Kicking off 2022 with Orion Protocol

Hi everyone, and welcome to the first AMA of 2022! We had hundreds of questions this time and although we can't answer all of them, this is going to be a long one as we’ve got a lot of ground to cover, both in what’s been achieved and what’s to come, so get comfortable! 

Don't worry if your question doesn't come up, there’s also an opportunity to ask your questions in the live chat, and our team will be answering these live in the chat itself.

So before we get started, i think it’s important to touch on what our CEO Alexey Koloskov said earlier this week;

In an industry hyper-focused on ‘the next big thing’, it’s easy to overlook what has come before, what has been achieved, and the importance of laying robust foundations for growth. 

Really, 2020 was our conceptual stage, building the core proposition, the concept, and the community.

2021 was about building our foundations with the launch of our main net, and stress testing this infrastructure.

2022 will be about building on these foundations to achieve market-wide adoption - both of our core solution Orion Terminal and the protocol as a whole, through our various DeFi solutions

So firstly, let’s take a minute to recap some of the major milestones last year (2021 review plays)

So as we have a lot of ground to cover we’ve grouped these questions and topics into sections including:

- Orion bridge
- Core functionality
- Expansion of the protocol
- Additional features
- And Growth initiatives

Orion Bridge

So let’s kick off with the topic of the week, month, maybe even the year - Orion Bridge!

Before jumping into more details, I'm excited to announce that Orion Bridge will be live to the public on January 31st!

Testing with the VIP group has gone incredibly well as you may have seen based on feedback in the main channel, and we want to use the time from now until launch to drive as much awareness of the Bridge as possible. While we’ve spoken about the Bridge in AMAs and Twitter, we’ve not yet released anything in the way of information on inner workings or capabilities as we wanted to be in semi-stealth mode on this until the bridge was fully ready.

This isn’t because someone could copy what we’re doing, as the broker network underpinning the bridge is unique to us, but because we don't want to overpromise and under deliver. As this is totally new technology, we wanted to be sure of exactly how it would work, what this and subsequent iterations would look like, clearly understand our timeframe for rollout, and communicate this as transparently and effectively as possible.

With that said, we can now say with confidence that Orion Bridge will be a gamechanger, both for us and the industry as a whole.

So, what is Orion Bridge, and how does it work?

Orion Bridge is the first cross-chain bridge built on peer-to-peer communication via atomic swap technology.

It enables users to trade popular assets across different blockchains without limits, delays, refused orders, or blocking of funds. 

Users don't lose ownership of their tokens until they receive the corresponding pegged tokens on the chosen network - eliminating the issues associated with other bridges in the market.

Orion Bridge is the first step towards market-wide interoperability. Atomic swaps are a powerful continuation of the idea of "removing" the boundaries between blockchains. Going forward, we will integrate further chains and plan to move all transaction settlements to a cheap network in a way that remains transparent to users - finally removing the boundaries between blockchains.

In its first iteration, Orion Bridge bridges Ethereum and Binance Smart Chain networks.

There are two current implementations of the bridge on Orion Terminal in V1:

Orion Bridge itself

  • enabling cross-chain swaps without limits, delays, refused orders, or blocked funds.
  • There's No bridge fee for V1 (only network fees)
  • Swap corresponding tokens between ETH + BSC (eg 1000 ERC20 ORN to 1000 BEP20 ORN)
  • No minimum or maximum limits (the only limit is Broker's available balance at Exchange Contract in the target network)
  • No deposit needed (use cumulative balance on the exchange and the balance of your own wallet)

And Orion Bridge has been integrated into Orion Terminal, allowing for true cross-exchange, cross-chain liquidity aggregation. 

  • Trade ERC20 assets on Orion Terminal with the low fees and high transaction speed of Binance Smart Chain, enabling Practically zero fee trading of ERC20 assets for the first time
Available assets on launch include: ORN, USDT, USDC, ETH, FTM, LINK

Subsequent integrations will include: 
  • More available assets 
  • Further chain integrations
  • More exchanges and liquidity sources
  • Orion Bridge integration into Orion Pools for ‘practically feeless’ ERC20 staking
  • A public broker network open to all (enabling brokers to earn fees for swaps)

Our Bridge homepage with more information and a countdown will be live next week, and we will be putting out plenty of content, both from us, via media, partners, and influencers from that point on!

