Apricot Finance AMA Transcript
The following is the transcript of Apricot Finance’s Community AMA chat on 2/4/2022.
Hello everyone, thank you all for joining us today for our first Apricot Community AMA. We’re glad you could make it! We’re hosting this chat to bring more transparency to the project and to put a voice to the name of our team member’s working on the project.
Today’s agenda will consist of a few things:
We’ll first introduce the team members on stage: Cece, Yaniv, Matija, and then myself, as well as acknowledge our team members in the crowd — Joe and Joshua. Unfortunately, Anni from our operations team is having technical issues and won’t be able to join us today.
After introductions, we’ll then talk about project announcements and our roadmap in development, followed by diving into these developments and the motive for the direction we’re taking the project — as well as discussing our goals for APT utility, governance, and partnerships.
Lastly, we’ll answer any remaining questions from the chat fielded by Matija.
So to kick things off, Cece, why don’t you start with telling us about yourself.
Hello I’m Cece and I’m one of the founders of Apricot, I oversee all aspects of the project apart from the technical side and have been responsible for growing the team. We started out very small, but are really starting to grow in size. I was originally based in New York, but have recently moved to Asia this past month.
Thanks, Cece! Yaniv, feel free to tell us about yourself now.
Hello my name is Yaniv, and I’m the other co-founder of Apricot and technical lead. I’ve been coding for almost half my life and previously worked for one of the largest high frequency trading firms in traditional finance. It’s not widely known, but Apricot’s contract is the only custom lending contract on Solana, and I wrote that primarily from scratch.
Thanks, Yaniv! So Matija — Feel free to jump in now and tell us about yourself.
Hi guys, I’m Matija and I’m an Apricot advisory and community manager. I became interested in crypto back in 2017 during the ICO craze and have been involved with crypto communities and projects, and have been investing in them since.
Thanks for sharing, Matija! And lastly, to provide a little context about myself. I’m Michael and my role is Head of Marketing at Apricot. I joined the project a little over a month ago.
Like Matija, I became interested in crypto back in 2017. I was in school and realized I wanted to spur some industry interest at my university by starting a research group. After graduation, I went on to join The Block as their first biz dev hire, where I met with many institutional CMOs and start up founders regarding their marketing plans — this is where my interest in marketing was spurred. I’m excited to be here and to make an impact.
Additionally, in the audience we have a few of our team members I’d like to acknowledge — Joe and Joshua. Joe spent five years working as a backend engineer in traditional finance, Joshua shares a very similar background to Joe.
Now that we’ve done introductions, let’s talk about project announcements and then provide context regarding these developments.
We’ve recently, this past month, published a few articles regarding our product roadmap, new hires, new position openings, and updates to our liquidity mining program.
Regarding new hires: we hired Anni to assist with operations, we converted our two part time devs into full time devs and of course hired me to help with marketing.
We’re still growing as a team, currently hiring two full time developers: a front end react developer and a back end smart contract developer. If you know of a great candidate, don’t be shy. We’ve opened up a email@example.com email address for applicants, or if the person wants to try a personal touch — reach out to Yaniv on Discord.
We’re also excited to partner with Project Galaxy and their Solana NFT project campaign. Galaxy users will be required to complete tasks in order to receive NFT badges — users who acquire all Apricot NFT badges will receive a reward, we’ll be sharing specifics in a matter of days.
Regarding our roadmap, we’ve announced the following new features in the works: In-App Swap, Transaction History, Isolated PnL Position Tracker, and Assist 2.0
Yaniv, let’s dive into the product and it’s direction. Let’s first touch on In-App Swap and the need for it, along with the features mentioned.
So yes, In-App Swap, we’re implementing this feature for a few reasons: when a user redeems his LP tokens and pays off his debt, they sometimes have small excess borrows they can’t repay with their current deposits and have to go off platform to swap those assets to repay those debts. In-App swap allows users to do this all on our platform, improving user experience.
In-App swap also allows users to more easily develop price-direction specific strategies, such as shorting an asset.
We’re also going to provide transaction history to allow users to easily see what actions they’ve performed on the platform. Additionally, we’re going to provide performance tracking for each position the user opens so they can view how they’re affecting their overall profit and loss.
Assist 2.0 will be the last feature on our imminent roadmap to go live. Assist currently allows for the payment of stablecoin debt, but when updated it will allow users to pay non-stable debt, as well as configure which specific LP Assist redeems.
Thanks for sharing, Yaniv. Now let’s loop in Cece here and have her touch on APT utility, governance, and how the platform’s revenue is being managed — I know it’s been a hot topic in our community!
Thanks, Michael! So recently, we recently implemented a change to increase APT’s utility. The first change was changing liquidity reward structure by requiring .1% net portfolio to be holding APT in order to receive full liquidity mining rewards — If not, the rewards are reduced by 50%.
Also, there currently is no requirement for accessing our Assist feature or a fee charged when triggered, but with the launch of Assist 2.0 — well will require holding APT on the platform to access the feature.
With regards to governance. From a development perspective, we’re narrowly focused on enhancing our product and user experience first before we implement governance.
Now onto platform revenue and treasury management, we’re currently holding all platform revenue in a private treasury which is used to primarily cover unfortunate instances where assist is accidentally triggered and redeems user’s LP, causing a loss of funds. Of course, we’re taking stringent development measures to ensure this doesn’t happen.
