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Delphi Podcast Host Tom Shaughnessy hosts Psykeeper, the founder of Saffron Finance.

Episode Highlights

Delphi Podcast Host Tom Shaughnessy hosts Psykeeper, the founder of Saffron Finance. Psykeeper shared his incredible story as an anonymous founder and the benefits of being anon. He also dove into how Saffron tranches risk for users, tranche dynamics, token econ plans and use cases, what the future holds and so much more. 

This was our first episode where a founder used a voice changer to protect his identity, and we are more than happy to host founders, known or anon, to share their stories.

Saffron is a protocol for tokenizing on-chain assets, including contracts that otherwise impair access to utilized capital. Tokenized ownership of on-chain assets gives liquidity providers greater flexibility and uninterrupted access to their underlying collateral while enabling leveraged staking and bespoke risk management.

The full interview transcript is available below!

Every Delphi Podcast is dropped first as an audio interview for Delphi Digital Subscribers. Our members also have access to full interview transcripts. Join today to get our interviews, first.


Show Notes:

(1:34) – Psykeeper’s background and how he founded Saffron Finance (SFI).

(3:03) – Major benefits for Psy for being anonymous.

(5:28) – Saffron’s elevator pitch.

(6:52) – Differences between Saffron and other DeFi platforms / Tranches / Earnings.

(9:47) – Saffron’s target market.

(13:18) – Thoughts on Saffron rates.

(15:43) – Saffron’s community.

(17:00) – Thoughts on Saffron’s token long term.

(20:21) – Concerns about the yields fall a lot once the SFI issuance falls.

(22:50) – Thoughts on Saffron being used within another DeFi protocols.

(23:54) – Saffron’s Team.

(25:41) – How does the external community get involved?

(28:25) – Learnings from Saffron’s token generation event.

(31:04) – How does Psy plan to decentralize?

(33:00) – Where to find Saffron Finance.

Music Attribution:

  • Cosmos by From The Dust | https://soundcloud.com/ftdmusic
  • Music promoted by https://www.free-stock-music.com
  • Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License
  • https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/deed.en_US


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Disclosures: This podcast is strictly informational and educational and is not investment advice or a solicitation to buy or sell any tokens or securities or to make any financial decisions. Do not trade or invest in any project, tokens, or securities based upon this podcast episode. The host may personally own tokens that are mentioned on the podcast. Lets Talk Bitcoin is a distribution partner for the Chain Reaction Podcast, and our current show features paid sponsorships which may be featured at the start, middle, and/or the end of the episode. These sponsorships are for informational purposes only and are not a solicitation to use any product or service. Delphi’s transparency page can be viewed
here.



Interview Transcript

Tom (00:01):

Hey everyone. Welcome back to the Delphi podcast today. I’m thrilled to have on Psy, for who is the founder of Saffron Finance. It’s at.saffron.finance if you want to check it out while we’re recording. Psy, how’s it going?

Psykeeper (00:12):

Going good. Thank you.

Tom (00:14):

You’re the first guest I’ve had on to use a voice changer and I kind of really like it because we’re now really pushing the limits of having anonymous founders on it.

Psykeeper (00:23):

Yeah. I think it’s something that I encourage, and more people should be doing.

Tom (00:28):

Yeah, absolutely. So I know you can’t tell me too much about yourself, but I guess tell me what you can about yourself and how you got started in crypto or how you founded Saffron. Whatever you can while keeping your anonymity.

Psykeeper (00:40):

Absolutely. I’ve been in this space for just about eight years, I would say. And I’ve been working full-time in it that entire time. I got interested in Bitcoin earlier than that, I had learned about it online and been introduced to it by a friend. And it really captured my attention because it gives people the ability to use their capital and deploy their capital in a way that they choose without limitations and without restriction. So I’ve been interested in it for that long. I’ve been building teams in this space and working on other projects, some Bitcoin related, some altcoin related, some related, and the team that I brought over to Saffron has been working with me for just about five or six years now. So I really trust them and they really do great work. So my background is just been working in this space for pretty much my entire professional career.

Tom (01:31):

That’s awesome. And have you always been anonymous through your whole career, or have you been public facing in any past projects?

Psykeeper (01:37):

It’s been about half and half on Bitcoin talk forums. I have a few identities. I’ve done some work for other projects, other protocols, under identities that are not Psykeeper, not related to each other. But I do have a public profile, which is also used to work in the space.

