OFR 2022 Came to A Perfect End, See Y'all Next Year!
IOSG’s 9th Old Friends Reunion came to a successful close on Nov.1 in Lisbon, Portugal. The event, with the theme of Sovereign Individual & ZK Odyssey, saw 730k+ reach&impressions, 2000+ registrants from luma&eventbrite, covered by 20+ media and communities, 10k+ social media interaction, 100+ top-tier industry experts engagement within the one-day event including 6 panels, 8 talks and a fireside chat, which makes the event come to a perfect end!
“The OFR earned an eminent reputation for providing a catalyst for development in the blockchain ecosystem, adding substantive discourse to thought leadership, and becoming a key node in the global network of fast-moving tech gatherings, i’ve attended the OFR series since years ago.”, said an OFR’er.
Today, we would like to give our sincere thanks to our valuable cohosts from zkSync, Safe, Connext, 1inch, and our lovely partners from Chainlink, Scroll, ChainSafe, Space and Time, KYVE, CyberConnect, Sismo, Aurora, Taiko, Gelato, Mask, LearnWeb3, AltLayer, Solity, Blocknative, Footprint Analytics, Fluence. We appreciate the insights and visions shared by the founders, developers, industry experts, etc around the topics of zkEVM, ZKPs, Appchain, Data, Privacy, DID, etc during the event. Allow us to extend our sincere gratitude and appreciation to all of you!
Click to check out the wrap-ups on IOSG VC’s Official YouTube Account and photo collections on Onsite Photo Drive. We’ve also prepared a video clip for the onsite Event Highlight:
The Highlight of Each Session 👀
🔥 Welcome speech — Sovereign Individual in the Context of Web3
🎙️ Queenie Wu, Partner at IOSG Ventures
Queenie presented IOSG’s Investment Thesis and portfolio coverage. ZKP for now is mainly used for scaling and privacy. She expressed that IOSG has advocated for scaling solutions aiming for better developer experience and seamless user experience. Dataverse, which embraces the idea of the ultimate universe for data, is embedded within our thesis as well. To achieve so, it is crucial that we should utilize the abundant on-chain data to build an ecosystem that empowers users by leveraging analytics tools Another interesting perspective that Queenie shared is that one of the key differences between web3.0 and 2.0 is the way we interact with data, social- social will be built on top of the decentralized and composable database, secured and scaled by ZKP.
🔥Panel — Could zkEVM Be the Endgame of Scalability?
🎙️Andreea Buțerchi (MC), VP of Engineering, Veridise; Alex Gluchowski, Co-founder, zkSync; Florian Kluge, Product Engineer, O(1) Labs; Brecht Devos, CTO, Taiko; Philip Eriksson, Head of Growth&BD, OlaVM
All panelists share brilliant insights on what they are delivering and the trending topics that are happening in the industry right now, which was moderated by Andreea Buțerchi, VP of Engineering at Veridise. She also raised questions on how scalable will their network be within 1–3–5 years, and reasons why they decided to go with EVM/Solidity vs developing their own VMs and languages. Seeing the developments in the zkEVM ecosystem, Andreea also asked how could that affect their plans as an L1 solution. They also talked about their ideas on the implication for EVM/Solidity if one day a programming language of ZK becomes massively adopted.
Alex Gluchowski suggested that zkSync is building a zk-friendly virtual machine from the bottom layer and have EVM compatibility on top of that. Brecht Devos from Taiko shared that Taiko’s vision is to implement full EVM equivalence. Taiko is building a type-I zkEVM that provides a seamless developer experience that for either solidity languages or other Ethereum native developing tools can be reused. Philip Eriksson believed that end users should not be interested in how the system works, but that it should be easy to use and as simple as possible. The whole blockchain industry should move in that direction. Florian Kluge advocates for developers from the web2 that we should create an environment that should be given simple tools that are similar to the tools they have used so far in order to adapt to web3 development as easy as possible. ZKP needs the education of developers in the future.
