Known as infrastructure experts, San Francisco-based P-Rep Insight are eager to use their technical skills to contribute open-source developer tools, expand the ICON ecosystem and help other P-Reps do the same.

1. Tell us about your team.

Insight is a technical P-Rep team led by infrastructure architect (Rob Canon) and experts in DevOps (John Taylor) and blockchain engineering (Mitchell Krawiec-Thayer). 

We collaborate closely with Insight engineers, who contribute to ICON projects while completing their DevOps, Decentralized Consensus, Security, Data Science and Data Engineering programs. In 2019 alone, Insight had 1000 fellows graduate go on to get jobs in top tier tech firms. From the last session, we had three fellows with a combined 15 years industry experience focus on ICON projects. We aim to grow the team tenfold during 2020 as Insight has expanded to locations in 7 cities across the US and Canada. 

We also started an accelerator program in 2019 to take full advantage of the immense brain power that comes through our doors at our headquarters in San Francisco. 

2. Why would you like to become an ICON P-Rep?

At Insight, we’re passionate about de-siloing the blockchain ecosystem and creating open-source tools that lower barriers for new participants. ICON’s position as a leading interoperability network attracted our initial attention, and we were excited to discover that our blockchain and DevOps expertise is perfectly aligned to address many of the main technical challenges in ICON’s ecosystem. We see ICON as an opportunity to plug in and provide ecosystem-wide value through our strengths in engineering, operations, and DApp development.

3. Why should the voters vote for YOU?

Insight specializes in several highly-technical areas (open-source infrastructure, automation, and reference architectures) that we are currently applying to the ICON ecosystem. We open-sourced a fully-automated deployment of P-Rep nodes on AWS, and shared the code and best practices with the entire community. 

With automation comes many opportunities, such as the ability to rapidly deploy large TestNets with various node configurations / network topologies. These enable us to simulate adverse conditions such as DDoS attacks, double signing, and network outage recovery planning.  Learnings from these tests will be instrumental to informing node operators how to optimize MainNet operations for all P-Rep teams.

All DApps require some kind of off-chain infrastructure, and they will share many common components. We will support the DApp ecosystem and developer experience by sharing common reference architectures encoding best practices. Any ICON DApp developer will be able to use the templates we share to easily spin up web servers to deploy various components of DApp infrastructure (which will seamlessly integrate with on-demand TestNets). As we create this developer-friendly toolkit, we’ll be onboarding more Insight Fellows to leverage these tools and create new ICON DApps and functionality.

Currently, we are maintaining over 10k lines of code spread over 30 repositories, the largest code base of it’s type for ICON. Everything we create for ICON is immediately available to all DApp developers and P-Rep teams. 

4. What do you like about ICON? What sets it apart from other blockchain platforms?

One of the biggest things that sets ICON apart is its delegated proof-of-contribution (DPoC) model, which rewards those who are able to contribute the most to the ecosystem. Insight has amazing talent coming through our doors and it’s great that ICON has a built-in governance/funding system that enables us to support them on projects that have a meaningful impact.  

Where other blockchain ecosystems principally work via grants, ICON provides a model whereby we can actively engage with the whole community and are incentivized to continually add value. We are also excited about the work ICONLOOP is doing forging relationships through initiatives like MyID which will greatly benefit the public ICON blockchain when deployed. 

5. How do you envision a decentralized ICON network? Why is decentralization important?

While the core duty of being a P-Rep is running secure and reliable node infrastructure, we believe P-Reps need to represent a diverse set of backgrounds in order for the ecosystem to be successful. No single P-Rep team can make ICON reach its full potential — we all must contribute in collaborative and complementary ways. 

Insight has initially focused on leveraging our expertise with network automation to design best practices that others can share. This enables us to support non-technical teams, so that they can focus on their strengths, such as outreach and business development. The automation also enables technical developers to focus on their unique goals rather than unnecessarily recreating infrastructure.

While many Insight fellows work on DApps (including two exchanges under current development), we see the best use of our efforts in building open source tools the whole community can share and benefit from. Decentralization, especially in the context of how ICON delegates rewards to those who contribute the most, is the only way to incentivize a multitude of different efforts to help the ecosystem in ways that centralized efforts could never achieve. 

If you want more information on Insight, refer to their full proposal on icon.community

Are you a P-Rep candidate and would like to be featured next? Send us your answers to the above questions via email at hello@theicon.ist