Sergej Kunz joins us to discuss 1inch Network’s One-Stop Access to DeFi.
Sergej Kunz is the co-founder of the 1inch Network, a distributed network of decentralized protocols that enable the fastest, most lucrative and protected operations in major blockchain ecosystems.
From 2015 to 2019, Sergej worked for Mimacom consultancy, running projects for major customers, such as Bosch, Siemens and Porsche. After joining Porsche on a full-time basis, he gradually shifted towards cybersecurity.
Sergej’s first introduction to the crypto space dates back to 2012. After mining Ethereum for years, he launched a YouTube show, CryptoManiacs, in which he did live security audits of smart contracts. Anton Bukov, the 1inch Network’s eventual co-founder, soon joined him as a co-host.
At a May 2019 hackathon in New York City, over the course of 36 hours, Sergej and Anton developed a prototype crypto exchange aggregator that became the basis of the 1inch Network.
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The following transcript was created using artificial intelligence. There will be some grammatical errors below.
00:00:03:08 – 00:00:21:26
Richard Carthon: Well, everyone, welcome to another episode of Crypto Current, your host here, Richard Carton. And today I have a very special guest working on an exchange that many of you have probably worked on. I know myself, I’ve used this text multiple times. It’s been really cool to see how it’s evolved over the years. We have one of the co-founders of one exchange, Sergej Kunz . How are you doing today?
00:00:25:15 – 00:01:07:18
Sergej Kunz: Hi. Thanks for invitation. It’s bittersweet to be here. I’m good. I’m fine. And I have to say, we are not an exchange. We are aggregator of this flux exchanges. We have of course, we have some protocols, but we are they are both like they are. A lot of this is religious exchanges like uniswap and like zero accident or protocols. Our embark on our own sushiswap balancer curve and we just buff them layer above kind of we are all kind of partners we are we work all together in one great destroys finance and glamour for sure.
00:01:07:20 – 00:01:48:24
Richard Carthon: And I appreciate that CNA making that distinction because one of the things that I noticed when I first used it was one inch goes and aggregates all of those exchanges together to find the best price. And that was something that I always appreciated with being able to go on there was being able to find the most bang for my buck when trying to get in and out of different types of cryptos. But, you know, before we dive a little bit more into one exchange, first, want to get some background on you. Can you just tell us a bit about yourself and how it was you’re able to start one in exchange? I believe the background on that was you did a hackathon where you were up like 60 hours and were able to help create it.
00:01:48:26 – 00:01:53:09
Richard Carthon: But for all the listeners out there who were just learning about you, can you just give us a little bit more background?
00:01:54:25 – 00:02:19:16
Sergej Kunz: Yeah, it’s actually a long story. And so the first touch points were like to two the teams crypto but actually I jumped and $2.16 or some of minor into crypto world. I met Anton through a friend and we had a small YouTube channel. Explain explained people how to
00:02:21:19 – 00:02:30:28
Sergej Kunz: read smart contracts, how to write smart contracts. We did security audits and live streams and one day and also just to participate in the hackathon in Singapore but.
00:02:32:20 – 00:03:11:03
Sergej Kunz: For a second on our huge global hackathon, I met Vitalik and found out that it’s actually a cool, cool space to develop yourself of a tune and also to bring some bounties, if you will. And then it’s like we work like only one night and build small prototype as well. Also, it was also small kind of exchange we use to bundle as set protocol bundles and we won some prizes from Makerdao and kind the call and we found that we can do it every month or two times a month.
00:03:11:05 – 00:03:14:12
Sergej Kunz: And we did it. We participated in so many hackathons around the globe.
00:03:16:08 – 00:03:17:14
Sergej Kunz: And one of the second.
00:03:25:10 – 00:03:39:08
Sergej Kunz: In New York over to be delivered the first full production version of minutes over two nights and actually didn’t win anything almost. We got like three, 300 bucks from Amazon because we integrate the channels.
00:03:40:29 – 00:04:11:04
Sergej Kunz: Yeah. And at the end before an odd couple of weeks later did people start using it and share it with everyone. And we thought, okay, we will continue to work on that. So at the time we were still spending on hackathons for in South Africa, India and some other other great places. And this time we just looked at one one half hours a year, like in the nights for this project for free until we raised the first round in June 2020.
