Ben Spickard joins us to discuss Ichi’s Angel Vaults, HODL Vaults and Branded Dollars.
Ben Spickard is the head of marketing and a founding team member at ICHI. Before starting in the crypto space, he worked as a process engineer and co-founded a marketing agency. Ben loves working with entrepreneurial startups, running creative marketing campaigns, and working with individuals and companies who want to help others, be creative, and drive growth.
Want more resources around this podcast? Keep up to date on the latest articles here.
The following transcript was created using artificial intelligence. There will be some grammatical errors below.
00:00:03:05 – 00:00:34:05
Richard Carthon: Hello everyone and welcome to another episode of Crypto Current, your host here, Richard Carthon. And today I have a special guest who we’ve been playing a little bit of tag over the last several weeks, which is understandable, which we will get into in a moment. But I did get to run into this person at consensus and it was good to catch up and be able to put a face to a name and an URL in real life and not to be able to do this virtually. Finally, we are able to connect. We have been secured with itchy dot org.
00:00:34:07 – 00:00:35:05
Richard Carthon: How are you doing today?
00:00:36:00 – 00:00:44:03
Ben Spickard: I’m doing great. Thank you for having me. Super excited to chat more and that is especially fun to do in person as well.
00:00:45:03 – 00:00:52:04
Richard Carthon: For sure. And well, before we dive in, like, what was your overall review of consensus like? How did you enjoy it?
00:00:53:05 – 00:01:27:08
Ben Spickard: Yeah, consensus was really good. We had our first booth at a conference and it was really fun just having people come by. Meeting people, passing out some cool remarks. So it was great for us. Made a lot of connections, really excited to see the future of crypto and all the people who are there are really motivated and pumped about the future. And yeah, it was great. Super excited to see what happens next and what other conferences will be on Tuesday.
00:01:28:05 – 00:01:28:25
Richard Carthon: For sure.
00:01:31:07 – 00:02:02:19
Richard Carthon: It’s always a great feeling when you’re able to be back in real life meeting people, making real connections, and be able to discuss, you know? Projects and synergies and how you can potentially work together. You know, ironically, in one of the previous episodes of your listening, we recently talked to one of the co-founders of One Inch, and through that interaction, I was actually able to get access to their private event at Consensys, which is where I ran into Ben in real life.
00:02:02:21 – 00:02:07:16
Richard Carthon: So it’s really cool just to see how connection is going to kind of play out and then lead you to other connections that.
00:02:10:01 – 00:02:15:23
Richard Carthon: You know, just kind of a line. So anyway, enough of that. Want to dive more into you, Ben? Can you give us some background on yourself?
00:02:16:14 – 00:02:46:00
Ben Spickard: Sure. Yeah. So my name is Ben. I primarily am running all of the marketing over each year, but I was one of the founding Corps team members back last year when I joined the team. Before that, I was a process engineer and then started a marketing agency, kind of a weird engineering plus marketing background that’s perfect for the crypto world where lots of people have to wear different hats and learn new things. So.
00:02:47:27 – 00:02:52:29
Ben Spickard: So I joined the team about a year ago and have been
00:02:54:21 – 00:03:12:10
Ben Spickard: in charge of running all the marketing campaigns as well as telling people about our awesome products and going through all the ups and downs of their markets and, you know, prices going up and the markets going down and you know, that fun adventure, that trip that we’re on is.
00:03:13:04 – 00:03:24:15
Richard Carthon: For sure, and we’re definitely in a dive into that. But first, let’s get some context for people who don’t necessarily understand or know who it is. So can you give us just a little bit of information on what is each?
00:03:25:11 – 00:04:00:07
Ben Spickard: Yeah. So each of the DEFI projects, we primarily help other crypto products to become stronger. The way we do that is through our products that help these protocols utilize defi more efficiently. So current DEFI systems right now are not quite where the vision is meant to be for the future, such as there are stablecoins that attract value from projects that are liquidity systems that also value from projects.
00:04:00:20 – 00:04:40:21
Ben Spickard: We’ve noticed lots of crypto projects have a token and they don’t necessarily want people to sell it all the time. But to run a business like normal, such as paying your employees or creating a liquidity system, you usually have to use your token to incentivize people to stay with you or just do normal, normal things. They are products are meant to help these projects continue to run their business as usual, get liquidity utilized, stable asset, do whatever they need to do to make defi run more efficiently.
