In this episode of Know Your Validator, we speak to Degen Power. The cross-continent team of four has been involved with the blockchain space since 2017 and come from a range of professional backgrounds. Degen Power is currently entrusted with the fourth largest total stake on the Switcheo network, and places high value on being actively involved with the Switcheo community.
Its members have participated in the Switcheo project from very early on, taking part in all the available beta tests and Switcheo’s first ambassador program. More recently, Degen Power founded the Switcheo Discord group and donated 50% of its validator earnings to the Switcheo Community Fund.
Degen Power also shares 25% of its earnings with “dedicated delegators,” who are SWTH holders that stake 100% of their tokens with the group, with a minimum of 100k.
NNT hopes its Know Your Validator series can provide the Switcheo community useful insights on TradeHub validators and validator candidates, so they can vote in an informed manner.
The full interview can be found below.
Validator: Degen Power
What are the names of the Degen Power team members and where are you based?
Ivan: Hi everyone! First of all I’d like to take this opportunity and thank Neo News Today very much for giving this opportunity to Switcheo validators. Thank you!
As for our team, it consists of 4 people: Ivan a.k.a acidbird, Luan, K, and Alex. We are based in different cities in Europe & South America.
What is the background of the Degen Power team and what do you think qualifies you to be a TradeHub validator?
Ivan: We are four equal partners in DP with completely different backgrounds and different roles. In my opinion it makes us stronger, like in that saying “Two heads are better than one.” In our case it is four heads.
As for me, I worked in many different companies throughout my career: MFA, movies & construction business, Olympic games, one of the European sports unions. At the moment I am in IT, business intelligence & analytics. I’ve been investing in blockchain tech since 2017.
As for Switcheo, I got involved in early 2018 and participated in all the beta tests carried out by the team throughout these years, took part in the first Switcheo Ambassador program, founded the Switcheo Discord server this August (handed over ownership to the team not long ago), and the Switcheo Community Fund together with Luan. We are active Switcheo community members really, helping out newcomers, anyone who needs support with platforms, and we do have good contact with the team, supporting them with what we can.
Luan: I worked for seven years in the automotive industry and left in 2018 to go full time crypto. In a conversation with Ivan, I mentioned I wanted to run a validator and he said we should team up, so we did.
Ivan: We call Luan an unofficial head of marketing. He is doing superb work on Twitter. He is also an experienced crypto trader and introduced Switcheo to many new people.
K: I have been a professional dev since 2005, tech lead from 2014, and have carried out many successful projects: custom development, bots, server management, Amazon tech, etc. I was involved in the TRX ecosystem during the early stages of its development.
Alex: I have spent 15 years in telecom IT business, involved in various dev projects since 2015. I have been in crypto since 2017, and was one of the early Switcheo investors along with Ivan.
At the time of writing, you currently have around 8% voting power. Why do you think people chose to stake with Degen Power?
Ivan: Initially we donated 50% of all validator earnings to the Switcheo Community Fund and made it possible for several projects to come into life, for example https://swth.info tool or the content contest in November. Besides that we shared 15% of our earnings with dedicated delegators (those who stake 100% and min. 100k SWTH with us). People know us, they like what we do and how we do it and they join in.
Now, after SDF passed we stopped the donation, lowered our fee to 1.5% and now share 25% of our earnings with dedicated delegators. So it is a club, something like a community inside a community, so to say. Our delegators know we are always around and will do our best to support them.
Luan: I believe the main point is that we introduced the project to a lot of new people and we are always there to help everyone have a clearer view on Switcheo or answer any questions they might have (even though Luke and Intsol already do this perfectly).
Alex: Yeah, Switcheo community managers are the best, so tolerant and helpful indeed!
What do you consider to be the most important responsibilities of an elected validator?
K: Well, first of all security of the chain. You as a validator have to make sure your nodes are up and running and you are there for any necessary upgrades. Being a validator is a very responsible task.
Ivan: I fully agree with K and also think it is crucial for a validator to be part of the community, be active, talk to people, listen, understand what is happening and what are the opinions out there. Communication with our own delegators is extremely important as well.
Luan: Being a validator is a big responsibility, the minimum I expect from any validator is having a safe setup and being active in the community to at least understand what is happening and what are the next steps of the project. All the validators should vote on every governance proposal in my opinion.