00:04:12:15 – 00:04:45:18
Sergej Kunz: Which is amazing. Just as you know, you have a product that’s been around for now two years. You’ve seen it mature a lot. There’s there’s been a lot of iterations. I know every time I go on there, I see a lot of whether the UI has some updates or whether the backend pieces of being able to aggregate all this data together. It has been a really cool journey to see how much one inch network has evolved. Q Kind of just give us the premise of, of, you know, once you add that fundraise in June, you kind of launched V1 one, if you will. What has been the evolution of one inch network since then?
00:04:46:24 – 00:05:19:15
Sergej Kunz: So so as I said, we settled on a hackathon to get something. I think my co-founder and we had also one guy who was helping us, Michelle our lead right now, lead core contributor for blockchain development like smart contracts. And we were like working one one half years just for free in the nights I was living in the office because my wife left me and I have to live somewhere and had my mining office where I had my mining rigs and there was sleeping in between.
00:05:21:06 – 00:05:32:12
Sergej Kunz: So with no shower or something like that. And it was a really hard time for me, but it was a fun, nice time to travel around the globe and just to build such things like one inch
00:05:34:04 – 00:05:39:09
Sergej Kunz: and after like one one half years, we started to hire more people
00:05:41:13 – 00:05:46:20
Sergej Kunz: that came who helped us a lot, also contribute a lot, the business developer,
00:05:48:05 – 00:06:14:13
Sergej Kunz: because we have already built a lot of relations with auto companies and and when we raised the first round, we had money to hire more developers. And nowadays we have more than 100 people around the globe who participate as a core contributor in the network. Really, around the globe we have in Dubai and Turkey, we have
00:06:17:06 – 00:06:32:12
Sergej Kunz: people from Ukraine as well. I have two guys, they are all sitting and the war zone can come all because of you. They’re kind of they don’t they are not allowed to leave for Ukraine because their minds can fight against
00:06:34:04 – 00:06:48:11
Sergej Kunz: Russia or Russians here. It’s like, yeah, they’re all going to going to I don’t know when it’s crazy right now. I’m not wondering if some aliens would to land on Earth this year.
00:06:49:26 – 00:06:50:11
Sergej Kunz: So.
00:06:51:04 – 00:06:54:11
Sergej Kunz: You know, I think like a year ago. So I wouldn’t put it past it either.
00:06:55:19 – 00:07:25:28
Sergej Kunz: Yeah. Yeah. We got some money to to hire more people to work with more professionals. We have a really good network of developers. Of course, people traveling around the globe participated in hackathons. Almost everyone was sitting on a table and built on, on, on projects. When I was working on one inch Quantum, almost everyone was sitting on a table working for us, along with us as a conference room business. Yeah, it’s nice of you.
00:07:26:00 – 00:07:53:19
Sergej Kunz: Of course, it’s. It’s sometimes difficult because we are more than 100 people. You need to communicate between all the teams. We are team for our mobile wallets and we have team for like our yeah, we have algorithm team and we have also kind of for our business relationship and a lot of other teams, design teams who are contributing to the network and try to improve it.
00:07:55:01 – 00:08:19:09
Sergej Kunz: So that is an amazing journey. You know, sorry to hear like the origin of, of, you know, having to live in office of your miners go and just being separate from your wife and kind of just persevering through it. What was it about building this project that you saw, the vision of what this could be and to be able to grow, you know, from yourself in your co-founder to, you know, a team of over 100.
00:08:21:19 – 00:08:28:07
Sergej Kunz: Actually you and the hackathon we just tried to solve on pain. So I guess every successful startup
00:08:29:25 – 00:08:53:24
Sergej Kunz: just saw a specific pain in the market. Actually, there was no in the market yet, so aggregate market was not existing before us and we introduce it. Actually, we invented the aggregation among multiple dexs by splitting. Now this we are rooting to multiple market. That’s actually we can do it the same with the stock market as well. So maybe we can scale later. Yeah.
00:08:55:13 – 00:09:06:07
Sergej Kunz: So yeah, it looks like it was not about money or something. It was just it’s like driving a wave. Yeah.