00:04:41:06 – 00:05:17:29
Ben Spickard: We help them with our products to make them work as intended. So our primary products that we deploy are called branded dollars and angel bots are both our market making strategies. On Uniswap V3, we help utilize concentrated liquidity so that projects can get all of the liquidity that they need without putting all of their native tokens up for sale. We allow for a single asset deposit of a stable asset that goes directly to support the products native token.
00:05:18:18 – 00:05:49:25
Ben Spickard: So project liquidity, they can concentrate a lot of liquidity on the buy side of their asset so that their token price is one protected in a bear market and to help them generate better liquidity and more sustainable over time. And then our branded dollars and other side of these products control over their treasuries and give them an asset that they can use without getting rid of all of the value from their token to run their actual business.
00:05:50:21 – 00:06:02:23
Ben Spickard: So that’s a little bit more about us for we’re really focused on making other products better. We deploy the products for others and we want to see the whole world of Defi succeed for sure.
00:06:02:25 – 00:06:15:26
Ben Spickard: And you know, when your first launch, a lot of people saw this value and was like, wow, this makes a lot of sense. This is helping to address an immediate need. Now, in the context of doing that, though, you discovered
00:06:17:13 – 00:06:39:26
Ben Spickard: a challenge that kind of made some things not go as well as you thought. So kind of walk us through like the the rise in and not as a fall but. What happened with the enormous amount of money that that that entered the ecosystem and then kind of came out.
00:06:40:19 – 00:07:14:22
Ben Spickard: Yeah. So a little bit of background of just how far we’ve come to be in our current state. So about a year ago we launched our brand, the dollar product, which are the Stablecoin or other communities, and we made these branded dollars for a couple other projects and they’re going great. They give these communities value, but we really wanted to see a use case for them. So we then created our Angel Box back in November of 2021, which is the direct use case for our branded dollars.
00:07:15:17 – 00:07:38:29
Ben Spickard: And the bots again are the concentrated liquidity strategies where in most cases we utilize our branded dollars to go into these files so that the liquidity is now better. And for, like I mentioned earlier now when we launched these angel bots in November, there was a lot of hype behind them because they work.
00:07:40:19 – 00:08:13:21
Ben Spickard: It’s kind of a weird thing to to say that your token is really going up if you have a strong enough angel bot. But what happened with each of you was we watched these and a lot were paired with our brand of dollars and they all work. And it created a lot of confidence in our protocol in general. So we had a lot of partner projects exploring getting their unchangeable brand branded dollars entering our ecosystem.
00:08:14:20 – 00:08:48:24
Ben Spickard: And we noticed lots of people wanted to be part of Etsy and being part of Etsy and crypto neutral in buying the tokens. So we had lots of people by our native token, which is really our our down governance native token, you know, you own Etsy, you can take it, you can get voting power in the Dow, you can participate in the ecosystem. Now, when we launched our range of off, a lot of people were excited, hyped up about this great thing we created.
00:08:49:28 – 00:09:23:12
Ben Spickard: And then we launched a lending pool. So we created the lending platform lending the primary business model in crypto like the protocol to use lending and so on. But what we saw was because people were so confident in our token that they were taking their tokens, taking loans, and then getting more of our token because they did not think it could suffer fall at any point.
00:09:24:05 – 00:10:01:12
Ben Spickard: So we had a rapid rise of if you token price and eventually it was way over elaborated or a lot of people were way over leveraged, not the actual Ethereum protocol products anything but lots of if our users got really overleveraged and then we saw a cascading liquidation event that was disappointing, they totally isolated the lending platform. And, you know, we saw our token price crash pretty suddenly due to this cascading liquidation event.
00:10:02:04 – 00:10:12:14
Ben Spickard: But again, none of our product for a fact that this was absolutely isolated to people being confident, buying our tokens, wanting more of our token.
00:10:14:14 – 00:10:44:29
Ben Spickard: Sometimes people do things and crypto or in the world that you don’t quite understand. But here we are. But since that event occurred, we reset our platform. We created an ally token to help with just our community. Help support, you know, anyone who could have been affected. Where was great. We then remodeled all of our vaults, our brand new dollars.
00:10:45:18 – 00:10:57:24
Ben Spickard: We turned them back on for, say, about a month after the liquidation of that happened. And we’re right back on track with working product for a really good team and an exciting future.
