Meet the Team: Ashish Gaikwad, our Senior Tech Lead

During this stage of platform creation, the developers are an important part of bringing the decentralized justice ecosystem to life. Jur is offering an inside look at some of the brilliant minds tackling development step-by-step.

The Open Justice Platform creation process is a complex mix of traditional platform development, blockchain development, and legal technology. Part of the dev team is based in Bangalore, also known as India’s Silicon Valley. Ashish (Ash, for short) is a Tech Lead, channeling a diverse mix of experience as a product manager, an entrepreneur, and a software developer. 

Read earlier articles about our developers Suhail and Shuchi.

Getting to know Ash

Ash’s previous experiences make him a natural fit for Jur and blockchain in general. Going back to his time as a college student in Mumbai, he was a huge proponent of open-source software and even developed his own Linux-based operating system. He also ran a startup community for promoting the local coding environment. Encouraging others to get involved with the technology scene was important to him, especially as a way to empower communities and people. 

I do whatever is needed to get things working. On the surface, people really don’t see what happens on the code side. I have a real “get it done” sort of attitude.

Ash, on his approach as a developer

After college, he began working with a lot of technology including IoT sensors, mobile computing and cloud technology. He even helped co-found and manage a few companies, including one that focused on IoT logistics for last-mile delivery services. While the businesses weren’t always successful, they taught him a lot about understanding the needs of users in a rapidly evolving internet age. It also helped to make him more well-rounded as a professional, learning new skills along the way. Now he’s able to take all those skills and apply them not just as a developer himself, but also on the management side of a project. 

Gravitating towards blockchain

When you ask Ash about what he’s passionate about, the first words out of his mouth are nascent technology and economics. He spends a lot of free time reading about technology or past events and the effect they had on markets. That’s why it’s no surprise that he got his first taste of blockchain early on through learning about Bitcoin. Later, he became more accustomed to tokens and smart contracts when he worked on a World Bank-funded project. The project was a blockchain-based carbon credit scheme in India that rewarded companies for treating water with coins. It showed him a lot about the versatility and power of blockchain to do good in society. At the time, the project was limited by the IoT sensors they had available, but as the IoT and machine learning technology continues to grow, he sees the whole world adopting solutions like this. 

After that experience, his interest in emerging technology made it his goal to get into a company dealing with machine learning or blockchain, which led him to Jur. When he found out about what the company was trying to do with smart contracts and legal tech, he got excited.

“In the past, when I was running my own company, maybe on a monthly basis we would create one or two contracts with different entities, such as a third party business looking for a software solution or a freelancer who just wants to work with us. So there was a lot of contract making and I’m very used to that. When I heard about what Jur was doing, it got me excited, I thought ‘Ok, this makes sense.’”

For Ash, 2020 has been interesting as he was onboarded with Jur early in April, right as the Coronavirus began affecting parts of India and the world. Luckily, he had been working remotely with his previous company since 2018, so the change was minor for him. Perhaps the biggest change was working as a team instead of being the founder. Ash credited the Jur team for teaching him a lot about working as an organization. 

Now as a tech lead he is managing a team of developers with a mix of management and hands-on coding. Initially, he is taking a focus on the front end, but later on, the role will scale to encompass all technical aspects. This includes working on smart contracts and blockchain development, something that Ash values as a use of time. He sees the blockchain as a great tool for businesses and people, beyond just being used to manage cryptocurrencies. 

Ash believes that the future of legal tech and blockchain is very bright. The challenge will be for developers and lawyers to find ways to automate key processes and express themselves in non-traditional ways. 

“Because you can write code and programs on top of it, you can automate it, you have a lot more power to make things happen with a higher level of control. The reliability and guarantees are there. I see this as the natural evolution of the legal industry. That’s how it is going to be in the future.”

Ash is also quite happy with his decision to work on such a groundbreaking project. When asked about his impressions of the company, Ash simply grins. “I can see myself being here a long time.”

We are developing the first Multi-Jurisdiction Platform for Online Dispute Resolution: the Open Justice. Check it out!

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