00:09:08:11 – 00:09:37:07
Sergej Kunz: We had the feeling that people are using it that’s useful and we got all the traffic back. Or This is not as smart as we improved it all the time and this is what will drive us more. Just like these financial aspects that like I’m now kind of free and what I can do a lot to write algorithm, I write a lot, right? If I like to jump to another team, I can do it. It’s really nice and it’s this kind of freedom. It’s also like Defi is about freedom and we have also our freedom.
00:09:39:13 – 00:09:48:28
Sergej Kunz: We get our money for contribution and we can we can change the world. This is kind of what what drives us, I’m sure.
00:09:49:00 – 00:09:55:21
Sergej Kunz: And let’s let’s spend a little bit more moment on that pain. So what was the that pain that you were feeling where you’re like, I have to solve this?
00:09:57:08 – 00:10:09:09
Sergej Kunz: Do you know the story behind Pausch? It’s it’s like the affair reports the son of Ferdinand Porsche, the one he was looking for
00:10:10:28 – 00:10:11:24
Sergej Kunz: for a car
00:10:14:01 – 00:10:24:25
Sergej Kunz: like like a road story and came out and he didn’t find it and he just pulled it by himself. This is what we actually did.
00:10:26:10 – 00:10:59:29
Sergej Kunz: And just build something. If you don’t find something, what’s what could solve your problem? Our problem was it was highly unofficial just to exchange one token or asset against another. Because you have to go through all the indexes. It was like four or five. Now we have hundreds of boxes. Now it’s very complicated and you’ll never know where the best rate is. You need to go to every one container. It takes time and you can lose money if you swap on the wrong place.
00:11:00:16 – 00:11:21:14
Sergej Kunz: And Anthony suggested just to have one app, you see all directions using you just the rate and you select one of the decks is nice and just a touch to use all the text. How many of you source amounts should be exchanged? We are to get the best rate because you have to press the equation the. And it makes sense to just split its four pieces.
00:11:22:16 – 00:12:06:06
Richard Carthon: Sure. And it was a huge issue and unfortunately continues to be a large engine for a lot of new newbies in crypto. They hear about a couple of different dexs and they don’t know necessarily to go check them all to see where you’re getting the most bang for your buck. Where are you not losing a lot of your money through slippage? Is it liquid on that particular dex, etc.? So what one inches done is create an interface to aggregate all these different dexs together and give you that best price to exchange your money. So can you kind of just dive into that a little bit more? So for the brand new listener, for someone who hasn’t had the experience of using one inch exchange yet, he walk us through all the various ways and use cases of why somebody would want to use one exchange network.
00:12:07:19 – 00:12:46:20
Sergej Kunz: The thing is, if you’re not on the aggregation protocol, we are moving more of the actual sort of wallets and of course that involves trees bought new people with NFT and everything. But we have the core the domain product for a buyer of one that we segregation itself so already described before. It makes no sense to go to one of the dexs like Uniswap for example, because you never know that there’s the best liquid in the best free. Maybe there’s a limit or from someone which you can feel and the rate is better and you pay maybe less gas for for the gas costs for the transaction itself.
00:12:47:04 – 00:13:08:23
Sergej Kunz: And if you swap high amounts like $10,000, $100,000, $1 million if to use DC, for example. And it makes sense to split into small, small pieces on specific parts and exchange on multiple exchanges in one in one time, one little mix. So
00:13:10:19 – 00:13:46:16
Sergej Kunz: maybe if you look on the real world kind of example, there are a lot of tickets to some exchanges and just we have ten billions of dollars in Tesla stock and you would like to sell Tesla stock. It makes no sense to go to like Frankfurt Exchange and to sell it just on this exchange because the order book is not deep enough and you would get really wrong. Wrong. Really? Yeah. That’s that’s right now. And if but if you split the small pieces and exchange everybody are a little bit and you get the best rate.
00:13:46:28 – 00:14:03:26
Sergej Kunz: This is the major actually and all algorithm is highly advanced. It can go through multiple bear market that’s like we can exchange a freedom to bitcoin and bitcoin to you need to use this you to use it and whatever you can can be a really huge graph of ways which
00:14:05:29 – 00:14:36:05
Sergej Kunz: are executed. Executed atomically in one single transaction. Yeah. You offer great user interface, very simple one. You, you can see the route which we generate and you compare to 3000 and UNISWAP. So if you swap Montmorency, if you show that our rates are better or maybe the same, but the gas costs are cheaper than the uniswap itself because our router is highly optimized, the gas costs are very low.
