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2020: A Defining Year for Figment, Web 3, and the World

As we enter a new year, we will be exiting one of the most extraordinary, eye opening, and pivotal years of the past generation. 2020 has brought decades worth of economic, political, and cultural shifts. The countless lives lost, and ultimate uncertainty we all experienced throughout the year will be felt for years to come, but with hardship comes opportunities for learning, innovation, and change.

This year was the ultimate test for the traditional systems that dictate the day to day lives of the majority of people on this planet. Those traditional systems failed large swaths of populations when those people needed them the most. It has become clear that the world deserves a new cohort of leaders, ideas, and innovation that address the needs of the upcoming decade. We see those new leaders, ideas, and innovation in the Web 3 ecosystem.

Throughout the chaos of 2020, Figment and the rest of the Web 3 ecosystem kept building. Innovations in DeFi, privacy, and interoperability led to billions of dollars in Web 3 investment. The vision of a truly decentralized Internet where people can freely interact, share, collaborate, and exchange goods and services in a trustless environment is being built today.

We expect the exponential momentum Figment, and the Web 3 ecosystem has experienced this year will continue into 2021, but as we think about the future, it is important to remember how we got here.

Paving the Foundations

If having to choose between consensus mechanisms, 2020 was the year of Proof of Stake. The high profile launches of networks like Ethereum 2.0, Polkadot, NEAR, Celo, and many others put Proof of Stake into the spotlight. This (somewhat new) consensus mechanism has dramatically changed the economics of blockchain protocols, and has influenced more participation from non-technical token holders.

Proof of Stake allows token holders to generate a return and participate in governance decisions that affect the protocol parameters of a blockchain by staking their tokens. This fundamental shift takes complete control away from miners on a given network, which makes network participation more accessible.

Our Infrastructure

At Figment, we see our staking & node infrastructure as the access point for token holders who wish to participate in consensus and governance. At the start of 2020, our staking & node infrastructure supported 10 mainnet networks. Now, we are supporting 27. This growth allowed us to improve our node security & monitoring, and grow our dev-ops to provide 24/7 support.

We combine physical infrastructure with public cloud platforms to offer the best in class staking & node infrastructure. This allows us to be not dependent on cloud-services and gives us the flexibility our customers are looking for.

Building an Educational Hub and Creating Processes

Leaning into the idea of accessibility, we did our part at Figment by publishing countless guides, FAQs, and other educational material on how specific networks function and how as a token holder, you can participate.

In 2020 published 100+ articles of original content, hosted 20 AMAs in our Staking Hub Telegram channel, recorded 4 podcasts, and hosted 5 virtual events.

On top of that, we helped formalize governance processes on Cosmos and Livepeer to further encourage network participation from token holders.

Staking by the numbers:

  • Added support for 17 new protocols.
  • 600% increase in the value of assets staked to our validators.
  • 100+ educational articles published.
  • Added 3 people to our Dev-Ops team.

Creating More Visibility and Usability

We launched Hubble in 2019 as a way for validators and token holders to explore and interact with Web 3 protocols.

Hubble Offers:

  • Transactional and staking data updated in real-time
  • Customizable alerts for on-chain events
  • Historical validator performance data
  • The ability to track and export delegator reward data
  • The ability to track and participate in on-chain governance
  • Transaction search by account, date range, type, and memo field

Hubble by the numbers:

  • Added support for 8 new protocols.
  • Added 5 people to our Hubble team.

Building the Gateway

Web 3 and blockchain technology has the potential to dramatically change how we interact, share, collaborate, and exchange goods and services with each other online. But as we continued adding support for more and more networks, we noticed another need.

Today, building and running an application on a Web 3 protocol is an extremely costly and difficult process. Developers have to run unstable nodes that require constant updates and lack the tools to streamline debugging. This issue limits growth of blockchain ecosystems, because it creates too many barriers to entry to development.

Understanding this problem, we built DataHub. DataHub, allows developers to connect and interact with blockchain protocols without having to manage their own infrastructure.

Now, developers building on Web 3 protocols have the same resources available to them as they would have if building on Web 2. By removing the barriers to entry, DataHub acts like rocket fuel for blockchain development.

DataHub offers:

  • Reliable access to network APIs
  • Ability to submit on-chain transactions
  • Easy integration
  • High quality support
  • Low maintenance
  • Enterprise-grade infrastructure

We announced DataHub support for 4 mainnet blockchains in the Summer of 2020, and received overwhelmingly positive feedback. Since then, we have added support for 3 other networks, and will be adding additional network support in 2021.

DataHub by the numbers:

  • Added support for 8 new protocols.
  • 200+ developer community.
  • Added 3 people to our DataHub team.

Creating the Knowledge Base

While building DataHub, we noticed another problem we could solve. One of the values we created with DataHub is a universal way to connect to multiple blockchains. By creating a universal way, we can dramatically lower the learning curve of connecting to a new blockchain. But what about a universal way for learning how to build on a blockchain?

To solve this problem, we built Figment Learn. Figment Learn is the easiest way for Web 3 protocols to onboard and educate developers.

Figment Learn provides developers with:

  • Free and easy access to the protocols necessary to power their applications via DataHub, our highly available full node infrastructure.
  • Access to written and streamable educational materials and a diverse community built around learning and fostering ecosystem development.
  • Opportunities for developers to earn tokens for completing tutorials and contributing to the community.

Now, developers have a universal way of learning how to build on multiple blockchains.

Our intention with Learn is to become the knowledge base for the next cohort of developers building decentralized applications.

We announced Learn with NEAR, Oasis Network, and Mina Protocol as our initial partners, and we will be announcing more partners in 2021.

Learn by the numbers:

  • 9 network tutorials created.
  • Documentation added for 8 networks.
  • 1 Pathway live.
  • 14k NEAR already sent to developers who completed tutorials.

Our Full Stack

In early 2020, we were known as a blockchain infrastructure provider for Proof of Stake networks and as a staking solution for token holders. Now, we offer staking, middleware, and application layer solutions for token holders and developers investing in and building on Web 3 technologies.

Our commitment to every layer of the Web 3 ecosystem supercharges development while keeping the underlying protocols highly secure.

As our products and services grew across multiple networks, so did our team. We started 2020 with 7 members on our team. Now, we have 24 team members actively building and contributing to the Web 3 ecosystem everyday. Our team became even more decentralized representing 8 countries and speaking 10 native languages.

Thanks to our recent raise of $2.5M, we will be able to continue growing our team furthering our ability to improve our products and services for token holders and developers across the networks we support.

Looking Ahead

Our mission to build a better Internet where individuals are in complete control of how they interact and exchange value online. We hit multiple milestones this year that inches us closer to us achieving that mission, but there is much more that needs to be done.

We will continue improving our best-in-class products and services to support the needs of the investors and builders within the Web 3 ecosystem. Our goals are ambitious, but ambitiousness is what is needed during a time like this. As Marc Andreessen mentioned earlier this year, “IT’S TIME TO BUILD”, and at Figment, we will continue building a better Internet.

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