Peach 1 year anniversary
The Peach team stories
Dear peaches today's blog post is a bit different to what is commonly seen in the bitcoin/tech space. Today we bring to you the story of how it feels building a Bitcoin startup, some challenges we've gone through, and how Peach managed to survive during 1 year so far. We hope you enjoy them, and encourage you to keep building in this amazing space. LFG!
Unveiling Peach - A Journey Begins
The past year has been a whirlwind of excitement, challenges, and growth. From the officially launch of our product to today, it has been a rollercoaster ride worth cherishing.
The moment we announced the private beta of Peach at Baltic Honeybadger, I felt pride and excitement. Witnessing users enthusiastically start using our platform from day one, despite the inherent risk of dealing with real money, was both thrilling and daunting. We knew that every sat mattered to our users, and the responsibility of safeguarding their assets weighed heavily on our minds.
However, as days turned into weeks, we found comfort in the fact that not a single sat was lost due to the robustness of our platform. Bugs were, of course, a part of the process, and some presented challenging puzzles to solve. Our 2-2 multisig escrow model proved to be a success, offering our users peace of mind while they were buying and selling peer-to-peer.
Growing and Nurturing the Dev Team
With an upwind of enthusiasm, we set sail on a journey of growth, expanding our team to four skilled developers. As a manager, it was an absolute pleasure to witness the vibrant energy and creativity each individual brought to the table. The development process became a symphony of ideas, propelling us forward with great momentum.
As our team grew, we discovered the power of crafting elegant code that prioritized readability and simplicity. Embracing the concept of "beautiful code," we found that it improved collaboration among us and facilitated adaptability for future enhancements. With this mindset we also fostered a culture of continuous improvement, where good ideas prevailed, and egos took a back seat.
It's cycles and balances
However, just like the ebb and flow of tides, our team experienced the natural rhythms of growth and change. We discovered the importance of finding balance in the expansion process. Acknowledging the need to strike the right equilibrium, we made thoughtful decisions to ensure the team remained cohesive and focused. We went through a phase of introspection and decided to reduce the number back to two developers. Embracing this natural process, we prioritized quality over quantity for meaningful achievements.
Learnings - Embracing the Bitcoin Mindset
Throughout this transformative year, we discovered that some processes we had previously adhered to were better left behind. Shaking off the "fiat-minded" mentality, we realized that daily stand-ups were not as crucial. Instead, adopting a more flexible approach to ad-hoc meetings allowed for greater focus on meaningful tasks.
Similarly, we learned that imposing rigid two-week sprints sometimes hindered the quality of our work. By setting strict yet unnecessary deadlines, we inadvertently limited the potential of our projects. With time, we embraced a more organic workflow that allowed for more thoughtful development and, ultimately, higher-quality output.
Growing my own skills
On a personal level, I experienced tremendous growth as a programmer. Thinking in complex systems added an extra layer of challenge, pushing me to continually push my boundaries and explore new depths of understanding.
I learned numerous small tricks that boosted coding efficiency. From keyboard shortcuts to code refactoring and embracing coding standards, these techniques streamlined our work and reduced debugging time. Sharing these tricks with teammates, and getting others taught, fostered a culture of continuous learning and growth, propelling us toward greater heights.
In the realm of testing, my approach initially focused on critical components only. However, with the public beta release, we collectively embraced the goal of achieving 100% test coverage for new code. While the process was slow at first, this shift in mindset rewarded us with an incredible boost in code confidence and a significant increase in productivity later on.
Turning the page
The past year at Peach has been an inspiring journey. We successfully launched the product, grew a dynamic developer team, and faced challenges that spurred our growth. Embracing Bitcoin principles and prioritizing quality, we elevated our product and processes.
Excited for the future, we'll continue navigating the evolving Bitcoin landscape, pushing boundaries, and shaping the future of digital finance. With unwavering passion and commitment, I look forward to making a lasting impact in the world of Bitcoin.
