On a mission to build the world’s first globally compliant decentralized capital market, since its launch in late 2020, the DeFi powerhouse AllianceBlock recently announced partnerships with Chainlink, Ocean Protocol, Injective Protocol, Orion Protocol, CertiK, the London Stock Exchange Group’s Partner Platform and many more.
We had a chat with AllianceBlock CTO Matthijs De Vries to talk about how the AllianceBlock protocol enables the creation of any structured digital asset or crypto product (e.g. CLNs, trackers/synthetics, derivatives, discretionary portfolios, static investments, structured loans) in a compliant manner.
ADM: AllianceBlock is a multifaceted blockchain-agnostic protocol enabling banks and their clients to simply, safely, and legally trade any crypto product. Why does the world need AllianceBlock? What are the benefits?
De Vries: At AllianceBlock we are building the first globally compliant decentralized capital market. The AllianceBlock Protocol is a decentralized, blockchain-agnostic layer 2 that automates the process of converting any digital or crypto asset into a bankable product. We are focused on providing regulated financial entities around the globe with a gateway to the rapidly expanding Defi sector, facilitating vastly more efficient processes, reduced costs, and the opportunity for both traditional products and entirely new types of structured products.
The benefits of Blockchain protocol AllianceBlock
We aim to bridge the gap between decentralized finance and traditional finance through the delivery of our infrastructure which enables the legal, safe, and secure trade of all kinds of digital assets. Our unique ecosystem offers users the best of both worlds, fusing traditional and non-traditional finance to offer a hybrid ecosystem founded on compliance and decentralization.
Our vision at AllianceBlock is simple, we are more than a protocol: we are an ecosystem. Ultimately, the AllianceBlock ecosystem will present a dynamic, accessible, and highly efficient alternative to today’s capital market. It is a foundation for a new, global participatory economy.
ADM: Why should developing teams choose the AllianceBlock blockchain protocol over others? What makes it unique?
De Vries: AllianceBlock’s main objective is to bridge the gap between the traditional finance sector and the decentralized sector. During development stages, and through our APIs and SDKs, we introduce familiar patterns to developers that do not have a background in decentralized technologies in order to foster the adoption of innovative decentralized solutions through our protocol. We abstract the current issues developers face when interacting with blockchains such as state management, private key management, and the plethora of security attacks you open up yourself to when you don’t master the correct smart contract development patterns.
Developers that are experienced with decentralized technologies will not be disappointed. For every abstracted service on the AllianceBlock protocol, there is documented access to its raw essence on the blockchain in a way that is open-sourced, verified, and audited. We see all developers who are interested in developing on top of the AllianceBlock Protocol as part of our community. As part of this commitment, we are also working on the AllianceBlock For Developers portal in parallel with our products. We have also allocated a fund for those that have creative ideas for the protocol or a product that would exist on top of our protocol. This will help to drive innovation by further bridging the traditional world with the decentralized world, while also giving a platform to developers to showcase their talent with real-world applications.
ADM: What is it about AllianceBlock that makes it unique to other blockchain protocols aiming to disrupt the financial system?
De Vries: AllianceBlock is unique in many ways. Firstly, we have an unrivaled leadership team experienced in finance, technology, and strategic expansions. Our combined expertise drives us to succeed. Our blockchain is an interoperability-first, blockchain agnostic layer 2 protocol. It has three layers, covering cross-border regulatory compliance; data governance and privacy; and transactions and workflow. We have created an ecosystem that empowers legacy financial institutions to trade digital assets legally and safely, as well as enabling the creation of any structured digital asset or crypto product like CLNs, trackers/synthetics, or derivatives in a fully compliant manner.
We are building an ecosystem of stakeholders across the traditional and decentralized finance industry. We are creating an environment where ESG investing can thrive and unleash the potential of progressive, transformative tech. We are powered by multi-functional ALBT, which allows a primary medium of exchange, a means of reward, a network fee, currency reserve, and a governance token. Our value is defined by an artificial intelligence engine, which is derived from Wisdom of the Crowds and not by hegemony and incumbency.