Tom (01:57):

That’s awesome. It’s pretty cool. And it’s interesting because you’re one of the first guests I’ve interviewed like this. What are the major benefits to you about being anonymous, but also being out here? Are you able to push the regulatory bounds more? Are you able to be more honest with people? And I guess, how do you think about the trade-offs where some people in the space really look for a public figure that they have credibility to lose if they leave. Stuff like that. So I guess, how do you think about the trade-offs?

Psykeeper (02:26):

I’ve tweeted about this before. My thoughts are that the trade offs are heavily in favor on the anon side, where if you have a non reputation which is very strong, it is much more valuable than having a public reputation that is very strong. The public reputation sometimes gets included with other things that are personal to you. People will judge you by many different criteria that doesn’t really make much sense. And in a purely, again, egalitarian world, people would be judged by the benefit that they contribute towards society. So I think that that’s something that anon founders and anon users can maximize and optimize for. Because they’re purely judged by the work that they do and the amount of value that they bring and the good that they bring to the world, and they’re not restricted by some of the arbitrary rules and some of the criteria that people use to unfairly judge the actions or the … There are some preconceived ideas that users have of other users based on things that are not related to how good of work they can do or how much they contribute to the society or the people around them. And I think that that is completely eliminated by being anonymous.

Tom (03:35):

Yeah, that’s a good point. I tend to think about people on what they’ve done in the past, the projects that they built on, the opinions they’ve had. And I guess you get to change a lot of that. And it’s kind of funny. You are where the space is going. It just seems like you’re well ahead of your time. If Web 3D File works out, we should be basing people off their reputation and their crypto identities. Not so much their public facing selves. Right?

Psykeeper (04:02):

I agree with that. One of the biggest challenges of being anonymous is that you have a upstart problem where no one trusts you to begin with. And there are a lot of anonymous identities that will upstart a new project and then use their anonymous cover to rogue people or scam people. And that’s kind of a problem just in the very beginning. It isn’t unique to anonymous founders, but it’s much easier to get away with that. So I think that building an anonymous reputation as much harder, but in the long run it pays off.

Tom (04:32):

Yeah, no I’m with you there, man. So let’s dive into Saffron. What’s the elevator pitch on what you’re building at Saffron and how you’ve been so far?

Psykeeper (04:40):

I like to think of saffron as a bridge between the adoption phase and the mainstream adoption phase of DeFi. So in the early adoption phase, we have any high risk tolerant users. And by DeFinition, someone who’s an early adopter is usually high risk tolerance because they’re willing to try new things. They’re willing to look where no one else is looking and put their capital in risky and untested protocols. And as this moves along the curve towards mainstream adoption, we’re going to be entering into an environment where most of the users are low risk tolerant users. And I think that currently the lending platforms and the earning platforms that exist in DeFi are mostly high risk, and they also have binary risk, which is to say that you were either participating in the system or you’re not participating in the system, and that’s it. And the only risk adjustment you have is the allocation of capital amount that you decide to put onto the platform.

Psykeeper (05:33):

Whereas with Saffron, you can have a tranche to risk. What that means is you have customized selection of, I want to take currency risk, or I want to take a smart contract risk, or I want to be covered in the event of a liquidation or illiquidity on an underlying platform. So we are enabling more risk options and we are making it more palatable for the mainstream user who is going to be a much more low risk tolerant than most of the users in DeFi right now.

Tom (05:58):

That’s awesome. And how exactly are you guys approaching that in the wild? If I go on your platform right now and I want to enter into one of the liquidity pools or one of the tranche pools, like let’s just take the die compound pool, for example. What are the different tranches here? And where’s the risk change between the two, and how do the earnings differ between the two as well?

Psykeeper (06:20):

At a high level, you have a senior tranche, which is a low risk tranche, which has a lower reward. And you have a junior tranche, which is a high risk tranche with higher reward. And the way that it works is the senior tranche LPs, they are buying coverage from the junior tranche LPs. And during the time that they’re staking their capital or farming their capital or earning or lending or whatever they’re doing on the underlying platform, the senior tranche LPs are earning, but some of those earnings gets transferred to the junior tranche. And at the end, if there’s no coverable event and the junior tranche gets to keep those earnings and the senior tranche has lost out, but in fact they’ve bought coverage, so in the alternative case, if there is an insurance coverable event, such as compound gets liquidated and there’s no liquidity to pay back the suppliers, or if there’s a smart contract bug or something that we can detect on chain, then the junior tranche capital is used to repay the senior tranche LPs to an amount that is specified in the protocol. So in that way, we can switch the interest and you can essentially pay later for insurance coverage, and it makes it much easier on the UX and it’s a much more seamless experience for everybody.

