CoinGecko Virtual Meetup #18: Exploring the NEAR Ecosystem

by CoinGecko

The following transcript have been edited for clarity.

Bobby 0:00

Today we are talking about the NEAR ecosystem. We have Alex Shevchenko, the CEO of Aurora. We have 0xdon, core developer of Trisolaris. We have Bowen Shen, co-founder of Proximity Labs, and we have Didier Pironi, Product Manager at Ref Finance. Welcome to the CoinGecko 18th Meetup, very happy to be hosting four of you today.

So before we start, I just want to say thanks to KuCoin for sponsoring our meetup. Sign up now for a KuCoin account and get a $500 trading bonus, as well as numerous discounts and gifts exclusive for our attendees. Before we start, maybe I'll give a chance for all four of you to maybe introduce yourself a little bit and tell us what your company does, and your roles in the company. Maybe let's start with Alex.

Alex 1:24

Hello everybody. My name is Alex Shevchenko, as Bobby told you. I’m the CEO of the Company named Aurora Labs and what we are doing, we are developing the protocol that is named Aurora. This is a protocol that is extending Ethereum’s economy to the NEAR blockchain. Our product has multiple constituents but in general, the idea is to allow Ethereum developers to launch their smart contracts on a more performant blockchain, NEAR, and give them the ability to connect to this blockchain, and also using all of the existing tools that are already developed in the Ethereum ecosystem. 

So you can launch your contracts without any changes. You can connect a lot of tools and put in wallets, development software and so on. Moreover, you're able to have some interactions between Ethereum and Aurora and in general, NEAR through the generic Rainbow Bridge, from which you are able to send your assets, fungible tokens. Also you can extend it with any arbitrary calls and messages. So yeah, it's Aurora Lab who is behind all of this tech, and I'm the CEO of this company. Happy to be here. 

Bobby 2:46

0xdon, want to go next?

0xdon 2:49

Great to be here, thanks for organizing again.

So as Alex was saying, Aurora is a great place to be building and we're building one of the first applications on Aurora. We’re called Trisolaris, we're a decentralized exchange, and we're running on the Aurora EVM engine. We are one of the first DEXes on Aurora and, currently growing pretty quickly.

We're \a pretty small team still, but thrilled with how this community has been growing so far, and (we are) one of the top places now to get exposure to the NEAR ecosystem and the growing Aurora ecosystem as well. So a plethora of different tokens are being traded on our DEX right now.

I personally work on all the different aspects of the DEX, including development and community and other areas as well. So, thrilled to be here, thanks again for organizing.

Bobby 3:50

Didier you wanna go next?

Didier 3:51

Yeah, sure. Well thanks a lot Bobby for the opportunity, I'm very excited to be here.

So my name is Didier. I'm the project manager of Ref Finance, which is the first automated market maker built on top of NEAR and yes, we are a one-stop DeFi shop on NEAR. So, very excited to be here again.

0xdon 4:18

Primary reason for building on Aurora was the ability to build using a familiar development stack with the EVM engine that's running on top of NEAR, and then we also got to leverage the underlying infrastructure that is the NEAR blockchain, with scalability, and to be future proof in a sense where we took a long-term bet on this ecosystem. We believe it's going ti continue to grow and continue to accommodate scale.

Alex 4:56

What 0xdon was saying, first of all, thanks for the kind words. In general for Aurora, our goal, our mission is to give an ability for the Ethereum ecosystem to grow, and to host many many more users. I'm talking right now not about millions, I’m talking about hundreds of millions of new people. 

Also to provide familiar experience to these people, or to provide the same experience and utilize everything that is already developed for the Ethereum ecosystem. Because of the sharded technology that is tested and that has worked in production, and this is NEAR, so for us, it was a very straightforward thing to be building on top of the NEAR blockchain. 

And so if I was spending the additional 15 seconds, why is it important for us, Aurora is not a separate chain, it is not a separate network. Aurora is just a smart contract - an EVM that is launched as a smart contract on top of NEAR’s virtual machine. So that's why it was super important for us to be able to work on top of the blockchain that is able to grow. That was our main idea, and that is the reason why we are working on top of NEAR blockchain.