00:10:59:09 – 00:11:45:19
Ben Spickard: Excellent, man. Well, it’s sorry to hear that sometimes people do very people things and for the region and overleveraged themselves to try to maximize profits as quickly as possible. But it looks like it was a big lesson in understanding how you won, just understanding how people operate and then putting things in place so that people can’t get in their own way in the future. And what I think what was unique about this, like you said, even though the native token Ichi, you know, price went substantially up and down is now doing is way more stable and has been recovering the products like you said and everything else that’s working is still working.
00:11:45:21 – 00:12:08:13
Ben Spickard: It’s not like all of a sudden your products stop working and it’s not doing what it was intended to do, but at least things are put in place to again help people get out of their own way. And I believe one of the things that’s been put in place is notifying once things become too overleveraged, where things don’t become protected anymore, you kind of like talk about that a little bit.
00:12:09:15 – 00:12:41:06
Ben Spickard: Yes. So right now, we we don’t have a lending platform anymore. We start to deposit the access to full leverage. And we we don’t plan on turning it back on until all of the controls, like you mentioned, are in place so that we can properly manage and, you know, really protect users, you know, besides risky and anything anything crypto defi, there are a lot of risks. So, you know, we want people to do their own research and, you know.
00:12:42:06 – 00:13:07:12
Ben Spickard: But to the whole community to understand what controls need to be in place for that user to be protected. And, you know, great infrastructure can be created. You know, the file of this to me is the future. So the more ways we can just build this infrastructure and create the systems that actually work for users, the better. But it is a great learning experience and
00:13:09:10 – 00:13:12:16
Ben Spickard: hopefully it won’t ever happen again to anybody, though. Right.
00:13:12:27 – 00:13:44:00
Ben Spickard: And a lesson that a lot of defi protocols can can learn as it as it relates to lending, as I think one of the biggest challenges between all of the different places within trying to make your own sustainable ecosystem is how powerful lending can be if all of the kinks necessarily haven’t been haven’t been worked through. But one of the things like you brought up at the top of the hour, though, is Angel Volts and how it’s been doing extremely well. So let’s dive into that a little bit more.
Want to dig deeper? Check out our articles here.
00:13:44:02 – 00:13:51:20
Ben Spickard: So if I’m listening to this right now and I want to potentially come on to each and create an angel walk, walk me through kind of what that process looks like.
00:13:52:19 – 00:14:22:25
Richard Carthon: Right? Yeah. So we make Angel up for other projects and what they do is directly support a project’s token. So if you have a crypto project and you have a token right now or only on a Etherium polygon, but we’re working on getting on as many other chains as possible. But for now, if you have a project and you have Etherium or Polygon, you have a token. We can build an angel lot for you.
00:14:23:15 – 00:14:56:24
Richard Carthon: Now, what that looks like is you you come talk to our team, we walk you through all of the stuff on how you can create the spot and we deploy it for you. It’s very, very simple if you’re a crypto project, but how it actually works is that we create a uniswap V3 concentrated liquidity pool and then we manage it for you so you can incentivize your users to deposit whatever asset you would like to be paired with your token.
00:14:56:26 – 00:15:31:10
Richard Carthon: We typically do stable assets and then a lot of places will even use our brand dollars technology that we create for other projects as well. But if we create the Uniswap V3 pool, we get users to deposit single sided assets to it. We then or manager concentrated position so that the new deposit get higher trading fees due to concentrated liquidity and all the deposits go directly to support your native tokens price.
00:15:32:02 – 00:16:02:23
Richard Carthon: So it’s cool to see products you have an angel vault become be correlated from the rest of the market when the market crashes. So when the market goes down, the tokens that have an angel connected to it go down less. Although when the market goes up you are back correlated with the market, so you go back up as well. So it’s a really cool sort of system to see, you know, when it works and we’ve got enough of it.
00:16:02:25 – 00:16:37:10
Richard Carthon: We call it a bulk strength. You know, if you have enough deposits in there that support your your token, then we’ve seen it work over and over again. Projects are correlating from the theory on when it goes down and then re correlating when it goes back up. But you get that benefit as a project and then if you’re a depositor, you get really high yield due to these concentrated trading fees. We’ve seen 40 to 60% on just if concentrated fee is being built, which is better than a lot of other places.
00:16:38:27 – 00:16:47:05
Richard Carthon: So we’re super excited just to be able to create more of these use cases and then be able to sell them off more as well.
00:16:47:23 – 00:16:54:07
Richard Carthon: For sure, it’s like you’re you’re helping these projects de-risk, de-risk themselves and be able to.
