CEO, Lawrence Lin and Senior Advisor, Shogo Ishida Interviewed by Staking Rewards
Recently, Moonstake was interviewed by Staking Rewards, the first and most trusted resource hub for staking and yield-bearing assets data. Moonstake’s CEO, Lawrence Lin and Senior Advisor, Shogo Ishida sat down with the team at Staking Rewards to share their thoughts and insights on the Moonstake ecosystem as well as the general market of cryptocurrency and blockchain financial services.
Moonstake was established by a group of reputable blockchain authorities from the blockchain industry, they developed a variety of staking products for both businesses and customers by offering staking pools, enterprise solutions, DeFi and value-added services.
Why did you start Moonstake? And how has Moonstake evolved over the years?
Lawrence: Our senior management team has been in the crypto business for 10 years now, and we wanted to create a horizontal connection as a business while interacting with various people and projects in the crypto industry and community.
When Proof-of-Stake began to attract attention in recent years, we started the business to create a wallet with staking power for multiple coins. This is a good opportunity to utilize our technical strength and expertise in the industry to meet the demands of the crypto community in the world. Now, Moonstake’s staking community can easily earn staking rewards from all the high demand PoS coins on the market including Cosmos, IRIS, Ontology, Harmony, Tezos, Cardano, Qtum, Polkadot, Quras, Centrality, and Orbs, with support for IOST and LISK coming very soon.
Throughout the year, Moonstake has also forged strategic partnerships with leading industry players, including public blockchains such as Emurgo (global blockchain solutions provider and founder of Cardano), NEO, Ontology, Wanchain, and decentralized projects Pundi X, TZ Ventures, RockX, Stake Technologies, Orbs, Unido, and more. These partnerships not only allow Moonstake to enable staking of more PoS coins for our users but also make Moonstake’s technology ecosystem more accessible to the global staking community. We currently have $1 billion in total staked assets by users and ranked in top 10 staking providers worldwide on Staking Rewards, an achievement that we are extremely proud of.
What is the mission of Moonstake? What drives you personally and professionally?
Lawrence: Moonstake developed our own staking pool protocol to satisfy increasing asset holders’ demands in regional and global blockchain markets as well as providing business services through partners and companies. As a staking provider, we aim to be the largest staking pool network in Asia by providing an active and diverse financial environment that opens up a wealth of opportunities for crypto asset holders.
Shogo: Indeed, and this wealth of financial opportunities include other innovative methods than staking, like DeFi. This is also why we recently entered DeFi together with Muse.Finance to open up even more opportunities for crypto asset holders to access innovative financial platforms even when their assets are in an illiquid state while staked. It is a decentralized platform that allows crypto asset holders to profit from lending through wrapped assets while participating in staking and yield farming at the same time. Muse.Finance is expanding its crypto-asset economic zone, starting with Cardano and extending its service offerings to Polkadot, Solana, Oasis, Terra, Centrality and others.
Muse.Finance will launch its first product, a wrap and swap platform soon. Later in the year, we will gradually enhance its DeFi platform with Lending and Yield Farming.
How do you attract customers? What has been the most effective way for you to grow the business?
Shogo: At Moonstake, our strategy is to choose and support the most highly demanded coins on the market with clear and strong visions as well as development support and user community. And our accomplishments after one year of operation has proven this strategy effective. Currently, we’re sitting at $1 billion total staked assets and our market position is strongly within the top 10 staking providers globally. Since staking as an investment method requires a certain level of commitment from asset holders, we believe that it is important to focus on the long-term value of staking, which means supporting coins based on their market demand and the strength of their project operations, instead of purely focusing on APY.
Lawrence: On the business side, Moonstake understands that integration can be a pain due to technical complexities especially since it’s the blockchain business. This is why we offer plug-and-play API and SDK solutions for business customers that greatly simplifies integration while maintaining great ease of use on a daily basis as well as extensive reports when needed, all with robust security and flexibility.
How is your relationship with your partners? Do you provide support or advice to them?
Shogo: We always keep a close relationship with our partners as we believe that there is always value to be found from leveraging our expertises. We are always happy to offer support or advice to our partners while working together, just as they would for us in return. We have conducted joint marketing activities with our partners and provided recent blockchain innovation and updates of partners to communities all over the world.
Besides securing the network, how else do you support these networks?
