The Challenges and Opportunities of Scaling Blockchains with Hamzah Khan from PolygonSep 22, 2021
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HOST: Hey, everybody. Welcome back to The Unstoppable Podcast. I’m your host, Diana Chen, and I’m here today with our guest Hamzah Khan. He is the head of DeFi at Polygon, formerly MATIC. And most of you I’m sure have at least heard of Polygon, if you are not deeply familiar with what it is. But for those of you new to it, it’s a protocol and a framework for scaling on the blockchain, and that’s a way over simplified description of it. So I’m excited to have Hamzah here to talk, talk a lot more about what Polygon is. So welcome, Hamzah. Thank you so much for being here.
HAMZAH KHAN: Yeah, thanks, Diana. Thanks for having me, and thanks for— I think someone, someone recommended me to come on the podcast I remember.
HOST: Yeah, I put out a tweet, I put out a tweet saying like who do you guys want to hear on the podcast, and I think multiple people tagged you actually. So I reached out, and I’m really glad you’re here.
HAMZAH KHAN: Yeah, thanks.
HOST: So before we dive into Polygon, I would love to know a little bit more about your background, and how you got into crypto. So take us all the way back to when you first heard about crypto, what was it that drew you in and how did you start learning about it?
HAMZAH KHAN: Yeah, 2017, I think that was pretty much most of the people at least, at least right now, how they got into crypto, I think 2017 was the time period. July, I was in Dubai for some, some family. I was in college at that time, but I was in Dubai during my summer vacation, and got to know about Bitcoin then. Bitcoin was, I remember, $5,000 during July 2017, and yeah, I just got, got reading into this ICO bubble has just started, it was just getting started. Bitcoin white paper I read, I read these double-spend problems, consensus, Nakamoto Consensus, indeed these Byzantine general problem, these sort of things. And it just struck me—I mean, it would be oversimplifying by saying it struck me, but it was very a new way of solving economic as well as a technical problem. And I was—I read somewhere that someone said that during that time that Nakamoto—Satoshi Nakamoto should have been, should be rewarded a Nobel Prize in, a Nobel Prize in economics and then, and then a Computer science problem which is the Turing Award. And then it clicked to me oh, really, is it that big? And then I started looking more into, into Bitcoin, and then into, and then of course Ethereum. And yeah, that was—that got me hooked into 2017 that was.
HOST: Got you. So in 2017, there weren’t hardly as many—there weren’t nearly as many resources as there are today for, for learning. So how did you like go about figuring out, wrapping your head around what this is because most people when they are first, when they first have exposure to the Bitcoin white paper, it’s just a bunch of words that make no sense, and it’s sort of hard to wrap your mind around. So like how, how did you go about teaching yourself back in 2017?
HAMZAH KHAN: I think random articles, random blog, technical, technical articles from—I don’t remember. But I have one particular thing I remember was reading the Bitcoin book, the Mastering Bitcoin; I remember it was Mastering Bitcoin. And then bunch of Andres Antonopoulos videos everyone watches, everyone starts getting into that, into that, yeah, that was pretty much but I read the white paper. I was, I was going through the subreddits, Bitcoin subreddits a lot. A lot Blockchain subreddits, I read the paper multiple times. I was going through those initial discussions of Satoshi with, with—forums. There was, there was this initial discussion ever happening with people. Once the article came out, he was explaining what it is, and why it is important. And in the, in the forums, I remember that I was reading it multiple times. Yeah, I, I read those references lot of times, I remember. Like in the white paper you had, you had references rate, Hashcash other, other projects that was inspired—that were inspirations of Bitcoin. Yeah, those things were, were pretty cool, but I don’t know exactly remember where everything happened. Yeah, I don’t remember.
HOST: Yeah, for sure. It sounds for people who got in earlier on Reddit was a good source of information, but I think today it’s changed a lot of it.
HAMZAH KHAN: Nowadays, it has become crazy, a little bit, yeah.
HOST: Yeah, okay. So how did you go from there getting that first exposure to crypto to now being the Chief DeFi Officer at Polygon?