1 year anniversary at Peach - Laser focus on what matters
I’m Michael, Lead Frontend Dev at Peach Bitcoin and I’m approaching my first anniversary at Peach after I joined back in November and celebrated Peach’s first birthday in September at The Baltic Honey badger conference. To truly understand how the past year at Peach was, how it changed me and how I look back at it I feel I have to start my story a bit earlier, more specifically back in 2020. I was still in university at this point but at the beginning of the year I started teaching myself how to code, since I was looking for something, anything, to get out of university. To me, academia felt more like a train in which I was a passenger rather than a car in which I was the driver. I felt like a small piece of a machine and my true passions, my dreams or anything authentic about me wasn’t being allowed to be expressed or flourish but rather supressed.
I set myself the mission to teach myself a skill with which I could make a living. On that road I tried many things, but programming was the one that stuck. After some time, hardship, but also lucky circumstances I managed to get my first job at a startup. I felt not only confirmed in my belief that following my own passion was possible, but also felt an immense gratitude for how I was able to do what I enjoyed. Being in a startup gave me an appreciation for the level of impact I could have on a product and that this product was something everyone involved actually cared about. Unfortunately the startup didn’t work out and I was once again in a situation where I asked myself what I wanted to do with my time. I was looking at some job postings but all of them felt like I was going back to a similar world from which I had wanted to escape, endless time spent on soulless things I neither cared about nor felt that I could have an impact even if I would.
I don’t know what took me so long to realize it, I had taken the orange pill some months prior to this situation, but after thinking about not only what I wanted to do (still programming) but also where I wanted to put these skills to use, Bitcoin was the obvious choice. I believed it to be the most important thing in my lifetime that could change the world at the most fundamental level. Once again I set myself a clear goal: Find a way to use my skills to advance the adoption of Bitcoin, and by extent of that, the values Bitcoin stands for.
I started looking for opportunities in that sector and found a job listing that felt perfect. I applied and starting harassing anyone I could get in contact with, including the CEO, to consider me, but unfortunately it didn’t work out. I was pretty bummed and so far it seemed the only progress I was able to make was in those jobs I felt pretty much 0 passion for. This is the point where Peach Bitcoin entered my life. I saw a tweet by Peach and thought to myself, to heck with it, I’ll give it a shot and send them an application. Well and what can I say, it worked out!
My story at Peach
Getting to work at Peach was once again an incredible experience and I was truly grateful. The mission to direct my energy towards the adoption of Bitcoin had succeeded but as the first days at Peach went by I started to realize more and more that my expectations were exceeded.
Not only was I working on something related to Bitcoin, I was working on something that I felt was in harmony with its core values, most remarkably: Bitcoin-only with a big focus on privacy as a means to individual sovereignty.
The more and the longer I worked on Peach the less I started to think about Bitcoin. I believe this is because as time went on it became more and more like background noise, it was a force of nature that was there and we were just riding the wave of it.
Another thing that I still enjoy on a daily basis is: We all actually care about what we are doing! We use the product, we care deeply about improving its quality but also the enjoyment we get out of doing that. When I came to Peach, the team was a lot bigger than it is now. There have been tough moments along the way but I feel like the core only got stronger because of it.
Ultimately the market will decide the future of Peach and by extension the future of all of us that are working on it. Some might find this position scary, or generally not worth it, because it is ‘unsafe’. Similarly to Bitcoin, I find that this volatile nature is a source of truth.
Along the way of Peach this truth razor has been a force that pushed us to cut out things and processes that we didn’t need or that weren’t adding value, while focussing on those that do. One such truth razor for me was using the app myself. There have been times when things weren’t working as ideally as we wanted them to, but somehow using the actual app always gave me a confidence boost that things are still working, the core is there and it’s functional. Like each block added to the chain, each trade on Peach strengthened the core. Similarly seeing that actual people are using real money with our app felt both like a great privilege and responsibility. Every time a trade on Peach happened it was a market signal that somebody was trusting us to use their funds well, provide good matches and generally a good service. It was an indisputable confirmation that we were doing something of value. Another game changer on that front to me were the meetups. Actually seeing people that use our app, that support and like it was an incredible experience. Hearing “you guys are doing a great job, keep it up” is something that is generally nice to hear. But if it comes from people who share your vision of how the world could and should look like is something else. It's almost like a voice from the future letting you know that you are on the right path. On a side note, this is why I also love to tell people that they are doing a good job when I feel that they are. Seeing somebody that cares about his time and spends it on things he deems worth it, that you actually benefit from is a feeling I really like to embrace whenever I happen to notice it (which sadly is way too rare, but we know what fixes this).
