Our new Disruption by Blockchain series aims to highlight companies that are leveraging the incredible potential of blockchain technology to disrupt and revolutionize their industry. Through one on one interviews, we'll speak directly with industry leaders to cut beyond the hype and get directly to the heart of practical use cases and examples of how it will change the world, one industry at a time.
The following is an interview we recently had with P.J. Leimgruber, Marketing Manager at district0x
1. What’s the history of district0x? How and where did you begin?
PJL: Before district0x, co-founder Matus Lestan developed and launched Ethlance in January 2017 as a solo project. Ethlance is a decentralized job market where freelancers and employers can connect, making it easy to find, hire, and retain talent on the blockchain. Eventually, it became clear that the structure of Ethlance could serve as a skeletal framework for countless other marketplaces, and thus a journey began to bring community-driven governance, open networks, and decentralization together. Co-founder Joe Urgo helped catalyze this effort to create the beginnings of distric0x. Joe handed the business, community and partnership aspects of the project while Matus focused on engineering and product development.
2. Who are the founders and key team members?
Joseph Urgo, Co-Founder and Ops Lead
Founder/CEO at Sourcerers.io, Joe is a curious explorer of decentralized business models and token-enabled governance structures.
Previously Joe worked as an Operations Manager at Coinbase, a Derivatives Trader at Three Arrows Capital, and a Professional Poker Player.
Matus Lestan, Co-Founder and Tech Lead
Developed Ethlance as the first district. Matus is a lifelong developer with a strong passion for decentralisation.
Previously a freelance developer for 8 years, Matus is now known for pushing the Clojure-Ethereum ecosystem forward via many open source contributions.
Alex Khoriaty, Project Manager
Alexander has determination for finding user experiences that can propel revolutionary and disruptive technology to the mass market.
After studying physics at the University of Michigan, Alexander worked as a fire investigator before spending 2.5 years at Coinbase working on Quality Assurance and Payment Operations.
Brady McKenna, Community Manager
Brady is a long time consultant and educator in the blockchain space. He previously worked at Coinbase on the Support Operations and Regulatory Compliance teams.
Brady is also a musician known for merging blockchain concepts and the musical/creative arts.
P.J. Leimgruber, Marketing Manager
P.J. is an accomplished digital marketer, currently teaching ITP 476 – Technologies for Interactive Marketing at The University of Southern California and serving as Chief Marketing Mentor at European Innovation Academy. Previously co-founded NeoReach, an enterprise cloud platform for influencer marketing management and intelligence serving Fortune 500 brands including Microsoft, Citrix, Walmart, among others.
Filip Bielejec, Software Developer
Filip studied Applied Mathematics before working as a software developer in various roles and industries, from authoring OpenSource software for geo-awareness in epidemiology, navigation and map-data solutions to healthcare and insurance.
Mike Konkov, Software Developer
Mike is a software architect and developer with more than 20 years experience in a wide range of domains, from business apps to games. Fascinated by society-transforming possibilities of the blockchain technology.
3. What problem are you solving? Who are you solving it for?
PJL: The revolution we are experiencing across the cryptocurrency space right now is just the very beginning – and there is a long road ahead. We’re building a fundamentally new model for internet marketplaces built on top of a nascent technology stack. We imagine a world where user owned and operated peer-to-peer marketplaces have replaced traditional, centralized ones. Complete with a functioning autonomous economy of service providers, the people supplying and consuming those services can and will be able to freely govern the platforms/markets they use and frequent without paying deference or “rent” to a third-party.
Our technology is built with the end-user in mind, meaning our technology is built for the community with no corporate interests attached to it. This is not a “for-profit” entity, by launching an open-sourced platform that enables business creators and community builders to utilize this new technology, we are providing the tools necessary for more users than ever to cross the bridge between traditional models and new ones.
4. What is your solution to this problem?
PJL: The solution is to deploy a platform for the creation and operation of communal marketplaces as decentralized entities. We’ve built and will continue to build a network of marketplaces all constructed upon the same agreed-upon framework. We build and deploy the first networks, then the community will take over the reigns and build out the rest.
To encourage innovation, district0x will build network effects around the platform via a suite of ancillary services and by fostering a third-party developer ecosystem. As such, we can leverage these network effects to supplant privately controlled marketplaces with districts that allow for open participation in the governance of markets.
By way of the DNT token, we’ve created a utility which provides a unit of account of representation or “vote share” in a particular marketplace’s public entity. Token holders can stake any amount of their tokens into a district in order to receive governance rights and can vote to make any proposed changes.
The end result will render a various array of services at the lowest marginal cost to the end user. In short, we want the people, the users/participants in a network reap the benefits of the positive effects they bring to that network.
5. Why is your industry ripe for disruption?
PJL: So many of the world’s current marketplaces conduct transactions by way of an intermediary or custodial third party, introducing an inherent counterparty risk. This allows undue centralized control over marketplaces and the implementation of fee structures that would otherwise need not exist with an efficient peer-to-peer solution.
We believe Ethereum is that peer-to-peer solution. It adds many efficiencies (and admittedly, a few poorly understood inefficiencies) that enable community-driven, cooperatively owned marketplaces to thrive and outperform their traditional counterparts.
6. What’s the future of your industry?
Prediction #1: The next year we’ll see an explosion of cryptocollectible projects and tokenized video games.
Prediction #2: The next two years will enlighten us to the ways in which public, decentralized cryptographic ledgers can succeed in applications and use cases which do not involve money or typical economic value transfer.
Prediction #3: The demand for Ethereum network resources will remain ahead of even the most optimistic scaling scenarios for years to come.
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