GenPool Spotlight with Adrian Krion of Wombat
Welcome to another edition of GenPool Spotlight; a series designed to better connect and inform through opening lines of communication between the EOSIO community, Block Producers, Proxies and dApps. Through our interviews it is the hope of the GenerEOS team that we can get a more personalized view of the various entities in the space that are working towards a better tomorrow in all that they do within the EOSIO ecosystem, whatever aspects these may be.
What brought you to EOS and how long have you been interested in Blockchain technology?
I stumbled upon Bitcoin back in early 2011, invested a little later beginning of 2013 for the first time and was hooked ever since. After realizing the potential of smart contract platforms a few years later, I started investing into all kinds of smart contract platform ICOs, including EOS and Tezos. I also joined Steem back in 2017, which then resulted in a natural interest in EOS when it launched. After watching the network mature for a few months after mainnet launch, we decided to build on EOS in fall 2018.
Can you please tell us a bit about your background and who is in the team?
I’ve been a gamer my entire life, and also very interested in technology. I started programming when I was a kid and that led me to studying mathematics and computer science. I went on to build markets and trading systems processing hundreds of billions at Deutsche Boerse, the largest European exchange organization. I left Deutsche Boerse at the end of 2013 to co-found my own business, and that resulted in founding Spielworks, the company running Wombat and Womplay.
The team is heavily tech-oriented, with an increasing emphasis on business development, product and marketing. We’ve always been putting user experience first as our goal has always been to bring blockchain to mass markets. We believe that the average user is unlikely to trade in a lot of usability for decentralization, so we wanted to make products that work without having to know how blockchains work or what a private key is.
Could you introduce the suite of products that you have brought to market?
Wombat launched in June 2019 and has become the largest wallet for EOS since. Wombat is designed to strip away all complexities from users in terms of account creation, key backup and transaction fee / resource management. Wombat has created over half a million blockchain accounts on the EOS and Telos networks to date, and has had over 50% in newly created accounts for about half a year.
Womplay is a mobile gaming reward platform allowing gamers to earn money by playing traditional mobile games. The rewards get paid out directly in EOS to the users’ Wombat wallets.
When you first began in the dApp development game, was the direction always aimed at what you just described above, or did this change over time? If it has changed, why and do you think you will ever move back to that direction in the future?
We’ve always had the vision of making blockchain really accessible to everyone. What has changed, though, is that in order to bring the benefits of blockchain to the mass market, we needed to allow people to play traditional games as their step into the blockchain space, because the market of blockchain games hasn’t been as dynamic as we had expected a few years back.
What are the advantages of building on the EOSIO tech stack as opposed to other blockchains in the space?
EOSIO-based blockchains allow for a user experience (UX) that feels very close to what people are used to in the traditional web. Short round-trip times, high throughput, low to no transaction fees. This is exactly what is needed to enable mass-market-compatible use-cases like the ones we’ve been developing in the gaming space.
Also, the effective zero-fee model allows a much higher degree of inclusion when it comes to financial services on the blockchain (DeFi). There is essentially no lower bound of how much money is needed to start dealing with DeFi in the EOSIO space, unlike most other DeFi ecosystems, where you need to be handling 5-digit amounts for it to actually make sense.
Have there been any challenges in working with EOSIO in regards to what you are doing, and if so, how have you met those challenges?
Network stability has sometimes been an issue, specifically when it comes to node reliability and forked transactions. Lately, we haven’t been able to find nodes that have reliably been delivering enterprise-ready service levels. Not sure whether the software is difficult to run, or node operators have too little of an incentive to do so properly, but this has been a major pain. We’ve had to built routines to clean up stuck account creations, or automated payouts that took days to be processed.
What are the key focus areas for current development and what can we look forward to as the next advancements from your team on either current or new projects?
We definitely want to cover the NFT space more – that’s been a significantly underdeveloped area of EOSIO (if we exclude WAX, maybe), and it’s a real pity that there hasn’t been a real alternative for game developers to make significant sales with items similar to what we’ve seen in the Ethereum space.
The other aspect is developing an even smoother experience for our first-time blockchain users to start accessing DeFi and, say, trade synthetic Tesla shares in a decentralized fashion (after Robinhood’s GME incident that would be more important than ever).
Other than the EOS mainnet, are there any other EOSIO blockchains that currently excite you, and why?
We’re generally looking for superb content, i.e. great applications or assets running on the blockchains. That’s why we integrated Telos about a year ago, and we’re looking into pretty much all the EOSIO chains all the time to see what might be of the most interest to our users.
Do you have any aspirations to branch out into other EOSIO chains, or even implement bridges to other blockchain networks? Why do you feel this is either necessary or not?
I think that the core blockchain technology will become less and less important (especially from a user’s point of view). Instead, assets will become or remain at the core of it all, and there will have to be easy ways of interacting with those assets in the most convenient or secure way, depending on the use case. To give an example, that means that for small amounts we could easily be using EOS or Telos when transacting BTC (like a layer 2) but the large transactions will still be settled on the Bitcoin network.
What do you think are some of the most exciting sectors of blockchain technology at present, and how do you see these applications on EOSIO blockchains holding their own versus other popular blockchains?
We consider the intersection of gaming assets and other utilities with finance one of the biggest catalysts for ongoing growth in the space. The younger generations are spending more and more time online, so more and more value creation happens online. This value creation needs secure and reliable foundations – these foundations can currently only be provided by blockchains.
10 years from now, there won’t be the question of who will be using blockchain technology for virtual assets; everyone will. The question only is who will still be around to participate in that space. And now imagine you can lend or collateralize your in-game assets or collectibles to make some extra cash while keeping your assets, and they don’t lose value – why would you *not* want that? 🙂
Where do you see the larger blockchain space, and particularly, EOS and the EOSIO ecosystem as a whole in 5 or 10 years from now?
Oh, I think I answered this one with the one above already 😀
If there is one question that you could ask yourself about the space and your position as a developer in it, what would that be? And of course we would love to hear your answer to that as well.
“If you compare blockchain with the evolution and adoption of the Internet, which year are we in?”
Even if it’s hard to believe, looking at the market caps of crypto, we’re at about the late 90s of the internet in development and adoption of blockchain. There’s significant traction, but it’s still kinda niche, and the big ideas are yet to be brought to market.
That was a great question to be sure, and an even better answer if we might say so ourselves. And again, it has been an honor and a pleasure to have this opportunity to sit down with you Adrian and hear your take on all the exciting things that you have been up to in the blockchain and crypto space. We definitely are looking forward to seeing what amazing things you bring to everyone next.
For those wanting to learn more about Wombat & Womplay or connect with them directly you can do so with the following links:
Thanks for joining us here on GenPool Spotlight and don’t forget to check back soon for our next installment where we will continue peering under the hood of some of the great people and projects that helps keep EOS and EOSIO continuing to tick.
GenerEOS is a social enterprise Block Producer with a mission of promoting and supporting scalable and highly reliable block production whilst giving back to social causes and the wider community. Based out of Sydney, Australia, GenerEOS is founded by a team of like-minded blockchain enthusiasts with diverse backgrounds and a passion to make a difference in the world and fostering the spirit of generosity by giving back.
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