On the 23rd of August, 2021 at 16:00 UTC, Decentralized Club had the honor of hosting Denis Lam, CEO from Vera for an Ask-Me-Anything session on their Telegram page with a community of over 30,000 people. It was hosted by DC Admin, May.
The session was divided into four segments. Introductions were made in Segment 1, questions from the Twitter and website community were answered in Segment 2 and 3 respectively, and live questions from the community members in attendance were answered in Segment 4.
If you missed this event and would like to know what Vera is all about, you can find a recap of the interview here. Note that slight edits have been made for clarity.
Segment 1 – Introduction
Hello, 大家好, नमस्ते, Selamat!
My name is May and I’ll be hosting the AMA with Vera.
Today, we have with us a guest from the Vera Team.
You’re welcome and it’s an honor to have you here.
It’s an honor to speak in front of the famous Decentralized Club
Glad to have you again! 😊
Could you quickly tell us more about yourself and your job description at Vera?
Yes of course
I began coding at age 6 and launched my first start-up gig at age 14. I have a background in Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley and I am a serial entrepreneur and full-stack product engineer. I have 10+ years of cross-functional experience working with startups, Fortune enterprises, and venture capital funds and have been on a founding team that took a company from $0 to $100 million in valuation, expanding into several countries the first year. My venture into crypto began at the start of 2017 when my company tasked me with exploring the feasibility of launching a venture arm into blockchain technologies in Silicon Valley. I’ve worked with several projects in the blockchain space from that point moving forward, wearing several hats ranging from founder, advisor, to investor. To this date, I am passionate about working with firestarters to democratize access to products/services and disrupt the status quo, especially with innovative technologies such as blockchain.
At Vera, I am the Founder and CEO
Looking forward to an insightful interview.
Shall we start with some project introductory questions?
Yes let’s do it
Q1. Can you tell us the goals that birthed the idea of Vera?
Vera is building the most powerful open financial platform for non-fungible token (NFT) assets. Vera offers decentralized financing, leasing, lending, and other essential financial services for any NFT marketplace, game, or application. Founded in 2021 and backed by notable investors in the decentralized fintech space such as Animoca Brands (leader in blockchain gaming and NFTs; key investor in Axie Infinity, Open Sea, Dapper Labs, CryptoKitties, and much more) and the Web3 Foundation, Vera’s mission is simple: To build open, secure, and powerful NFT financial products that are equally available to everyone everywhere.
So what birthed this idea?
We believe NFTs are still in their infancy and while there’s a lot of speculation ($70 million for pixel art anyone?)Truly sustainable adoption will only occur when NFTs are accepted by users or businesses of one or more real-world asset classes. This means a lot of experimentation and trial and error needs to occur by more projects and developers.
We are not really too focused on minting an object because every other project and marketplace can let you mint objects. And there is no shortage of marketplaces nor is minting hard to achieve from a technology standpoint.
After working on NFT and blockchain projects with several clients, what we discovered is that the market today lacks the tools to help a developer or founder (that doesn’t know how to code) build their own marketplace faster, cheaper and easier that supports more than just buy/sell NFTs. Things like decentralized lending, leasing, and liquidity for financial transactions. Just like if you were to build a traditional app or game, you should not need to also build Paypal or banking services. If you were to build a dApp or blockchain game, you should not need to build your own decentralized financial services network and maintain the smart contract protocols.
Wow! This is great!
Q2. What is the process of tokenizing any asset, minting, and managing the NFTs created on the Vera Network?
Tokens can be minted anywhere, such as OpenSea or their own smart contract, and still, be compatible with our platform. However, if they want, they may also mint their tokens on our platform which supports common NFT-related standards such as ERC721 and ERC1155. For each of our products, we have a smart contract that serves as a factory for these NFTs and their associated attributes which are managed by our network.
Good to know!
Q3. How does Vera plan to trailblaze the NFT-enabled digital transformation of the industry?
We are already trailblazing because the NFT industry does not currently have any DeFi financial products or services. Vera is the first project that we know of that provides open-source, secure, trustworthy, and reliable essential financial services for NFT apps or games equally available to all developers. The initial services we are currently building are:
We believe our services will give NFTs so much more utility and creative business use cases beyond just buying and selling – and this will accelerate the massive adoption of NFTs to become the next trillion-dollar industry. It’s exciting to be at the forefront of this new movement!
Q4. Please tell us about your collaboration with Polkadot and what it means for the Vera Network?