ADM: I see you have partnered with a number of interesting players in the space including Chainlink, Ocean Protocol, Injective Protocol, Orion Protocol, CertiK, the London Stock Exchange Group’s Partner Platform. Can you tell me more about these?
De Vries: At the heart of AllianceBlock is our protocol, but the protocol functions best inside a solid ecosystem of service providers. When combined, these different elements offer a strong foundation that is able to bridge traditional finance with decentralized finance. We are unique in the fact that we don’t look at other projects as potential competitors. Instead, we consider them potential partners. We cater to traditional financial institutions, decentralized autonomous organizations, other decentralized projects, developers, professional users, retail users. We can’t do this alone, which is why the ecosystem is such an important part of what we do.
With Chainlink, Ocean Protocol, and API3 on board as some of our recent partners, we are able to power the new data economy, bridging the traditional data economy with the decentralized data economy. CertiK, another recent partner, is on board to help us secure this network of participants on our protocol, while the London Stock Exchange Group’s Partner Platform brings the traditional finance industry right to the doorstep of decentralized finance, an exciting development for both industries. Injective Protocol, Orion Protocol, and other partners are also building products that help bring this bridge to existence by leveraging the AllianceBlock Protocol.
ADM: As CTO, you seem to have a very interesting experience. Can you tell me more about your experience and background? What led you to co-found AllianceBlock?
De Vries: When I reached the age of 11, I began to play around with Visual Basic on Windows 95. I quickly got hooked on creating applications that did all sorts of things and I taught myself how to use HTML. When I was 15, I started developing software and websites professionally. By the age of 19, I had started my own business, selling customized desktops to local entrepreneurs. At the same time, I was leading the development of a full-blown workflow management suite and analytical algorithm in the field of veterinary diagnostics. I was always curious about new technologies, and I especially enjoyed trialing niche products. When developers around me found a certain technology particularly challenging, it would motivate me to dive deeper into it and master it.
As I grew in my career into a managerial role at a large enterprise I remained eager to learn about exciting new technologies. This eventually brought me to the field of AI, where I was introduced to blockchain. I was hooked from the beginning, and quickly became a part of the huge blockchain community. I started out as an investor but later as a contributor by helping others by building dashboards, prediction tools, and other community-orientated tools.
During this time, I became aware that there is much to improve in the industry, something that was highlighted further became during the ICO boom in 2017.
In 2018, I met one of my co-founders and CEO of AllianceBlock, Rachid Ajaja in a Telegram group. We had a shared vision for the necessary improvements in the industry and had observed many of the same issues. When we met in real life, AllianceBlock came to life, and shortly after, our other co-founder Amber Ghaddar was brought onboard, sealing our team and accelerating our journey to bridge traditional finance with decentralized finance.
ADM: Can you tell us about the technical journey have you been on since you have launched AllianceBlock?
De Vries: AllianceBlock was launched in a bear market meaning resources were limited. For over two years, we worked in frugal conditions, an experience that has been invaluable to our development. Through sheer determination and a shared vision, our culture grew into a hard-working, detail-oriented team with a shared goal of surprising our users through the creative use of our resources and utilizing our network to the fullest.
From the start, we have always aimed high and held our code to the highest standards. We fell in love with VueJS first and used that throughout our first Proof of Concept and MVP. However, it became clear it wasn’t easy to find developers skilled in VueJS, which led to a migration to ReactJS. We also became obsessed with making blockchain interactions hassle-free, and therefore, ease of use is something that became an important pillar of our products as well. After the launch of our first MVP, we started to implement serverless technologies (AWS Lambda for example) in order to create a scalable and performant application while reducing costs. Utilizing serverless technologies has certainly not been an easy road, but a rewarding one for sure. Once you’ve spent adequate time on a solid foundation in architecture, you will be able to easily develop fast applications and services for a fraction of the operating costs. Well worth the investment in time and research needed beforehand.