HAMZAH KHAN: I don’t know. Like it happened, it happened serendipitously. I was doing—after that I lost, some stupid people like me who lost after the, after the crash happened. But, yeah, after that I left for almost one-and-half years, was not following things which was retrospectively not probably the worst decision anyone could make during that time, but, but yeah, I was part of hackathons during 2020 events, during summer of 2020, and then MATIC, I was part of some hackathons, and my tech was hiring back then; I was building some stuff. I come from a technical background, so my background is, is Engineering, Mechanical, and Computer Engineering. So I have taken both courses in college. So yeah, I was building some stuff while having a day job, and yeah, MATIC was hiring. I just spoke with some of the team there, and, and yeah, they needed someone. So I was doing some stuff of my own. Like of course everyone started trading, everyone starts with, but I was experiencing more, I was experiencing these projects like Uniswap, Synthetix, AAVE Compound, I was playing around with them understanding what Chainlink is, I mean, these, these education sort of thing other than of course trading shitcoins, that is a different thing, but yeah, they are more of an education thing. And MATIC just happened at that time, and—early January. And, and yeah, it’s been—it started as 10-team I remember 10 percent team, the, the business development team, and now I think we are more than 15 in the business development team. So it’s been one, one hell of a ride.
HOST: Yeah, yeah, seriously. Yeah, seriously. So take me back, you know, to, to sort of—walk us through the genesis story of MATIC. I know you weren’t there from the very beginning, but as far as you understand, you know, the story of how it was started. What was MATIC initially when it was first created, and then how has it developed as it’s transitioned from MATIC to Polygon, and where it is today?
HAMZAH KHAN: Yeah, I think I, I honestly heard first about MATIC when back I was in college because I started from India, and MATIC again is an Indian company, and that was the only company that was Indian at that 2017 time when IOTA, EOS, these sort of projects were, you know, taking the hype, but I vividly remember MATIC was the only Indian project apart from a couple of exchanges that were there. So of course they were in. They were a big inspiration to be a part of this industry at that. Pretty much all of the Indians that are there in this space, MATIC probably is the biggest inspiration, even probably bigger than Ethereum. I would, I would honestly say bigger than Ethereum because it just gave us a thing that okay, it could be done, but yeah, other than that, so yeah, I think MATIC started off as, as a Plasma research project. We were—I mean the found we were, I mean, the founders were part of the - - Plasma research team, I think Judy was one of the, was one of the contributors; initial contributors to the, to the - -, and those opensource project, and Sandeep was involved in other consulting things which, which, which then came together to start, to start project, a scaling solution, basically a scaling Blockchain. And during that time, people who were there, CryptoKitties happened which was the first use case of—not first, but probably one of the first mainstream use cases of Ethereum Blockchain with games, NFTs, and those sorts of things. So the spike happened, the scaling problems were coming up, and during that time, lot of Plasma solutions came up, and MATIC was one of them. But slowly, we, we realized that okay, Mat—Plasma is not—I don’t remember then, but Sandeep was mentioning during DEFCON Osaka sometime they realized that okay, Plasma is not going to scale due to a lot of shit problems, seven-day withdrawal. The seven-days withdrawal was one—I mean, you could technically build something but, but when you really talk about adoption, when you talk about scaling things actually, and by scaling I mean, not just TPS, and not just gas fees becoming low, but actually user experience scaling up, it was just not there with Plasma. It was not 100 percent even compatible, which means you have to—you have to ship a lot of different things internally. Pretty much similar to what optimistic rollups are today, at least in my opinion, because at least they have the seven-day withdrawal period right now again, which is a problem. This was similar things were happening with Plasma, then we move to a PoS chain that is today. Plasma, sorry, PoS commit chain where our architecture is a little different than from the normal sidechains, like, like probably - -, we are a different, different architecture. But, but now, 2020 came, 2020 came where we saw optimistic rollups coming, then we saw Polkadot coming which is, which is taking SDK, not exactly an SDK, but yeah, you can build your own, your own chains, and stuff like that. Then we saw SDK rollups, and I think we went heavy. We are heavily invested in, in SDK rollups, of course, you must have seen the acquisition, and some other, that is this one of the acquisition, there are multiple things coming up, collaborations. Hermis was one, then EY are doing very interesting thing with Ernst and Young. Recently, the Nightfall project, they will be working closely with, with, with what we call Polygon, with Polygon as one of the scaling solutions. That is one thing. Then we have the solutions in the, in the blanks space which is another SDK site, and then in stark space. So these, these three, four things are interesting, and now with the SDK that we have launched, you know, people can build, people can build their own chains spawned off from the main network. So one of the teams is actually building, is actually live on Testnet with their own chain, so a separate - - platform called Sportex. It’s a, it’s a pretty good Canada-based project, and they wanted to scale beyond just the main chain, and they, and the, the whole chain will be secured by their assets token, which is a pretty cool thing similar to—it’s even compatible, so you don’t have to worry too much about, about, you know, porting code and whatnot, but it’s a pretty interesting thing. Gaming and NFT’s will be very important on SDK. So yeah.
