Smart Contracts, Remote Teams, and the Influence of Blockchain

The Current State of Affairs

More and more companies are outsourcing their digital innovation projects, opting to partner with remote teams overseas that can outcompete the local market. That said, when working with distributed teams, some fundamental aspects of the working relationship may also change. Regardless of the risk of entrusting a long-distance party with product development – no matter how high the talent level is – it’s still important to reduce the business risk as much as possible the same way it is at home.

Systems still Operate in a Centralized Fashion, Mostly

In most agreements in this space today, parties engage in transactions with one another through a centralized broker or central system, and these are often external. In doing this, each party trusts the central system rather than each other. Although the practice is majorly tried and true, placing the trust on a third party to execute the business is inherently risky because it makes both main parties dependent on the third, not to mention it could also be unnecessarily costly.

Enter smart contracts.

Smart Contracts are a Blockchain underpinned software that stores the negotiating terms, contract verification, and subsequent execution of the agreed terms. These contracts are executed on top of the Blockchain using platforms like Ethereum, designed so that “applications run exactly as programmed without any possibility of downtime, censorship, fraud, or third party interference.”

In general, smart contracts offer a new way to remove trust issues and decrease costs by removing the need for a third party when fulfilling contract terms. Decentralizing the process using a smart contract makes it more secure, more cost effective, and faster.

Smart Contracts work and are executed entirely by triggers within the code, so there’s no human interaction during the execution process. This removes the need for the third party involved in more traditional contracts, saving time and money and reducing the overall risk of one side not holding up their end of the deal.

How does a Smart Contract help with remote teams?

For everyone involved in a remote work agreement, smart contracts enable easy transactions safeguarded by knowledge that the Blockchain technology authenticates them independently. For smart contract users, this means that when an agreed deliverable arrives and verified, the contracted supplier is paid automatically by the self-executing smart contract. In this way, the contract will also save time as suppliers won’t have to chase up payment of invoices for services since these are automatically completed via the smart contract.

Fortunately, the same thing applies when payment is confirmed for a product. That product can be transferred automatically to the buyer and its delivery information would be logged within the Blockchain. This provides a complete and incorruptible record of transactions logged on the Blockchain, all in chronological order.

Aside from the increased level of trust, smart contracts also give those involved:

  • More autonomy: There’s no need to involve a third party, and once everything is set up there is no need to jump back in to complete anything.
  • Safety and backup: Cryptography removes the risk of being hacked and as your documents are duplicated throughout each part of the chain, there’s no risk that they’ll get lost.
  • Accuracy: Decreased human interaction with the process removes errors that can arise from manual input. There is a complete and accurate record of everything that has happened within the contract so all components can be tracked.

The upshot

Smart Contacts remove the middleman, lower costs, and make the overall process of remote working agreements more efficient and safe. Expect smart contracts to play a big role in the future of work, as well as other areas as the technology matures.

Three hidden benefits of company contributions to open source

Open source is a cornerstone of software development that permeates nearly every new piece of technology, and all good software development teams know how vital it is to contribute. With decentralized workforces taking off as well, open source projects are benefiting both employers and developers by making it easier to check code quality of past projects and to showcase skills while giving back to the community. But saying that it’s important to contribute to open source isn’t about normative ethics or gaining moral high ground by giving to the community instead of taking, it’s about deliberately going against the bystander effect to help human adaptability catch up with technology.


Open source defined


Open source software is public source code that anyone can view, modify, and repurpose. The term itself means more than just access to source code, as it’s also a certification mark owned by the Open Source Initiative (OSI). Developers building software that’s intended for sharing, collaborating, and redistributing can use the trademark if the distribution terms of the software fit within OSI’s definition of open source. The distribution terms are a set of principles to follow, similar to a code of ethics. The list is viewable here.


Why do successful development teams contribute to open source?


Over 300 software development companies and dev houses have been evaluated under the Digital Knights tech due diligence process, and there’s a strong correlation between a company’s level of open source contribution and becoming a Digital Knights approved partner. While it’s certainly not causation, it is clear that good teams are contributing, and the leadership at most Digital Knights approved partners encourage employees to participate in open source collaboration on a regular basis as a way to share knowledge, participate in something larger than the company, and gain exposure to new methods and ideas they wouldn’t otherwise get from their day-to-day tasks. But it’s more than just the employees benefiting, as the development companies as a whole are recognizing the benefits that are not always so obvious.


