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AMA Highlights – RAMP DEFI

By 03-Sep-2020 No Comments

AMA Highlights – RAMP DEFI

By Daniel Dal Bello, Director.

September 6, 2020 – 6 min read.

On Tuesday 1 September, we welcomed Lawrence Lim from RAMP DEFI (‘Ramp’) into the Hillrise Capital Telegram chat for an AMA. Lawrence is the Project Lead for this exciting new DeFi startup.

The entire DeFi ecosystem has seen a significant spike in momentum throughout the past few months, beginning in early July, as new protocols emerge and ‘Total Value Locked’ rapidly approaches US $10b. Nearly all of the DeFi ecosystem is contained within the Ethereum ecosystem with external assets unable to participate in the most popular products. Ramp exist to change that by proposing a new liquidity on/off-ramp to leverage illiquid staked assets form other blockchains into liquid capital which can be used within the Ethereum Network.

In this post, we have compiled key questions and answers from our AMA event.

Daniel Dal Bello
Welcome Lawrence, thank you for being here today, I’ve been looking forward to this conversation because DeFi is so hot at the moment and the problem you’re addressing with RAMP DEFI is a relevant one. Basically you are building a solution to unlock illiquid capital from outside the Ethereum ecosystem and allow it to be mobilized inside that DeFi world.

Before we get into that, could you please introduce yourself and give us some insight into your individual background and how you ended up here with Ramp? What type of work are you doing in your role as Project Lead? For anyone who is new to Ramp, could you also give an introduction to the company, motivation, and solution?

Lawrence Lim
Hey Daniel, thanks for having us here today! And everyone thanks for being here to learn more about Ramp. For sure – let me kick things off with a quick personal introduction, and then about the company.

I am from Singapore, and started working in the traditional finance industry in 2012, in private banking and corporate M&A. I then joined IOST, a layer-1 blockchain solution as their International Growth Lead in early 2018. I was with IOST since pre-testnet, to testnet, to mainnet, to onboarding over 300 nodes, and over USD $30m in staked assets. In late 2019, I started ideating with my cofounders to develop and launch what is RAMP DEFI today.

As the Project Lead, I focus mainly on communicating the vision of RAMP DEFI to investors and our community, and also driving product development to achieve this vision.

What RAMP DEFI wants to do is simple. We see that there are US $22bn worth of staked assets earning APY of 5-10% typically (which is low for crypto), and we want to create more opportunities for investors to leverage these assets, and make higher returns on capital. This is done by creating a derivative stablecoin on top of the underlying staked asset, which is then ported over to Ethereum to lend/borrow with fiat-backed capital (USDT/USDC). This way users retain their original portfolio, retain staking rewards and still can unlock additional liquid capital without injecting more money from the bank.

“This way users retain their original portfolio, retain staking rewards and still can unlock additional liquid capital without injecting more money from the bank.”

Daniel Dal Bello
When you propose the issue of illiquid capital being held outside of the Ethereum network and unable to interact with all of these DeFi protocols, do you think there is a big appetite for bringing that capital into the Ethereum ecosystem?

Lawrence Lim
There is definitely a lot of appetite for the solution we are proposing. If you look at this from an investor angle, we are solving a big problem. Over the past two years, so much capital has been invested into ecosystems outside of Ethereum. If a VC has $10m locked in staking, being able to extract $4-5m from it without raising capital, its extremely useful. I think our VCs are in fact funding us to solve their capital efficiency problems. Of course, any user can use our solution too, its decentralized so it can be freely used.

Daniel Dal Bello
This is a good lead into my next question. Aside from the tech side and intricacies of the solution and your products I’m curious to know more about some of your investors supporting the company. For example, Ruby Capital, BlockWater Capital and others have shown support for other DeFi startups like yours. What do these firms bring to the table for you, if anything, outside of just funding?

Lawrence Lim
As we are fundraising on a really attractive valuation (both private and public), then it becomes really important for us to choose investors who can add value to us, especially in opening doors to blockchain foundations as official partners. For example, our partnership with Moonstake, a staking pool with US $350m of staked assets, is facilitated by Ruby Capital. So that’s a lot of value we can potentially unlock there, in liquid capital. There’s some really solid partnerships being worked on, and we have to thank our strategic investors for their help to get us there.

