Customer Interview with Deepansh S, Co-Founder of Polkadex
OnFinality, a blockchain infrastructure provider, supports Polkadex with a one-click node solution for web3 developers to join the network quickly and easily.
Find out from Deepansh S, Co-Founder of Polkadex, how OnFinality’s One-Click Node Deployment helped create a greater community-inclusiveness for the Polkadex network.
Deepansh talks about how perceptions on DEXes have shifted since its early days, the upsides and trade-offs to each, and how the future looks like for DEXes.
He also shares the roadmap for Polkadex, where the ultimate goal is to be the NYSE for crypto, not just for trading crypto to crypto but also crypto to fiat, and tokenized versions of stocks on their DEX.
🎙️ Watch the full video here ⬇️ or scroll down to read the full transcript!
(Disclaimer: The below transcript has been automatically transcribed hence there may be minor discrepancies with what was mentioned in the actual interview.)
Welcome to OnFinality’s customer interview series where we learn more from leaders in the blockchain space and how OnFinality’s infrastructure helps them build the decentralised future faster. My name is Rob, I’m Head of Growth at OnFinality and today it’s exciting to have Deepansh from Polkadex to tell us how they’re using OnFinality’s expertise and powering their infrastructure. Hey Deepansh. Great to have you here.
Thanks, Rob. You know I appreciate you inviting us on this one. Really looking forward to it yeah.
What Is Polkadex
Yeah, no problem. Can you tell people a little bit more about Polkadex and why it’s so interesting
sure so in a nutshell Polkadex is an orderbook-based exchange. We provide high frequency trading with cross chain interoperability without custody of assets and that allow us to be empowering as you said individuals and institutions to trade in an ecosystem, in a secure ecosystem, right and without worrying about operator kind of. And not just facilitating the trading but again doing all sort of things which in regulated market is restricted for. So we want to create an open market where anyone can plug in with their wallets which they hold their custody with the hardware and the code you know browser based wallets and just straight natively all the assets. So we envision ourselves to be interoperate with almost all the blockchain network, legacy and future blockchains and be the junction for these ecosystem so that their communities can come together and do trade and get exposure to other ecosystems as well. So a very natively nitpicked end to end ecosystem we want to create and OnFinality seems right into fit in that ecosystem
How The Fall Of FTX Impacts Perceptions on DEXes VS CEXes
awesome and I guess the most obvious question at the moment is with FTX imploding and things and is this kind of like a dream come true for you guys in terms of like the exposure that suddenly, you know, being given to decentralised exchanges or, you know, people? Perhaps, still fearful of using, you know, DEX’s.
It’s a it’s very unfortunate to what happened with FTX users if you call it where you know and again it’s multiple layers to it right, where people are still not aware about the risk they have and they trade in a platform which again hold the custody of their assets right. And since crypto regulations so far has not been very clear about what all things you can do and even offshore companies, licensing and how it impacts, you know, in a greater sense and that’s why centralised exchanges can do a lot of things which under the traditional finances wouldn’t be possible right. And because in traditional finances and it’s highly regulated and again i was reading a few research page, you know, kind of articles about how PayPal had a very short runaway and one of the suggestions they had in was to use users capital to kind of a tap into it was like decade ago, I remember, I’m kind of recalling that moment right. And one of the advisers they got from their legal team was to not do that for obvious reasons. So personal finances and the instruments and the two tools build on there has been very clear and highly regulated. But when it comes down to centralise, you know. Gateways provider right? Which have which can control your custody office. It’s not very clear right now. So there’s an awareness has to be given to the users obviously to the mainstream users because crypto native to a certain extent understand that if they are taken when they deposit their assets to an operator, right. So there’s yet to be a knowledge base created a more awareness and again the infrastructure and the solution provided by the DEXes has to evolve gradually and to compete with the user experience that the centralised stages are providing, right. Because what a mainstream or even for the crypto native, it should be minimal, slick interface to create and without too much of a tech involvement or interaction, right. It has to be very seamless for that. So we are working toward that goal, we release our beta order book to the public and this is a three-year four months you know phase where we want to ensure that the systems are stable and secure enough before we open up several markets or build derivatives or tools for users to interact with. So that’s a step by step baby steps we are taking to ensure that each and every phase we are being very confident of what we are building and the ultimate goal is to have you know to be the NYSE for crypto where you are not just trading crypto to crypto, but also crypto to Fiat and also tokenised version of stocks being traded in our DEX. So this is the ultimate vision for us.
