The Future on Algorand: How Reach is Removing Friction for Developers Building on Algorand

(upbeat music) – Hi everyone, Keli Callaghan, VP Marketing here at Algorand. Today, I am getting the
opportunity to sit down with Chris Swenor, who is the founder and leader at Reach. Chris, thanks for taking
the time to sit down with us and talk a little bit more
about what you're doing. I know there's a lot going on with Reach, especially over the past couple months. You've been involved with
Algorand here for a little while and I'd love to have you
share some of your experience and some of what you're
doing with our community. So why don't you kick it
off by introducing yourself and talking a little bit about what Reach does at a high level? – Wonderful. So my name, just like
Keli says is Chris Swenor. My background has been in tech. I've been mostly on the the centralized side of
things for most of my career.

I started off as a software engineer and then about 10 years ago, I kind of switched into
entrepreneurship leadership roles. And about three years ago I jumped in full time
in the blockchain space, so the decentralized space. So right now what I'm doing is I am the CEO of Reach. Reach is a blockchain
development platform. Blockchain development is very hard. It's much harder than
centralized development. And we believe that before blockchain will
really be mainstream, be adopted by the main user, that a lot more developers
need to come into the space. So we built a programming language and a platform around
the programming language that makes blockchain development accessible to the common developer.

So that's what we do. – That's awesome and you're a local company
here in Boston, as well. – [Chris] That is true. – Part of the exciting Boston community. You have been, you know, obviously being local with the team here at
Algorand, here in Boston you've been involved with
Algorand for a little bit. Can you walk us through sort of, you know, why you got involved with Algorand and what you've seen from
a technical perspective and how that all comes into
play with Reach's initiatives? – Yeah, I have.

I've partnered with
Algorand for a long time. First started partnering
with Algorand Inc. and then later when the
foundation was ready, partnering with foundation and then receiving grants from them. I mean, it helps both
being Boston companies that I was able to able to
actually talk to the researchers, the engineers, the leaders of the company to really understand what is happening. But what really drew me in is the, is the technology. I mean, Silvio is a
brilliant person, obviously.

I mean, that's not hard to say. (laughing)
but the technology that Algorand brings to the, what I call "the tier two of blockchain" because you have the tier
one which is, you know, the Ethereum, the first ones that came and then the next layer that's coming in you guys and the other ones. It's special, it's different. It's bringing something
extra to the table, which is, you know, the speed,
the confirmation times, which is great and then, one thing that, actually I tweeted about
this the other day is that the TEAL language is sneaky powerful. If you take a look at it and you see, you can say, "Oh, it's well,
it's not Turing complete." or "It looks like assembly." but in, in reality, that's all you really need. You don't really need Turing completes in the blockchain world because Turing completes, in
general, like in Ethereum, Ethereum, Solidity is Turing complete but it's not really because you'd run out of gas before you'd actually be able
to do anything complicated. So it's okay to not be Turing complete.

And you get the tons of benefits by not being Turing complete, like being able to maintain
the speed that Algorand does. – Can you still do
everything you need to do in a non Turing complete situation? – Yes. Yes. But. (laughs) – Well and then I think
Reach comes into play there as well, right, in making more of that possible and sort of- – Exactly.
– doing some of that. – That's why I said, "Yes, but." – Yeah.
– Technically, everything is still possible on Algorand. You can build sophisticated
applications like DEXes and DOAs and all the things that
you're seeing on Ethereum but it's a little bit harder. You have to do a lot more manual things than you would do on Solidity but that's where Reach comes in. And why we see actually a
great partnership with Algorand is that we make it so
that a regular developer doesn't have to think of those things.

Just like it's very similar to, if I asked you to build
a Twitter clone tomorrow you could, you could pretty much do it through the actual
tools that exist, right, like, the languages, the frameworks. But if I said, you have
to use only assembly, technically it would be possible but you would probably run out of money before you actually got there.

So that's sort of like, what Reach does with Algorand is that Algorand provides the power, the actual, all the actual building blocks and Reach gives the actual tools to the developer, to easily and practically stick them together to build sophisticated applications. – Okay. Okay. What stage are you at in
terms of the development of Reach on Algorand and being able to make that possible? Right, 'cause I know that, you know, I think I absolutely agree with you that you know, you said common developers but I would argue, you know, more developers that are
not in blockchain right now and bringing those people
on and onboarding those. Sort of, what stage are you at with Reach and being able to do that and make that a reality for
people that want to build in Algorand that aren't
necessarily in blockchain yet? – Ah, that's a great question. So, and the answer is, we are ready today. – [Keli] Wow.
– With an asterisk again. – [Keli] A lot of buts going
on in this conversation.