HOST: Got it. And so for people who don’t know what SDK is, can you explain what, what that is?
HAMZAH KHAN: Oh, yeah, yeah. So SDK basically is a, is a way of—is a, is a, is a toolbox of, you know, creating your own chain. You can spawn off something like Polkadot. How does Polkadot substrates work for people aware, so you can build your own chain—application specific chains basically. Something like Compound cash is doing something like Polkadot substrates, but it is EVM compatibility solidity, and EVM compatible, so you don’t have to worry about those things, about writing in Rust language or whatever. And you can use MATIC, or you could use your own token for staking it. You can use your consensus, sorry, your security by having a six token or whichever token you have, or you could have the MATIC token which is, which is, which shares the security of the PoS network.
HOST: Right. And then, and then for non-technical people listening, the benefit of why you would want to basically create your own chain that’s EVM-compatible is—so it’s because what is happening right now with gas fees, and why everything is so expensive for people to conduct a simple transaction. It’s because it’s getting over congested, and there’s essentially a traffic jam on Ethereum. And so by creating your own chain, you can reduce that traffic jam, and just create a new chain that has no congestion, and so that is how you keep the gas fees low.
HAMZAH KHAN: Not, not just, not just Ethereum, so even on Polygon too for example, so the end goal for blockchains is that especially on blockchains gaming, or, or these nuanced projects like prediction markets. So it should be a seamless Web 3 experience, like people should not know that it is Web 3 experience, at least users. There should be no gas. There should be instant, instant finality of transactions. There should be less lag, these sorts of things should not be there, and for very consumer-focused applications like Prediction markets, like polymarket does, like games which require better finality for of transactions to happen, for NFT drops where certain gas spikes can take the whole network down like has been happening on Ethereum, has been happening on BSC. We saw some instances happened on Polygon as well. So we, we, we quickly realized that okay, for good like long term projects, it definitely makes sense to have your own chain like we saw with Axie Infinity, right? It’s a perfect example around, is a perfect example to build your own chain, and have your own—because, because the problem there is that, you know, these, these gaming, games, they don’t really require that level of security, or that level of composability that DeFi application needs. Correct or, or, yeah, basically, a DeFi application—Compound is a very different application than Axie Infinity. Although they might have, even if they have same number of users and whatnot, but the level of security is different. So we are working very closely with some Web 2 gaming studios who will be building their own chains and creating a Web 3 experience but very seamless with meta transactions that you don’t—the user doesn’t even have to pay gas. Like you, you just sign in with your MetaMask wallet, that’s it. So that experience has to be—so basically like you were building Netflix on Ethereum, on Blockchain, or you are building next Fortnite on Blockchain. You can be a—you can’t ask user to pay $2 of gas, that won’t happen, that just won’t happen. They will—you will not get adoption with that. So that is the goal with SDK, to be able to these—to get these Web 2 players to, to abstract away that complexity of gas, and these things for the users but to have, but to have scalability while being on the Blockchain.
HOST: Yeah, one point of confusion that I have heard a lot of people ask recently is now that Eth2 has launched, does that solve the problems that we are facing with scaling, and do we still need these layer two solutions, and SDKs now that Eth2 is live. Can you talk a little bit more about that, what Eth2 is, and what it actually does? And then what these your scaling solution, for instance, does?
