Building on Ethereum and Celo


This video provides a summary of a discussion held at the Kuneco conference in April 2021, focusing on building applications on Ethereum and Celo blockchains. The panelists include James Prestwich, Tarun Chitra, and the moderator, Jerald James. They discuss various aspects of the two ecosystems, their relationship, challenges, and future prospects. The conversation covers topics such as liquidity, bridges, developer support, user base, and the role of individual contributors.

Panelists and Moderators

  • James Prestwich: Founder of Sumo and currently working on bridges and cross-chain interoperability between Celo and other chains.
  • Tarun Chitra: Founder of Gauntlet, a company specializing in risk assessments and monitoring of DeFi and staking systems.
  • Jerald James (Moderator): Part of the developer relations team at Celo.

Ethereum and Celo: Complementary or Competitors?

The discussion begins by exploring the relationship between Ethereum and Celo. The panelists acknowledge the shared history and functionality between the two blockchains. They discuss the importance of liquidity and the need for independent demand generation to establish Celo as a strong alternative. The concept of bridges is introduced as a means to onboard users from Ethereum to Celo.

The Role of Bridges and Major Risks

The panelists delve into the significance of bridges in facilitating the transfer of liquidity and users between Ethereum and Celo. James Prestwich highlights the cost associated with running relayed bridges, emphasizing the need for more efficient solutions. He also mentions upcoming technology that aims to address these challenges but clarifies that it will take time to mature and be widely adopted.

Metamask Compatibility and User Acquisition

The conversation shifts to the importance of Metamask compatibility for seamless integration with other EVM chains. The panelists discuss the technical decisions made by Celo in the past, which resulted in the lack of Metamask support. This limitation hindered cross-chain transactions and replication of positions. They stress the need for improved compatibility and the time spent on solving usability issues.

Evolving Ecosystems and User Acquisition

The panelists analyze the current state of blockchain ecosystems and whether they are moving away from theoretical ideals towards practical implementations. They mention the Binance Smart Chain (BSC) boom, highlighting the onboarding of unsophisticated users. They also note the growing sophistication of developers in creating applications that drive chain usage. The discussion emphasizes the collective effort and collaborative nature of innovation in the crypto space.

Economic Activity and Subsidization

The panelists examine the economic activity within blockchain ecosystems, particularly in relation to liquidity providers and traders. They discuss how projects incentivize users through subsidies and rewards to pump specific metrics and create the appearance of success. The example of Compound (COMP) and its rewards mechanism is mentioned, highlighting the importance of liquidity as a core metric.

Layer 2 Solutions and Brass’s Paradox

The conversation briefly touches upon layer 2 scaling solutions like optimism and their potential to reduce gas fees. They introduce Brass’s Paradox, which states that if a resource or capacity is made available, people will subsidize and utilize it. This concept emphasizes the scarcity of chain space and the challenge of balancing scarcity, cost, and desirability in blockchain ecosystems.

Conclusion and Last Words

In the concluding remarks, the panelists express their gratitude for the opportunity to discuss and share honest opinions about building on Ethereum and Celo. They thank the moderators and the audience for their participation and highlight the importance of open conversations to foster innovation in the blockchain space.