Tom (07:35):

That’s pretty interesting. And you brought up insurance and coverage there. Full disclosure, we’ve invested in Next Mutual and Armor and other things at Delphi Ventures. But it sounds like what you’re doing is you’re kind of embedding that insurance to begin with, right? Because you’re allowing people to choose a tranche where they’re protected in the event of an issue. And that issue is not only a smart contract issue, but it could also be an economic issue?

Psykeeper (07:59):

That’s correct. Anything that’s detectable on chain is something that we can write into a smart contract and then execute the waterfall mode. Waterfall mode is when the junior tranche capital gets redistributed to the senior tranche. So things like an illiquidity event. For example, on compound, there are multiple different return values that you get when you try to redeem your DAI from your CDAI. And one of them is there’s no liquidity left in the market. That’s an event that we could detect. We can also detect how much DAI is on their SCAR contract system. And we can also detect what the price of DAI is being read at on an oracle. And all these things can be written into a series of events that would determine an insurance coverable issue, and then can be repaid by the junior tranche LP’s capital.

Tom (08:53):

Awesome. It’s pretty to think about it. One of the interesting things is I guess, the target market for this. Everybody right now in DeFi and crypto is just … Everybody wants a crazy yield. They take risky positions. It seems like Saffron is ahead of the curve a bit because you guys are offering a low risk option for the larger tranche or the senior tranche. How do you … Where do you envision your target users to be? Do you think that the riskier tranches will be our DeFi, the more protected trenches with the lower earnings will be more institutional capital? Or how should we think about the target markets for each side of the tranches?

Psykeeper (09:33):

We think that the high-risk tranches will always be filled out with the DeFi native users who are in crypto very early and just want to earn the biggest reward that they possibly can, because they’re already taking this crypto risk. We think that the low risk users will mostly be, let’s say, exchanges that want to put their capital to work. There will be treasury funds in DeFi that are using their governance treasury. They want to earn, they have a massive eat that they want to earn on. But say they don’t want to put it directly into an underlying protocols to earn interest, but they want to have some coverage on it, they’ll be okay with earning 2% instead of 6%. That’s an option that they have. And we think institutional, I know it’s kind of a meme that institutional capital is coming, whatever, but we do think that there are users that are not introduced to DeFi yet that want DeFi exposure or will want the exposure, but not necessarily exposure to all the risks. And they’ll be willing to take the competitive rate against the traditional finance APYs with the Saffron senior tranche APY, which will do some sort of risk coverage on some DeFi events that are not similar to the traditional finance events.

Tom (10:43):

It’s interesting. Yeah, no, it is funny. It is kind of an institutional meme at this point. But one of the interesting parts there is if an exchange or a large party deposits into the safer tranche, how are they protected though in the event of a blow up? Aren’t both tranches being deposited and compound? If compound blows up, how’s that one tranche protected? And apologies if I’m confusing anything here, but I think it’s just worth clarifying.

Psykeeper (11:11):

So there are two ways that this works. The first way is that there is SFI staked in the pool. So each of your tranche has to put up SFI in a dumb smart contract that just says that SFI’s locked and not redeemable until the user redeems. So that SFI is safe from an underlying platform risk.

Psykeeper (11:33):

The second thing is that we can, in version two, create new types of pools with any different programmable parameters where not all capital is deployed to an underlying platform. You are correct that currently we have one type of pool where everything is deployed into compound, and all the interest is earned on compound, but in the future, we can have some capital that stays in the pool, some capital that stays in a lower risk tolerant profile, or we can have anyone go on the system and create their own tranche based on the criteria that they set, and then deploy that and others can join in on it. So I really view Saffron as an entirely peer to peer risk matching engine, more than anything else. We have currently one type of tranche pool. We’re adding more, and we’re going to enable others to create any type of setting that they want in the future.