One year after the inception of AllianceBlock we started working on our first mobile application, using React Native, testing our PoC AI layer, with an extensive and impressive backend 100% built on state-of-the-art serverless technologies built on AWS. Testing mobile applications, however, is a completely new world compared to testing web applications. We tried to handle this internally at first but decided to outsource the testing process to an external agency expert in the field of mobile application testing.
We became experts in setting up scalable infrastructures quickly. We still build most products with React and NodeJS (through AWS Lambda). However, we use the right tool for the job, and that’s not always NodeJS for the backend or Solidity for Smart Contracts. We have developers working on solutions based on Rust and Java as well. The right tool for the job rules, especially in a micro-service architecture that allows it.
ADM: You have a very impressive co-founding team. Can you tell me more about them?
De Vries: At AllianceBlock we are lucky to have a great team of co-founders that come from various backgrounds but all hold the same vision for the company. Rachid Ajaja is the co-founder and CEO of AllianceBlock. Rachid has a deep-rooted understanding of traditional financial institutions and has spent six years as a Quantitative Risk Analyst at Barclays Investment Bank, BNP Paribas, and Moody’s Analytics. He is a serial entrepreneur with a passion for modeling, analytics development, quantitative analysis, and data science, for the last decade, Rachid has been developing and implementing models and methodologies to help organizations with forecasting and risk management. Similarly, our other co-founder Amber Ghaddar has a vast amount of experience across the capital markets industry over the last decade. Amber began her career at investment banking giant Goldman Sachs, before moving to JP Morgan where she held a number of different roles in Structured Solutions, Macro Systematic Trading Strategies, and Fixed Income Trading. Combining all of our experience and expertise has led us to fulfill shared our dream of bridging the gap between decentralized finance and traditional finance.
ADM: Tell me about the exciting products AllianceBlock has planned.
De Vries: In November 2020, we launched our Liquidity Mining product which runs on both Ethereum and Binance Smart Chain to great success. We have an experienced team working exclusively on the Liquidity Mining product, continuously working on innovative additions, like a multi-asset reward pool as part of our Liquidity Mining Partner Program, single sides staking with different lockup schemes, impermanent loss protection, etc.
Recently, we successfully launched the MVP of the Data Tunnel: the bridge between the traditional data economy and the decentralized data economy with its aim to become the “oracle of oracles”. The Data Tunnel comes with a proprietary JSON-based query language (ABQL) and has an easily navigated portal that matches data publishers to data consumers combined with a revenue-sharing model for data providers that is completely decentralized.
ADM: What else can we expect to hear from AllianceBlock?
De Vries: We are focusing on extending our product portfolio in order to extend our protocol bit by bit, continuously improving our existing products and expanding our ecosystem by adding new interesting partners from both traditional and decentralized industries. In addition to that, we are now also focusing more and more on bringing on board to further drive the adoption of decentralized technologies.
This year, people can expect to hear more about our ongoing product updates, new product releases with state-of-the-art innovation features, support for other blockchains, and exciting partnerships across the AllianceBlock Ecosystem.
Finally, we are working hard on accommodating developers through our AllianceBlock For Developers portal. We aim to do this through the AllianceBlock Fund which will bring external innovation to the protocol through other exciting programs that are yet to be announced. Definitely expect a lot of growth in that area!
About Matthijs de Vries
Matthijs de Vries is Co-founder and CTO of AllianceBlock, the world’s first globally compliant decentralized capital market. An expert in the field of Software and Product Development, Matthijs spent 10 years at PostNL, one of the largest Dutch companies, where he successfully led document management-related software development (customer implementations and product development). In this role, he was responsible for several different departments, as well as leading an entire software development chain before switching companies to lead the development of several unique AI products amongst which was a ground-breaking chatbot.
He has an extensive and varied background as a software developer, establishing a full-blown workflow management suite and analytical algorithm in the field of veterinary diagnostics, among various other projects, before growing into a managerial role. He knows what is important for a developer to be able to thrive and deliver high-end products. Besides hands-on software development experience and management, Matthijs is a seasoned entrepreneur, founding three other companies.