🔥Talk — Building xChain Applications with Connext
🎙️Arjun Bhuptani, Founder&Project Lead, Connext
Arjun Bhuptani, founder&project lead at Connext shared insights around the topic of how to build safer bridges. Modularization is one of the approaches to tackle the risk and insecurity that bridge is exposed to at the moment. It can help isolate the risk and create a much safer environment. Also, minimization of external dependencies is crucial, which can downgrade the risk exposure as well. Another witness is that delays and off-chain watches could potentially halt the entire system, which is also something that should be avoided from the protocol level. (Connext is building the first fully trust-minimized Cross-chain Communication protocol to make blockchains composable. So far, more than 80 leading L2s, DeFi Protocols, Exchanges, and Staking Service Providers are backing Connext’s mission of building the internet of Ethereum. Supported by IOSG, Connext today has gained $1.5B Total bridged value, $45m Available Liquidity, 850K Total Transactions, and 44 Live Routers.)
🔥Talk — Next Generation Blockchain UX
🎙️Alex Shevchenko, CEO, Aurora
Alex Shevchenko, CEO of Aurora shared a fantastic keynote on the new-generation blockchain UX.: It is believed that natural technology evolution is from low-level to high-level, while blockchain is on low-level so that is the reason why the UX is not ideal. Users are ‘spoiled’ so there is not too much time for this. Transaction fees should be eliminated. This is possible only with meta-txs available on the protocol level.
IOSG is happy to work along with Aurora in their new and future developments. Aurora is going to have a makeover of the Aurora+ dashboard, now offering complete access to the entire Aurora ecosystem, a clearer staking interface as well as a number of new features such as Aurora+ Swaps, allowing you to easily swap on the Aurora network or bridge directly from Ethereum and NEAR before swapping. Aurora+ Fiat On-Ramp and allows you to top-up your Aurora+ account with fiat in an easy and secure manner directly from within the new Aurora+ dashboard with any VISA or Mastercard.
🔥Panel — Appchain or Layer3, Which One Will Be More Widely Adpopted?
🎙️Deniz Omer (MC), Venture Partner, IOSG Ventures; Alex Gluchowski, Co-Founder, zkSync; Alex Shevchenko, CEO, Aurora; Thibaut Sardan, Software Engineer, ChainSafe; Amrit Kumar, COO, AltLayer; Evgeny Ponomarev, Co-founder, Fluence.
This panel was led by Deniz Omer, the Venture Partner at IOSG Ventures, and also the founder of Alphaday. Deniz has supported the Old Friends Reunion event since 2020 and delivered excellent moderation in the previous 3 years, and he has always been a close friend to us! (Lots of 💗 ). In this panel, various insights were shared on what is an Appchain, what are layer3 chains, their basic differences, their current state, and roles they think Appchains and layer3s will end up playing in the adoption of blockchain technologies over the next 5 to 10 years. Topics also cover the composability and fragmentation of liquidity, customizability, regulation, etc.
Alex Gluchowski, Co-founder of zkSync, suggested communities of applications have to adopt the most efficient and secure technology that protects the main things in order to survive. Alex Shevchenko, CEO of Aurora, believed the development of ZK technologies does not actually exclude the need of many different chains, and this need is respectable. Thibaut Sardan, Software Engineer of ChainSafe, shared that we’ve seen a lot in the past that not the most decentralized one/the most efficient one got traction. The most efficient one is actually what gets used. Evgeny Ponomarev, Co-founder of Fluence, shared his insights about the network qualities of Appchain regarding the mass adoption of applications in the future. Amrit Kumar, COO of AltLayer, shared that Appchains may not be for everyone. There could be some sector-specific or vertical-specific chains, for example, game chains or DeFi chains. It could also be possible that some applications will start on a general-purpose chain because they’ve gotten enough user base. Click the video below to learn more about the topic insights and their sharing.
🔥Talk — Taiko ZK-EVM: Layer 2 Finality
🎙️Brecht Devos, CTO, Taiko
Taiko is an Ethereum-equivalent ZK-Rollup, scaling Ethereum by supporting all EVM opcodes in a layer-2 architecture that is decentralized, permissionless, and secure.