00:16:55:27 – 00:17:27:17
Richard Carthon: Capitalize on the upside of when market conditions are more favorable and and to minimize downside at the same tip. And what I think is interesting around, you know, Ichi and other things are putting in place is also making this beneficial for others as well with your Hudl volts. So can you kind of talk to that because it sounds like that’s more of focused on your average retailer or someone who’s in this space looking to earn some yield on their crypto?
00:17:28:16 – 00:18:00:00
Ben Spickard: Yes, the whole both are really the exact same thing as Angel, but with the key difference being, instead of being a single sided deposit of a stable asset that you can earn trading fees on for the token price are horrible, very similar, but defi users can deposit lawful asset or other assets. So at the moment I think we have a like rap fever.
00:18:01:09 – 00:18:24:19
Ben Spickard: So if you have bitcoin, you want to earn trading fees on your bitcoin that might be sitting in your wallet is a great place for it. Again, it’s a concentrated liquidity pool. The risk is that you get miner exposed to whatever the paired token is, but you get the ability to earn yield on some of your favorite tokens and better yield than lots of other places.
00:18:26:09 – 00:18:57:25
Richard Carthon: Yeah. Which is what is good. And the name of the game I think right now and why I think certain defi protocols are fit to be beneficial during a down market is if you are very bullish on the long term trajectory of some of your cryptos and even though the price of them might be decreasing in the short term, you still want to be able to have your money, make money, want to accumulate more so as the price is going down. That means as you are getting your API, that means you should be earning more back.
00:18:58:03 – 00:19:18:14
Richard Carthon: Which then means if as you’re running API on the way down, that means whenever the price appreciates back up, then you would be making more than if the price had been stable the entire time. So there are some unique ways that you can have your money work for you and trying to put your money in some some defi plays could be, you know, pretty beneficial.
00:19:19:24 – 00:19:55:11
Ben Spickard: Yeah. Let your money work for you. I mean, again, the risk can be by selling their research before depositing to various protocols, various products. But there are some really unique things you can do. Like you mentioned, adding that when things are stable, you can earn yield. When things go up, you can earn some things go down, mitigate risk. But it’s lots of things you can do to diversify. And it’ll be really interesting to see over the next few years how the whole space evolves to really help the users mitigate these risks across the board.
00:19:56:02 – 00:20:23:23
Richard Carthon: Absolutely. And, you know, Ichi has not been around for a year, learned a ton of lessons, have some products out there that’s that’s working. Are there any other things that you think users should be on the lookout for or and if not, what are things within the current market conditions that, you know, that Ichi is keeping in the forefront of your minds as you continue to build out and refine your products?
00:20:24:25 – 00:21:02:15
Ben Spickard: Yeah. So Ichi was built to help product in the bear market. You know, like we just mentioned, there are lots of things in the market that you can learn when the market, even in the market’s, then you can win. With Ichi. Our products are made to help others in the bear market, meaning that if you deploy an angel while your token price is supported by liquidity deposit. If you’re a defi user, you can deposit to our vault further up the vault or hodl wall and earn trading fees even when the market is down.
00:21:03:23 – 00:21:27:25
Ben Spickard: So if you are in the world of Defi and crypto and you want to be in it for the long term, you know, our products are really focused on just helping, helping others get through, especially the bear market. But in terms of things to look out for over the next month, three years,
00:21:29:13 – 00:22:11:06
Ben Spickard: just more people adopting our product. Another unique infrastructure defi project products. It’ll be interesting to see how all of these other crypto projects take on this infrastructure and the new way of liquidity in new ways to do stablecoins new ways to do community control. It’ll be interesting to see how they take these infrastructure products and then implement them to help the users. And as we evolve over time, we want to continue making innovative products that help other projects and help users and help crypto just to become more mainstream.
00:22:11:26 – 00:22:17:21
Ben Spickard: So be on the lookout for more partnerships with new Angel Vault, new branded dollars.
00:22:19:12 – 00:22:24:15
Ben Spickard: There’s always going to be a next innovation, so you never know when something new will come out as well.
00:22:25:05 – 00:22:58:13
Richard Carthon: Oh, absolutely. And we definitely appreciate you breaking out all the different product offerings that she has. And it’s very timely for currently where we are on the market. But all the same. You’ve learned a lot by being in this space over the last year with each year and just in general with being here. A lot of newbies who came in, let’s call it at the top of the market last Thanksgiving when they all went home. We’re talking about how great crypto is, etc.. And now we’ve seen like a let’s call it a seventh month pullback.
