Back in August, the Particl team was very excited to welcome Arnold Bansemer as the new Particl Desktop Lead Developer. Kewde, who used to assume that role, has been moved over to Particl Core to work together with Tecnovert on some cryptography and core related tasks.

More widely known as zaSmilingIdiot within the community, as per Arnold’s Github username, he has impressed quite a few people by his development methodologies and insightful Github posts. Following on lots of requests from the community, I’ve sat down earlier this week with Arnold to run a small interview and give him the opportunity to introduce himself to the community.

Could you give a small resume of your professional journey?

I started out doing what essentially would be IT Support for a couple of months before moving on to a more technical role with some development work, to eventually doing full-time dev work. I cut my teeth with Java, and then jumped ship to Python when the product I was involved with at the time started making the move to becoming a Javascript-based platform instead. At the time I had no love or want of involvement in JS. How things change…Interestingly, the company I had migrated to were doing some decent work with putting together their UI’s, and my interest piqued and I figured that javascript couldn’t be so bad after all (although, to clarify, I believe I might have had a tainted perspective given my previous exposure to Java). So I started becoming more actively involved in that side of things. Fast forward a few years, and while getting some exposure to Ruby and Golang along the way, I’ve been pretty much involved in JS projects the entire time.
For the most part, I’ve always worked in smaller companies, although most have had business/involvement with some more well-known international brands. Its been pretty amazing to know that some of what I’ve been involved with is being used/promoted by some larger companies and, in some cases, had a direct impact on them. I’ve picked up some great insight into multiple industries along the way, from project management, IT security, mining, gambling/entertainment, infrastructure management spaces, and now in the blockchain space.
…and here we are today :)

How did you get to join Particl?

My brother-in-law knows Ryno, and he mentioned that he was involved with a number of projects, and that I could always apply and try to find work there if I wanted. I didn’t really give it much thought until Ryno got in touch with me. We chatted, I had an interview and then got an offer :) In all honesty, I almost never accepted, but then saw the error of my ways and quickly changed my answer!

What makes you the most excited about Particl?

The privacy aspect is definitely a very strong contender, and I think having a focus on privacy is a great baseline. We also have a great team that is skilled in bringing the current vision to life. So, generally, I think there is are some exciting times ahead already.However, in my opinion, the future potential use cases for Particl is what I’m most excited about. I personally see a couple of applications for it in the future, and it’s going to be exciting to see what suggestions and integrations come through.

Obligatory question: Where does your ZaSmilingIdiot Github username come from?

Its actually a name I’ve used in gaming circles: I don’t play too much but when I do I’m purely in it for the fun of it. So it’s more about laughing at my own (usual) noobiness. Its also probably closer to being the antithesis of how I feel I really am… so there’s that as well! But mostly, it’s about just having fun and not caring what others think of me.

What is the biggest challenge you foresee with Particl?

I see two (my own, very likely uninformed, opinions).Firstly, in the general crypto space, on-boarding users to make use of the various applications and products is the one I’m most concerned about at the moment. In terms of Particl and the marketplace, this translates to the idea that the average user wanting to purchase something online can quickly and conveniently sign in/up to a regular online store, and complete a purchase in a few minutes using the fiat currency already available to them. On the crypto side of the fence, unless the user is already holding a certain amount of the coin of choice and has the app already synced, it requires that the user follow a more complicated process.
This means the average mainstream buyer is likely to, at least at first, stick with their current online store purchases due to convenience and ease of completing the process. A lack of buyers is also not encouraging for sellers to use the platform, and so slow uptake from both sides from more mainstream users is likely going to slow the adoption speed. This is of course slowly changing and there seems to be some progress in getting cryptocurrency more “mainstream”. Which is a great thing, and having the platforms like Particl marketplace available to help drive this change is crucial. Of course, when we’re at the point that cryptocurrency is used to buy and sell items at the cake sale down the road, then we’re well and truly long past this concern. But until that happens, finding unique ways to attract both buyers and sellers to the platform is going to be the bigger challenge.
Again, this is something that I see as more of a larger problem that affects most other projects as well, and so keeping an eye on other projects and how they solve it might allow us to generate some unique ideas of own. :D
The second challenge relates to the inclusion of future dApps. I’d personally like to see the Desktop evolve into a platform for future dApp inclusion, possibly allowing for community built “plugins” that users can apply at will. I think it would really take the product forward as a whole, but it’s (maybe fortunately :) ) not up to me. If we did ever want to progress in this direction, I think we’re going to have to think about how to effectively structure such a platform that keeps the privacy and decentralization aspect of Particl intact, without falling into the trap of becoming like any other (currently centralized) platform.

What is your specific role in Particl Desktop? In other words, what is a typical day for you working for Particl.

I think it’s fairly typically a developer type of role, or what most people familiar with dev roles would expect it to be! Typically, this involves writing code and/or reviewing code changes. So more than likely I’ll be the one reviewing pull requests and doing the code merges. Which also means running through and testing a feature/bug fix so that it does what it’s meant to do. I then try to be involved in responding to Github issues, and also where possible, try to assist with anything that prevents another dev from doing their job.

It does look like Arnold is going to be a great asset to Particl, and it’s safe to say that the entire team is pretty excited about him! I’d like to thank Arnold for the time taken to generously answer these questions and for his dedicated work for Particl. It is absolutely great to see the project grow and attract more high-end quality developers like him. The future of Particl sure does look exciting!