Web3 Innovators

Blockchain Innovators - Conor Svensson and Shawn Douglass

September 08, 2021 Season 1 Episode 9
Web3 Innovators
Blockchain Innovators - Conor Svensson and Shawn Douglass
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode of Blockchain Innovators, Conor Svensson - founder and CEO of Web3 Labs, talks to Shawn Douglass - co-founder and CEO of Amberdata, a leading provider of crypto market data for institutions.

Amberdata have been building their platform since 2017, it provides not only price data for the major cryptocurrencies but also includes data for DeFi lending platforms and decentralized exchanges.

Shawn explains what types of institutions are interested in the platform and why it can't be replicated easily by others. He also discusses how it's responsible for powering significant parts of the DeFi ecosystem.

You can also watch this video on our YouTube channel here.

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Hi, it's Conor Svensson here, founder and  CEO of Web3 Labs. This is a conversation I   had with Shawn Douglass, co-founder and CEO of  Amberdata. Amberdata is a leading provider of   crypto market data for institutions. They've been  building their platform since 2017 which not only   provides price data for the major cryptocurrencies  but also includes data for DeFi lending platforms   and decentralized exchanges. In this  conversation, we discuss what types   of institutions are interested in their platform  and how it cannot easily be replicated by others.   We also discuss how it's responsible for powering  significant parts of the DeFi ecosystem. Shawn's a   great guy and someone I've known for a number  of years so I'm really excited to be able to   share this interview with you. Awesome, hey Shawn!  It's awesome to have you here. Thank you, it's a   pleasure to be here, super excited to reconnect  and have the opportunity to be on your show.   So you guys have been really busy lately and  we're going to get on to all of the great   stuff you've been building out but I wanted  to start with you in the early days first of   all. What was it that first got you interested in  blockchain and how Amberdata actually got started.   Yeah, so I actually first got interested in  blockchain when I was still working as a venture   capitalist at EMC Ventures. I was in Silicon  Valley. I used to hang out at the Plug and Play   in Sunnyvale and there was a bitcoin meetup there.  So I got into mining really, really, really early   and ran some miners at EMC and then in the  data center and then put some miners at the   Sunnyvale Plug-and-Play tech center while I  was still a full-time venture capitalist and   talking to people. Then later on I used  to go to these bitcoin meetups at the   Sunnyvale Plug and Play tech center and one  of them was Vitalik coming in and talking   about the token sale and to be honest, I  didn't get it at first, I was kind of like   I don't get it right? So I just kind of filed  in the back of my head, interesting you know,   really smart guy, he runs bitcoin magazine or what  have you. Then later on, fast forward probably 18   months, I didn't participate in the Ethereum token  sale. I should have, it was right there and later   on I saw some of the first projects launching  on Ethereum and the vision and narrative around   the internet 3.0, kind of web 3, started  to materialize and I was like 'oh my god,   this could be the new internet and this could be  these decentralized applications kind of running   unstoppable, could be a competitor to an AWS  or what have you'. I just was like 'wow',   got super excited about it and again that was  still very, very early. I came back in 2016   and really started seeing a lot of growth there  and started to really think like 'okay, well if   this is internet 3.0 then what's needed to help  these this ecosystem grow?'. The initial idea that   Tong Tong, myself and Joanes, our co-founders,  came up with was - in traditional scale out   data centers and in SAAS platforms you have  telemetry and monitoring instrumentation to know   that the network is healthy, your application is  healthy, your data is healthy, things are running   as required. So what we set out to build initially  was really to build the Splunk app dynamics   mix panel for web 3 to provide operational  telemetry into everything that was happening,   from the blockchain itself, to consensus, to  applications and that was really the inception   of the Amberdata. Now, we've gone a long ways  from that today but that was the original idea.   Yeah, and so when you first launched, you had this  blockchain explorer and you supported Ethereum,   obviously Ethereum Classic, bitcoin and some  others there. At what point was it that you   decided to switch direction? So, it's funny, our  first project actually was with a large financial   institution before we supported public Ethereum  at all and we did a great POC. They were great   partners and what we realized is we were probably  three years too early to enterprise blockchain. So   my co-founder, Tong Tong, we came out of the first  POC meeting and we all looked each other like   we had just raised money. We were kind of like 'oh  my God, this is a long ways from where we thought   we were on the enterprise side'. So, we literally  took the POC that we had done and turned it loose   on public Ethereum and that was right before the  EdCon conference in Toronto, this is like 2017.   