I also believe that true passion is the only way to outcompete others and actually even set yourself free from competition. There are barriers and hurdles that you just won’t cross if you don’t want to, and the people that care deeply enough will go to lengths to make details work that to others are “impossible”. A short example of that was our BTCAmount that went viral a bit. In a redesign we customized the letter spacing of each individual character to make it look nice with a new font we’ve been using. I could have said “screw the design, we’ll just stick to the same spacing everywhere” but that wouldn’t have been what we wanted and the thing about code is: everything is possible, it’s just about wether it’s worth it. In this case it was a core part of our design and that’s why it did matter to get the complex details right. On another side note this is what I feel separates a fiat from a hard money standard - the level of depth. You can look at a painting, a building, listen to a song, eat a meal, read a book or use an app for long periods of time and you still find details you hadn’t seen before, but once you do, you realize that there was a person that made this detail happen and they cared deeply about what it was that they were building.
Another truth razor was the way we worked over the past year.
Being in a remote environment makes it really easy to get lazy because there’s no one looking over your shoulder. But I believe in the same way it can (and for us, it was) a way to actually make the way we work much more value driven. You can’t have 5 coffees while chit chatting with your colleagues pretending that you did a deep work session. We had some of that in the beginning with our daily meetings where you always felt like the hour you spent talking was worth it, until we cut them out completely and realized that things work just fine without them. And I feel that some of these time wasters were more easily recognized working remotely and the communication became much more laser focused on what actually mattered. So in that way with a lower time preference remote work was actually more focused than less.
The first year at Peach was full of new experiences, new learnings and new people, especially recently at the Baltic Honeybadger in Riga, all of which worthy of blog posts of their own, so I hope to have at least given you a glance into all of it. I invite everyone who is into Bitcoin to follow that same path, to ask yourself what the most important thing is you could devote your time to and then do it, no matter the cost, the time or the hardship it requires. You will find more value on that path than you ever could otherwise and even in a case of “failure“ I believe you will not regret it. Embrace your inner Peach!
The bear market has been tough on all of us, but our Peachy princess Steph once said: “No matter what, we’ll find a way”. So next year, look forward to reading blog posts on how we hopefully overcame ever more challenges with hopefully ever more new Peaches, new features and maybe even the first signs of bulls waiting to start running again.
If not us, then who?
To another great, second year!
They grow up so fast… Peach is now officially one year old! Just like a real baby, it’s been about 9 months longer than that ‘behind the scenes’, but who’s counting. Back when we first got together to put our heads together on the 9th of January 2021, I couldn’t have imagined what this would grow into or what it would force me to grow into. Back then we were just the four of us with an idea and some guy who was open to putting a little bit of money behind it to cover some of the cost (shoutout to our friend Phil for making our first baby steps possible). About nine months later, after working with friends and family to develop the Peach beta, Peach Bitcoin was officially born at Baltic Honeybadger 2022. A lot has changed about Peach since then. We first removed the bucket system, allowing anyone to buy or sell exactly as much as they wanted. There was an extensive visual redesign of the app. We added a big list of payment methods (even outside the EU now!) and are working together with a whole load of meetups for safe cash trades. We added full wallet functionality so that Peach truly is the one-stop-shop app for all your bitcoin needs. And now, at Baltic Honeybadger 2023, we have another milestone. Not just our first anniversary, but we’ve opened up our API and open-sourced our app, something that people have been asking about for a long long time. If you want to know more about that and what it means, you can read our Open sourcing our Peach App and Making our Peach API public blogs. I, for one, am truly proud of what we’ve accomplished together, but this blogpost is also a bittersweet one for me to write, since it’s also me saying goodbye to working for Peach. I’ve enjoyed working together with the team a lot, but the past year has also forced me to reflect on my position as a designer, and has led me to the conclusion that working behind a laptop all day just is not for me – not even when it includes being with bitcoiners 24/7 and waking up to this every day:
So, I guess this is goodbye (not really – I’ll still be hanging out). I want to thank all of you for your support of Peach, and I want to thank the entire Peach team for both the good and hard times that we’ve been through together and for putting up with all of my bullshit. I think we can be proud of ourselves for what we’ve accomplished, and I’m convinced you guys will accomplish a lot more! A happy birthday to Peach, goodbye from me, and a big round of applause for the rest of the team. Glory to God for all things - Lab
Volatility is a feature, not a bug
Haven’t you felt time passes differently since you discovered bitcoin? Every year feels like many more things happen than the ones before discovering Bitcoin, but at the same time my time horizon when planning things in the future has changed, just as if something weird would happen every 4 years and you need to plan accordingly… ;P
I had already worked (founded and failed, lol) in another startup, where things do indeed move extremely fast, and many things happen. But believe me guys, this space is different.
