Andrew J Kondelin
We all have our own definitions of success, but annual compensation is objectively an enticing reward. No matter what your passions are outside of the workplace, it is always better to get $100 per hour rather than $50. As long as we seek career progression, we must keep an eye on the list of tech skills with the highest demand. By shifting your responsibilities into the direction of one of these top skills, you improve your chances of high compensation, job availability, and upward mobility.
I recommend picking up one skill each year with some proximity to your current role, to develop outside of work. For example, a software engineer may be interested in neural networks, a systems developer may be interested in the AWS ecosystem, or a business lead may be interested in six sigma. This year, I think I will be looking at deploying some simple smart contracts, as that space is interesting to me at the moment.
Are you working on any tech skills outside of school that you think could help your future job prospects?
In my last article, I wrote about how smart contracts on the Ethereum network have the potential to revolutionize legal agreements and international trade. Because Ethereum smart contracts are unchangeable and indestructible, the interested parties no longer need to trust each other to engage in business. The terms of the contract are pre-programmed and are guaranteed by code, instead of a slow and potentially biased international court system.
Once the benefits of smart contracts have been made clear, (2022?) corporations will be looking to integrate these contracts into their everyday workflow. However, smart contracts currently operate in a closed system; the only data that can be analyzed and manipulated are tokens on the Ethereum network. In order for smart contracts to analyze external API data or output a trigger for an external application, the smart contract requires something called an “oracle.” This oracle serves as a connector between the closed Ethereum network and data accessible via the internet.
There are centralized oracles available for use on the Ethereum network like Oraclize, but this creates a point of vulnerability in the smart contract’s workflow. Because the data accessed will likely be on another blockchain, like the hyperledger project, a centralized oracle would be comparatively prone to tampering and downtime. By accessing the blockchain through a network of thousands of decentralized oracles, the risk of tampering and downtime for the oracle on which the smart contracts rely can be reduced to an acceptably minuscule possibility. The Chainlink oracle is especially flexible; it can be used to import and export data from multiple or singular external blockchains of different protocols, such as Ethereum, Hyperledger, NEO., and potentially from EOS and Cardano when the mainnets are released. It can also integrate payments via the SWIFT banking network into the smart contracts, which is a big deal for businesses. Finally, Chainlink is expected to announce a partnership with Docusign, a PDF signature software. This would allow smart contracts to execute upon the reception of a digital signature!
The future is looking very bright for smart contracts and Chainlink. Be on the lookout for big announcements during SXSW this Spring. Please note that this is not financial advice and that I am biased, as I have a small position in Chainlink. Thanks for taking the time to read this post!
Ethereum smart contracts are a key innovation in the technological arena. They are immortal, unalterable, codified agreements between participating parties in which the terms of the contract determine the distribution of tokens. These tokens are impossible to counterfeit and can be exchanged for a generally accepted currency or represent an internally relevant commodity. Examples of such commodities could include equity in a company, rewards points, or corporate funds. Dividend payouts can be coded into the agreements for token holders. The completed token distribution paths are currently recorded for eternity, but future technologies may allow the programmer to choose if these paths should be obfuscated beyond recovery.
Because the agreements cannot be changed after they are executed, the participating parties no longer need to trust their partners. Traditionally in business, transactions are invoiced to be hopefully paid at a later date; smart contracts eliminate the requirement for this “leap of faith.” Lines of credit, insurance contracts, and lease agreements can be issued without a fear of insolvency on behalf of either party.
Any agreement which has hitherto relied on the courts system to bind the parties to their word can now be programmatically guaranteed. Plus, the involved parties no longer necessarily have to identify themselves to take part in such an agreement.
In my next post, I will talk about the value of sending live data feeds to these Ethereum smart contracts via a decentralized network of oracles.