Lux in San Fran: An Interview with Luxcore CEO Brian Oliver

Twenty-three. That’s the number of people currently working as part of the Luxcore team including development, marketing & communications, admin, tech support, project management, community relations, and so on. That’s quite a healthy number for a project still in its infancy. Despite that lofty number, though, it’s more about quality than quantity when it comes to Lux personnel as most members of the Lux community already know. They are a highly-skilled, dedicated and hard-working group. And last week many of them convened in San Francisco for the first-ever Lux team meetup to discuss the current state of affairs, challenges and opportunities, and to chart out the course ahead.

I was fortunate enough to be invited and got to meet many notables within the Lux universe such as Bfons, Mr. Test, Arsonic and his rambunctious partner-in-crime 2manyguns, Vaulter, ZZer00, TopoX, CryptoBurbano, and more. Even though I was meeting these people for the first time, I was struck by how much I felt I already knew them. In most cases, their real-life personalities are not incongruent with the personas of their Discord alter-egos. Well, all except azcrte — that guy is truly a wonder of nature.

Left to Right: azcrte, Bfons, TopoX, deadthings, Vaulter, 2cryptoGuyz, CryptoBurbano, ZZer00, Arsonic, Mr. Test

One member of the team with whom I got to spend quite a bit of time was 2cryptoGuyz, otherwise known as Luxcore CEO Brian Oliver. We discussed a great many things, crypto-related and otherwise, as we ascended seemingly all of the countless steep hills of San Francisco. We talked about his upbringing in middle-class Arkansas, how he got into the world of cryptocurrencies, and of course, we spoke at length about Luxcore.

If you were to take his word at face value, Brian would have you believe he’s just your typical white, Christian, middle-American family man who’s a bit of a fish-out-of-water in this crazy crypto world of ours. But I think it was one of the very first things he ever said to me that probably sums him up more accurately: “I am not afraid to try new things!”

From the top of Lombard Street: Everywhere you go in San Francisco is uphill. Way uphill.

After five years of school and three years of working in an apprenticeship, Brian started his own architecture firm in Tennessee, building up a small but loyal group of repeat clients. His business acumen guided him through the fiscal downturn of 2008–2010 when many architecture firms were being forced to close up shop and lots of competent architects found themselves out of a job.

As part of the design process of his business, Brian had three or four rather powerful rendering computers with which he and his IT guy decided to start mining. “We were just mining silly things like DOGE, not really taking it too seriously,” he recounts. “At some point around 2014 or 2015 we went away on vacation and I turned the computers off, and I never turned them back on.”

It was a lovely day for a walk. Brian is in the beige jacket.

At the time, he was less concerned about crypto than he was with a tiny new tech startup he launched called Walleries. Walleries was an iPad app that allowed people to take pictures of their artwork and pictures of their wall/room and use that to download templates that would tell them where the nail holes should go. “It was a pretty cool tool for people who don’t know how to hang art,” said Brian somewhat modestly.

Somewhat less modestly he continued, “Actually, we were the best new lifestyle app on the App Store, ahead of eBay and a bunch of other big ones.” Alas, Walleries did not punch Brian’s ticket to eternal Lambo parties because, “It had lots of users, but not many paying users… So basically the only people who made money off it were the developers I had hired.”

That’s about the time he met a crypto technical analyst who introduced him to 216k155. 216k155 already had a lot of ideas for a new proof-of-work algorithm and was looking for a more business-oriented person with whom he could work to launch a new blockchain platform. Brian and 216k155 hit it off immediately, talking on the phone and via text for long hours, collaborating on ideas, talking about their personal lives, just generally getting to know each other. They came to discover that although they were a world apart in many respects, they had a lot in common and quickly forged a powerful and dynamic working relationship. Thus, Luxcore was born.

Dragon’s Gate came towards the end of our rather exhausting journey.

Fast forward to San Francisco, March 2018, Brian and truthfully the whole of the Lux team are abundantly aware of some of the challenges Luxcore is currently facing. Lux suffered a significant network attack in February that forced 216k155 and his development team to accelerate the release of v4.0. The combined effects of the attack itself as well as rushing the not-fully-tested code to mainnet continue to cause problems for the Lux network.

“One thing that I hate what we’re doing with Lux is that we’re not meeting some of our goals,” said Brian. “Really we’re still working through some of the after-effects of that attack. Our devs are working on multiple strands: getting PoS back up to speed, Smart Contracts, SegWit, and a lot of the roadmap items. In a lot of ways, our roadmap was significantly disrupted by that attack… Now everybody is back on the right chain and we’re ready to get moving on tackling some of the roadmap items.”

So which roadmap items exactly are going to be tackled? And when can we expect to start seeing some progress in these areas? Here, I’ll let Brian explain…

“There’s at least a fork for sure for SegWit. And probably a fork for Smart Contracts too… I mean, we’re creating something totally brand new… So I think, unfortunately, we don’t really know how long it will take and so far we’ve guessed poorly. The premine coins that are to be burnt are already locked up in a wallet and ready to go, so that doesn’t affect our development one way or another, but we need to wait for a fork before we can implement that. And hence, we’re waiting for SegWit.”

“Marketing Phase 2 is probably our biggest, most exciting thing. That’s when we’ll have our TV appearances on CNN and Fox News. They haven’t made a press release announcing those appearances yet, so that’s why I’ve felt like we couldn’t say much about it. But now I feel like we should start talking about it because it’s happening, and we’re actually going to start shooting it soon. In the TV show, one of the things we’re going to talk about a lot is LuxGate and the Parallel Masternode Network — but I honestly can’t say how close we are to implementing those; they are a ways out. The PoS web wallet, on the other hand, is just about ready. That will be our first real product that we can then sell to other projects.”

Why do we do it? For the awesome hats, obviously.

After a five-hour walk through San Francisco that took us up Lombard Street, through Ghirardelli’s Square and Fisherman’s Wharf and back along Chinatown under the Dragon’s Gate, I had come to realize there’s quite a bit more to this supposedly typical white, Christian, middle-American family man, particularly when he says things in an off-the-cuff manner like, “The Luxcore project is a full-service blockchain infrastructure that we plan to license to a variety of users and on which all of our products and dApps will run.” He certainly does not strike me as a fish out of water, but rather exactly the kind of nuanced and multi-faceted yet also focused and driven person an ambitious project like Lux needs manning the tiller.