Web3 Galaxy Brain 🌌🧠

Web3 Galaxy Brain

Draper and Facu, Co-Founders of Smol and Contributors at Yearn Finance

20 February 2024


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Nicholas: Welcome to Web3 Galaxy Brain. My name is Nicholas. Each week, I sit down with some of the brightest people building Web3 to talk about what they're working on right now. My guests today are Draper and Facu, co-founders of Smol and contributors to Yearn and Ajna. Smol is a set of practical EVM tools born out of Draper and Facu's experience building front-end and marketing material for Yearn Finance. On this episode, Facu and Draper walk us through the variety of tools and projects they've worked on together and give us insight into how DeFi protocols do successful go-to-market. We also get a sneak peek at upcoming projects like Smol v2 and a new interface to Yearn Finance. It was great learning about dApp development and GTM from Facu and Draper and to hear more about their unique collaborative relationship. I hope you enjoy the show. This episode is brought to you by Speedrun Ethereum. Speedrun Ethereum is a hands-on crash course in Web3 development that'll teach you how to build an NFT contract, a DEX, a multi-sig wallet, and more. All? Through hands-on, step-by-step, project-based learning. If you've always wanted to get more technical or to expand beyond your comfort zone in Web3 development, Speedrun Ethereum is the place to go. Get started today at speedrunethereum.com. My thanks to Speedrun Ethereum for sponsoring this episode of Web3 Galaxy Brain. As always, this show is provided as entertainment and does not constitute legal, financial, or tax advice or any form of endorsement or suggestion. Crypto has risks, and you alone are responsible for doing your research and making your own decisions. Facu Draper, thanks so much. Thanks for coming on Web3 Galaxy Brain. I'm excited to talk about Smol and Mom and all the other projects you're working on.

Facu: Thanks for having us, man. We're excited, too.

Draper: Yeah, huge, huge fun. Huge fan of your podcast. Thanks so much. That's how I like it.

Nicholas: Yeah, I'm excited to get into it with you guys. There's a lot to talk about, but before we get into it, for people who haven't heard, I mean, I think Smol is probably the most well-known of the branded projects you're working on, but is that right? Do you think Smol is what people know the best?

Facu: I would say probably, yeah. Yeah, I know. I mean, it's where we get into our complex project structure. I think of the products we build ourselves, I would say Smol is the most well-known. In terms of the projects that we kind of partner with and work with in various capacities, I would say Yearn is probably the biggest crypto brand.

Nicholas: Of course, right. Yeah, I kind of associate you guys with Smol, but maybe we can get into in a minute how you work with Yearn and all this complex structure. But first off, how did you find each other?

Draper: At Yearn, actually. At Yearn. No, no, no, no, no, no. It's not a difficult question at all. We are kind of, not a spinoff, but we are a team at Yearn Finance. And we met there. We were working in different stuff. And we really vibed with each other. And it's a bigger group, right? We are 10 people working at Mom, which is like the parent of all this craziness that is going on. But when we started, we were three, four people, for sure.

Nicholas: So Yearn is also inside of Mom?

Draper: No, no, no. It's all the way around. Like Mom comes from Yearn.

Nicholas: Right. Okay.

Draper: We just maintain and code and improve the website. Well, all the websites of all the products. So yeah, it's all the way around. So yeah, that's how we met. We started doing like pet projects, experiments, launching. Found stuff. Okay. We got well, pretty, really well. And we started like working more and more and more together. And yeah, we have this.

Nicholas: And so Smol is like the part of your work where you're working together on Smol little projects that you put out? Or how do you think about it?

Facu: Yeah. I mean, I think Smol is an interesting project to talk about. I think like I joined, as Facu said, I joined Yearn and kind of met Facu. And Major and Evan, who are the other kind of guys behind Mom and behind Smol. And we just started working together more and more and decided to kind of formalize our relationship. And obviously these days you don't get married. You try and form a crypto project together. So Smol is a kind of interesting project in so much as it kind of began as I would probably say Major's pet project and he's our kind of lead dev. And he's the kind of guy who, when he sees a problem, he just. Spends his entire weekend trying to like code a fix for it. So Smol kind of started as, yeah, these kind of disconnected dApps that each one seems to serve sort of one core function and improving the UX of that particular function. And what we're trying to do now with it is we're working on a V2 that should go live, I would hope, sometime within the next month, bring all these kind of disconnected dApps together into one. One sort of hub that will help people kind of navigate different kind of common crypto tasks easier. And I think we're really trying to lean into that where, you know, a lot of the smart contracts behind Smoler and not, not ones that we've built ourselves. But we're able to kind of build this like UX layer on top of it and kind of use that web three composability to do what we do best, which is kind of UX and UI stuff on top of other people's work. In fact, you probably have stuff to add to that, but, but that's how I see Smol at least.

Draper: I think that the funny thing about Smol is that it started with someone else's problem. Nemos, Nemo, Nemo is a friend, Captain Nemo, he's a lobsters, maybe not him. He's, he's, he's part of Smol also. He's doing a lot of contributions there. He's great. And he, I think he wanted to migrate tokens, like all the tokens from wallet A from wallet B. And he started with main. He said, Oh, who who's willing, I think he published some Twitter. He says, who's willing to, to build this. And that's how it all started. Then NFT migrator came to life, same concept, but for NFTs. I mean, those are real problems with the crypto UX that it's not the next big D5 primitive, but it's problems that you have every single day or not every single day, but from time to time, you know, and there are no easy solutions. So yeah. Time we, we all started to get involved and it became like a more official edge project of the whole team. But I think that it's, that it's cool that it started at someone, someone's problem. You know, some, someone had this ache and we said, okay, let's do it. Yeah. That's how we started building more and more products. Like multi-chain for example, like, sorry, multi-save. Multi-save it's like you heard about a big market maker that got in trouble because they received, all the tokens in the wrong address. Well, we said, okay, what, I mean, if it happened to them, that there are big brains, there have a lot of people, it is going to happen to me, to me, to driver, to you, to whoever, like a human being. So if we can build multi-save, uh, we can help a lot of people because it improves the UX, uh, the cross chain, multi-chain.

Nicholas: So I want to jump into, I think the most exciting or the most fun thing to talk about first is just like all the different things that Smol does. And so we can talk, I think we should just run through all of them. And how, what. The problem is and how they work. And then maybe later we can talk a little bit about what you're doing on Yearn. Uh, and is it Anja? Is that how you pronounce it?