HAMZAH KHAN: Yeah, sure, I mean, I don’t know how—why people are saying Eth2 has launched. So Eth2 is like a phase, like, there is, there is the merge. There is first 1559 and then there is the merge, and then there are—there is sharding. Then there is cross, cross rollup—there is roll ups, then there is sharding, then there is cross rollup sharding. So it’s not, it’s like Eth2 happened. It’s not like, it’s not that, like it’s, it’s a much more—we are, we are securing $200 billion of assets probably more. Now in its, it has to be CDs of it, and even on, even on Eth2 rollup, sorry, Eth2 roadmap, the Vitalik read clearly that okay, rollups will play a major role in that, and, and rollups will play a major role, and hence ZK-rollups come into the picture, and that is how we have prepared, you know, ourselves for the, for the next phase, which is Eth2.2 once, you know, it is live which probably won’t be happening until Q2 2022, Q1, Q2 2022. Those things is, is really difficult for those to become in prod, especially in prod, and this is where rollups, optimistic ZK come into the picture. You would—you could read this recent blog, not blog, this article in the Eth research thing about cross rollup NFTs happening because the Ethereum main chain is getting so congested, again with the NFTs that are happening. So Vitalik recently wrote out a blog about how cross rollup NFTs can happen, and NFTs can be natively minted on them, on the, on the rollups but having the same security as Ethereum, and, and we the admins team, the Polygon admins team was actively part of that, I think ZK - - was part of that. So in general, if you look at, if you look at Layer 2’s in general, I think Ethereum can only scale with Layer 2’s as well as 2.0. It is not possible without—because we have found product market fit, it will be very difficult now to just be indiscreet.
HOST: Yeah, and then one question I have always had about L2’s, and I’m—I have asked a lot of people this, and haven’t gotten really a very clear answer on that is, when I think about L2’s, it seems we are going to face the same problems with L2’s that we are facing with the L1 at some point in the future, right? So, L2’s are not a permanent solution. Does this mean we are just going to keep building L3’s, L4’s. Is there a permanent solution to this or is it just a constant battle to keep building additional layers on top of the Layer 1?
HAMZAH KHAN: No, this, this - - like, so Ethereum like if you —enough paper about data availability. If, if anyone wants to read check it out. I mean, not shilling anything, but it’s a really good perspective that even I did not have before these things were happening is that your main chain does three things, is of course security, is your data availability, and your, and your, of course, computation, whichever whatever computation happens. Now, with Layer 2 is the current flavor of Layer 2’s, you are offloading your computations. So you are putting it on a sidechain, even with rollups, like that’s essentially a sidechain that you are doing the computation but then rolling up onto Ethereum via different proofs, either game theoretic or zero knowledge. Now, what happens is, yes, they will face, they will face that gas will go up because, because even if, even today, single digit, a single digit ride on arbitrage, and optimism to do, and by virtue of that lot of things can be built, like NFTs can be built, games can be built on—with that, with that level of gas. So there is, there is something, there is something called data availability, of which Ethereum network maintained as, and data availability means that you are in sync with—so there is one layer that is in sync with your Ethereum network, and your sidechain, whichever it is, your rollup sidechain, whatever, whatever that sidechain is. You have to be in sync with that main chain as well as the rollup to keep data available for both, and this data availability layer is secured by MATIC for example, or whichever token whichever digital rollups come with the token, so that it is secured via that token. Now, this data availability, now you are fighting less for less heavily with main chain. So every transaction that you do on main—on sidechain will be rolled up, and put onto main chain, correct? And because Ethereum has this fixed, fixed state side, they will definitely be more intensive gas wars coming when these Ethereum main chain gas goes up, as well as the rollup gas goes up, because in turn, you are fighting for that space when optimism and ZK, and all of these things go live. So there has to be this layer of data availability that reduces burden on the main chain. You just have to commit it, and they, they have to just put it on the main chain, and you don’t have to wait for approval, the data availability does that for you; the data—the middle layer of data availability does that for you. I know it might not be sounding that intuitive but I think the white paper does a better job than I’m doing right now, but yeah, the goal of this data availability layer is solution that we are building one, it’s already live. We are speaking with all of the rollup teams to be in working closely with them for this because we definitely think that it’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when, like you said. These rollups are definitely ZK gas problems coming, ZK scaling problems coming, if they hit one million users, for example, how we did. I know it’s just a matter of when. Definitely, I agree.
