Must-watch: 500 Billion Reasons why IOTA

Interview with IOTA Core-Dev Paul Handy

Interview with IOTA Core-Dev Paul Handy

Paul Handy. IOTA Core dev for a long time already and valued community member.

His vita is as fantastic as that of his colleagues.

Hey Paul, I’m glad to have you here! How did you become a member of the Foundation?

I have been following IOTA from the end of 2015; at the end of 2016, I saw a need for someone with my skill set and offered to help at that crucial time. They invited me to join the Foundation soon after that.

What exactly was needed when you applied?

Ccurl in a weekend (GPU support took a bit longer).

I wouldn’t say that I “applied”, so much, though.

I didn’t ask to join the core team. I just offered to help, and they later invited me to join.

If people say: the future holds nice things for us: What exactly does that mean for you?

To me, that would mean ubiquitous availability of the Tangle, and the ability to use it as a tool to empower the individual. People could have fine-tuned control over their privacy, their data, their money.

Centralized systems are far easier to create than distributed systems, but can be more brittle. IOTA is the first of such distributed systems to my knowledge to take advantage of the physical limitations that cause other peer-to-peer systems to fail to work at scale.

I am also very excited about the possibility of fog computing enabled by the Tangle.

What’s your guilty pleasure song?

So I have a ukulele that I strum on occasionally; I really like Virtuoso, so if I sit down and need to twiddle my fingers, I’ll ape out Jake Shimabukuro’s cover of While my Guitar Gently Weeps.

But probably something like Bohemian Rhapsody.


What’s your main task in the dev-team, except listening to the best song ever and playing ukulele?

I wear a lot of hats, but I suppose my main task is making sure that the core components work.

I do what’s necessary, which can involve implementing proof of work for different platforms (like I have for ccurl and curl.lib.js)

Or writing new tools like MAM.

I’ve been increasing my focus lately on spearheading the Rust implementation of IOTA.

Rust is really nice, in that it’s essentially performance equivalent with C, but is more elegant, and enforces memory safety by default.

It can even compile to optimized Javascript, so the same source could be used, for example, to create a full node in the browser.

The same can also be used to target embedded devices.

Start Trek or Star Wars?

I have enjoyed both franchises despite both disappointing me at times. I do think that these are a fun way to go to fire up my imagination, but the vs question is like “science fiction or fantasy”? I’ll take both.

How is working as a core developer? Have you guys special names for everyone?

It’s great working as a core developer. Admittedly quite stressful, and I work very long hours.

I mean, I roll out of bed and check my messages on slack to see what broke while I slept.

There might be names behind my back, but I don’t know of any that the community wouldn’t already know about.

If people wanted to start coding/developing for IOTA, without coding experience -where would they have to start?

Without coding experience? That makes for a difficult proposition.

So they couldn’t learn at codeacademy for a month and jump right into it?

Oh, sure they could.
Are you familiar with the great wars of Vim and Emacs?

No, what’s that?

The great text editor wars. [laughs]

Some people use Vim, others use Emacs. (These are people who don’t mind using a keyboard to get stuff done rather than a graphical environment).

I use Vim, and I don’t touch Emacs.

Similarly, I admittedly have some bias in programming language recommendations because of my background.

So if people just want to get a little script off and running, they would do probably well to look at, check out iota.lib.js, and write a client script to play with things.

But if anyone asks me what programming language they should learn, I’d probably point them to Rust.

And I try to withhold disparaging comments [laughs] -from inferior languages.

By the way, I’m listening to Queen songs, since you came up with this.

Sorry for that.

Is there something you want to tell the great IOTA family?

It’s been a pleasure to collaborate and banter with them; there’s a lot of very clever people gathering around IOTA. I hope that we can work together, and share our knowledge and capabilities to make this technology blossom. It’s already come so far, and yet there is so much more that can be done.


Thank you, Paul, for your time and thank you for all the work you’re doing!

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