back13 Jun 20226 min read
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Neptune is Watching the Money Market Tides | Interview

Neptune — God of the Sea. The tides have been turning. How can one weather these stormy markets?

Neptune — the winners of the Pyth prize track of the Solana Riptide Hackathon — offers one answer. Innovative approaches to money market services, token utility, liquidity mining practices, and governance: “Forget the Curve wars, here come the Neptune wars!”

Today, we’re setting out to sea with the Neptune team. There’s new frontiers to explore, and we have powerful data, confidence intervals, and a bag of favorable wind to guide us.

Neptune is more than a borrow lending protocol: a self-described permissionless digital bank, and #PoweredByPyth, Neptune seeks to outperform across all dimensions of on-chain money markets as we know them today and the way we do governance, community, and banking.

Let’s start off easy. What is Neptune?

Neptune was born from the idea of developing a DeFi platform with features that we, as avid DeFi users, wanted on Solana. The goal? Creating a simple and intuitive interface that anyone can understand while having advanced features that satisfy even the most sophisticated DeFi users.

At its core, Neptune is a lending and borrowing protocol, and we see it as much more than that. To make it easier to understand what Neptune is and what it can do, you can think of Neptune as a ‘permissionless digital bank’.

Who is Neptune? How did your team come together and decide to partake in Solana Riptide?

We’re a diverse group of people that came together through many different avenues, from people that know each other in real life to individuals that connected through Telegram or Discord!

We started learning and growing together, and over time, we became quite sophisticated and started developing projects for others, be it NFT projects, smart contracts, etc.

At some point, being heavy users in DeFi, we realized that there wasn’t a mature ecosystem for lending and borrowing and financial products on Solana. So we decided to build a protocol that fulfilled what we envisioned a DeFi platform should be, and with this goal, we decided to compete in the Solana Riptide Hackathon.

You say that you’re a “permissionless digital bank”. Can you give us more insight into what this means?

We’ve often-heard the phrase “banking the unbanked” in crypto, but we’re taking that saying very seriously.

This is at the core of why we are building Neptune: a permissionless, secure and accessible platform for anyone to use. Bear market or bull market, it doesn’t matter to us — that’s not what we’re here for. We understand some people are here for that, and that’s okay, but we’re here for the long term and the bigger picture, hoping to make a positive impact on people’s lives.

We are focusing on making Neptune as accessible as possible by having familiar services like checking and savings accounts, along with a simple and intuitive onboarding process. These are simple ideas that can go a long way in making the user experience as smooth as possible.

One example of having an innovative feature that is easy to use is our collateral swaps. For those unfamiliar with how the process typically works: let’s say you have some collateral, say Bitcoin, and you have taken out some loans against that Bitcoin. If for whatever reason you decided that you no longer wanted to have your collateral in Bitcoin but Ethereum instead, you’d normally have to close out all of your loan positions by repaying all of your loans, withdraw your Bitcoin from the lending and borrowing protocol, go to an AMM, swap your Bitcoin into Ethereum, go back to your lending and borrowing protocol, deposit your Ethereum and reopen all of your loans again.

As you can see, this is a long and tedious process. Neptune will be able to accomplish all of that for a user with the click of a button. The process goes from a tedious multi-step process to a simple one-click operation.

This is the type of user experience that we want on Neptune. It’s one of those things that is so obvious once you use it, but right now, no one is doing this.

We’ll also have other features like stable-rate loans, fixed-rate loans, and self-repaying loans — there’s so much that we’re doing that we can say is new and innovative but we’re always trying to keep things as simple as possible, and that, to us, is what being next-generation is all about.

Users can try out your devnet right now! What are some of the features on this dashboard they can start playing with?

Yes, there is a demo available right now — it’s essentially what we created for the Riptide Hackathon.

It’s because of the feedback that we’ve received after creating this demo that we’re refreshing our UI to make it even more accessible. Here’s a sneak peek of what we’re doing now!

You can take the current for a test drive, airdrop yourself some tokens, and get a first experience on Neptune. This upcoming refresh will change and tweak our UI to make it even more intuitive, so look for that coming soon!

You have very nuanced views on governance and the past practices of the Solana DeFi ecosystem. What is Neptune doing differently on the governance front?

Well, to start we didn’t want to have “just a governance token” because, for the most part, governance tokens are not worth much. We understand that the veGovernance model is the best system that we have in the space, however, we believe we’re improving on it by creating a more modern governance system.

Starting with our timelock system, where voting power is determined via the amount of staked tokens, and the timelocked duration of these tokens, a longer timelock duration will have more voting power.

This is a powerful feature that can help even out the playing field for smaller players because someone with a smaller amount of tokens can have more voting power by locking their tokens for a longer period, thus helping reduce manipulations from bigger players on shorter time frames.

On top of that, we’re also introducing Vote Power Delegation to Solana. This is an option where users can delegate their voting power to other users. This is important because some token holders may not want to be so active in the day-to-day governance of the protocol, so they’ll still receive staking rewards but they just won’t vote on governance proposals.

This also opens up the door for composability with protocols that are built on top of Neptune, allowing these other protocols to offer incentives for Neptune users to delegate their voting power to them. As you mentioned earlier: Here come the Neptune wars!

Markets are not the same as they used to be. Sentiment has changed. How has this affected your fans? Do you foresee any specific behavior from your future users, given the recent change in macro?

Yes, markets took a big turn, and we think that it’ll take a little while to recover, so naturally, people are more risk adverse right now. But that’s exactly why we think a project like Neptune is needed.

We’re not going to make outrageous promises of 40% yield on your stablecoin: we’re focusing on secure, sustainable and realizable returns. We think a project that can deliver this type of service is what the crypto community will seek out in the near future.

We completely agree that this DeFi and TradFi gap is an compelling trend in which we want to participate.

As more and more people learn about crypto, taking the next step into DeFi can be big a leap. We want to be there for people in crypto, making it easier for them to have access to DeFi (and maybe they won’t even know it). We’re excited to have a partner like Pyth that has a similar vision to ours, and navigating the space together.

Do you have any final words for your community and the readers?

We’re getting ready for our Lockdrop, so that is coming very soon!

This is big for us, and it’s also a first for the Solana ecosystem! We take security very seriously, so we’re deep in testing and getting security audited as we speak, which can take some time, but we want to do our absolute best in terms of security to ensure a smooth launch.

Lastly, we value our community and we love to interact with them, so if you want to take part in this adventure to Neptune, please don’t hesitate to join our Discord or follow us on Twitter, and let’s build something great together.

We can’t wait to hear what you think! Feel free to join the Pyth Discord, follow Pyth on Twitter, and join the Telegram to learn more and ask any questions you may have. You can also learn more here.

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