Bobby 6:22

So this is very specific to Ref (Finance). Ref’s goal is to be a one-stop DeFi shop on NEAR. So I'm curious to hear, what does a one-stop DeFi shop look like in your mind or in Ref Finance’s mind?

Didier 6:39

Yeah, of course. Well, first one-stop shop is defined as a business where multiple services are offered. In the context of NEAR and Ref Finance, that means serving different use cases.

For example, if you want to speculate on the first play-to-earn token within NEAR, then you might go to Ref and swap NEAR for this specific token, for example. Another example is, let's say you are a company and then you get funded by USDT, but you need to pay an invoice in DAI. You're going to use our stableswap feature to do that. If you are a degen farmer,  and you want to ape into different projects and then farm those tokens, then you might choose our farming platforms.

Bobby 7:42

NEAR announced a $800 million ecosystem grant. So that's like a massive, massive ecosystem grant. Is Proximity Labs sort of responsible for the distribution of this entire $800 million? Or is that a portion of it, or how does it really work?

Bowen 7:58

Yeah. Great question. So out of the $800 million, proportionately we are responsible for the $350 million out of $800 million that we mainly focus on.

So one of our core responsibilities of Proximity is to allocate this amount of DeFi grants effectively to projects that we think will build a sustainable DeFi ecosystem with us, and to allocate this fund to help these projects push up early liquidity, build early market attention, and build early market awareness.

We’re definitely quite early in the DeFi game, and we think by allocating these funds more effectively and more productively to these various DeFi components, we make sure the core DeFi components on NEAR and Aurora are handled by quality projects. 

We not only deliver the services to the market, but (make sure that) the services actually meet market demand, and for us to be able to serve the users that we want to serve, and to serve the underserved DeFi users in the market, and to serve more retail users. Then we will fulfill our mission of at least (being) a step closer to creating this whole DeFi sector.

Bobby 9:40

Actually I've got a question for Aurora, and this is something that I find quite unique / interesting I suppose. So Aurora uses ETH as its token to pay for gas. I didn’t know there was no gas for awhile, but I remember bridging ETH over to Aurora and without thinking how am I going to pay for gas? Eventually because I had ETH, I got lucky ETH was used to pay for gas.

So I'm curious why you guys choose to use ETH instead of Aurora token or maybe NEAR token for example, to pay for transaction fees.

Alex 10:16

Yeah, there are two main reasons why we're doing this, two considerations. 

First of all, I can tell you that currently in the markets if you take a look at the prices that people are paying their transaction fees and the actual value of the tokens which are used for this, these two things are of different orders of magnitudes. So you can take a look at some protocols that have very popular tokens right now from the top 10, many of them actually have extremely low transaction fees. Which means the correlation of the value of the ecosystem, and the fees that are paid in this ecosystem, it is not there. So it is not the (transaction) fees that bring value to the ecosystem. This is the first thing. 

Second thing is that in case you're using a custom token, it means that for the users of the ecosystem, they need to get this token from somewhere, and for the first transaction, they need to do something - they need to go to the exchange, they need to buy the token and move it to somewhere. In case the exchange is not supporting your network, then it means that they need to move it to Ethereum and bridge the token. It's a super complicated process, and not everybody will be able to get to the exchanges that are listing this token. So with NEAR and Aurora, these are not the most popular assets at the moment. Obviously NEAR (token) is much, much more popular than the Aurora token, but still it is just an additional hurdle to the user. 

An additional consideration here is, “Hey, just take a look at what the developers need to do with their applications”. They need to potentially update their smart contracts in case they are having special cases for ETH, and wETH in case the base token is not ETH. The application would not have these base ETH, it’s going to have only wrapped ETH. Then the front-end developers also need to update some kind of price feeds and stuff like that. In case you're using the API to get the base token price, then calculate the cost of the transaction or something like that, well, you also need to get it from somewhere. In case the token is not listed, then there might be some manipulations happening because of not that big liquidity and all this stuff. So you need to change your software for the developers, and unfortunately changing the software also means that you need to maintain it. You need to figure out in the future in case you have an update, you need to deploy one update to the Ethereum network, the other update to the Aurora network, and so on. It gives a fair bit of complexity. 

