At Reserve, we’re changing the Venezuelan financial system to allow access to US dollars. Dollar access is crucial to our users in order to cope with ongoing hyperinflation. We’re roughly 2/3 Venezuelan and 1/3 US American, funded by Sam Altman and Peter Thiel personally, and spread across North and South America. Before Reserve, our team members led two of the most prominent attempts to solve the problem of hyperinflation in Venezuela.
We’ve created a series of tubes that allows any normal Venezuelan to convert their Bolivars (the local failed currency) into US dollars and back again in our app in a couple of minutes. This means that Venezuelans can use our app to easily save and spend in US dollars, and not have to worry about their money devaluing overnight. Because of the capital controls in Venezuela, this kind of financial service is not commonly available, and our early users are extremely appreciative of what we’ve built. New users are often skeptical we can deliver on what we say our app does until they try it, and often evangelize to their friends once they have seen it work.
This is the percentage of users that are still actively using the service after N weeks from their first time trying it:
Our near-term ambition is to support the entire Venezuelan economy transacting digitally in US dollars, escaping the issues posed by the hyperinflation our country has suffered for the last decade.
In the long term, Reserve aims to eliminate hyperinflation globally, by offering the same service in other countries and eventually launching a currency that’s independent of the US dollar. But, let’s not get carried away, one step at a time! Right now we are aiming to serve 10M+ Venezuelans, and we’re looking at Argentina next. Reserve is ultimately a cryptocurrency project, but right now what we are doing is more like Cash App meets BitTorrent.
Despite all we have going for us (yes, we are proud!) our app still sucks in various ways. As we write this, we have a long waitlist of would-be users who are getting impatient with us (publicly – like, accumulating 1-star reviews from people who are upset that they are still waiting to get in ). We aren’t able to let them join, because of the challenges we face in scaling the series of tubes referenced above. We have pretty clear plans for how to scale, but there are still puzzles to handle and we’re sure there will be unexpected twists and turns. Until recently, we’ve been mostly product– and research–oriented, understanding our users and settling on what our app needs to offer.
Now that our early adopters are loving us and evangelizing, we need to grow our engineering team to deliver the same level of service to a much larger audience.
So, we urgently need your creative, driven, articulate, altruistic mind to thoughtfully and efficiently grok these challenges, reach clear solutions, and – sometimes on your own and sometimes with a team – implement them. We’re willing to compete with Amazon/Google/Apple/Netflix on compensation in order to hire the absolute best people we can find, because we just have to get this right, and because we have the cash treasury to comfortably do so, having done very well in the crypto markets. So, we can offer an unusual degree of job security along with the impact, challenge, and potential financial upside of being a relatively early startup.
Our small engineering team consists of three US Americans and one Venezuelan. Two ex-Googlers, one 20-year founder/contractor-type, and one recent grad. Some of us are part of the Effective Altruism / AGI sphere, and all of us care a great deal about clear thinking, doing good work, and getting things right.
This is us. Venezuelans on our team typically stay anonymous.
We’ve read Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, Scott Alexander, Ray Dalio, Nick Szabo, Greg Egan, Isaac Asimov, Douglas Hofstadter, Daniel Kahneman, Eliezer Yudkowsky, and Nick Bostrom between us, but we haven’t all read all of them. We recognize that everyone has strengths and weaknesses and we structure our work to cover each other, but we also recognize that the best programmers are indeed 10-100x as productive as the median and we work hard to increase the average effectiveness of our team with each new hire.
We lean towards selecting and using the right tools for the jobs that arise, and we expect our team to learn new tools and skills when the time is right. Our current development stack includes React, React Native, Flask, and Postgres, deployed across Heroku and GCP. We’ve built and deployed smart contracts on Ethereum for custody of the underlying US dollars. Our Ethereum development stack includes Brownie and web3.py, plus a few open-source tools we’ve built ourselves (in Go and Python) for testing, finding code coverage, deploying, and interacting with smart contracts.
Our engineering work hours span from US Pacific Time to Venezuelan time (GMT-4). We use Discord, Zoom, Slack, and Asana. We love Roam, but given recent performance issues we’re using Notion. Our CTO and Head of Product lead our prioritization, and our CEO and COO are deeply involved with the product development process. Our CEO was a self-taught full stack developer long ago, so typically understands our high-level technical considerations.
2021 is a big year for Reserve’s blockchain development. First, we are returning to smart contract engineering to implement the full version of the protocol, which includes several features that the current beta version does not. For example, you’d be working with oracles, on-chain auctions, and governance. You’d be working alongside engineers with experience deploying smart contracts, and ideally you’ll have experience with it yourself. But since this space is so new, some of the best candidates will have never touched a smart contract, so if you are hungry to get into smart contract engineering and have the right kind of related experience we are open to teaching you.
We also need to follow the quickly developing Ethereum layer two side-chain space and make a key choice about which one to support in our consumer app. Users need to be able to hold their own private keys and make quick, cheap transactions, without unacceptable reduction in security and decentralization. You might be involved in this research and decision making, as well as implementation of a bridge.
In addition, we will need to build a more elaborate and polished web portal for interacting with the full version of our protocol, to replace the current beta portal.
We’re very excited about you if:
Today, Reserve's users are normal people and business owners in Venezuela. We help them save in dollars and transact with low friction. They can cash-in and cash-out with PayPal, Zelle, and Venezuelan bank transfers. For example, to cash-in, users initiate a transaction in our app, then are ...