And, our first product was this blockchain  explorer where we literally had built,   back then it was just Etherscan. We had built this  not trying to be like Etherscan at all, we really   wanted to be again much more like a Splunk where  you could search for anything or have telemetry   and monitoring and alerting for everything  that's happened in the smart contract. So we   launched at EdCon on stage with this demo where  we instrumented the entire Ethereum blockchain,   had all this telemetry into every smart  contract, every address, every wallet.   Then while I was on stage there was this huge  queue of people lining up to talk to me when   I got off stage. I'm like 'this is interesting'.  This is like the first time I've ever told people   about it and there's all these people. I got off  stage and they're all hedge funds and they're like   'that's awesome, how do I get access to this?'  and 'do you have an api?' and 'how do I get   price? You're missing price'. I'm like 'huh,  okay' and then we had the epiphany early on that   you need to have a comprehensive view because if  blockchain, specifically it was only Ethereum,   there was bitcoin and Ethereum the only ones  that really mattered. But, with Ethereum   being this fabric if you will, for these  decentralized applications to run and the idea   early on was these cryptoeconomic mechanisms would  incentivize behavior and that would effectively   have network effects and that would drive adoption  and guess the metric that people cared about was   price of those assets. So we realized very  early on that in order to instrument, you need   to have this global view of price fundamentals  mechanisms and be able to have that telemetry.   So very early on we were very, very, very  deep. Probably too deep in the beginning   and really geeked out and that today has  really shaped and informed who we are today.   I guess too with those early efforts though  and kind of geeking out more and going deep   it helped you build a really solid  foundation as well for all of this stuff?   Yeah, absolutely. I mean we got to work very  closely with folks like yourself and the   Ethereum foundation and most of the really high  profile projects and a lot of the really smart   thinkers and in the investment space. I mean, it's  been phenomenal. It's really just been amazing.   And in terms of in the last year, we've seen  this huge kind of explosion again, institutional   as well as retail interest in crypto. Prior to  that, you kind of ridden out the other lows,   has this made a huge difference to you guys  compared with what was going on a year ago?   It has been absolutely game-changing and you  know if you think about when we started the   company in 2017, we were like three years  too early for enterprise blockchain but   the institutions have always been like  'we're coming, we're coming'. But,   what I think has changed and you didn't ask it was  changed, but I'll kind of put some color on it,   that with Covid and massive monetary stimulus  and massive fiscal stimulus and concerns about   hyperinflation and potentially in different  locations, not globally, the institutional clients   are now demanding exposure to digital assets and  requiring institutions to become very smart and be   able to talk in a very sophisticated way about the  financial primitives that are starting to be built   on this global ecosystem in this global economy.  Then the second thing is that most of the large   financial institutions, they saw the internet  play out and information be brought to every   person on the planet. They saw cloud computing  play out and where now they can actually get   resources on demand and not have to build up their  own data centers. And in both of those instances   I would say institutions were late adopters and  didn't believe that it would happen with digital   assets. I think that's changed and they're now  realizing and looking at digital assets and   crypto and financial primitives and DeFi and  going 'wait a second, this is like an internet   for financial primitives and if fintech 2.0 was  factoring out Paypal and Stripe and payments,   well if you can factor out these financial  primitives onto a global network that has a total   addressable market of the entire world and every  person in it and I can create specific products   for specific jurisdictions', the light bulbs  are turning on and they are getting really deep.   Over the last 18 months we've literally just  gone hyperbolic. We have three of the top five   FX desks in the world building on us out of the  top 10 banks in the world. We probably have seven   as customers out of the largest hedge funds  in the world. We're working with the smartest,   best ones from a compliance perspective. Everybody  who's an institution needs to understand who held   what, for how long, at what price, and when the  regulators come or the auditors come how do I   answer in an intelligent way? They all have risk,  they're looking at 'hey, how big is this market?',   'how liquid are these markets?', 'how deep  are these markets?', 'how big can I play?',   'what can I do?', 'what can I do, what are my  competitors doing?', 'I have to get smart', right?   