Autor Cointelegraph By Elias Ahonen

QuickSwap founder: L2s are the path to mass adoption

As Ethereum gas prices rise, the chain that inspired Web3 is becoming gentrified, with high transaction costs pushing less wealthy users onto competing blockchains or scaling solutions. This means that many use cases are becoming unfeasible in the proverbial layer-one downtown, and suburban neighborhoods are being developed to allow for a cost-effective layer-two blockchain experience. Since getting acquainted with Polygon around the time of its launch in late 2019, Sameep Singhania has been an avid supporter of projects built on the protocol. In 2021, he created QuickSwap, a decentralized exchange (DEX) serving the needs of the budding Polygon ecosystem.Singhania left a promising career as a software developer in 2017 to work as a freelance developer, only to find himself writing code for an array of blockchain projects in the DeFi and layer-two sector. Among the many projects he worked on, he spent 18 months with blockchain e-commerce site OpenBazaar, and served as lead developer for DeFi exchange ParaSwap.Polygon is one layer-two solution built on Ethereum, and it offers users lower fees when transacting on-chain. QuickSwap is Polygon’s primary DEX and functions as a heart of the network. A DEX for PolygonAfter working on perhaps dozens of projects on Polygon from 2019 onward, Singhania “realized that to grow the Polygon ecosystem, we need a DEX.” This was because while “99% of blockchain projects have a token,” listings on popular exchanges are not easy to arrange, and many users are not willing to create an account at an obscure exchange just to trade a particular token that is not listed elsewhere. A DEX can function as the central market square of a blockchain network, giving its users access to everything they need without having to venture to another chain.Singhania recalls being encouraged to create a DEX by Polygon’s co-founder, Sandeep Nailwal, who put him in touch with Roc Zacharias, a marketer with Lunar Digital Assets. “That’s how we set up a team — we had developers, we had a marketing team, a perfect mix, and we launched the app,” he explains.The QuickSwap interface. Source: QuickSwapPolygon — previously called Matic Network, with MATIC remaining its ticker — is a layer-two blockchain. That means it’s a blockchain built on top of an existing chain. Whereas Lighting is an example of a layer-two, or L2, built on Bitcoin, Polygon is built upon Ethereum. As a result, Polygon-based tokens can be sent to Ethereum addresses, whose users can retrieve them simply by switching to the Polygon network on a DApp such as MetaMask.The oft-stated advantage of L2 solutions is that they are more nimble than their behemoth parents, allowing for faster and cheaper transactions. With Bitcoin transactions costing over $10 and taking approximately 10 minutes for the first of six confirmations, it is clear that transacting on the parent chain is not practical for everyday transactions in El Salvador, for example, where laborers can earn as little as $100 per month. Instead, Salvadorans use Bitcoin Lighting, whose transactions cost as little as 1 satoshi.Sameep Singhania wants to scale up crypto’s potential.The transaction costs on the Ethereum network are much higher, making it “unusable by the small users” who are effectively priced out of using DeFi solutions or decentralized exchanges like Uniswap. In January 2021, a “normal Ethereum transaction on Uniswap cost around $100,” Singhania recalls.“If I’m a normal user and I want to do a small trade, I cannot do it on Ethereum — the average transaction size on Uniswap is somewhere around $50,000.”“Polygon is there to scale Ethereum,” Singhania says, which has its pros and cons. He further explains that while “Ethereum is the most secure solution out there,” it comes at the cost of high gas fees and relatively slow transaction times.That’s not exactly desirable for an economy — smaller denominations of currency exist because not everything can be done with $100 bills. L2s are the answer for allowing smaller transactions on existing networks like Bitcoin and Ethereum. On Polygon, users can exchange Ethereum-based tokens, NFTs, and interact with smart contracts cheaply. 📣LIVE NOW: @mcuban, @hackapreneur, @CryptoRocky, @AaveAave, & @0xPolygonspeak on Polygon Power Hour!– @mcuban “People are probably a whole lot more active on Aave and QuickSwap on Polygon, than Ethereum L1 versions” – Mark Cuban— QuickSwap (@QuickswapDEX) June 15, 2021The pressing need for L2s is relatively new, because transaction costs have risen significantly in the past two years along with the blockchain user base. On QuickSwap, transactions between the over 23,000 available pairs cost only a few cents. “You can basically use QuickSwap to trade any ERC-20 token which has liquidity and exists on the Polygon network,” Singhania says. Fees are naturally paid in MATIC.Considering the savings, switching digital assets from Ethereum to Polygon seems like an obvious solution for many users. However, some activities, like the trading of six-figure NFTs, remain decisively away from the Polygonian suburb. Similarly, Singhania acknowledges that those making million-dollar trades have less to gain from Polygon. There are two primary ways to move assets to Polygon, according to Singhania: exchange withdrawals and bridges. “A lot of big exchanges like Binance support deposits and withdrawals on the Polygon network,” which means that the Ethereum network can potentially be avoided entirely. As for assets already on Ethereum instead of on a centralized exchange, they can be bridged, which is effectively an inter-blockchain transfer.