Polygon Builder Series vol.1 — Hsuan-Ting Furucombo
June 16, 2021
Polygon Builder Series is a video and blog series where our host Nemo talks with fellow builders on Polygon.
Our first guest is Hsuan-Ting from Furucombo. Furucombo is a tool built for end-users to optimize their DeFi strategy simply by drag and drop. It visualizes complex DeFi protocols into cubes. Users setup inputs/outputs and the order of the cubes (a “combo”), then Furucombo bundles all the cubes into one transaction and sends them out. If you don’t know what to do, you can find inspirations from pre-built combos.
Nemo: Hi, everyone, and welcome to the first episode of Polygon Builder Series. My name is Nemo and here I will talk with the fellow builders on Polygon. Today we have Hsuan-Ting from Furucombo. Hi Hsuan-Ting.
Hsuan-Ting: It’s good, it’s good — busy. DeFi moves so fast and we have to stay on top of everything, and then recently we deployed on Polygon, so we are very excited about that.
Nemo:Happy to hear that. So can you tell us a bit about yourself and Furucombo?
Hsuan-Ting: Sure. My name is Hsuan-Ting and I used to build a mobile payments system in the USA similar to Venmo. At the end of 2017 we decided to pivot to blockchain because we think that the blockchain is really the infrastructure that can push the world to the next level — not just in finance, but in a lot of different industries.
We built Furucombo about 12 months ago and have already done around five to seven billion in trading volume on Ethereum. So now we want to expand our network to another DeFi blockchain.
Nemo:Awesome! That dovetails nicely into my second question — what exactly was your reasoning and thought process for porting to Polygon and expanding to the Polygon blockchain?
Hsuan-Ting: So we initially started building Furucombo on Ethereum like pretty much every DeFi protocol, and then between last year’s ‘DeFi summer’ and today, the Ethereum price kept rising higher no matter if the network was really busy or not — which is good. But at the same time, it’s been getting harder for users to actually send out transactions, especially since Furucombo is a platform that combines every kind of transaction together into one meta transaction.
So through Furucombo you can say, for example: I want to swap my ETH to DAI and then supply my DAI to AAVE and then receive another token from AAVE that I can supply to other platforms. This is called the composability of DeFi. But lately, when users attempt these types of transactions on Ethereum using Furucombo they feel like: ‘oh, you guys are so expensive. Why is that?’ What they don’t realize is that we didn’t charge any fee whatsoever. We just combined every gas fee together. There are a lot of different smart contracts you have to execute, making the fees very high.
That’s why we started looking for a new blockchain including both L1 and L2s. We looked at various options, but the reason that we chose to move to Polygon is because they have really good technology and are EVM compatible. That means that we don’t have to spend too much time rewriting our smart contracts and adapting our entire system. Also, I think Polygon has a very supportive team — Humzah and other people in the team have provided a lot of resources to help us migrate from Ethereum to Polygon in the shortest time possible and without any hassle. In my opinion, this is by far the most friendly team that we’ve talked to from a variety of different scaling solutions. That’s why we choose Polygon.
Nemo:Staying on that topic for a moment — from the development side, what were your main challenges when porting to Polygon, and what did that overall experience look like?
Hsuan-Ting: So if you are going to port your Ethereum smart contract to Polygon or any other EVM-compatible chain or layer 2, you don’t really need to edit a lot of things. You just change your base token from ETH to, say, MATIC or BNB. That in itself is not a huge issue, but what you do need to be very mindful of is the security aspect of the port. So we double checked everything with our security firm — how are different modifications to our Ethereum smart contract going to impact our risk profile, and how, if needed, are we going to mitigate that risk? This is the first thing that you need to take care of.
Also, Furucombo is an aggregator. The biggest difference between an aggregator and a money protocol like AAVE or Uniswap is that we are not just ‘ourselves’. We’re not like: ‘OK, put your money into our protocol and we’ll give you X in return.’ As an aggregator, we care about how we’re going to connect to different blockchains and different protocols. So we spent a lot of time modifying our frontend to connect to various DeFi protocols — that takes a lot of time, and not just for Furucombo. We have a proxy, we have a handler, we’ve got chain inputs, chain ID etc. All of this takes some time to work out, but it’s not really difficult. It’s all EVM compatible.
Also, the Polygon team really supported us throughout the process. We have a working group for every major DeFi protocol, but there’s no team that supported us more. Our Polygon chatroom is the biggest one we have. There’s like 30 people inside. From engineers to legal to marketing to project managers — it’s like a whole new company, which was in itself a pretty interesting experience.
