DappRadar speaks to Gleb Sychev, Head of Marketing at Waves
Waves is an open-source platform and decentralized environment for Web 3.0 applications, offering a wide range of purpose-designed tools for making the process of developing and running dapps easy and accessible.
Launched in 2016 by Sasha Ivanov and a core development team, Waves has since released numerous successful blockchain-based solutions and has steadily developed into a rich and constantly-growing technological platform.
After adding Waves to the list of protocols tracked in late 2019 DappRadar Head of Communications, Jon Jordan spoke to the fledgling platform about the last 12 months in development and what the future holds for the ambitious blockchain platform.
- 2019 has been a busy year in terms of Waves’ strategic future direction. What are the trends driving this?
It’s true that 2019 was remarkable for Waves in terms of our strategy and perspective. This year we launched Ride, our own programming language for dapps, which has a unique approach that differs from other platforms. We changed the network governance model and monetary policy, and Waves DEX transformed into the hybrid exchange Waves.Exchange. Those moves and changes are being driven by our vision of market development and our desire to contribute to massive adoption and decentralization over the long term.
- Waves hasn’t historically focused on dapps, so why do you think now is the time to add such functionality?
We’re following the natural evolution of the blockchain market, in which dapps will form the future of the decentralized world. Platforms that stay ahead in this battle will rise to the top, and the time to build and develop such platforms is definitely now. Like most of the few startups that have succeeded since ICO, in 2016-2018 we focused on building basic technology and developing our protocol. We were searching for better consensus algorithms – essentially, we focused on the technological superiority of the platform.
Since the very beginning, our tech has offered a low-cost blockchain-based crowdfunding solution, which allowed anyone to create digital assets quickly and easily, with no smart contract programming required. And this easy-to-use functionality was available “out of the box”. We also saw the potential of dapps and designed our tech to support these too. Let’s not forget that DeFi is only one particular case of more extensive dapps functionality that our protocol supports after the release of the Ride language.
- What do you think Waves offers dapp developers that other blockchains don’t?
Our solutions have advantages over existing alternatives, such as the developer-friendly Ride programming language, which helps users avoid mistakes in the coding process thanks to lazy evaluation, formal verification, no gas requirements, flat fees for transactions and better scalability properties. For blockchain developers, this means a cheaper and more convenient coding process than ever before, while those from outside the blockchain sector will see the entry threshold substantially lowered and new opportunities arise.
- Post-Ethereum, it’s been hard for other blockchains to create a deep ecosystem and community for dApp developers, so how are you looking to overcome this challenge?
Ethereum now dominates the market and this is undeniable, but there is always room for an alternative. We’re not really competing, because we all do the same thing and pursue the same goal, but we contribute to it on different scales and in different ways.
Waves has a different approach to development and a different strategy: we want to reduce the entry barrier for developers in general. Solidity is a Turing-complete language and is rather hard to learn for beginners, while our Ride training course takes only 72 hours, after which you can already start creating dapps by yourself. To those who stay in our ecosystem, we provide support programs and all the necessary tools.
Waves’ global developer community is expanding fast, with the support of our regional ambassadors from all over the world, and we support this expansion by providing tools for learning Ride and organizing meetups and hackathons all over the world on a regular basis.
- The first dapps launched on Waves recently. Can you give us an update about their performance so far?
There are some very promising projects and also a lot of dApps at MVP or prototype stages. One of the most interesting is Neutrino protocol and the first stablecoin on Waves launched on it by Ventuary Labs. Also, LIGA, a platform that uses a predictions market model to facilitate trading on the outcome of various events, has already launched 3 big events within the World Cup and The Champions League. Another example is Chain Warriors, a browser-based MMORPG built on Waves blockchain and issued exclusively on The Abyss platform.
Speaking in general, within 6 months of Ride’s launch, the dApps built on it accumulated a total of 22.8 million WAVES in transaction volumes, which is impressive – and it continues to grow fast. For the moment there are about 30 dApps in our ecosystem. They can be tracked here.
- DeFi has been the big dapp trend of 2019, at least on Ethereum. How do you plan to support such products on Waves?
Now it’s only beginning for DeFi dapps on Waves (the first of them is recently launched Neutrino), and we are actively integrating it into Waves.Exchange. Within the framework of Waves.Exchange we plan to create a platform where such projects will be supported. Dapp creators can count on our help with integration into the entire Waves ecosystem and also with the support from Waves Labs incubator such as grants, tech consulting and other resources. We also strive to be open and receptive to feedback when possible, adding features on-demand and adapting our products to the needs of developers and the community.
2019 was definitely the year of DeFi, and not only for Ethereum but for the whole industry. Decentralized finance is the niche in which most blockchain use cases are concentrated. Waves is one of DeFi’s pioneers, since we offered tokenization tools when they barely existed anywhere else. Waves DEX is one of the first decentralized exchanges in the world and it keeps growing rapidly. It’s now a hybrid exchange maintained as a separate project and managed by an ambitious team. Recently, the first stablecoin in the Waves ecosystem, USD-N, was launched on the Neutrino protocol.
- What other categories do you think will work well on Waves?
Besides DeFi, we see huge developer and user interest in decentralized gaming, and there are some successful cases on Waves in this category too. But broadly speaking any dapp from any category can be built on our network and there are no limitations and we support projects from different niches. Just to mention a few ones: there are Blockchaincars.io, one of Waves Labs grantees, developing decentralized car-sharing service, and there are Tokes by Multichain Ventures which is a platform with payment solutions for the Cannabis industry, and there is Nolik.im, decentralized instant messenger built on Waves blockchain. Three interesting projects from totally different markets all working well on Waves.
- More generally, the biggest obstacle to dapp adoption appears to be onboarding users, especially in terms of wallet creation, etc. Do you think Waves can offer anything different in this regard?
The industry in general, and we in particular, are testing new models that should speed up user onboarding. The basic principle here is to use centralized services (custodial) for this purpose. We are now working on a product which will be a universal provider, giving users a wide range of authorization methods when interacting with decentralized applications.
For the moment, the sad truth is that the community of people using dapps (on any platform) remains pretty limited. Partially this is because existing dapps often seem too complicated for the average user, who needs to manage their own private key, use a keeper, keep seeds, etc. Waves seeks to develop as user-friendly dapps as possible by implementing intuitive interfaces.
- Finally, you’ve highlighted plans to connect Waves to Ethereum, so is your vision of the future a multi-chain vision or do you think one smart contract blockchain will “rule them all”?
We definitely believe in a multi-chain future. We see multiple blockchain networks solving various issues in different ways (from the level of decentralization to the scalability problem). There are numerous side-chains and private chains being applied to different tasks.
For instance, Waves Enterprise is a private blockchain and it is vitally important for it to be interoperable with other networks such as Ethereum or the public Waves chain. We don’t want to separate ourselves from the rest of the blockchain world. We all share common technological problems and we will strive to solve them.