The Polish popular saying “No Work, No Cake” reflects the strong work ethic of Europe´s second hardest working nation (42.5 hours/week) that’s been discreetly leading a technology change. Espeo Software, a Polish company with Finnish roots, became the spearhead of this revolution when in 2008, Sylwia and Paweł founded the company and set its vision: to always provide excellent software development services based on agile methodology.
“In 2008 many people were still used to waterfall projects and we wanted to introduce something new and improved in our part of the world. Now, we’re innovative again – we were one of the first to do blockchain development in Poland for international clients,” says Natalia Brzozowska, Espeo’s Communications and Marketing Manager.
Espeo Blockchain, their new brand, is now bringing ten years of experience and badges of honor of successful projects in Europe and the United States to their office in Dubai, where they’ll bring their know-how to help organizations go paperless and/or organize their ICOs: “Opening our UAE branch gives us the opportunity to serve the growing demand throughout the Middle East, Asia and Africa. All these markets are very different. While the appetite for ICOs is extremely strong in Asia, the Middle East and Africa have more demand for complex solutions aimed at tackling the problems faced by the major industries of the region: banking (especially the remittance aspect of it), construction, real estate, logistics and supply chain,” says Mickael Costache, Espeo’s Regional Director for Middle East, Asia and Africa, who applauds Dubai project to run on blockchain by year 2020: “I am, of course, very excited about the Dubai blockchain strategy and also about the country-wide UAE blockchain strategy announced by the rulers. This project is immense in scope and will affect all aspects of the government throughout its different entities. We are currently looking into ways to participate in what we consider the most ambitious project at a government level worldwide.”
Governments on blockchain
Other countries are also running similar projects in blockchain. “Estonia, Gibraltar and Malta are other great examples of governments betting a lot on blockchain. As a matter of fact, 22 European countries have signed a Declaration on the establishment of a European Blockchain partnership which could have great implications at an EU level,” he explains. “Government services are the perfect applications for the blockchain, especially when it comes to elements like Identity and Immigration Management, Tax Services, Voting or Healthcare,” Mickael points out. Most governments wouldn’t necessarily consider using open Blockchain at this point due to the sensitive nature of the data involved, but there are some options to start its implementation. “Permissioned blockchain systems with limited access can provide the perfect balance at this point in time, while still providing a level of transparency that’s nowhere to be seen with current government centralized systems,” he adds.
A European Union story of success
Espeo´s story is one that proves there is strength in numbers, and now in Brexit times, that’s totally applicable in the European Union market: “We successfully applied for EU funding to grow our business on international markets, via events and conferences. We’re happy that we’re considered a quality export!” While Espeo Software has been serving clients for a long time, Espeo Blockchain´s first international client was a Finnish e-marketplace that they’ve worked with before, and that led to their first ICO and opened a new path for Espeo: “We’ve developed their mobile app, and got them interested in blockchain. We ended up doing their ICO. Soon, we decided to test the waters with an ICO-building campaign, and the response was overwhelming.”
Espeo has worked with Finland´s media giant Sanoma, the Polish Police and the British newspaper The Guardian. Among Espeo Blockchain’s most successful products/applications developed, Natalia highlights a complex derivatives trading platform on the blockchain, as well as “ICOs that have caused quite a buzz, Giftcoin included.” Today Espeo has projects in the United States, United Kingdom, UAE, France, Norway, Finland – the list goes on.
“Getting recommended is true testament to a company’s trustworthiness, so we’re always glad when a client gotten to know us through a colleague’s recommendation”
“It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it,» said Benjamin Franklin. Espeo works hard on building their good name and has great reviews on Clutch.com. This digital word of mouth helps bring in new clients onboard: “Clutch helps, it’s an easy way to show your experience, showcase what you’ve done right, and occasionally, the reviews let you know what to correct,” Natalia recognizes. So far, consistency and professionality are two building blocks that Espeo practices, as Natalia says: “Reputation matters. I think getting recommended is true testament to a company’s trustworthiness, so we’re always glad when we hear a client says they’ve gotten to know us through a colleague’s recommendation.”
«At Espeo Blockchain, we are very lucky to have started investing in our blockchain talent at the beginning of the wave. I’d say we are in the top 5 players worldwide»
Their strength is also their people. When asked how complicated it is to create a blockchain application on a scale of 0-10, Mickael answers: “I’d say 5 out of 10. Blockchain is an ever-changing field and the expectations from our clients are becoming more and more precise. At Espeo Blockchain, we are very lucky to have started investing in our blockchain talent at the beginning of the wave. I’d say we are in the top 5 players worldwide when it comes to being able to complete difficult projects at the highest quality.”
Their blockchain brand’s team consists of around 20 people, with developers, consultants, communication people, security professionals, etc. Espeo Software is bigger, nearing 60 employees (and you keep an eye on their site because they’re always hiring!). Their team has offices in Poland, Finland, Dubai and San Francisco and is currently working on setting up shop in Zug (Switzerland). Most of the developers are in Poland, while the rest of the team is pretty international. The company looks for opportunities to set up wherever their clients are: “A presence in the US is important, but I’d say this can be said about most cultures. It’s often better to look someone in the eye before you decide to do business with them. Get to know someone from the company personally. Being approachable is important if you’re blockchain consultants – we all know blockchain isn’t that easy to understand, and you need someone you can trust to support you on the whole blockchain journey”.
Are ICOs fading? Not so much yet
Part of Espeo´s work is to help companies to create their own cryptocurrency. “We have one of the best blockchain teams on the market, helping clients build their ICOs as well as helping bigger companies and potentially governments build the complex blockchain solutions they require. We’ve done nearly 10 ICOs and a few larger blockchain-based solutions, mainly for Fintech,” Mickael mentions. ICOs have been extremely popular in the last few months, but they are not expected to be the only way to raise money in the future: “ICOs correspond to a very specific need in the fundraising environment today and have their own limitations. We expect more and more governments to create clear regulations around ICOs and I personally see this as a good thing, as long as they’re done in a clever way, like in Switzerland”.
Most of the concerns with cryptocurrencies are linked with the risk of being hacked, as it happened with the Japanese Coincheck. “Security is indeed a very important topic of discussion when it comes to cryptocurrencies. The nature of the blockchain makes it very very hard to fight/recover from hacks, so we recommend using reliable technical partners like us with trusted security experts in the team who always make it a first priority to build extremely secure projects. Most of our clients understand this and usually, one of the very first questions we get are linked to security,” Michael concludes.
Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence and Tangle
With the fourth industrial revolution happening already, we ask him what the next step in technology evolution is: “I would choose Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence as the technologies with the strongest potential and direct impact on most industries. We are only scratching the surface right now for both of them and the next decade will see a tremendous evolution on both of these fronts”.
Blockchain celebrates its first decade of life without the general public knowing much about it, and we wonder if there are new comers in the backstage: “Could Tangle one day replace the blockchain? My answer would be “perhaps”. While blockchain has several important issues (energy waste, transactions times), I believe it has reached a stage where the technology is here to stay and will definitely experience a tremendous evolution in terms of usage in the next decade. We’re barely scratching the surface of what’s possible to achieve with blockchain, so at Espeo we’re extremely bullish and will continue investing a lot in being at the forefront of blockchain development. Make sure you keep up to date by following us on Twitter!”