NemoHaha, I didn’t know that! Sounds nice. Let’s circle back to Furucombo and try to give users a better understanding of the platform. Now that you’re live on Polygon, can you give us a few examples of some cool things that users can actually do with Furucombo on Polygon? Or, as I like to call it, can you give us some ‘alpha’, sir!
Hsuan-Ting: Yeah, so we just deployed our Polygon version and everyone should go try it. I think the main reason that people use Furucombo is efficiency. You can use a bridge to send your token from Ethereum to Polygon all at once — you don’t have to, like, manually send your USDC and then send your DAI, send your ETH etc. You just select which token you want and send it together, all in a single transaction. That’s very cost efficient, especially if it’s moving from Ethereum to Polygon.
The second cool feature of Furucombo is that we can help you migrate your debt from Ethereum to Polygon. This is something that we haven’t pushed online yet, and it’s not just using the composability mechanism. This is, like, using the Polygon state channel — that’s really the alpha. We will be building a bridge between Ethereum and Polygon, and if you, say, have a token or a position on AAVE, we will help you unzip your position, send it to Polygon and zip it back to your original position. If you are going to try and do this with the original protocol — for example, using AAVE’s website — you have to manually execute a lot of different transactions and then send it over. There’s like, eight transactions for you to migrate — but if you are doing it through Furucombo, it’s just one transaction with two clicks.
Nemo:Sounds great. Now that you’re on Polygon, how do you see the future of Furucombo? With all your progress and everything happening in DeFi, what are some of the major milestones that users can expect from you in the future?
Hsuan-Ting: I think DeFi is getting more and more complicated, which is not good. What is good is that because DeFi is becoming more advanced, we can try to port all kinds of new and exciting use cases from real life. Furucombo was built to tackle these growing complexities and ongoing fragmentation in DeFi. We try to unify the user experience for all demographics — not just pro traders, but grandmas or young folks who don’t even know what DeFi stands for.
As for the future of Furucombo, the first step is to integrate with multiple chains, including Ethereum, Polygon, perhaps other Layer 1s and Layer 2s, because we believe that DeFi will no longer only live on the Ethereum blockchain. It won’t. It’s going to be spread out between, for instance, Near, Solana, all of the different blockchains. When that happens, what’s going to be the biggest challenge for DeFi users? They’ll be like: ‘OK, I was finally persuaded by a friend to move my savings to DeFi. The problem is — I have no idea which protocol I should use. What’s the difference between L1 and L2? What’s a protocol? What is Cube, what is a meta transaction, what is MetaMask etc.
Our goal is to provide a unified experience for all users, so that all you have to do is bring your money to Furucombo, connect your wallet, and the rest you’re able to pick up along the way. Like, you can select different APYs — from highest to lowest — or different strategies on Furucombo. But beyond that, you don’t have to worry. Just like when you’re shopping on Amazon. You don’t need to worry about whether the item you’re purchasing is shipping from Seattle or Texas, or from the provider’s own warehouse. All you need to do is add the item to the shopping cart and go to checkout, and the rest will be taken care of by Amazon.
This is the experience that Furucombo wants to provide to users — just bring your money to Furucombo and choose what you want do to with it. We’ll take care of the technicalities, no matter if it’s tied to a different blockchain, different token, or different wallet. You don’t need to worry about any of that. That’s what Furucombo wants to provide.
Nemo: Definitely agree with you on that. In the future, if you’re talking about having more people in DeFi attempting to use all of these LEGO blocks, there’s gonna be a lot of confused faces. I’m trying to onboard and educate as many people that I know about the benefits of DeFi, but the problem is — like you said. ‘Wait, what? How do I use this protocol? How do I go from X to Y? And then if you try to explain collateralization and how to mint some DAI from your collateral and use it somewhere else, it gets super complicated fast. And I wasn’t aware of that in the beginning, because — like you — I’ve been in the industry for a long time, and for me, everything just makes sense. But when you start talking to new potential users, you have this massive challenge of un-complicating DeFi for them, and it’s very difficult to surpass for some people.
Hsuan-Ting: Yes, yes. That’s exactly why we are going to have something like a ‘Combo Creator’. The Combo Creator is similar to a fund manager. So I believe that — similar to 99% of the people — before I stepped into DeFi, I didn’t really know anything about finance. I just know I get my salary and that I should put it in a bank, or maybe buy some bitcoin. A Combo Creator is like a fund manager — they can help you say: ‘OK, so these are my strategies. My yearly API will be 10%. If you think I’m qualified or, I don’t know, you think my profile picture looks good, I look charming and trustworthy, you can just deposit your money to my vault or to my fund. So I think having someone like that to help you deal with your money can help lower the barrier to entry for every DeFi user.