So they're coming in and it's just overwhelming  but at the same time it's insanely exciting   because it's just happening so fast. So you know  since Covid hit, really in the last 18 months,   it feels like every day is like 150 miles  an hour! It's not just us being like looking   at the horizon going 'it's coming', 'it's  coming', it's like 'oh my God, it's here!'   Yeah, it's really amazing. Yeah, just  to hear how it's so many different   types of organization that you're catering for  there as well and then I guess at the other   extreme, you've got the people who are kind of  like 'yeah, I want to just play around with the   crypto markets and try writing some algos' and  you know signing up to the entry level plans but   it's amazing to hear how much success you've  had with the institutions there, it's amazing. Let's talk a little bit as well about what  you've actually been up to recently in terms   of the announcements and so on. I think looking  at the additional data services that you've added,   you've got a fixed market data service, you've  got Uniswap and SushiSwap in terms of the DEXs   supported, you've got DeFi lending protocol  metrics as well, was the push coming from the   institutions for this stuff or was it like you  were just seeing what was out there and like 'I'm   sure people are going to need this stuff'.  Has it been quite heavily customer driven   by all of these additions that you've been making?  Yeah, so that's, boy, it seems like it's an easy   question but there's so much there, right? So  at the end of the day, we're still fairly small.   We're focused primarily we sell to institutions.  So what they need and what they want and what   they're willing to pay for heavily informs our  roadmap, so that's why we focused on. Because what   we do is we're a comprehensive data player. We  provide connectivity into spot markets, the most   active, most liquid spot markets, derivatives  markets, decentralized exchanges from a market   data perspective giving you like full order book  depth aggregations of price, reference rates,   visibility into kind of what's moving from a price  in a price discovery perspective. On the opposite   side of that, on the fundamental side what we do  is we collect, I think it's 11 blockchains today,   every address, every wallet, every function  call in the EVM and therefore we can actually   reconstitute any transaction, whether it  be a composite transaction where somebody   takes ether and wraps it and then takes it and  does a flash loan to lever it up to trade on a   what have you, we can reconstitute all of that  so it allows people to be super sophisticated in   their research as well as to post facto figure  out what were wrong or to programmatically   bridge what's happening on exchange and what's  happening on chain. So, going back to your   question 'who's asking for this?' right. So I  would say from the institutional perspective   that they're interested in what's happening in  bitcoin, Ethereum, a few smaller chains and then   the whole DeFi space they're super interested but  I would say there's less leaning in on that. Now   on the opposite side of that, we have thousands  of subscribers that that are for developers of our   developer API and our on-demand API. Really it's  critical for us to get requirements to understand   what people need and we make the majority of our  revenue on the institutional side but we have seen   very, very, very, sophisticated usage in requests  and research that's being done with our data and   whether APIs that when people are partnering  with us that are saying 'hey, not only do we   want you to provide what's happening on DeFi  and DEXs and what have you, but these are the   metrics that I care about and this is how I want  to programmatically act on those. So, it's really   we're kind of getting requirements from both  sides. We have the developers that are building   and programmatically acting and if you think about  what we do, we enable you to programmatically act   and do research and put to work your thoughts and  then close the loop for everything from pre-trade   to execution to post trade to understand what's  happening. So it's really spanning that entire   spectrum of where the requirements have come from.  And then of course we're specifically interested   in what's happening around DeFi because we  see that that's where the puck is going. We   see that 70% of all activity on Ethereum  is happening on DEXs and happening in DeFi.   That's not an exact number but it's the majority  today is happening in those spaces with the   60 - 70 billion dollars locked in DeFi protocols,  in DEXs and the innovation of DEXs is completely   changing the entire landscape of how these things  trade and transact and who's participating. Does   that answer that question? Yeah, yeah! In terms  of though building out that infrastructure as   well to support the DEXs and actually the  lending platforms, was it something and of   course there's the technical answer, but then from  your perspective as well, was this something that   it seemed the team managed to do quite easily,  because you were really good at already gathering   the data from these blockchains, it was kind of  like you do a few tweaks and actually you can   map this stuff and all of a sudden you've got this  DeFi data? Or, was it that you had to go back to   square one a bit and think how are we going to  do this because it's a different paradigm, right?   