Big news: our wallet is now live! We’re still working out a few bugs and we’re asking for feedback on it. The authors of the best feedback will receive a cash bounty. Сheck out our wallet here and leave feedback here. And now let’s see what our Key Protocol Contributor Alejo Pinto revealed during the latest AMA.
1. Will Pontem issue a token - and if yes, what are the long-term sustainable value drivers for the Pontem Network token?
We can’t promise there will be a token, but it’s likely to happen. But if there is one it will have great utility and be a core function of the product. A token is a programmable money primitive that allows you to transact value across people. What we would want to do is bake in the utility to allow you to do active governance in the app, especially with Liquidswap. We’re looking closely at Curve, Uniswap, and Solidly as the core edge of where the constant function market maker innovation is.
2. Adoption is a challenge for every blockchain project: many are dead since no one uses them. What are your team’s strategies to onboard more users for the Pontem platform?
It’s definitely true that a lot of projects die during bear markets. I think we’re seeing that a lot in the Layer-1 space, where there’s a lot of hype around new L1’s and their promise on scalability and what they’re going to be able to deliver.
Now, Aptos is effectively coming on board and hopefully will be able to actually deliver on those promises. A lot of our success is actually riding on the success of Aptos. If Aptos does well, then we can capture some of that success as a first mover on the wallet and swap front. Then we can grow and expand beyond that.
I believe that omnichain is going to be the next upcoming trend and we're going to be onboard with that. We want to deliver on the vision of an abstracted application layer that enables you access to all of DeFi and a very native, integrated and safe environment.
Safety is what we are prioritizing and we’re hoping to build the best products possible and work with the community to help us spread the word. Users are our life and blood. You give us feedback, and if you stay happy and continue using our products, then they continue improving.
3. Most investors focus on the price of a token in the short term instead of understanding the real value of the project. How do you plan to carry on this project especially with the bear season? What are the benefits for investors to hold in the long term?
First and foremost, this is not an investment and this is not financial advice. It would be better to not think of these things as investments because they are just tokens with no inherent value. It’s just magic internet money that has utility within these applications that live on Web3.
You should think of this more as a utility token for a decentralized application that has a life on its own. It lives on Web3, it is censorship resistant, and it is decentralized and cannot be taken down. This token allows you a ticket and entry point into using this thing. The price does matter in the sense that it’s a security function. You don’t want people to be able to cheaply acquire your token and then do governance attacks. But the price of it doesn’t really matter. Ethereum could be $1 or $1,000 as long as it’s providing the utility it’s supposed to be providing.
However, for Ethereum, which is a proof-of-stake system, you need the price of the token and the total market cap to be high, otherwise there's nothing at stake. Anyone can easily hack it if you can just easily purchase tokens and put them up in validators and then fork the chain. Price is a function of security but it’s not why people should be investing or putting any money into this because it’s not an investment.
4. Why did Pontem choose to build on the Aptos ecosystem? What's the advantage of using Aptos for Pontem?
Aptos is, in my opinion, the most production-ready blockchain environment. If you want institutions like Coinbase and FTX to come on board, you need to have high throughput, and the fees can’t be so high that they lock out most of the world. You need to be able to manage hundreds of thousands, if not millions of transactions per second, especially if you’re going to onboard billions of people.
Right now there really aren't many layer 1s that can deliver this. I think Avalanche, Cosmos, and Ethereum layer 2 are good prospects. I think Polkadot can potentially in the future also reach some sort of scalability. But right now I think there is a big gap. Solana somewhat delivered on this, but they've been having issues with reliability.
So this is a really big opportunity for a new ecosystem to come on board and capture the market share where there is validated value and product market fit for a high-throughput, low transaction fee chain that allows institutions and businesses to come on board and not have to worry about the chain going down or users having to pay $40 to send a transaction.
I think that’s the promise that Aptos delivers, they’re generally heading in that direction and pretty soon we’ll see them come to market and all the hypotheses will be validated. If they do well, hopefully we will ride that wave and also do well, grow our product, gain user traction, and continue moving forward.
5. Could you briefly explain the most important milestones that your team aims to accomplish before the end of the year or in the future? What could your project look like in 2022 and beyond?
The most important milestones are firstly, to get Liquidswap to be the most widely adopted swap protocol on Aptos. We want to integrate with all the safe key protocols, and make sure that the front-end interface is only connected to projects that have gone through stringent requirements such as audits.
On the back end Liquidswap is fully permissionless, so anybody can plug into it. But we’ll only be putting what we can control on the front end, and then eventually decentralizing and giving that control to the community. Essentially, we’ll be putting through only the projects that have gone through the stringent controls of being audited, stick to the principles of decentralization, and there are no back doors to it. We’re just trying to align with other principle protocols so you can have a safe decentralized experience.