Facu: Depends who you ask. Anja? Ajna. Ajna is how I say it. I don't know if that's right or not.

Draper: Yeah. Yeah. Ajna. Ajna.

Nicholas: It's A-J-N.

Draper: A-J-N.

Nicholas: Oh, sorry.

Draper: Ajna, Ajna, Ajna. No, but, but, uh, our friend says Anja, so, so it's fine.

Facu: I see.

Nicholas: I see. Okay. But let's start with Smol. I feel like Smol is the most like sort of relatable thing and, and easy to get excited about. So yeah, you just mentioned multisafe. So what's the problem that multisafe is solving?

Draper: Uh, it allows you to, to create, um, multiple. Nose, well, former noses safes, like multisig in different chains with the same address.

Nicholas: And why doesn't safe just do that? What, why do they resist that?

Draper: Well, we, we did, we did a little bit of research around this. Um, the thing is that it's, it has some caveats. Uh, so let's say we create. Um, we create a multi-sig, the three of us, and then you say, okay, you know what? Fabius is coming. Let, let's kick him out. I can go copy and replay your transaction in another chain and still be a signer of the multisig or another chain. So every time you recreated the multi, the multisig, it's going to have the original signers. So you've got to be very sure of what you're doing. Um, so you can replay it on other chains. That's, that's what the security issue, uh, actually the safe team created, uh, like the new contract. They have a function to create them with a chain ID so you can out replay the transaction on other chains. Uh, but I mean, we discussed a lot about this. Yeah.

Nicholas: That's kind of surprising. Like why, why don't they just have one five, five style protection built in? Is it, why wouldn't you, why wouldn't they normally have that? That's just how they're designed. Okay. All right.

Draper: Yeah. I mean, it's other people's contracts. We're just trying to prove you acts of, of, of, of common stuff people use. I don't know. To be honest, I don't know.

Nicholas: Cause I know they're also like, uh, there's something about, uh, depending on the pre compiles and stuff that they're, they can't be guaranteed about the address being the same across all chains. Right.

Draper: Can't we, I mean, if the, the thing is they, they, they have a singleton that they, that's like a library they call. So it's the single that has the same address. Uh, the factory has the same address and, uh, um, you're using the same, um, the same seed, the same salt. Why wouldn't it be? I mean, yeah, there's a Smol chance, but, uh, it hasn't failed even once till now.

Nicholas: So, yeah, I mean, maybe they, they, they can be a hundred percent sure, but so basically multi-safe will let you deploy the single safe to the same address across a bunch of chains and it's just provides a clean UI for doing that.

Draper: Yeah, exactly. And, and we even, we even put something that is nice. You can have a vanity address, not very, very much like super vanity. But, um, because your, your, your browser is doing all the calculations, but, um, okay.

Nicholas: So, so it's like a CPU, uh, vanity compute. Yeah.

Draper: Mm-hmm. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, with JavaScript, I mean, Might as well.

Nicholas: Why not? That's nice. Is that the most popular of the Smol apps?

Draper: Um, it's either that, I think it's that disperse and dump dot services.

Nicholas: Because disperse the original disperse was from urine also, right?

Draper: Oh yeah. The original disperse is Vantix. Like we're using the same smart control.

Nicholas: It's okay. Okay. But the UI for bad tags disperse was a bit limited or like it didn't have wallet connect support. If I recall. Yeah.

Draper: Yeah. And it was a bit ugly to call it somehow. So we tried to, we, we improved the UI and UX and we're working with him on fixes because there's some stuff that you cannot do. For example, you cannot disperse ETH to a multi-sig because it runs out of gas.

Nicholas: Oh, wow.

Draper: To the, I don't know the deep, yeah, I don't know the deep technicalities of it, but it has, uh, uh, so has this replaced the.

Nicholas: Like original disperse thought app.

Draper: It's using the same smart contract.

Nicholas: Actually it's the same. So yeah, it's alternative.

Draper: Yeah. Yeah.

Nicholas: And what was the other one that you said was very popular dump dot services and that uses cow swap. Right. So what, what, what's the problem that that one solves?

Draper: Uh, well that uses cow shop and beep up both of them. Uh, the problem is when you want to, when you want to dump all the tokens that you harvested from your farming operations. So you've been farming a lot of, uh, outcomes to, to be polite. And you want to dump them into ETH. So instead of doing, I don't know, five, 10, 15 transactions, you just select the output token. Then you go and select all the tokens you want to dump into ETH. One transaction. Well, you got to sign messages. It's not one transaction because the problem there is that, um, the quotes expire. So you got to, you got to sign a bunch of transactions as going to dump everything to ETH, but you just got to click, click, click, click, click off. We go. And the good thing. Is that we optimize that to batch the transaction for, for safes. So like in most of say of, of Smol dapps, safe users are, are first class citizens, not the other way around. Like the other dubs, like you've got to go wallet connect. This is a safe app, blah, blah, blah. No, in general, in Smol, we actually, we're actually are a safe app, especially that services, um, save is a first class citizen. So we can help people like get this. Two Fs. A kind of feeling with the robot, whatever.

Facu: So we're trying to go that way. And I think that that has an interesting, um, effect that surprised me at least on like kind of who the users of these apps are. Uh, cause especially something like dump services, you might think, oh, you know, that, that will be of interest to like, you know, your average old coin trader, but actually because, because safe, there's faculty was saying, uh, first class citizens. Like it is often Dow treasuries that are using these tools, which weren't necessarily the kind of intended user, but, um, it's, it's been kind of cool to see.

Nicholas: Yeah, it seems like very, there are all these tools and people are always building these little things for themselves to make their lives easier, but these are kind of like the tools that people actually need if they're really living a crypto native lifestyle. As you say, they're not, it's not necessarily like a huge startup or something in it, but, uh, they are useful and necessary for, for lots of people. So dump cert dump dump services, uh, is for getting rid of all your, uh, alt coins. There's, there's a few that are more, um, sort of. I don't know, productive, creative in a way like Gibb and Smolstream feel like sort of supporting people, uh, orientation rather than just a utility or which one of those is, uh, or maybe let's start with Smolstream. So what is Smolstream? Is it built on top of something?

