Due to its’ complex tech-stack, cryptography, and cyberpunk-roots, blockchain and ultimately Web 3.0 are oftentimes considered pure ICT innovations. Blockchain is said to be a technological revolution. While this definitely holds true to a certain degree, we believe that blockchain is even more than that, namely, a governance revolution that changes the way humans (and machines!) collaborate, interact, and exchange value on an unprecedented scale. The blockchain and web 3.0 ecosystem is fast-moving, dynamic, and complex so that it is easy to forget the human aspect behind it all.
With this post, we would like to emphasize exactly that — the humans behind a Web 3.0 enterprise. Get to know our team of doers, tinkerers, and technology enthusiasts. Learn what drove each and every one of us into this exciting, new industry and why we get up in the morning.
About Staking Facilities
We are a Munich-based, Web 3.0 infrastructure, and service provider. We run industry-grade, highly secure physical infrastructure co-located in top-notch, certified data centers within reach of our company headquarters. Guaranteed uptime, biometric security, and redundant power supply reinforce a continuous and secure operation. Through our state-of-the-art monitoring, we always know about the status of our servers and are alerted immediately if any abnormalities occur. For our customers, we offer non-custodial staking services, personal support, and tools for a variety of thoroughly vetted public Proof-of-Stake blockchains.
But enough about our business, meet the people who work tirelessly to enable everyone to participate in the next evolution of the internet — Web 3.0:
Louis Bauer [Business Development]
Louis joined Staking Facilities one week before the first lockdowns in Europe. Quite the timing, Louis — a global pandemic and a crypto flash-crash. Before joining full-time in Business Development, Louis finished his B.Sc. in Management & Technology at the TU Munich.
His first contact with startups was through working for the founder’s festival, Bits&Pretzels. After that Louis decided to compete in Elon Musks’ worldwide Hyperloop Competition alongside the TUM Hyperloop team. During his studies, Louis had a broad range of experiences in different Software-as-a-Service startups as well as working for a group of business angels.
Louis got aware of the blockchain ecosystem at the beginning of 2016 through his daily reading routine and follows it closely ever since. He concluded his studies by writing a thesis on the decentralized lending protocol ETHLend, that later rebranded into Aave.
“The blockchain space is the perfect combination of computer science, finance, applications, and user behavior. We currently have the chance to redefine how this new financial ecosystem evolves. It’s the ultimate adventure.”
Next to his full-time position, he founded Bauer Ventures GmbH to also invest in the blockchain space through equity.
Fun Fact: Louis loves to go on physical adventures like hiking or climbing almost as much as going on new crypto adventures — guess which one’s better for his sanity ;)
Gary Morris [Infrastructure Lead]
Working in technical roles for over a decade, Gary was the first full-time member to join the Staking Facilities family. Our paths met by chance via a tweet of all things, and after seeing the potential of what we were aiming to build, he applied immediately and joined soon after.
Before hopping on board, his roles were mostly based around traditional Systems Ops/Engineering positions, but he saw the potential of the blockchain space in recent years, after becoming more and more involved via his inclusion in other blockchain projects. Since then, the trajectory of Staking Facilities has been quite vertical and presented many challenges to Gary and the rest of the team. Gary always aims to meet those challenges head-on and has battled through many testnet and mainnet operations alike.
He also had the privilege of being invited to join The Graph Council, as an Indexer representative, after persisting through their recent testnet… and beyond! With the dawn of Web 3 approaching fast and understanding Graph’s current and future role in enabling that vision, he dived in feet first.
“The innovations we’re seeing in this space have the potential to have huge impacts on business, finance, and society as a whole. Every day is invigorating when you have the opportunity to be a part of this thrilling industry.”
In addition to heading the management of the Graph Indexer for Staking Facilities, he also somehow finds the time to run his own Indexer operations, as well as participating in various testnets. His interest in the space expands far beyond the usual “9–5” expectations, evidently!
Fun Fact: Gary’s first taste of the crypto space came way back in 2013, where he spent many nights researching projects for his humble GPU mining operation. It wasn’t much, but it was honest work!
