BrainBlocks and Nano, two months on!

https://brainblocks.io

Two and a half months ago, I spent a weekend hacking around with the Nano cryptocurrency (formerly RaiBlocks) and building brainblocks.io. My wonderful fiancée Jill cranked out a logo, we uploaded the site, I posted it on reddit as a “hey look at this thing I built, anyone got any feedback?”, and then I promptly went to sleep.

Here’s that first announcement:

https://medium.com/@bluepnume/introducing-brainblocks-my-weekend-hack-project-to-build-a-simple-checkout-app-for-raiblocks-5f5770c06c14

Since then a bunch of things have happened:

  • The night after I posted the article, it blew up on reddit — and all the visitors took my little cloud server down. The next morning I scrambled around to get a dedicated box up and running, and got things stable.
  • Everyone started proclaiming “PayPal is getting into nano!!”, and I had to quickly point out that the whole thing really was just a side project.
  • A bunch of people started actually integrating BrainBlocks into their sites. I was expecting to get a little feedback, maybe a “hey, this looks cool!”. Instead I ended up with a bunch of actual merchant sites that are using our little widget to take Nano payments. Here are some of my favorites:

Nano Merch, for all your Nano currency accessories!

Rising Sun Records, because the fact that BrainBlocks is being used to sell vintage vinyl from Japan makes me feel like a huge hipster (and I love it).

Pex Peppers, for delicious hot sauce. They were the first site with any decent volume to start using BrainBlocks - I even bought some! (With Nano, of course)

  • An iOS dev called Ty messaged me on reddit a couple of days after I made the initial post, to chat about building an iOS app for BrainBlocks. Since then, Ty’s done nothing but help the project grow, give support on reddit and discord way more than he should, and get way too little sleep. He’s now as much a core owner of BrainBlocks as I am — so this is a quick official “Welcome aboard Ty!”
  • We went through some teething problems with the Nano node software, and suffered a little downtime, but as usual the core team were incredibly helpful in helping us to get our servers back to full health. For the last few weeks things have been pretty damn stable!
  • We released plugins for WooCommerce, Shopify (thanks so much Colin!), OpenCart (thanks David!) and Shopware (thanks Luca!), enabling BrainBlocks to be used on a bunch of e-commerce sites, with very little effort on the part of merchants.
  • We released an iOS SDK and Android SDK to enable BrainBlocks to be used in any mobile app. Ty even has a BrainBlocks iOS app in beta, and is currently working hard on getting out a point-of-sale app for iPads.
  • A bunch of people started building open source projects around BrainBlocks on GitHub, including a React component, a Vue component, a Rails integration and a Drupal integration.
  • Every other day. people are asking and posting about BrainBlocks on reddit, and new merchants are integrating it.

Suffice to say, Ty and I are absolutely floored by the support we’ve gotten from the community and core Nano team, over the last two months. We’ve tried to build out BrainBlocks in-keeping with the core value proposition of Nano; that is, fast, transparent, and free — and we love the amount of support we’ve been getting from everyone.

What’s next?

Nothing is going to change about the current core BrainBlocks platform. We’re going to continue to stay free, fast and easy, powered by donations, and providing the best possible Nano integration we can.

That said, with everything that’s been happening, we’ve been asking ourselves, how can we take BrainBlocks to the next level? We have several things we’re thinking about very seriously:

  1. We want to make BrainBlocks a platform not just for enthusiasts, but to take Nano to the mainstream. Imagine a world with no QR codes, no complicated exchanges, no copy and pasting. That’s what we want to build: a crypto payments engine for humans.
  2. We’re very seriously considering raising capital, to help us hire engineers, market, and take BrainBlocks to the next level. It’s very early on in the game, but we’re open to talking to the right people, if it helps us grow and continue building without sacrificing any of our relationship with the core community.
  3. We’re also considering looking for someone to join us on the business side. Ty and I are both committed engineers, but so much of BrainBlocks’ future is going to be in establishing partnerships, building networks, and growing. If you want to work with us, and you can bring something to the table, drop us a line, we’d love to chat!

What’s next for me personally?

I’ve had a hell of a ride building out BrainBlocks in my spare time over the last few months; it’s been one of the most rewarding side-projects I’ve worked on. And I’m going to continue working on it whenever I get the chance. While it’s still a side-project.

That said, if BrainBlocks does become a full-blown company, and starts raising funding, I’ll be taking a step back and handing over the reins to Ty, to keep it going. Without going into too many details — not only do I have a full time job, which I love, my visa situation in the States precludes me from working on a startup.

And that’s a good thing! If we get the chance to turn BrainBlocks into something really big, I’d be more than happy to step back and give it the best possible chance for success. :) And Ty has proven more than capable of turning this into something really big.

Thanks so much!

Anyway, finally, just wanted to say a massive thanks to the entire Nano community, and all the merchants and customers using BrainBlocks. It’s been a wild ride so far!

works for PayPal, as a lead engineer in Checkout. Opinions expressed herein belong to him and not his employer. daniel@bluesuncorp.co.uk

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