Tom (12:25):

That’s awesome. It’s super interesting and that makes a lot of sense. And the other thing is just on rates. If I go into the, the APY is kind of thin. The max is out at half a percent. How do you convince people to go into that tranche? Because you need to attract a lot of low risk capital to fill up the low risk tranche to make sure that the high-risk tranche gets a higher percentage of the earnings. How do you convince people about earning that yield when it might be lower than say what’s offered on Compound or Aave. Is it the protection that they’re getting? Is that the sell point?

Psykeeper (13:01):

Yes. In the current iteration of pools, that is what they’re buying with the interest that they’re paying. So if they’re earning only half a percent APY, it’s because the coverage that they’re buying is worth the amount of interest that they’re losing in opportunity costs, having not farmed on the underlying platform directly. So you can look at it as a scale from one to a 100. Right now the senior tranche is about 10, going into compound directly would be 50, and going onto a A tranche or the junior tranche in Saffron would be 100. So we’re looking at creating new pools, and in version two it’ll be much easier to create these new pools with a better and more focused pricing point. And that’s something that we’re planning. It’s been two months since we launched, so we’re trying to just see where people’s interests are aligned. And we’re trying to make sure that we can best gauge how the insurance market will play out and what pricing looks like for DeFi.

Tom (14:01):

Yeah, no, it’s interesting. And that’s good. You guys have done a lot in the last two months, which I think is incredible. And I really appreciate you being so attentive to all my questions on the side. And I guess to echo your comment on insurance pricing. It is interesting, right? Because the alternative, I guess, is you deposit your money on Compound, and take out cover on Next Mutual or Armor, but in your way, it’s kind of already embedded by default to be going to that not risky tranche, which is pretty interesting. But you do give up some of that rate, I guess.

Psykeeper (14:31):

That’s correct. We try to make it as seamless as possible. And at a high level, to answer your question even better, I think DeFi as a whole is just figuring out pricing and figuring out exactly what APY works where. We’re in kind of a speculation mode, but as this draws down into real business mode, we will to figure out exactly what rates people will pay for what type of coverage. And that’s part of the process of building a product. So I think we’re very early in DeFi in general to figure out really what makes sense. But we’ll find an equitable market rate as time goes on.

Tom (15:07):

Yeah. That makes sense. And how’s traction been so far? I know you said live for two months. You guys have a lot of total value locked. You have I think what? Close to 40 million locked. How has that been, and how’s uptake been there?

Psykeeper (15:19):

It’s been great. The community has been very supportive. I see new users coming into discord every day. We have a very vibrant community. We have community managers and we have people contributing to reporting bugs and making suggestions. And we’ve been able to make some key hires in the past few weeks, which are going to expedite our ability to create new products and to build things that people want. So I find it to be a very positive outlook in terms of where we’re going to be headed, launching new products, and also how many different protocols that we can integrate with. We’ve been in conversations with Mauro, we’ve been in conversations with Rari Capital. They’ve both integrated us onto their platform, and we’re working with even more products and there are even more protocols which want to implement Saffron tranches and tranche adopters into their offering.

Tom (16:10):

That’s awesome. Yeah. It’s great that you guys have built out a good set of community members. And I guess just turning a bit to your token, we focus a lot on tokens that makes sense, for lack of a better word. Your token has certainly struck us as interesting because it hasn’t really used case within your platform. So you have to hold the SFI token to enter the A tranche, which is the riskier tranche to get that higher yield. I guess, how do you think about the token long-term? The way it’s set up today is if you’re in the DAI pool, it’s two SFI per 100 DAI, which does create some type of a theoretical limit on how much DAI you can have. But I guess, how do you think through kind of the use of the token long-term and any changes you’re thinking through there?

Psykeeper (16:54):

I look at the SFI token as a threefold use case in the system. The first is that you have to use SFI to be able to enter into the tranche, the extra earning tranche, as you pointed out. So that gives it some value in terms of being demanded for actually use in the system. The second is the governance token, classic you want to hold a certain amount of tokens to be able to vote. And I think that this is something that we’re going to be focusing on in the next coming weeks where we have multisig deployed. We’re going to have snapshot page up and running. We’re going to have voting going on, and some of the protocol decisions from you two will be based on that token voting. And the third way is that we want to expand the SFI to not just a farming reward, but we want ease accrued on the system to be earned by SFI stakers.

