August 5 Community Livestream with Alejo Pinto: a detailed recap
Welcome back to the weekly livestream recap! Every Friday, Key Pontem Contributor Alejo Pinto shares the latest updates in an AMA session. Here is a recap of the August 5th session, where Alejo answers questions from the community about partnerships, Pontem’s future plans, updates on bug fixes, Pontem NFTS, why Pontem chose to build on Aptos, and more.
- Why doesn’t Pontem connect to the Martian Aptos wallet?
In the future, we will support all wallets and all connectors - especially the most popular ones. We’re open source and we want to be accessible to everybody. But currently, we are using the front end to test our own integrations to make sure they are secure and efficient.
There are definitely vulnerabilities in the front end when it comes to connecting to different wallets. We may potentially wait until there are some auditing standards to put together wallet adapters, especially with wallets that haven’t been audited yet. Once there are standards on front end integrations, it will be easier to integrate all wallets. Recently there have been hacks of some wallets, the most present in my mind is the Solana attack, so we’re trying to be cognizant of that.
Just a friendly reminder: not all wallets are safe. Make sure you do your own research, make sure what you’re using has been audited, and don’t upload your private keys to a wallet unless you know FOR SURE that it’s been audited. On our end, we’ll make sure that we can keep you as safe as possible and that everything we’re posting in our front end has been audited. Safety is one of our main priorities, and we definitely want to make sure we’re being conservative there.
- There are many junk coins on the market because DEXs aren’t censored. How will Pontem deal with this to avoid things like junk coins being pushed up by the driving team and then dumped to make money from investors?
We’re definitely aware of this issue. Liquidswap is a fully permissionless protocol, so we can’t really stop people from creating their own pools. However, similar to Curve, there will be whitelists for gauges. It won’t be ready for V1, but when it is ready we can whitelist the coins that generally have deep liquidity or are the canonical assets so that you’re not getting scammed.
It’s definitely a concern and we care about the users, especially on the front end, so we’ll make sure what gets posted there is generally safe. We plan to start out very conservative on this, and then transition some of the stuff like the whitelisting of the gauges over to governance once it’s safe enough.
These are fully permissionless protocols meant to be censorship resistant, so that’s how it works on the backend, but we can still have trusted front ends that people can access knowing that they’re not going to get robbed.
If more exotic assets do pop up, just be very careful, there are indeed junk coins that can be doing malicious things. So make sure you do your own research.
- Who are some of your important partners?
We are working closely with Aptos, which was publicly announced. They’ve been really helpful with technical support specifically. It’s been incredibly useful to be able to go to them with any issues such as things not working, or if there is a dependency on our end. So far it’s been a really fruitful partnership.
We’re looking at doing partnerships with others in the ecosystem, but I can’t speak on that too much since the details are still being worked out and we want to make sure we announce partnerships in tandem. But yes, we’ll definitely want to partner and integrate with other protocols.
Our main consideration is safety. We want to make sure that who we’re working with, and the products we’re allowing to be on our front end are as safe as possible. We want to see that they’re double, or even triple, audited if possible. If there are too many dependencies or risks we might not go that route. We definitely think people will appreciate a more conservative approach.
There will be additional opportunities for access to more exotic assets, we’re thinking of deploying a canary network, or separate application that can be fully permissionless and people can just fork and use it as they wish.
We’ve been talking to liquid staking derivatives, lend-borrow protocols, and stablecoins. Keep an eye out, we may bring some of them on board to do interviews and tell you about their products on these forums. But no official partnerships yet. Mainnet is coming Q3, so we’ll definitely look to see where we are best integrated by the launch of the mainnet.
- What’s your goal in terms of volume and monthly active users on the DEX in the short term?
We’re definitely aiming to offer the best integrated experience that we can within our swaps and wallets. Creating quality products that really stick should, ideally, be incentive enough to drive adoption, word-of-mouth, acquisition, and retention. So our main focus is on product experience, and then there are various other strategies to drive awareness, acquisition, retention, many of them from traditional tech and growth marketing strategies. We’ll share more details on it as we announce different marketing and acquisition programs.
- For many non-crypto users, interacting with the UI/UX of platforms is a tough task. How will Pontem try to make it more interactive? Is there a Pontem Network mobile app?
UI/UX are definitely a big area of focus for us. We have amazing designers. Hopefully you’ve had a chance to look through our products, documents, and website and see firsthand that they are heavily focused on user-centric design. Shoutout to our designers: Roma, Ilya, Ivan, and everyone that is working on this, thank you so much.
One area of focus, which is a point of differentiation for us, is the developer experience. This includes how we wrap APIs and what are some of the more common use cases that you create on the wrappers. People can do common link transactions, for example, which are similar to some products that allow you to put multiple transactions into one to save on gas. We can abstract that away into APIs and make it accessible for users. If we create really good APIs and documentation around it, it will enable more integrations and utility that are more custom. We can potentially add more tooling like drag and drop functionality, somewhat similar to Pontem Blocks, where you have a little bit more customization based on developer tooling that exists.