HOST: Yeah, yeah, for sure. Another question that a lot of—I have heard a lot of people ask about Polygon, and about just like L2 solutions in general is the question about security. Are our L2’s as secure as the L1’s, and how does polygon think about that?
HAMZAH KHAN: No, L2’s re not as secure as L1. Of course, they come in, they come in, I mean, no matter what people say on Twitter, no, it’s not. They come in with a lot of—because it’s very early, it’s very early in the development phase. They come in with a lot of assumptions. They came in with a lot of caveats. The current flavor of rollups, optimistic rollups are pretty centralized in a sense that there’s only one sequencer. There is—which theoretically could do a lot of malicious things, but I mean, it’s still early. So I mean, these teams are public, and well reputed, but theoretically speaking, yes. There is a lot of centralized—centralization in these rollups as, as well as I mean, Polygon, the, the main chain sorry, the PoS chain, we do have 100 validators. We are, we are rolling out a governance, a time lock governance, very soon in the next one week by 25th or 24th we should, we have, we should be live with some things that we are putting a time lock on the multisig bridge. So essentially anyone who, who has—so let’s say you are not, you are new, you don’t want certain project to deploy or whatever, you don’t see fit, you can remove your funds, and or any update that we do on the bridge, upgradeable contacts are there, but if you, if you don’t like upgrade with whatever, for whatever reason, you can remove your funds within two days from the bridge. So, so those things that are happening—this is more of a, of a security thing, but decentralization I think, yeah, the current flavor of rollups are, are certainly not as decentralized as, as in no way as decentralized as Ethereum, but yes, over time, of course, we will definitely see it tends to work out.
HOST: Yeah, yeah, for sure. You mentioned earlier the MATIC token. That’s something I wanted to ask you about as well is how does the MATIC token work? I would love to hear about the tokenomics, is it pretty similar to Ethereum or is it different in some way?
HAMZAH KHAN: I mean, Ethereum, it’s not, it’s not infinite supply. Firstly, if, if you say that it’s like Ethereum, it’s not infinite supply. Although we do burn MATIC with the 1559 proposal recently, so we are going to be in sync with all the Ethereum tooling that will be coming out. So yes, we will, we are burning MATIC every day now to be in sync with 1559, but tokenomics are pretty straightforward. It’s mostly, for the community, it’s mostly for the community. We raised a small amount back with Binance and Coinbase in 2019. A very small amount, I think less than $1 million, and I think that’s pretty much that is, that we have done, other than little strategic advisory, advisory with, with the Ethereum foundation people, and, and Mark Cuban, and these people but yeah, other than that, it’s pretty much community. Other than that, of course, the MATIC token is, is a year generating tokens. So basically, it’s a PoS token where you can stake it on the Ethereum, sorry, on the, on the PoS chain. So, so how it works is we have our contract, we have our validators, 100 validators on Ethereum. So you can stake MATIC on Ethereum, on the PoS chain to generate 14 percentage in the, now the price, now the APY. And yeah, and of course, and of course, it’s used as gas on, on the Polygon chain, so…
HOST: Got it, got it.
HAMZAH KHAN: And—
HOST: I want to talk about, yeah—
HAMZAH KHAN: —and also it will be used as the, as the collateral for the Hermez rollups. Semantic will be used as the collateral to build your own validator on the Hermez network.
HOST: Oh, okay. Got you, got you. So I want to talk more about some of the practical sides of it. So a lot of projects have already built on Polygon, a lot of big projects. Can you talk about like some of the projects that you are most excited to see build on Polygon, and the impact that you have seen those businesses or those projects have so far?
