Transcription Episode 99

Hi everyone, and welcome to another episode of Living on Blockchain. Today we are speaking to Nikita. Nikita is someone who has extensive, you know, experience in the DeFi space.

He’s worked with the OneInch network. He took up a leading position there as the CBDO. Post that, he has co-founded Barter DeFi.

This is a solver network on top of Ethereum. This was a very, very interesting conversation. We talked a lot about how solver networks are the next big thing in terms of interoperability.

We also talked about Solana and Ethereum. Very interesting conversation, a different conversation. These guys are really making waves in terms of what they are building, and I’m sure that everybody would find some insights here in this conversation.

I can’t wait for you guys to hear this. Let’s deep dive right in. Hi Nikita, thank you so much for making the time to speak to us today.

How are you doing? Hello Tarusha, I’m doing well. Thanks for having me. The pleasure is all mine.

And for our listeners, let’s deep dive right into your background, how you got into Web3 initially. Oh, that’s a pretty good story, and I think I’ve never told it, but I was studying at Notre Dame University, and we had an Italian professor, and it was 2013. He introduced us to blockchain and Bitcoin.

I was studying finance and economics, so we spent two seminars looking at the blockchain, and we concluded that Bitcoin will never be adopted by institutionals. It’s mostly used for scam transactions, and that crypto in general is a very niche tech. So for over four years, since that time, I lived in a world, in a paradigm where blockchain was a good tech, but crypto and Bitcoin was something that no one should ever touch.

And every time I would see on the news, the announcement that there was a hack, or someone lost money, like big amounts, like MTGOK hacks, Bitfinex hack, DAO. Yeah, I would think that people would stop using crypto, but in 2017, I started buying some coins, and then I got to work into crypto full time. And my last venue was at 1inch.

I was the third employee of 1inch in 2020, joined before DeFi summer, and before DeFi became a hot topic. So yes, this is what my journey looks like so far. Wow.

So you’ve had quite an arc going from being in love with the technology, but staying away from the crypto side of things, and now moving and deep diving into DeFi. Yes, exactly. Yeah.

That’s wonderful. So can you tell us a little bit more perhaps about how you, you know, what kind of prompted you to co-found Barter DeFi, and how has your journey been so far? I would love to understand the USPs there as well. Absolutely.

So, you know, I feel like DeFi is still, you know, the best market niche in crypto, and, you know, it just has an instant product market fit, in my personal opinion. I feel like we should have a different economic system in the world, and it should be transparent, build on top of smart contracts, and this is what DeFi kind of unlocks. And I like all the, you know, various niches within DeFi.

I’ve been angel investing actively in this particular space, into AMMs, RFQ systems, you know, stable coins, infrastructure. Yeah. And in my personal opinion, like DeFi should, it hasn’t happened yet, you know.

In 2020, it was just the beginning and the first wave, and it should receive a much bigger spotlight in crypto landscape in general. And, yes, so I worked at 1inch. I was looking at various new ideas.

I quit 1inch in July 2022, when I was moving to Chile with my family, and we’ve been, I’ve been actively looking like, like what are the next hottest topics in DeFi, and Intents were one of those. So, you know, I was looking for small teams or like really talented engineers with whom I met during hackathons, during various, you know, conferences and events, and we felt like Intents unlocks a lot of new opportunities for, you know, just users and builders as well. And at that time, the only platform that was sort of like hot and available to join was Cowswap.

So we, you know, decided that maybe we should start Solver, and this is exactly what we did. And our Solver became quite successful. We’ve all, like we launched less than a year ago, and we already did over 4 billion volumes on Ethereum mainnet.

So, yeah. Wow, that is, those are wonderful stats, like that’s quite a lot of traction that you guys have, you know, achieved since your inception. So if you had to perhaps explain to a layperson what the platform does, you know, you call yourself Solver, built on top of Ethereum.

So how would you, you know, perhaps put it into two, three lines? Okay, well, that’s a hard question, but let me try to tackle it. So I feel like we are an invisible hand of the market. People interact with other platforms and other UI, whether they are for trading or crosschain swaps, or, you know, some kind of other operations.

And they don’t even know they are using, you know, our system. So yeah, we empower third party dApps like Cowswap to, you know, find the most optimal route for users. And people who want to trade use our off-chain computations for swapping.