How will Degen Power use its voting power to help the Switcheo platform?
Ivan: Since Luan and myself are very active in the community we follow closely everything happening in the ecosystem, discuss proposals, and we will support and propose decisions which are necessary for the project to grow fast and scale exponentially. There is no team like the Switcheo team in this space in my opinion. They are true pioneers and their platforms are unique in many ways. Our mission is to support Switcheo with everything we can and our voting power will be used to reach these goals.
Are there any core principles that will guide Degen Power’s voting decisions?
Ivan: Yes, we believe in the vision where all the people have the right to vote and be heard. We have already abstained as a validator before and we will do it in future if we think some proposals should be voted by people alone.
What does your setup look like? How do you ensure you provide optimum uptime?
K: We take the technical side very seriously. People trust us with their tokens so we have to make sure that our setup is redundant and safe, working 24/7. For that reason we picked one of the best, well-known server providers in the world, which has had no failures till date and has been operating since 1997. They fully cover our needs. Also, we are using special tools for monitoring and following all the recommendations and guides from the Switcheo dev team in order to keep optimum uptime.
Ivan.: At the moment we have 5 MainNet nodes (validator + 4 sentries) and several fully synced nodes in the background ready to be used if necessary.
What are you most optimistic about in regards to Switcheo’s future?
K: We are super excited about Demex and futures launch early January! The platform is amazing. There are still some things to polish but really, it is great!
Ivan: Oh, yeah, we are very optimistic. Switcheo deserves the moonshot and to be widely recognised. I have no doubt that we’re gonna make it! We gonna make it boyz & girlz! =)
Luan: Being fully decentralized and a complete DeFi platform, unstoppable.
We already are on our way to it. The chain has been running for four months, by validators with a solid knowledge and setup.
We had a DeFi boom this year, and I believe in the next wave. Decentralized derivatives and cross chain will be a hot topic, because it is something that the market really needs. Switcheo is perfectly positioned for it.
The best part is that the SWTH token has a unique way to accrue value by giving stakers 90% of the trading fees of any exchange running on Switcheo chain a.k.a. TradeHub (10% goes directly to Switcheo Development Fund). For now we know there will be 3: Demex, Zilswap, and Switcheo Exchange.
Alex: I am very optimistic as well and really waiting for futures, options and commodities to go live. Also, I believe the SWTH token will be widely presented on other trading platforms in the future and this will bring even more awareness.
As a Validator, how do you gauge/value community sentiment for their wants and needs?
Luan: Like I said earlier we are very active community members. We feel the community, we support it, and we do our best to grow it!
Do you have any ideas for future TIPs? What kinds of proposals would you like to see?
Ivan: We want stakers to be more involved in decision making. We believe the community should rule here, and we expect many more features to be released very soon and that is great. I would love to see a lot of outside teams introducing addons and new things for the Switcheo ecosystem through SDF. We need more developers, more heads & hands, never enough =).
Demex has just launched and SWTH holders now have the choice between staking their tokens or contributing them to liquidity pools. What do you think the medium to long term impact will be on the Switcheo ecosystem with tokens flowing between staking and providing liquidity? What are your thoughts on the roll out of Demex so far?
Luan: For now it is more profitable to provide liquidity, so we can see some people unstaking for it. When derivatives volume starts to pick up we may see people sending it back to stake as earning the fees can be attractive.
Building a chain and exchange from scratch is not an easy task. We (the community) tested Demex on beta and made a long list of things to fix. Now that it has launched, there are more people using and sending feedback to the team about where to improve or fix any bugs.
The overall launch was very positive, no major issues. Now we need to reach more people, lock more value and bring traders to the platform. Demex is first layer 2 cross chain LP + orderbook, and soon to be the first layer 2 decentralized derivatives exchange.
Ivan: Yeah, fully agree with Luan. We are just starting here and it is very good and positive so far. We are keeping our fingers crossed and ready for the future!
Thank you for having us on the KYV series, and of course we would like to take this opportunity and wish Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone! May your wishes come true in 2021 and don’t forget that together we are strong. If every community member, every supporter of the project helps grow awareness, develops, and contributes in any way he/she can it will be huge and unstoppable!
Other existing or aspiring validators interested in participating in the Know Your Validator series should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.