Shogo: When we collaborate with development teams behind staking coin networks to enable staking support, we either enable connection to the existing staking pools of that network or become a validator/node partner of the network ourselves, in which we contribute to the operation and security of the network by becoming one of its validators. For both ways of collaboration, we enhance the network’s ecosystem by being a technology partner, helping both projects to scale together while improving global access to blockchain services.
Recently Moonstake announced their entry into DeFi. Would you like to share more details about this development?
Shogo: At the end of March, we announced Moonstake’s official entry into the DeFi arena together with Muse.Finance conceptualised by myself. It is a Decentralized Platform where crypto users can receive staking rewards while gaining interests of lending through wrapped assets, and at the same time participating in the yield farming. It will be highly scalable thanks to being linked to the staking pools operated by Moonstake. Having completed its PoC, Muse.Finance currently has a working MVP and will soon be adding wrapper and swapping, yield farming, lending functionality all within this year. Please look forward to it.
Do you invest in all networks that you support with Moonstake? Which ones do you invest in and which ones do you support “only” as a validator?
Lawrence: Currently we support staking Cosmos, IRIS, Ontology, Harmony, Tezos, Cardano, Qtum, Polkadot, Quras, Centrality, and Orbs. For Centrality and Orbs. All of which we support as validators.
What is your investment thesis? Do you only invest in layer 1 staking networks? Are you planning to invest in any other staking projects?
Lawrence: We’re planning to support IOST and LISK next. Integration for IOST staking is already under development and will be launched very soon. We have always strived to ensure that the projects that we support are solid and valid. We do this through a stringent process where we review the project itself, e.g concept, current status, code and tech stack, and also have discussions with the core team to ensure that there are really driving forces behind the project.
How do you select new blockchain protocols and how do you decide to support new protocols before they are launched? What are the main criteria that need to be checked before investing?
Lawrence: At Moonstake, we focus on the demand of the market for that coin, how popular it is, and how large its staking volume is. And of course, we’re always open for deeper collaboration opportunities, so we also look at how the project’s vision and roadmap goals can align with our own to widen our scope of collaboration.
What does it need for an “Ethereum Killer” to gain significant traction and potentially be a real alternative? Is there room for multiple successful smart contract platforms?
Shogo: As we can see right now on the market, Ethereum has tight competition from various innovative blockchains with smart contract functionality like Cardano, Polkadot, Binance Chain, etc. – many of which are also being dubbed as “Ethereum Killers”. So definitely there is room for multiple successful smart contract platforms.
To become a viable alternative for Ethereum, blockchains need to, of course, provide better performance – transaction speed, less gas fee, additional utility of the tokens, etc. just like how Ethereum rose to be the second most popular cryptocurrency after Bitcoin and coining the term “altcoin” we know today. Ethereum itself is, of course, far from stagnant. It is continually developing and improving as a blockchain, as we can see especially with its current transition from PoW to PoS. And to stay competitive is to stay ahead of the competition, so these “Ethereum Killers” need to be even stronger on the development side and keep staying ahead of Ethereum in terms of performance and versatility. And of course, on the business front as well, securing significant partnerships with important players in both the blockchain and traditional sectors will increase the credibility of the project in the eyes of investors.
In your opinion, how do we get a billion people to use crypto every day? What do you think is the main driver for adoption? Abstraction of Technology, UX, Mobile Access?
Shogo: Mobile access is something that I believe the industry has already been tackling with a degree of success. The basic tools for crypto investment such as exchanges, wallets, and means of staying updated on industry news and market prices, are already made accessible on mobile. Besides, simplicity is extremely important. When you take a look at the tremendous expansion of M-Pesa for example, we can understand how “simplicity” is important. M-Pesa has now reached 99% of the Kenyan population and provided 40 million people with access to easy mobile payment though only 25% of them have smartphones. Right now Moonstake is focusing on the UX and simplifying the abstraction of the technology, as we believe it is one of the biggest barriers of entry for crypto. Concepts of decentralization and cryptography aren’t something you’d normally learn about or even heard of in real life very often, especially since many of the daily essential services we consume are centralized, so this can scare off many newcomers. By making the user experience of crypto easily accessible, we believe that we can get more and more people to give digital assets a shot and eventually, use it everyday.
What do you think are the main benefits of Proof of Stake based networks compared to Proof of Work?
