Polygon Builder Series vol.2 — Leighton Cusack From PoolTogether

Polygon Builder Series is a video and blog series where our host Nemo talks with fellow builders on Polygon.

Our guest for today is Leighton Cusack from PoolTogether.

PoolTogether is an open-source and decentralized protocol for no-loss prize games.

Are you building on Polygon or interested to start? Apply here https://polygon.technology/developer-support-program/

Catch the whole podcast below:

[00:00:16.540] — Nemo

Welcome to second episode of Polygon Builder series, where I interview the other fellow builders, my name is Nemo and today we have with us Leighton from PoolTogether.

[00:00:27.980] — Leighton

Hey, thanks for having me, Nemo.

[00:00:29.740] — Nemo

Yeah. Pleasure is all mine. So to kick off the whole thing, can you tell us a bit about yourself and how PoolTogether started and what is PoolTogether?

[00:00:41.900] — Leighton

Yeah, for sure. So a bit about myself. I am a entrepreneur. I live in New York City. I’ve been in crypto for five years now and then in DeFi specifically for a little over two years. So PoolTogether, launched actually almost exactly two years ago. So that was back when DeFi wasn’t even a word yet. It was pretty much just like you UniSwap, Synthetics, Compound and PoolTogether and Aave was out there too. But so that’s a little bit background myself. And PoolTogether is a protocol for no loss prize savings on polygon and ethereum and the the basic idea of prize savings. This is otherwise known as like no loss lotteries is that people it’s like a savings account. You can deposit your money, you can withdraw it whenever you want to. You never lose your money. The interest that’s accrued on the money is grouped together and then randomly given out as prizes. So basically what happens is people are able to win very large prizes without having to risk their money. So that’s what PoolTogether does.

[00:01:54.320] — Nemo

It all started on ethereum. And then in the last couple of weeks or something like that, you guys started on polygon also. So, tell us a bit about the reasoning of coming to Polygon.

[00:02:57.350] — Leighton

So the first thing for us was obviously just a lot of people were asking for polygon deployment. And so that’s that’s always a good indicator when you have real people who want to use a protocol on a new block chain. And we obviously we’re trying to solve the issue of gas fees, which is a huge problem on ethereum, especially with something like PoolTogether, because PoolTogether is it’s really like the best onramp into DeFi. It’s something that’s easily understandable, is something that’s no risk. It’s something that people and there’s so many people who say like, oh, that was the first thing I ever tried. And now I use all this other stuff. But I also still use PoolTogether, which is great. And so and so we really wanted to make sure that we could maintain that ability for people to join in for the first time. And so that’s why we were really excited about deploying to Polygon. And that was kind of from from the perspective of the demand side of the equation.

[00:03:53.370] — Nemo

Can you tell us a bit more about the whole experience ones that you guys decided to port to Polygon, how was the building experience around it? To port everything from L1, also to work on Polygon and give the opportunity to users to play there?

[00:04:08.580] — Leighton

Well, it was very simple. And that that was the other that was the other part of the equation. Right. So there’s two parts of the equation. How many people want it to happen, how many people ask for it, and then how easy is it to do? Because there is a lot of people who ask for deployments and a lot of different block chains. But the reason we deployed on Polygon was because of the simplicity of doing it. And so the main thing for us is obviously MetaMask support. Right. So for people who are on a theory and already have MetaMask support is a big deal. It’s fully EVM compatible. So actually deploying the smart contracts was very, very simple. The other big thing outside of just EVM compatibility was support for the graph because we rely on the graph a lot to supply decentralized data to the front end. And so that was a really big deal and a support for chainlink as well was it was a big deal because we use chainlink to generate randomness for the for the winner selection. And so those were all sort of like the big factors in in choosing to deploy on polygon. And those are the reasons that it was very easy to deploy on polygon.

[00:05:18.240] — Nemo

Got it. And now let’s jump back into the PoolTogether and let’s talk a bit more about it. Any Alpha for us, ser? Can you give us some of the ideas how users can use PoolTogether right now?

[00:05:40.770] — Leighton

Yeah. So there’s two audiences to talk to about this, right? One is like one is just people who want to deposit their money and then one is and what is sort of builders. So let me talk first to the builders, so sort of the most baseline layer PoolTogether is a protocol to facilitate the aggregation of interest and the distribution of it. And you could do that in a lot of different ways. It doesn’t have to be random. Right. So we have on Polygon, you can go to builder.pooltogether.com and anyone can easily create their own prize pool using the UI there that uses AAVE as a yield source. You don’t have to have any technical experience to do that and you can create your own prize pool for whatever asset type you want. And you can also use this new feature that’s just been introduces — price splits where you can decide like, hey, I want 10 percent of the interest to go to myself and 90 percent to go to a prize or 50 percent to a charity and 50 percent to me or whatever, whatever you want to do. And so for the builders in the audience, this is a really amazing tool that’s audited, secured that you can use to build all sorts of applications outside of just the prize savings use case. So I would say that from a builder perspective. Again for the builders, you don’t necessarily have to have technical expertise, you could do that even without having any technical expertise. But for the users, yeah, usually PoolTogether right now on polygon is an amazing deal because not only do you have the chance to win the prizes, you also are getting interest on your money, too. So currently that’s like 11 percent APR and on top of that, you have a chance to win these prizes that are happening every day and there’s more more prize pools coming so it’s it’s a really good place to park your funds.

[00:07:36.580] — Nemo

I can imagine, organizing Dota tournament, where all the people need to stake money in order to be part of the tournaments. And whoever wins can decide to take money or donate to charity.

