BlockJoy Case Study

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 - implementing it gradually to discover its specific suitability - 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 staking functionality 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. 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 API-as-a-Service business.

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 Web2 technology for staking. The problem is that it’s actually highly inefficient for the crypto use base because this technology leverages a distributed network of nodes, not a centralised point, such as a web server, that can be easily restarted at will. We decided to build our own version, a set of bespoke tooling for running blockchain nodes. 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

With decades of experience in the world of software engineering, Chris Bruce was already a big fan of Rust before launching BlockJoy. Having utilised the language at one of his previous venture-backed companies, he was aware of Rust’s exceptional performance and memory safety before implementing it at BlockJoy. Here, Chris explains why he considers Rust to be one of the most important technological shifts of our time: 

“For the first time in history, you get a language that's as fast as C and versatile enough to run in hardware, low-level machines, and on systems. Rust is the first high-performance programming language that can be used anywhere in the full stack of software development” - 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 relationship with one particular hiring agency broke down due to their poor communication skills and unreasonable commission demands. As Chris Bruce explains: 

“We had trouble with our previous recruiter. They considered their time to be more valuable than anyone else’s, and even tried to make out that they were the only people in the world who could find Rust developers. It was a terrible 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 with previous recruiters, 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 that are proficient in it tend to be the best in the business. Chris elaborates on this point here: 

“I would say that we're seeing more and more engineers that are getting into Rust. I would also say that hiring Rust experts gives you a competitive advantage because we are now seeing a lot of very seasoned, very talented engineers pursuing Rust jobs because they’re excited about the language. So, companies that choose to bring in Rust developers and engineers are likely going to have a better time attracting better quality professionals.” Chris Bruce, Founder and CEO of BlockJoy