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Geode on Podcasts: Crypto Coin Show

Oranges, Co-Founder of Geode Finance | Blockchain Interviews

Aston Addison of Crypto Coin Show sits down with Co-Founder and COO of Geode Finance.

As members of the DeFi community, the Geode team know how overwhelming it can be to learn about new projects. This is why we’re grateful for the opportunity to enlighten, clarify, and just generally engage with other DeFi users through our podcast appearances. However, we also realize that not everyone has the time to sit and listen to a full podcast episode, or they simply prefer reading versus listening.

For those people, we’ve transcribed Geode’s podcast appearances, and they’ll be posted right here on our Medium. First up, our COO and co-founder Simon (AKA Oranges), speaks with Aston Addison of the Crypto Coin Show. Watch the video below, or scroll past it for the transcribed version (slightly edited for readability)

Check out this podcast episode in its original form here:

About the Crypto Coin Show Podcast

We’ve been involved with cryptocurrency and blockchain since the dawn of Ethereum back in 2013. Shortly after, the Crypto Coin Show was born. We interview investors, startups, and the greatest minds in cryptocurrency and blockchain, to prepare you with the knowledge to succeed in the blockchain industry.

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Podcast Transcription

Oranges, Co-Founder of Geode Finance | Blockchain Interviews

Ashton: I’m Ashton Addison from Block West Capital, for Investment Pitch Media and the Crypto Coin Show, and today we have on with us Oranges, co-founder of Geode Finance. Oranges welcome to the show and thank you for taking the time.

Oranges: Hey, Ashton, a pleasure. Thank you for having me.

Ashton: You’re very welcome. Lots going on in the world of DeFi staking, liquid staking, advancements being made to bring more people into financial inclusion in the world through this beautiful technology we call cryptocurrency. Your team is working on some great DeFi initiatives as well with Geode. So let’s just start by kicking off the conversation, hearing a little bit about the solutions that your team is bringing into the finance world, and then we’ll dive into those details.

Oranges: Yeah, sure. So, as you say, this is a really interesting space and it’s opening up finance to a lot of people, and that’s kind of what we’re looking to do as well. So, Geode, is basically a white-label liquid staking solution. We offer DAOs the ability to have their own staking service branded themselves. They can then use it for their users’ benefits to create new products, new yield-generation services.

Then obviously we give them a token, like a yield generating token, that reflects the base asset that’s staked. Then they can obviously go and use that within DeFi, and do other partnerships to promote that token to get more utility for their service, which will ultimately drive more TVL, and get a nice little flywheel. So yeah, we hope it’s going to be quite popular. It’s kind of like a B2B solution serving DAOs.

“We offer DAOs the ability to have their own staking service branded themselves. They can then use it for their users’ benefits to create new products, new yield-generation services.”

Ashton: Okay, very interesting. Let’s break this down a little bit more. So with DeFi, obviously there’s different blockchains and different APYs as well, and different ways that you can lock and stake your tokens. What networks, or what are the most popular assets that are working with GEODE right now?

Oranges: So we are at the very beginning of our journey, so we’re looking to launch on the Avalanche ecosystem first. Obviously, our plan is to be a multi-chain protocol, but Avalanche is in our sights at the moment. That’s what we’re working on internally, and then Ethereum, obviously, it’s going to be on there. Then in theory, any proof of stake chain can benefit from Geode.

So we can only do one at a time obviously, we’re going to be starting with Avalanche because we see a good need there for users, and for DAOs, and they have a fully functioning proof-of-stake ecosystem. Then I’m sure we’ll be going on to Ethereum, and then in the future, we’ll see which ones we go to from there.

Ashton: Mm-hmm, sounds great. When you mentioned DAOs in the beginning and when I originally think of liquid staking, I think of, “oh, I’m just taking my personal funds and I’m going to stake them, and I’m going to get some kind of asset in return.”

But I’m guessing that DAOs have a lot of capital that the community has gathered up that’s just sitting there, and they would like to stake it, but they also need to utilize it as well. Can you talk about how DAOs fit in, and why you’re targeting them?

Oranges: Yeah, of course. So under proof-of-stake the whole point is that by staking, you’re securing the network. Therefore, if you have one or two providers holding all of that staked asset, providing a staking service is not really securing the network as well as we could be doing. There’s a lot of third-party risk that something happens to one particular protocol or monopoly for example, then that chain could potentially be at risk, or compromised in some way. So by providing DAOs, the thing is, DAOs don’t necessarily want to do liquid staking. It might just not be in their road map, you know?

A loan protocol, for example, might not want to create its own staking solution, it’s just not what they are focusing on, right? But what we’re doing, by offering DAOs a solution which we’ve built, there’s no work on their end to do. We open up liquid staking for any DAO to benefit from, and the benefits are quite apparent. Not only from a security standpoint, by diversifying the parties that validate the particular blockchain, but also from a user standpoint. What I mean by that is if every DAO — I mean, picture a world where every single DAO has its own liquid staking solution.

