This week DeFiRev.com caught up with Nischal Shetty, the talented CEO of WazirX, India’s largest cryptocurrency exchange.
What a year! Congrats on all of your success thus far Nischal and to the whole WazirX Team! Tell us about how this year has been for you through your eyes.
This year has been pretty great. We kicked off the year with WRX IEO and listing on Binance Launchpad. The crypto banking ban was struck down by the Supreme Court of India, and it was a huge win for the ecosystem. We also launched Blockchain for India fund with Binance to support Indian entrepreneurs trying to build in this space. Looking back, our team has done quite a lot of work within these 6 months. Coronavirus has been a bummer though, and I hope we get out of this pandemic soon.
How did you first get into bitcoin & cryptocurrencies?
I’ve been a believer in blockchain for many years, but it was in 2017 that I went down the blockchain rabbit hole. It’s when centralised social networks like Twitter and Instagram started cutting off API access, that I got serious about Crypto. I realised that you cannot depend on centralised companies because they can change the rules of the game anytime they want. The global decentralised ecosystem is very nascent right now but I’m determined to contribute towards its growth so that someday decentralisation becomes a way of life on the internet.
In 2017, I also tried using Indian cryptocurrency exchanges, and was disappointed with the UX and lack of transparency. Having built Crowdfire, a social media management product with 20 Million users, we understood what it takes to build and scale a global tech product out of India. We love challenges, and decided to build WazirX – a cryptocurrency exchange which offers people world-class UX, transparency & trust. WazirX is available on the Web, Android, iOS in India and around the world.
What sort of growth do you expect for WazirX this year?
Ever since the Supreme Court verdict, we’re seeing a steady growth in our user signups. Moreover, the nationwide lockdown has given people more time in hand to read more about crypto which leads them to WazirX to buy crypto for the first time. We are also seeing a monthly average growth of 66% in our monthly trading volume. So overall, I’m optimistic about our growth.
China largely fueled the first bullrun for bitcoin in 2013, and in 2017, Japan and South Korea did the same. I think India is next. What do you think?
Absolutely! With a population of 1 Billion, the Indian market is a sleeping giant. There are more than 5 Million crypto users in India. Positive regulation will further boost crypto adoption in India.
You were very wise to develop WazirX as a principally mobile-focused app, that was great foresight. The WazirX App is great by the way. What other trends do you forecast?
India being predominantly mobile heavy as a country, it was important to get the mobile apps to be lightweight and simple to use. We’re glad that WazirX mobile app is the highest rated crypto exchange app in the country today.
While it’s hard to predict trends, I see the need to make crypto products as simple as possible in order to gain the attention of mass audiences.
DeFi is growing fast and I believe it’ll attract millions of users in the next couple of years.
Please share with our viewers, who may not know, the latest updates in terms of crypto regulation in India. What’s your take?
Currently, the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) is working on a code of conduct for cryptocurrency companies in India. We have a draft version ready and are working on updating the guidelines in line with the technology changes that have happened in the last few years. The code of conduct lays out a guideline for KYC/AML and other regulatory-related features. We look forward to helping our government formulate the right crypto regulations for the country.
Do you think digital assets can help to bridge the gap between the huge disparity of wealth distribution in India?
Definitely! For the new younger generation, digital assets are the opportunity to be early participants. If you look at traditional assets such as Real Estate, Gold etc., we’re too late to the party there. But digital assets are new, unknown, difficult to understand. As an early mover, you can have an edge here. Decentralised aspect of digital assets is yet another positive point that ensures everyone gets equal opportunity to participate in this innovation.
What has been your favorite moment in crypto history thus far?
It has to be the Supreme Court’s crypto verdict. It was a long fight of 2 years. The verdict was over 100 pages long, and it was amazing to see that our judge bench had done a thorough research on the subject. It also implies that as a country, India is pro-innovation.
When you’re not working, what do you like to do for fun? What are your favorite hobbies?
I like to read and learn new stuff. I like to travel, however, the pandemic has put a temporary stop to that. I’ve been brushing up on my software coding skills during the lockdown.
What are a few of your favorite books? What are some that have made a long-lasting impact on you? (Can be fiction or nonfiction)
The Godfather was one of those books that I read during my college days which made me think about work, ethics and code of conduct as a businessman.
More recently, it was good to read Sapiens to gain perspective about the progress we’ve made as a species. The Anarchy by William Dalrymple is yet another book I enjoyed reading and learning from.