Yeah. Alright, so basically you are like a layer that or an intermediary layer that, you know, users are utilizing without even perhaps realizing that, you know, they are using your solution. They have you guys to thank for it.

Yes. It’s a weird dynamic, which everyone is kind of trying to solve. And I think Solvers will get a lot more attention, a lot more spotlight due to various like innovation ideas.

For example, for us, we did this research where we analyzed the concept of coincidence of wants and how to use it between protocols. So imagine like if I want to sell one piece and maybe you want to buy one piece, there is no way for our orders to be matched if we use any platform except Cowswap. Like for example, you’re using 1inch, I’m using 0x or Uniswap X. And yes, there is no way to connect our transactions.

But if there is a Solver present on both platforms, it can potentially match this order and save on gas and save on AMM fees and reach an equilibrium price that, for example, market makers cannot provide. This is what we are researching and what we are trying to do in DeFi. So you’re trying to solve for a different kind of interoperability challenge.

Would that be correct? Absolutely. We are trying to solve liquidity fragmentation. We are trying to improve MEV.

It’s actually like a lot of things that we all of us are trying to solve and build. And yeah, no one has, I would say, succeeded so far in terms of coherent and massive solution. But we are working hard to tackle all those problems.

Right. So can you give our listeners some historical context on how the concept of Intents and Solvers have evolved in the DeFi space? Well, absolutely. So I think the best definition about Intents was coined by Paradigm.

But Transactions refers to how actions should be performed and Intents refers to what the desired outcome is. And that’s a huge difference because, you know, Transactions says like, do A’s and B, pay exactly C to get X back. And Intents says, I want X and I’m willing to pay like C. And Solver systems, you know, everyone looks at them as kind of like sophisticated parties to find optimal routing or optimal liquidity and to avoid potential problems that are quite common in DeFi space, like front running and MEV issues.

So yeah, we are trying to find the best price for user across all publicly and non-publicly available liquidity sources from different smart contracts and different protocols. And yeah, to provide the user the outcomes that they want. So it’s a new idea.

It kind of started a few years ago and a lot of people, especially from trade fight, they’re saying that, you know, Intents is a more sophisticated, like DeFi way of saying limit orders. And technically they are correct. So Intents can be looked at as fancy limit orders.

Very good. Can you give us a bit of an overview on the process of matching Intents with Solvers? Because, you know, like you mentioned, this is something that is very recent, you know, as a phenomena in the space. And this seems like a very big problem to solve, like pretty much like how big in general, when people say interoperability is a challenge, obviously this is a subset of that.

And that is a huge problem, right? So how do you even go about starting, you know, thinking to solve such a problem, because there are such big ecosystems, right? And how do you get them to talk to each other and make sure that the user is getting what he wants? Right. Well, you know, Solvers, so I think connecting those platforms and analyzing liquidity in real time requires, you know, some kind of like optimization, you know, skills and, you know, deep mass understanding. And there are actually very few people with experience like that.

For example, Bart, the team is very lucky because one of my co-founders, he used to work in logistics. And for seven years, he was building software for companies like Philip Morris, for example, or IKEA to help them ship goods between different countries. And it’s kind of the same with like routing pools and connecting transactions.

The real challenge is to do it in a decentralized fashion. So all the Solver systems right now, at least like I would say 90% of them sort of centralized running on their own servers and not, you know, doing it in the open. And this is what we are trying to crack.

Wow. This is wonderful. And, you know, the more I’m listening to you and your solution and about your solution, this seems so relevant and the potential to scale is massive, right? We sure hope so.

There are more and more use cases and more platforms that have been available for systems like ours. Like imagine, let’s dive. It’s actually very interesting.

I haven’t seen anyone covered it, but imagine two years ago, there was just one platform, Cowswap, that allowed third party solvers to participate. And only three solvers that existed were built by Gnosis team. And based on aggregators API, like 1inch, 0x, and, you know, Paraswap.

And now we have over 20 different, you know, full-time teams working to improve, you know, Solver systems and trying to capture the market and, you know, existing projects with different narratives. Like for example, Enso Finance are kind of, you know, pivoting from, you know, other things they did in DeFi and more and more platform open up the doors for solvers. Like for example, Uniswap X, I think was a big unlock and a big, you know, shift in the way that how people looked at it then.

Because when Uniswap allowed, you know, third parties to solve, you know, other flows that they have, it kind of unlocked a lot of improvement, especially for users, because with more competitive Solver landscape, users get the best rates because everyone’s kind of fighting for it. Yes. Right.

