Welcome to Serum Stories #16
Some participants of the Serum and Solana ecosystem are (rightly) known as classics: strong and proven players who have long demonstrated their passionate support for the community and who have delivered incredible solutions since the earliest days.
Coin98 is a classic. Chances are, you know the team for their powerful research analytics, their pertinent infographics across ‘Crypto Twitter’, their multi-chain web and (one of the earliest) mobile wallets, the Coin98 Exchange — a multi-chain liquidity aggregator, and much more. This week, we are joined by the Coin98 team, who shared their journey and leap of faith into the Solana realm, their user-centric philosophy, and the (trite and true) formula to their success.
1. For those who may not already be familiar with Coin98 (and Coin98 Wallet and Exchange), what is your 30 second introduction?
At Coin98, we are building a comprehensive ecosystem through three ‘arms’, which coordinate and closely support each other. Those arms are:
- Coin98 Labs, our product arm, where there are researchers and engineers. We look for existing problems in the market and create innovative solutions for users.
- Coin98 Network (Media), which focuses on educating the community about crypto, as well as marketing Coin98’s offerings, bringing our products closer to users. Through Coin98 Network, we listen closely to user feedback to constantly improve our products.
- Coin98 Venture, which bootstraps new projects and supports builders.
2. You guys are among the original teams building on Solana alongside Serum back in the very early days of August 2020. Coin98 is a classic, and your team has supported Serum since the beginning!
Not everyone may know about your journey, however. Could you describe for us the early days of Coin98 wallet and the research team’s move into the Solana/SPL universe?
Yes, that’s right. I actually knew about the Solana team from way back in 2018. Since then, our research team has kept an eye on Solana, and when we saw the opportunity to actually build on Solana, we took the chance!
At that time, supporting Solana was a big decision for us, since it requires a lot of tech resources, and on top of supporting Solana and its development, we also build ancillary products and make Solana as easy to use as possible.
While everyone was just focusing on EVM-compatible chains, we took another route because of our strong belief in Solana, and it turned out to be a great decision. Solana achieved what it promised: fast transaction processing capabilities (50,000 TPS), low latency (~1s), and low fee (10$ for 1M transactions), which in turn attracted more and more developers to its easy-to-use Rust programming language. This combination of low fees and a quicker learning curve could be the winning combination
Not gonna lie though, it was quite tough in the early days since we had to figure everything out on our own, and not many people believed in the ecosystem at that time. We were really grateful to receive a Serum grant back in the day, and later on, to have a mutual ecosystem fund of $5M with Solana to help accelerate Web3 and DeFi Innovation in Crypto.
3. You once told us that Coin98 is “not a success overnight” and that you simply saw an “untapped problem” in the wallet space.
What was your thinking during those early days, and how did you get to where you are now?
We started to build Coin98 products just like how we would want a great product to be.
People usually choose Metamask or Trust Wallet when starting with crypto; however, from our own personal experience, there are many issues and inconveniences that we felt we could solve, and that’s why we built Coin98 Wallet.
Here’s an example: to help a user start their DeFi journey in Solana, we’ve made it so that whenever you create a Solana (or multichain) wallet with Coin98 Wallet, you will get airdropped a small amount of SOL to get started! This is extremely helpful for new users diving into the Solana ecosystem and who don’t realize they need this starter amount of SOL to interact with Solana dApps, and this feature makes our wallet unique.
We launched Coin98 Wallet early last year and have come a long way since then. We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished so far.
4. Coin98 is well known for beautiful infographics, compelling media, and, of course, high quality research.
How would you say this research-based background influenced Coin98 wallet and your DEX aggregator offerings?
For Twitter folks, you probably know about Coin98 or heard about us through our Coin98 Analytics account.
In just over a year, we have grown to be a leading data sharing platform with a huge audience, and even top VCs and blockchain foundations regularly share our content. The research team behind Coin98 Analytics helps us catch up with what’s happening across multiple blockchains, who is building what, the strength and the weaknesses of each protocol; the team then leverages those insights to shape our product design and find the product-market fit.
5. What do you see when you look out into the Solana and Serum ecosystem? What trends are you most excited for? What problems do you think still need to be addressed?
The Solana and Serum ecosystems are growing for sure, and thus, more and more users are joining in.
Similar to how DeFi is in general, user interface and experience is still an issue. Users coming from EVM-compatible chains like Ethereum or BSC are more familiar with practices like using just one address for all tokens, which can be confusing when first coming to Solana. This is something that can be improved and there are teams already working on it.
As for trends, we are quite excited to see innovative ideas which have started on Ethereum but could not work due to high gas fees and slow transaction times, and yet have found success on Solana. This can be a really good trend to follow for projects building on Solana for the coming future.
6. Coin98 has a very international reach. A good amount of your user base hails from Vietnam, and you are well-known, of course, in the English-speaking world, as well as throughout Asia in general.
Could you share more about your plans for serving the globe? What is one thing you would like for the world to know about Coin98?
In the past, Vietnam accounted for up to 80% of our total users. Recently, we have seen tremendous growth in other emerging markets, such as the United States, Russia, Turkey, Nigeria, India, and many other countries. We have roughly 700,000 users now, and Vietnam only takes up 25% of that total. We also support up to 12 languages and 34 currencies, which allows Coin98 to easily reach a global audience.
If there is one thing that you should know about Coin98, it’s that we are proud to say our Customer Support team is really the best. They are working 24/7 to have global coverage and are always there to support you. We believe that customer support is super important: that’s why we make it super easy for our customers to reach out from within our app or via our website through our Live Chat support!
7. Is there anything about your upcoming roadmap you would like to share with everyone?
We are working on a lot of stuff, including staking service for C98 (yay!) and also our cross-chain bridge.
If you haven’t already, go check out Saros Finance, our very own project built on top of Solana.
Saros Finance is the ultimate DeFi platform native to Solana, with trading, staking, and yield farming services. Built by Coin98 Labs, Saros Finance aims to adopt millions of users to DeFi.
8. Do you have any final words to your users and supporters?
We would love to thank all our users and supporters. Thanks for choosing us, and we won’t settle for less than the best for you!
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