Thanks for touching on that, Cece! To further add, the reason for narrowing our focus on product development and enhancing user experience is to increase TVL. When a new user comes to Apricot, it could be their first time trying out a DeFi product and our product is pretty complicated in its current state. Other competitors have really created great products to mitigate this, therefor we’re now taking the same approach as them. I wouldn’t say we’re trying to steal their TVL because with the explosion of new interest in Solana and new users flocking to the network, we want to ensure when they use Apricot, they stay with Apricot.
This also explains why we’re taking this approach to growing TVL with respect to treasury management. Obviously, just like stock buybacks increase shareholder value, so do token buybacks — But we’ve studied other groups in the space with similar TVLs who have implemented buybacks and the size of their buybacks have not provided impactful price appreciation.
The way to mitigate this issue is to expand our TVL and platform revenue so we’re in a position where buybacks have impact. We’re also cautious to commit a dedicated percentage of monthly platform revenue right now given the current volatility of the market and our TVL.
To also touch on future APT utility and governance, we’re exploring a few ideas to implement after our current roadmap has been accomplished, but its important to note these ideas are not guaranteed and we’re consulting market experts we’ve leaned on for investment and advisement on the right path to take.
The first idea is to develop a permissionless isolated lending market, where users can create their own lending market for assets of their choice. In order to create their own lending market, the user will be required to either hold or stake a % of APT with regards to the lending market’s deposit they list.
These pools would be isolated, not cross-margined with the main Apricot platform — this is to ensure the platform’s safety. For example, an asset that’s listed could have adjustable supply options and be managed by a DAO. If the DAO we’re to have a governance attack and mint 10x new tokens, if not isolated from the main lending market, these new tokens could be listed as collateral and drain the platform, hence why they need to be isolated.
To add lastly, instead of staking APT tokens to a new permissionless pool in order to list it, the community could also vote on assets to list instead.
Also to add regarding new features, when we wrote the first rendition of our lending contract back during our testnet phase, we included the ability to trade their yield baring tokens in the contract — we’ll call them aTokens. This mechanism is very similar to what Solend has launched called “cTokens”. We didn’t launch this feature because the aTokens would not receive liquidity mining emissions, making them a less attractive asset, but we’re actively exploring implementing this feature after we complete our current roadmap.
Michael: Let’s move onto partnerships and integrations. Cece, could you share what the team is working on regarding the topic?
Cece: Sure thing, so we’re currently in discussions with many of the top projects in Solana regarding integrations and asset listings — it’s process were also heavily prioritizing alongside platform upgrades.
One exciting aspect that many aren’t talking about just yet is cross-chain partnerships. We’ve already listed USTw on the platform and are in engagements with other Terra projects who wish to tap into the Solana ecosystem.
Thanks for adding that Cece, Lastly, let’s touch on the marketing strategies we’re about to implement to promote the Apricot brand and amplify it. Firstly, we’re finishing up development on educational documents and video tutorials to assist users learning about our product and platform.
The market has changed a lot since DeFi summer in 2020, groups like Aave and other lending protocols benefited from having first mover advantage and did not have to market their products. Now it’s a very competitive market, especially in the Solana ecosystem, so marketing becomes important to create contrast between our platform and others.
Video is one of the most powerful tools a group can utilize to further brand promotion. We’re partnering with a world class animation studio to develop an Apricot commercial and are pulling clips from it to create a 16–20 week campaign. We asked ourselves, how would Apple market a financial product? And this is our approach.
We’re also about to launch some additional promotional videos outside of the commercial, which you’ll see soon — We think you’ll be entertained.
Questions from the community: Fielded by Matijia
Could you name APTs Top Four Defi competitors?
Aave currently leads the charge in general when it comes to lending in DeFi, but with regards to Solana ecosystem competitors, our top competitors are Solend with regards to lending markets, Tulip and Francium are our key competitors when it comes to leveraged farming.
It’s important to note that Tulip and Francium are not cross-margined, meaning that opening isolated positions on their platforms are potentially at a higher risk of liquidation given they do not factor in additional deposits as position collateral in their lending market.
Apricot also allows users to farm any LP pair listed without depositing one of the assets being farmed in the pair. Lastly, Apricot is the only platform in DeFi to offer Assist, our risk management tool which auto-deleverages positions and protects them from liquidation.
Will there be APT pools with non-stable tokens?
Currently, our APT-USDC pool is fairly liquid and we do not see the need to open up additional non-stable APT trading pairs currently, but it is something we’re considering for later implementation.
What is the plan with dates for improving utility and implementing governance?
We’ve currently narrowed focus on delivering our current Q1 — early Q2 roadmap mentioned previously — which includes additional APT utility implementation for full access to our feature set. Once this is accomplished, we’ll shift development focus to additional utility and implementing governance.
Given we are a startup and hurdles in development are expected, yet cannot be well predicted, we cautiously expect these features to go live in Q3. Again, we’re rapidly expanding our development team to timely deliver on these subjects.
Why does the team choose to remain semi-anonymous with regards to the public eye?
The team is actually not anonymous, but we do take precautions protecting some of our team’s identity due to them being located in regulatory jurisdictions which do not favor the crypto industry. It’s important to note that Apricot has been vetted by some of the most reputable investment firms in the industry which do extensive due diligence on their founding team members prior to making investments.
How often will the team be hosting future Community AMA sessions?
Although our AMA schedule has not been finalized, Community AMA sessions will likely be hosted minimal on a monthly cadence to recap our development progress and answer community member questions — in the meantime, please feel open to stay in touch with us on Telegram and Discord.