ADALend CEO Kaspars Koskins: “ $100M fine for BlockFi, Canada banking freeze highlights the importance of Decentralized Finance”
Welcome to the second installment of our interview series with the ADALend CEO Kaspars Koskins. Recent events in the US and Canada have illustrated that Decentralized Finance is more important than ever before. ADALend is at the vanguard of this revolution in the lending industry by using blockchain technology to disintermediate the traditional middlemen — providing unprecedented access to loans for those ignored by the traditional banking system and providing high yields for investors in a persistently low-interest-rate environment.
Moreover, as we have seen dramatic overreach from the SEC in the US and the Canadian government, Decentralized Finance platforms have become more important than ever to protect the wealth of ordinary citizens. We were overwhelmed with positive feedback after the last interview with Kasparas, so without further adieu, let’s begin.
Welcome back Kasparas, in the last interview we discussed deeply the value that ADALend provides for the middle classes in the western world as well as emerging markets. For those of our audience that missed it, can you summarize the ADALend value proposition?
Certainly, first, let me just say it’s great to be back here. The passionate ADALend community loved our last interview and we touched on many topics that resonated with them and attracted many other like-minded folks to join us. Today we are going to go even deeper philosophically into why Cardano and decentralized financial systems are more important than ever, and how recent events in the US, Canada, and even Russia are highlighting this. However, first, let me recap the ADALend vision and mission as you wisely suggested.
Here at ADALend we are developing a scalable, trustless, and decentralized lending protocol that protects its users within a self-governed environment. From our earliest inception, we committed to building natively on the Cardano blockchain, which will enable the lending platform to aggregate protocols that support business models that give economic support to billions of users. ADALend will bring back the balance of power between lenders and borrowers. By allowing the use of digital assets as collateral, the use of the platform will be diversified to the benefit of the user.
We chose to build on the Cardano blockchain as Ethereum is no longer usable by the majority of people on the planet due to the high transaction costs — with gas fees reaching into the hundreds of dollars per transaction. This is unacceptable to ordinary people in the western world today as well as the millions of unbanked people in the developing countries of Africa and Asia lending and borrowing far smaller amounts. Ethereum is now only usable by the already wealthy, while new platforms like Solana and Avalanche have problems with centralization, security and reliability. Cardano is the only truly decentralized blockchain with the required security, speed, and low transaction fees required to provide a truly democratic financial solution that can be used by every human on planet earth.
As I mentioned in our last interview — the ADALend vision aligns perfectly with that of Cardano founder Charles Hoskinson who is passionate about improving financial outcomes for people all over the world, regardless of race, nationality, gender, or financial status.
Thank you for the summary Kaspars, it’s truly impressive what you and your team are building. Offline we were talking about the BlockFi SEC fine and the Canadian government’s actions against the Trucker’s protests. What do these events have in common and can you share more about how they relate to the ADALend mission?
Absolutely, in recent weeks we have seen the SEC fining BlockFi $100 million US dollars for providing a decent interest rate to its users; Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has taken the unprecedented step of invoking the Emergencies Act to crack down on anti-vaccine mandate protests.by freezing their bank accounts; and Western leaders threaten to cut Russia off from the SWIFT banking system if they invade Ukraine. Now, regardless of your political opinion on these events, they highlight how governments and institutions can, at their convenience, cut ordinary people out from earning interest on their savings, accessing their savings, or transferring money internationally. I am old enough to remember when in 2013 the government of Cyprus decided to unilaterally impose a 10% “haircut” on bank accounts to bail themselves out after the financial crises and literally unlawfully stole the money from people’s accounts. This was my conversion moment that we need to protect individuals hard-earned wealth from overreaching governments and began my journey into Bitcoin, then Cardano and ultimately the desire to build a truly decentralized financial system.
With a Decentralized Financial platform like ADAlend, people can earn a good interest rate on their hard-earned savings without worrying about the risks of the Government attacking the platform as they did with a centralized crypto lender like BlockFi or the government trying to freeze your bank account if they don’t agree with your opinions or peaceful protest like they did in Canada. DeFi systems are by their very definition more robust and antifragile than centralized companies like BlockFi. The ADAlend protocol and network are more akin to Bitcoin or Cardano where as the network scales it will become more robust to attack.