Core Functionality

So, now let's jump into core functionality. It’s hard to believe that the launch of Orion Terminal’s Main Net was just nine months ago. Since then, we’ve continued to optimize the UX based on user feedback, growing the number of pairs, launched Orion Pools, and reached an ATH of Daily Transactional Volume of $83 million, which put us within the top 15 DEXs in market.

With a strong foundation laid and onboarding processes optimized, we’re ready to take Orion Terminal to the ‘growth’ stage this year - onboarding new assets, liquidity sources, and chain integrations at a much faster pace. Let’s touch on each of these areas with some of your questions:

Andrew: Q: Why haven’t more brokers been onboarded to the terminal?

Timothea: We have to remember this is industry first technology we’re building, and the onboarding of brokers is a two party matter. We have prioritized major CEX as our primary brokers and it’s important to bear in mind that there are a lot of legal requirements and hoops to jump through for us to enable decentralized access to their centralized liquidity, perhaps more than we initially expected at launch.

We are not simply pulling an API feed. The onboarding varies for each exchange, their due diligence, and the amount of resources they can commit from developers, biz dev, legal, etc. We have been continually optimizing this process and the broker network itself, and the onboarding of the latest CEX to be deployed has ironed out a lot of kinks in place to improve future onboarding (e.g. overcoming occasional issues with broker settlement). 

Now that the onboarding process has been optimized, we have been waiting for the bridge to be live before deploying new brokers. As our brokers are a key element of the Bridge, we want to test and ensure the p2p broker network is fully operational so we can effectively onboard subsequent exchanges into the bridge..

That said, there are several new CEX brokers in the pipeline:

  • AscendEX onboarding is complete and will be in main net staging not long after the bridge is live
  • Other brokers like (and a few very exciting ones we cannot yet discuss but may or may not have hinted at) are also well underway in the onboarding process, but naturally the larger the exchange, the longer the due diligence and onboarding takes. This is not an Orion issue, but moreso a matter of our partners making sure we are collectively ticking every box.
  • But, to reiterate, a more centralized liquidity source will be coming shortly after the launch of the bridge. 

    In terms of decentralized liquidity sources, the integration of the likes of Uniswap, Pancake Swap, etc will also be live after the launch of the bridge. 

    but I’m also very excited to share that we are currently working with our partners at Injective who have seen a huge growth in volume recently, to bring their decentralized derivatives to the platform. This also ties into one of our next priorities for the terminal which will be huge in terms of volume - margin trading. But we’ll touch more on that later.

    A “simple public broker network” will be brought to V2 of the bridge to enable public brokers, aka ORN holders, community members, to facilitate p2p cross-chain swaps. Once we are confident in this entire ‘Simple system’ being scalable without issues, we will enable full public brokers and main net staking.

    So we have a lot ready to roll out over the coming weeks and months to bolster our core proposition as a liquidity aggregator - the development team have been working incredibly hard to get us to a point of starting 2022 off with multiple areas almost ready for deployment to be able to regularly and strategically deliver each development and integration from here on out.

Andrew: Q: What are the other chains in the pipeline that Orion Protocol is going to be aggregating?

Timothea: As we’ve said, the integration of the Fantom chain is underway and will also be deployed after the bridge is live. We’ve prioritized Fantom first because of the depth of our partnership and the amount of volume this chain integration can bring to us.

Both volume and TVL are soaring right now and an incredible number of projects are building on Fantom currently, both tokens, decentralized exchanges, and even now a CEX, all of which we plan to integrate. The integration of the Fantom blockchain will enable the launch of our upcoming Wallet Swap SDK, which has been in testing with the Fantom and Orion devs for some time, but we’ll touch more on that in the next section too. FTM is also one of the assets available upon launch of Orion Bridge, and we’ll be adding the Fantom blockchain into the Bridge post chain-integration.

Adding new chains beyond Fantom are more important to us than ever right now, as this will only bolster the value of the bridge, and will enable us to achieve our goal of becoming a chain agnostic gateway to the crypto market.

Andrew: Q: What are the listing plans of ORN?