Facu: I can talk a bit about Smolstream. I can't talk about what is built on. Faki can talk there, but, um, so Smolstream, um, I'll share a kind of personal anecdote. Um, when I first kind of left my Web2 job behind and started at Yearn, um, you know, I'd often kind of tell my friends and my family about what I was working on and, and to zero interest from, from anyone else. Um, but when I showed them that Yearn kind of pays you to your wallet in a, in a constantly streaming 24 seven supply of tokens that you can kind of, um, you know, take your salary out halfway through the month if you need it. For some reason that, that got everyone much more excited than anything that the DAO was building. So, um, I always saw that as something that was kind of a, you know, something that kind of, um, could be like a useful onboarding tool because for anyone, it makes sense. Why, why wouldn't you be able to access your salary or, you know, token grant, whatever it is, um, using kind of the, the, the power of crypto versus a bi-weekly or monthly salary. So yeah, Smolstream basically is a dApp that allows you to send tokens in a continuous stream to, to any address. Um, and I'll let Faki kind of talk about the tech side of it.

Draper: Yeah, well, it's actually a vesting contract. Like saying that it's, it's stream, it's kind of, uh, like a fancy way because it's actually unlocking, uh, tokens. Uh, this, like this started, um, this started a while back when we started doing vesting packages at Yarn. Um, so we had a vesting contract that Vantag coded and the UI was really, really, really bad. I know it because I did the UI for that too. And I'm not a developer. I'm just, I just like solving problems. So, well, then let them, uh, Llama Pay took the contracts and started using the same factory and improved it. And we, we, like, we, we, we stopped using that, that kind of type of payment and we moved to, to something else. Uh, and, uh, I think that a few months ago we said, okay, we don't want to keep sending money to people, uh, manually. Like, like the person doing this at Yarn said so, said so. So him and Vantag got together. They, they created this, um, they, they improved the, the vesting contract and now we're using it to pay salaries. So you get your, your salary streamed because in the end it's a vesting. I mean, streaming, it's a vesting, but only for three months, we do quarter requests. And, uh, this was at Yarn and we need that UI. This doesn't fit into Yarn.fi really. So we said, why not put it in Smol? I mean, it's, it's a benefit for, for, for Yarn contributors, the hook, like we're giving them a UI. They don't need to track the thesis scan. And, uh, it's cool to have it as a, as a, as Smol. So we, we, yeah, we use the same UI style that's step-by-step. We did it nice with the real-time numbers. So yeah, it's very cool. Like, like, I think, I think this is, this is cool as well. Um, back then it was a vesting contract, so you didn't see the numbers updating or anything. And like pretty much the same contract two years later, it's just, it's streaming money to people, which, which sounds better. Um, sounds more approachable. People like it more. They're more willing to use it. So I think, I think that's a good change. Yeah.

Nicholas: Yeah. And it's very simple. I mean, there's, there's much more complex streaming protocols out there nowadays, but it's a simple version of it that I guess is useful for, uh, for Yarn contributors in particular. Uh, and Gibb, uh, that one is for making donations to crypto projects. Is that, is that built on top of something or is that a new contract that you wrote for that?

Draper: Yeah, no, that's us. Uh, that's us, but has mostly backend stuff and it's using ENS as backend also. Yeah. So this, like every product has a story. Um, that's what I was like kind of smiling. Uh, you remember the drama with Gitcoin? Some, I don't, I think it was like the vouch, like the matching rounds that were kind of obscure or not, or didn't have very clear rules, something around that, around a drama with Gitcoin. Okay. One of the guys came and say, Hey, let's be the alternative. Let's make, let's free people and let them donate, you know, in a better way, uh, or something like that. And we said, okay, let's do it. And we did it. It's not very popular. We're taking a lot of inspiration from the UI and stuff to do like this next version of Smol, Smol V2. But, uh, but yeah, it has a story. I'm like, I think that's what I love about Smol, that every single product has a backstory that we can relate to. And I mean, keep close to our heart or something.

Nicholas: Yeah. So you mentioned the migrator and NFT migrator. Um, so this is for moving a bunch of different tokens from a single wallet or from one account into another account. Yeah, exactly.

Draper: So you can do it more easily.

Nicholas: Those must be pretty popular.

Draper: Um, I guess, yeah, so, so I, I guess if people don't migrate that, that often they, they disperse and dump more lately.

Nicholas: Makes more sense.

Draper: Yeah. Yeah. And multisave has been very popular, but just because of, uh, it's been out there.

Nicholas: Right. And I guess it's something that's safe. That still doesn't do from what I know.

Draper: No, no, no. I think they don't want to do it. Um, I mean, it's fine. They, they advocate for safety and security and, uh, we are there to take these trade-offs, right. Usability for a little bit of security.

Nicholas: And there's two more that are on the current in the V1, I guess you could call it of Smol, uh, token list or what does that do?

Draper: What's the story behind it? Yeah. I mean, we were trying to use Uniswap token lists and the problem is that the project is dead. I mean, it's not maintained at all. So everything was like outdated, deprecated. Yeah. Yeah. Uh, we reached out and they updated a little bit, the website and stuff. So it doesn't look broken, but they're not updating stuff all the time. And we, we, we needed that. Like, well, you know, how hard it is to find out balances in on chain. Like if I need a list of tokens that you have in your wallet, it's a pain. So we were building the front end and Major kept complaining about, "Hey, I cannot get people's tokens. I need a list. I need a list that is updated. I need a list that has Yearn tokens. I need a list, whatever.". So he decided to go and fork the token list, improve it a bit, make it more predictable. If you go to token list, you know that every Sunday at noon CET, all lists are updated. And we have a main list that says if your token is in 50% of these lists below, it's in this main list, the token lister. And then all the lists below, they have connectors. So it's not a list that someone created. Most of them, I think 98%. It's not a list that you create manually. It's a list that is connected to something. I don't know, Etherscan, the top 5,000 tokens, I think it is. Something like that. So it's always updated. So that's what we tried to do, but that was to solve our own problem. It's like, A token list to be able to show balances. Balances and the list to zap in, zap out, to have that kind of stuff. So that's what we did when we did token lister.