Yeah, so actually that was going back to the very  inception of the company that we wanted to provide   telemetry into everything, that's where we've  had a huge advantage. We can literally go into   any space that is happening on blockchain because  we can reconstitute every function call inside the   EVM because we built it to have telemetry. So what  we do from an on-chain data is we ingest a block,   we take those transactions, we take those  events, we take those logs, we decompose those,   we index those, we aggregate those, in time  series. So we make it so that it's really easy to   understand in a time series basis what's happening  because, as you know, a blockchain is a state of   what's happening in a block at a point in time,  forget no context, it's really, really difficult   to make that into meaningful information. As  you know, you've built blockchain explorers and   what have you. So because the way we architected  the platform early on, it allows us to move into   DeFi lending protocols and boom we plug in  the API, we can, what do you call it, decode   all those messages, we can see every event  that's happening in all those protocols.   And the hardest part for us is not access to the  data because we've got four years and millions   of dollars and invested in that, it's that we  need to go talk to our customers and to people   who are deep in the space and say 'we can tell you  anything you want to know, what's important?' And   what's important and not just what's important but  what's actionable. Because if you look out there,   there's a ton of people that do dashboards and  metrics. In the dashboards and metrics are like   'hey, that's interesting' - put it down go away.  How do you close the loop and how do you get in   the flow and how do you make that actionable  programmatically? Now we're talking about a   different thing, right? And understanding what  those things are that really requires a lot of   understanding of your customer, the needs, the  value chain, where you sit in that value chain,   who's using it, how are they using it, what  are their risks, what are their concerns,   how are they creating value, and then plugging  in and building the platform so that they don't   have to worry about infrastructure. They don't  have to worry about 'how am I connecting to   20 different spot markets and six derivative  markets and 83 decentralized exchanges and   what are the mechanisms behind an Aave, or you  know pick whatever your favorite DeFi protocol is.   So what we do is we make that super easy for them  and we've been able to do that because we talk   people and say what's important? What are you  doing? How? Why? Would you pay for this? Right?   That's the most important question! Yeah, yeah,  absolutely and kind of on that as well, are   trends like privacy technology getting  better? Do you feel that that's going to   create some challenges for what you guys do  in that regard or do you think it's more about   the transparent markets that's the focus  there? I think that privacy is gonna happen,   right? There's going to be different  protocols that are used but I think that   one of the value propositions of digital assets  and blockchain is transparency and trust.   The whole idea of these consensus protocols is you  don't want to trust a counterparty, you want to be   a self-sovereign individual. You want to have the  ability to interact globally, transact globally,   move globally and have less constraints and less  someone else that you have to trust that that your   assets are going to be there. In order to do that,  you really need to understand what's going on and   having transparency into how do you trust  something that you can't see, what's happening   if it's a black box, you might as well just be  banking at a traditional bank, right? So I think   there's going to be a balance between privacy and  transparency and audit ability and accountability   that for years and years and years we're going  to have a huge edge and then eventually just like   TLS and SSL enabled e-commerce. You're going to  see things that are going to get encapsulated   to prevent front-running or what have you, right?  There's going to be things that will come in but I   think there's going to be a balance and I don't  think it's like 'oh my God privacy's coming',   you know? Yeah, yeah. I'm not really worried about  it, that's not what I'm saying. I could be wrong. Yeah, I think that the trust angle, that's a  key part and kind of related to this as well   in this decentralized world we're seeing  decentralized platforms emerging like   you've got API three and you've got Graph,  you've got DAOs getting more popular and   of course they kind of challenge the more  conventional model and there's an argue I guess,   the purists can say 'well you can have a  decentralized API providing similar sorts   of services there and everything's done'. Yes,  it's managed by DAO and so on and so forth but   I'd be interested to get your perspectives on  that because I think the obvious thing here is   that institutions aren't going to want to deal  with the DAO, they're going to want to deal with   the company at this point in time. But longer term  though, what that picture looks like maybe 10 - 15   years down the line, I think then it might get  quite interesting. It's funny as I was, when the   Graph came out, having been doing this and running  tens of thousands of dollars of infrastructure,   high tens of thousands of dollars of  infrastructure, every single month   to be able to ingest, process, store, serve,  make usable that data, I was very skeptical that   you could do this in a decentralized way, that you  could create the correct incentive structures etc.   