Our goal was always to give back credit to Ethereum, and maximize the user experience and the developer experience with Aurora. So we decided that having ETH as a base token, as a token in which the transaction fees are paid, is a natural solution. The ecosystem is not going to lose anything out of this solution first of all, and second, it will just simplify the interaction with Aurora for everyone.

Bobby 14:15

Thanks a lot Alex for that explanation. Very interesting design decision for you guys to use for this. There seemed to be some issues with gas as well as liquidation issues. Do you know much or do you have anything to share on that?

Alex 14:32

Yeah. I know everything obviously about all of these things. So for a fair bit of time, Aurora was working with zero gas fees. What it means is that since Aurora is a smart contract on top of the NEAR blockchain, the actual fees on the level of the NEAR protocol are paid in NEAR tokens, but Aurora's RPC is proposing the user to pay a particular gas price to the Aurora RPC. In fact, what is happening with these ETH as a base token is that the user pays ETH to the RPC, while the RPC pays NEAR to the protocol. 

So the second payment obviously was happening always, and is happening right now. However the first payment, it was just our RPC configured to return zero gas price to everyone. That was happening and that was the intention, because as I said to you, as a first kind of idea around the gas fees is that they are not changing anything at the moment. Moreover, many Web2 companies are working without a per transaction tarification of some kind; Everyone is able to create a free Gmail account, free Facebook account, free Twitter account, and somehow these companies are pretty big ones and they're working and everything is good. It's not about the fees. In general, many businesses are not based on forcing the user to pay per each action that the user is performing.

So the gas fees were zero, and Aurora Labs was sponsoring all of this transactions. And everything was good until the moment in time when some viral applications were coming in and these applications unfortunately, were not having a good design from the standpoint of the blockchain. It means that the actions that were committed to the blockchain as transactions were extremely small, meaning that the ordinary user needed to send 20 actions per minute or something like that. It means that the design of the application is not very good for the blockchain, and the reasonable answer from the blockchain to these kinds of applications, to these kinds of situations is that the gas price goes up. In Aurora, the gas price is determined by the RPC and the gas price was just rising to the level of the NEAR fees that the RPC is paying. And after this the transactions actually cost the same value that is paid to the NEAR protocol.

Everything's stabilized and everything is working now and back pretty good. Now with regards to what is the amount of the fees? What is the price? So the gas price in Aurora right now is set at the level of 0.03 gwei, so it's quite small. To give you an order of magnitude and how to understand what does 0.03 gwei mean, the ordinary Uniswap-style swap is going to cost less than $0.01. So that's the level, that's the thing.

In general, just to conclude the remark here on the gas and the base token. We truly believe that the era of a per transaction tarification, and the era of this low level gas user experience, extremely bad user experience, is coming to an end. New solutions are going to appear that are going to fix it, make it convenient to the users, and make it simple for people to interact with the blockchain. We're moving in this direction, aand we really believe this is one of the key missing pieces in the blockchain industry in general that is not allowing it to grow to tens and hundreds of millions of users.

Bobby 19:20

I’ve got a question for Trisolaris and Ref Finance. This is on DeFi yield farming - yields on DeFi protocols, they tend to decrease over time, and I'm curious to hear from you. At the start when you guys launch, it’s always the high yields, high APY that attracts the yield farmers and all to come in and participate in providing liquidity. But overtime, as more people find out about it and the yields kind of get compressed and decrease. Curious to hear what you guys think? Do you think this is a problem in the long-term? What do you guys think about sustaining, achieving sustainability in the long run?

0xdon 20:05

Yeah, happy to start. I think one of the biggest things with any kind of yield farming program is eventually the underlying base protocol and its earnings have to catch up. And in the case of a decentralized exchange, like Trisolaris or even like Ref, the earnings are largely a result of transaction / trading fees. Currently at Trisolaris, one of the functions of trading fees is to buy back a portion of the TRI token from the market and then distribute it to stakers, and ultimately the goal of this entire feedback loop is for the DEX itself, the underlying Aurora ecosystem, and all the tokens that are trading on it to grow to such an extent that we eventually have enough protocol revenue and trading volumes to sustain this ecosystem. So TRI is continually being bought back, and we’ve reached a point of equilibrium. 