Nicholas: So basically, people want to look at some... Excuse me. It's smold.app/tokenlistor with three O's. And it just gives you a JSON with the lists of tokens. And from what I understand, it's like compiling them from a bunch of different sources and taking ones that are represented in a lot of them? Yeah. At least half of them or something like that? You obviously need to be careful.

Draper: Yeah, exactly. Yeah.

Nicholas: That's pretty cool too. And then I think there was one more that we didn't discuss yet. Yeah, the assets. Token assets. Yes. So what's that one? What's the story for that?

Draper: I mean, same concept. We're doing this because we need logos. It's really hard to get up-to-date logos again. So we were doing it privately in an app. I don't know if it was a private or public repo, but in a Yarn repo. And we decided to put it out there because we were maintaining that manually ourselves. It was like, "Come on, guys, help us out.". So we can send the repo to projects and say, "Hey, if you want to update your logo, send a PR here. You know your logo better, you know your token description better, etc.". And we are collaborating now to make a better version of token assets and token lister to help more people use it. I mean, it's free. It's 100% free. We want better information in blockchain. That's the idea with that. But we need help. We don't have so many.

Nicholas: So what's the big idea for Smol v2? You're bringing all these tools together in a new UI. What's the idea and when's the launch?

Facu: Yeah, I think we're aiming to have it launched this month, but I wouldn't bet on it. Yeah, the idea of Smol v2. Yeah, Smol v2 is really that we've kind of built this roster of useful tools. And like Fakir was explaining, we kind of got there through solving random problems without much kind of like a cohesive design philosophy behind it. And so we kind of sat down at one point with looking at everything we had and kind of thinking, "How could we make this more useful?". It is like a kind of common theme here. And the kind of conclusion of those discussions was, yeah, maybe Smol v2. is a project that exists to kind of help people navigate the blockchain easier. And it takes this kind of concept of common crypto chores. you might have to do, whether it's sending NFTs from wallet A to wallet B, or, you know, spinning up a project with your friends and deploying a safe across chains and then setting up some vesting contracts to pay contributors. You know, what if that could all exist in kind of one hub with kind of much, much improved UX and UI, even versus V1. And so, you know, there are probably some apps in Smol V1 that won't make it to V2, as in we will continue to support them, they just won't be kind of part of part of the hub. But I think it gives us like a direction to continue building in, which is just to kind of continue to solve kind of common user problems. And one thing I think is like really heartening about the Smol journey is often I'm in kind of like a random chat group, and someone will ask a question like, you know, hey, how can I am like, disperse tokens, and someone, we'll link a Smol app. And I, you know, seemingly, to me, I don't know how they arrived there. Because it's not like we do a ton of marketing for Smol. But it always kind of, you know, makes me happy to see the people are discovering Smol on their own, because I guess it is solving these genuine problems that people have.

Nicholas: Absolutely. So but in general, Smol is for both of you, and for mom is kind of a side project, a Smoler aspect of what you're really focused on.

Facu: I would, I would say it's, it started that way. But we are trying to make it a bigger project. A project that can also kind of link to other things that we're building. And I think it's in a transition between a kind of side passion project and a real product that we want to kind of, you know, make a lot better.

Nicholas: Got it. And tell me more about mom. So what's, what's the who's involved? And yeah, what are you focused on now? Ajna, I suppose?

Draper: Yeah, sure. Right now, we are 11 people at mom. What, what we do is, like user facing stuff. What does it mean? We not only do front end, but we also do marketing. That for us is very important, like, both of them need to go hand to hand, not only marketing in the sense of Twitter and the ads and the great videos, but also about the copy, we want to make it funny, but to make it super clear, all that kind of stuff. That's what we do. Um, we are we're doing a lot of stuff at Yarn. Like a lot, a lot there with the new products that are launching, etc. And recently, we got the opportunity to maintain Ajna's website. And the cool stuff about it is, and this is how we approach mom. It's like, we're not a dev shop. That's what that I'm sure I'm 100% sure. We're not a dev shop. I don't know what we are exactly. But I know what we're not.

Nicholas: Why not? What makes you say that?

Draper: dev shop. You're going to say, Hey, can you build build us this website and do this marketing campaign for us and give us a quote? That's not how it works. We want to work with projects that we can, we can integrate to each other. So you can say it with just vaults, we integrated Yarn and Ajna into a product that is better. Like Ajna, it's impossible to use by hand, like by a regular human being.

Nicholas: So Can you explain what it is for people who don't know? Ajna?

Draper: Yeah. So Ajna is a lending market. But the difference about Ajna and other lending markets like Aave, Compound, et cetera, is that if you want to onboard your token, let's say I want to launch FacuCoin, which is fine. And I go to Aave and say, Hey, guys, can you add FacuCoin to Aave? There's going to be a whole risk assessment. Because once you add Facu as collateral, you can poison or you can affect the whole protocol.

Nicholas: There's a governance process.

Draper: There's a governance process, risk assessment, et cetera, et cetera. And it makes sense because you can put at risk the whole protocol because of one single private token like FacuCoin. But Ajna is different because every market is an isolated market. So if I want to onboard FacuCoin, I can do it. It's permissionless. I can create it now if I wanted to. But I need to choose what's going to be the, it's called the quote token. So the token that people can borrow, whatever when they deposit, Facu as collateral. So if I say, okay, I think I want to pair Facu with Dai. Okay. I should create the pair, Facu Dai, but I cannot, I cannot deposit Dai as collateral and take Facu. No, this is a one, it's a one way thing. I can create the reverse PayAye also. So I think that the important thing about Dashnode, the very different thing is markets are very innovative.

Nicholas: So that's great.

Draper: It does other problems, like, you need Dai, in every single market, right? You cannot have a huge pool of DAI that's going to feed all the markets. It doesn't have any oracles because it's like Unib3, you have price buckets instead of ticks, but it's pretty much the same concept. So you don't have prices, so people deposit money, like DAI, they're willing to lend at a certain

Nicholas: price

Draper: of FACU coin, or let's put BTC, like I'm willing to buy BTC at 30K, so I can lend DAI at the WBTC DAI pool saying, okay, at 35K, I'm willing to lend it. So when Bitcoin crosses that price, me as a lender, I can get liquidated. Well, they are collons liquidated. I'm going to get collateral and my DAI is gone because someone else just swapped it to arbitrage it or whatever. So that's the way in simple terms, like how they avoid using oracles. So that's the other difference with other protocols. And being permissionless, like anyone can create a market. I think those are the three big, big differences that come with their challenges with Ashman.