I think the Graph has done a really good job and  they speak to a certain audience, it's not our   audience, like I said institutions like the amount  of compliance that we go through to sell into   a top five bank is months of checking the box  to verify that our data's right. When you have   some of these projects that each protocol requires  its own collector and each pro indexer and graph   right? Then those are all written by different  people and there's not consistency across those   and they only can support what the community  votes to build for, it's interesting. But it's   not something that is like what we're doing.  We literally it's every address, every smart   contract, every protocol, every function call  already has that telemetry from a single API.   It's much more expensive and we charge a lot of  money for that because it's really hard to do.   But I actually think that protocols like  the Graph specifically, we don't really hear   much about API three, has been a great deal flow  for us. People go 'hey, I was looking at this   and it only goes this deep and you guys go this  deep'. You know, I'm a large institution and I   want to get access to this data and this has  gotten me interested. So it's been a great   opportunity for us. We've also run Graph  nodes, we've also looked at some of the data,   so I think that over time maybe that evolves and  that changes but today with institutions it's like   quality, availability, consistency, depth and  then access mechanisms you ask me specifically   about, are supporting different protocols. I think  earlier you asked me about we're supporting fixed   protocol. We're supporting real-time web sockets  for both on-chain and for price data. We support   Rest for time series historical but done in a  way that you have aggregations so you can build   specific applications, if it's an accounting,  if it's a tax application, if it's a wallet,   we've got seven or eight major, major custody and  wallet providers that they don't run blockchain   nodes, they just call our APIs and they get price  and pull it all in for them. I don't think that   any project today has the ability to span a  comprehensive view and to be able to address   the institutional needs whether it be they've  been doing financial services for 30 years and   they're used to connecting by a fixed protocol to  market data therefore they need it, right? Yeah. And, do you think on that though there's this  kind of crossover potentially down the line   around the oracle space? Because when you talk  about oracles and so on they are kind of like a   cross-chain API and I know it's something that you  guys don't really talk about at the moment, but   this seems like there's some potential synergy  there. So it's interesting. There is a lot of   synergies and I think one of the things that  blows people away and is that we actually power   a massive part of the entire DeFi community  from a Chainlink node operator. We have   tens of, you know more than 20 Chainlink node  operators that use us as one of their price feeds.   So if you're getting a price for a settlement,  for a derivative in the DeFi space,   it's a high probability that we are one  of the data providers that is fuelling   Chainlink as well as other Oracle  providers. If you're getting DEX data,   you're likely getting that from us because we're  really the only people who provide very, very deep   time series historical DEX price data, as well  as forward price data that is based upon the   constant product function of like Uniswap, what's  the price today as well as historical. Then   additionally on the whole DeFi space, because  people don't think of us as powering DeFi   because we're this centralized platform that  serves institutions. We're like the evil   data guys, right?! The reality is that many of  the DeFi projects use us for their research,   use us for their monitoring, plug us in for all  their dashboards. Many of the researchers that   are doing security audits and doing mechanism  design and doing research on crypto mechanisms   use us and have enterprise licenses, which is not  cheap, to be able to validate these. Then many of   the funds that are participating in the space are  plugging into all this telemetry so it's really   we cover from an oracle perspective and providing  the data to the oracles to fuelling the research,   to monitoring the mechanisms, to enabling people  to invest and we're really not that sexy! We're on   the back end and we're a data provider and we sell  data via APIs. Yeah, yeah. But if you look at what   we're doing, what we do is incredibly difficult.  