An Interview With THORWallet — One Crypto Wallet To Rune Them All

Archon
Qi Capital

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Qi Capital: Hi Marcel and welcome to this interview. I am very happy to have you here and that you took the time although you are very busy regarding the upcoming launch of THORWallet.

Marcel: Thank you so much for inviting me, it is my pleasure to be here!

Qi Capital: We have already met before and it’s fascinating to see the progress you have made since then but let’s talk first about your background and what has led you to the creation of THORWallet. Could you give our listeners a short rundown on your crypto journey?

Marcel: My Name is Marcel and I’m the Founder and CEO of THORwallet. I’m a seasoned entrepreneur with a background in Banking & Finance from the University of Zurich. I also started a Ph.D. in IT. I’m currently also a course director at the University of Applied Sciences Lucerne for two further education courses, the CAS Crypto Finance & Cryptocurrencies, and CAS Blockchain course. Those are 3–4 months deep-dive courses in the said topics.

I’m further a board member of the DEC Institute, which is an online examination and certification platform for digital assets specialists, backed by leading blockchain universities. They do like the internationally acknowledged Chartered Digital Asset Analyst Exam, maybe you’ve heard of them. I also recently had the chance to join the Crypto Valley Association as a board member — one of the biggest blockchain-related associations worldwide. Before that, I acted in award-winning tech startups in various roles from the founder, early management member, or angel investor.

Now, what has to lead me to the creation of THORWallet: For me, crypto & blockchain is the symbiosis of my two favorite topics, which are IT & Finance. It was clear early on that I want to eventually have my own venture in this space. I’m full-time crypto since 2017 and now in 2021, I think the DeFi technology is ready to bring it to the masses, in an easy and accessible way. We have assessed many technologies to create a native app that allows trading native Layer 1 tokens decentralized, which means non-wrapped tokens, also to earn APY on those L1 tokens, again decentralized and non-wrapped. Everything is stored in a non-custodial wallet, so users are in full control.

We figured that THORChain is our way to go, that their team and their technology are amazing, their roadmap with THORFi products matches our vision as well, so yes, we ended up joining as an extended or better remote team to develop THORWallet.

Qi Capital: How have you experienced the last 12 months after this long-lasting bear market? What lessons do you want to share?

Marcel: The last 12 months were really exciting. Bitcoin exploding last December was such a satisfaction. DeFi summer was lots of fun and then the NFT craziness. After this long-lasting bear market, it is very satisfying.

The lessons learned are very clear to me. If you have a long-term goal and vision, you stick to it and work on it. You put your head down and simply work yourself through this time because you know, long term it will end and you have used the time wisely and made a lot of progress. Don’t waste your time.

Qi Capital: Another more general question before we focus exclusively on Thorwallet: what’s is your view on the recent Thorchain exploit, the network halt, and the step-by-step relaunch of the MCCN?

Marcel: I mean it is called Chaosnet for a reason. It was clear to me that this is going to happen eventually. And I’m happy that it happened sooner than later.

THORChain is a very complex, unchartered territory, surely it will be attacked and hacked. So this didn't shock me at all. The question to me was, how is the core team responding to it, and the way they reacted was exactly what I wanted to see. Pure professionalism. I mean, honestly, I already knew that they are top-notch and their strategy with raising the caps slowly already proved to me that they are here for the long term and not for the quick money and know that this technology needs to grow slowly and hardened.

I mean if you think really long term and THORChain will be a success, we will have a whole FIAT system trying to attack it. So we better get prepared. THORChain will be huge for the financial revolution that is going on.

Qi Capital: What triggered the idea to create another crypto wallet? And how did you find the team to build it?

Marcel: The idea started already 3–4 years ago when all my friends asked me how to buy bitcoin. The easiest way back then was Coinbase and I always played with the idea to build my own app out of Switzerland. Well, this didn’t happen but then the idea came that by now all my friends do have some crypto and they should be able to get some APY on it, also if they are not so crypto savvy.

I made a shortlist with requirements that such an app would need, like

  1. non-custodial
  2. native tokens, so non-wrapped
  3. provide decent APY considering the transaction costs also for smaller investment amounts
  4. swapping functionality.

We did a deep dive into all different kinds of protocols and ended up with THORChain.

The other co-founders are also very experienced especially when it comes to venture to build. All of them are also co-founders of AXELRA which is a successful tech venture builder here in Switzerland. The latest projects of Axelra are for example http://freya-savings.com, like a tax-deductible savings account (401k), which includes top-class safety as the app works with a Swiss bank. It was also recently ranked 1st when it comes to Usability/ customer onboarding. Revolut as an example became second.

Qi Capital: If you would have to define the long-term vision for Thorwallet, what would it be?