Brecht Devos, CTO from Taiko gave us a detailed presentation on the workflow of Taiko. Taiko is the type-I zkEVM project which aims to bring a seamless experience for developers, in the sense that the original code base written in solidity and other developing tools can be reused on Taiko. With the recipe of hand-made optimizations, the proofing cost, which is the main bottleneck for producing a proof succinctly for EVM, can be reduced, and also the finality will be enhanced. Type I zkEvm is the ‘hardest’ one, it is collaborative work done by not only Taiko, but also core developers from PSE and Scroll. Check out more on the video below.
🔥Fireside Chat — How to Expand Web3 Ecosystem?
🎙️Adelyn Zhou — Chief Ecosystem Growth Officer, Chainlink
In this OFR event, we were honored and pleased to have the Chief Ecosystem Growth Officer at Chainlink, Adelyn Zhou, to a Fireside chat with the Principal from IOSG Ventures, Momir Amidzic. Momir asked about the Chainlink Lab’s role in current days, Adelyn’s experience of leading the project from the introductory stage to being one of the most mature Web 3.0 projects, and how is the company leveraging its current success to the benefit of the Chainlink ecosystem. They also talked about the program of ChainLink BUILD and the biggest challenges for the Web3 space to overcome, etc.
Adelyn gave an intro to Chainlink Lab’s role in building a broader Chainlink ecosystem and their successful experience in leading web3 projects to become mature and prominent. Additionally, she shared some updates and ideas on the biggest challenges and the most promising primitives in Chainlink ecosystem as well as in the web3 space. Adelyn mentioned that Chainlink has supported numerous reputable DeFi protocols since their very early stage. For example, they hand-in-hand worked with the Aave team to help set up their very first price feeds which accelerates their GTM and innovation. Chainlink is also the earliest community member of synthetics. Recently they just launched the Chainlink BUILD Program to fuel more web3 projects, especially those in early stages like pre-seed or seed. The program will not only help introduce VCs, and set up projects’ first price feeds, but also help them think through their technical design and infrastructure. Two of IOSG portfolios, Space & Time and ChainML, have been the early members of the BUILD program.
Throughout all the verticals, Adelyn noted Chainlink is attaching more attention to dynamic NFTs and expected more real-world and off-chain data can be written in this kind of format. And during the bear market, Adelyn thinks the infrastructure will still be the core direction that helps enable next-generation projects to come out faster, just like what Chainlink has contributed for DeFi protocol and cut out engineering time hugely in the last circle.
🔥Talk — Ethereum’s Next Frontier: Account Abstraction
🎙️Lukas Schor , Co-Founder, Safe
Co-founder of Safe, Lukas Schor delivered a great presentation on account abstraction, which is the most crucial milestone for user experience. Lukas expressed that Safe contract account is controlled by arbitrary code, instead of the private key. It unlocks lots of possibilities, such as social recovery, gas fee implementation, transaction batching, automation, etc … He further amplifies the significance of the hybrid custody for unlocking new business models in web3 after comparing the Self-custody VS. Third-party custodian. According to Lukas, what they’re building is actually not a smart wallet itself, it’s more like an infrastructure for other smart worlds to be built upon, and till today, Safe had quite some adoption now with around $40 billion worth of potential assets, with more than 30+ teams building on it. Safe is also one of IOSG’s portfolios, and we have been positive about what they are building in bringing real-life needs to the Blockchain world. (A typical use case is that the start-up has some confounders and they come together to manage the treasury, their multi-sig account is quite like a joint bank account).
🔥Panel — How DAOs and Decentralised Mechanisms Will Shape the Future?
🎙️Jorge Selva, Growth(MC), Safe; Lukas Schor, Co-Founder, Safe; Reka, Founding Optimizer, Guild.xyz; Ruca, Head of Growth, Karpatkey.