It's very complex and we serve and have built   the data so it can be accessed by different  applications across the value chain from pre, to   action, to post to 'oh my God, I need to  talk to an auditor regulator', right? Yeah,   yeah. So it's always got some parallels although,  slightly different with content delivery networks   in terms of they're so embedded in the web. The  sort of pricing services that you provide are   very embedded behind the scenes with many  of these decentralized protocols there so   a lot of people don't realize how important this  stuff is to so much of the activity that people   consume using these tools. Yeah and you know  what's funny is like some of these the people   who built on top of our APIs and billion dollar  businesses and I kind of feel, sometimes you   feel like what am I doing wrong? Then you're like  'well we're not doing something wrong, it's that   they're focused on a different layer'. Another  one is metrics and dashboards. Out of the top   five or six platforms that people do analytics  on DeFi and for institutional. What's happening   in these spaces? We're actually powering those  dashboards, those metrics and what have you.   It's funny when we're talking to investors  'how are you different than this dashboard?'   They're a customer, we don't compete with them  because we don't do dashboards. We give them the   data. 'Well, how can we not do these metrics  in your APIs?' 'Well, that's our customer',   right? And recently we've having a lot of those  customers that have built dashboards for DeFi and   dashboards for institutions coming back and saying  'even these metrics, can you just give us those in   an API endpoint because our business model is  actually monetizing by advertising or getting   our clients to do something else?' So I think more  and more we're going to even offload all of that   so that the precalculation, because at the end of  the day it's just details on the raw data we have.   Yeah. I think an analogy is you go to some of the  platforms, and I don't want to talk specifically   about anybody because I'm not being adversarial  to anybody, but you pick a platform and they have   20 metrics and you're like 'oh my God, this is  the metric platform for DeFi?' You're like 'wow'   but if you really think about it, traditional  financial markets, nobody built businesses on RSI   or MACD or simple moving averages, it's silly!  Yeah. What you need is, you need the data and   then to create value, you have to be able to take  those individual metrics and compose those into a   strategy that you can back test to quantify  - is there anything here? Because you know,   a fancy chart that you look at on Twitter and  walk away from doesn't have a lot of value   from an institutional perspective, right? Yeah and  no doubt in terms of the journey you've been on,   you must have had quite a few kind of s*** moments  where as bigger and bigger people have started   relying on this stuff, it's must be nerve-wracking  at times? But the fact you've got to this point   now is no doubt validation of what you've managed  to build and must create that sort of confidence   as well that you've managed to nail a lot of  these issues which are really hard problems.   I just keep, we just keep running through walls  and like dusting off the rubble because it's   really, really, really hard and dealing in the  institutional space is actually as a startup,   it's a little terrifying because you go through  an onboarding process and you know this, you sell   into banks and large enterprise companies, it's  really hard. You're going in through it and you're   going through procurement, you're like 'okay,  Yes I'll provide three nines of availability and   sub second response times and data quality  and if I don't, there's an SLA that has   teeth'. All of a sudden you're in this  business that you're just like 'holy cow,   I've got to be across availability zones,  across regions. I've got to have scaling up,   scaling data. I've got to have infrastructure. I  have to have SREs monitoring this stuff. I've got,   oh my God, I'm in an enterprise business that has  real customers, that are running real businesses   and we're their lifeblood'. Yeah. And  everything in crypto is so fast moving that   there's breaking changes and you have to be  robust and the exchanges are incredibly complex.   You would think market data is actually pretty  simple. There's not an open high - low close   volume like order books, okay. But where  it gets really complex is now you have   30 or 40 top tier exchanges that you're collecting  184 terabytes a month and of that data they're   doing breaking changes on their API every couple  weeks and they may be communicating it, maybe   they're not, maybe they went down, maybe they're  replaying data from earlier. You have to be like   'well what's going on?' and then the same  thing from the blockchain perspective as   end of the chain is always shuffling. You have  to be able to know that you've collected data.   