22 June 2020 · 1 min read

Building Products versus Building Protocols

How is building protocols different than making more traditional centralized products? Nitya Subramanian, product manager at Celo, says that the key questions builders should ask themselves are: what is the need I'm meeting, and who are the end-users?

According to her, projects that seek full control of the end-user experience must build the full stack so that every layer is fully customizable for new use cases. Meanwhile, products built for developers should focus on identifying a range of objectives that will bring more developers on the platform while giving them enough freedom to innovate. Regardless of the end-user, all developers should focus on what will bring users to their product rather than have a "build it and they will come" mindset.

She closes the presentation with a case study of the digital payments system Celo, which includes a blockchain forked from Ethereum that includes a native asset, topped by a layer of native smart contracts encoding a stablecoin, with a wallet and a developer SDK at the top of the stack.

While each layer of the project has separate development roadmaps, having the application layer allows Celo to identify issues with user experience and informs the development of lower layers of the stack.