This is an ever, you know, changing landscape, right? Like what you’ve mentioned that the scope is absolutely huge and that, you know, earlier there were fewer platforms that were trying to solve for it. And now obviously that does change. But, you know, when the space is so dynamic, and I think this goes for almost every other builder in Web3, because Web3 as a whole is very dynamic, but especially for the problem you’re solving, how do you stay ahead of the curve? Like how do you create a platform which is, you know, as you mentioned, the traction that you’ve received is commendable.

How do you stay ahead of the curve and how do you make sure that, you know, you are able to keep the platform as dynamic as a space without compromising on the security, you know, being perhaps one of the bigger challenges? Yes. Well, I think a lot of it has to do with, you know, personal relationship and technological research, because we are trying like a lot of new concepts that were not widely like tried by other teams for like swaps and trading and, you know, interoperability. Yeah, we have an interesting approach to multichain and cross-chain and we do some experiments.

So I think this is very important to have some, you know, research bandwidth for any project in order to figure out what the end game of, you know, the niche you’re working on looks like. And another one is personal relationship. So I joined OneInch team and I was, you know, the third employee after the co-founders for like a couple of months, we just worked three of us.

So I think personal relationship when you engage with projects and talk with them and ask how you can help and solve their needs and you know, building those relationships, this is very important for crypto. And, you know, with my experience, it’s kind of, I knew a lot of different parties. So when we were chatting with them, we kind of, they provided, you know, the pain points and we discussed like what can be done on our end, if we can, you know, potentially tap into new liquidity on smart contracts and different protocols for solving and yeah.

So, and for example, engage with new DEXs or new AMMs that are not yet, you know, released in public, for example, and just being like, like testing those new ideas and new concepts. This is what, you know, helped us stay slightly ahead of the curve. So yeah, you know, technological research and personal relationship.

Right. I think that’s brilliant. I do think that, you know, research and personal relationships, like you mentioned, you know, they do pave the path for your product to a large degree in Web3 because of its dynamic nature.

So that’s very well said. And I think I completely concur with you on that. I would love to know a little more about the next big milestone that, you know, you guys are looking at in your journey.

Right. So in January, we published this research and our research went pretty viral on Twitter. At that time, we had only a hundred followers, almost received over like 30,000 views and various reposts.

And the idea was, it’s very simple. Like how do we combine orders that originate on various different routers, like 1inch, Uniswap, 0x, Metamask swaps, Kaoswap, and how do we bundle them together and, you know, match them instead of matching them against, you know, AMM liquidity, match them against each other. And we realized that within 20 blocks of five minutes, you know, it’s possible to match quite a lot of transactions and save users up to $20,000.

Imagine like every five minutes it’s possible, possible to save this amount of money in DeFi on existing order flow. So, you know, like pretty much the infrastructure and the activity is already there. Someone just needs to, you know, connect all the dots.

And yeah, so we wrote this research and at that time we were only solving on Kaoswap. Now we are expanding into more platforms and also, you know, kind of trying to build, you know, new UIs that would connect to our API and our intent engine. And yeah, if we can improve pricing for users with this unlock, I think that would be huge.

And we hope to do it by some kind of prototype by the end of summer. And then, you know, we will try to decentralize. So this is our, you know, current roadmap and milestones that we want to achieve.

That’s brilliant. I think, like you said, it’s going to be a very, very powerful, you know, feature and it will be a very powerful launch, especially and be very popular among users. So I’m looking forward to that for a while.

Now, you know, let’s zoom out a little bit and let’s talk a little about the regulation aspect. So there is an upcoming EU regulation which is expected to take, I think, effect by the end of this year, which would have some sort of an impact on the DeFi space. What is your take on that and how big of an impact do you think these regulations will have on the DeFi space as a whole? Right.

So, yeah, you know, I feel like regulation is, of course, inevitable and it will touch, you know, every company that is somehow interacting with DeFi. No one really knows yet whether it’s going to be like harsh or whether it’s going to be, you know, like relatively good. I mean, it has to be good for the industry in the long run.

But some aspects still needed to be cleared by SEC and other similar, you know, venues. But we feel like regulation is a tricky topic. You know, we want to have some rules and guidelines that would show us what can be done and how it should be done.

