We are thrilled to announce that Nodejitsu co-founder Marak Squires has joined the Ripple Labs Tech team! Marak is well-known as a Node.js pioneer but we thought developers would appreciate learning more about the man behind the myth.
1. What brought you to the Ripple Labs team?
I’ve been interested in the concept behind Ripple for a while. Following Ripple’s open-source Github repositories, I was able to see the progress being made behind the concept. After getting the opportunity to communicate with some of the core team members, I was convinced Ripple was the place I wanted to be.
2. How did you get involved in cryptocurrencies?
I first heard about Bitcoin in late 2010 and was immediately hooked on the idea. Having extensive experience with online banking, payment, and remittance systems I felt that crypto-currencies were a much needed and long overdue technological breakthrough. I strongly feel crypto-currencies represent a step forward in our society and hope I can do a small part to help develop something that will ultimately benefit us all.
3. What’s your view on Node.js?
I first started using Node.js in 2009 and went on to found the first Node.js hosting platform (Nodejitsu). Node.js is a powerful technological tool with a strong community behind it. Anyone doing web development should have Node as one of of the tools in their coding arsenal.
4. What does open-source mean to you?
To me, open-source means the whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts. Open-source software development has yielded some of the largest and most collaborative projects in our history. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from, open-source levels the playing field for all.
5. What’s your favorite open-source project you’ve worked on?
My favorite open-source project would probably be the first project I ever released. It was a simple emoticon plugin for jQuery. I put the project online and didn’t really think twice about it. A few months later I received an email asking to fix a basic problem with the project from someone across the world. I quickly responded back and fixed the issue. It was an enlightening experience to know that my project was able to help someone who was a complete stranger to me.
6. What advice would you give to developers getting started in open-source?
Work hard, don’t give up. Open-source can be an unforgiving field for those trying to get into it. It can take months or even years until you see the results of your hard work. This is where you shouldn’t give up. Even if it seems like your contributions are being ignored, they are not. Every contribution is important. Everyone started in the same place with their first commit. Don’t strive to be the best, just try to be better than you were the day before.
7. In your view, what’s Ripple’s potential in terms of improving the world of payments?
Crypto-currencies and distributed payment systems are currently, in what I consider, their “wild-west” phase. This is referring to the time in American history where there was rapid expansion and development into a previously unsettled territory (the western half of America). In these times, there was little accountability for crime and the average citizen (and bank) was perpetually in danger of being robbed or worse. I see Ripple as a modern way to help protect consumers and businesses in this new era of rapid development into the unsettled territory of crypto-currency.