Let’s face it. Web3 is here to stay. The web3 ecosystem has created a new paradigm where tools are of the essence.
One of the most sought-after tools is the Infuria suite of development tools.
The Infuria platform has become so popular that over 350,000 developers signed up in less than a year.
This caught our attention and we wondered if web3 developers will take over the world with the numbers in the web3 space.
We reached out to Eleazar Galano, the co-founder at Infura.
Here is what he had to say.
Eleazar Galano, Co-Founder at Infura
How has the Infura journey been so far?
Surreal. The growth of both the blockchain ecosystem and Infura has been staggering to keep up with.
It’s been a fast-paced 5 year adventure so far.
It’s come with its share of challenges through the ups and downs this ecosystem has gone through but that comes with the territory.
This is the frontier.
How has your relationship been with the guys at Consensys?
We’ve been able to build and collaborate with some of the best projects and developers because of the connections we’ve made in ConsenSys. Joe Lubin has always been very supportive of us and gave us the freedom to build and scale Infura as we saw fit.
The support of ConsenSys made Infura what it is today.
Basically, what is Infura? What are its benefits to blockchain developers?
Infura is a blockchain development suite that allows developers to connect to Web3 networks like Ethereum, IPFS, Polygon, and more.
To use an application built on top of the blockchain, traditionally a user would have to understand how to install and maintain a piece of software called a node or client.
It’s the prerequisite for participating in a peer-to-peer network. About five years ago we realized that this was a significant point of friction for new entrants in this ecosystem and we aimed to simplify this for them.
By providing a compatible node API as a hosted service, we removed this infrastructure requirement which was a large burden for developer teams.
This allows them to focus on what they do best, innovate and develop applications built on the decentralized web.
How has 2021 been for the Infura ecosystem?
Exciting! As we mentioned in our 350k developers announcement, the growth of our platform and our user base this year has pleasantly exceeded our expectations.
Our community was energized by the addition of Polygon and Ethereum Layer-2 protocols earlier this year. It brought many new developers into our ecosystem.
When developers build with Infura and ConsenSys developer products, they can do everything from creating a smart contract with Truffle, ensure the security of their application with Diligence, and seamlessly integrate the world’s leading Web3 wallet with MetaMask.
What are your plans to make Infura a blockchain agnostic tool?
As we’ve expanded our product offerings to support other networks and protocols besides Ethereum, we’ve had to re-architect and optimize our systems to allow us to quickly and efficiently support new networks.
The addition of API support for Polygon, Arbitrum, and Optimism in just the last 6 months is the result of that work and those won’t be the last.
How has Infura performed as compared to competitors?
When we started Infura, no one else was doing what we were doing.
There were other blockchain API products out there but they were proprietary.
If a developer used these APIs, they would be locked in to just using that one service provider. It introduced a single point of failure in their application stack.
Our goal was to prove that a viable product could be built on top of an open specification API.
We would provide the exact same API as was available when running your own node and the value of being able to use Infura and/or your own node, and switch back and forth if you’d like was a key feature.
We were building the open decentralized web and Infura was not trying to capture 100% of the market out there. Fast forward several years later and now there are several companies that have followed our model and provided similar services to ours.
This has been great for the ecosystem as it provides competition between service providers to improve our services and better serve our customers.
What are your thoughts on the explosion of the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) ecosystem?
Just a couple of years ago people were talking about the future being multi-chain but it seemed like a far off future. So many applications were built on Ethereum and the amount of work and effort to build or port applications onto other chains and have them interoperate was a huge and unnecessary lift.
It’s the use of the EVM as a link language between these chains that has helped make multi-chain a reality.
Why is the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) the gold standard when it comes to dynamic application development?
The EVM is the most used, battle-tested, smart contract platform. Its strength comes from the fact that it is constantly improving.
It’s driven by a community of developers that make small meaningful improvements to it with every new release. The tools that have been built to interface with it also have matured over time.
Other protocols have recognized what developers have experienced: there is no short-cut to creating great tooling. No one gets it right the first time.
The EVM and EVM-tooling have been maturing for years and these protocols benefit from building off of that rather than building a new potentially great idea from scratch.
Are there any new tools you want to include within Infura before the end of the year?
There are two things that we always focus on at Infura: simplifying the developer experience for Web3 devs, and giving developers the features they are asking for.
I can’t say too much about the specific items on our roadmap just yet, but we’re getting closer to delivering a big feature that developers have been asking for for quite some time.