“…What we’re doing, by offering DAOs a solution which we’ve built, there’s no work on their end to do. We open up liquid staking for any DAO to benefit from, and the benefits are quite apparent. Not only from a security standpoint, by diversifying the parties that validate the particular blockchain, but also from a user standpoint.”

If we take Avalanche as an example, all AVAX on Avalanche can be yield-generating by depositing it into a DAO’s liquid staking solution, and earning a yield which can then be used in their products. So, if I want to deposit, or if I’m currently depositing AVAX in a loan protocol and borrowing USDC to farm, I’m depositing vanilla AVAX and my utility is basically borrowing this stablecoin, to then go do something else with it.

If I could deposit AVAX into a liquid staking solution, which could then be used to borrow against, then I’m in effect compounding my yield. So, I’m actually getting paid to borrow funds, to then borrow stables, to then make additional yields from that stable farm that it will then go into.

Ashton: Definitely, that makes sense, and I feel like it is a little bit of extra complexity to understand for regular users when they’re getting a synthetic asset in return, and they’re able to use that in different places. You know, there’s depending on what liquid staking platform you’re depositing your assets into, you may be getting a different asset in return that’s synthetic. Now, is Geode working on their own synthetics, or how would that work specifically on the first assets that will be deposited on Geode?

Oranges: So we basically provide the solution to a particular partner. So you’ll be able to stake with that partner directly on their site, or you could stake with Geode. It ultimately goes through the same backend and same token. So from a user standpoint, from a simplicity standpoint, it should be quite good for the user because they want their favorite protocol that offers a liquid staking solution through us hopefully. Then they literally just go to the liquid staking section on their site, deposit AVAX, receive their branded token derivative, which they can then use within that protocol’s products to compound their yields.

“… We basically provide the solution to a particular partner. So you’ll be able to stake with that partner directly on their site, or you could stake with Geode…. Deposit AVAX, receive their branded token derivative, which they [the depositors] can then use within that protocol’s products to compound their yields.”

So it should be quite nice and simple, but I guess there will ultimately be, you know, lots of different staking derivatives in the market. If every DAO has the same solution of their own token, there will be multiple tokens out there, and I guess that could cause some confusion for the newer users of DeFi. But one thing we are looking into doing is providing some kind of DEX to allow people to trade between the different staking derivatives in our ecosystem, which avoids users having to un-stake and then re-stake again. You can just literally swap between the different tokens, which should be a nice bit of UX.

Ashton: Definitely, yeah I’m excited for that. And that sort of leads me more to think about the AVAX ecosystem. I’m curious if there’s any other reasoning behind using Avalanche as the primary technology. I know that they have EVM compatible chain, and I’m guessing that the fees are lower than on Ethereum. Is there any other rationale behind why AVAX first, and then Ethereum?

Oranges: Yeah, so I guess if we go to Ethereum first, the merge is happening later this year, it hasn’t got a fully-fledged proof of stake ecosystem yet. So if you stake on Ethereum — I mean withdrawals won’t be enabled until 2023, so it’s not a proper fully-fledged liquid staking environment right now. And also, you know, it’s our first launch, if anything goes wrong with any protocol, any partner, funds are locked until 2023.

“… If we go to Ethereum first, the merge is happening later this year … withdrawals won’t be enabled until 2023, so it’s not a proper fully-fledged liquid staking environment right now…. Whereas with Avalanche, not only are fees cheaper … liquid staking is in its infancy … it’s a relatively new DeFi ecosystem as well. So it’s a great opportunity for us … [to] add value to a chain that could benefit from liquid staking, while liquid staking is so young.”

Whereas with Avalanche, not only are fees cheaper, which is good for the user, but liquid staking is in its infancy over there. Like there’s only one provider, really two providers there offering liquid staking. Withdrawals are enabled, and it’s a relatively new DeFi ecosystem as well. So it’s a great opportunity for us to go in, and actually add value to a chain that could benefit from liquid staking, while liquid staking is so young.

And it’s also a great area for us to prove ourselves, and to integrate with all these different protocols. Prove what, you know, what we’re trying to do works and benefits everyone. Then we can then move that over to other chains, like Ethereum, like Fantom, like Near, whatever the case may be in the future.

Ashton: Yeah, well said. And speaking of integrations, I did look through Geode and I saw that you’ve already partnered with a few different platforms, like Yield Yak and Eden Network. Can you talk about those partnerships and you know, if you have a bunch in the works?

Oranges: Yeah, so I can’t say too much about certain partnerships right now, there will be announcements coming up. But basically, Yield Yak are going to be our first launch partner. They’re going to be the first protocol to integrate our staking solution, and they will have their own staking derivative called yyAVAX (Yield Yak AVAX) token.