Julius Schmidt [Co-Founder, COO]
Previous to co-founding Staking Facilities together with Florian and Wolfgang, Julius studied Politics & Economics. After working at the European Parliament as well as a trading company in Hamburg his friend and Co-founder Wolfgang nudged Julius into the Crypto Rabbit hole. And he still has not managed to climb out…
With his background in politics and economics, he was and still is fascinated by the various governance concepts and the economical models behind blockchain. Julius is driven by the belief that the technology we are currently building can fundamentally change our world for the better and eliminate inequalities and monopolies of current systems.
“We live and work in a unique time of fundamental challenges and changes. Blockchain as a technology is our tool to have a positive impact on these by changing the underlying infrastructure for the better.“
As the only non-techie of our three founders, Julius is in charge of financials, legal, and operations. He is also known as our feel-good-manager, organizing various team events and Among Us gaming nights. Next to his internal engagements, he has retained his political background by representing us as Chair of the EBA PoS working group.
Fun Fact: Next to blockchain, Julius is a huge Basketball fan and played for FC Bayern München in his youth. During this time he played against his now colleagues Robert and Florian. He is also a Dota 2 and Magic player, although less talented (according to internal sources).
Wolfgang Albrecht [Co-Founder, CEO]
Wolfgang’s dirty secret is that XRP is the first digital asset he ever bought when stumbling upon it in 2013. He has improved his senses for spotting quality projects ever since and has been an early investor in various projects such as Ethereum, Dfinity, or Solana.
He loves to dive deep into the inner workings of novel protocols and understand the implications of something in the context of the broader ecosystem. At Staking Facilities, which remains an independent and self-sustaining company, he is responsible for executing a viable long-term strategy. Navigating a company through the violent ups and downs of recent years has been fascinating and challenging. He dug the deepest rabbit hole of us all and was the initiating spark that started Staking Facilities.
“The joy and privilege of living in the blockchain petri dish early on are inexpressible. A young and enthusiastic generation is rebuilding the digital pillars of our world. The interdisciplinary nature of blockchain creates emergent properties that will feed our curiosity for the next decades.”
We are proud to see Wolfgang as a board member of the Solana Foundation. There he accelerates the diffusion of decentralized technologies as public goods together with an amazing set of other board members. In the rare times when he manages to escape the crypto sphere, he loves spending time in the mountains with his wife and dog, Firenze (our Chief Happiness Officer). He’s into all kinds of watersports and likes to kick it with good friends.
Fun Fact: He is also enjoys schooling Julius in the arts of Dota 2.
Robert Dörzbach [Marketing & Communications]
Robert joined our ranks full-time in July 2020, after he already worked with us for about a year next to studying Consumer Affairs at the Technical University, Munich. He is responsible for Marketing & Communications and leads our customer support — so he’s the one writing all the guides & tutorials as well as helping you out whenever you need assistance or have questions about the staking process of a particular network.
After spending some time in the corporate world as well as the innovation department of a European company builder, he opted to work for a startup. Robert couldn’t help but get sucked into the crypto space since Staking Facilities was founded by some of his best friends. After countless conversations, discussions, and exchanges with them, he also came across crypto during his time at the company builder as well as his studies. This led to him eventually falling down the rabbit hole and he never went back ever since. Robert on what excites him most about working in the blockchain industry:
“You often hear people say that the system is so screwed. The amazing thing about the blockchain industry and the overall Web 3 space is that now we actually have the chance to experiment with new system designs — this is really exciting! This industry is a blue ocean full of opportunities and has something in store for everyone — developers, financiers, lawyers, designers, marketers etc. “
Content creation, customer support, and a bit of UX/UI design by day — Magic the Gathering, sports, and drawing by night. Robert is as versatile as the crypto space and loves our brainstorm sessions, design sprints, and company events. Together with Felix Lutsch from Chorus One and Chris Remus from Chainflow, he also contributes to the Staking Economy Newsletter.
Fun Fact: Robert loves dogs, but we haven’t met anyone as allergic to dogs as him — guess that’s kind of a sad fact.