Facu: And it's not just the ELC20s, like any kind of Ethereum based token, NFT or not is more or less supported. And I don't know if you mentioned FACU, but yeah, the no governance, I guess, is also like a kind of big differentiator for the protocol.

Draper: Yeah, exactly.

Nicholas: And so you did the work of integrating it with Yearn for this juiced product?

Facu: Well, just to add before FACU answers, I think also what's interesting about Ajna is they have the team that built the protocol is truly committed to this decentralized vision. So I think it was, I can't remember the exact number, but 12 or so guys who've been building this for the past two years, they've completely wound down the entity that built it. none of them are involved at all with the protocol. so you know various front-end providers uh yeah and um summer fire a big one will be the kind of access points for the protocol. but um i i can't remember kind of seeing another team recently. who who have done that? so i think that's quite an interesting thing too.

Nicholas: yeah that is probably. and then so so you had had the juiced vaults project emerge in the collaboration with uh ajna and your.

Draper: well a bunch of a bunch of other yearn developers were super excited about ajna also and they they saw the same difficulties that we saw. because the problem with these price buckets is the same that you have with uni b3. when you have volatility you have to move your liquidity around. so you have two problems liquidity fragmentation. uh let's take dias examples because it's a vault we have and it's an. it's an easy example to understand. um so when you have die you need to if you want exposure or if you want to lend die in the wbtc dipole in the each die pool etc. etc. you got you gotta do multiple deposits and and then you have the problem about managing the liquidity. uh so we did the whole ui ux abstraction to make it possible um to do this. but all the smart contract work was done by by a bunch of yarn smart contract developers that like are also super pumped about dashman. so we collaborated like all of us like the action team the yarn smart contract development team our our team to create this juiced vault where you deposit like you deposit dial like in a regular yarn vault and you're you're lending money you're lending on asana in like. i think that right now it's five or six pools. so that's that's pretty cool. and what i love about this? it's like it's beneficial for everyone. yarn gets tbl users get yield asana gets tbl everyone's happy. so coming back to to what you asked before why you're not the temp why you say that it's like this is the beauty of what we do. we like to to put uh like the project we partner with together to make something even better. um that's our idea.

Facu: i think it's something also kind of uniquely crypto that that um you know kind of um i guess like a business model like like mum can can really exist where um there's not necessarily kind of like a client that's demanding. hey we need um we need a we need a product bill that integrates yarn and ajna and blah blah blah and blah blah blah. but more that you know contributors can see the value in building something and build it and you know through various monetization means can still kind of be compensated for doing it. but um you know

Nicholas: i i

Facu: still haven't kind of figured out the best way to think about all of this stuff but there does feel like something different here that that mum is trying to tap into where we can deliver value to different ecosystems by kind of um making everything we build kind of composable with with the systems that we're building in.

Nicholas: so in is one way to think about it that the you're providing both front end and like um a coherent front end and uh marketing package. but it's not sold as a service but instead through some kind of token swap or something you're becoming participants in the ecosystem invested in its long-term uh outcomes.

Facu: oh can you say that again? we should write that down. that's very good.

Nicholas: yeah because it's fancy because it's very fancy speaking of which that reminds me i i shouldn't forget uh there's a sponsor for today's episode. actually uh this episode is brought to you by speedrun ethereum. speedrun ethereum is a hands-on crash course in web 3 development that'll teach you how to build an nft contract a dex a multi-sig wallet and more. you learn all this through hands-on step-by-step project-based learning. so if you've always wanted to get more technical or to expand beyond your comfort zone get into d5 get into nfts some part of the scene that you've never explored then i suggest you check out speedrun ethereum. it's the place to go to learn about all these subjects. you can get started today at speedrunethereum.com. my thanks to speedrun ethereum and to the build guild for supporting this episode and this show in general can do without you. uh all right all right you can unmute.

Draper: i'm really sorry. i don't even know if that's my son or someone else.

Nicholas: it must be someone else's son. uh okay so i guess you're focused mainly on these urine projects. maybe some unannounced things that we can't get into just yet. or is there anything with urine that? uh any other urine projects we can talk about?

Facu: or maybe recent recent projects we could give an alpha leak. what do you think? fuck it go for it. yeah so um one thing we're excited to kind of be building with yarn is um i think like you know yarn's kind of reputation of the original but still the biggest and most trusted yield aggregator um is a really strong one um. and i think um you know to date it has primarily been for kind of crypto power users and for other dows and you know kind of big treasuries to yield farm through um which has resulted in the kind of uh? ui itself kind of catering to those users which is you know an incredibly kind of info rich ui that that has all the data you could possibly want to to know about the the strategy you're considering to deposit in to. but i think like you know yarn's reputation is bigger than just professional should be bigger than just professional users. um. so we often get in kind of in discord or telegram you know kind of normal crypto holders who just want to earn some yield on their tokens you know struggling to to use yarn because it has it has been built for a different kind of user base um. so the the most recent kind of iteration of the protocol v3 is is really intended as a kind of primitive that others could build on. so so we thought you know why should we not be one of the the first to build on it? and so we're kind of um excited to build a a a very different kind of um front end for a yield protocol. um you know i think if you go on pretty much any um like yield farming front end it's all the same. it's all kind of these lists of very complex sounding strategies and token names that have you know six seven different letters in and you can't make head or tails of it or at least i can't um. and so we we've taken a step back from that and taken inspiration from stuff like uniswap and thought maybe maybe this whole list approach doesn't have to be the only way that you could earn yield on digital assets. um so we're hoping once this new product is built that the yarn will basically have two different ways into it which is the you know the professional ui and the kind of more regular normal user ui. so um that's a little alpha drop.

Nicholas: i guess that's exciting that makes a lot of sense. uh i think definitely could be room for some easier ways to onboard. do you have thoughts on that?