Their plan is obviously get that into DeFi on Avalanche, and then Eden Network is our first node operator. So they’re going to basically manage the validators, they’re going to manage the yield generation side of liquid staking. Which is quite important, because you can offer liquid staking to DAOs, great, but if they’ve got to maintain and manage a network of validators and, you know, manage exit liquidity, all this kind of stuff, then that’s a lot of work for them.

“Yield Yak are going to be our first launch partner. They’re going to be the first protocol to integrate our staking solution, and they will have their own staking derivative called yyAVAX.… Then Eden Network is our first node operator. So they’re going to basically manage the validators … [and] the yield generation side of liquid staking.”

Whereas by partnering with someone like Eden, we’re actually providing the full package. We’re providing the infrastructure so that they’ve just got their solution. There it is. They can use it. But we’re also providing them with partnerships that allow for the maintenance of that solution to be dealt with and managed themselves. So there’s no heavy lifting to be done.

Ashton: Very cool, great to hear. And also, I was reading that there’s been some fundraising with, you know, as you guys are just launching right now, there’s also fundraising involved. Can you talk about the capital that you guys have raised, and if there’s any significant partners, or what that capital is mainly going to be contributed towards as you grow?

Oranges: Sure. So again, like you know, we will be making announcements soon. So there’s not too much I can disclose. But what I would say is, yeah, we’re raising, you know, a multimillion-dollar raise. We have deliberately chosen strategic partners to help us grow, and to help us make our dream a reality, I guess. You can raise funds from anyone, but you can’t necessarily get the strategy, and the contacts, and the introductions, and the advice from everyone.

So we’ve been really careful in picking really high-quality partners, to really give us the best possible start in our journey. And I guess in terms of what the funds are used for, well it gives us a great runway to get started, to build, to grow. It also gives us, you know, if we need to provide liquidity to certain things, we can do that as well. So it’s an exciting time, and there should be an announcement over the next couple of weeks hopefully, with a lot more information.

“You can raise funds from anyone, but you can’t necessarily get the strategy, and the contacts, and the introductions, and the advice from everyone…. We’ve been … picking really high-quality partners, to really give us the best possible start in our journey…. In terms of what the funds are used for, well it gives us a great runway to get started, to build, to grow. It also gives us … [the abillity] to provide liquidity to certain things, we can do that as well. So it’s an exciting time…”

Ashton: Amazing. Yeah, I’m looking forward to those announcements, alluding to some great things. And you know, with that capital, when you raise it, as you mentioned, you’re near the beginning stages here, just getting the first partners. How quickly are you looking at ramping up to full production launch and having tons of partners?

Oranges: Pretty quick. You know, DeFi is all about momentum, right? So we’re hoping to launch in April on Avalanche. That’s the plan. Obviously, things can change, dev timelines can change, but that’s the goal at the moment. And then it’s full steam ahead from there really, to get as many DAOs involved, and to get the yyAVAX token and other tokens into DeFi. Then we’ve got our sights on Ethereum I’d say.

Ashton: Mm-hmm. Amazing. And looking a little bit more down the road, say, a year from now or two years. That’s a long time in DeFi. How do you see Geode continuing to be the leader in liquid staking, and what is it going to take to get there?

Oranges: So I mean, to become the leader I guess, you know that’s obviously the goal, but that’s going to be quite a feat. I think we’ve got to be multichain. It’s as simple as that. It’s a multi-chain world, it’s a proof-of-stake world, and in two years’ time, we should be on multiple proof of stake chains, partnered with, you know, 50 plus DAOs across those across all different chains.

And I think we’ll know when we’re successful, when no one is using base assets other than to pay for transactions. You know, like if you’re LPing on Uniswap, why are you using ETH? You should be using staked ETH, for example, you know? And then in a proof-of-stake world, base assets, unless used for gas, should be yield generating, I think, for the user. So when that’s happened, you know, that’s one of our goals — so when that’s happened I’d say we’ve been successful.

“… In a proof-of-stake world, base assets, unless used for gas, should be yield generating … when that’s happened I’d say we’ve been successful.”

Ashton: I like that perspective. So for DAOs, and for users that want to learn more about liquid staking and the white-label solution that Geode has, what is the best way for them to learn more?

Oranges: Twitter’s really good, so Geode_Finance is our Twitter handle. Join our Discord. Our website is Geode.Fi, and then you can always get in touch with me as well. I intend to post with my DMs always open, and I’m @0xranges on Twitter.

Ashton: Awesome. Thank you so much Oranges for coming on the show. I will leave those links as well in the description box below for the viewers. All the best with everything liquid staking on Geode, and let’s follow up in the near future.

Oranges: Brilliant. Thank you very much. Thanks for having me.

About Geode

Geode Finance enables DAOs to easily integrate liquid staking into their project, allowing them to bring their own governance, and keep their existing userbase. By providing DAOs with their own liquid staking derivative tokens, Geode’s unique staking toolset vastly improved yields, and boosts capital efficiency.

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