Lars Frölich [Software Development]
Lars has always had a passion for new technologies: When he joined us in August of 2020, he had just left a Mixed Reality Startup where he worked with Microsoft’s Hololens AR-glasses to build visualization apps for big corporate clients. During his informatics studies at the Technical University of Munich, he was also part of the team that participated in the SpaceX Hyperloop competition, developing a new form of high-speed transportation set out to replace air travel one day.
After watching carefully from the sidelines as his friend Louis joined StakingFacilities in March of 2020, he inevitably got sucked into the crypto vortex to yet again explore an evolving field of new technologies. Lars on what excites him most about working in the blockchain industry:
“The best driver of technological progress is a market that’s large, fiercely contested, and accessible. The blockchain-space provides perfect conditions across all three of these aspects: Its size is measured in billions of dollars, development moves at break-neck speed and it’s arguably the most accessible market to ever exist. I couldn’t imagine a better platform for technological innovation.”
Be it consolidating the analytics data of our validator nodes, setting up our new Website, or experimenting with new blockchain projects, it seems Lars can’t help but spread himself too thin. In his free time, Lars loves to tinker with model airplanes, 3D-printers, and other fun side-projects — that is, unless he’s traveling or running!
Fun Fact: If it can be automated, Lars will automate it.
Florian Liss [Co-Founder, CTO]
Florian stumbled into crypto rather by accident when he was looking for an ‘easy’ way to get some extra credits for university — he was in for a surprise. After his first week of the seminar, looking into possible applications of Ethereum for the public sector and writing his first smart contracts, he was hooked. At the same time he met Julius and Wolfgang through Robert and while playing some Magic together, he discovered their shared interest in crypto and decided to join them on their journey.
“The biggest invention of our lifetime is programmable money. In a programmable world, we don’t need banks, brokerages, or any other middleman. Using Blockchain technology, you can directly trade and interact with anyone or anything in the world with confidence. The sheer amount of possibilities gives me goosebumps.”
At Staking Facilities, Florian is a technical allrounder — managing node operations, deep-diving into the peculiarities of each new protocol, and tinkering with existing tools or building completely new ones. Florian is a huge Lido fan and can’t wait for Ethereum to fully transition to Proof of Stake. He’s one of the Lido DAO MultiSig signers and even designed and produced his own set of Lido Hoodies — we’re quite excited to showcase them during the next DevCon.
His free time is spent very similar to work — coding small crypto projects, chatting with friends from various crypto communities, and looking into cool new tech. Whenever he manages to get away from crypto (quite rarely), he enjoys going on long walks, producing hip hop beats, and — in times of no `rona — traveling to South-East-Asia to go diving.
Fun Fact: Julius and Robert usually don’t like to play against Florian’s Magic decks, as they’re mostly focused on annoying them with some crazy combos (edit: obviously not true).
Jeff Madgett [Blockchain Node Engineer, ext.]
How Jeff started working in blockchain was a bit by chance just given the circumstances surrounding a particular project he was working on while digging through the altcoin space. He started off doing a combination of testing, node maintenance, and support in the community. It took off from there to an integrations, QA role, and beyond! During this stretch, Jeff was able to leverage his thorough understanding of blockchain technology to help build brand new products in the space as well as to get familiar with hundreds of different blockchains and their purposes.
For Jeff one of the most exciting things about what he does is being directly involved with brand new breakthrough products and technologies.
“When working in the crypto space, everything is moving at the speed of light and it guarantees that there will never be a dull moment on the job. There’s always something to do or improve too, so staying busy isn’t an issue!“
Jeff is a sports fanatic and can chat hours on end about any major sport with anyone — we can confirm this! His favorite sport is Baseball and his favorite team is the San Francisco Giants. Currently, Jeffs’ favorite sport to play is golf, because he’s getting older by the day (his words, not ours!) and for obvious reasons, it’s less stressful on the body, but also quite challenging for a ball that doesn’t move when you try to hit it. Furthermore, Jeff likes to collect sports cards and memorabilia. Other than that, he most enjoys spending time with his family.