HAMZAH KHAN: Yeah, for sure. So definitely, I think when we started right, when we started, the idea was to bootstrap the liquidity, and there was this mission. We call it a meme, call it a mission, whatever, but the idea was to bring DeFi for all. It was very simple, and we wanted to work with communities, we wanted to work with projects, and not just outright fork that we saw some other people do. And that is how we were very clear from the beginning that we wanted to work directly with projects like Aave, like the building blocks basically, the building blocks, Aave, Compound, Balancer, SUSHI, who else? Yeah, Curve, yeah of course Curve, very importantly OpenSea. So we were very, very clear that okay, we wanted to work with them, and not just for them and build some, you know, make some - - because it’s not just about DeFi, it’s about community, it’s about used cases, it’s about new projects that build on top of them. It’s the quality of the projects that build on top of them, and that is what we were very clear from the beginning. So of course, like you see Aave was the first lending—was the first project that, that came with a huge, huge network, and that I think created a bunch of network effects. Then Curve, SUSHI came in. These are the LEGOs we were very clear to start off with. Then, of course, Balancer, Khyber, but then a lot of BSC projects started moving to Polygon with the liquidity, so that was very interesting to see. But yeah, I definitely think Balancer and Aave, very important as part of the whole ecosystem, because a lot of interesting stuff can be built on top of them. So yield aggregators, credit delegation— yield aggregators, credit delegation, like bunch of flash loans, Furucombo does that very well with Aave then Balancer speaking very closely, some interesting things will be coming to treasury management. Things will be coming with Balancer, some projects are looking into that as well. Yeah, I think these two—I, I love Furucombo that is, I am a big fan of Furucombo. For people who don’t know Furucombo, it allows you to like build LEGOs to interact with different protocols and, and work with them in just one click. So basically, you can deposit collateral in Aave, take a loan, do arbitrage, take the profit, swap it on index, and then put back the collateral on Aave with one click. So that is a very cool thing, and they have 4x more users on Polygon than on Ethereum. Aave has 5x, 6x more users on Polygon than on Ethereum. Balancer has 7x the more utilization rate on Polygon than on Ethereum. Like that is, that is pretty big, 7x the utilization means—utilization rate means volume upon liquidity, the, the utility that is happening on the pool. So these are some metrics that I think is—are very, very, very important for any DeFi ecosystem, and for people building in that DeFi ecosystem.
HOST: Yeah, when you think about the future, do you think it’s more important that people really like immerse themselves in the ecosystem, and learn more about how everything works or do you think it’s more important that the builders build out a product that is what you just said, one click, and you can do all of these things, and really makes it easy for the user, so the user doesn’t have to understand all of these things.
HAMZAH KHAN: Well, like if you want to understand DeFi, this - -like I think I started like that. There is this culture in our team that anyone joining the DeFi team, we give them like, you know, $100, and then ask them to start playing around in—on Polygon because everything is there, and then they actually understand, okay, how—what DeFi is, what are the tools, what is the difference between Aave and Compound, what is the difference between SUSHI and Curve, what is the difference between - - and SUSHI, and these sort of things, right, Balancer. So I would definitely say to take $100, $50 whatever, on Polygon buy via credit card, coming via exchanges we have all big exchanges, integrated Binance, Coinbase now—Coinbase? Yeah, Coinbase is live. Please don’t quote me on that. If you—please don’t quote me on Coinbase, I don’t remember, but Binance is live, OKEx, OKCoin; all of them are live. So just move MATIC or USDC on chain. Try it out, $50 worth of whatever, you can play around with these things, and then you truly understand how, how DeFi works, and then you will appreciate even more of what Furucombo is doing. So, yeah.
HOST: Yeah, yeah, for sure. In the, in the future, do you see the user experience of switching between Ethereum, and Polygon to be easier, like is that something that polygon is working on? So right now you have to sort of manually switch between Ethereum or Polygon if you are interacting with both for different things. In the future, does Polygon have plans to make that process any easier or is that, is that even a possibility?