We’re definitely working on a mobile app - likely to be the first mobile wallet on Aptos.
The mobile wallet will be coming soon. We’re aiming to have it live by the launch of the mainnet, so keep an eye out for more on it.
- When are the next updates coming out? There are constant problems with the seed phrases.
We’re definitely aware of the issue with the seed phrases. It’s a consequence of being on devnet. We’re testing a lot of things out and it’s meant to be buggy. The seed-phrase resets definitely won’t be happening when the mainnet is live. I wouldn’t worry too much about the bugs seeing as we’re not doing any airdrops on the addresses. They are also somewhat dependencies on third parties, like the indexes being down. Keep in mind that all these bugs will be ironed out by mainnet, especially the seed-phrase one.
- Are we ever going to be able to buy any token directly from the wallet with fiat?
This is definitely a very common use case. It’s also a feature on some of the big providers like Moonpay and Wyre. I’m not entirely sure when these will be ready, but when they are ready for Aptos we will be doing on/off ramp integrations. We’re also looking at more creative ways to connect tokens to fiat, potentially through your Google or Apple Wallet. We can’t make any promises there, but it’s definitely something that we’re researching and exploring. It’s very important to put on/off ramps in the wallet as they’re people’s main entry point.
- I am an experienced developer and ethical hacker, do you have plans for a hackathon to check the security of your ecosystem?
We definitely plan to have hackathons. We’ll likely join others first, as we’re currently focusing all our energy on building. In the future, we definitely want to have more hackathons to incentivize more people to build on our products. We’ll also be working with third-party bounty programs like Immunify and we’ll have redundant audits to ensure safety. Hackathons are a way to get more developers to build on top of us, so we plan to host hackathons where we’ll have prizes to build cool stuff on top of us. We’ll also have bug bounties where whitehead hackers can point out bugs and be rewarded for it.
- Will there be rewards for testing the Multimask wallet?
We’re hosting a bug bounty program on our Discord, the typeform for it is pinned in the product feedback channel. If you find any bugs in the UI, report it there. We’re looking through the best ones and rewarding them accordingly.
- Will there be some sort of incentivization structure similar to how $SUSHI was pre-Uniswap?
Yes, we’ll definitely have some form of token emissions similar to Sushi. We’re still working through design, so I can’t make any promises on what that will actually look like. We’ll formally announce that in the future. The only alpha I can drop is that we really like Uniswap and Curve, because we think those are sustainable long-term models for token design.
I’m personally not the biggest fan of Sushi, as it is perpetually inflationary. Something like a 10% allocation goes to anonymous devs, one of which already robbed the community. Sushi definitely pioneered a lot of things, and they forced Uniswap to come out with a token pretty quickly. But we’re looking at the best in class and how we can improve it and bring it to market.
- Would Pontem release an NFT and what is its utility?
We are working on releasing NFTs for our ambassador program. Here is a little preview of what they will look like. While these are male avatars, we are also working on female ones as well.
We don’t plan to sell them, but we want our ambassador programs and the people who are part of our community to have an identity and potentially add some utility to these NFTs down the line. For example, they can be access tokens for different features. For now, we are just creating the avatars and we hope to see people using them as profile pictures on Discord, Telegram, and more. Shoutout to Roma and Vitaly for working on it. Keep in mind that NFTs are not going to be live until Aptos is live.
- Are you planning to promote your project in countries/regions where English is not good?
Yes, definitely. We already have several local communities. You can check out the Communities tab in the navigation bar on the Pontem Network website to find your local community. Definitely use these navigation links to avoid scams, as these are all the trusted communities. You can also self-select into your own local language community on Discord.
These are all the pre-submitted questions for today, now we will answer some questions from the chat.
- Why would people use your wallet over other wallets? What are the main features that you think will attract more users?
First and foremost, expect a simple and secure wallet. I don’t want to drop too much information about the wallet as we will be releasing a more detailed roadmap on it. We’re dreaming up some cool new features, we just don’t want to give the alpha to our competitors. Keep an eye out for the formal release of the roadmap soon. Once that’s in place, we can start building and showcasing it.
- What is the motive behind why Pontem was built on Aptos? What assurance is Pontem giving prospective users that we can trust them and Aptos to safeguard us from siphoned or lost assets?
Security should honestly be every user’s main concern. There should be no reason you’re launching code that is unaudited, especially for projects that are fundraised.
There are several layers to security. Generally, it seems like Solana does have some reliability issues at the consensus layer, but a lot of these hacks happen layers above at the business logic or smart contract layer. With the Nomad hack, what happened was really a bit of a silly mistake. It was even called out in the audit report.