Vera Network got kicked off at the beginning of this year from receiving a grant from the Web 3 foundation. For this project we built smart contract code to allow collateralized lending applications on Substrate. a next-generation, heterogeneous, multi-chain network backbone that powers Polkadot. We completed this grant about 2 to 3 weeks ago and the testnet and demo can be seen on our website.
What this means for Vera Network is that the founder and key stakeholders of the Polkadot ecosystem believe in our technology and ability to create solutions in this space – and our code on Github related to this deliverable is audited and verified to be high quality by them to meet their expectations.
We believe in Vera too!
Q5. What major news should we still look forward to from Vera this year?
So much news where should I start?
First, we just made it to cover of Yahoo Finance a day or two ago: https://finance.yahoo.com/news/nft-defi-platform-vera-raises-154500703.html
More roadmap info:
We have completed a PoC web app demo in Q2 with Web 3 Foundation.
Recently we have released PoC code under an open-source license, and MVP development is already underway with several real-world customers in the gaming and e-commerce space.
We are currently working on bridges with Ethereum and Solana blockchains so any NFT from those chains will also be compatible with Vera services. We have future plans to also support Polygon and BSC NFTs. We will continue the platform development and release more documentation for 3rd party and open source developers to build on top of our protocol.
We are very excited for the completion of MVP by the end of the year 2021 with our current customers because we have the potential to have real user adoption of our products by millions of users and NFT transaction volume when our product is live! 🙂
So Vera is EVM-compatible?
Absolutely. Vera is an EVM protocol contract – our products are dependent on smart contracts.
It’s time to take questions from our Twitter community.
Yes let’s do it
Segment 2 – Twitter Questions
Q1. I read that you’ve said before that one of your main objectives is to bring non-crypto users to a decentralized network. Can you tell us more about this? How are you planning on doing so? How user-friendly will your Network be then?
Twitter Username: @meml1997
Absolutely. No crypto project will truly have adoption if non-crypto people cannot benefit. This is even more important for NFT apps because NFTs represent real-world assets – either digital or physical. If there are no non-crypto people able to use your NFT application then I believe that project is more of research or experimental project and there won’t be real adoption.
Vera is grateful to have Animoca as a strategic lead investor which is the world’s largest NFT company. Several of their games and metaverses may be using Vera to power their NFT DeFi ecosystem in the near future as a result. We also have several other games, metaverse, marketplaces, and creators/celebrities that love dropping NFTs that we are working and partnering with to develop real-world NFT use cases beyond simply buying and selling NFTs. This is what differentiates us from the current NFT service providers. Our clients can generate more revenue streams and give their followers unique experiences with NFTs!
I agree! The goal is wide user adoption!
We’ll talk about your partnership with Animoca in a bit.
Q2. How does Vera regulate NFTs? How do they ensure that no stolen or illegal NFTs are being exchanged on their network?
Twitter Username: @jed_zuke
Vera platform products are powered by smart contracts so you can say these smart contracts regulate the NFTs and their associated transactions based on the agreed-upon contract terms between strangers. Transactions may be related to financing, renting, or lending services for instance.
Vera will also provide solutions to our clients that care about their brand or intellectual property.
These clients most likely are worried bad actors want to trick uneducated users to buy NFTs that are not authentic or created by authorized smart contracts from the brand or app.
That’s why we have a product called Verify – it will improve the user experience for NFT buyer protection – and it provides a transparent way where the public can check an on-chain registry for the serial numbers of NFTs or associated smart contract NFT factories that are certified authentic by specific stakeholders such as a brand or metaverse.
Our smart contracts may also be integrated into such registries where only whitelisted NFTs may use certain financial services.
Good to know!
Q3. Is there an alternative or option that liquidates physical assets into cryptocurrencies?
Twitter Username: @AnthonyUdem
Not sure if I understand this question but I will try to answer. Physical assets – say a physical artwork like Mona Lisa – can be represented by an NFT. NFTs can be sold on a marketplace for cryptocurrencies. There are many marketplaces to do this such as OpenSea, however, Vera will allow marketplaces to have advanced financial services beyond buying and selling such as financing and renting NFTs. So now you can either sell it or rent it out to others to make an income so your NFT won’t collect dust in your wallet.
It’s now time to take questions from our website community.
Segment 3 – Website Questions
Here comes the Animoca question.
Q1. I think the biggest NFT boom has been in the gaming world, you are in partnership with Animoca Brands which is currently a key investor in many blockchain games, can you tell us if Vera has any direct participation in the development of these games?