And, you know, it feels like so far no one has kind of like solved it. We will see how, like what changes by the end of this year. Everyone is hoping that, you know, the lawsuit or what is the correct way of saying of what is going on between Uniswap team and SEC will be resolved peacefully and would not have like a big major impact.

Yeah, maybe QIC or stricter AML policies will be implemented. Maybe we will have to, you know, exclude some liquidity or smart contracts because some money inside of them are tainted. And so, yeah, like it’s a pretty big issue.

We are actively paying attention to it. I think everyone is trying to be as transparent as possible, you know, in order to provide all information and the ways they operate on chain right now. And, yeah, we are one of those parties.

But the best we can do is simply wait. Yeah, I think wait and watch is the best way to go. And obviously, you know, the most serious players would want to on the side of caution and comply.

Some regulation might be a good thing, but don’t you feel that regulation kind of goes against the very ethos of decentralization? No, I agree. I agree that regulation, you know, is not a friend of DeFi and crypto in general. However, we have to kind of accept and be realist.

And we live in this huge modern world and it has rules. And those rules are actually built to protect people just like us. And, yeah, we have to play by the rules and maybe modify them based on unique circumstances of our industry and unique aspects.

And hopefully regulators, you know, are aware of those circumstances. Yeah, absolutely. I think we leave it at that.

So now, you know, I would love to get your thoughts because on different ecosystems altogether, like Solana and Ethereum, you know, there’s been a lot of people who are on both sides and there are supporters on both sides. There’s been much discussion about perhaps Solana potentially dethroning Ethereum in the long run. What are your thoughts on this? What do you think is behind Solana’s rise? And what challenges do you foresee in their journey? Well, you know, I feel like a lot of Solana’s rise is actually around speculative activity.

And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. And it’s, yeah, you know, it’s not necessarily a bad thing because, you know, Ethereum with ICO boom and what happened in like 2017 when the new tokens popped up and everyone was like fundraising, kind of had a similar period. You know, there are a lot of similarities.

I feel that Solana has a great team and definitely great technology. You know, it’s been proven by many to be extremely competitive and extremely efficient. And yeah, for them, I think it’s a challenge is, you know, evolving this speculative, you know, trading activity and speculative aspects of, you know, new coins and everything that’s going on in the blockchain and turn it into a long-term sustainable businesses, sustainable DAOs, sustainable protocols.

And yeah, I hope to see a lot more, you know, unique niches and use cases or build specifically for Solana, which haven’t happened yet. You know, if you look at, you know, a one landscape, a lot of projects are very similar. You know, every chain has their own AMM just like Uniswap.

Every chain has their own, you know, Oracle system and stuff like that. So hopefully Solana will, you know, it already kind of started to happen. You know, they have the first one to have some order book access and some other things.

But yeah, I mean, it’s up to the community and the core foundation team in order to evolve. Yeah. Right.

Yeah, I think I agree. It’s a work in progress. Obviously, I think all of us are, but Solana is an ecosystem.

It is on the right path, it seems. And I think a lot will obviously like any other Web3 project will come down to the community and the users and the kind of trajectory it takes. You know, touching upon community and users, I would love to understand what is the community around your platform and how have you been able to perhaps engage with users or are you trying to perhaps stay more B2B facing and not consumer facing as of yet? Yeah, we have this, you know, interesting go-to-market approach.

We are trying to stay as B2B as possible. And, you know, it’s a strategy because right now we help different apps and we bootstrap their, you know, their systems and their UIs and facilitate their users without kind of like stealing them or engaging with them directly. And everyone sort of loves us for it.

So, you know, we have easy time, you know, engaging with new projects, onboarding into new ecosystems and it worked perfectly so far. However, I mean, it’s kind of inevitable that in the long run, everyone is kind of trying to, you know, build something new for the users. And we will also spend a lot of time thinking about it.

One of the interesting unlocks that we’ve seen is that people use centralized platforms and DEXs in a different way. So what I mean is people go to swap on Uniswap and they know exactly what they’re going to do. Like, I want to buy like, I want to buy East or maybe I want to sell my USDC for USDT.

And they perform an action and they leave, you know, they swap and they go and do other things. But when people use Binance or, you know, OKEx or any asset centralized exchange, they’re always looking for new opportunities. They, you know, go online and they look at winners, losers, trading competitions, new leasing opportunities.