At the same time, it's important to see that this is a growing ecosystem at this point. There's so many projects launching on Aurora, so we feel like there’s plenty of growth to still be had in terms of where the ceiling is in terms of growth for this ecosystem. We're just looking forward to far more trading volumes and new projects as well, launching, including things building on top of the Trisolaris. Structured products, fractionalized NFTs and NFT marketplaces, and other such products that will drive new streams of revenue potential for the protocol, which will again, make this whole ecosystem more sustainable.

Alex 21:44

A quick comment, by the way, there are more than 80 protocols that are already launched on top of Aurora in several months, and the number grows exponentially. 

Bobby 21:54

That's a lot. Congrats.

Alex 21:56

Yeah, thanks. Again, I believe the key piece here is that people do not need to change anything and developers just can deploy and it just works.

Bobby 22:08

Yeah. I definitely agree on that. From a user experience point of view it is just really easy to also use. I haven't really used the protocols on the NEAR ecosystem directly, but the EVM on Aurora chain is pretty simple. 

Alex 22:23

That's the key, right? So same wallets, same experience, same apps. 

Bobby 22:33

Didier you want to add on to the question?

Didier 22:35

Yeah, of course. Well I think first, when you have a look at incentives, you know, across traditional industries, this is not something new. In Europe, challenger banks, they've used quite aggressive incentives at the beginning. In the gambling industry, there is cash referral or cash bonus kind of stuff. I think in DeFi, incentives are here to bootstrap a protocol to bring liquidity, but it has never been designed to keep capital.

I think actually there are two things for the future. I think we need to increase the liquidity utilization, which is basically the volume out of the TVL, and the more liquidity utilization, the more LPs are making money on sustainable, predictable revenue.

Bobby 22:43

Projects that we would see coming up in the next few months. I don't know if you can share, but it will be interesting to hear if there's any interesting projects coming up.

Alex 22:51

Bowen, do you want to start? 

Bowen 22:54

You can start if you want. Alright I’ll go, yeah, there's a couple of interesting projects coming up. Let's only name two. Besides the already quality projects in the NEAR and Aurora ecosystem that we have today, like Ref Finance and Trisolaris, there is on the lending side on Aurora, we see Aurigami and Bastion. They are building decent community traction. I think based on the conversation that we have with them today, they seem decent. I’m particularly interested in Aurigami’s project on building their niche market and creating product differentiation, not just as a Compound-style money market, but actually, with a different tokenomics and with the angle of going to the fixed interest rate swap supply market. That is one. 

On the NEAR native side, there are a couple of interesting ones as well. There is, a lending market that is native to NEAR, it's a Compound-style money market as well, but with very interesting tokenomics. Basically the concept is the longer you lock up your tokens, the higher rewards you get. There are also product differentiation in the pipeline - it aims to serve some interest rate bearing assets for yield stacking on the lending market. So as it launches in early March, it will support stNEAR, which is a liquid staked-NEAR that is a staking reward bearing token. That will be interesting, so by the time you deposit, collateralize your assets, and supply your assets to, you're not only collecting yield on an interest rate on, but you also collect passive income from the staking rewards. 

Besides that there are a couple of professional trading teams building decent trading products on NEAR. One of them I do want to highlight is Orderly. Orderly is supposed to be a derivative orderbook-style DEX. To simplify the concept, you can basically see them as the Serum of NEAR, and I believe their product concept, the product delivery, and their product operational experience should be higher than Serum’s standard when they go to the market.

Alex 27:15

I would like to add one additional project to this list. This is not an Aurora project, or this is not the project that is working on top of Aurora, but being the tech guy, I cannot not mention it. This project is named MACHINA, and the idea of this project is to build something like an Arweave on top of the NEAR stack.

Bobby 27:38

Very interesting.

Alex 27:39

Yeah, so the idea is not new. It will be good to have a storage solution that is based on top of a blockchain, and it appears that NEAR is obviously a pretty nice candidate to use as a basis because it already has sharding inside of it. Literally this MACHINA project was born by the Aurora team, NEAR team, and also the team of the project HAPI. We have been discussing this idea for quite a long time, and now the project is starting to get traction, get developers. Everything is in development right now, and I believe pretty soon there will be quite a lot of news about it. 