Marcel: Sure, THORWallet is not only the official native iOS and Android wallet for the THORChain community but we want to reach people outside the THORChain community and basically become the Robinhood app for cross-chain DeFi. What does that mean?

Well, we’re a non-custodial mobile wallet that offers much more than the wallets you’ve been using so far. Since we integrate all the functionalities THORChain offers, our users will be able to swap native coins like Bitcoin or Ethereum, earn passive income by providing liquidity on THORChain, tap into borrowing/lending facilities, or trade THORChain-based synthetics that can even be locked in a cross-chain savings account, all directly from out of the wallet. And this doesn’t even cover all the functionalities that we will offer.

Qi Capital: Let’s focus now on your first product, “the mobile super app for the TC community”. What will I as a user be able to do with Thorwallet?

Marcel: First of all THORWallet is a non-custodial wallet, so you are always in control of your funds. You will be able to

  • swapping native L1 assets,
  • provide liquidity to the TC pools,
  • as soon as the THORFi functionalities will be available we will integrate trading synthetic assets as well,
  • borrowing and lending, and
  • transferring your funds via THORname service

It is really a one-stop solution to what you need.

We will also have different premium features such as Multi-wallet functionality, that you can unlock when staking our multi-utility token $TGT.

Qi Capital: What differentiates THORWallet compared to already well-known mobile wallets like TrustWallet?

Marcel: If we look at native apps I would compare ourselves with TrustWallet and Shapeshift. TrustWallet started with the focus of a wallet and then added more features such as dAPP Browser and swapping Tokens. They have a fully diluted market cap of 890m with a peak of around $1.1bn Shapeshift started early with a focus on trading/swapping functionality — at first even centralized. They are at around $511m FDV.

First of all, we believe the market is big enough for 3 and even more wallet players. The market is still growing rapidly, so this counts also for the future. Importantly though our focus is from the beginning to become the ”Robinhood app of DeFi” with our 2 app approach. We have a heavy focus on usability and simplicity, I think you already see that in our clean app screens we regularly post on our Twitter account.

Qi Capital: You mentioned that there will be on/off-ramps included but you also don’t want to enforce KYC — how is that possible from a regulatory standpoint?

Marcel: So Thorwallet will launch without Fiat on/off ramp, pure DEX. We won’t store any data. As you know we are planning a retail app later, that’s where we implement Fiat first. There are two options:

There is a way to on-ramp fiat without KYC but with a monthly limit of 1k or a yearly limit of 100k per IBAN number. This works in Europe only. It fits our strategy very well to onboard non-crypto/DeFi retail customers where 100k a year is more than enough.

Secondly, we can implement an optional full FIAT on/off-ramp which then includes KYC. Those who don’t need FIAT on/off-ramp, can use the app normally, all the DeFi Features without KYC. We are still talking about the retail app.

Based on this experience the THORChain community can then decide what should be implemented in THORWallet.

I think that is the best and also fairest approach.

Qi Capital: In this second app with an increased retail focus, how will it be different, and do you have a timeline in mind regarding its launch?

Marcel: The retail version will have all the DeFi complexity stripped away. If you are not a crypto expert you don’t understand how the concept of liquidity pooling works. Also, you don't understand what impermanent loss is and so on. These are things we will make very easy and very simple.

The app will we THORchain unrelated, new branding, new logo, as our customer base will be very different.

We plan to launch in 2022.

Qi Capital: Let’s talk a bit about TGT — the Thorwallet Governance Token. Why do you need this token and what’s the utility behind it?

Marcel: We have a total of 1bn $TGT. The burning mechanism basically turns the tokenomics into a deflationary model which is good for the token price. We will buy back TGT with 20% of our revenue from the trading affiliate fees and burn them.

But beyond this, we have lots of utility for holders. Think of it like the different tiers you know from crypto.com or SwissBorg. The more tokens you stake, the more features you unlock. With features I mean, less trading fees, unlocking a dark&light version, having multiple wallets within the app, and so on.

With the difference that we do everything on-chain. We don’t run a centralized server to store that kind of data and know what tier you are in. It is all on-chain. It is more complex, takes more time to develop, but is worth the time. It is really cool. The core technology stays DeFi even as a native mobile wallet. That’s why we really think we are allowed to name ourselves Robinhood of DeFi.

Our multi-utility token also has governance functions. That’s very important, especially in the long run and THORWallet will also run its own THORChain validator, given our Treasury after the IDO allows for it. In simple words, we will again buy back $TGT tokens with the rewards we get from running a node and burn the token. In that way, a TGT holder is part of a node operator. He does not only profit from it economically but also helps the ecosystem to become more decentralized and stable. We plan that for 2022.