Fun fact: Jeff is probably the best Golden Tee player you’ll ever meet/play against and, if that wasn’t enough, he can also drive a semi-truck!
Simon Kraus [Web Developer]
Simon is the latest addition to the Staking Facilities Family, joining on 1 July 2021. As a Developer, Simon is “in for the tech”. He bought his first Bitcoins way back in 2012 and has followed the crypto space ever since.
Prior to joining SF he worked for big media companies and was running his own business for six years. During this time he learned a lot about project management and got a view of the whole. He did everything including CMS, eCommerce, automation, custom applications for a broad variety of customers including industry leaders and government agencies.
Simon on what excites him most about working in the blockchain industry:
“I always love new technologies and niche stuff but blockchain and DeFi are game-changers for whole industries, markets, and general finances. The problem right now is that it is accessible for everybody, but not usable by mainstream audiences. My goal is to help make it usable and accessible with better services and user-friendly UI/UX.”
In the last months he helped the HydraDX core team to organize the community, internationalize the docs, bootstrap the validator pool, being the registrar, and with different development tasks.
You can find him in the ranks of the Polkadot ambassadors too and he’s also running some validators for substrate-based NPoS projects.
If you ever spot him away from his MacBooks it’s most likely on a bicycle or at a concert.
Fun Fact: He’s a father of triplet girls, rides a trike, and his car has the steering wheel on the wrong side.
Victor Clausius [Chief Financial Officer]
Victor joined Staking Facilities in September 2021 as a Chief Financial Officer to be in charge of finance, after running his own franchise restaurant chain. Before this entrepreneurial ride and after studying International Business at Munich Business School, Victor explored various fields of traditional finance, from financial service consulting through investment banking to private equity.
The first time Victor got into touch with blockchain technology was through private investments in cryptocurrencies after being teased with the unique technological features by Julius. A few books and newsletters later Victor realized the massive opportunities — even aside from the great characteristics of a blockchain-backed currency — and got hooked ever since on the idea of redesigning crucial interactions within the society for the better.
Victor on what excites him most about working in the blockchain industry:
“Blockchain technology has still very much of a founding spirit that attracts people from a different breed and provides unseen rapid developments. Open-minded and enthusiastic people all over the world are shaping a better future through accessibility, inclusiveness, and a new standard of reliability in a decentralized manner. This must be the best thing that happened to our generation.”
Besides enjoying spending time with his family and kids, Victor has been passionate about basketball since he was seven years old and used to play in the German U19 Bundesliga for FC Bayern München. Nowadays you can see him more often playing basketball at his console since it takes a less heavy toll on his aged body.
Aside from basketball Victor enjoys spending time with friends and discovering various cultures and landscapes.
Fun Fact: Victor used to play basketball with Julius in a team from the age of 14 and competed against his now colleagues Robert and Florian. At one point he almost ran a burger restaurant with two of the Staking Facility Founders.
Glenn Gabriel Bona [Content Marketing Lead (ext.)]
Glenn came across Staking Facilities after stumbling upon their block explorer, Solana Beach. Being a Solana blockchain enthusiast and a California native where Solana Beach is just 15 minutes away from where he grew up, he was struck by curiosity and reached out to the team.
With a science background, entrepreneurial and agency marketing experience, Glenn brings a varied perspective to the growth initiatives at Staking Facilities.
“Blockchain seems like the perfect cross between science, finance and technology. It sits at an intersection that really pulls at my curiosity. Combine that with the potential for disruption and it makes everyday feel like you can help influence the future. At some point you begin to ask yourself how can I help?”
As a fractional Head of Content, Glenn aims to produce educational pieces that will help onboard and engage the growing crypto community. Outside of marketing, Glenn is a bit obsessed with ultra and trail running. His longest race so far was the UTMB Thailand 50 mile and he’s currently training for the 100-mile event later this year. Other than that, he enjoys watching the Lakers, travels photography, and the occasional music festival.
Fun fact: He used to photograph artists for fun. His portfolio includes Kaskade, The Chainsmokers, G-Eazy, Rezz, and Slander.
