Ishan Pandey: Hi Elena Sinelnikova, welcome again to our series “Behind the Startup.” Please tell us about yourself and the story behind Metis?
Elena Sinelnikova: Years ago, my long-time friend Natalia Ameline and I started getting requests from friends of ours to explain what blockchain was. So we started having these little get-togethers over coffee in Toronto. Those get-togethers turned into larger local meetups. Those meetups started expanding to other places until eventually, they grew to cover 56(!) different countries around the world. From those humble beginnings, an organization called CryptoChicks was built, one of the world’s largest non-profit blockchain education and advocacy organizations.
As CryptoChicks grew, a large ecosystem emerged. Startup entrepreneurs started gathering within that ecosystem to figure out how to launch their own blockchain ideas; for instance, it was there that Stani Kulechov first started really running with his idea for a DeFi project, which today is AAVE, one of the largest DeFi projects in the world. It was also there that I met Yuan Su, a blockchain developer working for IBM Hyperledger who had been coding since age 6, and Kevin Liu, a serial founder, and incredibly smart product developer. The three of us loved the CryptoChicks idea of “blockchain for everyone,” so we decided to take that same idea and form our own company. That company became Metis.
Three years later, Metis is building a hub for the entire Web3 economy in 3 stages: Layer 2 Ethereum scaling solution with transactions of a few seconds and a few cents; NO-CODE integration via smart contract templates, and a Decentralized Autonomous Company (DAC) infrastructure enabling both blockchain AND Web2 companies to build decentralized businesses ON-CHAIN, with all the functionalities of real-world enterprises and all the security and decentralization of the Ethereum blockchain.
Ishan Pandey: What are your views on rising Ethereum transaction fees? Further, is it making it difficult for blockchain startups to launch on Ethereum?
Elena Sinelnikova: The Blockchain Trilemma is figuring out how to balance high security and decentralization with high scalability. Ethereum is great at the first two, but it struggles with scalability, as you mentioned. Currently, transactions on our Ethereum Layer 2 Rollup cost about $2; starting in Q1 2022, when we launch our new storage layer, those transactions will cost just a few cents.
You mention startups – it’s no coincidence that even though we just launched on mainnet 2.5 weeks ago, we already have more than 60 strategic partners, many of them being startups. With our no-code middleware, DAC infrastructure, and Builder Mining features complementing fast and cheap transactions and the security and decentralization of Ethereum, we are becoming the go-to place for startups looking to build and grow.
Ishan Pandey: Tell us about DAOs and regulations around DAOs?
Elena Sinelnikova: Decentralized Autonomous Organizations are a great organizational structure in that they enable groups of people to band together and execute voting and governance functions in a decentralized way. At present, the progress has been slow and steady for DAO building, with more and more jurisdictions (such as the state of Wyoming in the U.S.) formally legalizing and welcoming DAOs.
Ishan Pandey: What is a DAC? Further, how does it function, and what are its use-cases?
Elena Sinelnikova: Metis is building a much more ambitious structure than DAOs: Decentralized Autonomous Companies (DACs). With DACs, every entity from a large Web2 company (imagine Nike) to a loosely affiliated group of enthusiasts (imagine you and 10 friends trading NFTs with each other) to something in between (a freelance staffing service like a Web 3/decentralized version of Fiverr or Upwork) can take advantage of our decentralized business templates and all of the features found in a Web2 company (ERP/CRM software, payroll management, Slack-like messaging platform) to run their entire operations right on the blockchain, with those fast and cheap transactions and secure, decentralized structure mentioned above!
Ishan Pandey: Tell us about your views on Web 3 and how is it different from Web 2?
Elena Sinelnikova: The biggest difference lies in governance. We are big believers in decentralization, to the point that we are the first Layer 2 platform to publish a complete decentralization roadmap, with a plan to hand 100% governance of our infrastructure over to our community (not our team!) by Q3 2022.
That one fundamental difference changes everything from how companies partner with each other to how teams operate on a day-to-day basis. The future of work is most definitely decentralized and most definitely focused on Web3.
Ishan Pandey: What are your views on Solana as an alternative to Ethereum for launching NFTs?
Elena Sinelnikova: I mentioned the Blockchain Trilemma earlier. Solana sacrifices decentralization and security to make transactions cheaper. As long as its network continues to function, that’s great. Unfortunately, as we’ve seen recently, Solana has run into several network problems. When a major outage or, even worse, a major crash or loss of assets occurs, people will wish they’d turned to an environment in which they could, say, mint NFTs for just a few bucks and benefit from all the decentralization and security of Ethereum.
Ishan Pandey: What are your views on Metaverse? Do you think it will break societal constructs like social media?
Elena Sinelnikova: We are very excited about the growth of the Metaverse and about Metis’ ability to take Metaverse projects to the next level by including DACs! We see that trend and GameFi in general as being a huge driver of future blockchain growth, and more than that, just a really cool new idea for regular people to experience and enjoy. There are so many amazing Metaverse projects currently launching and expanding.
We are devoting significant investments and grants to the most promising MetaVerse projects, combining those incentives with the scalability, security, and decentralization that are our hallmarks, creating an ideal value proposition for MetaVerse projects looking to scale and build their business.
Ishan Pandey: According to you, what new trends are we going to see in the blockchain industry?
Elena Sinelnikova: We believe the next big step is Web2 integration into Web3 ecosystems. Offering smart contract templates that serve as middleware, enabling anyone from overwhelmed blockchain developer teams to even Web2 companies with zero blockchain experience or expertise to hop onto the Metis network with just a few clicks. Combine that middleware with our DAC infrastructure, and we expect to onboard dozens and dozens of excellent Web2 partners from industries ranging from real estate to healthcare to gaming and much more in the weeks and months to come!
Disclaimer: The purpose of this article is to remove informational asymmetry existing today in our digital markets by performing due diligence, asking the right questions, and equipping readers with better opinions to make informed decisions.