“Both L1 and L2 applications have their own pros and cons and they both have their use cases — now it’s up to the user to choose which platform better suits their needs”Learning the ropesSinghania, 31, grew up in India’s capital, New Delhi. He had an early passion for coding since high school, describing the process of coding “like magic happening,” whereby “wonderful stuff” could be created with just a few lines of code. He followed his passion in 2008 to JSS Academy of Technical Education, on the outskirts of the capital, where he completed a bachelor in computer science and served as a campus IBM Ambassador.Graduating in 2013, he began his career in software testing and automation at Dell, but soon realized that he wanted to “focus more on development” instead of remaining a software tester, a role with less opportunities for creative input, for the remainder of his career. He made the switch to software developer in 2015 at Drishti-soft Solutions, where he worked on customer service software and organized web development training sessions.Still not quite settled in the role and in search of “something where I don’t get bored,” Singhania switched over to software freelancing in 2017. “When you do freelancing, you get to know a lot of people and learn about a lot of new industries and domains,” he recalls, noting that he was finally interested in his work. One of these new industries was blockchain, which he had previously heard about while working as a developer. “I again came across this blockchain and Bitcoin stuff while searching for a project, so I decided to give it some more time and do some more research — to figure out ‘what is this Bitcoin? What is this blockchain?’”By mid-2018, Singhania was a full-time blockchain engineer for a number of projects, including Akila Labs, Bitgrit, and Toptal, where he developed ERC-20 tokens and smart contracts for things like airdrops, token vesting and crowdsales. Notable among this was 18 months spent working with the decentralized marketplace startup OpenBazaar, “which was trying to build something very similar to Amazon — but on blockchain” using the peer-to-peer InterPlanetary File System (IPFS), Singhania recalls with excitement.Compounding knowledge“When DeFi was just starting” in 2018, Singhania worked as the lead developer and first employee of ParaSwap, an aggregator DApp which brings together multiple DEXs so that users can seamlessly trade cryptocurrency pairs which do not exist together on any exchange. All of this trading is done through Singhania’s smart contracts, which “handle millions of dollars everyday,” he says proudly, adding that the platform saw 3.3 billion dollars in volume in the past month.“That project allowed me to make an entry into DeFi — it basically introduced me to everything out there like Uniswap, Bancor, Kyber Network, because to build ParaSwap we needed to learn everything about DeFi.”With DeFi under his belt, Singhania encountered layer-two blockchain solutions while working on a dice game for one of his clients, a blockchain casino.He soon realized that “it was too expensive to do it on Ethereum” — even though 2019 gas fees were a fraction of what they are today. Something new was needed, and Singhania “started exploring for layer-two solutions,” he recounts. He first built his dice game on the now defunct layer-one Loom Network which shut down shortly thereafter, Singhania scouted out Matic Network, which was in late 2019 “very new and their mainnet was not launched.” Working with the Matic Network team, now called Polygon, Singhania got the dice game up and running, becoming acquainted with the Polygon network in the process.Ethereum dice games are not the first to suffer from scaling issues. Erik Voorhees’ SatoshiDICE, for example, was launched in 2012 and soon accounted for over half of Bitcoin transactions. With transaction prices increasing, making small on-chain bets on Bitcoin’s main layer has since become impractical..@QuickswapDEX has shown tremendous growth on Polygon PoS & has become the biggest Polygon-native decentralized application in terms of users, TVL, & volume.We’re offering them $1m in liquidity mining incentives to strengthen the platform’s liquidity🌐:— Polygon | $MATIC 💜 (@0xPolygon) September 30, 2021Onboarding the next generationNow that Polygon is a low-cost option to L1 and has a reliable DEX, Singhania believes that the next step in scaling the layer is to improve the user experience in order to make it user-friendly for millions of people who are new to cryptocurrency. As QuickSwap is a central point of the Polygon ecosystem, much of the responsibility falls to his shoulders.“The way that things are designed right now, it’s not for a novice —  it’s for a well-trained crypto user.”In Singhania’s view, the price of MATIC can be expected to follow the adoption of the Polygon layer. If the team continues to execute, “it is just a matter of time” as to when prices might begin a steady climb. One thing is clear: Singhania is no longer bored with his work and is “not doing any kind of freelancing because I don’t have time.”