Maybe I’m the weird one who feels like that, but sincerely, many things have happened to me since I started falling down the rabbit hole, and as time goes by, nothing echoes harder than “You don’t change Bitcoin, Bitcoin changes you”. Especially since you start working on something fully related to it, you (or at least me) realize that it is more worth it building on top of what’s already working, than trying to change Bitcoin itself. Humble yourself in the process, or Bitcoin (& Bitcoiners) will humble you.
In this post I’ll try to explain things I’ve learned at Peach, but also some life learning that I had never thought about before. Hope they can bring some value to you too.
My Bitcoin related jobs did not start with Peach, but approx 1 year before, when I left my fiat tech-consulting job, and decided to start working as a freelancer. It was a sweet time, Bitcoin was in a bull-run, and everyone was looking for “crypto-experts” to build projects/scams, wallets, exchanges, mining operations, or whatever they had in mind.
So there was young Markush, building mining rigs (yeah, also ETH rigs while it was still possible), e-commerce shops, helping people/businesses set up wallets, and coordinating projects on the bitcoin scene.
Money did indeed fall out of trees at that time. But that kind of life doesn’t last forever. Bull runs reach an end, and not just for the money, but just because exponential growth is not real, and sooner or later you learn that to really have a sustainable growth, you need to provide value. And the bull-runs are usually always fueled by scams, not by real value. Fiat world kinda resembles that, however the cantillonaires hide the bull-runs in longer periods, so you don’t even notice they are stealing wealth from you. Until everything crashes.
But as some say, an end is a new beginning, and that was last summer for me. When I suddenly read a message on a Telegram group (European Bitcoiners), that said some mysterious people where looking for developers in Europe for a new project they were building. And so my curiosity didn’t let me stay without sending a message to them, and asking what was all that mistery about.
I imagine you’ve already guessed it. It was Peach, but at that time it was not even in closed beta. While listening to Steph and Czino explaining more and more about Peach, I immediately got hyped and we accorded I’d start working with them after they came back from Riga, where they had to announce the launch of Peach during the Baltic Honeybadger conference.
I kept in touch with them while they were there and (at least from the distance), it seemed like the launch was really successful. What I didn’t knew at that moment was that I was not prepared for my accidental first day of work at Peach.
There I was, in a bar drinking a beer with a friend, explaining about my new job I’d start in 3 days (just after the weekend), when I suddenly received a call from Steph.
The Peach website was down. Someone was DDoSing it. Without getting too much into the details, we discovered it was a simple Wordpress plugin that was vulnerable, and a script kiddo was attacking it.
Even if it ended up being just a funny first day of work, I remember staying up until around 3 or 4 in the night investigating the causes of the attack, and nerves were all around. Even the next morning the website was down again, and I spent some hours in touch with the team.
Despite being totally improvised, it was the freaking best first day of work I’ve had.
From then on, things got a bit more calm and I had a proper onboarding experience and many, many learnings during the next year, up until today.
Down here I’ll write down some of the most important things I’ve learned, as I think they can be valuable for others reading to this weird post.