Timothea: Well, as we are listed on pretty much every major exchange from Coinbase to Binance I’m going to assume this refers to listing assets on the terminal itself. There are a number of different areas here:

Firstly, you will have hopefully seen today that we have “opened Orion” - enabling any project to list on the terminal. This will bring new assets, new communities, and more volume to Orion

Listing on Orion Terminal has many industry-first benefits over popular swap pools, including: - Fiat on/offramp gateway to their asset 

- Complex order types like limit orders + charting 
- Access to native farming 
- Access to advanced features like margin and lending
- CEX + DEX access in one place 
- And marketing support as we’ve seen from the huge success of our spotlights

Our new and existing brokers will also be bringing in more liquidity both for existing assets and new assets, and we’ll be bringing a significant amount of new assets from decentralized liquidity sources like Uniswap, Pancake Swap, etc.


Andrew: Q: Do you have projects that use the SDK and did you get any feedback on them?

Timothea: For those not yet familiar, Orion SDK is a software developer kit that enables developers to immediately start building their own powerful financial tools, harnessing the power and liquidity of the protocol, and really acts as the first gateway between the protocol and third parties. This iteration marked the first step towards Orion Protocol becoming available for anyone to build on.

We’ve already seen this in action through the development of ORNscan by Helios - using the protocol data to display insight from the terminal like highest trade value, ORN buyers vs Sellers, and much more. Excited to share that Helios has joined the Orion team, with some insane things planned from a UX perspective. 

We’re also aware of a number of users and projects using Orion SDK for arbitrage, across Orion Terminal and other yet to be connected exchanges like Coinbase and Kraken. We’re working to strengthen the SDK for arbitrage by creating virtual cross-chain order books within the next iteration of the SDK.

Subsequent iterations of Orion SDK will be released ahead of the launch of Orion SDK V2 - the framework on which all of Orion’s upcoming B2B solutions are being developed. 

An Orion SDK team has been created to further adoption of the SDK, both from a community and partner level, and a grant program will soon be available for projects wanting to build on the protocol. 

As tehMoonwalkeR said yesterday, open the protocol, let the community build, it’s the only way.

Andrew: that leads us nicely onto our next question: what are the priorities for the B2B solutions? When are they coming?

Timothea: While we have around a dozen B2B solutions in the pipeline, our priority for deployment is based on volume these can bring to the protocol. With that in mind, the two primary focuses for us short term are the Wallet Swap SDK, and the Whitelabel DEX.

Wallet Swap SDK

I’ve seen questions around ‘wen Orion wallet’ but Why create our own wallet, when we can tap into leading wallets with millions of users, and provide them access to Orion liquidity (CEX/DeX, cross-exchange and cross-chain) without ever leaving their wallet app? 

This solution really is a mutual force-multiplication greater than the sum of its parts. Orion is bringing together previously siloed, isolated markets, into one seamlessly aggregated order book. The wallet, with millions of users, serves as the infrastructure to bring this liquidity to the masses - enabling seamless access to these order books in a frictionless, immediate, and depending on the wallet itself, pretty much zero cost way, and without the insane slippage of other wallets.

The launch of this will come after the Fantom chain integration into the protocol and the bridge. While we are working with Fantom as the pilot partner for the wallet SDK, the opportunities really are endless and we’re in talks with a number of wallet providers for roll out after the launch with Fantom.

To me, this is a hugely underrated B2B solution that fits perfectly into our proposition of convenience - enabling users access to major CEX and DEX in one place, for the best price, but without even needing to leave their wallet.

The Whitelabel DEX is another feature we’ve remained relatively quiet on other than a reference on our roadmap. This is because of the level of partners involved: the Whitelabel DEX kit enables centralized exchanges to provide decentralized access to their liquidity on their own, branded, DEX. 

Some major exchanges have tried to build their own DEX, but they’ve either not taken off or run the risk of cannibalizing their existing offering by silioing liquidity. The whitelabel DEX enables CEXs to offer decentralized access to their existing liquidity, via our broker network. 

We already have one major CEX ready for launch, with the interface and platform already ready (which I can’t show you because then you’ll see who the exchange is), and we’re just waiting on their timeframes for launch. 

We’re also working with or in talks with a handful of other centralized exchanges on this. The beauty of this for Orion and ORN holders? Every transaction via this liquidity occurs as a transaction on the protocol.

So I’m sure it’s clear why we have prioritized these two solutions over others but to summarize,

  1. The wallet swap SDK allows us to tap into leading wallets with millions of users and enable them access to Orion liquidity
  2. The Whitelabel DEX Kit allows us to tap into the user base of leading CEX, millions of users, and enable them decentralized access to that centralized exchange - via Orion liquidity…

While the staking calculator led with DEX Kit, and Liquidity Boost Plugin, invariably these two solutions will be HUGE for daily protocol volume, and I think we know what that means…

Andrew: Q: Any more info on Main Net Staking ?

