Singapore, SINGAPORE – Two years ago, Kyber Network was one of the most successful ICOs based out of Singapore. Approximately US$52 million was raised for the blockchain-based platform which allows for the exchange and conversion of digital assets through decentralised token swaps. At the helm was Loi Luu, then a PHD student at the National University of Singapore (NUS), who spearheaded the project as its founder. He is now a seasoned veteran in the blockchain scene and oversees various project streams with other brilliant collaborators in the ecosystem. As the CEO of the company, he shares insights into what to expect in 2019 and beyond.
Lessons learned from 2018?
In 2018, we gained many invaluable lessons as we built our foundations on multiple fronts – from technical, ecosystem and the community. On the technical front, we launched our smart contracts on the mainnet smoothly last April. We also started working with popular wallets including MEW, imToken, Coinbase Wallet and Trust Wallet. In addition, we were able to create a fast, convenient, and secure token swapping experience for end users. Thus, ending the year with more than 68 supported tokens and 15 different reserves in the network, while connecting with many new innovative projects.
We learned the importance of working together with the ecosystem to create a greater impact. An example is initiating WBTC (Wrapped Bitcoin) with other partners to build a cross-chain initiative that will bring bitcoin value and liquidity to Ethereum. We also had 33 different projects integrating with the Kyber protocol ranging from end-users’ token swap (on wallets, websites), crypto payments, financial Dapps and professional trading programs (via trading APIs). This helped us gain a better understanding of the various use cases that can be enabled by Kyber’s protocol.
Your outlook and perspectives on 2019?
We may enter 2019 as an ongoing bear market. But we believe that projects with strong fundamentals and a clear vision will emerge even stronger than before. We envision further growth in the decentralised financial movement with more projects developed across the entire stack such as payments, derivatives, identity, insurance, stablecoins and many others. There will also be more collaboration between these projects.
Do elaborate on what that entails?
At Kyber, we have strengthened our resolve and commitment to developing technologies that will add value to the ecosystem. We have built up a strong technical ecosystem and laid the foundation for our community last year. And we have several key objectives for 2019 and beyond that will help us leverage on that foundation:
- Formalizing Kyber as a liquidity protocol that can be implemented on any smart contract enabled blockchain. And moving the existing network towards being fully permissionless.
- Supporting the growth of the decentralised economy and maintaining Kyber as one of the key drivers for this movement.
- Establishing the technical and governance framework to start building a community that can build, maintain and grow Kyber together.
These initiatives will take several years to be fully realised. But we are very excited to start working on them together with the rest of the community.
Your latest project/development and what you & your team have been pushing lately?
Our team has been working hard on plans to make our liquidity protocol as open and permissionless as possible. We have taken big steps towards that with the introduction of a permissionless order book reserve and an automated price reserve function. This allows for a more open and straightforward contribution of liquidity. We have released additional tools for developers, such as introducing a trading API, Proof of Payments by Smart Contracts (ERC1257), and payment plugins such as the WooCommerce plugin, and libraries for transaction monitoring. Documentation in the Kyber Developer Portal is also regularly updated, which anyone can openly access to integrate with the protocol.
Likewise, we have strived to work with ecosystem partners to enable projects to reach their goals and foster greater collaboration within the entire crypto landscape. Notably, on cross-chain support and seamless integration with popular DApps, protocols, and DEXes. Part of this approach is the introduction of WBTC (Wrapped Bitcoin), a community-led initiative to bring Bitcoin liquidity to Ethereum (ETH). We will also be focusing efforts on five key areas we have identified as important for the decentralized economy. They are end user token swaps, exchanges and trading, decentralized payments, decentralized finance, and the need for liquidity providers and reserves.
Ideas you have developed to push Crypto adoption further?
For crypto adoption to take off, users need to be confident in the security of smart contracts. In addition, the user experience when it comes to spending crypto also needs to be fast and seamless. And there needs to be an increase in crypto payment opportunities for real-world use cases. At Kyber, we have developed various technologies that will help drive adoption and enable token payments to be performed on different platforms.
On security, we built Oyente, which was the first automated smart contract verification framework and one of the most used open-source auditing tools by security experts today including Melonport and Quantstamp. On scalability, our work on Elastico was the first proposed sharding solution for public blockchains and directly inspired the design of Zilliqa – currently one of the most promising scalable blockchain projects.
We also developed the KyberWidget to enable quick transactions of Ether and ERC20 tokens directly on websites. Notably, EDCON, the global Ethereum conference, is using the KyberWidget to accept conference ticket purchases in ERC20 tokens. WisePass has also integrated the KyberWidget to allow users to purchase credits on their WisePass lifestyle platform in exchange for various real-world perks such as bottle service, fine-dining, grooming services, movie screenings, VIP event access and more.
Furthermore, we developed an extension of the WooCommerce plugin so that e-commerce sites can now accept tokens for payments. Hodlmoon will be one of the first merchant sites to use the plugin. Customers can now buy ugly crypto sweaters and other popular crypto merchandise using a wide range of tokens.
One crypto project you are following closely this year?
We look forward to the progress of promising projects like Zilliqa which are looking to improve scalability for decentralised applications. Zilliqa will launch on the mainnet in Q1 2019 on the back of their recent Testnet v3. This is the first testnet in the world to implement network, transaction, and smart contract sharding. They have also implemented mining on Zilliqa, and launched their new formal verification programming language, Scilla.
One country you are following closely this year in terms of Crypto adoption and crypto-friendly regulations?
We are closely monitoring Vietnam’s regulatory framework around cryptocurrencies and its growing developer community.
We see Vietnam become more open-minded and taking important steps towards understanding decentralised technologies. Last year, representatives from Vietnam’s Ministry of Justice, Finance and the Government Bank visited Kyber’s Singapore office to hear our views on the topic. This was followed by the inaugural Vietnam Crypto Dialogue in Hanoi, which was the very first time that the Vietnamese government provided an official platform to actively engage blockchain projects in open discussion. The event was heavily covered by local press and media. We did a presentation on how to create an efficient and transparent economy using the blockchain. Vitalik Buterin and other prominent ecosystem players such as aelf, Zilliqa, Sparrow Exchange, Traceto.io, Signum Capital, Hashed and imToken, also participated in the dialogue to present their views.
Vietnam has a vibrant and talented developer community. Together with TomoChain, Kyber has held ten successful Ethereum Hanoi meetups last year with an average of 100 developers in attendance each time. It was very encouraging to see their interest and passion in blockchain and cryptocurrencies. We believe Vietnam will be a hub of innovation and progress in the space.
One person/leader/Opinion leader you are following closely this year 2019?
I personally still follow several people from the Ethereum Foundation including Vitalik Buterin and Vlad Zamfir. Joseph Lupin from Consensys is also one of a few key leaders in the space. However, this year I will pay more attention to people who are building decentralised autonomous organizations (DAOs) including individuals from DAOStack, Aragon and related projects.
Your wish to the Crypto-community this year 2019?
Nothing significant in the decentralised space can be accomplished by any single entity alone. We are dependant on a strong team and the collective efforts across a wide range of players. Our wish is for the various parties in the ecosystem to continue working closely together to move the space forward and drive crypto adoption.
Kyber is fully committed to empowering and working alongside everyone who is moving towards the same goal of creating a more transparent, inclusive and accessible global financial system together. We are also very thankful for the strong support of the Kyber community. Their enthusiasm is a key motivation for us to continue providing good solutions despite the many challenges given the embryonic state of blockchain technology.