And imagine if we had this information available across all DeFi landscape, like which pools have, you know, deeper liquidity. Deeper liquidity meaning that those assets are kind of more stable and, you know, maybe someone would see like, OK, Aava has a deeper liquidity than Compound and those are similar products building on a similar niche. Maybe I should buy some Aava tokens.

Well, this is just an example, you know, not investment advice. But if we can showcase users in a UI, you know, all those interesting things that are happening, what other users are doing and what they can do with their money, then I think it can open up new possibilities for deeper engagement. We are not doing anything like this right now, but long term, I think it’s highly possible.

And eventually what, you know, every system is trying to… Yeah, I think you’re very right here as well in your perspective that, you know, when a user goes on Uniswap, they’re very clear about what they need to do and when they go on a place like Binance, you know, it’s akin to a given analogy that like if you go to say Uniswap, you know, you’re going to you’re visiting perhaps a very niche boutique, you know, to buy your stationery perhaps, right? And if you go to Binance, it’s like akin to being in a mall where there are a lot of options, a lot of distractions and there’s a lot of noise. So yeah, but I think those platforms, they also target, I think, very two different segment of users, I believe, which is something I think you will concur with. True, I agree that, you know, Binance has a much larger and different audience of traders and market makers and a lot more different parties.

Yeah, definitely, definitely. But hopefully all of those parties are coming to trade and, you know, perform their actions on-chain sooner or later, and we will be ready for them. Yeah, absolutely.

So again, now I wanted to zoom out a little bit more and talk about the ecosystem as a whole. A lot of people are talking about how, you know, we’ve already entered the next full run and, you know, there is some conflict, I think, around that. Some people agree, some people tend to disagree, but that is for another day.

I would love to know from you, because, you know, you’ve been working in this space for some time and you’re working in the, very honestly, you know, you would know a lot about all of these platforms and trends that are coming up,

What is your take? Like, do you think that we’ve really entered a bull market? And which are the niches in the web that you think will do really well in this particular bull run? And this is something that I’ve been asking almost all of my guests in the last, you know, few episodes, because everybody has a different opinion here, and that really leads to some very tradable insights. Well, you know, I have my own theory on bull runs. And, you know, the theory is pretty straightforward that bull runs are heavily linked to emergence of new coins.

So if you look at, you know, 2013, there were a lot of Bitcoin forks, and everyone was trying to build, you know, like, new chain with new coin, like, for example, Litecoin is a good example, and there were a lot more smaller ones. So every bull run should have somehow huge amount of new coins that are being issued, and activity would spike. This happened with Ethereum, with ICO boom.

And in 2020, DeFi summer, you know, unlocked dApps to build governance tokens. Actually, you know, Compound kind of unlocked it, because before Compound, no one was looking and knew exactly how to, you know, decentralize, and they were the first one, and they did it brilliantly. So, yeah, and we suddenly all dApps managed to issue their governance tokens.

And then we had new L2s, and new projects that are running on them issuing coins. So I’m trying to look where this, you know, unlock for 1000 new coins can happen in crypto. And so, yeah, it does not yet feel like a bull run to me and to our team in particular.

We still feel like, you know, the rise of Bitcoin price or Ethereum price is not yet enough, you know, to be called like a bull run specifically. Yeah, but we’re looking actively at social, you know, coins, and maybe users will be able to monetize the blog or the like activity and do it based on smart contracts. And, you know, this can allow, you know, access for new things.

At the same time, you know, there are a lot of activity on other networks, for example, like Telegram. And imagine we, you know, Telegram users, Telegram applications would have an easier time interacting with DeFi dApps. And we, in a way, see it with, you know, trading bots, a lot of on-chain swap activities happening through platforms like BananaBot.

And they, you know, they have a very strong order flow. So yeah, the question we ask in ourselves is, where do we see, you know, a lot of activities coming in, how it will increase and how we can have like hundreds of new coins emerge on a daily basis and not just mint coins, but long-term oriented, you know, projects with assets that are decentralized. Maybe real world assets will be this use case that unlocks.

Also, you know, I am not as bullish on real world assets because I’ve been hearing this term since 2017. And so far it hasn’t like moved much. Yeah.

But we will see. So yeah, we feel like we are in the very, very early stages of this potential bull run. So yeah.

Yeah, I think you’re right. And I concur. I think we’re very early, you know, in this particular cycle.

Regarding RWAs and, you know, real world assets. So I’ll add a personal anecdote here. We’ve tried doing that.