00:14:36:20 – 00:14:50:21
Sergej Kunz: It takes I think it’s around 10% in just cheaper than on uniswap directly because our technical gas rewards really slowly will cause an assembly and improve the gas costs by better, better execution techniques.
00:14:51:07 – 00:15:21:00
Richard Carthon: Kind of this is great. And you know, to your point, you have so many different things on on on one inch from. Mira, your entities, your aggregators, your wallet, and you even have a DAO as well as a way to be able to to do staking pulls, farming. You have different bridges. And I know back when I was first using it, it was on top of an even a theory virtual machine. But now you can do it on some other native.
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00:15:23:06 – 00:15:31:09
Richard Carthon: Networks as well. Layer one protocols, which is awesome. And the more that you add, obviously, the more value that you’re you’re bringing. How is it that you’ve gone about deciding which.
00:15:32:28 – 00:15:38:27
Richard Carthon: Which platforms that you want or which protocols you want to bring onto your, um, and onto one inch.
00:15:39:25 – 00:16:10:08
So the community can create a proposal to deploy on any of the networks out there. We just deployed from those Olympics that we have seen to El Monte, which was just installed in AMS. And those are people who are using it. So we we are right now on eight networks. We are two as well. So very soon we will deploy on Aurora. As well.
00:16:10:10 – 00:16:16:21
They introduce our applause, which is also a good thing. So everyone can subscribe to kind of
00:16:18:06 – 00:16:32:27
to a service. You don’t pay for your transactions, of course. So it’s a lot of cool things for you from a point of view of new innovation. About three. So you can just subscribe to specific tariff and you don’t have to pay for each of these transactions. Yeah.
00:16:35:17 – 00:17:04:04
Richard Carthon: We are we community is getting more distributed among multiple networks and we just are kind of necessarily we are also looking to aggregate breaches as well. Question swaps. Maybe, maybe in the future we are working on new or kind of version of algorithm and also new, a new way to swap kind of it’s also 111 morphing what’s what’s coming based on.
00:17:05:00 – 00:17:39:21
Richard Carthon: What should be great because I know across bridges that’s its own unique set of challenges. You know, for example, if someone has USD T on a theorem and try to bridge it over to Binance Smart Chain or try to bring it over into any of these other protocols, you have to be able to have liquidity in both of those. And being able to aggregate all that together has its own unique set of challenges. But 2022, you know, in June 2020. Talk about great timing, pretty much the beginning of what we saw over the last bear bull cycle.
00:17:40:03 – 00:18:19:03
Richard Carthon: And we have, you know, now kind of transitioned at the beginning of this year. Time is June of 2022 at the time this recording and we’ve kind of been in the seven month, uh, downward trend, bearish times if you will, but. The difference is, is that a lot of companies that have been building up to this point, we’ve seen the bear market before. We’ve experienced it. We’ve been through it. And of course, you always make preparations between of course, it’s going to be your your bullish times is going to be your bearish times and you figure out how to endure and to keep providing and creating value to your users during these moments.
00:18:19:26 – 00:18:28:03
Richard Carthon: What are some of the things that one inch is putting in place to help sustain and get through these bearish times?
00:18:29:11 – 00:18:54:19
Sergej Kunz: So on our side, it doesn’t make no sense for us, or it’s bearish, or it’s so the bull run makes cross no difference. So we are well funded. The it’s the money is enough for us for the next five years. You see, we don’t drive lumber or something so
00:18:56:21 – 00:19:20:00
Sergej Kunz: we are on the ground and working very hard on better products and new things. And so we have also our dollar which can potentially also support us if you need something because the local collective already 14 millions of dollars of revenue from the aggregation protocol, we can ask for grant if you need something
00:19:22:17 – 00:19:31:18
Sergej Kunz: in the in due time. You, you see maybe more people, more start ups working on a new products
00:19:33:10 – 00:19:49:21
Sergej Kunz: and not forking something and try to publish it and make money off this. Whether we have seen another bull run in the last two years for communities for Sushiswap, I do this a lot of forks of uniswap and other products and
00:19:52:13 – 00:20:22:14
Sergej Kunz: we are it’s it’s like super bearish time is it’s a good time from my point of view for builders to to concentrate, to build on something and to prove something what’s not efficient and solve pains and problems. Yeah, but in general for us we don’t care about the token price itself. One inch is equal to one H and it’s utility token, which is necessarily in the one inch notebook itself.