(I’m) looking forward to it, especially in the light of the fact that since MACHINA is going to have the same consensus mechanism that NEAR, I'm looking forward to merging MACHINA blockchain with NEAR blockchain in the future, which would allow smart contracts to get information from the storage directly on-chain. From my point of view, this is very straightforward and this is actually quite similar to what happens in our computers at the moment. There will be executional shards on NEAR where smart contracts are located and these smart contracts are executed; and then there will be data Shards on NEAR, which are MACHINA shards, and in these shards the data is only stored and there is no execution there. 

Why, from my point of view, this is crucial is it's going to work the same as ordinary computer programs are operating in our laptops right now (where) we have separation of the memory. There is one memory that is called DRAM and this is usually like 16GB of RAM right now in modern laptops, and this is fast memory. So this will be the smart contract memory; this will be the memory for the execution; it is expensive. While we also have hard drives, and on hard drives, we are able to store terabytes of data; and hard drives are cheap. Such hard drives will be MACHINA shards. Access to this memory is much slower, but in terms of the storage, they are muc, much cheaper, and we need to have a separate device for it. In terms of the NEAR blockchain, this will be a separate data Shard. So I'm looking forward to MACHINA to be implemented and for this merge to occur. It will be really really cool, aand I believe it's super in line with how computer software is developed these days.

Bobby 30:58

Yeah. It sounds really interesting to have a data storage layer on NEAR Protocol as well. Is this already live or sort of coming?

Alex 31:07

No, it's just coming. The development is happening as we speak. A dedicated team is working on it.

So I was just showing that there is something that is happening there. They have a Twitter account and they are posting, and this is just the beginning of the journey.

Bobby 31:28

But you also make it seem there is not so much difference from all the other EVM-compatible chains, people can kind of move from one chain to the other.

What do you think will be the strong reason for people to come in and stay in the NEAR ecosystem?

Alex 31:49

That's a nice question. So obviously the thing that matters for developers (lots of things are interconnected here). So for developers, it is super important to have a simple, very straightforward developer experience. It means that while you need to have a straight EVM with no changes, it will be even better in case the base token is the same token so you do not need to change it. So this is one thing. However, this is not enough in order for the developers also to be interested in the ecosystem. In cases where these are DeFi developers, then they need to have TVL there, but the TVL is connected to their users. So there needs to be some kind of growth happening in the ecosystem. 

Now for the users, the ecosystem will be interesting if there are lots of opportunities for them to get something out of the ecosystem. It might be a unique collection of NFTs, it might be some kind of specific gaming applications, or it might just be high yield farms. However, in order to get this from the ecosystem they need to have developers who develop these solutions. So there is some kind of interconnection between these two things. However, both of these sides need to grow in order to stimulate the other side so things are interconnected. 

However, from my point of view, the important pieces that are there in Aurora /  NEAR ecosystem, is first of all scalability, because no other blockchain is capable of providing sharded experience with the ability to add to shards with the ability to grow horizontally and scale blockchain horizontally right now in production. There are lots of initiatives, lots of movement around it but NEAR is the only blockchain that is working like that, and this is one thing. 

Second thing I believe again, as I said earlier, we are moving in the direction of simplifying the blockchain, simplifying the things, and if you will even take a look at Aurora right now, no Aurora user experiences the use of the NEAR blockchain. Nobody sees it, because it's like Metamask connects to some kind of network. Some people are asking me, “Can we run a Aurora validator?” And I send them the link to the NEAR repo and they said, “This is NEAR, but we need to have Aurora validator”, but there is no Aurora validator. I can say that we are very, very obsessed with the idea of simplifying blockchain user experience, and hopefully we would be able to get to the point where this user experience is so seamless and so good that people would be just able to confirm their transactions with Touch ID and FaceID and then everything will be straightforward. Then the mass market will be able to come to the blockchain. 

While this tech can be reused by other blockchain, it is NEAR blockchain who is going to win this battle, or at least I believe that NEAR is going to win this battle just because NEAR is capable of horizontal scaling. So you need to have these two pieces in order for mass markets to come to the blockchain; You need to have scale, or you need to be able to scale, and you need to simplify the hell out of the user experience. Take a look at iPhones. How many buttons are there in the iPhone and in any other smartphone? This is the simplification of user experience. This is what the mass market needs.

And we are really really doing a bad job as an industry in terms of the user experience. We need to move in this direction fast, or we are going to die as dinosaurs.