You know, we’ve tried tokenizing gold and silver, but there are a lot of, like why I concurred with, you know, there is a lot of hype, but I don’t know if it’s going to go anywhere because there is a lot of challenges in terms of compliance. Like jurisdictional compliance is very difficult. Managing a custodian and insurer as well as like a supplier for these assets and, you know, making sure that it’s all working in tandem.

All of that is very, very challenging in terms of, as I said, compliance and be in terms of just the kind of resources that are required to ensure that it is all okay. And startups usually do not have those kinds of resources in terms of time or, you know, money, or even just knowing how to go about doing these things, because it takes a lot of, you know, experience to be able to navigate these laws and these policies across jurisdictions. So yeah, this is, this is, these are the reasons why I also don’t think that, you know, RWAs will really take off in a big way, unless institutions really come in, which they are to a certain degree, like I’ve heard some noise.

I think that is the only scenario in which it can potentially take off in a big way, because I just don’t think startups have that capacity to be able to tokenize real world assets and really make a very sound business out of it. I agree with your point 100%. Yeah.

We’ll see how, you know, the market evolves. And yeah, maybe, maybe in a few years, there will be more activity with, you know, when there will be more rules. But so far, yeah, yeah.

It’s a great idea to sort of venture into. And it’s hard. It’s like being in the trenches without any help.

So that is just my personal opinion, because I’ve been there, done that despite a struggle. But anyway, now, you know, moving to another trendy thing that has been going around and doing making a lot of noise, AI coins, and I would love to know your opinion on AI tokens, and we keep hearing about them. What is your take? Or do you think that this is mostly noise? Or do you think there is some substance here? Very tricky question.

We definitely need one of my co-founders. It’s a very good answer a lot better than myself. You know, I’m not an engineer.

And that is okay. You know, neither am I. Yeah, it’s okay. Let’s try.

Let’s try to tackle it anyway. You know, exactly. We generally really like AI, you know, a lot of our, everyone almost in our team is an AI geek, and we follow the news, and we look at new products, and you know, like, like experiment.

And to be honest, we try to fit in AI into many things that we do. For example, AI can help us predict potentially, you know, volatility on the market, and you know, predict when we will have like a lot more order flow, and when can we do more, like coincidence of once transactions between, you know, different protocols and stuff like that. But, you know, so far, it feels like AI and crypto are still quite disconnected.

And crypto doesn’t exactly like in the current lens, like landscape and the way of things, just adds much value to AI. AI is still, you know, all the niches and all, you know, platforms where it operates. Decentralization doesn’t add, like, as much improvement, and it’s not exactly what users want.

But yeah, like, like, it’s kind of changing. It’s a rapidly changing, you know, market niche. And yeah, well, so this is our answer.

We really like it. We are all enthusiasts. We struggle to see how we can use, you know, existing AI products and, you know, make them part of our stacks, AI and crypto products specifically, not just regular AI, but, you know, where it meets with crypto.

So, yeah, but we are actively, you know, looking and hoping that crypto can, you know, improve, you know, security aspects and other things for AI niche. Yeah, I think that’s a very good way of putting it. I think my take has also been, like, I usually pick up the example of NFTs.

Like, initially, I think I was one of the naysayers, because I really just did not understand the point of, you know, digital collectibles going for that much money. But, you know, we’ve seen the use cases of NFTs develop and evolve over time, over the years. And the technology has a lot of potential.

Sadly, there are no great VM apps currently, but it’s a space to watch out for. And I feel it’s pretty similar when I think about AI tokens as well, that it’s a space that’s exciting. A lot is happening.

But, you know, to be able to really see where it lands, it’s going to be a journey. And it’s going to take some time, but you know, you cannot really write it off. Yes.

And I’m glad that, you know, we kind of touched upon that. And, you know, I think, especially people like you and me, like, I’ve been in tech for a very long time. So now at this point, I can call myself a self-taught techie, but I come from a background in humanities.

And people who are perhaps not engineers, I think they bring a different perspective and a breath of fresh air to these discussions. Because, you know, discussions are more well-rounded, I think. So, you know, you mentioned now, you know, you should get another, you know, one of your co-founders perhaps answer this in a more technical way.

But our podcast is all about, you know, having these discussions without the jargon. So what you said completely resonates. Thank you.