(Keli laughing)
– Yes I-. Well, I mean, I started off as a engineer. that's what I grew up doing. So a developer could come in today and start using Reach,
building their applications. We are currently actively building the integration for Algorand but the developer itself won't see that. They can learn Reach, they can start building applications and as soon as our integration is done they don't have to change
their application at all. They can just launch in Algorand and then it's launched. To give it in actual dates, soon TM, you know. We are actively working on the
actual Algorand integration and, you know, knock on wood, we should have Phase One done this week. – [Keli] Wow, congratulations.
That's really exciting. – Thank you. – So what does that? So from a developer experience, how much? Would they just be using Reach or would they be
interacting with any of the Algorand tooling as well? Walk, like just at a high level 'cause I'm not a super technical person. – Sure.
– Why don't you walk me through what that looks like.

– Yeah, so what we've
done is we've built… We believe, that a lot of
the actual blockchain tooling like for, not just Algorand but for any blockchain out
there, is really, there, it's built to help the
developers do hard things easier. What Reach did is, we sat back and said, "Okay, well, how can we make blockchain development a hundred times better?" We don't want to actually make it an incrementally better process by providing better development tools. We, so what we did is we
spent the last year and a half Jay, my Co-Founder, the CTO, computer science
researcher, brilliant guy, spent the last year and a half building out Reach so that
we could actually make blockchain developments
a hundred times easier. Now to do that what we had
to do is really rethink how blockchain development is done. And Jay has, you know,
over 15 years of experience in research doing similar
things in different areas.

So he was able to actually
take all of his past research and build Reach. – Awesome. Wow. And what now? You and Jay you're focused
on doing more sophisticated more complex things on
Algorand and beyond, have you done any simple things like, I can create an ASA on Algorand. – Yes.
– Have you, can you- Can you talk about any of
the more simple applications or the tooling that Algorand has? – Yeah, so…

So Reach has actually created a series of what we call "workshops". That's our many small
applications, like, you know, less than a hundred lines of code. We can do things like trust funds, hash-locks and make it very easy for that, maybe if you don't need to build
something very sophisticated but you need a small functionality like maybe a, a lending primitive. I don't know. Those are usually pretty, pretty simple and it can be done in a matter
of like, less than an hour and be able to be once, once we actually make that integration, knock on the wood, by the end of this week, you'll be able to actually
launch that on Algorand very, very simply. – Oh, okay. Have you created the Reach
coin on Algorand yet? (Chris laughing) – We, we… We do actually our absolute best not to actually have a token at all. I've been, you know I see all of these huge ICOs
and airdrops and everything and these companies raising
millions of dollars this way but what we really want to be is be very much in infrastructure play and leave the tokens to our users our developers, building
things on Algorand.

– Great. You, speaking of funding- – I might make a "Chris token" though and give them out. I don't know what they'll be good for- but who knows?
– [Keli] Yeah, sure, why not. (laughs) Well, you, I'd love to see that, it's easy enough to do that on Algorand.
– It is. – Talking about funding a little bit. Can you just give us a
quick overview, sort of, what it's meant to be
part of the Grant Program at the Algorand Foundation, for Reach? – Yeah, so we've now
actually received two grants from the foundation. The first one is, was to actually
prove out that we could do what we're actually saying that we'd do. And we, so we proved that out and then we received a bigger grant to finish building out Reach.

It's been actually a
super pleasant experience. I mean, you know,
foundations are foundations. So they're not the fastest moving things in the entire world but they got the job done. The people that we've been
working with, Shai, Fabrice- I talk to them-
– It's a great team over there. – Yeah, they're amazing people. And that's probably one of the best things because I mean, we work
with many different chains and so one of the things
that we really do enjoy is who we get to work with. So not only like the
people at the foundation but the people at Inc, yeah,
have been very, very helpful in helping us to get to where we are. – Awesome. Well, we are excited to have Reach as part of the Algorand ecosystem and thanks for taking the time to share some of these progressions that Reach has made, which is awesome.

Looking forward to seeing
that coming out soon. Where do people go for more information? – They can go to our website, it's Reach.sh. They can join our Discord community. They can follow us on Twitter. ReachLang is what we're on Twitter at. We're trying to make a
good, a big push now, to actually be more out into the social, now that we can actually be used. So hopefully people will hearing about us. So hopefully I'll start
seeing more articles from Algorand about us. – Perfect. Will do, we'll get on that. All right, thanks Chris. – [Chris] Thank you. (upbeat music).

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