What has it been like working so closely with Changpeng Zhao, another instrumental and widely revered figure in the space, and Binance?
It’s been amazing! CZ has a ton of experience and it shows in the way he makes decisions (fast). I’ve been picking up a lot of learnings from the way he’s set up Binance team and the way teams within Binance function.
I’m applying those learnings to WazirX product and team. We’ve grown 10X in under 6 months of getting acquired by Binance. The learnings and support we’ve gotten from CZ, Wei (Binance CFO) and team has been very helpful in helping WazirX achieve this explosive growth.
Is there anything you would like to share, unveil, or tease in terms of new features or releases for our viewers regarding WazirX this year?
We’re working on some amazing things, and will unveil to our users very soon!
DeFi has taken the world by storm this year. What excites you the most about DeFi?
DeFi allows anyone, anywhere in the world to participate and build financial products. It has been the dark horse of crypto. Having grown over 600% in 2019, I’m confident that DeFi is poised to grow even faster this year. For India to be able to participate in DeFi, we need positive crypto regulations. It will help hundreds & thousands of Indian devs to build their own DeFi apps. It is the future and I’m planning to learn as much as I can.
Nischal, thanks so much for taking the time to do this interview! You are truly a pioneer and so many in the world now look up to you as a true leader and role model.
On behalf of DeFiRev.com and all of us in the sector, we wanted to say thank you for advancing the space.
On the WazirX website it says under your name that “He’s on a mission to involve everyone in the blockchain revolution!” We love that!
We’re on a mission to involve everyone in the DeFi Revolution! And it’s coming…
-The DeFi Rev Team
DeFiRev.com is #1 in DeFi News. Check back in soon to find out the latest in DeFi News.
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Harvest Finance Hack Explained. Here’s how it happened.
Unscrambling the Harvest Finance hack and its aftermath
Harvest Finance, the Decentralized finance protocol was hacked for a staggering $24 million. The attack was a reminder to the crypto community that DeFi has sure risen to prominence but it has its own share of loopholes, and it is this that the attackers take advantage of.
Harvest Finance attack details
The attacker directly attacks the protocol’s liquidity pools leading the arbitrage attack using a large flash loan – a type of uncollateralized loan. The attacker later returned $2.5 million but in a mere seven-minute act, the entire hack was complete, leaving the protocol stakeholders bewildered.
In further addition to the details of the hack, the protocol revealed that the hacker manipulated prices on one money lego which is the Curve Y pool. This was done to drain another money lego farm USDT (fUSDT), farm USDC(fUSDC) multiple times.
The attacker then converted the funds to renBTC and later excited to Bitcoin. renBTC is not synthetic because it does not rely on any liquidation mechanism and it is certainly not the price of Bitcoin on Ethereum. It is a one-to-one representation of Bitcoin on Ethereum which can be redeemed for BTC at any time and in any amount.
The native token of Harvest Finance, FARM fell 54% to $101.79 when the news of the hack came forward. Following the attack, the amount of money that was locked in the protocol plummeted from $1 billion to $575 Million On October 25th. The investors were so fretful that they pulled their deposits back.
Harvest Finance acted accordingly and withdrew all the funds from the shared pools almost immediately after it had completed a fine evaluation of the attack. It began with reconstructing the processes which included DAI, USDC, USDT, TUSD as well as WBTC and renBTC. The funds are currently present in the vaults safely so that they are not exposed to further market manipulation. The hack did not involve DAI, TUSD, WBTC, and renBTC, and the depositors in these vaults were not affected.
How was the hack carried out?
The mechanics of the protocol has allowed for the execution of such an attack. Let us see how:
The investment strategies used by Harvest involves calculating the real-time value of assets that are invested in the base real-time protocols. The value of the assets is then used by the vaults to calculate the number of shares to be used to the user depositing the funds. The same value of the assets is also used when the users take out funds from the vaults.
Payout is then calculated upon the user exit. What also needs to be noticed here is that the assets inside some of the vaults are deposited into shared pools of underlying DeFi protocols. These are subject to market effects such as impermanent loss, arbitrage, and slippage. This means that its value can be manipulated through larger volumes of market trades.
The attacker knew this well and had exploited the impact of the impermanent loss of USDC and USDT inside the Y Pool of Curve.fi by manipulating the asset value to deposit funds into the vaults and obtain the shares for a beneficial price.