And, you know, I had, and I actually, you know, I had another idea while you were talking and that, you know, I feel like AI projects in crypto as well should have, you know, kind of success and not actually even success, but just stability and good business models without necessarily having to have a token. When I look at crypto and AI platforms that do not yet have their own asset, you know, launched, I think that what intrigues me more and which have more like long-term potential. Yeah.

So I’m not a big fan of AI coins. Yeah. No, I understand that.

Moreover, I think, you know, this is going to sound very, like a bit of a controversial opinion perhaps, but I do feel that at times, you know, more tokens is not the answer. Like I really do believe that unless, you know, your token really has a good utility and you have a sound business model that, you know, it stands on, there’s really no need for every platform to have a native token. Right.

Definitely. Yeah. Well, we will monitor how, you know, AI landscape evolves and changes and hopefully more projects will emerge.

Yeah, absolutely. Now, you know, because we are running a little short on time, I would love to ask you for certain recommendations or, you know, of resources or of thought leaders, folks that you admire, that you listen to, that, you know, you would like to recommend to our listeners. Oh, you mean among, you know, podcasts or among just, you know, general channels? Anything, just general channels, anything, podcasts, books, or anything that, you know, you think is really, you know, they’re doing a fabulous job and, you know, you want to highlight them here and our listeners should give it a listen as well.

Okay. Sure. Well, I feel like, you know, A16z, you know, crypto startup school has a lot of good, you know, materials for new founders to discuss, you know, various aspects like token economics, building and web space, security issues, and a lot of things.

And this is really important and, you know, it’s just the best publicly available source of information about what it’s like being a founder. And you can experience how they, you know, teach their own portfolio companies. So this is great.

I highly recommend everyone to take a look. Well, among media, I’m a big fan of, you know, the blog and blog works. I feel like they, you know, have a good unbiased opinion about writing, you know, and covering a lot of events that are happening in crypto.

And yeah, so this is it really. I feel like I spend a lot less time, you know, following, you know, channels and news since we, you know, started Barter. And of course, your podcast as well.

I mean, your listeners are already familiar, but now it’s a something that I would recommend everyone to dive deeper. That’s very kind of you to be mentioned in the same line as the blog and A16Z is an absolute honor. Thank you so much for your kind words.

You’re welcome. So, you know, as I mentioned earlier, we’re running short in time, and I want this conversation to last forever because it has been so interesting and what you’re building is very unique, very relevant. But I do have to, you know, ask you this one question that once again, I ask almost everybody who comes on the show, you, you know, you’ve also made quite a leap from, you know, being in deep tech to Web 3, you know, working and then building.

So what would be your advice to perhaps, you know, potential builders or aspiring builders for them to really start living on blockchain? You know, I strongly recommend everyone to experience what projects looks like from inside. First, before, you know, building something of your own. So I suggest joining, you know, good teams.

And the easiest way to do that is to follow, you know, investment round announcement news. So whenever we see that like a project raise some money, it means that they, you know, have capitals, they are scaling investors, due diligence on them, and they believe they’re legit and, you know, nice. And yeah, I think it’s really good to have at least one or two years of, you know, this working experience and feeling what tokens feel like, what issuing token looks like, how you, you know, build a team and what kind of, you know, security aspects exist in building DeFi apps.

Because when you have a smart contract logic, especially for DeFi, you know, it creates a lot of risks. And yeah, I would suggest everyone that, you know, there is a big difference between Web 3 and Web 2 and building startups in those respective niches. So before, you know, starting something, gain this experience and it would help you a lot.

Yeah, gain the relevant experience and then start building because there is a stark difference when it comes to building in Web 2 as against in Web 3. There are a lot of similarities as well. I think the one foundational thing that I keep telling everybody is ultimately you’re building a business. So, you know, you should be clear about that.

And all businesses are mostly, you know, created, at least for profit businesses are created to make money. So you need to be clear on that. And it more and more money.

It’s good that, you know, if you want to use that money to scale, but ultimately your business should be making money. And I think that is the only, you know, common ground that I find between Web 2 and Web 3 companies. So thank you so much once again for making the time to speak to me today.

This has been a very, very interesting conversation. Before we wrap this up, any parting thoughts? No, thanks for having me. It was an absolute pleasure.

I really enjoyed, you know, discussing intense and hoping, you know, your users, your community would also love it. If you have any questions, feel free to, you know, send us a message on Twitter or through email. But yeah, appreciate your time and congrats on all the work.

Really excited about this episode. Thank you so much. Likewise.

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