Telegram Username: @Antoni_azx
Absolutely. We have been working with different teams in Animoca from investment, business strategy, to engineering teams to better understand the business model and problems so that we can best design solutions for them using our products. I cannot say more than this in detail since we have an NDA but let’s just say the community should be very excited about how Vera + Animoca has the potential to transform the entire blockchain gaming industry and be the #1 leader in “GameFi”!
Q2. Vera Protocol is powered by Polkadot because it is faster, cheaper, interoperable, and upgradable. Do you have any plan to integrate to another chain like BSC, HECO, or Ethereum in the future for investors to have more options? Can you describe your collaboration with Polkadot?
Telegram Username: @jobel4
Our project is actually called Vera or Vera Network, not Vera Protocol.
While we built our platform on Polkadot, our products are compatible with NFTs or dApps from other blockchains such as Ethereum and Solana. We plan to support Polygon, BSC, etc as well as any chain with projects/games/apps/clients that need our services. We will prioritize the development of our “bridges” based on demand. Currently, the largest NFT market/business is on Ethereum which is why we are focusing on this ecosystem.
Polkadot is not a company or entity so nobody can collaborate with Polkadot. We simply built our code on their open-source platform.
But noted that we did receive a grant from Web 3 Foundation to build smart contracts on Polkadot, which is a foundation started by Dr. Gavin Wood the founder of Polkadot.
Like any other project on Polkadot, the ecosystem is waiting for the launch of the Polkadot mainnet. We hope this is soon within 1 year. If there are substantial delays with Polkadot’s launch which are totally out of our control, then we have backup plans to replicate our solutions or other scalable chains such as Solana or Polygon, etc.
We understand low transaction fees are important, which is why we are building chain agnostic tools that ultimately give NFT owners the ability to perform financial services on different blockchains.
Q3. Vera Network said that it wants to start the global campaign of acquiring partners and clients, how will Vera Network manage the generation and qualification of leads? What vision does Vera have regarding brands and any commercial strategy? Do you know how to optimize offers?
Telegram Username: @Arriiiaaaannnnna
We are currently growing a pipeline of high-quality clients thanks to word-of-mouth referrals by our early supporters and community backers. We currently have no shortage of leads and are actively expanding our team to find top talent that can work with our product and engineering team to better onboard and service these clients.
Vera will become the first DeFi Bank or Open Financial Platform for NFT asset classes. The value proposition is simple and clear for 99% of our clients to understand.
It’s time for the most popular segment of the AMA.
In this 4th segment, I will open the group for some seconds for the live community to shoot you some pressing questions.
Please pick four original questions to answer.
Try to ignore generic, vague, and copy-paste questions 😊
—Chat was then opened for the live community to send in their questions—
Segment 4 – Live Questions
Please pick four original questions about Vera to answer. 🙂
“Vera has already invented the wheel, brakes, and steering. Go invent the car”, what does it mean? What’s the meaning of VERA?. And In what way will VERA become the gateway for the NFT world and reinvent the economy?
NFTs are a new asset class – they may be used in games and crypto art now but what other use cases are yet to be discovered. Vera is building many essential DeFi building blocks and it’s up to the entrepreneur or developer to experiment with what dream car they want to build. We want to make their job a lot easier so they don’t have to build all their parts themselves 🙂
Vera Protocol seeks to make the NFT financial market open and accessible to everyone, but are today’s NFT markets really not open to everyone? Being so, how does it expand to all users?
NFT markets today allow you to buy and sell NFT assets. They are somewhat open but we are focused on DEFI financial services, not just a buy/sell marketplace. NFTs cannot be easily rented, financed, or lent to others right now.
For all the GAME Lovers, how is #Vera going to REVOLUTIONIZE the gaming industry? Can you elaborate on Leasing Virtual items Features?
What are the AUDITS VERA done? Can you publish the link to your AUDIT reports?
Our original code related to leasing smart contracts is audited and approved by the Web 3 Foundation. Other smart contracts are still a work in progress so we have not begun auditing. We plan to launch a 3 step auditing process when we are ready – internal audit, independent audit, community audit.
Got time for one more? 😊
When would you start integration with other protocols as well as CrossChain Integration??
We are already beginning our integration with Ethereum and Solana. Additional chains are planned for next year.
Aaaaaaand it’s a wrap! 🎉🎉🎉
Thank you for your time with us today, Mr. Lam.
Alright, thank you for having me.
We will be launching a bounty campaign soon to give away $15,000 in prizes.
When the link is available I will let your community know.
Okay! Thank you 🙂
Vera is teeming with potential! Can’t wait to hear great things!
Do send our regards to the rest of the amazing team at Vera.
Until next time, have a great day!