“Each of us constantly challenges ourselves to deliver fully functional products or features in a record time…At the core of all this is that the entire team believes that what we are doing is important and useful to the world.”
Welcome to Serum Stories #13
We often talk about ‘financial primitives’ in DeFi, given the industry’s relatively nascent status. Many of the constructs that we see within TradFi are somewhat taken for granted in that world, and are being migrated to the Solana and Serum ecosystems by clever and diligent teams.
This week’s feature guest is no exception. We’re kicking off 4Q2021’s first Serum Story with Symmetry, the decentralized index protocol, portfolio management tool, and analytics suite. The Symmetry team give us a thorough tour of the upcoming portfolio management and index protocols (due soon for mainnet!), insight into why they’re building out indices and baskets in DeFi, and a small glimpse into their day-to-day thinking and motivation behind their efforts.
What’s up next
1. — What is Symmetry?
2. — The founding story
3. — Indices for all?
4. — Swap and Serum!
5. — Portfolio Manager Tool (Open Beta!)
6. — Live feeds
7. — Baskets for all
8. — What makes it all worth it!
9. — Final words…
10. — …and a final teaser.
1. For those who are not already in the know, what is your 30 second elevator pitch for Symmetry Finance?
Symmetry is a portfolio manager and an index protocol on Solana that allows users to easily create custom baskets of tokens or to invest in ones created by others. The protocol takes care of the rest. As a basket creator, you have options to define all the rules by which the assets in your index will be selected and rebalanced, allowing you to effectively diversify your portfolio.
2. What brought you to where you are now? How would you describe the origin story behind Symmetry?
The Symmetry team has had years of experience working together before this. We initially worked on a different project that was aiming to simplify aviation insurance. However we realized there were some gaps in crypto systems that needed to be filled first. The biggest ones we identified were portfolio management, diversification, and lots of things that follow once such instruments exist, so Symmetry was born.
3. You’re bringing one of the most popular, heavily traded instruments from the TradFi world to DeFi — namely, index products.
Why specifically did you choose index products? What forms of empowerment do you envision from allowing anyone to buy and create their own custom indices?
Index products traditionally have been managed by central parties, leaving the people no other choice but to settle with the limited offerings of such parties. High speed and almost no transaction costs of Solana changes the game, in that it allows us to implement tools to make the seemingly complex process of index creation and management accessible to everyone.
We expect to see incredible indices created by both professionals and enthusiasts that will maximize the efficiency of everyone’s portfolios. It does not matter if you have a PhD in Mathematics or if you are a farmer in the middle of nowhere who is simply interested in financial instruments: you have the opportunity to create products that outperform everything else, products that other people will use and earn you your share. This is what empowers us.
This short film by Accenture about blockchain meticulously captures some of the ideas that empower us, and we hope it will inspire you too.
4. One of your most well-known protocol features is the Symmetry Swap, which boasts one of the lowest swap fees, minimized slippage, and low spreads. It was about a month ago when Symmetry Swap surpassed $10M daily volume — nicely done!
Why did you choose to build out Symmetry Swap and use Serum to power it in the backend?
The products we roll out are targeted to complement our index protocol (which will launch very soon on testnet). There were a few reasons for why we decided to implement swap and use Serum liquidity to power it:
- Aesthetics: we want our users to have a pleasant and memorable experience on our platform and to come back in the future because of its simplicity and ease of use.
- At the time we built the swap, there were not many options where you could quickly exchange a token with another; and one would also have a hard time finding platforms that had all the newly added tokens.
- Most swaps have an additional fee on top of Serum’s fee, which may not seem much, but it adds up as we trade frequently. So we built it with no fee on top.
- We will need a place where users swap indices just like any other token, and we want our users to be familiar with the experience even before we roll out our main product.
All these reasons combined, plus Serum’s backend (which has low swap fee), extremely large liquidity that will only grow in the future — we found that it was a perfect combination to implement Symmetry Swap, which actually surpassed $36M daily volume on September 9, less than 1.5 months from its launch.
5. That’s incredible. Let’s look at some of your other offerings. Your Portfolio Manager tool has been in closed beta for more than a month now and has surpassed 3K daily active users. As you continue finalizing the Portfolio Manager, what should users look forward to?
Our Portfolio Manager is now in open beta, so anyone can connect their wallet and within minutes see their historical net worth. We continuously add features and aim to allow users to track all of their holdings in all of their wallets in one place. There are many secret features we have planned for Portfolio Manager, and we will roll them out soon after launching the indices on testnet (one such feature may be automated portfolio rebalancer).
Like our Swap, our Portfolio Manager will complement the Index products, and users will be able to track and analyze their index holdings with it.
6. Speaking of tools and indices, anyone checking out your main website can scroll to the bottom and see some live index feeds!
These are, at the moment, data that we use to test the protocol. However, it will indeed be switched to live feeds of the highest performing indices once the protocol launches on mainnet.
7. That’s exciting, and we can’t wait! You’ve also got indices with names like “Altchains”, “Meme Index”, and even an “NFTs Index”, as well as more the more standard “Top 10–20”. Can you give us a preview into some other pre-set index constructions your team has in store?
The initial indices which we will be creating ourselves are rather simple ones, that can serve as benchmarks for all other great baskets that our users come up with. Most Symmetry-created indices will be simple combinations of top tokens weighted by some power of their market cap. Users can use these indices to determine the relative performance between these benchmarks and their own.
That’s not to say that we won’t be attempting to create complex baskets that will hopefully do extremely well in the long run; however, we believe our users are the ones who will discover amazing combinations of assets and rules that outperform our benchmarks by a large margin.
8. You guys are constantly hammering out updates and polishes to your product suite. It’s inspiring to see, and we have to ask, how do you guys do it? What do you look forward to each day as builders?
I think one interesting reason for our continuously adding features and updating our platform is that each of us constantly challenges ourselves to deliver fully functional products or features in a record time. To give an example: we wanted to launch our portfolio tracker in 3 days of development; it took us more than a week, which in reality is quite fast, however each day that passed our mental deadline of 3 days, we would double down and work harder. Working 16–20 hours a day also helps speed things up (hehe). At the core of all this is that the entire team believes that what we are doing is important and useful to the world.
9. Do you have any teasers or upcoming news for your followers and supporters? Anything for Symmetry fans to look out for?
We’ve been hard at work for the past couple of months, developing the Index Protocol. We will be announcing the launch on testnet first along with a competition event. During the testnet period, we will listen to feedback from our users and polish the platform before launching on mainnet. We’re also talking with a few protocols on and off the Solana ecosystem and are working on several very exciting collaborations! 🙂
10. You dropped a teaser image in your last monthly update, for example. We’re super excited for the Index Protocol to hit mainnet!
We are as well! We are looking forward to onboarding many retail users and institutions from traditional finance to crypto through our Index Products and Actively Managed Funds!
We hope you enjoyed the interview!
We would love to continue having these kinds of conversations with all the incredible teams building on Serum and sharing them with you. Just let us know who you want to read about next!
Read Serum Roadmap 2.0
Listen to Sam Bankman-Fried’s breakdown of the Serum ecosystem