Today’s AMA took place in the AscendEx Official English Telegram chat channel. There were more than five thousand AscendEX Community members online at the time.
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AscendEX AMA Recap
Gage Bowser | AscendEX Let’s get on with the AMA! Today we’re privileged to have Jakob, the COO and Co-founder of Clearpool!
Jakob Clearpool: Thanks, Gage! And hello to the whole AscendEX community!
I am excited to be here today. Thanks for having me.
Excited to be here today. Thanks for having me
Gage Bowser | AscendEX: Truly thrilled to have you!
Q: For those unfamiliar, can you briefly describe Clearpool and what problems you are aiming to solve?
Jakob Clearpool: Clearpool is a DeFi protocol for unsecured loans for Crypto institutions, solving the problem of overcollateralization that is common in DeFi.
Institutional borrowers (mainly trading firms initially but can be any institution) can open individual liquidity pools and attract liquidity directly from the DeFi ecosystem.
Anybody can be a lender to these institutions and get rewarded with higher APYs for lending unsecured. Pool APYs are also enhanced with additional rewards paid in CPOOL — Clearpool’s native token.
Gage Bowser | AscendEX: Wow, that’s awesome.
Q: How does the Clearpool token function within the platform, and why is it needed?
Jakob Clearpool: Sure
So CPOOL holders can stake and vote to whitelist borrowers, who must make a proposal to the CPOOL community before they can open a pool. There is a rewards mechanism for taking part in this whitelisting process.
When full decentralization is achieved, CPOOL holders will be able to propose, vote, and implement future changes to the protocol.
As for borrowers, they must be staking CPOOL in order to be able to open pools on Clearpool.
We have a buyback mechanism, where protocol revenue is used to buy back CPOOL in the market to be able to perpetually sustain reward pools.
CPOOL governs the whole protocol and makes sure only eligible borrowers will have access to loans. In return, CPOOL holders will get rewarded for participating in the governance.
Gage Bowser | AscendEX: Great!
Q: Could you share the development status and progress of the project thus far? Including the major partners and perhaps some operational data?
Jakob Clearpool: We have closed our private sale in September and are happy to be supported by some great investors such as Sequoia Capital, Arrington XRP, HashKey, Wintermute, Sino Global, Huobi, and…. obviously Ascendex 😉
End of October, we had our TGE and listed on Ascendex, Kucoin, and Gate. So far, the CPOOL token has been performing very well; we hope we keep up the strong momentum (also 100% staking APR — check it out)
We are launching our testnet in December and will launch the initial pools on mainnet in January.
We are currently focusing on building a strong ecosystem of borrowers and lenders. Some of the initial borrowers we announced so far are Amber, Wintermute, and Folkvang, with more announced very soon. We already have a very significant amount of liquidity committed from lenders to launch the protocol with significant pool sizes.
As for partnerships, we have partnered up with X-margin for credit risk assessment and Lithium as a solution to price Clearpool’s LP token. We are having some more exciting partnerships coming up in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!
Gage Bowser | AscendEX: Wow, some big-name partners in there.
Q: Who will the users/clients be on your project, and what are some examples of use cases for them?
Jakob Clearpool: On the borrowing side, our initial borrowers are mainly crypto trading firms; most of them are market makers and execute market risk-neutral strategies. These strategies are very profitable but capital intensive, and they need to have money ready for deployment on each and every venue. As mentioned, some of the initial borrowers are we have announced so far are Amber, Wintermute, and Folkvang.
We also see interest from more traditional trading firms that want to borrow on Clearpool. Ultimately any institution can be a borrower on Clearpool, and we also expect DeFi projects to become borrowers on Clearpool.
As for lenders, anyone in the DeFi ecosystem can become a lender. It will be very attractive with significant token incentives on top of the interest rates paid by the borrowers. So our protocol will be very attractive for individual investors within our community.
Besides that, we have a lot of institutions committed to becoming lenders on Clearpool. Initially, it will be mainly crypto native institutions (VCs, lending, and trading players) and family offices, but we also have some traditional institutions interested in becoming lenders. Ultimately we believe the big opportunity lies in getting more traditional lenders, and we see strong interest from these players to get involved in DeFi and earn higher yields.
Gage Bowser | AscendEX: Nice!
Q: What is your strategy in regards to attracting more users to your protocol?
Jakob Clearpool: We want to make sure our protocol becomes very attractive for regular individual investors. We believe a lending protocol can only scale to a certain size if retail investors make up the biggest share. Although decentralized capital markets might sound complicated, we want to make it easy for everyone to access such great yield opportunities from some of the leading institutions in this space. Therefore, we are introducing thematic pools where lenders can invest in a particular risk profile of choice (A, B, C rating) without having to do a lot of research themselves.
We are also actively discussing collaboration with other protocols on how to work together and create value for each other’s user bases. These could be different layer 1s, DEXs, or other DeFi lending or derivatives protocols.
Overall we think it’s a huge market, and partnerships are the way to create the most value for our users and ultimately win in this market.
Gage Bowser | AscendEX: Let’s talk about the current landscape of other projects doing something similar.
Q: What separates you from some of the competitors?
Jakob Clearpool: Alright, so generally, the largest lending players in the DeFi space are protocols that work based on overcollateralization, such as Compound and Aave. These protocols have locked a significant amount of capital and are very safe, but they are also capital inefficient and not suitable for large trading firms.
In the unsecured loans space in DeFi there we often get compared to 2 other protocols: TrueFi and Maple. While we are solving the same problem, Clearpool is introducing several novelties:
Firstly, Clearpool pools are borrower specific, which allows for more sophisticated risk management for lenders, and also allows borrowers to directly promote their pools to their community/potential lenders. Secondly, pool interest rates are not static, but they are dynamic and rise and fall as a function of the pool utilization rate. Continuous pools and this dynamic interest rate mechanism will always lead to an equilibrium level of interest rate and pool size for each borrower. Clearpool eliminates the requirement for regular interest payments and the repayment of principal. This is unique in the space.