As more EVM compatible blockchains make their debut,what do you think the future holds for the EVM ecosystem?
The big thing on the horizon is the Eth2 and Eth1 merge.
So many projects have built their protocols on top of the EVM and the next year is going to bring some big changes as the Ethereum core developers look to ready the EVM clients like Go-ethereum and Besu for this merge.
How will this merge affect the current protocols that are using the EVM.
How much of these merge related changes will they need to include in their own products or will they take a slightly different approach?
Please, can you tell us more about Infura transactions (ITX) and how they work?
ITX is what is known as a transaction relayer.
There is some prerequisite knowledge to sending a transaction on Ethereum and other EVM chains.
In particular, you need to understand how the gas price (transaction fee) is taken into account when sending a transaction to the network.
This is a complex topic and the right gas price depends on the current network state.
How many transactions are currently in-flight on this network? ITX allows a developer to “fire and forget” a transaction.
ITX acts as a transaction manager that will make sure the gas price is set correctly so the transaction gets included into the blockchain within an appropriate amount of time based on the developers needs.
What is the Consensys Knowledge academy and why is it important to developers and everyone else?
ConsenSys Academy, has contributed to the global blockchain ecosystem by bridging the Ethereum knowledge gap for over seven years. Over 50,000 people have taken their courses and over 1300 developers have joined the Blockchain Developer Online Bootcamp this year.
This bootcamp is an online end-to-end Ethereum developer course, mentor-led, created alongside top blockchain developers at ConsenSys.
The goal of the program is to give beginner and experienced developers all the necessary knowledge, and skills, needed for them to become industry-leading Ethereum developers.
Equity is among its main objectives, ensuring through a grant program that there is a diverse pool of Web2 developers that join the Ethereum ecosystem.
What advice do you have for developers who want to onboard within the web3 ecosystem?
I’ve heard a few people say they think there is too much to learn at this point to be able to catch up. That is just not true.
Some of the best projects I’ve seen in this space were created at hackathon events by folks that were new to the space.
What helps is to have a focus for your learning.
Try to come up with an idea and focus your efforts on building your knowledge in that particular area.
You’ll become more proficient faster than if you try to learn everything that Web3 has to offer all at once.
There are many free learning resources available that you can utilize like our ConsenSys Academy, EthHub, and Gitcoin that can help you get started.
What do you think is the greatest problem within the web3 space that Infura has solved?
I like to think that we’ve found the optimal way to introduce web2 developers to web3.
Provide familiar tools, great customer service, fair pricing, and a familiar product structure.
I’d say this is the greatest problem we’ve solved so far but we’re working on a bigger one that we’re hoping to share a solution for soon.
In the Dápp vs. regular App battle, which of these do you think will win?
Dapps and Apps will continue to co-exist.
While some use-cases are best solved on the blockchain, not every problem needs to be solved on a blockchain.
In the problem space where Dapps or Apps can be used to solve a problem, the winner won’t be decided solely by technical merit.
What can developers do to make their D’Apps user-friendly?
Abstract the blockchain.
If your user is reaping the benefits of an app existing on a blockchain without them ever being aware of it, you’ve succeeded.
Do you have a favorite D’App? Care to tell us about it and why it is your favorite D’App?
My favorite Dapp is the Ethereum Name Service or (ENS).
I’m a developer and I always gravitate towards developer tools and products that make my life easier.
Like I said before, a great user experience is one where a non-technical person can interact with the blockchain without feeling overwhelmed by things like transaction hashes, nonces, gas prices, gas limits, ommer blocks and similar things.
ENS optimizes the opaque string of characters in a wallet address by giving it a human-friendly name.
A user can choose human-friendly name that they can share with their contacts if they want to transact on Ethereum.
It’s so much easier and less error-prone to send a new NFT to mynewfriend.eth instead of a seemingly random string of letters and numbers.
Where do you see Infura in the next decade?
The engineer in me is trying to come up with a concrete picture of what the developer landscape will look like in 10 years but it’s quite a challenge.
Really, it has always been a challenge to forecast where Web3 is headed because it moves at a blazing fast pace in a direction determined by the collective will and imagination of the innovators we’re fortunate to call our customers.
We’ve never been in the business of defining products in rigid terms and then pushing it on our customers.
We’ve built based on the needs of the growing ecosystem and the pain points of developers.
So if you ask a Web3 developer 10 years from now what their biggest problem is, that is very likely where Infura’s attention will be.