In parallel to the completely decentralized ADALend protocol and core platform, we are exploring offering regulated centralized lending services in each jurisdiction that we operate in. These will offer slightly lower interest rates and yields than on the ADALend decentralized staking and liquidity provision platform, but still far higher than any bank or credit union. This is because we understand that while our crypto-native community members are comfortable investing the time and energy to interact with DeFi protocols, we have mature users as well — business owners, doctors, lawyers, and self-employed tradesmen who simply don’t have time to live online.
For these hardworking people, we will provide high-interest rates on stablecoin and crypto savings, in a highly regulated environment. We are working with the regulators on a jurisdiction by jurisdiction basis — beginning with my home market of the European Union with an Estonian entity, followed by the United Kingdom with a London HQ, and the United Arab Emirates, with a regulated entity in the Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC). Next on the roadmap will be the US and Canada so we are watching and learning from the experiences of BlockFi, Nexo Celsius, and others as we plan our market entry. We believe that to truly revolutionize finance you need to disrupt the system from inside and out, and this is why we have adopted a two-pronged strategy of rolling out a DeFi protocol and a CeFi business in parallel globally.
Thank you Kasparas, it’s tremendously exciting to hear how your mission is evolving over time and how each misstep and overreach by governments only makes the ADALend value proposition more compelling and essential to protecting the hard-earned savings of ordinary, hard-working people all over the world.
So to move from the philosophical and strategic to the tactical, let’s roll up our sleeves and talk about how you and the guys are executing this mission in the trenches. How is the commercial and technical work progressing?
Thank you for the kind words, yes it’s both exciting and frightening to see how the macro events in the news make the ADALend mission ever more vital each time we speak. It truly strengthens our resolve and motivates the team that we have chosen a worthy goal to focus on: providing financial inclusion, security, and wealth protection for savers and investors of all sizes.
On the technical side, we have strengthened our development team with a new CTO Ali Krynitsky, who brings many years of operational experience leading Enterprise and Consumer Software Development and Technology projects and brings with him a loyal, experienced and hardworking team of developers.
Interestingly Ali has very strong research and academic background, making him well suited to the research and peer-reviewed-led process of building on Cardano. He is a true technical genius having worked on super interesting technology like swamm networking so the ADALend team and community are blessed to have him building for us. Ali shares my opinion on how the macroeconomic and political events of today are accelerating the importance and relevance of ADALend and having been born in the former Soviet Union Ali understands all too well the dangers of government overreach into private individuals’ ability to earn and keep their wealth!
Ali and his team have been working around the clock to leverage the latest research and reposts from IOHK and other Cardano knowledge repositories to inform their development roadmap for the Plutus and Haskell powered staking and lending platform back end, while also working on the UX and UI to ensure its a best in class FinTech experience. We have found that one of the barriers to mass adoption of DeFi protocols it the poor frontend user experience that scares off the casual user so we have endeavored to ensure that the user experience of ADALend’s DefI and DeFi projects will as slick and user friendly as the latest consumer applications that we expect and demand in the present environment.
On the business development and commercial side, we are busy building relationships with the regulators in Europe, the UK, and Dubai to ensure we don’t hit any roadblocks as BlockFi did along the way. Obviously, another area that we are hyper-focused on is our upcoming Public IDO launch in early March, where the ADAL token will be offered to the public.
I am delighted to hear that Ali and his technical team are delivering the goods and that the technical development road map is speeding along. Interesting developments afoot on the commercial side it seems too! The last time we spoke you were in the private sale, can you tell us more about the ADAL token launch and how our readers can learn more?
Absolutely — in the world of crypto the public launch or IDO is similar to the Initial Public Offering (IPO) of a tech company. ADALend is currently in the final stage of its private sale so it’s similar to buying Google, Amazon, or Apple stock before their IPO. The ADALend private sale ends on the 28th of February so that would be the last date to buy the ADAL tokens at a significant discount. The launch will be in the first week of March and a limited number of ADAL tokens will be sold across several launchpads in parallel and will begin trading on the exchanges shortly afterward. The starting price is one US dollar, but as you know the token price can perform dynamically in the first days of trading so it is very important to register your interest early to avoid disappointment.
To learn more about the ADALend mission, and to register interest for the final allocation of discounted private sale tokens, your readers can email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: CEO INTERVIEW, and our team will add them to the priority list, and get back to them ASAP.
As always it’s been both educational and inspirational talking to you. Thank you for your time Kaspars.
The pleasure is mine, wishing you and your readers a profitable month and quarter ahead and I look forward to our next interview after the public launch.