Timothea: Nice segway there.

So, elephant in the room, the launch of main net staking has obviously not occurred as fast as we would have liked, or as fast as we thought it would. While it’s been incredible seeing volume grow to an ATH of $83 DTV, there has been barriers to driving the volume on the protocol we want before delivering main net staking itself, due to underestimating a number of factors:

  • The complexity of onboarding of assets via centralized exchanges
  • The complexity of onboarding of centralized exchanges themselves
  • The implementation of depositless trading
  • The integration of new chains

However, that said, the development team has worked incredibly hard over the last year to iron out these issues and optimize these processes, as we’ve seen with the launch of the Aggregator V2 last month. This puts us in a completely different position to the launch of the Main Net last year. 

We’re ready to bring on more liquidity sources, both CEX + DEX
We’re ready to bring on more chains and assets
And we’re ready to deploy several critical B2B solutions.

And when we do, we’re ready for main net staking.

Additional Features

Andrew: Q: Could you give an update on the implementation of your stablecoin USDo? For me it feels like that USDo could be an important part later on within the fully evolved ecosystem.

Timothea: So work is underway with this, although the priority is to deliver on (most of) the areas mentioned above first.

For those not aware of USDo, As per traditional stablecoins, it will be used for trading and additional transactions within Orion Terminal. When users stake ORN or ORN LP tokens on Orion Terminal, they will be able to mint USDo at a to be determined ratio - collateralized using the staked ORN and unlocking margin for ORN holders.

We want ORN holders to be able to maximize yield beyond LPing and staking. So we are currently exploring different yield compounding mechanisms for maximum capital efficiency within the Orion ecosystem so holders can maximize yield on their ORN - we’re currently experimenting with different models of lending and other factors, and we will share more in due course - but ultimately our goal with this, as with everything we’ve touched on today, is to bring more users to the Orion ecosystem, and so we want to make sure we have the right model to do so to kickstart our entry into DeFi 2.0.

Andrew: Q: Can you explain why SolarFlare was created and how it benefits everyone?

Timothea: Orion SolarFlare was created to drive further utility for ORN and value for ORN holders. Orion SolarFlare enables democratic and decentralized access to IDOs simply through holding ORN - without minimums, maximums, lock ups, KYC, accounts, or pool caps. So In doing so, the market and the community itself determines the value of a project. 

Our IDO platform is unique, and our priority for each SolarFlare is performance and high returns for ORN holders. As such, we undertake significant due diligence on each project, including team, tokenomics, roadmap, listing plans, future partnerships, and more, and With each subsequent Solarflare, our aim is to increase allocation to allow for increased exposure for the ORN community and beyond. 

To date, we have seen two incredibly successful IDOs with up to 10x returns for participants. 

In terms of the rate of IDOs, this isn't set in stone as we want to prioritize quality over quantity - we wont work with every single IDO on KuCoin or Poolz or other partners. We have had an incredible number of projects interested since launch, both through our partners and directly, but we will continue to prioritize high value projects that will drive maximum returns for the community. 

I cant say too much yet on our next IDO but our DD is complete and it’s impressive and it’s going to be big. It has huge backing from a number of partners including a major layer one, and their only IDO will be on Solarflare. As such, we have a higher allocation than previous IDOs, and we will have the mechanism in place for stakers to receive higher allocation ratios.

Growth Initiatives

So our final section before we close out the AMA is on growth initiatives, from a token, biz dev, partnership, and marketing perspective

Andrew: Q: What are your intentions on removing tokens from circulation?

Timothea: The end of last year saw the first supply reduction event, with 7,400,000 ORN (7.4%) removed from total supply. As we shared last year, future supply reduction will include ORN committed from IDOs, trading fees, staking fees, and more, and we look forward to ramping up, and reducing both total and circulating supply on a quarterly basis.

Andrew: Q: How are the plans shaping up for marketing and building a strong, core community which is essential for Orion Protocol in the crypto industry?

Timothea: So the classic wen marketing question. I think anyone in marketing in any sector will echo this sentiment in how far reaching marketing efforts actually are vs what people perceive them to be. Marketing is not just an ORN branded Lambo or being featured on the thumbnail of an open mouthed and pointing influencer’s latest video. 

