Kaaran Kalantari, Spokesperson of WingRiders tells us about Cardano Blockchain.
Tell us about you, your career, and why you joined WingRiders.
Kaaran Kalantari: I’ve been a career marketer since I graduated, specializing in digital marketing, working for a few blue-chip brands, and later consulting in this area. I started learning about crypto in 2012 and then actively started investing in 2014/15. Along with some friends, we founded an early crypto hedge fund in 2018, and I have been active in the trading and investment areas of crypto ever since.
I decided to join WingRiders as I really believe in their mission to become an infrastructure piece for the whole Cardano ecosystem. This is an ambitious goal, and when I met the team and understood their talent and dedication, I knew they would make this happen, and I wanted to contribute to this journey.
How does WingRiders innovate?
Kaaran Kalantari: At WingRiders, we are very much developer-led. This means our general approach is to consider the technical aspect of any potential piece of work. Can it be done? How would that work technically? That is usually our first approach. Then, from there, we tend to involve business and marketing at the same time. How would we position this? How does it work for end-users? How does it work for partners? How do we communicate about it? How do we measure it? The last question is arguably the most important, and that is usually “what constitutes a win?” This is a great question to shape your thinking: Are you just looking for user acquisition, or is it about the quality of the users you have? Your measurements should reflect that.
How did the coronavirus pandemic affect your business?
Kaaran Kalantari: In the cryptocurrency space, we were largely lucky as most crypto projects are decentralized, and therefore most of our workers are remote. Obviously, it has been a challenge; half of our team has been down with it or gone through lockdowns or mandatory quarantine periods—close contact, travel, etc. The overall market uncertainty has been an issue. If we consider the current political situation—many of our team are based in the eastern part of the EU—it has been a real challenge to ensure that we are still moving forward.
What are the current trends in the crypto industry, and how fast does it change?
Kaaran Kalantari: Crypto is undoubtedly the fastest moving sector I’ve ever been involved in. Many people say, “a month in a startup is like a year at a large firm.” Well, if there’s truth in that, then it is doubly so for crypto. For example, last year, all of four months ago, the market was a “bull market,” and it was easy to raise funds, and projects were multiplying in every direction. Now, it is a “bear market,” and projects that do well are those with financial discipline, treasury management, strong process-based execution, and professionalism. You can still have all those things and not succeed when the market is like this. We feel confident that we are here for the long haul.
Who is the target audience of WingRiders? Do you have any interesting partnerships?
Kaaran Kalantari: We are a decentralized cryptocurrency exchange natively built on the Cardano blockchain. What does that mean? Well, it means our first audience is those who already hold Cardano (ADA) or other cryptocurrencies—these are the low-hanging fruit for us. Next would be those who are familiar with crypto but are maybe just thinking of entering the space. The third would be tech-savvy millennials who are considering cryptocurrency. These would obviously indicate future growth opportunities for us.
Regarding partners, we are partnered with our investors, obviously, so cFund, Animoca Brands, Matrixport, Spartan, LongHash, and others have been very helpful for us. Additionally, we have a very close working relationship with other players in the cryptocurrency space—nu.Fi, Vacuumlabs, Ledger, and Trezor, to name a few. More widely, we are very aligned with the Cardano community, so IOHK, CardanoFeed, the wider community we consider as partners.
Tell us more about your platform/technology.
Kaaran Kalantari: This is really our core strength. Our development team is one of the most professional and most experienced in the space. Many of them have been coding in Haskell (the functional programming language used on Cardano) for blockchain for 4 years, or the length of time that Cardano has existed. This is extremely hard to find in the current market. Our technology is a platform accessible via your browser that allows you to swap different cryptocurrencies. You can also stake and farm, which are DeFi (Decentralized Finance) terms for essentially earning a profit on assets via loaning them out—similar to interest on a bank deposit, but obviously, it is all governed by code.
We recently passed an audit by a company called Certik, which is very well-regarded in the space. This is an independent verification that shows the quality of our code—we passed with flying colors.
How do you see the future of WingRiders? What are the next steps for the company?
Kaaran Kalantari: Obviously, it is about delivery for us right now. Delivery of an amazing product, delivery on our roadmap, future development, and growing our community. It is really critical for WingRiders that we build deep ties with our users (the Riders in our name) and work with them on the future development of the project and the launch of our DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organization). In essence, when fully realized, our token holders will vote on future developments and determine the future course of the project. This is similar to the shareholding model but with less “wiggle room,” as smart contracts determine everything. We are a few months away from this, and the further development of the platform will be ongoing, even past our mainnet launch.
Your final thoughts?
Kaaran Kalantari: It is really good to see that overall, the interest in cryptocurrency is growing. Not just Bitcoin and Ether, but DeFi, Web3.0, the Metaverse—these ideas are taking hold in lots of industries. For example, your coverage of us. This growth will continue—currency needs to be digital, instantaneous, and disintermediated. Why do banks need to control the way that we transfer value? Why does it take 3 days to send a wire to a new recipient? Legacy technology, established by banks and not updated—Well, the future is here, and it’s good to see that the present is beginning to catch up.
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