The Cryptonomist interviewed Amrit Kumar, President and Chief Scientific Officer of Zilliqa.
How did 2020 go? What’s the achievements you are most proud of?
2020 was a year of great uncertainty, with many companies facing unpredictable challenges amid the pandemic and the resulting economic turbulence. In spite of this, we’ve worked to adapt to the ‘new normal’, embarking on several growth projects in the past year. Seeking to promote blockchain development in the region, we welcomed 8 new projects to the Zilliqa ecosystem as part of the ZILHive Accelerator Programme which seeks to support early and late-stage startups that are using or looking to use the Zilliqa protocol to build blockchain solutions. In addition, we also launched the ZILHive Open Finance Consortium to further our commitment to accelerating the adoption and awareness of blockchain within the FinTech space across ASEAN.
As we continue to expand, we also saw positive growth across the Zilliqa ecosystem. Monthly transactions reached 1,027,263 in November 2020, 15 times that of the monthly transaction in April 2019. As we continue to grow the Zilliqa ecosystem into one that is more comprehensive, we’ve also supported an increasing number of partners — a total of 56 compared to last year’s 38. Additionally, we’ve also embarked on several exciting partnerships, including that of Incognito, Switcheo, Travala, BUSD, and Onchain Custodian — all of which address the varying needs of users across the institutional, commercial, and retail landscape. With utilisation as a key goal, we also significantly expanded our global network of exchange and liquidity partners with the likes of Binance, OKex, Onchain Custodian, Crypto.com, and Changelly, among others. As we look ahead to 2021, we are confident that we are well-positioned to bring forth a more comprehensive, user-friendly, and valuable experience for our community.
What are the plans for your 2021?
At Zilliqa, we’ve always held the goal of enabling organisations and partners to benefit from blockchain in a seamless, integrated manner — eliminating the key pain points that have often served as deterrents when experimenting with new technologies. This is why we are making usability, commercialisation, and user experience our key focus areas for 2021.
In the past year, we wanted to boost both utilisation and community engagement, leveraging on social platforms to develop rewards programmes that could bring value to both users and organisations alike. Some examples include the community-centric SocialPay and the Zeeves loyalty programme. SocialPay, a blockchain-driven rewards-based tool for Twitter, was introduced to amplify engagement with the Zilliqa community by incentivising users with $ZIL for their engagement. In utilising SocialPay to give back to the wider community, we partnered with the Singapore Red Cross on their Covid-19 relief efforts for a donation matching campaign. Zeeves, the most advanced bot on Telegram, has seen more than $52,000 worth of ZIL purchased, recording over 30,000 new sign-ups and processing over 20,000 transactions. Just this month, we also launched the Zeeves loyalty programme as we continue on our push to commercialise blockchain technology across mainstream audiences.
Over the years, our smart contract technology has proven itself as a sufficiently robust and secure infrastructure, capable of handling complex, high-value transactions. As part of our commercialisation push,, we’ve also brought our Blockchain-as-a-Service microservices to market, ensuring that they can be easily leveraged by users. This is something we hope to continue in the coming year as the strength of our infrastructure continues to prove itself over time.
From a commercial technology perspective, we will continue to increase our presence in the enterprise blockchain space, focusing on productising our offerings in promising areas such as asset tokenisation, stablecoins, blockchain-verified certifications, decentralised identity, and custom build solutions among others. By tapping into the wealth of experience we’ve attained since day one coupled with our tireless commitment to ecosystem growth and collaboration, we hope to further enhance the value that customers can derive from our offerings.
Can you tell us more about your project with Mintable?
Mintable is a community-controlled, decentralised app (Dapp) which allows for the buying and selling of non-fungible tokens. As one of the projects to emerge from our first cohort of ZILHive projects in 2019, our partnership with Mintable has since grown to encompass a digital NFT marketplace built on the Zilliqa blockchain. This allows users to buy, sell, and trade Zilliqa-based assets on our network, along with .ZIL domains. The platform is powered by Zilliqa’s secure-by-design smart contracts which allow buyers to verify the authenticity of artworks and collectibles, which can also be seamlessly transacted via ZilPay — a crypto wallet for Dapps on the Zilliqa blockchain — as well. As we continue to explore asset tokenisation, Mintable has become a crucial player in our ecosystem enabling us to introduce NFTs to a more mainstream audience of artists and entrepreneurs in a user-friendly manner.
How is it going with the staking?
We introduced non-custodial staking services onto the mainnet this year, allowing users to stake directly on the platform through participating wallets, thereby eliminating any intermediaries such as exchanges. This further improved on the security and usability across our DeFi ecosystem for users. The Zilliqa community has rallied strongly around this, and there are now around 4 billion ZILs — approximately USD$ 400 million — locked in the contract to date.
As we increase our DeFi offerings to provide enhanced value for users, we also launched ZILSwap — a fully on-chain decentralised exchange (DEX). Developed in collaboration with Switcheo, ZILSwap offers an automated market maker and liquidity system, allowing users to trade digital assets on the Zilliqa blockchain.
To read the full interview, subscribe here to the free newsletter called DeFi Today.