You have to be able to validate your data. You  need to be able to validate to your customer   that your data is correct. You need to be able  to reconstitute that in an intelligent way. Often   people care only about time series and wall clock,  they don't care about what block, right? So all of   these things are in and of themselves, complex  engineering and operational challenges and to do   it in a way that's robust and that's not just like  'hey, I forked this protocol and I spun it up',   you know this is really hard stuff, right? Yeah,  absolutely. And do you think there's starting to   be more established market data players that  are trying to get in on the space now? Because   it is a lot more complex, they can't leverage  a lot of their existing relationships because   it's not centralized exchanges, you know? It's not  like it's a new asset class that someone's listing   somewhere, it's like an entirely new ecosystem.  So, it's interesting. We talked to the Bloombergs,   the Refinitivs, the IHS markets, etc and most  of them have leveraged an index provider that's   two levels removed and they're interested.  There's smart people there. They want to do it,   they have very strict policies and rules about  what they can display to their customer and how   and what have you. But then there's the 'how do  we connect to...' It's not like I can connect in   the US, to CME , CBOE, Nasdaq and New York Stock  Exchange and I'm done, right? No, there's like 30   spot markets that matter. There's six derivative  markets that matter. There's 83 decentralized   exchange platforms that matter, right? And they  all are different enough that they don't have the   ability to connect and secondly, it's the protocol  and subject matter expertise to be able to   grok these mechanisms and these digital assets and  to be able to provide an intelligent perspective,   they simply cannot, we have a four year head  start on them. When we're coming in and we're   talking to them they're like 'wait a second, this  is a database, this is an application server,   this is a network, this is a currency, this  is network effects driven by mechanisms.'   They're like 'oh my God, this is amazing! How the  hell do you guys do this?', right? So I would say   they are a very long way from being able  to do in a sophisticated way that can span   both fundamentals and price in a consistent way  that they're willing to put in front of their   customers. We've been partnering with a couple of  them on the back end to 'how do you get that out   there?' but even getting through and being able,  from a regulatory perspective display things is   challenging. Yeah, of course. So let's just talk  as well about one of your recent announcements too   that came up, the partnership with Nexo.  Yeah, Nexo has been an amazing customer.   The team is super, super sharp. They've been  very collaborative. They do a lot of business and   they're very aggressive in their needs for data  and they're just trying to continue to improve   their product and what have you. They've  just been phenomenal to work with. They   hit us hundreds of thousands of times per day,  I mean, we've got many other exchange customers   as well and it's kind of a similar profile. Not  specifically speaking about what they're doing,   but if you think about it, if you're an exchange  you have a couple use cases. One is 'okay, I'm   providing a marketplace for people to transact  in whatever assets', right? Then what are prices   on other exchanges as context for risk? It's you  know, something's happening over here should I be   behaving differently? So there's the operational  context, right? Secondly, is 'I am carrying   effectively digital wallets, crypto wallets for  all of my customers. They have 250 000 customers, do I have the ability to end of day be able  to reconcile that my internal accounting   matches what is the source of truth on chain on  a daily or nightly basis?' Now you have 250 000   addresses you need to reconcile that every  token, every asset, every price makes sense   and matches my internal records because  an auditor is going to come in and ask   me that. I'm not speaking specifically about  their use case, I'm saying in general. We've   got this same use case with multiple exchanges  and then there's also the ability to understand   'what are my customers doing and how do we provide  the best services for them?' They're required to,   you know, this is the large exchanges, the largest  exchanges are required to have an understanding of   know your transaction type of thing, right?  That you have to know what's happening inside   your exchange, right? And that's where we plug  in and allow them to programmatically build into   their back office... their mid-office which is  risk, and their back office which is accounting   in compliance and post facto  forensics. Programmatically be able to   ask and answer those questions, right? So we're  really a turn-key end-to-end infrastructure where   instead of having to run 20-30 nodes and have a  full-time team of engineers to be able to just   answer these questions we're like 'here's an API  key'. We do this all day long for lots of other   exchanges, right? So moving, I guess, further  down the line, where did you see yourselves going?   Because you've already got very broad market  coverage, of course there's loads more networks   and coins and so on you could cater for, there's  a lot out there. But are there still some really   big audacious goals that you want to achieve as a  company in terms of where you get to, whether it's   your new products or just your position within  the industry? Yeah, so we're a digital asset   data infrastructure company and we're focused on  enabling the institutional adoption of digital   assets by focusing on the banking, the trading,  the risk, the compliance use cases historically.   