May the ∆ be with you

The story of what we did, what we’re doing, and where we’re going

Josh Lee
Chainapsis

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TL;DR:

- The Everett team is joining Terra to lead Anchor, an innovative DeFi product that allows for principal protected staking using CosmWasm liquid staking component.

- A new entity called Chainapsis will continue building public-goods development for the Cosmos ecosystem (Keplr, CosmosJS, ICS27, etc).

Crypto is one hell of a difficult field to survive in. I’ve learned and felt that every single day I’ve been in this field. Here, tech moves fast. Trends move even faster. In matters of seconds, you see millions changing hands between those BitMex Lambos 📈 and the BitMex rekts 📉. Roadmaps never go as planned and bugs show up out of nowhere.

If there’s one thing that doesn’t change: it’s that change happens. Accept it, or leave.

Today, I’d like to talk about a change that has happened in my life and my friends’ life. The goals we shared. The struggles we’ve had. The different paths we chose. And our collective excitement for the future of each other and the Cosmos ecosystem.

Some Background

Hope you‘ve got Jesus skillz, because that multitude gonna want a piece of that five loaves and two fishes

We all met through a Korean blockchain co-living/co-working community called Nonce. It’s a breath of fresh air (figuratively, because Gangnam is a concrete jungle) for the Korean crypto scene.

The key difference is that here at Nonce, FOMO leads to ideas and products — not kimchi premium.

It’s hard to put in words what Nonce is but think of it as an odd mix of a hacker house, burning man, a start-up incubator, the ancient Greek agora, and the military barracks. Ya’ll should just come visit once this whole COVID-19 thing is over.

When we heard the Cosmos HackAtom will come to Seoul, we signed up immediately. We spent a good week or so brainstorming and decided to on a simple form of liquid staking application. Then the insanely talented Chorus One(who we heard was also participating in the hackathon) released their delegation vouchers blog post, and we thought were fucked because it overlapped with our idea. But we spent a few more days brainstorming, and the Everett fungible liquid staking architecture was born.

Ryan came up with the idea, Jake refined it, Tony developed it, and I came up with the name ‘Everett’ and offered ‘moral support’.

And to our surprise, we won.

That’s how Everett got started.

Everett — behind the scenes

Our goal was clear: to create a decentralized, secure, and fungible liquid staking protocol using IBC. We knew staking rewards competing with DeFi interest rates will become a massive problem — and we had an answer to that problem.

We got a small office at Nonce, and started brainstorming on refining the architecture to create a viable product. All we needed was some money to fund operations and IBC to make the magic happen.

The first thing we got started on was finding a way for Everett liquid staking to work without having to massively change the Cosmos Hub codebase (which could lead to a long and contentious governance debate and increase the security risk of the Hub). Tony, our lead developer, proposed ‘interchain accounts’ — a way to abstract the capabilities of an account to an IBC connected blockchain. This would allow for a flexible, secure, and capable foundation for use-cases from liquid staking, DAOs, DEXs, and so much more without changing a big portion of the Cosmos-SDK core code or having to create new application logic on top of the IBC protocol.

While this was happening, Jake and Ryan spent many sleepless nights talking to people, brainstorming architecture, refining the economics, and preparing documentation. We received countless valuable feedback from developers, validators, delegators, and other key players in the ecosystem.

This is probably a bad example of a ‘ride your electric scooters safely’ PSA

Vitalik even visited Ryan at the hospital after Ryan presented Everett at the Seoul Ethereum Meetup. Making us potentially the world’s first team to get a hospital visit from Vitalik, and also leaving this incredibly memorable photo.

We even got started on Keplr. Aiming to fill the void where a simple MetaMask experience of signing transactions for Cosmos didn’t exist. With big plans for IBC support, non-standard transaction signing, interchain DeFi dashboards, and more, we saw the pieces come together, albeit slowly, towards creating one of the first decentralized liquid staking protocols in the world.

It’s all butterflies and sunshine — until it isn’t

Ultimately, we were in a place where we ironically needed more time and were also out of time.

IBC wasn’t out yet. Crypto markets weren’t recovering. A viral infection started moving through every corner of the world. All the while, we were still squeezing our heads trying to refine our architecture so that Everett liquid staking can work for proof-of-stake blockchains with 100% slashing and correlated slashing.

And although we’ve tried to keep operational costs minimal, and funded ourselves through a mix of small angel investment from friends, hackathon winnings, Jake’s personal savings, and stakefish’s generous grant.fish program, our runway kept getting shorter.

Until, one day, we had none.

Moving On

Ultimately, the Everett team decided to part ways. Each of us had different passions, but we lacked the resources to do everything we wanted. While this was no easy decision, we realized this wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Tony and I wanted to keep building the tools and infrastructure that was needed to ensure that anyone wanting to build on Cosmos could — and do so easily. Meanwhile, Ryan and Jake wanted to keep developing on the innovative idea of generalized liquid staking.

Ryan and Jake has joined the Terra team to work on Anchor, a new liquid staking protocol that provides principal-protected rewards. Continuing the work that was started in Everett in searching for innovative ways to make staking and DeFi coexist in a more sustainable way.

They have been hard at work in finishing up the whitepaper, which will soon be released (and one that I can’t wait to read).

Seeing the success that Terra has achieved in bringing blockchain adoption to the masses, I have no doubt in my mind that Anchor will signal the start of the interchain finance mass-adoption in the Cosmos ecosystem.

In the meantime, Tony and I continue to build on Cosmos under a new entity called Chainapsis. We’re experimenting with new features such as IBC and ENS. With plans for integrating CosmWasm, supporting non-standard Cosmos-SDK transactions, and more on the way.

We’ve released an IBC enabled wallet for Game of Zones, and are hoping to collaborate with other builders in the ecosystem to drive Keplr adoption across Cosmos.

We’ve begun the implementation ICS27 (Interchain Accounts), which will bring the feature-composability of sovereign Cosmos zones to a whole new level.

It’s not failure, it’s just change

To be this honest in public for what could be seen as a ‘failure story’ is a terrifying experience. But we often get too caught up in the stories of impeccable success that we forget the many changes that it took to get there. And this happens everywhere! even here in Cosmos.

And while I’m sad to know that Everett Protocol will not come to life, I know the common vision we had lives on through the products we are building today.

This isn’t a blog post about how a project ended, but rather the story of how two amazing projects got started.

Keep building 🖖

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