Qi Capital: What about gamification and NFTs? No newly launched projects seem to go without it nowadays?

Marcel: Gamification is super important. We are embedding gamified community features in the form of missions. For example “add liquidity to three pools for 3 months and get some extra TGT”. Beforehand we can educate what adding liquidity means. We can incentivize correct behavior in our app. It will help retention as well as growth rate.

Yes, this is something pretty cool and I’m very excited about it. I can also share some information we haven’t shared publicly yet.

We will launch three highly limited NFTs: the Commander, the General, and the Soldier. And when I mean limited I really mean so. We will have 20 Commanders only, 200 Generals, and 2000 Soldiers.

For the commander, you need 5m TGT, for the General 500k TGT. This means they will be available only after our IDO. For the Soldier, you need 1000 TGT or 1000 XRUNE. Since XRUNE is already available, the soldiers will be available before our IDE. Probably the beginning of October. It will kickstart our road to the IDO.

Each of them will also have proper functionality in the app and unlock unique features such as 0% affiliate trading fees for holding the NFT. Hence an NFT with real utility and value. It is of course possible to resell those NFTs in the aftermarket. With a growing community, I foresee them becoming pretty valuable.

One more thing I will give away: the holder of the Commander and General NFT will be eligible to claim a highly limited THORWallet cap which is physically linked thanks to a QR within the cap that links to the NFT. We wanted to bridge a digital NFT with something in the real world you can touch!

Qi Capital: Can you give us a high-level overview of the token allocation and whom you already have onboard in terms of early investors?

Marcel: We have 1bn TGT tokens in total. 10% was used for the private sale. 40% will be going back to the community in form of community missions, liquidity mining programs, etc.

Regarding private sales we are very happy with the result and humbled by the speed we were able to successfully raise our cap of $2.5m and onboard some very supporting partners.

We have the official Thorchain treasury backing us, some core team members, Nine Realms, FomoCraft, ICO Hub, CryptoDiffer, Contango Digital Assets, RBX, ZBS capital.

Qi Capital: You plan your upcoming token launch as an IDO on Thorstarter and also THORChain itself, can you guide us through the high-level plan?

Marcel: The launch will start in 3 phases so we get a fair distribution:

1. Phase: Allocation with Thorstarter (free float). Price $0.025, the same price as private sale (=fair launch)

2. Phase: Opening of RUNE-TGT pool on TC (free float) with the closing price of phase 1

3. Phase: Opening of USDC or ETH-TGT pool on Sushiswap (free float) with the closing price of phase 2.

The initial supply in our Rune-TGT pool is around 4%, which gives us a Public Launch Market Cap of 1m.

Qi Capital: Outside Thorwallet, what other projects or features built on THORChain are you most excited about or looking forward to?

Marcel: I’m super excited about Synthetic Asset trading on Thorchain. This will lead to an explosion in trading activity. Also, automated lending and borrowing will be a no-brainer hit and I can't wait to offer this in THORWallet.

Qi Capital: How do you see the competition with so many projects tapping into the TC protocol like THORswap, Defispot, Skip, Rango, etc.?

Marcel: So if you look within the THORChain ecosystem you find a few browser-based interfaces like THORSwap or Asgardex. But as just said they are browser-based and not native iOS and Android apps. THORWallet is the native mobile version and we believe that the trend is towards mobile usage.

Surely, in the best-case scenario, when Thorchain gets super successful, which we all believe in, even more, competition will pop up. Luckily we will have months of experience and are super close to the core team to always stay relevant.

And don't forget, to build a native app that runs smoothly and interacts with so many blockchains you need quite experienced developers, not just with blockchain background but also iOS/Android development.

Qi Capital: Thank you Marcel for this overview about THORWallet and your future plans, it was a real pleasure talking to you.

Marcel: Likewise, thank you very much Archon for this opportunity.

About Qi Capital

Qi Capital is a group of like-minded and experienced individuals from around the globe, sharing two common objectives: providing insights about crypto and DeFi, and proactively working with ambitious teams on the future of decentralized finance. Our core principle is to promote and foster individual creativity, growing not only as a group but also as creative thinkers and builders. To learn more about us, check out our website www.qicapital.org and our “Qi Podcast” via www.buzzsprout.com/1729379/ or engage with us on Twitter: @QiCapital.

Disclaimer

This article is not investment advice. All market prices, data, and other information are not warranted as to completeness or accuracy, are based upon selected public market data, and reflect prevailing conditions and the author’s own views as of this date, all of which are accordingly subject to change without notice.

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Archon
Qi Capital

Crypto, DeFi & GameFi enthusiast. Qi_Capital Council and @0x_Ventures Member. Product/BizDev/Writing. Running the „Qi Podcast”: https://buzzsprout.com/1729379