Psykeeper (17:42):

So if we add a performance fee or if there was some value added services, like SFI leasing, or anything that can build on top, that’s something that SFI stakers will get a percentage of based on how many other people are staking at the time. So we see the SFI token as not just a speculative measure, but also something that’s useful within the protocol. And we can even expand beyond that. If you get really deep into Web3 and think about how to incentivize front ends, how to incentivize data storage, how to incentivize something like the graph where you have metadata indexing, these are all things that are important to incentivize with token holding. And I think that would be a fourth option or a fourth thing that we can get into, but currently we have those three different use cases.

Tom (18:24):

That’s really cool. And I guess it’s interesting, getting a percentage of fees for staking is classic and it makes a lot of sense and it’s pretty clear to model and think through. I guess, having to use the token though to enter the different tranches is super interesting. Do you think that that’s going to be dynamic in the future instead of kind of an arbitrary rate? Say two SFI per some level of the other asset? Or I guess, how should we think through that? Because I guess if you want to earn that yield, you also have to think about the sunk cost of also buying SFI to enter as well.

Psykeeper (18:57):

So the way that I think about this long-term is that SFI should be the de facto backstop currency, and it should have some semblance of a trust from the user, that when they get coverage they’ll be getting SFI back and they’ll trust that the market is deep enough, and that it has enough value that it will be something that they want to earn in place of their lost capital. So I think that that’s the brand that we’re trying to build. And we’re focusing on that right now. Who knows where the future will go. I think there are many, many options. There are probably infinite number of different configurations that we can use to make SFI valuable in the system. But for now that’s what we’ve targeted, because it seems like it makes sense and people are okay with it and it seems to be working.

Tom (19:40):

Yeah, that’s fair. It makes sense. And I guess on just issuance, the lower risk tranche earns the majority of the SFI tokens. I think it’s 95%, but this is going to fall soon. It’s going to go down over time. I think it’s going to go to 200 SFI per epic. I might be wrong on that. But are you concerned at all that yields will fall a lot once the SFI issuance falls down? And the normal yields from the tranches and where those assets are invested has to take over. I guess I’m just wondering how you think through that potential fall off, or if that’s not so much of a risk right now.

Psykeeper (20:15):

So currently, the SFI reward is something around 400 SFI for this CPoC, and it gets cut off at 200. That’s the lower bound. So it will be a continuation of the SFI rewards until they are completely turned off, which is when there will be zero SFI rewarded. So I look at it similar to Uniswap where you have this uni LP token, or uni token that was distributed to LPs for awhile, but people find value in the system and they’ll do it anyway, because there are other ways that they earn fees like 30 basis points on trades, things like that. So it really is just an introductory reward mechanism for people to learn about SFI and for it to go viral. And I think we’ve succeeded in that.

Psykeeper (20:59):

Another reasoning that we had these high rewards at the very beginning was to reward early adopters, who mostly are the people that are going to be at doing deep searching into what’s new and what’s happening in DeFi. And those are the ones that will have the best idea of how to build the DeFi protocol. And in fact, we do have a lot of largest SFI holders who have contributed a lot to the ecosystem and contributed a lot to the direction of our project, that have earned SFI in the early epochs because they were early adopters. So we feel strongly about the ignition schedule that we’ve chosen. And I think having it down to 200, keeping it up to 100 for a little while before it completely cuts off is the perfect way to lower us down into the, “All right, now we have to do a real thing that actually makes sense.” Like Uniswap did where you have 30 basis points for LPs, and it’s a completely decentralized system with no rewards. Everyone participates because everyone wins and there are multiple different sides of these trades happening. And I think that that’s where we want to see a Saffron. Where it becomes this peer to peer risk adjustment layer, and it becomes a programmable risk protocol.

Tom (22:03):

That’s awesome. Yeah no, there’s definitely that inflection point where you go from yield farming around the community to that real use case, and having your token plan of that makes a lot of sense. And I guess just thinking down the line and just thinking about DeFi, how do you think about Saffron as being used within another DeFi protocols? Do you think that other DeFi protocols will plug into you guys? You’ll plug into them? I’m just trying to see where you guys fit in in the broader scope, because we’re seeing obviously so much composability and work being done in DeFi. It’s kind of hard to think through unless you’re seeing it in action.

