A ‘lingua franca’ facilitating crypto adoption: Interview with Yellow COO Sergii Kashchenko
Yellow is an ecosystem of products and services for Web3 on the blockchain network. It combines the order books of all participants with global scaling that is powered by cutting-edge state channel technology. The network aims to bring a retail finance approach to innovative Web3 DeFi and enable investor protection and legal accountability and audibility of brokers.
Openware on the other hand is a leading software engineering company of the open-source blockchain ecosystem with full-stack products that help developers to build next-gen DeFi apps.
In an interview with the Chief Operations Officer of Yellow and Openware, Mr. Sergii Kashchenko, we discussed the platform, his work process, the products and services offered by Openware and much more.
1. Tell us more about your experience in the blockchain and crypto space?
While the Blockchain industry is over ten years old, my own crypto experience started a bit more than three years ago with a renowned Bitcoin development company Bitfury.
I was invited to Bitfury by a cofounder member – an outstanding engineer from the team I’ve managed while developing projects for AMD in 2013, who moved on to start Bitfury. When Bitfury’s R&D department faced scaling challenges a few years later, they called me to help.
Two years as Bitfury’s R&D Operations Director was a challenging experience, implementing processes for efficient and transparent project delivery of the ASIC miner products. Interestingly, Bitcoin is how the blockchain industry started, and I started in the industry from Bitcoin mining technology. Yellow is my second job in crypto.
2. What have been some of the major challenges you faced after taking over as the COO of Yellow and Openware?
Many adolescent startups face similar challenges. They have the idea already proven, have a product-market fit, and are starting their way to growth. At this stage, startups feel like happy families indeed and often have the same set of problems. For example, everybody talks to everybody, forming a complex web of relationships, but you can never find someone responsible for something. As another example, employees cannot draw clear authority limits, which results in the CEO’s direct involvement in every minor issue, and so on.
Many of the challenges I’ve met were well-expected. Moreover, I was specifically looking to join a company at this particular stage to help a startup become a scaleup. I already had a similar experience and enjoyed its challenge, and I believe I can bring an equivalent transformation value to Yellow.
3. According to you, what roles do Openware and Yellow play in developing the field ecosystem?
Our vision is straightforward – we want to consolidate the crypto industry. The best way to build a great business is to make something actually useful for people. I believe that blockchain and AI are the most interesting technologies now. These technologies have the full potential to transform the core mechanics of human civilization – capital and labor, respectively.
At Yellow, we want to help society by facilitating the broad adoption of crypto. Say, we want your grandma to be a crypto user and maybe your cat, and perhaps even your fridge. IoT has proven it is possible, so I don’t see why not. And the challenge here is not to irritate end-users with the technicalities of how it’s done.
And we believe that the main obstacle on the path to significant blockchain technology adoption is extreme industry fragmentation. We set out to remove that obstacle by creating a “lingua franca,” the common financial communication language that all crypto startups, brokers, blockchains, dApp developers, DeFis, wallets, custodians, liquidity providers, traders, and others in the industry, can use.
4. Tell us more about Yellow and Openware? What makes the companies stand out from the rest?
What makes Yellow and Openware special is our culture and passion. Many talk about company culture, but you see, my role requires me to be practical and quantitative. Measure romantic love, for example – after 3-6 months, the biochemistry is usually over, and you need something more solid keeping you together.
For company culture, there’s a simple way to quantify. You immediately know if the culture is good or bad by looking at relative staff attrition numbers. In Yellow, we have it next to zero, despite fierce competition for blockchain talent on the employment market. We dream big here, and we all are passionate about that big dream.
5. What have been some of your significant accomplishments after taking over the COO position at Yellow?
I’ve initially joined as an Openware COO right at the moment of a significant business model change during Openware’s acquisition by Yellow.
The older business model was to sell services on top of open-source software. An excellent example of a similar company model is Canonical, an Ubuntu publisher.
This early model had to be changed to the blockchain product and SaaS business. As the COO of Yellow, I’ve transformed the company’s structure accordingly and created a first version of what I call instrumentation.
People often say one “runs” a company, but if you want to “fly” it, you need a set of reports, measurements, and controls.
Think airplane dashboard. Helping executive pilots to make better decisions is what instrumentation is about. Some control mechanisms in the company couldn’t be implemented because there are no processes underneath. So I’ve implemented and launched operational process drafts for the HR department, R&D, sales, customer support, etc.
As the strategy of Louis Bellet, Yellow CEO, crystallized into building not just another blockchain product but an entire Fintech ecosystem, powered by Yellow Network, I’ve followed up with further upgrades to company structure, processes, and instrumentation. This transformation is my core focus now.
6. How is Yellow simplifying the process of building DeFi apps for developers? What products and services are offered for the same?
Our way of streamlining the evolution of DeFi apps is the global interconnection of the industry players, providing service integration opportunities for the network participants.
With Yellow Network, we want to build core technology for a worldwide peer-to-peer (P2P) network of crypto brokerages, providing a mesh Fintech overlay for all existing and upcoming blockchain platforms to communicate with each other.
Our vision is to provide end-users with all the rich functionality they’d expect from a stock exchange website or a centralized exchange (CEX) platform while supplying lighting-fast transactions off-chain.
At the same time, our topmost concern is the safety of user funds, which is solved by not passing funds to a broker’s wallet, but having the liquidity stay safe with the owner and having it locked into a smart contract instead. So the solution architecture is on par with decentralized exchanges (DEX) concerning security.
This way, we can have the best of two worlds, thanks to the magic of state channel technology.
7. Community engagement is an essential part of any platform. What steps are you taking to keep your community engaged?
As we unwrap the project for the public, we will exponentially increase our community engagement.
We are in touch with top-tier technology partners and venture capital investors to ensure core B2B support for the Yellow Network project. We also constantly keep the developer community updated on our Github as the Yellow Network technology evolves.
We will announce publicly on Yellow Twitter the big news on our strategic partners, and we’re also available for open discussion on Yellow Telegram. When the Yellow.com pilot brokerage is released to the public, we will unveil more on the B2C engagement.
8. Tell us more about your vision for both Yellow and Openware? What lies ahead on their roadmap?
We are already sharing our software with some crypto exchange companies for the beta testing of Yellow Network brokerage. Later this year, we will launch a fully functional exchange on Yellow.com. This pilot brokerage powered by OpenDAX v4 will showcase our technology as a first node of the P2P network.
Yellow Network solution will be accessible to the blockchain community by the end of the year, featuring cross-chain settlement and dispute resolution support.
We plan to grow Yellow Network to hundreds and thousands of brokers worldwide for the next three years. Given the open-source nature of our stack, we expect many industry-specific brokerages and dApps to emerge, which is the second focus of network growth and geographical expansion.
Another focus of our roadmap is the versatility of our solution. We plan to achieve it by strategic partnerships and software integration with as many as possible digital asset services, development tools, regulatory service providers, security service providers, blockchains, and payment systems.
I want to thank your readers for their attention and the CryptoCoiney team for the interview. Make sure to stay tuned on our socials following the release of one of the most ambitious and outstanding blockchain projects of 2022!
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