HAMZAH KHAN: It’s not really in our hands to be honest. I guess, it’s—it depends because, because our validators are on Ethereum, and you need to have two by three consensus of those validators to move any address—to move any transaction through, right? So it depends on a bunch of thing. It depends on Ethereum condition at that time, it depends on yeah, pretty much Ethereum condition at that time. We, we can’t really do much there because we have to have the validators take this well, as well as but, but there are other solutions coming up like Hop protocol, there is hyphen bridge from by economy team, there is Connects which is doing great stuff with state channel, what do you call it? Bridge. I think Hop is pretty cool. They have this – - model built on top, and we are actually incentivizing that. I think we are doing some LP mining with them. So if you move funds via them, I think you get something or if you put liquidity on top of Ethereum, and MATIC, Ethereum, and Polygon of USDC, you get some MATIC. So those things we’re—we are doing, so yeah, I think bridges, bridges will help a lot in these things. But it’s difficult for us to do, but yeah, some optimizations are happening around that, yes.
HOST: Yeah, and then speaking of these bridges, and just all these different blockchains thinking long term at some point, what do you think needs to happen, and how do you see the ecosystem developing, let’s say over the next, next like five years, where do you see us being?
F2: Next week?
HOST: I know it’s impossible to predict what’s happening like next week, but if, if all goes in your ideal world, if all goes according to plan, however you think that should be, where should we be in five years with bridges, with multichains all interacting together? Where do you—try to paint that picture for me as best as you can.
HAMZAH KHAN: Yeah, I can do for two years, five years, I don’t know what happened in five years.
HOST: Sure, you can’t.
HAMZAH KHAN: I can do for two years. I definitely think with, with rollups, and these Ethereum2, Ethereum L2 solutions come in, I, I definitely think that of course, Multichain is here, and that is why—and the reason Multichain I’m saying is because we have found product market fit now. DeFi needs a level of security, NFTs need a different level of security, Gaming don’t really need that level of security. So, you know, this, this and there so many users there. And I think we are six million wallets, which roughly means 3 million people on an average, and wallets day-by-day increasing. I, I definitely think—but, but having said that we’re Ethereum, I don’t know, not maximalist. I mean, we, we definitely believe that Ethereum is that one chain to, you know, be for 100 years because of the network effects, because of the people, the community that is there, and we want to take this forward with this Layer 2—multi Layer 2 approach. But I definitely think that for it, for a user standpoint, so I, I like the idea that how Compound is doing, so Compound has their own chain, application specific chain, but they deploy, they re-deploy an implementation on Polygon, they have actually on Polygon Destinate, they will have Ethereum, they will have on some other EVM chain, but then they will all be connected via, via different mechanisms, and the interest rates will be same on all the market which is, which is pretty cool, which is not done yet. Like Aave has different implementations, but it’s like a discrete market in itself. So there’s no communication in between, but it’s, but it is happening. So bridges, a better, better engineering of bridges with governance proposals passing in between them like how we have with Ethereum and Polygon Bridge that we have. So you can vote on L1, but the contract will be deployed on L2, trustlessly via governance. So those things when that happens between chains, they will lead through composability cross, crosschain composability will happen. Otherwise, what I see is these applications themselves becoming bridges, becoming bridges. Like Compound is so you could deposit MATIC here on Polygon, and you could take ETH on Ethereum or WBTC on Ethereum keeping the collateralization the same. Aave could do the same with, with the—they have the L1 and L2 governance ready between Polygon, and Ethereum. So, so just to give an example, so, if you—so there is a, there is a vote right now for adding Aavegotchi, GHST on the L2 market while voting on L1 market. So they don’t want to move the governance to L2, like the voting on, chain voting to L2, but the implementation will happen on L2 while the voting happens on L1 while the ST, the ST Aave, right? State AAVE is on L1. So that is only possible because the—our bridge, the Polygon bridge communicates, allows people to communicate only messages, just messages also, not just tokens. So you could send any arbitrary message trustlessly between these things. So I think—I don’t think any other bridge, I think any swap has that. Any swap, v3 has that if I’m not—v3 or v4 has that, but other than that, I don’t think there are building bridges are difficult, you saw with Poly Network hack, and day-by-day, every, every bridge is getting compromised and stuff. But then two, two years of DeFi becoming bigger and bigger, these, these apps themselves could become bridges. I think that could be very, very big possibility.