The aftermath of the Harvest Finance Hack
Harvest Finance’s Twitter account has been buzzing with messages and activity. The protocol has taken full responsibility for the engineering attack and has ensured that in the future such attacks will be countered and mitigated. The protocol has made it clear that formatting a disaster management plan to assist those who are affected will be the top priority for the protocol.
The protocol is investing its resources to catch hold of the scammers and has already provided a list of Bitcoin addresses of the hacker where it believes that the stolen funds may have moved. It also had taken immediate action by asking prominent exchanges like Binance, Coinbase, and Huobi to block the attacker’s addresses. It further said that there is:
“A significant amount of personally identifiable information on the attacker, who is well-known in the crypto community.” Not willing to dox the cyber-thief, Harvest Finance is now offering a $100,000 bounty “for the first person or team to reach out to the attacker”.
Harvest further tweeted that the $2.5 million returned by the hacker will be distributed to the affected depositors on a pro-rata basis using a snapshot. The attack on Harvest comes only six weeks after the attacker escaped with $8.1 million in Bitcoin from another DeFi protocol BZX, however, BZX managed to recover the funds.
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CORE Token (cVault.finance) Achieves Highest Volume on Uniswap, YFI comparisons already circulating
CORE Token (CORE) Traded over 90 million in volume on Uniswap on September 28, 2020.
CORE is a cryptocurrency that has been conceptualized to apply strategies with the autonomy enjoyed by decentralized projects. The CORE project has been designed to execute these profit-generating strategies but slightly different from the present ways. In the prevailing systems, autonomous strategy executing platforms either a team or a single core developer understands and takes care of how locked funds will be used to generate ROI. But, as the fund grows, it also paces the way for fallacious incentives and also makes it even more vulnerable for mistakes to be created. But CORE defies this practice and has chosen for a mechanism with decentralized governance.
The total CORE token supply is finite and there will only ever be 10,000 CORE.
The token holders of CORE will now be in a position to tender strategy contracts. They can also vote on whatever is live so that the autonomous strategy execution can be decentralized.
One extremely novel feature of CORE: Out of the profits that will be generated, 5% will be utilized to auto-market buy the CORE token.
CORE Token 101
CORE token is now looking at infusing more and more value in its system and for that CORE smart contracts deploy exchangeable strategies that farm coins inside the pools. This apparently converts into great incentives awarded to those who decide to farm CORE with coins other than CORE/ETH LP.
The yield so gained from staked funds will be routed towards the market to purchase CORE enhancing the relationship for both the parties. CORE holders will massively gain from the different yield-gaining activities on the CORE smart contracts. When the farmers decide to sell, the transfer fees on the sale proceeds of the CORE tokens are given back to the farming pools pointing out to the fact that buying pressure will be more intense than the selling pressure.
CORE is based on sound economics
Usually, it is assu med that when more pools are added in the system it could possibly debase the rewards for the pool that people are currently farming. In the CORE model, this gets significantly reduced by the nature of CORE fees paid out by the additional farming pools. The rewards get diluted but the CORE in their possession will increase in value as the market responds positively.
Now, it is a known process that, in order to keep farming, users have to mint more and more coins. As a result, the fundamental value of the underlying token asset loses in value because of excessive inflationary conditions.
There are many projects in the DeFi ecosystem that faces this and CORE token tackles this issue in its roots by introducing something called deflationary farming. Deflationary farming in this case comprises two major steps that are charging a fee on token transfer and users earning the fee by farming. This means that those who are holding tokens with the ability to farm can do so without worrying much about inflation.
The transfers will be approved by the CORE transfers smart contract. It will coagulate the vulnerabilities further by blocking all withdrawals from Uniswap. In a way, this will be hugely beneficial for holders as it will endow them with stability and more depth into it.
You get fees by staking in the Core Vault. For every CORE transfer, there is a fee, and when CORE is sold on Uniswap there is a 1% fee that is distributed to farmers.
Strength in Community
For CORE, the most important link is its community governance. In this system community is everything. It decides everything that will happen on the system right from deciding developer fees, to adding new pools, from deciding about fee approver contract to disabling pools in the CORE transfer contract. In the beginning, CORE will launch with a 1% fee on transfers for farming and 7% of it will be used as a developer fee.