00:20:22:16 – 00:20:54:21
Sergej Kunz: You’re going to release also other protocols which are kind of which means the one inch token itself, you just take 2 to 2 to be able to do something. Yeah. And whoever ignores them and their institutional product manage for itself or someone is talking this kind of core, core point cool thing. For example, if you would like to have less fees like on Binance that you can just say one ish token and pay less fees.
00:20:54:27 – 00:20:58:12
Sergej Kunz: I’m kind of for Institutional. So
00:20:59:28 – 00:21:33:09
Sergej Kunz: yeah, we have also some other things coming in right now on regulation, licensing and everything. I was for some some, some extensions are for the world itself. For example we think to. Introduce IBEX bank accounts in Europe in the wallet itself so you have something to consume in your pocket together with your money, custodian and whatnot. Now there’s a lot of things to improve. And and I like the finance issue.
00:21:33:12 – 00:22:05:24
Sergej Kunz: If everything is down and everyone is trying to to work hard and to just deliver and to to to to be the best, it’s easy to to kind of get the hype on bullish market because everyone’s trying to earn money and everything goes up. But if everything is down, then a lot of people are not motivated to build something. But those people who are motivated to build new things, for example, Saw was built in the New Year time one inch as well.
00:22:06:00 – 00:22:06:20
Sergej Kunz: So, yeah.
00:22:07:21 – 00:22:38:07
Sergej Kunz: Hey, y’all, we’re in. A lot of the companies that I’m seeing have a lot of success are doing things where they’re making a sustainable model. Like you said, it doesn’t matter if the market is bullish or bearish, you’re continuing to be successful, you’re continuing to be self-sustainable, and you can put your head down and build right now because of course, when it’s nice and bullish and there’s a lot of different things to be chasing, there’s a lot of noise in the market. Sometimes it’s easy to pick your head up and try to like go pursue some of those things.
00:22:38:09 – 00:22:47:18
Sergej Kunz: But when things like that are kind of silent during a bearish times, you can sit down, you can have focus, and you can get some really, really cool product out. And it sounds like y’all are doing a lot of that.
00:22:49:14 – 00:23:11:27
Sergej Kunz: One of the things that I think is really been cool to see through the last two years is the importance of community and the introduction of Dallas. You just brought up that y’all created a DAO. Can you explain a little bit more of, you know, what was the purpose of going to that model and and what can your Dow members expect by joining?
00:23:15:24 – 00:23:18:27
Sergej Kunz: The house. I’m in one stone.
00:23:26:16 – 00:23:36:18
Sergej Kunz: From there in the protocols for the breach protocol, integration protocol on which she should be charged and so on and so on.
00:23:38:10 – 00:23:40:04
Sergej Kunz: And all of these we have.
00:23:44:18 – 00:23:59:20
Sergej Kunz: Does not seek the man who can propose something. And we are for a snapshot in class. It’s like not on chain walking, but can also introduce transaction on chain in the multisig itself.
00:24:03:08 – 00:24:08:21
Sergej Kunz: So right now we collect all the revenue into when we introduce this kind of.
00:24:10:26 – 00:24:17:21
Sergej Kunz: Treasury before when the stock and was distributed, which was bought on the market by the protocol.
00:24:22:18 – 00:24:53:00
Sergej Kunz: And it was distributed to the stakers, but also for such scenarios like what you have right now, token everything is is done and now stock and for example proposals to buy back and burn the token itself or buy back and store in the Treasury and later to contribute to small countries. Now we have to use this year in the in
00:24:56:16 – 00:25:18:22
Sergej Kunz: the school, or at least the way it will, supporting billions of dollars, actually. Yeah. And this so. And in and of itself, everything is for free. And it’s bitterly. It gets to be a moving and it’s normal. Like everywhere else the
00:25:21:16 – 00:25:38:12
Sergej Kunz: team can propose. And you. Protocol, after which we could continue. We’ll talk to. Everything’s possible. We have a grant program which is completely independent and distributes some sort of one installments
00:25:40:23 – 00:25:47:11
Sergej Kunz: to just all to not leave in the office with. No shower like me in three years. Two years ago.