Following Lukas talk, here comes the panel on how DAOs and decentralized mechanisms will shape the future led by Jorge Selva, Growth of Safe. He shared some interesting questions, for example, what would align people on a common goal to scale up from a smaller organization. He thought aligning purpose, goal, and incentives together to get people bought into the vision and scale is quite essential in DAOs. Lukas Schor, Co-founder of Safe, shared that delegation in DAO kind of restricts who can be part of the group in the first place. We need to have more mechanisms that show contributions more publicly, not just a pure delegation scheme that is done based on popularity. Reka, founding optimizer of Guild.xyz, shared her opinions about how we scale the value of the DAO groups and participants. And she thought granularity will be the solution for next year. How we think about individual identity and group identity and how they relate to each other are essential. Ruca, Head of Growth of Karpatkey, illustrated his opinion that DAOs are interesting because of their permissionless nature. We’re still in a phase where we’re in denial of what’s there and we’re experimenting with new technologies, looking into reality in this bear market.
🔥Panel — The Cornerstone of Web3.0: Self-Sovereign Identity
🎙️Yang Yang, Investor, IOSG Ventures; Oleksandr Brezhniev, Lead Dev, PolygonID; Sam Gbafa, Software Engineer, Spruce ID; Clement Lesaege, CTO, Kleros; Afra Wang, Marketing Lead, MaskNetwork
Data protection is not only about keeping it in a certain place, but also about controlling others so that they do not use the data for any purpose. It is important to build an infrastructure that will ensure data protection. ZK should be the key to this data protection. Yang Yang, Investment associate at IOSG Ventures was moderating the discussion on data infra and identity, joined by other four industry leaders. They’ve shared their knowledge and expertise on how they are pushing the boundaries of self-sovereign identity, criteria of Self-Sovereign or DID, the unique use cases that can be empowered by self-sovereign identity, infrastructure or technology needed to build a self-sovereign identity how do they picture the future landscape of Web3.0 identity, etc.
Lead developer at PolygonID, Oleksandr Brezhniev discussed a range of application cases that self-sovereign identification might enable. Two astounding instances are the trustless track record and the permissionless reputation system. Sam Gbafa, Software Engineer at Spruce ID, offered his opinions on how SpruceID can modernize the ID system and how effective decentralization can be in upending the clumsy identification system that is now in place. Clement Lesaege, CTO at Kleros, illustrated how essential the proof of humanity is in the Web3.0 contacts and how can it empower the decentralized arbitration service for the disputes of the new economy. Afra Wang, Marketing Lead at MaskNetwork, demonstrated how they make use of identity infrastructure to build a social application that brings users to brand new experiences with joint efforts. Click the video below to learn more about their insights.
🔥Talk — Decoding Abstract Transactions at 1inch
🎙️Nick Kozlov, Lead Backend Engineer, 1inch
Nick from 1inch delivers a fantastic presentation on transaction decoder — a product to understand what happens with a certain transaction. Based on a universal decoder, the estimation of tx and not only API based. Also provide multiple RPC calls for rendering multiple levels of tx decoding, parsing tx traces, and building a tx history indexer.
Moreover, IOSG and 1inch co-hosted the DeFi Mercado on Nov 06 in Lisbon and gained massive support from solid partners, i.e. Lido and QuickNode. The whole event saw over 600 attendees and connected global significant industry players. As the seed investor of 1 inch, IOSG keeps supporting 1inch in its mission of becoming the one-stop access to decentralized finance since the very beginning. We saw the opportunity of 1 inch to solve the problem by splitting one order into several chunks through its aggregation protocol while still keeping those in one transaction, which also reduces the problems associated with relying on a single exchange for liquidity. The initial protocol incorporates the Pathfinder algorithm which finds the best paths among different markets over 300 liquidity sources on multiple chains. In just over two years the 1inch DEX aggregator has reached 1M users and surpassed $150B in overall trading volume on the Ethereum network alone.
🔥Talk — The web3 infrastructure Stack
🎙️Hilmar Orth, Co-Founder, Gelato
Until today smart contracts automation was limited to only on-chain data. This created a lot of limitations that required projects to build their own custom centralized and trusted backend infrastructure to access web2 endpoints. By combining Gelato with next-generation Oracle protocols that provide off-chain Oracle services, projects are enabled to access arbitrary trust-minimized off-chain data and utilize it on-chain on-demand.