Daniel Dal Bello
Building on this and regarding your ‘ecosystem partners’, could you explain the nature of your cooperation with them? IOST, Elrond, and Moonstake.

Lawrence Lim
Yup! So there are several key areas where we can “unlock liquidity”. Firstly, the blockchain foundations like Elrond, IOST, etc., have a lot of investment funds they work directly with, which they can onboard with RAMP to unlock liquidity. The blockchain foundations are also a trusted parties, which means they facilitate market adoption for our solution with their community. It makes life a lot easier for us, if they are onboarded as official partners.

Secondly, the staking pools. There’s billions held by staking pools, so we want to work with them, as they are the ones with direct access to their clients and users. We simply provide the liquidity extraction smart contracts layer, and this does not impact their income. That makes us very friendly and easy to work with, and is a value added service to their clients.

If you look at Moonstake, if they can help to convince 20% of their institutional clients or users onto RAMP, that’s already $70m worth of staked assets we can unlock into liquidity. Rinse and repeat across 10-20 different partners.

Daniel Dal Bello
Just connecting the dots and in a similar thought process to Moonstake, you are backed by MW Partners who are connected to StakeWith.Us — will you look to work with them too?

Lawrence Lim
Haha, Daniel you are extremely good at connecting up the dots! Indeed that’s the goal, and MW partners also run StakeWith.Us, which is great because we can rely on their knowledge and expertise, and connections to drive development and adoption of our solution.

Daniel Dal Bello
You have highlighted several different products in your ‘Ecosystem Vision’. Do you plan to launch all of these separately or deploy them as they are built and functional? Will you just begin by launching with the staked capital to liquid capital use case?

Lawrence Lim
Great question. We definitely have to phase it out, and release products, or even parts of products, to our community in stages. The crypto-community and markets are impatient, and we know that. So we are phasing things out and will start by also launching stake farming smart contracts for users to already start farming RAMP by staking. This way they can start to participate early, even as we continue to build.

Currently the rStake product is a high priority, as it relates to stake farming. rMint and rFinance will be next up on the roadmap, and rPool is just a shared interest pool where we sweep all fees and rewards in, and distribute to RAMP token holders who stake, so it’s pretty easy to implement as well.

Daniel Dal Bello
Governance is another hot topic especially in the DeFi space. When we talk about ‘Change Proposals’ and the general governance process, how much voting power will Ramp control and what is the quorum requirement for passing a proposal? How will this work in practice? Will there be some kind of dashboard to create proposals?

Lawrence Lim
Great question. We are still working out that part – the key would also depend on the circulating. We might have to go small to start with, and slowly decentralize as more users farm and earn RAMP. There is 45% of supply locked into farming reserves, so we need to calculate what’s appropriate for quorums and vote proposals.

Daniel Dal Bello
Because it was a 1% mandatory holding for participation in governance, right?

Lawrence Lim
Ah yes, we used 1%, but likely it’s too high, and we are constantly reassessing whether our initial assumptions will hold true as the industry continues to develop. Probably 0.1% or 0.01% even, if it can encourage more community participation.

Daniel Dal Bello
Do you have any further information on some of the utility components such as your intention to repurchase and burn tokens? I’m sure you can’t give too much away here, but are you looking on track for the public sale this quarter for those interested in participating?

Lawrence Lim
Yup! The repurchase and burn function is something we want to put up for community voting. Our current way of rewarding users of staked RAMP tokens, is to buy back RAMP tokens, and redistribute back to the community. But the community can raise proposals to change how it’s done. For example, instead of redistributing, to burn these tokens instead and reduce supply. So there’s different ways to make things work here. Other than repurchase and burn, RAMP has another utility which is farming efficiency. So simply put, on the same capital/asset base, you can farm faster if you stake RAMP tokens versus those who don’t.

Indicatively we believe next week we are in a position to launch the public sale. So the time is really near!

Daniel Dal Bello
Thanks for joining us Lawrence.

Lawrence Lim
Thanks for having us here tonight Daniel, and everyone, hope you find value in what we have shared about Ramp today. 😄

The text in this summary has been adapted to correct grammatical errors and for presentation purposes. We thank our guest Lawrence for joining us for this AMA. For more information on RAMP DEFI, visit https://rampdefi.com/.