Draper: no no yeah 100 like. i'm a huge advocate of improving the ui ux. i mean it's crazy. i don't know how how we are all using this with the terrible ui ux. so yeah we are advocating like for account abstraction in many ways like for anything that help help us um build

Facu: better stuff

Draper: because we're trying like like on the front end we use multi-codes we use like everything everything we can to abstract uh abstract um complexities and i think that it's cool. i think that this we can build it now and not like three years ago during the defy summer i mean during the defy summer we were all looking at um how was it called the web from? uh with maggie it was a text web. uh yield info i don't i don't know whatever. uh so right now it changed. like people want better quality of life like they want accurate aprs like everyone was looking at that console web page because like there was no other way to know like the apr of farming a wifey die on balancer. so so right now people are more demanding about this this kind of stuff. so and developers are more aware of that. so so we're also working on juice vault to improve to improve more the usability. uh using sap like zap multi multi actions like zapier but for web3. so in one transaction you can deposit into or you can do like a chain of of five or six steps to get your deposit where it has to be. but what? what are we losing there? um i why i? why? i think that we should have both options like yearn the professional way and yearn the easy way. uh because some people they want more transparency and when you use a zap that contract is kind of hiding the complexity but also hiding what what's behind it. so you gotta do one more step. it's like having a shell company. you know in the movies like they they had what's. they want more transparency more control if they want to deposit and stake or not etc. but some others they only want more money and yield. so yeah i think what's powerful is having optionality. i don't think that one is better than the other one. i think that we need to have both and that's what we what we try to do like provide an option a different option.

Nicholas: yeah that makes a lot of sense. draper i was going to ask what does it mean to be a creative director in this context?

Facu: well in my former life it meant kind of um working with um. you know i was like i was like i was like i was you know kind of big but quite traditional brands and you know doing doing what you might consider traditional advertising like television ads or um online campaigns and and now it means shit posting on twitter which is you know in some ways a fool from grace but uh in other ways has been the happiest period of my life.

Nicholas: so uh so so are you involved in the uh like the video production? uh side of things too?

Facu: yeah so so we have um we have a kind of creative team within mum. we're kind of yeah responsible for yeah like memes and marketing and videos across yearn and agner and Smol and and everything mum does and you know. so it's a really interesting team because again i spent you know a decade a decade or so in in traditional advertising agencies working with you know very traditional kind of creatives and you know um our mum creative team is really like a very online team like um half our team met playing like a dota together. um and you know haven't necessarily had a traditional kind of like creative schooling or background. but i think it like um it actually like really translates and shows in in our marketing that that we're leaning into like you know i think i think crypto has this aesthetic to it that's obviously super online because we all are super online. so we're trying to embrace that and and find creative talent that that innately is that rather than kind of has to be trained in what it means to kind of have that like online sheet.

Nicholas: yeah i don't think you can. it's not so easy to teach.

Facu: yeah i think you either know it or you don't.

Nicholas: yeah can you take me through how? how does uh developing like a marketing campaign for the launch of a product work? what are the steps for doing that?

Facu: yeah i mean i i gotta try and answer that without leaking too much of how we do it because i think i think we have like a a different approach that i haven't seen as many kind of other projects take. but no i'll be fair.

Nicholas: um maybe high level.

Facu: yeah high level. so i i think like um what i see more in the space is is there's like two there's a spectrum with like two extremes on it. um on the one side you have like the crypto projects who kind of embrace like a fintech um kind of style which is like sleek it's very professional it talks much more about the product exclusively and you might have like a rotating iphone with the app on and hey you can swap 100 tokens and you know kind of. it looks very professional but but it's very cold and clinical like a kind of fintech app would be. and then you have the other side of the spectrum where um you know the the the project is is kind of talking in memes. but those memes don't necessarily tell you as an audience um anything really about the project. they're just trying to make you laugh and then hope if you laugh that you retweet the. i guess um we try and like sit somewhere in the middle which is like aesthetically we're in the kind of dgen meme crypto native um world. but we always try to have like some actual product truth that we're communicating um about whether it's yearn or ajna. um so so we we we start from that truth which is okay. so if it's ajna we we might be talking about the fact there's no governance and that might take us to a truth about you know. uh if there's no governance to you know that the best governance is no governance you know and then we will start to feel out okay what's like a really provocative or interesting or funny way to to share that because the truth is we we're not paying for any media. so if someone doesn't hit that retweet button you you've kind of failed. um in your goal. so we're. we're very much trying to basically be 100 organic media which which does rely on kind of trying to get shares where possible. so you you often have to like over over index in in whether it's comedy or whether it's kind of provocativeness. you have to kind of really lean into it.

Nicholas: that was something that i i mean there was this kind of uh verging on or what do they call it like ichi. uh branding for yearn back in the day. oh yeah not quite yeah. and were you around?

Facu: no no that was before my time.

Nicholas: he remembers not doing marketing. i mean it was very uh contentious. later it became contentious but regardless of the content it always seemed kind. it was kind of interesting to me because it was one dimension in which like the banks cannot compete. it's really a. it sort of was viscerally demonstrating a branding through its branding. uh a difference between the product the urine product and what you might get in a trad fi context. but maybe uh maybe the spiciness was not effective for a long-term strategy.

Facu: but i but i think you're you're so right and and that's my you know i'm obviously biased but my disappointment with uh projects who who lean into the kind of what i'll call the fintech or professional bank thing is it just feels like such a wasted opportunity to to go back to the old world. you're trying to disrupt you. your product is disruptive but your marketing is is very safe and timid and i i totally understand why projects do it because you know it is uncomfortable to to take a risk and you know perhaps the yearn hentai approach is is a little too much even for me. but if the choice is being super safe or too risky i would always lean towards too risky.

Draper: yeah i remember sorry i just to give you context about what was happening back then. that was some kind of activism through marketing like showing should. it was a i don't know if what the right or wrong way but it was a way of showing. hey we are different we're not the same as this guy these guys. we were also um posting pictures like from image banks with the watermark uh like having fun or mocking a little bit. um try to fight guys but but i think it it was like the whole idea was. was that like activism through marketing and showing like this is this is a different space we do different stuff and we do it very differently. uh i think that was pretty much it.

Nicholas: and then how did uh draper? how did you end up uh coming on board and developing this other strategy or more? i don't know refined way of doing that?

Facu: yeah i mean i i'd been uh kind of just a interested in crypto and a Smol bag holder since 2017. um and uh. but you know just alongside my my normal job and then i think in the kind of nft summer defi summer period i started to just you know my i've always enjoyed i'd always enjoyed my job but the result of kind of working with these huge brands is very like uh unfulfilling to your soul and and i kind of knew that the time had come to to try and make the move into into crypto full time and i just started contributing at yarn and thought yep this this will do it and you know resigned pretty quickly after that and just have gone all in since then.