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Concerts in the Metaverse could lead to a new wave of adoption

Colin Fitzpatrick is a Dubliner based in Dubai who turned a bad time during quarantine into a business that promises to bring your favorite artists to a metaverse near you. His company Animal Concerts, which launches in January, is in the process of signing world-class artists to perform in the decentralized worlds of the Metaverse.Among the first to get the Animal Concerts treatment was Grammy-winning rapper Future, who performed at an in-person Animal Concerts-themed Halloween party in Miami, which was filmed in such a way that it can later be broadcast in the Metaverse. In this startling new land, there are no COVID restrictions nor travel bans, and artists can sell NFT memorabilia to fans with little overhead, investment or middlemen. Virtual concerts have already begun to appear, most notably Ariana Grande’s October 2021 performance in Fortnite. Around 78 million Fortnite users attended Grande’s show, with some commentators speculating that she was set to earn over $20 million from the virtual gig.Travis Scott pulled in $20 million for a Fortnite performance in 2020, and Ed Sheeran similarly took to the virtual stage of Pokemon Go in November 2021. When Swedish star Zara Larsson held a concert on Roblox, she earned seven figures for sales of “in-game items like hats, backpacks and sunglasses” which started at just $1.[embedded content]Fitzpatrick says that he is in the last stages of signing a concert with a top-100 Grammy-winning artist who I agree not to name. In preparing for the concert, she would “go into a green screen studio where she does our performance, and we record it and then we can essentially turn her into an avatar where she is properly in one of the decentralized blockchain-run worlds,” he explains, regarding the process of concert digitalization.Holding concerts in the Metaverse comes with a slew of advantages for artists, according to Fitzpatrick. Whereas streaming services like Spotify are reducing music revenues, Animal Concerts allows performers to earn 50% of the revenue from both ticket and NFT sales. With celebrities benefiting directly, they have a big incentive to entice their fans into the Metaverse, where many of them will encounter blockchain for the first time.FUTURE performing at MAXIM’s Halloween party in Miami in collaboration with Animal ConcertsA former DJ who has been passionate about music from a young age, Fitzpatrick points to a cupboard behind him where he keeps a box with “ticket stubs and flyers from gigs that I went to when I was in my youth.” For him, they are priceless mementos of his formative experiences.A changing industryJust as the idea of a Metaverse powered by virtual reality (VR) was gaining steam along with the explosion of NFTs earlier this year, Fitzpatrick realized the two could be combined to offer solutions to a struggling music industry, which he says has seen declining revenues with countless concert tours canceled since the beginning of the pandemic. The platform will soon allow people at home to stream VR-augmented concerts live and experience them as an interactive event rather than as one-sided TV broadcasts. NFTs can be given out as Metaverse-age equivalents of the ticket stubs in Fitzpatrick’s memory box. Colin Fitzpatrick sees the Metaverse as the ultimate touring destination.“With 360-degree cameras on stage, you can use a VR headset to get an immersive experience — like you are dancing on stage with your favorite bands, from your living room anywhere in the world. We want to enable you to enjoy the concert with friends by seeing their avatars,” he explains. The goal is to become the “Netflix of live streaming concerts.”“There’s been a lot of very high profile concerts already in various different Metaverses”. Fitzpatrick explains that virtual concerts are desirable from the artist’s perspective because they do not require travel and the number of viewers is not limited by venue size. There is naturally also an economic driver, as virtual venues do not demand the same amount of stagehands, security or other costly infrastructure, and also because the number of middlemen is reduced. With the view that different scheduled events are happening in various virtual worlds, the idea of the Metaverse as a reality consisting of numerous intertwined virtual worlds is becoming increasingly current.Animal Concerts is honored to be working with 15-time GRAMMY Award winner @aliciakeys as she plays at her One Night Only event celebrating the launch of her new double album “KEYS”.#KEYS #KEYSUnlocked #KeysOriginal— Animal Concerts (@animalconcerts) December 16, 2021What these metaverses have in common, whether games like Roblox or blockchain worlds like Decentraland, is that “they have a huge user base and they’re going to be selling digital assets in one way or another,” Fitzpatrick says. While most centralized worlds will require a user account, decentralized worlds allow access via wallet software, such as MetaMask. The major difference between centralized and decentralized worlds is their interoperability — items purchased in Pokemon Go cannot be transferred to Roblox, whereas NFTs can be displayed in a large number of different decentralized virtual worlds.