HOST: Yeah, that actually segues us well into—I have, I have got a bunch of questions from Twitter, and a lot of these were answered already but people were really excited to have you come on, and they had lots of questions. So this one is from Reforest. They said, ‘Is, is any DAO currently using Polygon? What will be the pros and cons compared to the ones using Ethereum?”
HAMZAH KHAN: Oh, so when DAO—we are actually believing though, Polygon ecosystem DAO is happening, you can read about it at forum.polygon.technology. We are building DAO, I will come to the Dao thing, but, but yeah, we are building DAO ourselves, not ourselves basically, but to—we want to decentralize certain decision making that we have been doing internally, we will start small with, with DeFi so, if anyone who is interested in DeFi, want to contribute to the space, I want to contribute to the growth, BD development, marketing, all these sorts of things, please go to the website, forum.polygon.technology. We are working very closely with, with DAO house to set it up, to set those things up. And now coming back to the point where what DAOs are using, 2DAO which is the, which is the Polygon native project is—has, has really cool stuff on Polygon. Aavegotchi DAO, I guess Aavegotchi is, is on Polygon, but, but yeah, now we have the tooling with Aragon, with DAOhaus with, with tooling like Tally with tooling like commonwealth, these sort of tools around these things we have, we have gnosis for the multi-seasonal. I’m not too educated on that to be honest, I’m not the best person to answer, but I think certain DAOs are being set up on Polygon as well.
HOST: Got it, got it, okay. And then here’s another question. This one is specific to our product but I think this can apply to NFTs in general. So this person’s said, if we poured our domain to Polygon, could we still modify anything in it? For example, assigning wallets, updating website, Chainlink verifying domains, I think that question could probably apply to just NFTs in general.
HAMZAH KHAN: Yeah, NFTs you can—I don’t think you can change them when you bring it to Polygon, I don’t think so, but I was actually discussing this, I couldn’t get an answer but I’ll, I’ll reply back on that tweet. I saw this comment that I didn’t get an answer exactly, but I mean, you can move NFTs. You can move NFTs from, from Ethereum to Polygon via the same bridge. It’s absolutely possible. But, but these domains, I mean, domains essentially are NFTs only so, ideally you could, but I’m not sure if you could change things when on Polygon, and how that would affect on Ethereum, I’m not too sure about that, but I’ll put an answer on that on the, on the tweet. Yeah, I remember that.
HOST: Awesome, awesome. Yeah, I thought that was an interesting question as well. Very cool. Do you have any, any final thoughts you want to share, anything we didn’t cover about Polygon that you think is important for people to know before we wrap up here?
HAMZAH KHAN: Yeah, if you are new to DeFi, I would say or just NFTs, right? So, I mean OpenSea, I think 80 percent of the volume came from Polygon or—a, a major chunk of volume came from Polygon if I’m not wrong, it came from Polygon in the past volume of users, I don’t remember exactly, came from Polygon so, that is pretty cool. And the reason is, of course low gas. And I know people in college, like I know people, students in college who are using OpenSea on Polygon itself, not anywhere else, and people are dropping University NFTs, through too on Polygon. So that’s pretty cool. But yeah, DeFi, if you are new in DeFi, I would definitely suggest to even like 20, 30, $50, buy something, try out, try out things but, but yeah, I think if you are, if you are building something, we’d love to, we have a big grants program. We have very interesting, we have created this Polygon incubation thing that like a value added pack. We haven’t figured out a word yet but it’s like a value-added pack where certain projects which, which, you know, are community-approved, and get a lot of attention. We help them with, with giving a good word with audit firms, with, with Cloud Credits, with marketing support, and these sorts of things. So, if you are, if you are a builder in this space and would love to catch up, you can reach me on, on Twitter at K-H-A-M-Z-A-H-22; that’s my handle, and yeah, of course on the forum.polygon.technology.
HOST: Amazing. Thank you so much Hamzah for taking the time to come on. I know I learned a ton from just this short conversation. I hope the listeners did that as well. Thank you everybody for tuning in, and we will be back again soon with another episode of The Unstoppable podcast.
HAMZAH KHAN: Thank you, Diana. Thanks, thanks everyone. Take care.