Coffee Break Q&A with Codex Protocol Head of Product — Dan Grachanin

Aug 10, 2018

Dan Grachanin, Head of Product, Codex Protocol

Former Google Sr. PM, Rchain Director of PMM, US Army Captain
BS Engineering, Excelsior College, University of Oklahoma MA, Industrial Organizational Psychology, Columbia University

Why did you join Codex?

I joined Codex for two reasons; the project and the people. Rarely in the Blockchain and Crypto space do we see projects that leverage all of the features that this new technology brings to us (network effects, trust, decentralization, tokenization, immutability, etc.). However, with Codex, all of these features are used as a complete package that solves the complicated and necessary problem of provenance and validation for Arts and Collectibles.

In terms of people, as soon as I interviewed with our CTO, John Forrest, I knew I’d be working with sharp people. John brings a wealth of technical knowledge and leadership in security and identity. I then interviewed with our CEO, Mark Lurie. Mark has a unique ability to make people feel at ease and included. He’s had success in the Arts and Collectibles space through his last company which he founded and sold which gave me confidence that he was the right leader for this space. My final interview was with Jess Houlgrave who has one of the most unique talent stacks I’ve ever come across. Not only does she have a strong financial background; she also authored a thesis for her Master’s at Sotheby’s which covered the intersectional opportunity between Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, and Art.

This team and project gave me the utmost confidence in joining Codex.

What’s your background?

My background before this role was as a Director of Product Marketing for another Blockchain company, RChain. Before RChain, I spent two years at Google as a Senior Product Manager leading a product line for the video game industry using Google’s Cloud Platform.

What is one aspect of Codex Protocol that you are excited about, and why?

I’m excited for us to solve a physical problem (the provenance of Arts and Collectibles) with a digital solution (Blockchain). The market is saturated with so many tokens and projects without direction, but Codex has picked a problem worth solving in a very distinct space.

What are your thoughts on the industry today?

The interest and investment in this technology has been explosive. Satoshi’s famous white paper started a digital revolution in currency that was followed by a digital revolution in decentralized apps via Ethereum. However, the technology and industry is still young and trying to find its home. The problem is that we tend to overcomplicate the technology and miss adoption from the general populace unless we aim to make great products AND educate our users. We strive to do both at Codex.

How do you balance decentralization with user experience?

I think we do that by making sure our product and core features are decentralized by default. That way, we can move on from the common error of continually making an artificial play for decentralization and instead, focus on making a product that our users will be delighted to use. It also means that we have to find ways to abstract some of the complexity in wielding this technology while not completely eliminating it and losing our more power users.

What technical challenges do you foresee occurring in blockchain that keep you up at night?

The most difficult challenge we will face is the continual desire for the most precise and accurate methods of measuring the provenance of physical arts and collectibles via a digital solution. We will be able to offset a lot of this complexity by adding more means to quantify provenance and validate it through our registry (i.e., tracking shipping of A&C, NFC chips, etc.).

And for the final question, what is your favorite holiday destination? How do you relax in your free time?

My favorite holiday destination is New Zealand. The entire country feels like another world where there is a strong sense of community and aesthetic beauty. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that Lord of the Rings was shot there!