Dmitri Moudraninets [Senior Systems Engineer]
Dmitri joined Staking Facilities in November 2021 as a Senior Systems Engineer to help the company scale its business. Just before that, he successfully launched an IT department in an internal startup. As a computer geek, Dmitrii believes that technology is the main driving force of modern society. He has experience working in big enterprise companies as well as in startup environments. Dmitrii learned how to use the best things from both worlds:
With a combination of two technologies (Hyperconverged Infrastructure and Kubernetes), you can run almost any workload — from heavy enterprise workloads to modern containerized applications. Such words as DevOps, web-scale technologies, and Information Security Management are no strangers for him.
“Such things as blockchain are changing our world. People can now interact with each other in a completely new way. We are getting closer to a world described in SciFi books. I’m so excited that I can see it from inside and can be a part of this process.”
Outside of his business hours, Dmitrii usually spends his free time doing one or a combination of the following things: traveling with his family, riding bicycles, watching movies, or playing with modern technologies in his home lab (which looks like a small data center).
Fun fact: His wife says that he can learn anything just in one weekend (of course, if it’s related to Engineering).
Connect with Dimitri via Twitter
David Krenckel [Senior Linux Engineer]
Following the call of the blockchain universe, David joined Staking Facilities in October 2021 as a Senior Linux Engineer. He can look back at great times working at the Fraunhofer Institute for solar energy systems ISE discovering the interoperation between science and IT.
Back in 2014, a good friend of his brought him closer to the concepts of blockchain, in particular Bitcoin. Just a couple of months later, David found himself mining Bitcoins on his home computer and self-studying the Ethereum ecosystem.
“Blockchain technology puts power into the hands of its users. In everyday life, it can simplify daily decision-making processes of consumers by disclosing origin and processing of goods. Producers will be able to regenerate trust in their value chains by providing transparency and unforgeability. Finally, it brings new reliance on their products.”
Besides enjoying spending time with his family, David has been addicted to Magic the Gathering for 18 years. He burns to continue this story at Staking Facilities having exciting matches with his new colleagues [and maybe defeat Liss someday] :). He loves to tinker around with all kinds of electronics and hardware up to printing missing parts for his custom beach cruiser project with his 3D printer.
Fun Fact: David’s first career aspiration was to become a bridge-builder. Shortly after he realized the existence of computers, he changed his decision to become a computer specialist dreaming of all-day-long computer game sessions.
Julian Deschler [Junior Software Developer]
Julian joined us in October 2021 as a working student and supports us as a software developer for Solana Beach. He currently studies Computer Science with a minor in Economics at the University of Munich. Previously, he completed a two-year financial assistant apprenticeship at a bank, and just earlier this year, he got his first work experience in the blockchain space as an intern at Immutable Insight.
As a very entrepreneurial person, it comes as no surprise that Julian is involved in various student projects alongside his studies. Amongst other things, he has spent some time with TUM Boring, an initiative that built a tunnel boring machine and won Elon Musk’s Not-A-Boring-Competition. He is also a former board member of START Munich, one of the largest entrepreneurship initiatives in Europe. He is a continuing member of the association and met Louis there, who eventually brought him to Staking Facilities.
“Blockchain Technology and in particular DeFi combines two of my areas of interest — Computer Science and Finance. It empowers users to recapture the value they create, which fascinates me each and every day. I also love the entrepreneurial spirit and I am sure that many of the new generations of superstar-tech founders will come from the blockchain space. I am also certain that Blockchain will play a major role in achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals established by the United Nations in 2015.”
Besides work and studies, Julian likes to do a lot of sports. He discovered Calisthenics for himself, a form of bodyweight training that can be done mainly outdoors. When he has time, he occasionally plays some golf or goes Thai boxing. In winter skiing is a must. Apart from sports, he also likes to read or find out about new crypto projects.
Fun fact: Julian got into the blockchain space in early 2017 because he wanted to prove to a former friend that Onecoin is a scam.
Learn more about us, the networks we support, as well as our products at stakingfacilities.com.