The growth of decentralized exchanges is unquestionably one of the trends to watch in 2019.
Fabio Canesin is a co-founder of Nash Exchange (NEX), a decentralized exchange aiming to make blockchain technology accessible to a wide public. Fabio holds a BSc in Mechanical Engineering and an MSc in Computational Science. Fabio is also known within the crypto community as a founder of the City of Zion (CoZ) open-source community, which brought the NEX co-founders together and continues to develop infrastructure for the NEO blockchain.
We spoke with Fabio about Nash, whether DEXs will increase their share of volume, and what he thinks the future holds for the decentralized exchange.
Could you give us an overview of Nash's current projects?
Nash currently has two main projects: a self-custody platform for funds management, which allows users to control the private keys for multiple blockchain networks in a single place, and a decentralized exchange.
The essence of our funds management platform is to bring the user experience of mobile and internet banking to blockchain wallet systems. People already familiar with blockchain will think of this as a multi-network wallet, but people just arriving in the space will already be familiar with how it looks and feels.
Connected to this are our decentralized exchange protocol and matching engine. Our system allows full cross-chain trading, but it communicates with the funds management tools in such a way that it remains entirely non-custodial. Users can trade assets across multiple blockchain networks and at no point does Nash take possession of their funds.
These are the two main products that we are working on right now. They represent only a small part of what we have planned, but they lay the foundations for future products.
Another product that we will ship very soon – hopefully at the same time as our decentralized exchange – are fiat on- and off-ramps. These will integrate with our funds management tools and will offer a marketplace for banking providers in various jurisdictions to allow users to buy and sell digital assets for national currencies.
Finally, we plan to complement these three products with a payment service aimed at online businesses. You could think of Nash as fintech company aiming to bring decentralized finance to everyone. Our products build on each other in a logical progression, working towards this goal. A payment layer on top of our other solutions is the last piece of the puzzle.
In your compliance section on the Nash website you have a section on AML and KYC. Is it your intention to implement KYC and AML checks on the Nash DEX? If so, do you think this undermines the concept of a DEX?
We intend to implement KYC and AML checks on Nash. We do not seek to facilitate illicit business, but to provide a service that helps legitimate people lead a better life. KYC and AML help prevent the misuse of money within our platform. We do not believe in facilitating such business and refuse to do so. There is a lot of friction when it comes to how AML works in the industry nowadays. We believe we can make it much easier. Even if it is not presently widespread, it is fair.
DEXes solve the security problems of centralized exchanges, which take custody of users’ assets and match trades behind closed doors. For us, a DEX is defined by self-custody and transparency, empowering users to control their assets without a middleman. They should know their assets are safe and the matching of trades is fair. A completely anonymous and unregulated system would prevent these advantages reaching the majority or private or business users, since it would (rightly) have a questionable legal status.
DEXs currently account for a very small percentage of the global crypto trading volume. Why do you think this is the case and will this change?
Most DEX interfaces are neither simple nor intuitive. Poor user experience plays a major role in explaining their limited adoption and growth. One of our main concerns at Nash is to offer intuitive tools for simplified trading and effortless asset transfers that go beyond what current CEX and DEX interfaces offer.
What do you make of the growing competition in the 'smart contract platform' blockchains? Besides NEO, do you have any preferences?
We work with every chain. We are launching with two networks, Ethereum and NEO, but we believe there will be many more blockchains in the future. Just as there are a considerable number of mobile providers, we believe there will be hundreds of blockchains. We hope to support many other networks and have designed our systems to be flexible in adapting to variations on the same fundamental base-layer technology.
Could you give a high level explanation of the Nash business model?
Nash's business model is quite simple: we charge a small fee on trades. Of course, we also plan to deliver only the very best products. Our commitment to quality is key in terms of winning customers. As we bring in new users and continue to develop our platform, we will explore other monetization avenues. However, our main business is finance and we have a very strong focus on decentralized finance. We will be paying close attention to all platforms, present and future, that operate in this area.
Have you seen demand for staking NEX tokens?
There has been a great demand for staking NEX tokens. Some people have even been looking for ways to stake before the product is released! We are very happy with our supporters. They are extremely passionate, and we really appreciate their commitment.
It says on your website that you are hiring. What are your plans for growth and how has the market decline since early 2018 affected Nash?
A significant part of the industry was affected by the 2018 bear market. We believe this market cannot be predicted, so we try to safeguard our operations. Fortunately, we converted several positions to fiat soon after our crowdsale. However, we still have positions in crypto and we would certainly benefit from a bull market.
Regarding hiring, we are now focused on assembling a Support team that will be set up and managed by the Marketing and Communications team. We consistently receive excellent applications from candidates interested in joining Nash and we pay attention to each application. Of course, we have further plans to grow the team and positions are open across the board – however, we place great emphasis on resource management in the company, so we are looking to grow efficiently. As the company increases in size and we generate more revenue, even more positions will be available in all divisions.
What trends do you see in the industry that are particularly interesting or important?
When you think about bonds and securities, it is really important to consider the potential of digital assets. Digital identities will also be very important. The ability for states to recognize identities in the virtual world will transform society forever.
Could you tell us a bit about the Nash roadmap for 2019 and beyond?
Our roadmap is quite clear: we will focus on the products we already mentioned. 2019 is mainly about our funds management tools and decentralized exchange. We are already working on the other projects, but our goal is to refine these parts of the platform first. This will allow us to invest fully in our payments solution, which will build upon and leverage these existing elements and will be a very important part of our platform.
Throughout 2019 and 2020, we will seek to improve and refine our products based on users’ interactions with them. There will be a lot of observation, measurement and user feedback, allowing us to be absolutely sure we meet their needs.