With so many possibilities approaching the platform at rapid speed, Coinweb’s COO spends his time and energy maintaining pace, managing projects, and supporting the community of creators and enterprises building on top of Coinweb.
When you’ve already been there to build telecommunications networks from scratch for whole nations, you might wonder what the next steps are. For our COO Jurgen, the shift from lines to chains was an obvious one, and puts him in the perfect position to help Coinweb’s customers to realize their blockchain ambitions atop the Coinweb platform. We spoke to Jurgen about his start in blockchain, and how he keeps the systems in check.
Coinweb: Tell us about yourself, and how you fit into the Coinweb story?
Jurgen Thoelen: I’m the COO of Coinweb. Mostly, I take care of the day-to-day operations, closely supporting 2 DeFi projects that are currently built on top of Coinweb. I also take care of customer support, and tracking of activities for the rest of the development.
You’ve had some high flying jobs in traditional tech and telcos, what persuaded you to move to a blockchain scale up?
Jurgen: Most of my years I spent with telcos, but it was mainly greenfield operations—so we were building telco networks from scratch. I did that mainly in the Middle East and Africa. Those days are over, there are no greenfield projects anymore. Instead they’re mostly expanding on existing networks, which is much less fun.
I was also involved in more traditional IT projects, building cloud computing platforms for companies competing with AWS in specific verticals. I began to see a lot of blockchain projects coming on the horizon, and saw a lot of room for development and creativity. So when I was offered the chance to join Coinweb, I jumped on it.
What do you foresee as being the future of the space?
Jurgen: In my opinion, Blockchain is just beginning. We’ve just started to see what blockchain can do. I know people that come from more traditional software development, like banking, who will say anything blockchain can do, we can keep doing in the traditional way too. But decentralization is the key element in blockchain. If you look at supply chain and exchanges building around blockchain, for example, where different components are filled in by the specific company but it’s all on one common ledger which no one entity can own or manipulate, I think that is going to be how we see this technology utilized.
What is it like to drive a fast paced blockchain project?
Jurgen: For me, this is not so different from what I’ve always done. In the past, we were rolling out complete networks at massive scales, across whole countries. This is kinda similar—but this is a new area, with far less established software or coding available. So almost everything is invented on the spot. We need a lot of creativity, and sometimes this has an impact on the speed of work. We need to adapt a lot, and a lot of the process gets invented fresh for the clients that we work with. So that is definitely new and different from other projects.
When you work in telecommunications, the software has been developed over time and it’s all clarified and standardized with each vendor. In decentralized blockchain technology, everything is new. There is no real standard. It’s difficult, but I find it’s a challenge that I’m getting used to.
What sort of ongoing interaction do you foresee for projects being built on top of Coinweb?
Jurgen: As we are developing this technology, interactions with projects are going to assist the developers and companies to use the technology. We can achieve this in two ways. One is Build, Operate, Transfer, where our in-house team can develop the application for the company. We use our specialized blockchain expertise to set it up, operate it, and hand it over when the client is ready. The other way is for startups that develop their own technology using Coinweb. We can build it together, and make sure we help with building the community and making sure that the project has the support it needs within that community.
And they can always reach out to us. There is always the possibility from our side to give tech support. Even when they take over the technology, they remain a Coinweb platform user. They can rely on us.
What challenges do you envisage for decentralized technology?
Jurgen: When you talk about enterprises, most of them work with centralized technology. In the blockchain world, we see many applications that are more centralized, so they use blockchain technology but it’s not really decentralized. Step by step, all these companies will evolve to a more decentralized set up. So the challenge is—especially with these big companies—figuring out how to move them from centralized to decentralized.