“Today’s kids are used to purchasing skins — digital assets in games. It’s a very simple step for them to look to purchase NFTs released by their favorite musicians,” Fitzpatrick says.The need for a wallet can be a barrier for those who are new to crypto, Fitzpatrick admits. Similar to Beeple, who wanted to make sure his NFTs can be purchased by credit card, Fitzpatrick sees a future where virtual concert-goers have the option to “go to a website, putting in the credit card details and purchasing tickets and then purchase an NFT without worrying about a cryptocurrency.” In many cases, these NFTs could be combined with physical memorabilia, such as an NFT and a physical copy of handwritten lyrics by the artist. They might also be combined with virtual meet and greets — specifics are largely up to the artists.Dublin to DubaiFitzpatrick, 41, began on his path in 1999 when he began studying business management at Portobello Institute in his native Ireland. He immediately began doing freelance web design work, soon expanding to DJing and working as a nightclub organizer.  “I used to organize club nights and do festivals,” he recounts of his younger days.He chose the corporate path upon graduation, joining Dell as a relationship manager in 2002, and in 2006 took an enterprise sales job with Oracle where he spent five years until 2011. After about two years with Salesforce and HubSpot, Fitzpatrick returned to Oracle for seven years, which saw him rise through the ranks from a sales strategy manager to a leadership position in the “Multi-Cloud Ecosystem” unit, with the latter promotion taking him from Dublin to Dubai “to build new business here for them” in late 2018.Fitzpatrick discovered Bitcoin at around $100 in 2013, but he was “sadly persuaded out of it by a friend,” he recalls. He got back in the game in late 2016, however, becoming “a full convert” when the concept of blockchain clicked for him. Soon enough, he started chatting with another employee at Oracle who was interested in crypto, and “then we found someone else,” and it started to “spread like wildfire,” he recounts with a laugh.“Fast forward a couple of months — halfway through 2017, there was more cryptocurrency trading being done in the office than there was selling Oracle software!”Spending much of his time researching cryptocurrencies, he “wanted to go work for a blockchain company, but there was nothing in Dublin,” and “virtual jobs” were not as common as they are post-COVID, he explains. COVID wreaked havoc on Oracle. The company, despite having recently moved Fitzpatrick, an employee of 13 years, to a new country, “made me redundant smack bang in the middle of COVID, which absolutely sucked — it was just when the lockdown started,” he recalls with a hint of shade. “I was in big trouble” as almost no companies were hiring at the time, but Fitzpatrick managed to find work as a director of business development with Eastnets, “a local company who do payments and software compliance.”A year in, however, he quit. It was time to strike his own path as an entrepreneur. Fan tokens for musicFitzpatrick says that the average Animal Concert will cost between $10 and $30 to attend, with tickets available on sites like Ticketmaster as if for any event taking place in the “meatspace,” as some Metaverse proponents humorously like to call the physical world. Those purchasing tickets with Animal’s native token will receive discounts, “so if you want to buy with our token, it will be cheaper, so that’s an incentive to use our native token,” he adds. There’s always a token, of course, and the Animal token will also function as a governance token, allowing fans and artists to engage in interesting new ways, such as by “voting on which songs artists will play or what outfit they will wear.” Fitzpatrick believes that a highly engaged fan base is “sticky,” and will attend numerous concerts while purchasing artists’ NFTs. Those staking the token will be eligible for “first access to the hottest NFT drops, or you get free tickets to future concerts,” he adds.This model can be compared to the fan token phenomenon, of which Socios is the market leader. Socios has a tradeable native token which comes with various utility functions, and the fan tokens created by the firm for different sports teams gather more chatter from fans who seem to view them as akin to investments in their favorite teams. Such tokens can also provide sports clubs with massive liquidity, as they can slowly release them as fans open their wallets. Could Animal become the Socios of music?“We have a plan to create a token for each artist,” Fitzpatrick responds, explaining that each artist has a group of very loyal fans who would be sure to be interested in holding tokens based on their idol. Looking through the lens of NFTs, which are non-fungible tokens that cannot be subdivided, a fungible token can be imagined as a single, fractionalized NFT which represents the name, idea, or concept it pertains to. As such, “Ariana Grande Token” could quite possibly be expected to rise in value in relation to her star power, and investing in the coin of an emerging artist could prove fruitful. Just as with Socios-created sports tokens, music fan tokens could, in the future, function as a sort of quasi-share of the artist.Star power is sure to have a big impact on any future tokens, as Fitzpatrick agrees that fans “won’t necessarily care about the Animal Token, but they would care about the Ariana Grande Token.”

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