January 2021 AMA recap
According to the community, this was the best AMA to date! If you missed it, you can watch it now.
Sam Harcourt, Director of Asia Operations, joined Michael Chen, Fantom’s CMO, to discuss recent progress both in software and business development.
Sam revealed that the Fantom Foundation is more multi-faceted than what people may perceive externally.
These were the questions:
- What do you focus on, and who do you work with within the Foundation?
- Can you tell us more about the collaboration with DABS?
- What can you tell us about the Afghanistan stock exchange?
- When is a roadmap for 2021 coming? And what will be the 3 main tasks or milestones to achieve?
- When will you be more aggressive with marketing? When will Fantom Finance be completed?
- How will Fantom gain market share after the release of Fantom Finance?
- When Ren, when bridge, when synths on ETH? When?
- Any news on the Dubai smart city?
- Is Andre Cronje still involved in Fantom in an advisory position or similar?
What do you focus on, and who do you work with within the Foundation?
Sam: Fantom has a two-pronged approach. One side focuses on on-chain development, including the DeFi suite, network improvements, and upcoming products.
The other side is a more traditional business development approach that aims to build software products to solve real-world problems.
I work closely with Barek, Director of Business Development, and Jawid, Head of Afghanistan operations, to build strategies for enterprises, mostly regarding authenticity and databases.
We’re building multiple revenue streams for the Foundation that can be used to create more cool stuff on-chain.
Can you tell us more about the collaboration with DABS?
Sam: The partnership is huge. DABS is Afghanistan’s energy distributor and importer and handles energy for the whole nation. Working with them will prove the technology that we built in the last 2-3 years and showcase what Fantom can do.
We got a lot of interest from the announcement of this pilot, and many possibilities opened up.
Besides that, the Ministry of Health pilot is coming to a wrap as well.
What can you tell us about the Afghanistan stock exchange?
Sam: Michael Kong mentioned it during the Lunarcrush podcast; however, we can’t talk much about it yet. If the DABS pilot is successful as we believe and we go to a full-scale implementation proving that Fantom can utilize its technology for both traditional and blockchain-based, there are good chances that we can build the Afghanistan stock exchange.
And it’s not just building an exchange; it’s transforming a nation. Our work will bring capital away from first world countries where legacy systems have been around for so long that they are hard to change. On the other hand, Afghanistan has a very open mind and wants to use these new technologies. The people on the ground are very excited as they understand the potential that has for the nation.
When is a roadmap for 2021 coming? And what will be the 3 main tasks or milestones to achieve?
We haven’t released a public roadmap yet, as it’s difficult to give exact dates in software development, and circumstances can change independently of our control. We’ve also noticed how the community received unannounced milestones much better.
So for this year, we’ll release a general roadmap without going too much into the specifics.
3 milestones from Sam:
- Move the DABS pilot to full-scale implementation
- Wrapping up the pilot with the Ministry of Health and moving to a full-scale implementation there as well with more products
- Begin development of the Afghanistan securities exchange
3 milestones from Michael:
- Release fLend
- Implement algorithmic stabilization to fUSD, something that we’ve been talking about a lot with our technical advisors
- Extra developer engagement through hackathons and incentivizing developers to build on Ethereum to start and once grown to a reasonable size, gradually port functionalities over to Fantom
When will you be more aggressive with marketing? When will Fantom Finance be completed?
With the type of marketing we did in 2018 and 2019, we gained a lot of traction in a short time, but the product wasn’t necessarily ready yet. In hindsight, it would have been ideal to have a minimum product to attract power users and institutions with regular users to follow.
Now we’re looking to increase the TVL and attract power users first before marketing aggressively to the regular users. The reason for this is that power users understand the underlying risks of using a new platform or protocol, and they’re willing to take the risk. Regular users aren’t necessarily familiar with these dynamics, and they would want more validation before using something like it.
Furthermore, we’re waiting for the product to be ready so that we can market that, rather than marketing an idea. We have plenty of marketing ideas and a marketing plan in place, and we’re waiting for fLend, fTrade, and the Ren bridge to be released first. Besides those, we have some other cool tech stuff in the pipeline, to which Andre has contributed.
To reassure the community, we’re the first Fantom fans, and we want to see it succeed and accessible to anyone in the world.
How will Fantom gain market share after the release of Fantom Finance?
On Ethereum, the strategy to create a successful product involves incentivized liquidity. On Fantom, it won’t be any different, whether that incentivized liquidity happens on fUni, Uniswap, Sushiswap, or any other AMM dex. The Foundation will likely provide some rewards to people who provide liquidity.
Besides that, education will play a significant role, so people do not necessarily chase the highest APY, rather than supporting the protocol.
When Ren, when bridge, when synths on ETH? When?
We have been in contact with the Ren team since last year, and they mentioned that Fantom was already on the plan for integration.
A few considerations: Ren was initially built to bridge BTC to Ethereum, and they later added multichain VM to support more chains. Unlike other chains, like Cosmos and Polkadot, which require more work, Fantom supports EVM and Solidity, and Vyper programming languages, making the integration easier. According to Ren, the integration should be completed by Q1, but things can change as often happens.
We spoke about doing different bridges, but we’re evaluating vulnerabilities and analyzing potential added complexities for the users.
Any news on the Dubai smart city?
One of the first assignments for Sam, when he joined Fantom, was to go to Dubai and find out how they operated and what was going on. The business development team found out that it was tough to sell Fantom technology as in Dubai they don’t see the need for a better system, especially without a provable demonstration to support it.
Then the Afghanistan leads came through, and things started happening in Afghanistan, where people were more responsive to technology improvements.
Moving forward, we want to showcase to the world the work we’re doing in Afghanistan, and why blockchain is so important, and why you can be left behind if you don’t start adopting it now. That’s our goal in the next few years, whether it’s through energy distribution, medical verification, or authentication of certificates. Once that’s proven, we can go back to nations such as the UAE and the rest of the world.
Is Andre Cronje still involved in Fantom in an advisory position or similar?
We get this question very often, and it’s the subject of a lot of speculation, and we always answer the exact same thing: yes, yes, yes!
We talk to Andre on a daily basis. We talk about technical integrations, we ask for introductions, he helps us with operations, and we ask him to apply his experience that he got in the past year working in DeFi that we can use as a framework for building similar products on Fantom.