[00:08:39.340] — Nemo

What I’m wondering is like can you tell us a bit like how do you see a future of PoolTogether or what are some of the milestones where you guys are thinking right now for the next year?

[00:08:52.060] — Leighton

Yeah, yeah, for sure. So I think, you know, so the price savings is one of the most popular, if not the most popular consumer financial product in the world. And I think people really underestimate that. Right. Because when you first hear about it, it sounds like, oh, this is sort of like this is sort of cool, but it’s not really that useful. But it actually is incredibly useful because it’s the only way that people have to have an opportunity to earn like, you know, so so, for example, the luckiest person who used PoolTogether so far, they deposited seventy eight dollars and they won and they won forty three thousand dollars. So there’s no other financial tool where people can do that, where they don’t risk their money, they can get their money out whenever they want to, but they also have this chance to have a huge return. And so in the real world, the sort of like the traditional financial world, there’s over well over one hundred billion dollars in prize savings accounts. And so our our first goal right now is really just to execute on what is very clearly the opportunity in front of us, which is that there is a financial instrument that has hundreds of billions of dollars deposited into it in there’s now a version of this on the blockchain that’s far, far better. And so it’s just a matter of bridging that and helping these people understand how they can use it. And that’s why Polygon is so important. So I think that is that’s sort of the immediate future, at least for for the no loss of savings use case. But I do think about the other thing is what we talked about is that there’s all sorts of other applications for the protocol that aren’t just the price savings application. Right. Like you could use this for no loss. You could do like what you were saying, like a no loss chess tournament. You could do like you could use it for charity, you could use it for all sorts of other things. So those are the things that I’m really excited to see. Also what people build on top of the protocol. So I think there are two tracks. There’s like people building new things on top of the protocol. And then there’s also this track of like just executing and getting more people to to understand how powerful and how helpful the consumer financial primitive is.

[00:11:09.310] — Nemo

Definitely, that actually brought me to the next question that they had was like for the builder out there that are listening to this podcast. I’m wondering what would be a cool idea that they can either approach you guys or start building on top of PoolTogether?

[00:11:36.910] — Leighton

Well, and let me give a shout out. We have a pool grants committee. So if people have ideas, they can apply for funding to get those. So I’ll give you three things real quick. First, I think just improving the onboarding experience, making it easier to get access to. Right. So this is more of a front end thing. It’s like build the app and this is where Polygon comes in. Right. Make it easier for people to just download an app and deposit from their phone, like those types of things, those types of ideas, I think are really helpful. The second is integrating the protocol with more yield sources. So right now, at least on Polygon, the only yield source that’s integrated is AAVE, which means AAVE is what is used for yield to power the prize pools, but the protocol can be integrated with any yield source. And so integrations into more yield sources is always something that we’re that we’re working on, on ethereum it’s integrated with Yearn, Compound, AAVE, couple other ones. So integration, more yield is a big one. And then the third one, I think, is this is sort of what I talk about earlier, but I think is, you know, experimentation with the prize distribution. So I don’t think we’ve cracked yet. Like, what is the optimum prize distribution? Is it to have 10 winners every hour? Is it to have one winner a month? Is it to have you know, there’s all sorts of different ways you could do. There are all sorts of ways you can change those parameters? And so I think building stuff that that experiments with that is really interesting. So three things would be like improving the frontend, onboarding experiences, improving integrations with yield sources and then experimenting with prize distribution.

[00:13:14.510] — Nemo

So you folks heard that. So jump in and start building here. and also, what are the plans for adding these custom community pools on polygon? And you already said that it’s live now and working?

[00:13:39.450] — Leighton

Well, it is. And it’s just not it’s not it’s not well known, though. That’s the thing, so maybe that’s that’s part of the Alpha. The Alpha leake is it’s very, very simple. Anyone can go to builder.Pooltogether.Com and they can create their own prize pool. They automatically get a user interface for that prize pool.

[00:14:10.940] — Nemo

Is there anything else that we didn’t cover and that you would like to share with everybody?

[00:14:17.150] — Leighton

I mean, I would try to share some encouragement to build. So PoolTogether started two years ago at a hackathon and we initially got funding by MakerDAO Grant. And so, you know, now PoolTogether, has a grants program. So hopefully, hopefully someone can get a grant from PoolTogether and two years from now, they can be talking about what they’ve done with it. So I guess I just share that as a big encouragement to people of, you know, you can take these hackathon projects and make them a lot bigger. You can there are a lot of resources out there for builders who want to pursue their projects in terms of grants, in terms of just helping out. And so if you’re listening and you’re and you’re excited about building something, I would encourage you to do it. And if I can help out, I would encourage you to reach out.

[00:15:04.910] — Nemo

Great, great. And saying all of that, I’ll just continue with sharing ideas to the developers and sharing ideas to like builders and everybody in the community. So they’re like also three things from our side that can be on top of PoolTogether. So like first one is Polygon together with 0x grand program that is like around ten million total. So people can apply to small grants or they can apply and go via the committee and getting the vote of approval for the bigger grants. And also there is a huge developer supporting program for anybody that wants to build a polygon. And at the end, there is also there is a program called Polygon Advocates where people can apply and help out on whole polygon ecosystem. So that’s those are the three more things. So I think that everybody that they’re listening, you hear from Leighton and from me, there is like so many programs that want to encourage people to build more and to contribute in blockchain space. And I think that we are growing more and more every day.

[00:16:37.220] — Nemo

That’s that’s it from us for this episode. Leighton, thank you for all of this. Definitely check PoolTogether. Definitely apply for the grants mentioned. Definitely continue building and that’s it from us.

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