00:22:59:10 – 00:23:23:11
Richard Carthon: A lot of people haven’t been here before and a lot of people who are newer to the space are, you know, cryptos that are, etc.. But for those for us who have been here a little bit longer, you know, we’ve seen the ups and downs. We know how this particularly goes. What is what kind of advice would you either, you know, give to yourself or give to those kind of people who this is their first time having to weather this type of storm.
00:23:24:07 – 00:24:00:26
Ben Spickard: Right. Could be. It can feel a lot like a video game. Sometimes it’s on the Internet. It’s hard to see it, real hard to see it being used. It’s hard to see how you could potentially buy a cup of coffee from a cafe. Where the sun. I would recommend. If the diving and more finding the infrastructure product that actually are thriving to help the world become a better place is communities control over their money? Help you buy your cup of coffee at the store?
00:24:02:24 – 00:24:32:29
Ben Spickard: I think another great thing would be to go to an in-person event like a like a conference. You know, we were just at the consensus conference and there were so many people motivated. Hope can see the future of crypto come in and they don’t necessarily care about what the market is doing at any given moment. I mean, if you believe in the technology infrastructure that’s being created, the.
00:24:34:19 – 00:25:07:17
Ben Spickard: You’re going to be a lot more cozy and confident over the next few years that all of these new protocols are going to actually come to fruition. So you’ll meet people in real life, you know, talk about the products that are being built and help others and then try to see that vision that a lot of people have that it’s difficult to sell or difficult to share. So yeah, if you’re, you know, if you’re in the crypto defi protocols and.
00:25:08:00 – 00:25:19:18
Ben Spickard: Yeah. Things like this are really helpful and educating others to see where the value is. But in the next few years so we can all get through this for a little, little time.
00:25:21:14 – 00:25:35:13
Ben Spickard: Yeah, but it’s all it’s all about the long term. We all I think we all want to make the world a better place and, you know, the products that are going to do it. The question is maybe what’s one right where we’re hoping to be one of those for sure.
00:25:35:15 – 00:25:38:27
Ben Spickard: And definitely appreciate that sentiment. And just to echo it.
00:25:41:01 – 00:26:13:00
Ben Spickard: Projects take time. This is a blip of time in the grand scheme of where this industry is headed, and now is the time to identify really good infrastructure and quality web three companies who are building for that future that we’re all envisioning and can see in the works, especially going to an in-person event like Consensys, where it’s just very clear that this market’s here to stay. And yeah, there’s going to be some storms you have to weather, but.
00:26:14:27 – 00:26:27:14
Ben Spickard: Now’s the time to build. Now’s the time to find good communities to be a part of. And speaking of communities to be a part of, for people who want to learn more about Ichi and be part of your communities, what are ways that they can connect with you?
00:26:28:19 – 00:26:54:27
Ben Spickard: Sure. You know the best place, if you want to reach out directly to a team member and talk more about us would be joining our discord. You can find our discord link on our Twitter as well as our website dot org. You can also join our telegram. We’re trying to continue to build our online presence across the board, so really reach out and any platform will be able to sit and talk to you.
00:26:55:20 – 00:27:00:12
Ben Spickard: Excellent. Well, Ben, as we kind of wrap up here, man, what’s a final thought that you want to leave with all the listeners?
00:27:01:17 – 00:27:46:22
Ben Spickard: Yeah. You know, I think here at D.C., we really are trying to make the world a better place. And the way we’re doing that is by helping people. You know, people are made up of projects that are defined there. Are companies that want to get into crypto that are anybody. And it’s global. And we think that crypto is here to stay and we are building the infrastructure to make everything stronger. So yeah, we’re excited to be here and thank you so much for having us on the show and we’re just super excited for the future and hopefully we’ll be able to see all of the listeners in real life someday, perhaps at a conference or somewhere else.
00:27:47:23 – 00:28:03:18
Ben Spickard: For sure. And again, we appreciate your time when listening. Make sure you go check out. There was some really cool stuff and the community is definitely very active. So if you enjoyed everything, make sure you go check them out. Ben, thank you again for spending some time with us and for everyone listening, stay cryptocurrency.
Crypto Current will be guiding all of you who are new to the cryptocurrency world to becoming a cryptocurrency and blockchain expert. Crypto Current was founded to give access to information to everyone on current events occurring in cryptocurrency and blockchain in a digestible way. Since its creation, we have created content that impacted thousands of people through its podcast, blog, and social media.