Shogo: The major weak points of Proof-of-Work are high energy consumption, lower speed yet higher fees, and block mining reward fairness. In February this year, BBC reported that Bitcoin mining consumed more energy than Argentina based on the research by University of Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index. Although it is said 39% of Bitcoin’s energy consumption was carbon neutral, we always should be conscious to environment as sustainability is one of world’s top priorities. Proof-of-Stake solves these issues by allowing individuals holding more coins (stakes) to validate network transactions instead of competing for computation power which improves both speed and energy consumption. It also grants validators rewards based on how much trust network users have in them (how much users stake to them) instead of how powerful their mining machines are which makes it fairer overall, compared to, say, Bitcoin, with its controversial centralized mining farms.
Which network or protocol in the market do you think has the most future-proof token economics? And why?
Lawrence: From a token economics point of view, I will say Cardano (ADA) has one of the most, if not the most future-proof tokenomics, here are 2 topline reasons why.
Firstly, ADA token price and market cap has done well and been consistently rewarding for its users ever since it was founded in 2015. This is a major feat by itself and if historical data is any indication, it shows how future-proof the project is. In fact, Crypto analyst Benjamin Cowen recently tweeted a poll asking “What crypto will be the third coin to make it to $200B market cap?’” and ADA was the favorite in ratings. It led the poll with more than 10,000 votes which was 57% of the votes.
Secondly, ADA expansion continues with its recent announcement that it would be launching its Alonzo hard fork in May. The announcement will see the Goguen era of Cardano’s roadmap fulfilled. Also Input Output, the driving force behind Cardano, has been working on real life adoptions, one of it being the deal with Ethiopia’s Ministry of Education that was announced recently. This will involve five million students using Atala Prism technology integrated with the Cardano blockchain.
Which network or protocol in the market has so far proven to have the best “product-market-fit”? And why?
Lawrence: I think all major protocols have done well to fit the market, especially so for the past 2 years, but one of the current ‘hottest’ protocols with the appropriate ‘product-market-fit’ will be Polkadot (DOT).
It launched at a time where gas fees have hit critical highs, and there are real concerns on network speed and scalability. Polkadot’s technology proposition to be “a scalable, interoperable and secure network protocol for the next web” resolves such issues, and it is backed by a veteran core team, with major support and adoption by leading blockchain companies.
Which network or protocol has the most sophisticated staking mechanism or staking use case that is not a Proof of Stake Layer 1?
Lawrence: With the current ultra bull run, we have seen many projects with very interesting, unique staking mechanisms and use cases. As such I can’t say which one is “the most sophisticated”, but a project that I feel is very relevant, unique and fun will be Aavegotchi (GHST) that is backed by and using Aave.
It is a DeFi-focused non-fungible token, Aavegotchis are game avatars that can be used as DeFi collateral to earn staking rewards. It is relevant to the current market as it combines DeFi, staking, and NFT. It’s definitely unique and fun with its cute pixelated characters, wearables and platform.
Which projects are you planning to add to your portfolio next? Anything that you are particularly interested about?
Lawrence: Currently, we’re working on integrating support for IOST and LISK. Our development team is formally collaborating with the team behind IOST to add support for IOST staking to Moonstake Wallet. And we’re very excited to host IOST-related reward campaigns for our users to celebrate the upcoming integration on top of what we already did for the pre-launch. Please look forward to more information about new reward campaigns very soon!
Which news outlets and research resources can you recommend for crypto investors?
Lawrence: It’s best to have a clear understanding of the projects you support and invest in, so I believe it’s always best to follow the official community and social media channels of the projects you’re invested or interested in. Especially since all the important maintenance and upgrade notices are broadcasted on there first. For Moonstake, you can follow our official Twitter here. We broadcast all the latest news and updates in three languages: English, Japanese, and Korean.
Last but not least
How can we improve Staking Rewards? Which feature would you like to see added to Staking Rewards?
Lawrence: I think Staking Rewards is a very comprehensive and professional ranking platform that can offer people great insights on the crypto industry and help minimize the risk when investing. The score-based system is very intuitive and easy to understand as well. I’d like to see more elaborate details regarding the scoring system and how the score is formulated, based on what key metrics.
Which asset would you like to see added on Staking Rewards, that we currently do not have tracked yet?
Lawrence: Currently Staking Rewards supports 215 yield-bearing assets with an average reward rate of 14.95 % and 9111 qualified providers, which is very impressive. I’d say that I’d like you to add tracking of CENNZ and Centrality, since it’s one of the high-demand staking coins we support as the first CENNZ validator in the world. The demand is so big that, in just 10 days after we launched support for CENNZ staking, our staking pool for CENNZ reached $90 million! So it’s definitely a coin and project that the community is interested in.