1. Visibility


In both the short and long term, open source contributions have a major impact on a software development company’s visibility and the momentum that comes with it. According to Krzysztof Ciesielski, Senior Software Engineer at SoftwareMill, the more a dev house contributes, the more it becomes recognizable for winning clients and attracting new talent. Digital Knights’ approved partners often see increased opportunities for collaboration with other IT companies as well, and because the work is open sourced it’s easy to assess skills and competencies. By open sourcing their own libraries, dev houses can also gain external support for their own projects through outside contributors and feedback that ultimately propels the development process forward.


2. Culture


Internal culture is an important component of the due diligence evaluation process at Digital Knights, and it’s clear that there’s a distinct cultural nuance at the software development companies that contribute to open source. These companies have work environments that naturally encourage sharing, constructive criticism, ongoing learning, and a general sense of positive camaraderie among the staff. This correlation also lends itself to explain why the good dev houses have higher employee retention rate and continue to bring in talented individuals..


3. Relevance


Open source platforms are a staple for the advancement of any new technology, as crowdsourced development is the current fastest way to explore possibilities on a mass scale. The rise in popularity of a given technology also coincides with increased demand for experienced developers in those spaces, so it’s only natural for open source contributing companies to be at the forefront of that fast-changing landscape. Not everyone is suddenly an expert in VR, machine learning, and Blockchain, so the more a dev house participates in open source development, the easier it is to stay relevant.


Benefits of working with open source contributing tech partners


The ability to share open source projects on familiar platforms like Github adds a valuable component to the decision-making process when searching for new tech partners and project teams. While it may require a bit of technical know-how, reviewing open source projects ultimately provides an easily accessible way to assess a potential partner’s coding skills and technical knowledge in a more in-depth way than was previously possible. A great deal of Digital Knights approved partners are fielding more and more requests from potential clients, and they’re finding their contributions to open source provides a competitive edge for winning new clients. When a dev house is solid, sharing its open source projects allows clients to verify the company’s reputation as well as observe how the project teams communicate and operate remotely.


How to get started with open source


It’s never too late to participate in open source. As a matter of fact, most development companies start slowly by engaging in conversation around existing code and providing documentation updates before contributing their own code. The only real requirement to get started is a bit of effort, confidence, and discipline. Github has put together some great tips on how to choose your first project here. Once started, contributing to open source is something that is best done frequently so setting aside a designated period of time once or twice a week is a great way to ensure the frequency of your contributions. Approved dev houses in the Digital Knights network regularly allocate time during the week for employees to devote themselves to these projects.

Open source takes advantage of the decentralized workforce and bridges the gap between technological possibilities and reality. Software development companies that contribute are helping the greater good, but they’re also gaining a competitive edge in their own markets. By contributing, it builds a snowball effect that leads to challenging and exciting projects from clients who have a better understanding of capabilities and expectations, resulting in faster completion times, a higher project success rate, and increased client satisfaction overall. The more you give, the more you get!

If you’re a software development company or dev house interested in tech due diligence and the Digital Knights network of approved partners, learn more here

If you’re an innovative corporation, startup, or entrepreneur interested in finding a trusted tech partner, arrange a free demo call with Digital Knights here

Digital Knights joins Simple Token as Advisory Member in the push for Tokenization

Amid the rise of corporate and consumer-facing Blockchain technology, Digital Knights is pleased to announce an agreement with Simple Token to become an advisory member for the side-chain protocol, utility-token, and SaaS platform for business and consumer-app tokenization.


Simple Token enables any company to create, launch, and manage its own branded digital token economy, powered by Simple Token’s protocols and software. The OpenST protocol, live and available, enables companies to launch their own Branded Tokens, minted on open scalable side blockchains staked against the Simple Token Ethereum based ERC20 token. The Simple Token SaaS platform, under development, gives companies the tools to manage, customize, monitor, and analyze their token economy.


Yesterday, Simple Token named Digital Knights as one of the first four member companies ahead of Simple Token’s official sale of Simple Token, abbreviated ST, an ERC-20 token on the Ethereum mainnet on November 14.

In a combined effort to advance tokenization, Digital Knights will offer its services to Simple Token and its members. Digital Knights will also explore tokenization of its own business and platform, as well as provide the Simple Token SaaS tools to its approved tech teams for tokenization of the applications they develop. Altogether, this collaboration aims to find new and unique ways to innovate on top of the Simple Token strategy by welcoming the experience and expertise of approved tech teams in the Digital Knights network.

Digital Knights is looking forward to joining forces with Simple Token to foster an environment where innovation thrives, adoption comes early, and all parties benefit.

Read more about the announcement.

Learn more about Simple Token.