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Three questions to Nomadic Labs apprentices — Daniel Jean

20 August 2021
Nomadic Labs

Nomadic Labs is delighted to host apprentices (apprentis). These are students — usually studying for an undergraduate or Master’s degree — who work with us in parallel with their studies for a period of one to two years. Each apprentice has a unique story to tell about how their understanding of blockchain as a practical and applied technology has developed during their time with us.

In this blogpost, we will ask three questions of one of our current apprentices: Daniel Jean (and a couple of questions of his mentor at Nomadic Labs).

Daniel — so happy to have you with us! We hope you’re having a wonderful and educational period with Nomadic Labs. We’d love to hear a bit about you and your activities chez nous …

Questions for Daniel

1. Please present yourself and your academic background

I am Daniel Jean. I’m in the first year of a two-year Master’s degree in financial engineering at ESILV, with a specialisation in fintech. From 2018-2020 I did a three-year Bachelor’s degree in computing at the Université de Paris.

I am also an enthusiastic Judo player. I started when I was three and represented France at the 2018 European and World championships in Israel and Azerbaijan.

2. Tell us more about your apprenticeship: main subject, who is your mentor, what you have learned and especially, what surprised you the most within these months?

With the growing adoption of blockchain, we are witnessing vigorous interest from users, companies, banks, and institutions for the technology in general and for the (rapidly developing) Tezos blockchain in particular.

Tezos has some unique features which in principle make it well-suited to industrial adoption: it’s fully open-source; it has an on-chain governance structure; and it’s particularly flexible with its regular auto-update feature. Indeed, Tezos builds in upgrade propositions and an associated voting mechanism which allows users to vote for or against proposed updates in a fully transparent manner.

This is fine in high-level terms — but blockchain is an industry that is very new and very competitive. So concretely, we still need to communicate the benefits and potential of the Tezos ecosystem, and discuss with companies like Exaion, Ubisoft and Société Générale how integration with Tezos software can meet their current and future business needs. Conversely, we also need to understand our users’ needs and feed these back to Nomadic Labs’ developers.

This process of communication and consensus-building is vital, and that’s why a good support team is needed. It’s never just about the tech; it’s always also about how that tech is communicated, developed, and supported.

As Nomadic Labs’ support team, we help users to experiment, test, and build on the Tezos blockchain. We design case studies and proofs of concept, and support the creation and deployment of solutions to the Tezos main network. We help users to solve issues, and create documentation to explain the core principles of Tezos and so make it easy for newcomers to join the Tezos ecosystem.

My mentor is Sébastien Choukroun. He has been a very helpful and engaged supervisor and I have learned a lot from him and from the rest of the support team.

I have been working at Nomadic Labs since August 2020. It’s been very fruitful to strengthen my knowledge of blockchain in general and deepen my expertise in Tezos in particular. I have learned about the core features of Tezos and how the different components of this complex software work. My discussions with institutional users have taught me how to effectively listen to users’ needs and deliver effective support; be this about helping to launch Tezos nodes, new bakers, or reviewing smart contracts.

Tezos brings the third pillar of blockchain technology to the industry: the auto-evolutivity through its governance core principle called self-amendment. Tezos is capable of evolving every three months to improve its software and make it more robust, scalable and user-friendly. Self-amendment, and the technical robustness which it implies, can be a key differentiator to create a sustainable network and secure long-term adoption.

For instance, I was delighted when Tezos users recently accepted the Granada amendment of the protocol, bringing various improvements to ensure a better scalability, liquidity of the XTZ (the native coin of Tezos), and gas optimisations (related to fees paid when performing operations on the blockchain).

3. Why did you choose to become a part of the blockchain ecosystem and Nomadic labs? What are your plans after completing this apprenticeship?

I heard about blockchains three years ago after the 2018 crash, and I was curious about this new geek “thing” to allow people to exchange value and expand financial technology through smart contracts. I started to read about blockchain technology and before I knew it, I had fallen into the rabbit hole (as we say in the ecosystem). I’ve been happily in it ever since.

I learned about the basic principles of Tezos and found the blockchain really interesting, technically speaking. During a discussion with a friend, I discovered that Nomadic Labs was working on Tezos and that It could be a great place to learn and deepen my knowledge of the software. I jumped at the chance to apply at Nomadic Labs … and here I am!

After my apprenticeship, I plan to further invest myself in the blockchain industry, hopefully as an engineer at Nomadic Labs. Also, I am delighted to run a Tezos baker Baking.Finance and I plan to keep maintaining it in the future.

Questions for Daniel’s Nomadic Labs mentor Sébastien Choukroun

What is your input to the work carried out by Daniel?

I helped Daniel to focus on priorities amongst the projects he worked on. I also gave him feedback on project management. This provided direction for his answers to users and for preparing materials for Tezos users. I also shared advice on good practice for blockchain projects with financial institutions.

Why is the topic of this apprenticeship important?

It helped users to interact with Tezos, in particular Exaion, Ubisoft and Société Générale. His experience as a baker allowed him to share good practice and handle potential issues faced by these corporate bakers.