Welcome to Serum Stories #14
If farmers are the salt of the earth, then DeFi natives are the seasoning of blockchain. This week’s flavour of Serum Story is a bit floral and vibrant with change. We’re joined by the Tulip Protocol team, formerly known as SolFarm.
Tulip Protocol, the Solana-based yield aggregation homestead for many, is the first yield aggregation platform built on Solana with auto-compounding vault strategies. Solana’s features allows for vault strategies which can compound frequently, meaning stakers benefit from higher APYs without requiring active management.
Tulip recently emerged as a rebrand of SolFarm after tilling the soil and sowing community love, knowledge, and fresh yield well before they became first place winners of the Pyth prize track in the Solana Season Hackathon. senx from Tulip tells us the story and about their life on the farm.
1. For those who are not already in the know, what is your 30 second elevator pitch for Tulip Protocol? What’s your usual introduction?
Hey guys, senx from Tulip Protocol (formerly SolFarm) here. We’re aiming to become the one stop shop for yield on Solana. We currently have Orca/Raydium/Saber farming strategies integrated and also offer leveraged farming on certain pairs and single asset lending for a lot of altcoin pairs. We have a few interesting managed vault strategies in development so follow us to keep up with our development progress!
2. We would love to hear more about the founding story behind your team, as it were. How did you guys end up coming together to work on Tulip?
Funny enough, the team knew each other through being part of a few crypto-focused Discord groups back in 2017. It was mostly some very prolific shitposting and trading talk that drew us together and here we are now.
Back then, it was probably weird for people to think about working together fully remotely, but the past 2 years probably changed that for a lot of people due to the global situation. Definitely something to keep in mind as talent and friends can be found globally and there is absolutely no reason to restrict yourself to working in meatspace.
3. Your team has come far. You’ve built out a hyper popular yield aggregation platform with auto-compounding vault strategies; and you were the winner of Pyth prize track for the Solana Season Hackathon. And congratulations, by the way.
What was the thinking behind your project, back when it was called SolFarm, and in participating in the hackathon?
I think the founding story for a lot of Solana dApps is similar in that we saw the opportunity to hop over from another chain to build a product fit that is currently missing.
For us, we’ve collaborated on small projects on Ethereum and SolFarm is definitely the most successful project we’ve done. We started with auto-compounding, because even though it’s a relatively straightforward concept, it can become tedious to do it manually day after day. We simplify this for you so you can sit back and enjoy the yield.
We joined the Hackathon with our leveraged farming product which launched in mainnet a few weeks after. It definitely helped to get awareness on the project and that side of the protocol is growing nicely (almost 200MM in lenders un-incentivized).
4. You mentioned in an earlier conversation with us that your devs have done smaller EVM projects in the past before choosing to move into Solana! How was that transition? What did you see in Solana and Serum that prompted the creation of your protocol?
On Ethereum, you have to plan your moves in DeFi pretty carefully because of gas costs since calling a contract for deposit/withdrawal will generally cost you $200 in gas for a round trip. On Solana, this isn’t really an issue so it makes the barrier of entry a lot lower. There are benefits to both chains but Solana is definitely more forgiving and beneficial for newcomers. The low transaction costs means we can also try other higher frequency strategies.
5. You recently underwent a major rebranding, from Solfarm to Tulip Protocol! What was the thinking behind this change?
SolFarm was originally a short form for “Solana Founding Protocol”. It wasn’t the most creative name, but it got the point across.
As we developed the protocol and introduced the token, our brand also developed and leaned into the Tulip name. Eventually the scope of the project did outgrow the SolFarm name, and we felt the need to update the name in order to better align our brand image since a lot of people did know us from the token and got confused. We had a frontpage/UI update planned and decided to time the rebrand with that release.
6. Your team has pumped out a lot of education material as well, including on Twitter and your Discord, which is simply wonderful. Who are the main readers of your educational content?
When we started building on the project, we were somewhat surprised by the amount of users who were just native Solana users and weren’t just EVM migrants. With all the prerequisite knowledge that using DeFi requires, we decided the best way to approach it was to make some education articles.
It serves as a primer for the users and feels more like an unbiased source. I think some users appreciate that there are resource articles rather than coming into a Discord and being given a pitch by the team members. It also helps us save support time by just having resources to link users to rather than having a community manager explain it over and over again.
Also, having an article just lets users read it at their own leisure and come to their own conclusions. If they have any further in depth questions, then our team would be able to help them from there on.
In general, people are quite keen to learn and we’ve watched some users develop their knowledge and that does make us happy; it’s like watching a classroom of kids graduate. We also began a program called “The People’s Farmer”, which I think a few other projects have adopted. Basically, we reward community members that take time out of their own schedule to go above and beyond in supporting and educating other users or some even go as far as creating their own material to help with explanations. Definitely a strong community growing around the Tulip!
7. Any final words to the Tulip supporters?
Definitely very thankful for all the support that we have received. We decided to do the project anon and without relying on existing resumes and pedigree, but rather meritocracy and anon in the spirit of crypto. It has definitely made it more difficult for ourselves but definitely happy to have won user’s support through that. We have a few other announcements coming out so definitely look out for that 😉
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