Indian teenager Gajesh Naik made headlines earlier this year when he built Gaj Finance, a multichain decentralized finance (defi) protocol, which currently manages some $1.2 million in crypto of user funds.
Now the 13-year-old high school student has raised $300,000 in pre-seed funding for his latest DeFi project called Taksh. Built on Avalanche, the protocol aims to maximize yields by “compounding rewards and farming.”
The funding round was led by Ravindra Kumar, founder of cross-blockchain platform Frontier, and other unnamed investors. Naik told Beincrypto.com in an interview that he is planning a public sale to raise additional funding.
However, “considering its liquidity and audit requirements, the project (Taksh) has enough funds to run for 12 months,” explained Naik, who operates from his parent’s home in Goa along India’s western coast.
The Taksh network utilizes cross-chain integrations, yield multipliers, and inclusive mechanics. It will essentially “auto compound rewards” for users, helping them to “maximize their yields and savings,”
Naik comes from a non-technological background, as both his parents are civil servants in India. But he learned to code from the age of seven, and has become skilled in several programming languages including Solidity, the language used to write Ethereum-based smart contracts.
In April this year, the teenager launched Gaj Finance (formerly Polygaj) as its founder and chief architect. Gaj Finance is a DeFi yield aggregator – basically meaning that investors get a reward for their crypto holdings via a process known as yield farming. It is also a non-fungible token (NFT) platform that runs on the Polygon blockchain.
To date, Gaj Finance has around $1.2 million in total value locked (TVL) – that is, the amount of crypto it manages. Naik also has a Youtube channel with nearly 15,000 subscribers, where he helps people learn about cryptocurrencies, coding and machine learning.
Decentralized finance has arguably become a paradise for hackers, with reports of attacks and rug pulling now common place. Investors have lost millions of dollars this way. So, does Naik, a 13-year-old boy, understand the extent of the risks involved in DeFi, both for him as a coder and those utilizing his product?
“We have engaged with leading audit firms for the smart contract audits and have followed all the best practices and implemented learnings from all the projects that faced unfortunate incidences in the past,” he avers.
“We are currently in the process to engage more security experts apart from audit firms to enhance this aspect of the project further, as we take security very seriously,” added the teenager. More specifically, Naik said Taksh is working with Solidity Finance as auditors.
Taksh plans to hire more developers and, together with Gaj Finance, expand the project’s product offering within the next quarter, he said. He added that the decision to build on Avalanche, an emerging blockchain, over Ethereum was motivated by cost.
“The platform is able to run dApps (decentralized applications) at a fraction of the cost,” he stressed.
Going forward, Naik said: “We aim to commit some part of the profits to treasury as a grant. Those who want to build on Taksh will be invited to submit an application. Those applications will be evaluated by the committee of crypto veterans first, and later will be put to vote to the community.”
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