Over the last year we’ve been featured in over 150 publications like Forbes, CoinTelegraph, Yahoo! Finance, Business Insider, Nasdaq, Investing,com 

We’ve had over 50 features in influencer videos like CryptosRUs, Crypto Michaël, BitBoy, AltcoinDaily, and more 

We’ve spoken at 20 events including conferences alongside the mayor of Miami, Andre Cronje, Akon, and others. 

We’ve regularly been the #1 altcoin on social listening sites like Lunar Crush 

There’s  a lot more that I could touch on and yet all of this has been organic and done with pretty much no marketing budget because anyone familiar with our DYCO framework will know that the marketing budget was locked until less a month ago. 

This unlock, which will occur gradually as per all of our unlocks, will not only make my job and life a lot easier, but will enable us to take things to the next level on so many different fronts.

From a PR perspective, unlocks aside, it was important for us to establish our foundations before significant ‘mainstream’ PR, while implementing key features to simplify the user experience such as depositless trading and fiat on ramp in order to more effectively onboard users. Starting this month, Orion will be working with an established fintech PR agency to focus on growing our media attention beyond the crypto landscape and significantly ramping up our PR presence in leading publications.

Influencer activity (and more) will become a key part of subsequent launches, announcements, and developments - from a microlevel with the launch of our ambassador program to build up and engage our community, through to working with some big names in the space to drive awareness and user acquisition.

Our involvement in events will also scale up beyond participation to include keynote talks, sponsorship, and even some events of our own so stay tuned for that.

And there’s so much more in the works that I really cant wait to share with you all but that could be an AMA of its own - maybe it should be

We’ve also been working hard on our rebrand (don't worry, the name is staying). Were not ready to reveal the full scope just yet, but here’s a sneak peak of what’s to come!

Andrew: Q: What three key lessons have been learnt over the last 12 months? What would you do differently if starting over?

Timothea: This is a good question and when i saw this come through prior to the AMA I was hard pushed to whittle it down to three because we have learned SO so much over the last year. But if  had to pick three key lessons.

Firstly: Say less, do more

You may have noticed a shift in communication and marketing strategy from this time last year where we came to market with so many ideas of what we wanted to build, partnerships every other day, optimistic timelines, without the full scope of everything involved in bringing it to the hands of our users. This year, our approach is different - it’s all about delivering. We aren't coming to market publicly with new solutions until they are ready to be deployed and we understand the full scope of what we’re able to deliver and when. That doesn't mean the marketing, the awareness, the hype wont be there, it will be, and ten fold, but this year, it wont be until we know we can bring a solution or partnership to market in full capacity. And there’s a lot in the pipeline for that.

Secondly: The importance of transparency

As investors ourselves, we understand the need for regular updates, clear explanations of roadblocks ahead of time, and ultimately, visibility into what’s going on behind closed doors. That's a core focus of ours for this year. We have monthly dev AMAs, frequent “real time dev updates”, and we’ve endeavored to be as transparent as possible when addressing timing, barriers, shortcomings, and our next steps, and this will only improve over time. External barriers and unexpected roadblocks will still remain, no matter how frequently we communicate, but we will do our utmost to address them when and where we can.

Last but not least: It’s all about the community

Community members will come and go based on a number of factors. It could be some of the areas I just mentioned, it could be price action, it could be a new project, it could be because they don't feel engaged or heard, or it could be lack of visibility of what’s to come. This year we want our community to grow significantly, and we want each and every one of you to feel a part of the Orion team. To be proud of being part of the Orion community. To feel like your suggestions and feedback is heard, taken on board, and actioned, and to feel like you have the information, resources, and support, to be part of our success and to help us drive Orion forward.

So with that said, we’ve come to the end of this AMA. There’ll be a transcript published shortly as usual and we’ll add the time stamps below for you to be able to navigate to certain topics. 

Despite the length of this AMA, this still doesn’t even scratch the surface on everything that’s going on at Orion HQ, from hiring, to development, to partnerships, to listings, to new solutions, to integrations and so much more. I seriously couldn’t be more excited for the year ahead, nor more proud of our entire team for working tirelessly to build the terminal and protocol that our users, community, and holders deserve.

Thank you for joining us on our journey in building the decentralized gateway to the crypto market. Let’s make 2022 our year.

Stay updated with Orion.