Q: What unique experience does your team bring that puts Clearpool in a position to be successful?
Jakob Clearpool: I like our team because we are quite diverse, having various experiences from Crypto, TradFi, Fintech, and regular startups.
The CEO Rob has a solid background in traditional financial markets, and he spent 12 years working in capital markets as a trader. And he is already involved in crypto since 2015.
Our other Co-Founder, Alessio, is the CEO of Hex Trust, one of the leading digital asset custodians in Asia and a very close partner of Clearpool. He is very experienced in both Crypto and traditional finance.
I am the startup guy in the founding team. Previously I helped scale two marketplace ventures for an internet incubator called Rocket Internet. Both companies (Foodpanda and Jumia) saw rapid growth and went from inception to IPO in a few years. Afterward, I was in Fintech, a digital bank, and alternative lending. Being involved in Crypto already for a few years personally, it was the rise of DeFi with platforms like Compound and Aave that made me realize I had to get into Crypto and DeFi full time.
Our CTO, Pavel, and his team of developers are highly experienced blockchain developers, having worked on multiple Ethereum projects previously. Vadim is our product owner; he is also very experienced in blockchain and crypto.
Gage Bowser | AscendEX: What a star-studded team! Few more questions, Jakob.
Q: What does success look like for Clearpool? What are the most significant risks and challenges Clearpool will need to overcome to consider the project successful?
Jakob Clearpool: We want to become the leading protocol in the institutional lending space.
Currently, DeFi protocols are only really serving crypto native institutions, while the huge opportunity is coming from traditional players. We think time is right for such TradFi adoption, and therefore, we made it our goal to have a significant amount of liquidity coming from traditional players.
If we can open this market to traditional finance and serve a new set of borrowers that are currently underserved, we would be doing a great job, and it will result in the protocol being successful.
As for risks and challenges, we think that changing (and stricter) regulation is becoming an important topic to consider for DeFi and Crypto in general. We are aware that we need to anticipate certain developments constantly, and it will be critical for DeFi platforms and Clearpool to adjust to such changes.
Q: Can you please elaborate on the goals you are aiming to achieve in 2021?
Jakob Clearpool: 2021 is nearly over, but we still have a lot to do.
In December, we will be launching on testnet and testing the Clearpool protocol with our initial borrowers and some institutional lenders. We will also announce our Ethereum layer 2 support, as well as start to build on an additional chain (again, this will be announced very soon)
We will be launching our initial pools with several high-profile borrowers in January.
Gage Bowser | AscendEX: There’s your final alpha, everyone! Thanks again, Jakob, for coming in and talking with us.
Q: As a non-project-related question, which sector of crypto markets excites you the most?
Jakob Clearpool: Sure….
Let me think
I am just very fascinated by DeFi. I am fascinated by decentralized exchanges; some of my favorite projects are dYdX, 1Inch and SNX.
I believe that decentralized exchanges (or centralized exchanges launching exciting DeFi applications) will take over more and more market share from regular purely centralized players.
Gage Bowser | AscendEX: Awesome, I totally agree- those are some exciting projects.
Gage Bowser | AscendEX: Now, I think we have some time for a few community questions. What do you think, Jakob?
Jakob Clearpool: Sure shoot 😉
Gage Bowser | AscendEX:
Great! Here they come!
Channel UNMUTED for NON ADMINS
Gage Bowser | AscendEX: Anybody have any questions for Jakob while we still have him?
Q: Stroopid 🎩: Will CPOOL require KYC?
Jakob Clearpool: CPOOL will require KYC on the borrower side, where each borrower needs to verify identity via a licensed custodian. On the lending side, however, everyone can participate without any KYC (just like on other DeFi protocols)
Q: Stroopid 🎩: Is CPOOL lending live?
Jakob Clearpool: Not yet; we are launching testnet in December, and mainnet in January
Q: Stroopid 🎩: Is there currently a plan for liquidity mining? Or do you have another strategy for procuring liquidity?
Jakob Clearpool: Yes, for sure, once launched, there will be attractive farms on Clearpool with juicy rewards for liquidity providers. Currently, we have a Uniswap staker liquidity mining program with a very high APR (started at approx 1,000% APR).
Gage Bowser | AscendEX: Alright, guys, this has been a great AMA! Let’s thank Jakob one last time for his time and start to wrap up.
Jakob Clearpool: Hope it was interesting, and please reach out to me for anything.
AscendEX is a global cryptocurrency financial platform with a comprehensive product suite including spot, margin, and futures trading, wallet services, and staking support for over 150 blockchain projects such as bitcoin, ether, and ripple. Launched in 2018, AscendEX services over 1 million retail and institutional clients globally with a highly liquid trading platform and secure custody solutions. AscendEX has emerged as a leading platform by ROI on its “initial exchange offerings” by supporting some of the industry’s most innovative projects from the DeFi ecosystem, such as Thorchain, xDai Stake, and Serum. AscendEX users receive exclusive access to token airdrops and the ability to purchase tokens at the earliest possible stage.
Clearpool is a decentralized capital markets ecosystem where institutional borrowers can access unsecured liquidity and where liquidity providers can earn attractive risk-adjusted returns.
The first decentralized dynamic marketplace for unsecured liquidity, where supply and demand always ensure each pool reaches a state of equilibrium in terms of size and interest rate.
A paradigm shift in how institutions borrow uncollateralized liquidity is upon us.