Then that's fastly moving into I want to actually  get in the value chain from a DeFi perspective,   right? So I would say that some of the things  that we're looking at is how do we make that   a lot of what we do today is pre or post and how  do we get in that value chain and help people   make the best decision? How do we help them choose  which DEX in which liquidity pool and then be able   to execute that? Because we do read from and write  to chain across any of the chains that we support.   We don't handle keys and you have to sign your  own transactions, but we have a lot of people   that programmatically are participating in DeFi by  writing through us, just like Infura or whatever,   but we have a much broader offering. I would  say that that'll be a focus continuing to   really add support for a lot of the layer two  scaling solutions. So what informs our roadmap is   what has volume?, What has utilization?,  and what are people actually using?   That really informs our roadmap. So we're  starting to see a lot of institutional   demand now for some of these layer two in the  scaling solutions so we'll add support for those.   I think we support like 11 blockchains today,  we'll add anything that's EVM based, because of   doing this for four years we can literally  spin up any EVM based, Ethereum derivative or   layer two scaling solution very, very easily. It's  just, it's expensive for us to ingest, process,   store that data and if we're not having people  who are willing to pay for it, we just haven't   turned it on. But we already have connectivity  to and have been you know like Polkadot,   we've been working with Polkadot for 18 months. I  mean, like once that really starts to really kick   up we'll instrument that probably to Moonbeam,  Optimism has some really interesting stuff,   Polygon has some very interesting stuff, Near  some very interesting stuff. We have the ability   to connect to all of those today and we can do  everything that we do today for those. We're   just waiting for is somebody spanning those and,  we're seeing that on Polygon, we're seeing that   on Optimism, right? So I think those will be very  near term, we'll start to support those. For us,   that's super, super strategic and it's important  because again, it's trust right? If I want to move   my digital assets from Ethereum to Polygon or  to Optimism so I can participate in that space,   man I need to see both sides of that pipe  if I'm moving a hundred thousand dollars.   I'm just like hoping this works, you know  what I mean? It's like it's not a toy anymore,   this is like real money and real value and a huge  amount of volume. Tens of millions of dollars are   now transacting on Polygon and moving into DeFi  space to try to reduce their gas fees and their   transaction costs. That's going to continue like  Binance Smart Chain is another one, we support   Binance Smart Chain today, we just haven't turned  it on. We have a handful of people asking for it.   But again, it's just like once you start to get  these side chains, the amount of data that they   produce because the speed and so therefore, the  cost of supporting these is pretty significant.   But, once the demand really kicks up, we're  ready to turn them on. Yeah, yeah awesome,   that's exciting! I guess it's going to  bring some big challenges as well with the   transaction volumes and just them being able to  settle transactions a lot faster there? Yeah,   it's a lot of data. Yeah, that's awesome!  Well, I guess we're wrapping things up now. If   people want to try out the platform obviously head  to amberdata.io and is there anything else that   you'd encourage people to do if they want to learn  more about what you guys are up to? Follow you on   Twitter or LinkedIn or any other channels that you  guys are active or yourself? Yeah, absolutely! So   follow us on Twitter - @Amberdataio on Twitter  and then reach out, connect to us if you have   questions, especially if you're an institutional  customer and you're trying to get smart about the   space. We can really help you move quickly and you  will actually be delighted that most of what you   understand about traditional finance can be  ported into this space. Especially the way   that we've built our platform so it enables them  to ramp up quickly and understand. But I'd say the   most important thing is get smart, understand  the space. They're not putting the genie back   in the bottle on this, it's changing the world  and you're going to either be part of it or not,   right? Absolutely, yeah. Shawn, it's been an  absolute pleasure to host you and it's so cool to   hear about everything that's been going on there  and you guys just solidifying your place within   the ecosystem. A lot of luck and a lot of hard  work and it's been a community effort and we've   had so much support from everybody, including  people like you. We use Web3j, your library.   I think that there's such a big opportunity it  really requires a community to go after this.   Yeah, it's a lot of fun.  Awesome thanks Shawn chat soon.