Gelato has an ambitious roadmap of exciting features planned for Gelato Automate. The team has worked on a major refactor of the Ops.sol smart contract over the past few months, which enables new features to be added to the system without requiring users to do any task migration and without impacting the performance of existing tasks. This is achieved by the Gelato Automate V2 smart contract protocol which introduces a new modular smart contract architecture that has now been rolled out across the 15 EVM networks that Gelato currently supports. IOSG as the early backer of Gelato will be more than happy to accompany their journey of empowering builders to create automated, gasless & off-chain aware applications.
🔥Panel — Building data infrastructure for Web 3.0
🎙️Momir Amidzic, Principal, IOSG Ventures; Hilmar Orth, Co-founder, Gelato; Fabian Riewe, Founder, KYVE; BG, Developer Advocate, Footprint Analytics; Marijo Radman, Co-founder, Solity
Data is king now! It is important to carefully choose the quantity of decentralization and performance in the project.
In this panel, four builders in data infrastructure projects had a deep discussion from ETL to analysis. The Principal from IOSG Ventures, Momir Amidzic moderated this panel, and he raised questions about the pain points, project position data landscape, data infrastructure they use to deliver their products (e.g. RPC node provider, data storage, etc.), power of composability, balances between efficiency and decentralization of the data infrastructure, and the missing pieces in the data landscape today, etc.
Fabian Riewe, Founder of KYVE, talked about how important data validation is and what KYVE is doing to contribute to this topic in the crypto ecosystem. BG, Developer Advocate of Footprint Analytics illustrated the reason for using their own nodes instead of using a third-party ETL service, which is for accuracy and full customization of data. Marijo Radman, Co-founder of Solity emphasized the composability of trustless data for dApps and gave his thoughts on building data infrastructure. Hilmar Orth, Co-founder of Gelato, reminded us of his infographics about how could Gelato be a fundamental component for dApp, especially those need high frequency and automation. Click the video below to learn more about their insights.
🔥Talk -LearnWeb3: Your first stop into Web3
🎙️Kacie Ahmed, Co-founder, LearnWeb3
LearnWeb3, which is a free program that onboard people into a web3 developer, build their web 3 careers as quickly as possible by offering free courses. Learners can join the hackathons, discuss technical papers, or just chill within events. And get connected to opportunities through the bounties and jobs board.
Kacie Ahmed, CEO, and co-founder of LearnWeb3, highlighted his experience with how their platform, LearnWeb3, consistently attracts new talent to the Web3.0 sector. He said, “we are aware that blockchain provides job searchers with a wealth of intriguing prospects. However, there is a severe lack of knowledge and resources in this field, particularly for developers.” Many Web2.0 IT workers want to upgrade their skills for Web3.0 but are unsure of how to get started. Kacie expressed that for learners, LearnWeb3 provides a one-stop learning platform, where the resources are free, thorough, easily accessible, and most importantly, of high quality. LearnWeb3 strives to create a supportive, welcoming community where everyone may support one another, learn, and co-create Web3.0.
🔥Panel — How Is ZKP Going to Empower Self- sovereign Economy
🎙️Queenie Wu, Partner, IOSG Ventures; Michael, Investor, 1kx.Network; Carl Hua, Investment Partner, Shima Capital; Cam, Head of Portfolio, Zee Prime Capital
Self-sovereign economy and ZKP investment thesis are hot topics in recent days. Queenie Wu, Partner of IOSG Ventures, also the former head of investment at imToken with 6+ years of investment experience in blockchain infrastructure and TMT sectors, led this discussion. Queenie asked each panelist to describe the ideal self-sovereign economy and brought up the discussion on whether there’s a bubble in ZKP in terms of VC investment, and whether the narratives or so-called ZK infra/applications are overrated at the current stage. She finally asked everyone about their ZKP investment thesis and the most promising or interesting use cases of ZKP in their mind, etc.
