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dYdX & the new BTC Perpetual — Our Interview with dYdX’s Antonio Juliano

dYdX has recently been working on a leveraged BTC product (aka Perpetual). We talked to Antonio to find out what the new BTC product is all about, what sets them apart, and how to be one of its first users.

Hi Antonio, appreciate you following our invitation to chat!

The obvious question: How did you get into crypto?

I initially got into crypto in 2015 by joining Coinbase as a software engineer after finishing my CS major at Princeton University. At Coinbase, I worked side-by-side with many of the most forward thinkers in the industry, and had a front row seat to the most exciting new developments in the industry. Working with leaders like Olaf Carlson-Wee, Fred Ehrsam, and Brian Armstrong combined with the opportunity to meet amazing guests like Vitalik Buterin, Joey Krug, and Ben Horowitz was hugely influential on me to start dYdX, and solidified my belief in the future of crypto and decentralized finance.

How did dYdX start? And whose idea was that cool name?

After Coinbase, I was convinced that there would be interesting, world-changing products to build on top of Ethereum. To me, Ethereum represented an entirely new paradigm of computing, where for the first time programs could be verifiably executed deterministically. It seemed inevitable that there would be important products built on this new computing platform.

dYdX has originated over a billion dollars in loans over the last year. Sounds quite impressive. Have you been satisfied with your growth so far?

Seeing the growth of dYdX, especially over the past few months, has been amazing. dYdX is now both the #1 decentralized exchange by trading volume, as well as the #1 decentralized borrowing platform by loans originated. We’re also super excited about how the new BTC-USDC perpetual can supercharge this growth.

How do you plan to set dYdX apart from the rest of DeFi?

dYdX sets itself apart from the rest of DeFi by offering the widest array of advanced financial products: spot trading, margin trading, borrowing, lending, and now perpetual contract markets.

What is leveraged trading really?

Leverage allows traders to multiply gains and losses, as well as gain short exposure. Leverage is critical to markets as it dramatically improves capital efficiency, allowing traders to take on positions with less capital.

You are adding a new product: A BTC Perpetual Contract. Could you tell us more about that?

Just announced earlier this week, we’ve launched the first ever product for decentralized perpetual markets. The first perpetual market we’re launching is BTC-USDC. We’re really excited about this launch for a few reasons:

  • Users will be able to trade BTC on dYdX for the first time! BTC is obviously the most widely traded asset in crypto, but still has not been able to be traded liquidly in DeFi up until now
  • Perpetual markets allow us to offer higher leverage, better liquidation ratios, and more liquid trading

A decentralized, leveraged trading product, right? What does ‘decentralized’ really mean in your case?

One major feature of decentralized financial products on dYdX is that they are non-custodial. This means users are in full control of their funds while trading on dYdX, as opposed to centralized exchanges where users must trust the exchange to securely custody funds on their behalf.

So, your Bitcoin Perpetual is aimed towards active traders whereas let’s say our own imBTC product suits the long-term hodler. Sounds right?

Sounds about right! The dYdX BTC-USDC Perpetual Contract is targeted at active and sophisticated traders. It will have much better liquidity and leverage options than existing DeFi BTC alternatives, but is a generally more complex product.

How is your Bitcoin Perpetual different from the centralized exchanges such as BitMEX?

The major difference between perpetuals on dYdX versus perpetuals on centralized exchanges is that dYdX is non-custodial, transparent, and auditable. On dYdX, users can come with their existing wallets, such as imToken, and start trading immediately — no email signups, passwords, 2FA, KYC, etc.

What will we see from dYdX in the next 3, 6, 12 months?

In the coming months, we will continue to make rapid product improvements to our existing products. We plan to add Perpetual Contracts for additional assets such as ETH, DAI, and others, as well as more assets to our spot / margin markets. We also are interested in exploring additional types of products such as options, but don’t have any solid plans here yet.

What do you expect from collaborations such as with imToken? Do you have any plans for China? Our users would be curious to know!

Definitely! dYdX is available in China, and we are adding Chinese translations to the product very soon. We’re very excited to work with leading wallets like imToken to expand the usage of decentralized financial products.

Can users access the BTC Perpetual yet? When are you planning to launch?

The dYdX BTC Perpetual entered private alpha on Monday 4/20. We’re planning to continuously expand the private alpha to additional users, before ultimately launching to the public in a few weeks.

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