Psykeeper (22:38):

Yeah. I’m strongly prioritizing composability for V2. I think that is the most important thing. And just looking at Compound, the reason that we chose Compound for our first platform was because they had incredible documentation. They had developers that respond on discord and are engaged in the community, and they have a very simple and easy to understand protocol that exposes just a few functions to get done what we need to get done, and it works. So those are not easy things to execute on. And I think that we’re going to be a leader in the composable tranche ecosystem and the composable tranche market.

Tom (23:15):

Yeah. That’s fair. You got to go with whoever’s easier to work with. And I guess just switching over to the team itself, you mentioned you’ve had a team that you’ve worked with for a long time and you trust them. You also mentioned you recently brought in community managers. Do you have the team you need to build this out over the next year? Are you aggressively hiring? And I guess the other question is how are you compensating those people to work with you?

Psykeeper (23:38):

We’re currently raising a funding round, which is a traditional sort of VC. Well, it’s traditional as a cryptofund could be. But we we’re currently paying people based on our initial investment, which is just the funds that we had before we started the project. In the future, which is very soon, we’ll be announcing how our funding round went. We’re raising up to 1.5, maybe $1.7 million, and those tokens will be sold from the treasury and distributed to investors who are going to be aligned with making the project work for a very long time. They’re going to be locked up. So we’re going to be hiring a few more key … Trying to fill out some more roles, but currently I just want to bring the whole team that I have on right now full-time, and then expand a little bit into more exploratory features, as well as hire a team to do maintenance and upkeep of the existing Web3 apps.

Psykeeper (24:34):

So yeah, we are definitely expanding our team, but I’ve been working with most of the people that I’m working with now for a long time, and I just want to bring them on full time and make sure that they have a steady outlook for working on the Saffron protocol and building it into what can be a fully decentralized on chain dow, with governance and to treasury and fees being earned, and just a self perpetuating mechanism. I think that’s the end goal, and we’re all working towards that now and we want to make it happen.

Tom (25:00):

That’s awesome. Yeah. It’s crazy how much you guys have gotten done with what you said as a part-time team. It’s pretty exciting to think about what you guys could do with having people full time. And I guess the different question is, how does the external community get involved? If there’s a dev team that wants to build on Saffron or build around it or within it, are you guys open to that? Is that possible today? Or is that more of a come join our discord and present your ideas? Just wondering how other people get involved.

Psykeeper (25:27):

All of the integrations that we have currently except for compound were inbound, and anyone that wants to work with us can just try on discord, like you said. Pose their idea. And we’ll integrate it, especially with V2 coming up, we have a lot more flexibility in the protocol and we welcome anyone to come to us with an idea and make it part of the reality for DeFi. So yeah, definitely open to working with other teams. And it’s very easy to get into contact with us and to work with us.

Tom (25:56):

That’s awesome. The adapters that you guys have to adapt and connect to other pools of capital on other platforms, is this something that’s somewhat standardized? Once you build one out you connect other platforms? I’m assuming probably not, but I guess I’m just wondering where automation and standardization plays into this so you guys could grow a lot faster.

Psykeeper (26:15):

It is very standardized, actually. We have a pool which doesn’t know anything about the adapter, the adapter connects to the underlying platform. So for example, when we created the Rari pool, we modified the Compound adopter and made it into the Rari adapter. And then we use the same code for the pool, for the Rari pool as we’re using for the DAI pool on Compound. So it is very, very flexible already, but we can make it even better by removing some of the frictions that we have in V1, which I know a lot of users are aware of such as the epoch thing and having to roll over things like that. So yeah, currently we build the system for integration with other protocols. So we thought about it quite deeply and we designed the entire system to work that way from the ground up.

Tom (27:04):

Awesome. Yeah no, the more you can integrate the better, and I guess that plays into governance. What tranches you guys are going to have, what pools you’re going to have. Do you envision that eventually you could drift away and … Or not drift away, but hopefully retire at some point and have the community take over choosing what pools to add and integrating them?

Psykeeper (27:24):

It’s a possibility. Personally, I really enjoy working on this. So I don’t see that happening anytime soon. But I do think that eventually there is the opportunity for others to step up and present the value that they could bring to the protocol. And maybe that’ll be something that the governance decides to pay them for. I think that that’s totally valid, and I would welcome that turn of events.