Investors from the most respected VCs in the crypto space come together to share their thoughts. Michael, Investor at 1kx.Network, said the Self-sovereign economy consists of 4 main aspects — self-ownership of data, access to finance trail, granular optionality, and implication of privacy. He believed ZKP is not mature yet but not a bubble either. Carl Hua, Investment Partner at Shima Capital, Carl reckoned that investors should be cautious that ZKP is great for scalability, privacy, and so forth, but not for every aspect because there are real trade-offs like complexity. Also, developer tools around this tech are lacking. Cam, Head of Portfolio at Zee Prime Capital thought people spot the potential of ZKP very early but it takes a long time to reach the practical implementation, and a lot of them should be proven in terms of value capture. In Carl’s opinion, we have to figure out where ZKP should be used and where it shouldn’t. The answer depends on the privacy demand of a specific product. Click the video below to learn more.
Technology will make individuals more nearly sovereign than ever before. We are excited about the groundbreaking ideas and technologies that advocate for privacy-preserving elements in an efficient, trust-enhanced, and programmable way. With proper infrastructure established, Web3 is ready to embrace more diverse off-chain data, which can only be done efficiently by leveraging ZK solutions.
We strive to see more adaptive scaling solutions with either EVM-compatible or EVM-equivalent features. Engineering capabilities, community building, and developer experience will be the crucial differentiating point for these solutions to gain territories. A further level-up through the idea of L3 is also something we are bullish on, in the sense that both extreme performance and customization will be feasible simultaneously. Besides, we are eager to capture hardware opportunities that will be complementary to the current ZKP landscape.
Organizing the Old Friends Reunion event is not only for projects, mostly our lovely portfolio team to present what they are building and how could they contribute to the ecosystem, but also for more industry top-tier projects, builders, and investors, etc a platform to communicate, share, and learn from each other and seek potential cooperation opportunities. We will continue to work closely with experts who have academic and practical experience, and we value talents with an extensive and unique understanding of cryptographic primitives and ZKP implementations in the blockchain context. Thanks again for everyone’s participation, we hope to see y’all at next year’s Old Friends Reunion! As the year 2022 comes to an end, we hope you and your family enjoy the light of laughter, the warmth of love, and the joy of gratitude this season and beyond. May you have a pleasant Christmas and a happy new year ahead! See you next year!
IOSG ventures started investing in crypto in 2017 and has been an early investor in each major vertical of Web 3.0, making early bets on L1s such as NEAR and Polkadot, and spending most of the resources in recent years in the broader Ethereum ecosystem, from DeFi (0x, 1inch, Synthetix, MakerDAO, Liquity), over gaming (Illuvium, Big Time) and social (Galxe, Roll, CyberConnect) to Ethereum scaling (Arbitrum, StarkWare) and privacy solutions (Aztec, Sismo).
zkSync is a trustless protocol for scalable low-cost payments on Ethereum, powered by zkRollup technology. It uses zero-knowledge proofs and on-chain data availability to keep users’ funds as safe as though they never left the mainnet. While security is our paramount priority, user and developer experience are central to zkSync design. We obsessively seek out improvements that eliminate friction and complexity in order to make zkSync the most enjoyable platform on Ethereum, for both end-users and builders.
Safe is the most trusted platform to manage digital assets and secures >$40 Billion in assets today. With its flagship web and mobile interfaces and expanding ecosystem, Safe is on a mission to unlock digital ownership for everyone in web3 including DAOs, enterprises, and retail or institutional users by establishing a universal standard for custody of digital assets, data, and identity with smart contract based accounts
Connext is a network for fast, trustless communication between chains and rollups. It is the only interoperability system of its type that does this cheaply and quickly without introducing any new trust assumptions. Connext is aimed at developers who are looking to build bridges and other natively cross-chain applications.
1inch Network unites decentralized protocols whose synergy enables the most lucrative, fastest, and protected operations in the DeFi space. The 1inch Network’s initial protocol is a DEX aggregator solution that searches deals across multiple liquidity sources, offering users better rates than any individual exchange. This protocol incorporates the Pathfinder algorithm which finds the best paths among different markets over dozens of liquidity sources on Ethereum, BNB Chain, Polygon, Avalanche, Optimistic Ethereum, Arbitrum, Gnosis Chain, Fantom, Klaytn, and Aurora.