Bobby 36:25

Actually, you brought up an interesting point. I always thought that crypto is just too complex for people to use, but it's definitely simplified a lot. I remember having to run a Bitcoin QT wallet and then downloading an entire chain and it’s almost impossible on a computer these days, but things have definitely improved with web wallets and all, but it's actually still really hard to download Metamask, store your keys safely and use it all.

I think it is a user experience that is pretty rough for a lot of people, but what actually surprised me is that how there are so many people that actually went through all these hurdles just to go trade on DEXes, provide liquidity, buy NFTs on OpenSea, for example, all these things. It actually really surprised me that I think that Metamask is pretty hard to set up and use for the average guy, but people actually go through all these tough steps and hurdles to do it.

So, yeah, that's kind of an interesting observation, and one observation that I always made was I always thought that no one was going to trade on DEXes because centralized exchanges are so much easier. But what you're observing right now is people are very comfortable trading on DEXes. That's kind of a good thing I suppose, but there's a lot more work to do on the front as well.

Alex 36:47

Absolutely Bobby, and though you're saying that there are lots of people who actually did it, in Ethereum right now there are something like 250 million addresses that are used, and taking into account that people usually use multiple addresses, and then there are also smart contracts and some kind of other random stuff out there, I do not think that we have lots of people in blockchain, like 10 million, maybe it may be 20 million, something like that.

Bobby 38:17

That’s an overestimation I think. I don’t think there are 10 million but yeah.

Alex 38:21

Yeah, maybe even less. So like we are one-thousandth of the population of the earth, while the smartphone is in the hands of seven people out of ten or something like that.

Bobby 38:34

I don't know if anyone wants to add, like Didier, 0xdon or Bowen to the conversation that we have. I have other questions if you want to, yeah.

Didier 38:41

No, I do agree with you guys. I think it's still very early and I was actually a few weeks ago, I set up a NEAR wallet for my wife and we tried a few stuff. I took her to Paras, which is our native NFT marketplace, we looked at NFTs, and we bought an NFT. Then she told me how this is so slow. Speaking of NEAR from a product perspective, even if it's sharding, even if it's NEAR, the speed is slower compared to Web2, which is what we are used to with centralized-driven services. So from a product perspective, I totally agree that we need to do more to try to hide the blockchain. So I definitely agree with Alex on that point.

Bobby 39:42

What else do you think we in the crypto industry need to do for us to have mainstream adoption? So like Alex mentioned, we need to simplify the UI/UX. It’s got to be really easy for people like an iPhone, but what else do you think needs to occur for it to have mainstream adoption?

Alex 40:00

So from my point of view, again, I'm the guy who likes to give comparisons. So from my point of view, blockchain is now sitting in the 1990s when people were paying per second of their calls. This is what we are actually doing, paying per transaction per one bit of information. And back then, mobile phones were expensive, they were not mass market; Average Joe was not holding a smartphone in his hand. 

What we observe right now is that the way how people are paying for their mobile phones and mobile data is absolutely different. It is a package, right? So we would buy a month of access to the mobile. Obviously there was some kind of limitation in there, like you're limited up to 10 gigabytes mobile data, and then the speed drops or something like that. But in general, mobile companies figured out how to sell to people packages or subscription to mobile access. I believe this is something that is extremely crucial for mass adoption. 

We need to figure out how to give an ability for people to have a subscription to the blockchain. Though there are problems connected with this. There are problems of the gas price being unpredictable, or hardly predictable and all of the stuff. Somebody needs to take all of the risks into account. But we need to have subscription models. We need people not to think about every simple transaction and not to create lots of blame in Twitter because of gas prices going up or going down. I believe this is a crucial of piece.

Didier 42:09

I also think what we call composability, so how much you can do within the blockchain is very important because it's basically a very good indicator of how much freedom you have. I think this is also a problem we need to solve because although everyone is criticizing the US dollar, if you are in the desert alone and get lost for any reason and you have $1 on you, that dollar has a lot of value compared to any cryptocurrency, for example. So how much freedom you can buy with a token or how much things you can do within a blockchain. I think that's what we need to have a look at as well is the velocity of money within a blockchain - at which rate the money is going from one hand to another is a very good indicator of utility of that blockchain. I think thats what we need. Like, okay, you can transfer ownership, so we solved the double spending problem, but now you can earn money on top of your ownership. That's something else. You can also, I don't know, have an identity and so on. The more applications we have, the more powerful the environment becomes.

