Modex BCDB and the innovative solutions it brings?
Besides the innovations it brings to the industry, Modex BCDB stands for trust. It brings trust to existing clients, but also to new customers who want to use it, cuts costs on the development side for companies as they can now build faster new blockchain-based solutions without giving up on the classic database and so on. These customers can build new ways for more revenues, they can start providing services that they couldn’t provide until now because they were too expensive or they weren’t making profit by providing them. Modex BCDB changes all these, and that’s what we said from day one: blockchain database is a true game changer!
The cybersecurity threats landscape is evolving at an alarming pace. Can Modex BCDB be used to enhance the security of existing systems without hindering performance?
Of course. Modex BCDB can set the foundation for an ideal environment for company data that is resistant to malicious tampering and ransomware attacks. When it comes to enhanced security and performance, we have to consider, from every angle, all the issues that you need to solve and to decide what you need most. Having both without affecting each other is almost impossible to achieve. As such, when we designed Modex BCDB, we wanted to avoid adding an additional workload to existing systems, while also focusing on streamlining the customer experience. Take for example encryption. In traditional database engines, developers are required to build the entire encryption mechanism from the ground up. In our solution, encryption is designed to be simple. Users just need to tick a box on the dashboard to encrypt a field. Modex BCDB has multiple similar features that are designed to reduce development costs while streamlining the user – application interaction.
Enterprises are actively looking for cloud-based infrastructure as service solutions to protect their data? Should Modex BCDB be perceived as an alternative to the cloud? Is it possible for these technologies to complement each other in order to promote a new type of infrastructure?
Allow me to start with the second question. Since our innovative solution can be deployed on cloud, as well as on premise, we should not be perceived as an alternative. Instead, Modex BCDB should be perceived as an enhanced layer on top of their database with a rich API and many built-in features that cut development costs. Other companies might build cloud services based on our solution, which – as I said before – could be used into a cloud infrastructure or/and on a premise infrastructure.
More and more enterprises are getting in touch with us, asking to offer them an easier way to deploy our solution into their cloud infrastructure, so we are currently working in that direction. Soon, we will be available on Azure and AWS. Even if a cloud provider offers a secure way to store their data, in some cases we provide a better security layer regarding the data, regardless of how that data is stored: in a cloud or/and premise infrastructure.
Can you share some information about your team and how do you manage to efficiently work from home during the pandemic outbreak?
For us it was relatively simple. We already had the Work From Home (WFM) procedures implemented since we started the company and we made sure that anyone who is working from home is following the same procedures like being at the office. During these challenging days, the most difficult part relates to social interactions, which are made only via video conferencing. Besides the work-related calls, we also hold social calls weekly, enjoying a good and fun conversation over a cold beer or a glass of wine.
Please, tell us briefly about the daily workflow at Modex’s programming department
Each team starts the day at around 9 o’clock with a short social call, sometimes over a cup of hot coffee or cappuccino. Then we hold the usual daily scrum meetings, speaking about the day’s / week’s objectives. Afterwards, everyone starts working on his/hers tasks or joins other business meetings, depending on the tasks which have to be resolved. As far as I’m concerned, my usual working day consists of additional meetings. I also do a lot of research to keep our product ahead of the competition, as well as design, architecting or describing new features. At the end of the day I’m happy that I still have time to do some coding on the core engine.