The second important milestone is the wallet. We want to continue focusing on promoting our wallet. Our wallet is now live, you can find it in the Chrome Web Store, and please leave us feedback on our product feedback channel in Discord.
We launched the wallet last Friday and already have 2,000 users. Watch last Friday’s full livestream on Youtube for a demonstration of our wallet.
6. How is Liquidswap charging fees? Is it going to be comparable to Uniswap?
Yes, it will be very similar to Uniswap and Curve in the sense that liquidity providers are going to be getting fees. And then people will also potentially be receiving fees for other utilities such as directing emission rewards to pools. We’re likely going to be doing native fees, so that means that if you’re providing liquidity for Bitcoin and Aptos, you get the trading fees in Bitcoin or Aptos. We’re not forcing you to buy our token or swap into it, which is a benefit. This is a new feature that I haven’t really seen, not many have it.
7. Is the Pontem team planning to create NFT badges for their community in the future?
During last week’s livestream we showcased what those NFTs would look like. Check out last week’s livestream on YouTube or the recap to see the preview. We’re looking at doing badges, or profile picture avatars. Keep in mind that this stuff will not be live on a blockchain until Aptos’ mainnet is live. We can start testing it on the devnet and you can start using it and putting it into some of the NFT marketplaces. We definitely want to do more stuff in the NFT space. We know people love them and it’s an easy way for people to understand crypto and there’s a lot of design space that hasn’t yet been unlocked that we want to do.
8. When will the Pontem Wallet be released? Will it be available on Android and IOS?
Our wallet just went live and yes, we are working on a mobile app. Check out last week’s livestream where we previewed it.
9. How will Pontem and Aptos be dealing with the crack down on crypto / regulation by governments? What is the difference in your current path forward vs. the Diem story? Will there be efforts to prevent Aptos/Pontem from being halted? E.g. working with governments and showing them we can solve real world issues?
Technology itself is neutral. It’s what people do with it that is nefarious. So generally if we build neutral, open, permissionless protocols that are robust and decentralized, then you build something that can last.
However, there are real fears and concerns that everybody has around money laundering and terrorist financing. The infrastructure itself is neutral, we just need to build tools to catch the criminals. So things like financial monitoring, Chainalysis and KYC/AML solutions are all tools that live on top of the core protocols. But you need to enable compatibility, so it can’t be on an app by app basis. It needs to be a more composable outcome to creating these layers that doesn't just fragment the ecosystem and create walls and silos.
We’ll look to provide the tooling for people to safely interact with this stuff. Since it’s fully permissionless on the back end, what we can do is place restrictions on the front end to ensure safety.
10. Will Pontem Network be 100% fully EVM compatible, meaning anything running on Ethereum can run on Pontem Network several times faster and with less gas costs?
We are researching and moving forward with an EVM layer for the Move VM. There will need to be compatibility with EVM apps, as there will still be a lot of EVM or Solidity apps that exist. It’s going to happen, what you really want to do is just enable them to interact with each other. If an EVM app exists, you want it to be able to send messages to a Move VM app. There are a lot of challenges: if they’re on two different chains, you’ll need some form of inter-protocol messaging layer or a bridge that allows that compatibility. If it’s on the same network, you need a runtime compatibility layer.
11. How do you ensure the best wallet security? Fingerprint, code, and 2-factor authorization don't seem to be enough when you look at the latest Solana hack. If you are subject to a hack (worst case scenario), are there protocols or financial back-ups to reassure people that their money is safe, or at least refundable?
What happened with Solana, and keep in mind I don’t know all the details, is that it seems it was an unsafe library. What you really want to do is not have that many dependencies that you didn’t build and audit yourself because those are prone to what are called supply chain attacks. So if you have a library that you’re pulling that someone else built, if they update that library to be malicious, there’s not much you can do about it because your app is dependent on that library. Which is why you want to minimize the number of dependencies that are outside of your control, and then audit everything that is within your control.
This stuff is open and permissionless, and unfortunately hacks happen. There are no promises of getting your money back. But what we can promise is to audit everything and make sure that it’s as safe as possible and that our processes of how we’re doing everything are open and you can trust that it’s safe. There are insurance protocols that we can work with so if people want to take out insurance and have their funds be backed for a cost, then I think that’s a good use case that we can look into and hopefully bring into Aptos because it would definitely give people more confidence.
Bonus: Can you cover the recent FUD on Twitter about Ian and Dylan Macalinao who impersonated DeFi devs on Solana and have now moved over to Aptos?
This is about what’s going on in the Aptos ecosystem. I don’t really have an opinion other than we just need to make sure that everything we are doing is good intentioned and the reasons that we’re building are good intentioned so that we can bring these products to millions of people. For us, politics are not as important as just being able to go heads down and be fully transparent with everything that we’re building, the partnerships we’re building. We’re building a lot of cool stuff, and I wouldn’t let this cloud get over the whole ecosystem.