Stronger Together

Marinade Finance
Published in
3 min readApr 28, 2021


After being awarded 3rd place in Solana x Serum DeFi hackathon with our liquid staking solution and after 2 weeks of many sleepless nights hacking, we decided to take a few days off to recharge and start planning for the future.

It became obvious the next steps to keep moving forward boiled down to two things:

  1. Refactor our hackathon solution. Mainly to set a good code foundation so that we’re still comfortable building and onboarding new people when growing the team. And we also needed to revisit some parts of the initial architecture, so it was inevitable to come back again to the drawing board and spend quite a few weeks there.
  2. Grow the team. Hackathon winners announcements and related PR resulted in hundreds of people knocking on our door asking when we’re about to open. The only way for us to deliver both safe and fast enough was to bring more people on board.

As we all know, attracting developers is a tough nut to crack just by itself. Now imagine you need to find them in a new blockchain industry and ideally sitting in a Solana ecosystem that’s rapidly growing but still in its infancy.

The hunt

Besides growing the relationship with some people who already contacted us asking to contribute, our best bet was to go after other people participating in the Solana x Serum hackathon and so we did this:

  • Drafted a job opening on our Github and put the announcement bar to our website that we’re looking for Marinade contributors in general
  • Researched all 88 listed hackathon projects to learn a bit more about their product, technology used and the team,
  • Personally reached out to more than 200 promising people to ask about their status, what they’re working on and if they’re still looking for a challenge to join.

This turned into something like using a dating app. We were having tens of ongoing conversations where we tried to be as responsive and helpful as possible so the people can get better idea who we are and what we’re doing.

Now what happened next turned out to be like a little miracle…

New partners

We connected with Lucio Tato and Marco Broeken who were leading a fantastic team that is also working on liquid staking solution and that participated in the hackathon as well— as Smart Pool. What’s more, Lucio had a working prototype of liquid staking on NEAR and Marco has a great dev-ops background, experience running validator nodes and he’s recently completed the new RPC infrastructure for Solana, too.

After our initial call we found out that not only were we all after liquid staking, but our vision to get there is pretty much the same. Both parties felt they were lacking strength in areas the other party was good at, so it became clear that we may be better off working together rather than separately.

Long story short, a few dates later we agreed on a new structure and to move forward together using the Marinade brand. Both previously separated development teams now started to work together to take the best parts from each codebase. We’re on the right track to launch the liquid staking app on the testnet quite soon.

Stay tuned! In the meantime, you can check out our new website.

About Marinade Finance

Marinade.Finance is the first non-custodial liquid staking protocol built on Solana. Stake your SOL tokens with Marinade and receive mSOL (marinated SOL) tokens in return that can be used in decentralized finance (DeFi). mSOL is the most widely integrated collateralized version of SOL. The price of mSOL goes up relative to SOL each epoch, with rewards being accrued into the underlying staked SOL.

Marinade’s liquid staking stakes in 400+ validators that are selected automatically by an open-source, fair formula based on performance, commission, and decentralization.

Marinade includes mSOL->SOL swap, so you can “Unstake Now!” and receive your SOL immediately with a small fee. You can also directly exchange between mSOL and SOL on secondary markets at the current rate. Finally, you can unstake your SOL with zero fee by waiting 4–6 days for the Solana cool-down period (delayed unstake).

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