Dr. Uri Klarman of bloXroute Labs

An exclusive Tech Tribune Q&A with Dr. Uri Klarman, the co-founder and CEO of bloXroute Labs, which was honored in our:
Tell us the origin story of bloXroute Labs – what problem were you trying to solve and why?

bloXroute Labs is a technology startup founded by software veterans and crypto researchers from
Northwestern University, and is now backed by leading venture capitalists (e.g. Pantera, Coinbase
Ventures, ZhenFund, 1 Confirmation, Fenbushi, etc).

I was a PhD networking student at Northwestern University when Professor Kuzmanovic and I realized
that the limiting factor of cryptocurrencies is that they employ a P2P network model to propagate
transactions and blocks, which doesn’t scale as transaction volume increases and doesn’t employ an
optimized topology.

The way blockchains work is that anybody can make transactions (sending 1 Bitcoin to a merchant for
example), and special actors called validators (also called miners) aggregate these transactions into
blocks. The result is a chain of blocks that contain all the transactions ever to happen in the blockchain.
The key point we identified is that a validator/miner cannot create a new block of transactions before
receiving the previous one. This is critical because any attempt to allow the blockchain to process, for
example, 10x more transactions would produce 10x larger blocks, which takes x10 longer to reach the
entire network. This forces the blockchain to reduce the rate at which it produces blocks by 10x, so no
improvement is achieved. In other words, any attempt to produce larger blocks reduces their rate, so
blockchains cannot process more transactions.

With the networking bottleneck removed, cryptocurrencies and blockchains are free to adjust their
protocol to best leverage this newfound capacity.

What was the biggest hurdle you encountered in your journey?

Similarly to other technology startups, our main challenge has been finding enough talented developers in the time-frame needed. To overcome this challenge, we opened a satellite development office in Israel with dedicated full-time bloXroute employees. Today, the bloXroute team has grown from 4 to about 20 employees, with the majority headquartered at our Chicago-area office.

What does the future hold for bloXroute Labs?

We built a Blockchain Distribution Network (BDN) with the goal of enabling all blockchains to scale, and
thus help elevate the entire blockchain community. Importantly, bloXroute can be gradually deployed by any blockchain project, mining pool, miner, or node wishing to receive blocks at a higher rate, and we have several integrations already in the works, including Ethereum and Ontology.

We also are expanding our product offering to allow for various connections to the BDN and advanced
analytics, including a BDN explorer, cloud API, and a transaction stream service. Through these services, miners can make more money, traders can get faster trade execution, wallets can get better transaction insights, DAPPS can get a better UI/UX, and everyone can pay lower transaction fees.

Looking beyond blockchains, the technology we are developing solves an even bigger and emerging
problem. Large tech companies are facing growing scrutiny regarding privacy leaks and handling of
personal information. bloXroute’s neutral-by-design approach could become a key building block in a
future privacy-preserving computing infrastructure.

What are your thoughts on the local tech startup scene in Evanston?

Evanston is absolutely fabulous, and with Northwestern University and its startup incubator (The Garage), it’s practically an ideal setting for a startup. While we may lack mingling with other blockchain startups and VCs the way we could have done in San Francisco, Silicon Valley, or even NYC, the upside of being able to focus on our product without too much “noise” is a major advantage.

What’s your best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?

If your idea is great and you can get people excited about it, you will have no problem raising funds. Most VCs will tell you that they reject 99% of startups and accept only the best 1%, but don’t let that deter you. If what you are building is exciting, you’ll get VCs standing in line. And on that note – raise more capital. More. More. There you go. Raising funds gets harder over time, not easier, and it becomes less about your grand vision and more about revenues, users, and hard numbers, so you want to make sure you have enough money to reach this point


For more exclusive interviews, see our full Profile of a Founder series

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