Nemo:So what you’re saying is that, in the future, anyone can come to Furucombo, propose their strategies and monetize their DeFi skills by acting as a de-facto fund manager?
Hsuan-Ting: Yes. Permissionless, real time. When you see a chance, you just use our combo page to build a strategy, turn it into a vault and then promote it to all your fans or friends.
Nemo: That’s actually really cool because it gives you an opportunity to help people that aren’t exactly sure how to manage their money, and contribute to the DeFi ecosystem. And what’s great is that because everything is on-chain, you can verify all that goes on with your money. That kind of transparency helps new people become a bit more relaxed about entering this new, strange world. Which brings me to one of my last questions — zooming out and looking at the entire DeFi ecosystem at the moment, what’s your take on some as of yet unexplored areas of DeFi that may need some more LEGOs? Something that you can see being built in the future? Since there will likely be plenty of ‘builders’ listening to this, it might be cool to give people some ideas on where you currently see potential ‘holes’ in the DeFi market.
Hsuan-Ting: Yeah, I think there’s one thing that pretty much everyone is trying to figure out — and, to be honest, we still don’t have a very clear answer. That’s the power of composability. So in the past, I think every financial service provider was either standalone or an all-in-one provider, so the quality isn’t shared by the whole market. Every financial service provider would say: ‘oh, just deposit your money to our fund, and we’ll offer you our full services.‘ But right now on DeFi, the situation is totally different.
There is no Binance in DeFi. There’s no centralized exchange acting as an all-in-one solution, even though Furucombo is aiming that way. Still, though, we’re not going to replace the existing money protocols. We’re not building our own Uniswap or AAVE — we just cooperate with them. And so I think these new behaviors will really change how the financial system works. Everyone is sharing the same liquidity.
For example, if I want to trade a hundred million USD worth of Ethereum on Binance — they are the biggest exchange, but they might not have that much Ethereum in their wallets. So at that point they might need a market maker to help them reallocate some ETH from other big exchanges to Binance. That doesn’t happen automatically — it’s something that people need to carefully monitor, and it takes time. But on Ethereum, I think that liquidity belongs to the whole network. For example, if I want to buy two million USD worth of ETH, I can use 1inch, or uniswap, sushiswap, whatever. When everything is connected together like this, it’s almost like a computer with Internet access — it gives you unlimited possibilities compared to an offline computer.
So, yeah, I think the composability of DeFi is something that people need to explore more. And then Furucombo would be a very good tool for traders to explore, for example, if I’m going to wrap this asset and then put it somewhere and then unwrap it, can I get a profit? So there will be a lot of different new trading strategies coming out, which is only possible in DeFi — because DeFi is connected to everyone and there’s no system like it.
Nemo: Yeah. I definitely agree with you, the possibilities are becoming endless. What I really love is that, for many people, their first impression of DeFi is that this space — at least for the moment — is only really meant for engineers that can actually code and deploy these protocols. But I think that it’s far, far bigger than that. For instance, there’s so many places where anyone can actively help out in the governance of different protocols. So I definitely believe that, with how we’re expanding, it will be more and more interesting to see which LEGOs will be built on top. And it will be a really fun experience in the future.
So that’s it from me. Do you want to share anything else before we conclude the first episode? Is there anything else that you would like to share with the audience?
Hsuan-Ting: Yeah. So as we mentioned already, we just launched Furucombo on Polygon and are going to integrate more and more Cubes in the future, of course. We are also cooperating with the Polygon team to build a usage mining program. The core of the usage mining is that if you use Furucombo on Polygon, then both the Polygon and Furucombo team will reward you based on your usage history. I think this is a pretty good incentive for people that want to try DeFi, because I know the Polygon system is already very efficient, so you don’t have to worry about the cost. But if you’re just stepping into DeFi and you want to try something new, come to Furucombo. We’ll present you with the highest quality projects, selected from the whole Pollygon ecosystem, and as you are trying the platform you’ll also earn some rewards. So it’s trying, learning and making money all in one. I think that’s a very good system for new users.
Nemo: Yeah. So I think this was free alpha for everybody listening. Go and try Furucombo right now on Polygon. And based on your usage, you’ll actually get rewards from both teams — Polygon and Furucombo.
Great! Once again, thank you for being with us and thank you for helping us to understand a bit more how it was to build on Polygon and what Furucombo is doing. Hope to play with it as soon as today!
Hsuan-Ting: Thanks for having me! Everyone go check it out. It’s very cool to experience the various possibilities of DeFi without any hassle.
Nemo: Yeah. And we’ll also add in the description all of the links that people can follow you, follow Furucombo and where they can go to try it. Thanks again!
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