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AMA Recap With Wido & Harvest

By Notum

Aug 29, 202311 min read


On August 24, Thursday at 3 p.m. UTC in our official Discord, Notum’s PM Dan held an AMA with Roman, a CEO and a co-founder of Wido, and Red, a Harvest representative. They were discussing the current DeFi situation, safety issues, barriers to mass crypto adoption, and ways to overcome those obstacles.

We’d like to thank all those who joined this Q&A session. Your sincere involvement and interest are greatly appreciated. We're all working together to build a better DeFi experience to make the future of finance closer!

Q & A 

Dan: Red, can you give us a brief Harvest introduction to tell more about the project to our audience? 

Red: Sure, Harvest is basically a yield farming aggregator. It batches the best yield farming opportunities across DeFi, so you don’t need to visit each website individually and waste your time on that. Instead, Harvest listed all the most interesting offers on its website and provided an opportunity for a user to get larger returns. 

Dan: Roman, can you drop a few lines about Wido, as well?

Roman: Our mission in Wido is to make the DeFi more accessible for everyone and we achieve that by building infrastructure that we offer to applications such as Harvest and Notum to make the UX more comprehensive. We provide zaps that allow Notum’s and Harvest’s users to invest in vaults and yields in a 1-clock manner. We build a cross-chain infrastructure and looking into building accounts.

Dan: Thanks for such a great introduction! Let’s go ahead with the first question. So, I’d like to know your opinion on the Balancer vault being at risk. How did it influence Harvest? Did you get any complaints? 

Red: At Harvest we only had one strategy that may have been impacted but we had several Balancer strategies, none of which were actually affected. In this aspect Harvest was relatively safe. The Balancer is one of the most well-known projects in the space, but even they can have a hiccup in their coding logic that causes a vulnerability.

In Balancer they want to do everything that they can offer in terms of safety. However, users should just always be aware of risks and be mindful of how high risk could be even while using such high-quality platforms as Balancer, Harvest, Notum, or Wido.

Dan: That's not that strange because you know the market but still impressive that this happened to Balancer. Plus all that Curve and BaseSwap protocols have some problems with their liquidity pools. Do you guys think such kind of situation will keep on happening or will it stop eventually because the space will be more governed?

Red: For me personally, it's just kind of hard to say. The matter is that every project is going vary widely in quality of the developers or the project itself. So there could just be a hack because somebody was reckless or there can be a hack just because somebody missed a period or a semicolon or just flipped something that, can be very easily missed. It happens even with audits, as there's just something that could be easily missed.

I would like to think that it eventually would go away, but ultimately, as we can see, just like with a Balancer and Curve, the gold standard projects can still have such kind of issues sometimes. So it's just whether it goes away or not, again, a user should just be always mindful that even the gold class things can have some issues.

Dan: Agree. Needless to say, the highest percentage of hacks and exploits are found on bridges. This made it quite challenging for the market to rely on one or two bridge providers.

So I guess, it applies mainly to the liquidity providers for bridges. Does Harvest partner with any bridge providers to use in their farms or just to use them in your strategies? 

Red: We don’t have any specific direct collaborations with bridges. We try ly get the token listed on as many bridges as we can to support. We’re a part of Arbitrum and Polygon. We also partner with Camelot specifically for liquidity provisioning on Arbitrum.

Bridges can be a delicate issue. If you think of the multi-chain bridge Harvest was deployed, like a year and a half ago on a Binance chain. But we left it because we didn't find the opportunities were strong enough and the users weren't really demanding it. Then multi-chain went down and now there's potentially some liquidity kind of over there on the Binance chain that can't necessarily get off because you have this issue with multi-chain now we have to work with these individual users. We've even been in conversations with Binance directly. And it's not a whole bunch of liquidity. I think it's less than like like 1000 farms or something over there, right? So not like a huge, huge amount of money. Still to those users, it could be a big amount of money. 

As you say, even bridges are impacted by those hacks and the multi-chain situation shows that liquidity and bridging are just more risky layers. Again users should bear this issue in mind. If this happens between Ethereum and Arbitrum, it can be very difficult for users to get their money out. But yeah, ultimately, Harvest tries to do what it can — to ensure liquidity for all of its users with whatever chain it's using.

Dan: I also know that you have recently added the Base chain. Can you maybe tell us more about this?

Red: It's kind of preliminary right now. Base is the hotter name chain that's coming up, it's obviously supported by Coinbase. Hopefully, there's a lot of depth of opportunity there coming. Ultimately Harvest is very dependent on quality projects launching. We can then provide this automation service for users to kind of interact with those projects, provide liquidity, and be rewarded for that. It's very new.