Yeah, super powerful. I was listening to a podcast the other day talking about some of these issues and one of the guys on there, I can’t remember who he was saying that. Kind of arguing against this in a sense that like if the centralised exchanges that are around now are still going to be around say in the next six months or year, then he was saying then that kind of almost fights the narrative of the DEXes, if they can all come through like this period and people still use them and so on. And he was, his argument was like the centralised exchanges would come out stronger and like, you know, this is the moment right for the decentralised exchange. And it’s kind of an interesting point but I guess.
And that’s true. You know Rob just to add to your point is it’s we don’t think, you know, we don’t think at all that this is a 0 sum game. It’s a positive sum game where everyone is here to provide value to their kind of a user. So there’s no, we haven’t seen ourselves a competitor to centralised exchanges in a very straight forward manner, right. So now there are different aspect to it. From a philosophical angle. Exchanges were supposed to be decentralised, right? Where our operator should just facilitate the trade, not nothing more, nothing less. That’s all. Because if you if you want to enter into the web3 or the DeFi realm, exchanges are the gateway to it. No, it’s a very contradictory statement or a more of a you know there are different school of thought for it but exchanges again becomes a gateway so and there are some you know subsets of users who prefer to go with centralised exchanges and we are not in a way that okay, we have to get those users to onboard to DEXes but again there should be an assessment of risk, how risk, you know how much of a risk you are taking to do that and again with the DEXes with the current format that DEXes are there right now which are out there in the public. They are not you know aligning with the mainstream, you know, user base. We are still there are a lot of things to be done to make it seamless to interact with right. And rather than being siloed in one ecosystem trading certain characteristic of those ecosystem, you have to be open up to be you know, interoperable with other ecosystem. That’s where you can match against what the value had provided by the Central exchanges because if you’re DEX build on let’s just say you know Ethereum right then you are siloed in that exchange, there’s no way you can trade with any other blockchain ecosystem. And then the reason come as a as an average Joe, why would I go to that particular DEX when I can only create, you know, characteristic of those ecosystems. There is yet to be done. DEXes are not yet a better alternative to CEXes, but what we are seeing and what the market interest and the inclination toward more DEX adoption will emerge to a standard where DEXes are able to provide the same value add as a centralised exchanges and we are working towards that goal, right none. We are not saying that whatever we you know whatever the other DEXes have built is not great, everything is great right and there’s yet more to be done from their extent. So let’s work together and build a greater value add right, a better alternative and then see where the inclination. Is going toward, so we take it as a positive sum game rather than 0 sum game. There are different school of thoughts of why you use CEXes than a DEX, but again, it’s not what we are here for.
Sure, sure. Yeah, agree. Definitely makes sense to have both and you know, you mentioned that of course there’s, you know having that liquidity I guess across you know the different ecosystems. So where is that coming from right now like and is that given the bear market conditions you know must be a bit of a challenge as you know?
Polkadex’s Bug Bounty Program & Bridging Liquidity
Right so it’s kind of aligned with our road map where we for the initial phases for at least six months, right. We never focused on liquidity, bootstrapping liquidity or you know kind of for projecting the user base. Our ultimate goal was to ensure that the products are stable and secure enough. That’s the goal to be very clear and once we are very confident enough we are running some bug bounty program with our upcoming bug bounty program with a couple of the partners. So we want community initial community feedback, right? So we have this open beta program where community members can provide feedback and guidance and device for, you know, something that you find very critical about from a user angle, from the user experience or the interface itself. So the whole phase that we are going is more of a beta testing right on the orderbook which is released on our mainnet and getting as much community feedback as possible. And once we have, you know, once we have reached certain threshold and then look out for liquidity provision since we are a parachain as well, we’ll be able to bridge solution from the Polkadot ecosystem right from the parachains and have a shared liquidity concept there and same applied to all the other ecosystems. So that’s something down the lane. We do have some novel solutions to bridge liquidity right and have enough organic volume coming in. So that it’s more acceptable for the crypto natives and the mainstream users to come and check it out the system right and down the lane become the user of that particular product server.
Polkadex’s Cross Chain Solution
OnFinality, you know, we also came from the Polkadot ecosystem and recently announced just yesterday actually that we’re providing support for developers into Ethereum. And I noticed that one of the interesting things about Polkadex is likewise you started in Polkadot, but now you have bridges into Ethereum. Can you talk more about that?