Let’s get real, working in Bitcoin is stressful. And if the job is in a startup, it is even more. Luckily I had already worked in another startup, and I knew a little bit how this kind of companies operate. Being a small team, brings you many opportunities to be really close to the others, but also you feel like you’re alone in many things most of the time, as there is not more than 1 or 2 people working in the same things as you. So you gotta really be someone who learns by himself, and wants to contribute and grow something bigger than a simple day to day job.
But even if it’s not an easy environment, the learnings are extremely powerful, and they make you grow in a way that in a typical 9-5 office job you wouldn’t have had the opportunity. Especially when the startup is a bitcoin one .
Down here is a brief recap of the most important ones (for me):
It is normal to get tired of Bitcoin. You need to disconnect from Bitcoin after your day-job. You’ll end up tired of talking about the same thing 24h a day. Believe me working on it is different than shitposting on twitter.
I’ve learned to look at Bitcoin from another perspective. You can contribute to it. Not simply admire and use it, but also identify possible problems, and try to fix them, to make them better for other people. All of that, while not trying to change the essence of Bitcoin itself, as some people do.
Volatility is inherent to human life. We as humans try to avoid it as much as possible, but volatility is not only found in Bitcoin price, but on daily emotions, feelings, work sessions and everything that happens to us. Sometimes we’re in a flow state where everything happens easily, and sometimes nothing seems to work. It’s completely normal. Learn to identify each situation and avoid getting too frustrated when things don’t go as expected.
Someone told me: Fail to plan is a plan to fail. Even if sometimes I even got mad at it, it is a huge advice for anyone who’s trying to build a product/project. Planning reduces the stress when unexpected things happen, and lets you have a clearer mind instead of having to constantly improvise.
Bad times are the ones that make you grow the most.
Team success depends on individual success. Make the most out of yourself even if you feel like it’s not important.
Look for people with more knowledge than you and ask questions. (Expect to get burned)
You will receive hate even when you think you’re doing everything right.
Not everyone can work in Bitcoin (not everyone understands Bitcoin, and that’s ok!)
What you are building is important. If you don’t like it, quit asap. If you like (or love) it, you’ll find yourself working without feeling like you are loosing your time.
Learn to love the process, not the end (hint: there is never an end).
Proof of Work is not easy. The rewards come, but sometimes they take much longer than you expected.
Build with a purpose.
And the last one, a question that is not talked about enough…
- Have you ever thought on how to pay your expenses if you are paid in Bitcoin?
There are many more things I could say, 1 year is full of experiences, but I think the previous ones are a good resume of my inner feelings. I’d love to hear if you’ve gone through similar experiences lately. Hopefully by next year, some of the doubts I still have may have vanished. Or not, but in reality… who cares?
Maybe the last learning I’d like to highlight is that stability is a fiat concept. Most jobs nowadays are overpaid just to have some people sitting in a chair all year long 5 days a week, when that same job could have been done by a freelancer in 5 months, get paid, and look for something else. If you sometimes feel stuck, or that your job is “too boring”, there’s something telling you that you’re not using your time as you should!
Many people have asked me about my life since I started earning in Bitcoin, and working full time on it. It’s a big change, and it’s not easy, but once you get used to it, it is really fulfilling.
We’re always looking for our comfort zone, and the system is made specifically for you to find it easily. But when you discover life is not just that, but much more, nothing can prevent you to achieve great things.
To anyone wondering if they are still on time to change their lifestyle, their job, or whatever around them that’s feeling wrong, just make sure you understand the implications of that change, and embrace the volatility. At first you’ll be scared, but when you get used to it… oh boy. Who can ever get back?
How did we survive the first year?
Peach is alive!
One year after launching the product, this is the first celebration statement I want to make. We kept Peach - the product, the company, the team, the ecosystem - alive. I would even say alive and growing! Are we fighting each and every day for its survival? Sure! Are we still feeling delusional and crazy about creating a product out of our imagination? Damn yes!
But here we are, one year after going public, same place, same day, in Riga at the Baltic Honeybadger conference (the most OG Bitcoin conference) announcing Peach 0.3.