There's not like a lot to say necessarily to the users other than like, we're kind of just exploring any opportunities that are going there. There were some questions such as can we offer $BALD and get people into an LP opportunity there? In the end, it just comes down to the best opportunities and users' needs.

At the moment we have about 10 or 12 different strategies on Base that users can use to earn. Some of them get earnings up to 80%. So it's just mostly about a wide variety for users to choose from and check them out.

Dan: Can you also clarify why did you choose Base? As we know, recently there were many new chains released such as zkSync, Polygon, Linea, and others. Did you choose Base because they brought a lot of liquidity to their chain or maybe because they are more developed in the way of infrastructure?

Red: It's a little bit of all of those things you’ve mentioned. We've been talking about zkSync for the past couple of months. The problem is there aren’t high-quality things to farm there. PancakeSwap has recently launched there and we've actually had conversations about possibly doing something with them. The case here is that there are just not a lot of the mature protocols on zkSync yet we could deploy there. Especially because they're not 100% EVM compatible. Thus, it would require a change of some logic and an extra development cycle for Harvest. 

Whereas like a Base or some of these other chains like Arbitrum, as it's a lot easier for Harvest to deploy. We considered liquidity, users, and the yield farming opportunities. As I said, it's Coinbase. Surely, there will be other developers who want to come and build within that chain. 

We’re currently comparing zkSync to Coinbase in terms of a money inflow, and it looks like Base is stronger right now, but zkSync may catch up later.

Dan: Roman can you share your thoughts regarding the upcoming networks on Wido? I know that you have support for Starknet. So do you have plans to add any new networks as well? Is it something that you plan to develop?

Roman: Yes, absolutely. We are on Starknet. We are not on Base yet, but we are working with teams including Harvest on supporting Base. I feel Base is very exciting because of the amount of users it can bring. Coinbase has a massive user base. We can already see that in the numbers. Base is already making more volumes than Ethereum itself. It's one of the most popular tools at the moment or one of the most popular ones. I think that's the narrative that we should be thinking about. It's not like users on Ethereum.

And how do we monetize them? It is an entirely new set of users that coming out of Base who are coming through Coinbase. The question now is how do we offer DeFi to those nowies? There are not a lot of opportunities on Base yet. In order to build those opportunities or provide them, you need liquidity and you need protocols there. So we're looking into building, chain abstracted user experience where the user can be on Base, but they can access opportunities on other chains in a chain-obstructed way.

And that is something we're really excited about today where you can be on Base and you can invest into a vault on Arbitrum and then you can withdraw without switching your wallet or network. You can just do those things in one click, in a seamless way.

Dan: Sounds sounds quite cool and exciting. I could, will you drop more information on this? So would be keen on reading more about this stuff?

Roman: Yes, absolutely. We're currently building it in a close relationship with our partners. We'll be sharing public information in weeks time shortly.

Dan: That’s cool to know what is happening to new networks. We in Notum also have added support for the Base chain to meet our users demand. 

I also saw that Harvest has recently announced a new UI/UX of the platform to onboard those users who are not so familiar with crypto. Is simplifying the user experience something that is in your long-term strategy or is it about demand from the audience?

Red: It's definitely our objective to make yield farming and crypto more accessible to everyone. Harvest is four years now and the website was something rudimentary at the beginning. Back in time, you got this cartoon image of a degen chad on the front of the website. You could farm $PASTA or $YAM, and all those crazy meme coins that had 10 million APY. That's what yield farming was at that time. Since then, Harvest has rolled out a couple of new website versions each time essentially trying to streamline the UX to make it easier for a user to interact with it.

All in all, it was a transition from that pure degen mindset. We reduced our initial listing from 200 different yield farming strategies to less than 100 that are really focused on providing real, sustainable yields to our users. We can't guarantee profits, as there's absolutely no guarantee of making a return on this. But we have to be mindful and careful while listing new projects. 

Of course, we still want to be in the avantgard. We still want to offer cool things like $BALD coin, as it’s users’ demand. However, we also want to be very careful and have our users understand the risks. Keeping all those things in mind, we want to segregate it into advanced mode and the beginner's one where the options are more evident and simple such as $USDC and $stETH. Such stretagies are easy-to-follow but they have a good return. I'd say a much better return than traditional finance does. In this case, it makes sense for a user to interact with crypto and use protocols like Harvest, Wido, and Notum.

We want to steer them clear from those very dangerous types of deposits until they actually understand what they're getting into. Because over time, we've seen a lot of feedback where people do jump into those high APY strategies and then they complain that they have less money than they have. That basically happened because the market collapsed on that coin much faster than the earning rate.

Harvest clearly understands how could we better represent those risky strategies to people to understand that a big percentage of return on a coin can also cause them to lose all their money overnight.

