Backend Software Engineer
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.
Why we’re hiring
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 engineering team
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 currentdevelopment 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.
The backend role
We’re currently hiring individual contributors and tech leads. All new team members should expect to spend the majority of their time implementing. We hire highly productive engineers with good judgment, which means you need to either be substantially experienced or otherwise unusually skilled in software engineering.
As a backend engineer, you might work on:
- building and scaling our order-book exchange, in Python
- building a framework for automated interaction with 3rd party payment and banking services, using a variety of tools as needed
- maintaining or building new internal tools we use in smart contract engineering, likely in Go or Python
- improving scalability of our existing application as our user base grows
- systems for secret handling and private key management, in order to facilitate client applications accessing private keys, as well as users recovering private keys from cold storage
The kind of engineers we hire
We’re very excited about you if:
- You take pride in figuring things out and making things work, and once you accept a challenge you enjoy getting into all of the little details and becoming a micro-expert in order to nail it.
- You can show us cool things you have built yourself in your own time, and/or a long list of projects you’ve had significant ownership over professionally that are related to the work we are doing (mobile, web, smart contracts).
- You are kind, conscientious, thoughtful, cooperative, and communicative.
- You have found ways of spending time, effort, or money on improving the world in a meaningful way (i.e. not just virtue signalling, though we don’t mind if you do that too).
- When we talk to you about something we are building, worrying about, or planning, you quickly understand what we are describing and have productive things to say.
- You have honed your ability to self-manage, so that when you take on relatively abstract projects you turn them into concrete, sensible plans and bring them to completion -- or if they end up not making sense you realize that quickly and help the team adjust course.
- You reliably accomplish impressive amounts of important progress on what really matters, whether it’s figuring things out, implementing, educating, evaluating new team members, or anything else that comes up.
- You prefer the startup life of challenges, uncertainty, invention, chaos, impact, responsibility, and autonomy, over the big-company life of predictability, bureaucracy, clarity, brand recognition, nice offices, and policy.
- You have enough relevant experience that you can quickly come to solid plans for how to implement whatever you are working on, and your code naturally matches or raises the bar of maintainability we achieve.
- You understand and appreciate the importance of helping people cope with hyperinflation, either because you have experienced it yourself at some point in your life, or because you are a curious and empathetic intellectual who dives into understanding such things, and are easily sucked into trying to solve humanitarian problems you encounter.
- Location: anywhere, but expect to be online for a decent part of the US workday
- Seniority: both senior and junior engineers are considered, but standards are high
- Comp: we can match any offer you have, and can do full cash or RSR tokens.
- Stability: we have a large cash treasury, so can offer high job security
- Purpose: Reserve helps people beat hyperinflation, and aims to eradicate it entirely
- Language: English native / bilingual proficiency
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The Mission We’re building a stablecoin that can't be shut down, and a network of decentralized fiat on/off ramps. We believe that everyone’s money should be secure. Billions of people around the world don't have a safe place to store their money. Banks in some countries can't be trusted, and some governments inflate their own currency to pay off debts, hurting citizens in the process. With a few exceptions (money laundering, terrorist financing), we believe anyone in the world should be able to transact with anyone else. This requires low-friction, cross-border transactions, which are surprisingly hard to do in many cases today. That's the reason for creating a stable, decentralized currency that can’t be abused by a government, because it is globally distributed outside of anyone’s control, and thus nearly impossible to shut down.