Panel Live | What Are The Next Trends In DeFi And NFT In East And West?
Cointelegraph China, Rocket Protocol, DODO, Pantera Capital, Framework Ventures & SevenX Ventures
About The Panel
Rocket Protocol and Cointelegraph China, have recently held a panel live on YouTube. Rocket Protocol is a blockchain infrastructure incubated by blockchain game publishing platform MixMarvel. On May 12th, together with renowned representatives from Pantera Capital, SevenX Ventures, DODO, and Framework Ventures (who are the investment institutions for both DODO and Rocket Protocol), they discussed their insight ideas on the future of Defi and NFT from eastern and western perspectives in three different time zones.
The idea to initiate this panel belonged to Mary Ma, the co-founder of MixMarvel and Rocket Protocol. Mary hoped that blockchain practitioners from both East and West could be more integrated, learn from each other’s development concepts, and jointly promote more comprehensive blockchain applications on a global scale. This idea quickly took up Ting Peng, the edit-in-chief at Cointelegraph China, who had gladly agreed to host Wednesday’s discussion. As we all are now, Ting was very curious to know observations from both venture capitalists' and blockchain developers’ perspectives.
About The Guests
The core team of MixMarvel are all specialists from the traditional game industry, coming from giant leaders like Ubisoft and Tencent, and the Rocket Protocol team come from Alibaba and Huawei. MixMarvel has been producing blockchain games since 2017. Their first game HyperDragons attracted over 1 million registered users and surpassed Crypto Kitties in August 2018. Now, the Rocket Protocol team is rapidly moving towards building a more solid metaverse for the future. Rocket Protocol had just announced closing the seed round with $1.2 million of investment the day before the panel.
Some of the speakers present at the panel had previously partnered with each other before. Diane Dai, the co-founder and CMO of DODO, a China-based product renowned worldwide, also an early user of MixMarvel, started her introduction by reminiscing on providing the trading service for HyperDragons, mentioned above. Now, DODO is also one of the investors and supporters of Rocket Protocol.
As for the present investors’ side, Roy Learner, the principal at Framework Ventures, has been hooked by the crypto industry since 2016. As Roy introduced, Framework Ventures’s thesis has been primarily around decentralized finance being the new backbone for the new financial infrastructure, which lead to them investing in DODO. Recently Framework has been branching out beyond the DeFi space and looking realistically at Web3 and NFT gaming.
Eraser, the founding partner from SevenX Ventures, got into blockchain as early as 2016 as well. Although SevenX is a young brand, many of the founding partners have experience in this industry for at least 5 or 6 years. In 2018, two venture capital organizations of the current SevenX founding partners had separately invested in MixMarvel without knowing each other.
Paul Veradittakit is the partner at Pantera Capital, one of the earliest institutional investors in cryptocurrencies and blockchain. They used to be CFO and head of global macro trading at Tiger Management, having a very institutional background. They manage a few different funds that invest in all areas starting from equity to tokens pre-launch. Paul started his career in investments as early as 2010 and entered the crypto space in 2013. Paul mentioned that DODO and Rocket Protocol both perfectly fit Pantera’s thesis about DeFi and NFTs.
What Were The Differences Between NFT And DeFi Spaces Evolvement, And What Does Their Future Look Like?
Answering the above question, Roy noticed that the infrastructure for DeFi is more developed as its core building blocks and the bear market have become significantly developed over the past two years and enabled some higher-level applications to blossom. The NFT side, Roy said, is only getting closer to having the fundamental primitives required for higher-level applications. NFT space has received quite some attention and traction over summer 2020. However, there is still much space for exciting infrastructures like Rocket Protocol that will enable higher-level applications once the NFT infrastructure is established. In the NFT space, Framework is currently focusing on infrastructure-phase projects as it is what needs to be developed, Roy stated.
On the other hand, Pantera has done more on infrastructure than applications on the DeFi side, focusing on Decentralized insurance, exchanges, and lending. In the NFT area, Pantera is only making its first steps. Paul also mentioned seeing much activity around making DeFi and NFTs more usable, starting seeing trends of fractionalization and how to make NFTs more currency-like. Overarching all these, Paul thinks, what is needed the most is scalability, including the infrastructure that Rocket Protocol provides, better trading from the DODO side and layer-2 solutions on Ethereum and other blockchains.
Eraser, representing the eastern side, has noticed two trends happening on DeFi in the Asian market, especially in China. For early DeFi, one significant thing is being “user-friendly” to attract users in the highly competitive market, especially when facing the large-scale traditional web 2.0 users when they first experience DeFi.The other trend is that centralized exchanges like BSC go deeper into DeFi. As for NFT, Eraser thinks it is the most prominent and most promising field blockchain can get mass adoption from. China giants like Alibaba and Tencent have their strategy on releasing their own NFTs, however, only on their chains, not public ones. Still, there will be more impact on decentralized NFT space, which will get much public attraction from common users through fan NFT.
Differences And Similarities Between Eastern And Western Projects And What Makes DODO Popular?
Diane suggested that the popularity of DODO comes from its team development experience in DDEX and the fact that they “struggled” with DeFi long before this term even existed. Also, DODO co-founders were the core developers of DDEX. DODO is a decentralized exchange with an original market-making algorithm that provides capital efficiency of liquidity for traders and liquidity providers. DODO is built on both Ethereum and BSC, and it will be deployed on more chains and layer-2s. DODO is also making its NFT to support NFT primary market.
All projects in East and West share the vision to bring a transparent, open, and equal accessible financial service to the global market. What differentiates DODO from other projects is that most builders focus on Ethereum. DODO, on the contrary, is more open to accepting more chains even if built on a centralized exchange. Since DODO started building on BSC, it received a significant raise in user base and traffic and looking forwards to deploy on more chains.