It’s about keeping balance here, so Harvest V3 is going to have updates focused on beginners. However, it doesn't mean that intermediate and advanced strategies will vanish from Harvest. We're actually looking to continue to innovate and develop some new things here coming up soon. By making those improvements, we want to answer the question — ‘Why 99% of the world isn't in crypto today?’  Obviously, because crypto UX is rather complex and scammy. So, how can we in Harvest get them in the door? Through leading them eventually through a good education to these more moderate and advanced strategies. 

Dan: Exactly, I guess that’s a topical narrative of the crypto and DeFI industry of the past several years. 

Roman, can you share some feedback on how did you help Harvest to improve its UI and UX? I guess this is a great example of how the UI and UX can be improved and made simpler in crypto.

Roman: I think we launched the Harvest integration about a year ago. Harvest was one of our first or maybe even first integrators when launching the Harvest V2, which is what you can see today. The  implemented innovation was an opportunity to deposit with any token. When you go to the Harvest, you have a list of farms and you can deposit into them, but they usually require you to deposit a specific token like an LP token or a single token like $USDC.

But in case you don't have that token, let's say $SUSHI, instead of going to SushiSwap and getting the LP token, splitting whatever you have into two tokens, calculating the correct ratio, getting the LP token out of Sushi Swap, and coming back to Harvest and deposing into the vault or farm, you can do all those things just in a single click. That’s what you can enjoy on the Harvest platform today. 

When you click on a farm, you click on deposit there, select your token drop down and it lets you select any token you have. Not just the token that the farm accepts. Once you select a token you can make a deposit. It's completely fearless and it calculates the best rates for you. You just do all of that in a single click to get there.

So that's what we built and launched a year ago. We're about to launch more advanced features, and we're actually working on them, but that's for the future.

Dan: I would say from our perspective as well, it is the kind of thing that massively helps a lot of users to deposit the funds into various protocols, vaults, farms, and pools. It also helps a lot in terms of what experience people will have while engaging with crypto and DeFi.

So based on your experience, what's your opinion on the main obstacles and potential breakthroughs on the path of mass adoption?  What would help to achieve this rather ambitious goal?

Roman: That's a good question and many things come to mind depending on how much I zoom out. I assume you're asking if you think people are not in crypto today. The biggest obstacle is that crypto needs to be more trusted. There need to be fewer hacks and scams. It needs to be easier to understand. When someone, who is outside of crypto, sees 50% APY, they usually get scared or think it's a scum. But once you convince someone that they should give it a try, there is another pack of questions arise — “How do I get my first crypto? How do I manage self-custody? How do I protect my private keys? How not to lose them?” There are many teams and wallet applications trying to cover those pain points. That’s the second barrier you need to go through. The third one occurs when you finally get there and buy your first BTC or ETH, the whole world of DeFi is just waiting for you to explore, which could be super scary and puzzling.  

Dan:  Thanks for such a great answer. I would go to the first point that you mentioned, it's quite difficult to understand what all the numbers behind those APYs mean. Here, on Notum, we also plan to make all investment strategies listed on our platform clearer and provide users with an explanation of the logic behind all those investments. 

So I would say that 60 to 70%,  maybe the number is higher, but still don't even understand what is going on with their funds when they deposit them into the pool. It seems users think it's a kind of magic that happens and somebody takes their funds to give it back with a return. Our core goal is to provide a detailed description of how the protocol works and a risk assessment, as well. Thanks to our analytical department, we aim to offer risk assessment, both — for protocols and investment strategies, and by doing this, put our users into the better picture. 

Based on this information, people would be able to make wiser decisions on how to manage their funds. I suppose this is the thing which currently is missing in the market. This is another barrier that we want to try to solve.

Roman: Yeah, I would agree with this one. Making things more easier to understand is definitely a big one and I can definitely see a lot of people benefit from this. I definitely appreciate you are working on that.

Dan: I have the last question though. Do you guys plan to go through any audits or it's not necessary right now? I guess you have done some internal, in-house audits, right?

Roman: So we have two external audits: one from Certic, and one from PeckShield. It's listed on our website. The Infra has been running for a while. We're currently going through an audit with OpenZeppelin but that is only for a work we've done for Compound. All the reports are publicly available. We also went through Yearn’s internal audit. Now they have us on their website. So I think that also speaks for the high security standards we needed to meet in order to get into a protocol which is securing $500 million. 

Dan: Yearn should be quite delicate about their security. I didn't see the, the I, I saw the links but didn't know that they're from Certic and so on. So maybe you can highlight it in your documentation. 

Roman: If you go to our website, it's right on the top of the page. But I'll definetely it put into the docs. Maybe it's not super visible at the moment. 

Dan: I guess, that's time to wrap that up. Guys, thanks a lot for such an exciting conversation! That was a real pleasure to have you as guests.