The remaining 93% will eventually get directly transferred to the farmers in the process. For instance, if the holders want the COREVault to have a YFI pool, then the ratio of the fees will be set in accordance with how much can be distributed. Also, when people will be able to withdraw YFI tokens from it also will be a determining factor. This way the CORE holders will be highly incentivized to hold more YFI tokens.
Official website: https://cVault.finance/
CORE Telegram Channe:l https://t.me/COREVault
LiveCoinWatch : https://www.livecoinwatch.com/price/cVaultfinance-CORE
Uniswap Link : https://uniswap.info/pair/0x32ce7e48debdccbfe0cd037cc89526e4382cb81b
$CORE still holds the current highest volume on Uniswap, as of 9/28/20 12:30pm PST.
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NFTs Crypto: Just the Beginning
NFTs Crypto: Understanding the growth story
Things are heating up with NFTs in DeFi and crypto space, and fast! Non-fungible token sales have amassed close to $100 million worth of lifetime trade volume, according to Bankless. The data that was taken from a noted web portal nonfungible.com, gives a comprehensive view of the NFT ecosystem. We believe that the growing adoption of NFTs in the ecosystem partnered with user understanding of the same has the potential to become a trillion-dollar market in the future.
From the first brush, anyone could perceive non-fungible tokens (NFTs) as crypto-collectibles like crypto kitties but when we dig deeper, non-fungible tokens are an entirely new class of digital assets. For the very first time, there is a technology that allows us to create an incontrovertible new set of digital assets that is easily maintainable without any authority or centralized entity other than the blockchain itself.
Understanding Non-fungible tokens
Blockchain has this innate ability to create scarce digital assets, the ownership of which is maintained by a decentralized network of miners. But, in great detail, these assets are fungible meaning they can be replaced interchangeably by another of the same. For instance, Your bitcoin will be the same as my bitcoin. So they are mutually interchangeable and are pretty popular as mediums of exchange or as a store of value. But they are not unique!
So, now a group of entrepreneurs, who employ blockchain technology will allow for this uniqueness to rise with what we call non-fungible tokens or assets which are not interchangeable. So primarily they are assets that are mutually not substitutable and cannot be interchanged.
Fungibility is very important for assets to maintain their reliability but the fungibility factor also makes it vulnerable and susceptible to losses due to fluctuation in prices. This is the only reason that the concept of non-fungible tokens has risen to prominence. NFT’s are digital assets of the exclusive nature because each of them is different from the other. Every NFT secures peerless metadata that paves the way for its exclusive entry on the blockchain. NFTs cannot be interchanged on the same blockchain.
NFTs: A Rapid Rise
The trials for the creation of a non-fungible token began around 2013. The first example we can highlight was that of the Color Coin created upon the Bitcoin Network. But the one which actually got noticed in the crypto world was the emergence of ERC721. The features were slightly different and it could track the movements and ownership features of individual coins making it non-fungible. The first successful attempt at its application was called Crypto Kitties. The most exorbitant form of it was traded for $172,625 in 2017.
It has found unique and valuable use cases and implementation in several industries apart from the crypto industry like gaming, art pieces (also crypto-based), and likewise. Over the years the use of fungible crypto has yielded positive results and has firmly established its significance in the digital ecosystem. But NFT’s signify the huge ability to tokenize physical assets while holding on to its unique properties. With its rise, it has proven that it will not cause any hindrance to the existing format in the cryptocurrency ecosystem.
The idea called NFT has gathered a lot of steam especially since the verifiable digital scarcity concept was first introduced. Even this year the popularity of NFTs has jumped considerably and there is a constant flow of funds in the concept itself. Data from nonfungible shows that after the first week of September, for a period of 7 days, there were 9353 sales totaling $988,649 in NFT trade volume. The average US dollar price for a single NFT was $105 that particular week!
The virtual land investor @Dclblogger talked about how the metaverse was growing. He also tweeted about 25 industries that are being disrupted by the non-fungible token ecosystem. The three biggest players in the NFT arena include Sorarem, Cryptopunks and Superrare.
Holistically speaking, the NFT ecosystem continues to grow and 2020 has displayed that people are realizing that NFTS can represent anything in the virtual world and tethered to the real world with concepts. Crypto creators are generating a whole new atmosphere for NFT collectibles, rare art pieces in-game items, and large virtual worlds. The growth will show no signs of abatement anytime soon!