Q&A: Peter Stein, CEO, Agreement Solutions

James is editor in chief of TechForge Media, with a passion for how technologies influence business and several Mobile World Congress events under his belt. James has interviewed a variety of leading figures in his career, from former Mafia boss Michael Franzese, to Steve Wozniak, and Jean Michel Jarre. James can be found tweeting at @James_T_Bourne.

With the current uncertain climate around COVID-19, many people have been looking towards more bankable assets and investments; a difficult job as the global markets plummet. It is fair to say that the history of blockchain technologies – ICO boom in 2017, crash in 2018, consolidation thereafter – would not mark it out right now, despite what one may read from the Bitcoin press. Yet some companies are trying to change that.

Agreement Solutions, based in Germany, is aiming to create a ‘blockchain simulator’ to help organisations better understand their initiatives – and The Block spoke with co-founder and CEO Peter Stein (centre) about what the company is setting out to achieve, as well as the challenges and opportunities presented.

TB: Hi Peter. Tell me about your career to date – the companies you have founded/co-founded and how Agreement Solutions was founded?

PS: I have successfully co-founded companies in digital health and the Internet of Things before starting Agreement Solutions. My two co-founders Colin (left) and Marius (right) laid the foundation for the company working in academia. Colin and I met last year in Indonesia, where we discussed the potential of a simulation tool for the DLT market and decided together with Marius to start Agreement Solutions.

TB: What does Agreement Solutions do and what problem is the company trying to solve in the blockchain market?

PS: Designing and operating distributed ledger systems bears a variety of uncertainties which prevent stakeholders from investing. We can answer questions like: where are major bottlenecks in my DLT system? How does it scale? What’s the best consensus algorithm for my use case? How will the system behave in critical events? With that we reduce uncertainties in the whole lifecycle of DLT systems.

TB: As more organisations are looking to undertake blockchain projects how important is this need for consultancy? Does it play into a wider theme of blockchain/DLTs maturing?

PS: It is very important that DLT systems become more predictable to increase the trust and willingness to invest in this technology. Sharing experience from successful projects will help the ecosystem as well as approaches like the one from Agreement Solutions, by supporting with quantitative predictions of outcomes.

TB: What have customers and prospects been saying – what do they want from companies such as yourself?

PS: Besides the support in design space exploration, many customers are interested in understanding the behaviour of their system in critical events. We can analyse such scenarios with high throughput and generate data to highlight potential limitations or problems with the deployment.

TB: You work with various stakeholders, from platform providers, to developers, to investors. How important is this collaboration between all parties? Are we achieving a situation where all parties are moving in the right direction?

PS: The collaboration across the value chain seems to become more and more efficient. On the platform level, I see a lot of competition, with each platform fighting for their own niche. For good use cases there is still sufficient funding in the system. One very good sign: new organisations are constantly entering the space, taking on real-world challenges with the help of DLT systems.

TB: What can we expect from Agreement Solutions for the rest of 2020 as the company scales out?

PS: We have integrated a number of consensus algorithms and are currently focusing on integrating platforms, like Hyperledger Fabric, which Colin discussed at the Hyperledger Global Forum in Phoenix. You can expect from us to contribute our expertise to help realising challenging and complex, large-scale infrastructure projects.

Picture credit: Agreement Solutions

Interested in hearing more in person? Find out more at the Blockchain Expo World Series, Global, Europe and North America.

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