Justin Tabb Clears Up Substratum’s Shortcomings

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Justin Tabb has had a rollercoaster of a year, and his blockchain startup, Substratum, which offers an open-source censorship free network, has had an interesting journey as well.

Aside from the regularly scheduled chaos that occurs in the crypto market, Substratum drew a lot of criticism for their development schedule as well as their partner – the Amplify Exchange’s – decision to hire a trader. However, despite these setbacks, Tabb is certain 2019 will be a great year for Substratum, and that Substratum will bounce back and deliver the network they’ve been promising will change the decentralized web.

Here’s what Substratum founder Justin Tabb had to say:

After seeing the day-trader video, many people believed that Substratum was struggling financially -does this happen to be the case?

No, in fact, it’s the opposite. We have been in business for over a year and a half, and even with the struggling crypto market, we have been fortunate to hit good points most of the time with conversion to fiat for use in building the company. While we utilized Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash upfront to get the business up and running, all those upfront costs were associated with building the business, and we still have roughly half the Ethereum that we raised during the ICO and nearly all of the Ripple and LiteCoin we raised are still stored in Cold Storage.

If this is not the case, then why did Substratum hire a day-trader?

We didn’t. The Amplify Exchange, a separate entity, hired an experienced and licensed trader to assist with the Exchange; this is common practice for exchanges, and we are using his expertise to assist with advanced trading functionalities with the Amplify Exchange.

What caused the Substratum node not to be released in 2018?

Throughout my career, I’ve had the pleasure of working on some super hard problems; Theme Park Attraction Software integrations at Disney’s EPCOT, software solutions that had to overcome challenges with Apple’s internal firewall, software used by Presidential Campaigns that needed to be completed in one week’s time. However, Substratum Node is the most complex problem I’ve worked on.  

Standard problems that have been solved time and time again are easy to predict. The more complex the problem, the wider the degree of variance and the larger the risk buffer that needs to be in place to account for those unknown technological challenges.  

Early in 2018, we had some very large architectural questions and engineering questions ahead of us, and we were making predictions as best we could with the data we had. Now that we have moved beyond a majority of those issues, the picture has become much clearer. Additionally, we don’t ever want to put out a substandard product just to hit some arbitrary deadline. What we have been able to accomplish even at this point is something that has never been done before, and we are incredibly proud to have achieved that, and with the release of our fully decentralized version this month we have even more accomplishments to be proud of.

Whatever happened to crypto pay?

CryptoPay is still very much in the pipeline. What we learned through focus group research is that immediate fiat settlement is an absolute must for most businesses to be able to accept cryptocurrency as a method of payment. In order to do that, we need an exchange that offers fiat resolution that we can integrate fully with, and that is the Amplify Exchange, so we are working towards a joint goal of getting both those products up and running.

What can we expect from Substratum in 2019?

I believe 2019 is going to be a phenomenal year for Substratum. With the release of the production node, people can safely share a level digital playing field. I think we will see benefits not only for Substratum but for the world in general. We are looking into making Substratum (the company) some form of a non-profit or not-for-profit company since the software was intended as a service to mankind. With the initial version of our core product solidified we look forward to being able to move into the ancillary products through integration that provides greater depth of usability and seeing where that takes us.

What is your outlook for the blockchain and cryptocurrency industries for 2019?

Regardless of what people say about cryptocurrency, the value and application of blockchain are becoming more universally accepted. I believe nations around the world will work towards regulation for cryptocurrency, which ultimately will cause more market stability and certainty for companies wanting to delve into the space, but who were previously unclear on what is involved. Additionally, as projects are given the time to mature, you will see a more full and rich usability application in general, so all in all very good things.


After hearing Tabb speak on what’s to come with Substratum, we’re excited about where the project is headed. It’s reassuring to hear that Tabb and his team are dedicated to developing a solid foundation for the project; although Substratum’s production node fell behind its delivery date, it will be well worth the wait – especially given the auxiliary tools like CryptoPay and The Amplify Exchange, which will help tremendously in onboarding new users to the decentralized web.

Despite the recent short-comings, it looks like Substratum is heading towards a very bright year in 2019.

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