00:25:50:04 – 00:25:51:17
Sergej Kunz: Have still some.
00:25:53:07 – 00:25:54:25
Sergej Kunz: I need you to build on something.
00:25:56:22 – 00:26:09:16
Sergej Kunz: Right, which is great. And providing those resources for your community to keep building and to be innovative and keep pushing. One inch exchange. One inch network for. Now.
00:26:11:04 – 00:26:33:03
Sergej Kunz: You’ve given us a lot of information. There’s a lot of really cool things that are happening with one inch. But, you know, as we kind of wrap up here, I always like to finish with a couple of fun questions. And the first one I want to propose to you is with all the information that you have at this moment, with everything that you’ve learned. If you could go and impart one or two pieces of wisdom to yourself when you first got started building out one inch, what would you tell yourself?
00:26:37:11 – 00:26:42:15
Sergej Kunz: So you mean. Well, they. I would tell to my son to go to the.
00:26:44:16 – 00:26:45:18
Sergej Kunz: Yes. Some wisdom.
00:26:47:25 – 00:27:03:06
Sergej Kunz: I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t go back. I wouldn’t change anything. Everything. What’s happened? All the mistakes, what they have as well. It’s a learning process. It’s a development process. Also, for myself, I wouldn’t change anything.
00:27:05:10 – 00:27:05:25
Sergej Kunz: But a reason.
00:27:06:06 – 00:27:06:21
Sergej Kunz: To.
00:27:06:26 – 00:27:07:17
Sergej Kunz: Win is to.
00:27:10:07 – 00:27:10:22
Sergej Kunz: You.
00:27:10:24 – 00:27:12:24
Sergej Kunz: You make mistakes that are central.
00:27:12:28 – 00:27:13:25
Sergej Kunz: To the values of.
00:27:15:01 – 00:27:34:03
Sergej Kunz: So to go with that, I was going to say, like, um. If you were talking to a brand new person then. So someone who has not built this has not gone through a bear market yet. What would you tell that person with the wisdom that you do have? And I think you’re getting to it. You need to make mistakes, which I think is really important. But, you know, what are some other things that you think would be valuable?
00:28:07:24 – 00:28:14:28
Sergej Kunz: Three arms and a very small amount of time now. So it’s like in B.J.,
00:28:16:18 – 00:28:46:18
Sergej Kunz: it’s all the time. So you need to know that someone else is better than you. There’s still one human who is better than you. And in B.J., it’s like it’s kind of you do sparring. You fail, but you win and you improve yourself. And if you do mistakes, you learn on them and you improve yourself. And I suggest to everyone is if you fail somehow, do it and try it again.
00:28:47:01 – 00:28:47:23
Sergej Kunz: Improve yourself.
00:28:49:03 – 00:28:57:20
Sergej Kunz: Absolutely. I think that is some really good feedback. And and again, as we wrap up here, what is the final thought that you want to leave with everyone listening here today?
00:28:59:23 – 00:29:04:18
Sergej Kunz: Yeah. It’s contributed to a three year drought of distress. Just the future.
00:29:06:11 – 00:29:14:19
Sergej Kunz: Absolutely. Sounds great. What are ways that people can connect with you? Learn more about one inch and and follow all of the amazing things I have going on.
00:29:15:28 – 00:29:32:25
Sergej Kunz: One is that I was learning French. You can find almost everything that you need to know. What’s a developer? A potential contributor would like to apply for grant or to understand what we are or to which are these protocols existing under one inch network?
00:29:34:18 – 00:29:40:29
Sergej Kunz: We have telegram groups. We have also Twitter accounts. So follow the Twitter account.
00:29:42:20 – 00:30:00:09
Sergej Kunz: Sure. And that big ol audience over there, I think like over a million followers. So they got a big growing community. So make sure you go and check them out. All the amazing things that you have building. We really appreciate you. Drop us the knowledge on us getting some really good wisdom. Appreciate your time today. And of course, for everyone listening. Stay cryptocurrency.
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