BlockJoy: A Rust Success Story

With expert insights from BlockJoy’s CEO and founder Chris Bruce, the following takes a deep-dive into BlockJoy and its journey to scaling a successful blockchain infrastructure business.

While awareness and usage of the Rust programming language has grown rapidly within the software engineering community, commercial adoption of the language remains a cornerstone of Rust’s long-term success. And, while some businesses remain at a test and learn stage with Rust, others have chosen to embrace the language more comprehensively. 

One such business is BlockJoy, an innovative server infrastructure company that prides itself on a suite of bespoke tooling designed to support those in the Web3 sector.

As one of the first tech businesses to build node-focussed tooling from the ground up, BlockJoy has not only enabled significantly improved node performance and operations for its clients, but also spotlighted the potential of Rust for systems level programming. 

On the path to growth, BlockJoy has also significantly scaled its engineering team, supported exclusively by Understanding Recruitment. Blockjoy’s hiring efforts have focussed primarily on attracting skilled Rust engineers, but also several others across DevOps and at VP-level.

Introducing BlockJoy

Founded in 2021, BlockJoy started life as a personal project shared only with family and friends. However, when Chris and the team discovered substantial demand for their products, what started as a personal project quickly grew into a full-fledged business venture, now valued at more than $70m.

Blockjoy had discovered a gap in the market - providing bespoke server infrastructure designed specifically for decentralised ledger technology - commonly known as blockchains.

The product significantly improved the way individuals and businesses were able to stake decentralised tokens (a process that allows crypto asset holders to earn ‘interest’ against their assets) by reducing costs, complexity and computational burden.

“We noticed that a lot of people were using cloud and Web2 technology to run blockchain nodes. The problem is that it’s actually highly inefficient for the blockchain use case since it is essentially a very large distributed database, not an ephemeral, such as a web server, that can be easily killed and restarted at will. 

We decided to build from-the-ground-up Web3 infrastructure specifically designed for running high our own version, a set of bespoke tooling for running high performance blockchain nodes on bare metal. We initially intended only to share it with family and friends, but when demand grew rapidly, we saw a real business opportunity.”

 - Chris Bruce, Founder and CEO of BlockJoy

With cost-effective, efficient node infrastructure services built with their own unique tooling, BlockJoy has been able to gain an edge over the competition, emerging as a go-to service for businesses needing Web3 support. Blockjoy now supports clients all over the world, boasting a satisfied client base and an ever-growing team of innovative tech professionals. 

Why BlockJoy Built Their Tooling in Rust

Chris has always had a knack for seeing potential in emerging technologies and adopting them before they hit the mainstream, and his forward-thinking decision to use Rust is no exception. His ability to be at the forefront of technological developments is what drew him to Rust, as he explains: 

“I think one of my strong suits has always been to recognise and adopt major technological shifts early on. For example, back in the early web days, everybody was building stuff in Pearl and Java, whereas I was championing Python before it became really popular. The same goes for my experience with Rust - I got into that long before it became mainstream” 

- Chris Bruce, Founder and CEO of BlockJoy

Chris especially appreciates how Rust’s strict system of rules dramatically reduces the need to devote large amounts of time to testing. As Rust’s compiler is able to catch so many unwanted bugs, BlockJoy has been able to reduce their runtimes by 50%, allowing them to devote more time to refining their state-of-the-art Web3 services. 

Why Did BlockJoy Need Our Support?

As business began booming, BlockJoy soon recognised the need to bring in the best and brightest Rust engineers - and that’s where we came in. With years of software recruitment experience and a specialist Rust team, we were well-placed to support BlockJoy in its mission to scale. 

Like many small and medium-sized enterprises, BlockJoy has been on a rapid growth trajectory over the last couple of years. For CEO Chris, working with a dedicated talent partner was crucial for freeing up his time and providing him with the confidence that he’s being connected with the best available talent. 

BlockJoy needed a recruiter with the perfect combination of extensive hiring experience and Rust expertise, and we had means to support them in accomplishing their recruitment goals. Not only did we have the means to source the best and brightest Rust professionals, we were also able to give him expert advice around hiring processes and candidate experience. 

Prior to collaborating with us, BlockJoy experienced difficulties with finding a trustworthy recruitment partner. Their relationships broke down due to poor communication skills, and their needs were left unfulfilled. As Chris explains: 

“Recruiters in the past tried to make out that they were the only people in the world who could find Rust developers. It wasn't a great experience, but then we came across Understanding Recruitment, who really are best in class. With them, there’s more of a human connection, and they seem to find highly talented people out of the woodwork” 

- Chris Bruce, Founder and CEO of BlockJoy 

While much of BlockJoy’s hiring difficulties were down to bad experiences, they were also affected by the industry’s shortage of Rust talent. Though its usage is growing among developers and companies, Rust has not yet managed to challenge well-established languages like JavaScript and Python. As a result, highly skilled Rust engineers are relatively hard to come by, with only 7% of Rust users claiming to be experts. 

Although the scarcity of seasoned Rust professionals presented some challenges, Chris believes that what the Rust talent pool lacks in quantity, it more than makes up for in quality. This is largely due to the fact that Rust is a relatively new language with a steep learning curve, so the engineers who are proficient in it tend to be the best in the business. 

How We Supported BlockJoy

When BlockJoy approached us to avail of our market-leading Rust recruitment services, we were excited about the road ahead. From our initial conversations, we could tell that Chris and his close-knit team were doing something special, and our expert consultants were excited about contributing to their continued success through effective recruitment. 

Another of our unique selling points that caught BlockJoy’s attention is our comprehensive onboarding process. We take the time to consult with clients about their needs and requirements, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises. At the outset of our relationship with BlockJoy, we had a kick-off session that helped us to get a deep understanding of Chris’ needs. Guided by his preferences, we were ultimately able to develop a hiring strategy that met BlockJoy’s employer brand objectives and ensured positive candidate experiences. 

What Were the Results?

BlockJoy is a completely remote company with team members in North America and Europe, however, we weren’t hampered by any geographical constraints when looking for candidates. After discussions with the BlockJoy team, it soon became clear to us what they were looking for - highly experienced Rust engineers who could seamlessly slot into senior-level roles.

Through a mixture of proactive recruiting and bespoke job adverts, our team managed to reach out to a selection of talented Rust professionals. We reached out to potential candidates via a range of channels, including Discord and Slack, and after conducting interviews and evaluating their Rust skills through assessments, we shortlisted the very best candidates and put them in touch with BlockJoy. 

Here are the just a few of the crucial roles we have filled for BlockJoy: 

  • Senior Rust Systems Engineer
  • Lead Rust Systems Engineer
  • VP of Rust Engineering

What Does The Future Hold?

At Understanding Recruitment, we are passionate about supporting cutting-edge software companies by providing them with high-calibre candidates. That’s why we have thoroughly enjoyed our partnership with BlockJoy, and we intend to continue being their first port of call for hiring Rust developers. 

We take pride in the fact that our people-led, proactive approach to recruitment has made such an impression on Chris. His praise of our ability to ‘find highly talented people out of the woodwork’ and our focus on making ‘human connections’ means a lot to us. Indeed, it motivates us to carry on sourcing the best Rust engineers that the industry has to offer for his accomplished organisation. 

As a recruitment agency that excels in helping clients to scale and reach company milestones, we have every confidence that our relationship with BlockJoy will last for many years to come. With the number of Rust developers expected to grow in the coming years, we’ll strive to remain at the forefront of the Rust recruitment space. 

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