As Ting summarized, the West focuses on Ethereum and hardcore tech, and the East is trying to build an as-big-as-possible ecosystem and involve as many people as possible.
Roy ultimately agreed with this statement, adding that in the western perspective, there was a complete dismissal of what is happening in other ecosystems outside Ethereum. Nonetheless, Roy thinks of it as a big mistake of many investors, builders, and users as there is evident traction in other ecosystems. Despite the western belief that all user base happens on Ethereum, many people, in reality, are priced out of Ethereum, resulting in more users switching to those cheaper ecosystems. Although being strong supporters of Ethereum, Framework believes it is unwise to dismiss other things beyond the Ethereum bubble.
Outside just scalability, Paul added, that will bring more users onto platforms. That is one huge reason to move to alternatives that can provide more scalability depending on what use-case is being chased — especially gaming that is tough to do on Ethereum. Also, for entrepreneurs, it is about tapping the resources of these chains. Different ecosystems provide different geographic reach. Besides, there is a high demand for high-quality apps to be built on these new ecosystems. Paul says the transition to them can be very lucrative and a lot easier than one might think.
Mary expressed that all the above were precisely the reasons to build Rocket Protocol as developers want all of it at once. As mentioned before, there are many users in BSC. However, Ethereum assets are most valuable. So can someone have all the users and still have their assets on Ethereum? The demand for such possibility lead to developing the cross-chain function for blockchain infrastructure for the future metaverse, Rocket Protocol.
Being developed for three years now, at first, Rocket Protocol was used as the layer-2 scaling solution in HyperDragons to solve the cost and the performance problems within the game but still retain the decentralized characteristics. After that, with the 2019 upgrade, Rocket Protocol developed its BLS+VRF consensus mechanism and started to build the cross-chain bridge and DID architecture. These features helped the second game of MixMarvel, HyperSnakes, to be released on Ethereum, TRON, Ontology, and Ant blockchain by Alibaba almost simultaneously. Coming this year, Rocket Protocol is already fully compatible with Ethereum. It allows users to use dapps or transfer tokens or NFTs freely within the EVM system. Rocket Protocol can solve the hard choice between the different chains as it aims towards mass adoption and giving a unified experience to the common users.
Why Invest In NFT Now? — Investment Philosophy Insights.
Paul believes the reason why the NFT frenzy is happening now but not in 2017 is infrastructure. Even mere knowledge about Ethereum smart contracts and usability was much different back then. Both of those things have improved. DeFi has gotten a ton of new users in the US, making the education process for the NFTs easier. Also, now platforms like Coinbase allow buying NFTs without any knowledge on the matter. Only then, Pantera saw that people could potentially move a bit more decentralized.
Pantera’s investment philosophy for the NFT market is to take things slow and wait for the data to show. They first observe how the ecosystem evolves, invest in the infrastructure, and then find the niche market to focus on the platform. Another question that requires focusing is what economy works with which kind of society. In the asian market, with its KOL culture, NFTs can grow a lot faster than in the US.
There is a distinct difference between NFTs types in the West and the East, Roy adds. Some of the specific western culture-related NFTs like NBA Top Shot didn’t get as much attention in the East as they did in the West. Many different types of NFTs take off depending on the cultural significance.
Since westerns know their side better than the eastern one, how do they make sure that they stay on top of what’s popular all around? Framework makes sure to stay a little bit ahead of the curve so that next time something takes off as quickly as NBA Top Shot did. This is what Framework is looking for on the western side. As for the eastern side, all they can is only invest in the infrastructure as they have much less knowledge in terms of what types of brands or NFTs creators will take off.
On the other hand, Eraser believes that only then NFT can be considered mature when people are no longer talking about it as an investment track — if we think back, no one will remember FT was an investment field once. SevenX’s investment strategy, in the area of DeFi and NFT or any other, is to draw the whole picture and see if there is a mislink. For DeFi, SevenX wants to build an architecture with money — stable coins — and assets as the base. SevenX sees many real-world assets coming into blockchain as basic assets. Apart from that, there are four pillars that stand on that basics: exchange (hence, support DODO), lending (looking forwards to permissionless lending), payment, and derivatives (no leaders yet). In short, what SevenX finds as a mislink for the whole DeFi structure, are privacy solutions, the layer-2 solutions.
How To Participate In DODO And Rocket Protocol IDO?
DODO has already successfully done its IDO on their platform, so now you can only buy DODO in the secondary market. Rocket Protocol is about to launch IDO in June and collaborate with the most famous IDO platforms in the East and West. Also, MixMarvel is about to launch two of their new games LeCube and DeHero, on Rocket Protocol.
Follow DODO and Rocket Protocol on Twitter so that not miss any important news! Feel free to participate both in the games and secondary market.
Each of the speakers present on this live stream panel has their strong opinions on DeFi and NFT. Though not so different from one another, they show apparent similarities between the core ideas behind each of the projects and evident differences between blockchain’s evolution in the East and West. They all have the same goal but take a different approach that is highly influenced by geological reasons since, in some matters, the eastern side had grown more ready than the western, or vice versa.
However, over the course of the panel, these particular blockchain practitioners have become more integrated and learned from each other’s development concepts and will keep jointly promoting more comprehensive blockchain applications globally.
About Rocket Protocol
Rocket Protocol is a blockchain infrastructure for the future virtual world incubated by MixMarvel. As a high-performance chain group that can realize the multi-chain contract interoperability of the EVM system, Rocket Protocol 2.0 integrates the cross-chain, NFT, and EVM protocols and expands on this basis. This allows developers to create and adapt to various complex decentralized applications freely and gives users an experience similar to an Internet application.