Nicholas: that's great. and how long do you are you planning uh the marketing for a project before it's released?

Facu: um we're pretty we're pretty reactive. i think there's two reasons for that um. one is that often devs um wait until you know friday morning to tell you that they're shipping something on friday morning. um but i also think like um one of the ways in which we've had success is kind of being topically relevant. and so if you plan a campaign for three weeks or four four weeks in advance um you you don't have anything to respond to which you know whether whether it's like doing something funny about the etfs on etf launch day or um you know whatever crypto twitter happens to be talking about in that moment i think uh you've got to leave yourself enough space to be able to have like some relevancy because the the way the algo works is is if people are talking about it and your marketing is is talking about it too you have a higher chance of kind of cutting through um. having said that there's obviously like you know big launches. we we do plan quite a bit in the head because you know that has often just the of we have to

Nicholas: because you're bringing in like uh the vfx kind of

Facu: yeah exactly the the production times are much longer um versus like a kind of Smoler reactive film that might just be like a sort of an update to something that's already launched.

Nicholas: and are you bringing those people in? uh just like contractually as needed or are there people on the team who are good at cutting that kind of asset?

Facu: yeah so when i started at yarn um we we kind of didn't have a team and we would yeah we would have to um contract out like any any anything and everything to be honest. um we're now at the point with mum that we pre. i think like nine years ago we were a real우ing a project and it's actually a really good thing to do. um so we're working very hard uh for that in terms of like the data and the the the value of the project because we can keep it in like a way.

Draper: um we know that the the value of the project is going to go up. so we're working. we're looking for in-house data.

Facu: that's what we're looking for and some other parts are going to be yeah yeah wow how many defy?

Nicholas: well i guess you're not a defy protocol per se. but how many uh how many crypto teams have a musician on on staff? that's pretty cool yeah i think.

Draper: so. i think so that's awesome.

Nicholas: um and if people want to check out some of that stuff the best place i guess the yearn. uh you're in five twitter accounts or where else.

Facu: yeah i'd say you're in five twitter account or i mean the mom account also kind of retweets. um most of our work across everything. but yeah yearn um you know we've we now have a sort of pressure within yearn which is uh yearn has kind of become quite known for a lot of the marketing stuff. so it puts a real pressure to make sure that we don't let the quality drop. um which we do take quite seriously.

Nicholas: and are you dropping stuff all the time or only like once a month every few months? how often are you pushing out new content?

Facu: oh no we're dropping stuff quite a lot. um as the team has has grown a bit we've also been able to hit. so i'd say we're probably on two to three videos a week at the moment which um wow has also um affected how we produce stuff. because i think um in in the earlier days we were definitely doing longer production times and trying to you know hit a kind of super bowl-esque crypto ad. and and now we're you know we're still doing those four big launches but in between the kind of like maintenance of of projects um we're definitely seeing like a big result in kind of shorter but harder hitting stuff. um so that's been like really cool to kind of change and all twitter focus all twitter focused. yeah how come?

Nicholas: uh is there not? uh no djns on tiktok?

Facu: um i think there's. i think there's. well firstly i'll say there's kind of an uncomfortable legal area i think in like directly marketing towards kind of like retail participants which i think tiktok would be. um i think the other kind of problem with tiktok is is is because like you know if you're a forex scammer that's going to be your like kind of main port of call that like crypto by being next to these like outright scams not that crypto twitter is always that much better. um but you know i think it's something we'll probably continue to think about. but yeah for now it is very twitter dominant which is good but is also kind of limiting.

Nicholas: yeah maybe with the new product it might make sense to go to youtube shorts or something if the if the interface truly is easy that's fascinating. um yeah the marketing aspect is really how many people do you think are like potential customers? or how many people use your? do you imagine what's the? what's the scale of the market roughly?

Facu: that's a really good question because i think i think that's why we want to build build the new ui. is it feels like uh anyone who could use yearn in its current state is is probably already using yearn or there's probably a Smol gap of people who aren't. but um yeah it feels like yearn has has perhaps reached everyone it can reach and it's in its current state and so to find it's like 10 000 people 100 000 people faculty. i'd probably go to you on that.

Draper: i mean that's really hard. like how do you know how many people use yearn? we have like we have 200k visits a month to the site if that's um that helps. like uniques yeah yeah and we did a little bit of research a while ago and 95 percent of the users or the wallets to be more precise were whales depositing like more than 50k. i think that right now that might have changed and lower a little bit the barrier because gas is cheaper and we also expanded to other chains. but our bread and butter at yearn is um magnet. uh so yeah mostly whales so that that that can tell you more or less who uses yearn. and and also protocols like protocols was doing a ton of money. uh so yeah we want to target like the other end of the spectrum of this stuff.

Nicholas: so yeah makes sense. uh yeah. so i guess if 200 000 uniques we're talking something on the order of a hundred thousand people visiting the site i mean you'd imagine much more harder to catch metrics around the number of ad accounts that are interacting. but i mean if you're even if you're using a bunch of different accounts you're not really visiting the site from unique ips.

Draper: that much yeah and we don't want to collect that much data. so we use plausible and that's the only thing we use. um is gdpr compliant. it's super light in terms of data collection. we only want to know where people are coming from what they are using more and that's that's pretty much it. so we don't have that that that much information about the users. um it's just to be able to size the the the hardware we use and that kind of stuff. and yeah for sure customers makes sense.

Nicholas: if you're serving a website makes sense to know how many people are accessing it and things like that.

Draper: yeah but also your ethos it's about um transparency privacy. we have um like i think i'm one of if not the only i'm one of the few people that are using it and i'm one of the few non-anon adjourn. um so we have this this anon anon friendly. uh culture. uh that it's mostly about privacy and respecting other people's desire for privacy. so like we want to translate that to the to the website. so that's why i mean it's important makes a lot of sense.

Nicholas: um i'm at the end of my list of questions but i'm sure there are other things you guys have on your minds. is there anything that we didn't discuss that you'd like to to get into today? projects you're working on things that you've been observing trends you're excited about. uh technologies that are important that people aren't talking about enough. or maybe you're talking about too much. um multi-chain stuff. uh how has the transition to supporting multiple chains been going for you as as you're building up front and stuff?