It's like a network effect obviously, so I think this is very important for us these composibility across all applications for mainstream adoption, just to give people more freedom at the end.

Bobby 40:50

0xdon or Bowen do you guys want to add on to that?

0xdon 43:54

Yeah, happy to add. I had a similar experience with trying to onboard a friend to Trisolaris; as just like bridge assets to here, buy from here and then use the Rainbow Bridge and then deposit into a farm. Now you need two tokens to deposit into a farm and then there's natural followup questions, like “where's the yield coming from?”, “how am I getting this much percentage?”, et cetera. There's so many steps on the onboarding journey, let alone actually getting funds into Metamask or a Coinbase wallet, or, another solution, like a self custody wallet that I think there's just a lot more work to be done even at the initial stages, just abstracting away the complexity. 

The 10 million (users) number that was cited, 10 - 20 million, there is probably less than a 100k actually who are hardcore degens across mainnet and all the L1 chains in our estimation who actually know all these steps have done it multiple times, have bridged to multiple chains, and are actively using it. So if you really want to expand this scale dramatically, I think abstracting away some of the complexity, maybe offering simple yield experiences for users is an easy way to really start to onboard a lot more people.

Bobby 45:08

Yeah, I think that's probably somewhere along the line of wallet providers that could be one click to onboard on to some of these yields to abstract away some of this complexity. I was onboarding some friends to another L1 chain as well, and the question was how do we get fiat, into one of these chain? And it's just hard, like (use) credit cards on one of those centralized exchanges and bridge them, and then a lot of the bridges work on Ethereum as the main chain and then getting anything on Ethereum will just cost a bomb like $40 per transaction. Thats like a lot of money by itself. 

Alex, I think your suggestion on subscription sounds really interesting. Immediately at the start it came to my mind a little bit of what FTX is doing something similar to some extent. You stake the FTT token and then you get three free withdrawals on Ethereum per day. Basically FTX pays for the gas fee. In a sense, people are sort of using it like a bank account. The exchange is sort of absorbing the fee, especially on Ethereum that’s expensive. So that sounds interesting from my point of view.

Alex 46:28

Yeah there are some projects that are working in this direction.

I can mention Infura ITX. This is more for the developers in the team, but in general, this is the solution that minimizes the fees that developers are paying because it is not required for the developers to send transactions that needs to be executed right here right now, like traders. So from that point of view, they are able to wait a little bit with the gas fees, in some cases, wait a little bit, in other cases speed things up. There are lots of initiatives in this direction. I believe we need to have some kind of very robust and straightforward and super simple solution for people to understand. What I can tell is that Aurora Labs is also working on such a solution, so follow all of the updates. Pretty soon, you're going to be amazed about how tech can simplify people's lives.

Bobby 47:32

Bowen, any last words on that before we probably running up on the hour for the meet up today?

Bowen 47:39

Yeah, I’ll keep it short. I I think one of the purposes that everyone here is working to get together for video conferencing, building decent product, building iterations of products, going offline to attend ETHDenver, and coordinating conferences such as ETHDenver, is for education purposes. The education is super critical to this space to build this awareness to let the users know it's not super scary to create a wallet on blockchain, and there are actual benefits coming with that. As users get used to the whole journey of how you can interact with being a part of the blockchain ecosystem, then it will just be a step closer for us to have more users and have more retails and have more use use cases to build on top of that.

Bobby 48:53

Alright, thank you very much Bowen.

I think that's probably all the questions that we have for the meetup today. Again, I just want to apologize to four of you and everyone who was listening in. We had massive technical difficulties today, a lot of video and audio issues. So, sorry, once again, if you're listening in and had issues. 

But thank you very much Alex, Didier, 0xdon, and Bowen for taking your hour up, spending the time with me, and explaining what the NEAR / Aurora ecosystem is. With all the developments happening, I definitely find really interesting that there's some so much interesting developments happening in this space.

Didier 49:36

Thank you Bobby.

Alex & Bowen 49:37

Thanks for having us.

Thank you guys. 


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