That will hopefully not happen here as we plan to double, maybe even triple audit. We’ll definitely listen to the things that the auditors recommend. By and large, the layer-1s seem to be pretty safe. The biggest concerns are these bridges between them. There are definitely safe alternatives. Many thought that Nomad was one, and I still think that the architecture is relatively sound.
The biggest disclaimer is that all of this stuff is experimental. There’s a lot of risk and there are real funds at stake. We picked Aptos because it is safe. Move has a lot of parameters that make it safer than Solidity. Our main consideration was to build the safest products on the safest infrastructure possible.
- On a scale from 0 to 100, how important is security to you?
Definitely 100%. We want it to be the main consideration. We won’t release anything that hasn’t been audited and if we did, we’d put huge disclaimers that it is not audited and therefore not safe. We will post the audit reports for our production-ready apps so that everyone can see that it’s getting audited. We’re also aiming to have an experimentation sandbox that will have huge disclaimers that it is not safe and that you proceed at your own risk.
- What are your present restraints? I understand there might be some things that aren’t going as they should. Are there any, and if yes, how are they being resolved?
I don’t think there’s anything I could presently call a restraint. Liquidswap is already working on devnet and we’re pretty much on track to deliver things the day Aptos goes live. Our engineers are working around the clock to make everything work safely. In the meantime, you can see our product progress on our website.
- What measures are you taking to protect the platform from cyberattacks and security breaches?
The first measure is audits. Audits are the best way to protect against this. We’re listening to the auditors and applying corrections. There are also several other implementations that make things safe. Obviously, there will always be risk, but we’re doing the best that we can to make sure users are protected. We aim to have users only interact with products that have been audited, and then we’re applying big disclaimers when things have not been audited.
- What are your top priorities in 2022? Could you share some plans from the upcoming year? Which part of the project are you most focused on right now? How many killer features of your project make it ahead of the competitors? Could you tell us 2 to 3 features?
Our top priority for 2022 is just to go live. Liquidswap and our wallet will be vertically integrated, so they’re going to work really well together. In all honesty, the first features are going to be relatively simple, but you’ll definitely see more features coming out soon. We will put out a feature roadmap for each of the projects. You can expect the features that are already out now to be live with the mainnet, which will be released by the end of the year. We showed a preview of our wallet earlier in the livestream, which is a big alpha drop.
- AMMs are really cool but you have to agree that the biggest beneficiaries are not the liquidity providers or traders, but the arbitrageurs. From high gas fees to poor execution causing slippage and impermanent loss. How exactly does the Liquidswap protocol hope to correct these problems?
These problems are inherent to trading. There’s definitely going to be impermanent loss. You can build tooling around it to allow people to either hedge or manage this risk.
AMMs are definitely profitable for liquidity providers. They often have lower fees than centralized exchanges, excluding the ones that are subsidizing fees. On paper, instant settlement ensures that there are lower fees. Some of these issues are unfortunately unavoidable, but you can build tooling around it to minimize it. To avoid high gas fees, you can link together transactions.
Aptos is a high throughput chain, so high gas fees shouldn’t be an issue. We’ll put tooling to make sure you know how much slippage you’re putting in, so that you’re comfortable. It’s not so much the protocol itself that has the issues, you just need to enable the right tooling for people to manage those risks.
- Do you have audit certificates?
Yes. We are working on these and will publish them once the audits are out.
- Will it be possible to send or receive crypto by using an email or a crypto handle with your wallet?
This doesn’t sound safe, so for now, no. But if there is some tool that allows you to do it in a safe way, then potentially. I would generally caution against connecting your crypto identity, which is public to the world, with some form of personally identifiable information like your email or your handle.
- Is your project local or global? Can anyone use your services from anywhere in the world?
Yes, our project is global.
- Can you buy tokens now on an AMM?
No, not currently. If you get offered tokens it’s definitely fake or a scam.
- What are the AMM contracts like?
The contracts are going to be a simple bonding curve. It’s an elegant design to enable trades or swaps. That will be fully audited and live on Aptos soon. You can check out the devnet version here.
- The crypto market is currently experiencing a decline. This condition is exacerbated by rising interest rates and inflation. People prefer to abandon risky assets. How do you convince new investors that your project will be useful in the future?
I don’t really like to think about prices or the market. The way I see it, crypto is either a 0 or a 1. It either works or it doesn’t. If it works, it’s 1. If it doesn't work, it’s 0. Honestly, prices are just a distraction. We’ll put our heads down and continue to work no matter what the market says. For some, there are security considerations for pricing. You definitely want to make sure that you can’t be attacked through governance or proof-of-stake attacks. If the price of your token is too low, people can easily take out loans, buy them up, and use them to hack you. Price is definitely a consideration for security, but generally it doesn’t really matter when it comes to building stuff.
If you’d like to watch the full version of the AMA, you can find it here: Pontem Weekly Livestream.
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