Draper: that's a good question that's um because that's a big pain. how do you choose a chain? nicholas if i tell you if i tell you now hey i have a friend exactly exactly that's that's a big problem. so we've been iterating on that. so the first thing that we did adjourned like it was what everyone was doing. chain selector here you click you select the chain. if you're in the wrong chain it's going to pop up some message saying hey you gotta switch metamask whatever. um so now we took a different approach. we said okay now let's forget let's like wallets should take care of that. like frame is doing it. frame is not perfect but it's doing. it has this omni-chain approach. so now we list everything on every chain. the chain is just um. one more attribute of adjourn is a vault for example of the vault. and uh you can filter and if you want to deposit an optimism you're you go to the vault. it's optimism. okay you're not going to see your tokens i'm sorry for it. um you're going to realize that you need to bridge the them or something. um and voila. so that's the first the first step. um we're thinking about and we've been thinking for quite a long time about cross-chain zaps. uh but that's really difficult. uh like it sounds super easy especially with all the the bridging technology we have today. but then you start to hit stuff like oh you don't have gas in the destination chain. oh where are you going to receive your tokens? like you're the boss in the vault and you receive shares where do you want them? in the destination chain the source chain if you don't have gas in the destination chain and let's say a sponsor your transaction how are you going to then withdraw? uh so like there are i mean south and south south ends of edge cases or not? that edge cases? uh so it's. I mean it's really. it's really hard. so like we're trying to find a solution for that like showing someone just a bunch of opportunities it doesn't matter in which chain they are it doesn't matter in which chain they have their assets. uh that you can deposit them with. wrong that that's an ideal world with unicorns. um all the solutions that I've seen they use a base chain. they said okay my base chain is this one a I don't know.

Nicholas: not not main that but I don't know.

Draper: arbitron just to name another one. and then I'm going like all your tokens are going to be in an arbitron and you've got tokens anywhere else I'm just going to bridge them and do some black magic behind to move it around. I don't know. I think that the chain the chain and the chain thing right now it's quite a mess. I mean the other day I was scrolling on DeFi llama looking for a chain just and it was like where where did all these chains are coming from. uh what are they doing what? what products are they running? I mean yeah well yeah I think that that has to improve. I think account abstraction is part of that. also like give people the the the ability to automate to batch transactions. uh like developers right uh you're you're like developers are going to be able to deliver um solutions to users that are much much better although it will be even more complicated when there's differing state across the account on various chains. yeah 100 I don't know how they're going to solve that.

Nicholas: uh by the way I think that maybe there's going to be a like an account chain yeah or something seems like maybe but it's gonna be hard to pick which chain or how. who will administer that chain? whatnot? but um one thing that's interesting in the multi-chain world is that the like Arbitrum is so much bigger than the others in terms of TVL but at least in the parts of the ecosystem that I hang out in lately it's been base has had a lot of prominence with all of its marketing um Optimism of course with its rpgf um previously but they it's. I'm curious from your perspective with this primarily DeFi vantage point is Arbitrum the most exciting place where people are most active of the l2s? or what else are people doing? where do you see? people are hanging out.

Draper: yeah I think that people are more on Optimism and base lately. but I don't I don't I don't know if Optimism is about the the retro the retro grants. I think that there's been just more like more liquidity because you have like. um Belladrom is pushing very very hard I think in terms in terms of chains I see two things. uh one is the the polygon approach that that has been the same approach as base that is marketing first at like. if you ask me this like three years ago I could have said no polygon is the worst it doesn't work technology is bad. but look like they did a marketing first approach. they got all the best deals so they start onboarding new users like with Disney. another another big brands that I don't remember Starbucks I think something. yeah Starbucks right yeah that's really cool. and and then they improve the technology. it's fine. we're so early like nobody cares. um so that's that's really good. I think that base took a similar approach that they for example they have aerodrome which is the same team as Belladrom. uh it's a great team amazing they push and they push the whole freaking chain in the end because they are. um so I think that you always need some kind of partner that have a subproduct in your chain that is not shilling your chain but it's shooting their product. but if they are shooting their product in your chain aren't they changing your chain?

Facu: um I think.

Draper: Arbitrum I think that maybe dopex I think it's. it's a pretty popular one but I mean that's options. I mean even even for for DeFi people options are super difficult. so yeah I mean I think you need a partner. you you always need a partner that that's going to push your chain and you need products adoption symbiotic relationship between the apps and the chains to promote the activity of the users. yeah I mean a lot of people bridge to base myself included because of frantic. yeah so it's. I mean you need an app that's going to make the user choose your chain. if not whatever you're going to choose another chain. so um. so yeah I think that's that's kind of how I see it right now but it's difficult.

Nicholas: yeah we'll see we'll see what happens. um draper did you have any uh final uh topics you wanted to discuss before we call it today?

Facu: no no um I think my last thought is is kind of what we're discussing here which is I I hope I hope this year will be kind of a more app and user focused year than kind of um infrastructure stuff. but um I think it remains to be seen. I'm not I wouldn't bet on it but yeah I think that I think that will start to um not only a kind of re-energize everyone in the space, but also it's fundamentally what's bringing in new users. So excited for that whenever it does happen.

Nicholas: And appealing to more people than just the infrastructure stuff or just even the deep DeFi stuff. that's difficult to comprehend. So it's cool to hear that you're heading in that direction too this year. So I look forward to seeing what you come up with and Smol V2 also should be exciting. Thanks, Baku and Draper for coming through. This was a great conversation.

Draper: Thanks for having us. Thanks a lot for inviting us. It's been great. Awesome. Super fun.

Nicholas: All right. Have a great rest of the afternoon. Thanks everybody for coming to listen. Hey.

Facu: Thank you, sir. Bye-bye.

Nicholas: See ya. Hey, thanks for listening to this episode of Web3 Galaxy Brain. To keep up with everything Web3, follow me on Twitter at Nicholas with four leading ends. You can find links to the topics discussed on today's episode in the show notes. Podcast feed links are available at web3galaxybrain.com. Web3 Galaxy Brain airs live most Friday afternoons at 5 p.m. Eastern time, 2200 UTC on Twitter spaces. I look forward to seeing you there.

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Draper and Facu, Co-Founders of Smol and Contributors at Yearn Finance