12 months for showing traction
The name of the game is to build a usable product that can actually be used. Providing a service that some people will find compelling enough to pay for it. No secret sauce for achieving this or rather the secret sauce is well known:
deliver! Listen to user feedback deliver! Repeat 🔁
Listening to Peach inner cycles
My teammate said “volatility is a feature not a bug” and I could not agree more. Life is movement, the waves constantly come and go. Sometimes the wind makes them crash onto the rocks and sometimes the sweet light of the sun lighten up the waves with a very soft melody. Peach cycles come and go in waves. Peach is now an independent organic being in constant movement living through cycles and responding to external weather conditions. Sometimes it needs to rest and recover and sometimes it needs to sprint. Listening, recognising and then respecting those cycles are critically important to keep Peach healthy in the long run.
I am Peach but Peach is not only me anymore. Recognizing that the baby has “grown outside of me” is crucial for ensuring its well being. Peach can not grow if I personally don’t grow alongside with its development. Self-awareness and self-criticism have become a Peach live or die challenge. I have faced some critical issues and the only way to resolve them was to become self-conscious about how my ego blocked the way. Either I put on the ego work or Peach suffers, worse Peach can die. And luckily, as the heart of a mum will always prioritise the baby’s growth, the work on the ego begins and doors open up.
Being a leader means I will do what I want to do despite the FUD
It happened that I see a product feature, or a design, or an internal way of working, or a positioning. I envision an environment that only exists in my head until I share my thoughts with the team to transform the thoughts into the material world. I am lucky to be working with an engineer associate who has an open-mind and is able to help me transforming ideas to down-to-earth solutions while remaining very creative himself. I strongly believe that the best creations are made out of the unique minds of individual(s) and not out of average thoughts of the crowd. So sometimes, even if no one sees it, even if everyone doubt it, I just gotta keep believing, and still do it. And if I was wrong, the solution is easy peachy, I take feedback and iterate.
Keep faith in Peach’s mission and building the foundation
Bootstrapping, no budget, bear market, tight runway, team management, product survival, administrative tasks, annoying tasks, bugs… it’s a lot to take on! Two words to keep going: faith and perseverance. Giving up is not an option. We are still at the beginning of the rallye but yet accomplished so much. I know deep down that Peach can only succeed with work, patience, time and effort. Peach is not a quick win scheme. I know the fruits will come out of intensively laboured soil and not out of thin air. Without the tree, no fruits. Without the foundations, no rewards. This past year (and actually more than a year since we started working together in 2021) has been about taking the time to establish solid relationships which allowed our principles and values to emerge and become more clear. Our foundation is made out of discernment, analytical mindset, good preparation for everything new we want to build, planning (‘fail to plan is a plan to fail), intuition. Our general atmosphere is friendly, intimate with a big place for dialogue, sentiment of peace and serenity. “Find safety in sats” is a meme that fits Peach well.
Listening to my own inner cycles
If I am not doing well for a long period of time, then Peach follows. Therefore, listening to my own personal and female inner cycle have became a critical challenge to make sure that I don’t burn out. There is no clear boundaries between Peach and me. Everything is interconnected and one has an impact on the other. So Steph mind and body and Steph Peach are one and have to be managed together. I remember I used to read startups stuffs like “you have to work 24h/7” “your startup has to become your only purpose” etc etc. Well, we will see how it goes but I am definitely not fitting in those, in my opinion, old schools views. Smart > hard. Energy flow > empty productivity. I am very much in a position that requires to find balance to survive in the long term. I believe in the mathematical reward that comes out of the “low-time preference” principle and the name of the game is to stop believing and start embodying.
Each of those paragraphs could be a blog on itself, and I could continue on much more. I would close by what is the most obvious answer to “How did we survive the first year?”. Answer: INCENTIVES. See you on another blog :)
Well dear peaches, this is the end of the series of blog posts from the team. We just want to sincerely THANK YOU ALL for being part of this journey. Who knows if in 1 year we will still be here, but what would we make with life if we already knew the future? Let's work hard on building it together and improve our surroundings simply by improving ourselves.
Cheers, The Peach Team
If you want to know more about Peach features, or read some of our other articles, you can find them here!
Keep spreading the Peach word, who knows when you'll find the match of your life!
September 18th, 2023