Absolutely so right now you know since behind the curtains you have these two chains working in parallel. One is live with the main at the solo chain which is built with the same framework as Polkadot users which is the Substrate. And then we are soon to go live with the parachain as well. So that will allow us to bridge to the Dotsama ecosystem and then this mean that is right now up and running and where you can see the orderbook performing that will bridge through one of the novel solution, we are working their protocol which is a cross chain solution which allow us to connect to all the other ecosystem and that is something under development and for the time being we have been using some of the widely adopted bridges in this ecosystem. One of them is Chain Bridge. So our main net is right now connected to Chain Bridge to bridge like you know liquidity or assets from the Ethereum ecosystem. And down the lane will be you know having multiple bridges to a certain ecosystems because you know there are many great open-source bridges out there and we would like to connect to as many of them to several other ecosystems so that it’s more of an open trading and open solution.
How The Narrative For DEXes Have Evolved
Makes sense. You mentioned there about, you know, that you’ve recently won a parachain, you know, congratulations and you know, even got a shout out from Gavin Wood and things like that. So you guys are obviously pretty successful. Can you talk about maybe some of the challenges you’ve faced to build, you know, Polkadex and how you overcame them?
Right so when we started way back in 2020 September I believe when we got the web3 open grant program. One of the critical questions that people used to ask is why you need a DEX right? Like CEXes are able to do everything that you know they were supposed to do or what the user wanted, so why you needed a DEX. But that narrative, what we have seen in the last two years have been more stronger where you need a DEX right solution to it. So the initially we face the problem of. The storyline, right, why you need a DEX to it? So it was more of a product market fit problem where why should we build DEXes, CEXes are able to do that that’s the question people used to ask us. But we are very clear that hey, custody of assets is going to be a big thing and trading in an ecosystem where you don’t need to delegate your assets, it’s going to be the future for it, right. So that was the initial problem of for you that we struggle explaining people. About how why we are doing it and then once we stick to that vision that okay, we have to deliver that the struggles that we had not to call a struggle but more of a learning curve was to build an architecture that supports our vision right you have to get your hands dirty. You have to pull up your sleeves and start code. And my partner Gautam who has been on the frontline of developing and innovating the Polkadex architecture itself. We had several research and development to be done to pro, you know to provide what exactly we vision for. So more of our research and development took some time and then building some test nets. So we from and from a business angle we are not you know very aggressive in a way that okay, we have to be taking baby steps and start building product and gradually evolve to extend where now people are using it organically, right. So no, there was no struggle for us in a way that it was more of a learning curve and a and a and a pinch of patience if you call it where you have to create those knowledge base or aware the community about the importance of non custodial exchanges and again build that architecture was a very exciting time. But exciting times always comes with hardship so and stood yeah
How Polkadex Leverages OnFinality’s One-Click Node Solution For Community Inclusiveness
and about what you know as you’re building it, how did you come across OnFinality. So you know we’re obviously a you know part of that infrastructure stack I guess for Polkadex and you’re helping your users deploy validator nodes. Can you explain a little bit about how our relationship started and the benefits of working with OnFinality?
Absolutely and almost 1 and a half year ago when we released our main net, our solo chain, right. So what we wanted was there are a subset of our community member who wants to have a go to platform where they can spin up node quickly and become a validator, right? So they don’t want to spin up their own node on their own servers and go through those nine yards to kind of run the validator. Of course, the majority of our community members are running their own notes via the third party service providers, right. But they have a couple of them who wanted a one-click node deployment. So that’s where we are and we are very inclusive of what we are doing. So we want to involve everyone in this picture. So that’s where thought for those subset of users who want to just, you know, one-click deploy the validator and don’t want to go through the 9 yards of spinning their own nodes and all that thing we need to get a solution for it, right? Though we would have been fine if we didn’t do. But again, it’s for the greater good. We want to have a healthy community and everyone to participate. So that’s where I believe Victor from Manta network, maybe I was talking to him and he told like, hey, I have a solution for you, that’s OnFinality. Talk to these guys and I was like, yeah cool, so that’s where I got in touch with Sam. And we quickly started discussing about you know there were multiple synergies after that rather than you know not just creating node as a service, but again for our main net we needed some other projects to provide, you know, open endpoints as well, so not just node as a service, but also API access to our main network. A couple of things that we thought, okay, let’s partner with teams who are building this. Rather than doing everything from our end, let’s just delegate that stuff to people who are better at it and can deliver within the time frame. So after talking to Victor from Manta and then Sam, we thought like, hey, let’s go with it. So and since this is more of a community driven approach, right, we thought let community support those idea where, what is what we are expecting and what we had in mind, this community thinks the same, right. And that’s where we thought to put this you know have that community driven through our on-chain treasury and you guys were supported and yeah and I believe close to a year we have been more than a year we have been partners here.
