This is part of a series of interviews with founders and builders in the Web3 space called the Web3 Growth Handbook. The official handbook will be released in the coming months, but you can read all of the other available interviews here.
"The user experience for wallets and onboarding needs to get a lot better. It’s gotten better over the last year, but it still needs work. I think mainstream users don’t care much about decentralization vs. centralization. So we have to do a lot of education to help people understand the benefits. Once people understand, they tend to see the value of decentralization."
The token economy is growing, but it’s also growing fractured. Ethereum made it easy to create new tokens, but using those tokens across multiple platforms was difficult. That is, until Kyber came around. Kyber is an on-chain liquidity protocol that enables cross-token interoperability. Want to let users of your application pay in the token of their choice while you receive settlement in the token of yours? Kyber can make that happen. Kyber CEO, Loi Luu, believes that growth in the decentralized finance community means growth in interoperability.
Kyber, founded in 2017, raised over $52 million through an initial coin offering in September of 2017. They quickly became one of the largest non-custodial exchanges with their Kyber Swap application, and they’ve been the go-to solution for on-chain token swaps for many applications across the Web3 space. Kyber offers three main services: A token exchange in Kyber Swap, a protocol for developers, and a token listing and reserve pooling system for tokens.
Loi took the time to chat with us about growing in a broad ecosystem, the challenges of multi-sided markets, building in Web3, and more.
How do you define growth at Kyber?
For Kyber, we have a broad ecosystem that includes market makers, wallets, DeFi apps, and end users. Growth really means growing these partners and connecting with ecosystem players. We want more end users, more wallets, and more DeFi applications all using Kyber.
What has been the most difficult part of growing your company so far?
We have to grow on both sides of the marketplace—the market maker side and the taker side. From time to time, we have to decide which side to prioritize. For each side, there are different challenges. For example, on the taker side, it boils down to having more end users using decentralized applications. There’s a lot of complexity to onboarding new users so it’s challenging to grow the taker market. On the maker side, we have to ensure liquidity.
What do you think needs to improve the most to help with growth as a whole for Kyber?
The user experience for wallets and onboarding needs to get a lot better. It’s gotten better over the last year, but it still needs work. I think mainstream users don’t care much about decentralization vs. centralization. So we have to do a lot of education to help people understand the benefits. Once people understand, they tend to see the value of decentralization.
We have an end user interface called Kyber Swap. Instead of saying it’s a decentralized trading platform, we say it’s a fast, secure, non-custodial trading platform for end users. We focused on the words that end users care about rather than trying to sell the term “decentralized”.
What tools do you wish existed to help with growth?
We would like to have something that helps with key management. It needs to be more convenient than it is today. In an ideal world, people can recover their key instantly without knowing any of the technical stuff that goes into it.
Additionally, users being able to get their first cryptocurrency is still difficult. There needs to be better on-ramp tools.
What are your predictions for Web3/Blockchain growth in 2020?
I think something powered by Web3 for the developer community will be the main area where we see growth. It might start as a small community and then over time others will see the benefit and growth will come. Something tied to data privacy will probably get traction from mainstream users this year. I think DeFi will continue to grow as well, but I think the interest rate will drive how much growth there is. DeFi will become more realistic in terms of return.
There’s a lot Kyber can offer. If you want an easy, non-custodial interface to swap tokens, you’ve got Kyber Swap. If you want to build applications without worrying about the underlying swaps needed, Kyber has you covered. And if you’re listing a token, they can help there as well. Check out Kyber today.