Tom (27:47):

That’s great man, yeah. Having a number or a retirement date is terrible because you just slow down. I love people that are in it for the love of the game. And just circling back, you guys generated, or gave out a good chunk of your tokens in your first epoch, right? It was 40,000 tokens, I think guys are capped at 100,000. What were your learnings on that? Did giving away that much to start, was that good? Would you change anything about how your token generation event went? Or any learnings you could offer new founders would be helpful too.

Psykeeper (28:19):

I don’t think I would change anything. Now that I think about it, everything worked out pretty much exactly the way that I thought it would. We gained traction much more quickly than I had anticipated. And for new founders I would say, just work really hard and make sure that people like your ideas. We went and iterated on many different ideas, and this project started. Early in the summer this was a very different idea, and we iterated on it many, many times and we’ve written probably five or six white papers before the existing blog posts, which exists today on Medium, which is the first post that I put out.

Psykeeper (28:58):

So I would say the best thing to do is just keep coding, keep building, and tear down ideas that don’t work and just replace them with things that have validation. And I think that that’s the way that we arrived at the system that we have currently. We had it in the epoch that’s on main net in October, which is a beta epoch. It’s basically epoch negative one, where we changed a lot of things from the way that that works. Epoch zero. So I think there’s a lot of value in testing and maybe just working on main net and figuring out what really actually has value and how things work from the perspective of the user. It’s an iterative process and it’s a little bit cliched, but you really have to just throw away stuff that doesn’t work and find the idea that really takes off and people resonate with.

Tom (29:46):

How married are you to those five or six early ideas? I’m trying to understand your cadence on you’re obviously spending a ton of time. Every founder, every researcher does this, right? But how do you decide whether to scrap that and move on to a new white paper? Because it can get exhausting, your ego gets a bit hit. How do you keep that cadence on building, but also being able to throw stuff away if it doesn’t work? It’s kind of hard to do in practice.

Psykeeper (30:12):

Yeah. I think it was Picasso who said you just have to create every day, and if you really commit to creating every day and you’ll eventually find something that does work. So I think that the love for actually creating something that does end up working out and people are using, outweighs all the failures that you go through and all the things that you have to scrap.

Tom (30:34):

Yeah. I’m with you there. If you get magic, it’s worth all the trials. And I guess some closing questions for you. How do you plan to decentralize? You mentioned that you’re going to have the snapshot page up and voting. What else is involved in that? I know you said you’re moving to a multisig. When would the community actually have control over saffron do you think?

Psykeeper (30:58):

I think multisig again, snapshot page are stepping stones to fully on chain of governance. There are multiple different protocols that have fully on chain governance existing right now. And we want to get to that point. We want the fees to sustain the work that’s done on the system, and we want to be able to make a fully decentralized DOW in the way that it is an organization that’s autonomous. From the literal sense of the word DOW, that’s the ultimate goal for Saffron, and should be I think, the ultimate goal for many of these TFI products.

Tom (31:28):

I’m with you there. Is it hard to raise being anonymous? As an investor I really don’t have a problem with it because we run a VC and we deal with anonymous founders all the time, but I guess I’m wondering if it’s harder or easier to actually go through with that raise while you’re anonymous.

Psykeeper (31:46):

It surprisingly has not been, and I do find it okay to share my identity with some of the closer investors, and some of the others that we’re working very closely with. But I don’t think that that was even a requirement. Most of them have told me that they respect my anonymity, and they don’t really necessarily need to know who I am because we can do all the deals and create all the structure within a smart contract if it’s necessary. So there isn’t a need for it, legitimately.

Tom (32:16):

Yeah no, that’s awesome. I think it’s going to make for a fascinating case study on how you opened the podcast up is that our identities change from who we are and who we’re friends with and who we’re associated with, to the value we offer on in a crypto DeFi world. And that’s fascinating, and also kind of scary. But I’m excited for it.

Psykeeper (32:35):

It’s been a lot of fun.

Tom (32:37):

That’s awesome. Well Psy, this has been awesome and I’m sure we’ll have a ton of follow up questions and we could do another pod, but let people know where to follow you or where to get involved with Saffron if they’re interested.

Psykeeper (32:46):

Yeah. You can follow us on Twitter @Saffronfinance_, or follow me on Twitter. It’s Psykeeper_. And I hope to hear your ideas and learn more about what you’re thinking about Saffron.

Tom (32:57):

Awesome. Thanks so much for coming on, Psy.

Psykeeper (33:00):

Thank you.

Feb 3, 2021 | 34 min | Chain Reaction

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