Yeah, time flies yeah.
Appreciate, your support and maybe you could share before you talked about derivatives and other things coming as, is that like what else is coming down the pipeline in for Polkadex?
Right so there are you know some technical advancements and from a building financial tools and instrument initially we will be opening up more markets, right, not just. What you have right now and then opening up the markets comes with as much as you connect to other ecosystem. Those ecosystem can be traded in order book itself. So from our road map angle, we are soon going to release our mobile app right for the main net where people can access the order book through their mobile application. So that is one of the you know kind of immediately what I’m seeing. And then opening up several market, starting with the ecosystem itself and then. Have some critical and important partnership to be done. Right, which will allow us to kind of have the out organic traction and then start derivatives and Polkadex right now is a zero trading fee platform and for this phase itself where we want to allow people to trade right without any friction from their end or without any expense from their end. So this zero trading fee phase works where you can just plug in and trade and with no upfront cost at all. So yeah. That’s kind of a focus on the growth. Once we have all the added features, you know functionalities and instruments build that our focus will be how to kind of then we’ll be in the growth phase, right. And then our focus will be on how to get more organic volume, how to aware the community, user projections, targets and everything
Deepansh’s Tips For Getting Into Web3
understand. And you’re the Polkadex team is based in India which renowned for you know top tech talent especially in web2. Could you give any advice for people that are thinking about getting into crypto? Maybe you know, already a developer, and looking to get into this space. What advice would you give them?
Right so just in once they are the founders are from India, but we have you know we are a global team itself and we don’t. We just want the best talents to work with us and irrespective of where you are from and that’s where most of the talents are growing in India as well. That’s something where you observe where developers from India are more interested rather than you know rather than going to a web2 start up and take a corporate job in an MNC. they want to get their hands dirty and try to interact with more and more, you know, cutting edge technologies right and Substrate fits right into it. And there have been several programs and events going on in India as well. And we want to take some initiatives to create, you know, an audience of developers to get exposed to Polkadot system right. And I believe Substrate when we started there was not much documentation but now it has a great documentation, reference points and videos, tutorials and everything, so it makes things very easy for a, for someone from you know from a tech background to get started with Substrate framework. So just to you know, you have to you know, mind put your mind into it exactly. You need to know where you fit into it right? At the end of the day, are you here for money? Are you here for creating value adds? So from a developer angle you have to figure it out? What’s my end goal, do I need to create an open source project of my own which has a value add for the community to interact and use it well ahead go get exposed to different framework. I’m not just saying you go ahead and just blindly follow Substrate test out the water. Everywhere, all the ecosystem, see where your what you are trying to build fits into that ecosystem or not, right? And if you want to contribute to a project, see which kind of a projects are developing at a very. A lean and a very, you know, highway, right. And almost all the parachains are doing that. So yeah, there are great things. It just, you know, to a certain degree you have to do some research and get started. And you don’t need some mentorship to do that. Obviously there are several people reaching out to us. Hey, just Google it and you will get all these things and then join developer communities and then see how strong the developer community is, what kind of resources they provide, what kind of a grants they provide, right, what kind of programs they. Have and you know, gradually we’ll understand where you fits, you know, where you kind of fit right into that, where you want to work on your own project or contribute to an open source project. I join a program or join a project.
Yeah, great advice. Yeah, I agree there’s a massive amount of information out there and so many unique opportunities for people to have to build their own project or get involved with others. So appreciate your advice. Well, thanks for joining us today, Deepansh. It’s been pleasure learning about DEXes and a little bit about the future. If you’d like to learn more about Polkadex, you can visit their website. If you’re a web3 builder, you can come to OnFinality app.onfinality.io, check out our website, maybe run a validator node for Polkadex, or if you want to build your own app, you can use all the different tools and monitoring services that we have, including free APIs. And yeah, well, thanks again, Deepansh. Pleasure to have you.
Thanks, Rob. Thank you.
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