Sandeep Nailwal, Matic Network’s COO, brings extensive expertise in business and technology to the Matic team. As one of the early active developers in India’s blockchain ecosystem, he is helping to bring India to the forefront of the blockchain conversation. We had a chance to speak with him about his background, Matic’s recent successes and future goals, and the technical underpinnings of the Matic Network.
Thanks for talking with us, Sandeep! Could you say a few words about yourself before we dive in?
As COO of Matic Network, I am based out of India with our tech teams. Personally, I am a software and business buff. I have been involved with many tech businesses since my very early days. I joke that scalability is my only passion, be it in scaling businesses or blockchains, so anyone uninterested in that may find me boring!
That doesn’t sound boring to me! Could you talk a bit more about your educational and professional background?
I am a Computer Science professional and have programmed fairly extensively on blockchains and software products. I also have a business background; I attended a top B-School in India (NITIE, Mumbai) and was formerly with Deloitte. Before jumping into entrepreneurship full-time, I was the CTO of Ecommerce for Welspun Group, a $4bn company in India. I’ve always taken great pride in my work and have been a pretty high performer, both as a student and as a professional.
How did you initially get into the blockchain space?
My previous startup, Scopeweaver (a B2B services marketplace—think Alibaba for services) was doing well, but given the focus on services, it was not scaling as it needed to. I began to look into emerging tech on the side, particularly AI, machine learning, and blockchain. Needless to say, blockchain—specially Bitcoin—caught my attention, and I’ve been fully down the rabbit hole ever since. I’ve noticed the “oh wow, this is big” moment I had is pretty common across people who study Bitcoin, and it has been exciting to be among those building in the space!
We know the feeling! And how you were introduced to the Matic Network project?
A person with your reputation and expertise in business, tech, and supply chain would bring incredible value to many teams. What convinced you to dedicate your time to Matic?
As you’ve alluded to, the team has the expertise that happens to align perfectly for a scalability solution. Matic will allow for mass adoption of blockchain applications, and given my passion for scalability, this keeps me excited every hour of every day! I also think Matic is in a position to put India on the blockchain map, which makes me very proud and makes the work extremely rewarding.
What are Matic’s short-term strategic priorities?
Well, we’ve just successfully wrapped up our Binance Launchpad fundraise. It took months of diligence to be selected and pass the scrutiny of the shortlisting process, and we are so thankful to the entire Binance team for their help and guidance throughout the process. Right now, we are focused on using the funds we’ve raised to launch our mainnet. There are lots of Dapps that have been working to deploy on Matic’s testnet, so to demonstrate the network capabilities we will first support those Dapps in transitioning to the mainnet. We have also made some new additions to the team recently and will be continuing to grow!
After the launch of the network, Matic’s primary focus will be to onboard more Dapps and protocols to our sidechains. This is on our minds even as we work towards the mainnet launch, and we already have partners such as Decentraland, Pocketful of Quarters and Chainbreakers building on Matic sidechains.
Congratulations on the successful fundraise! What about longer-term priorities, and what hurdles are you facing to getting there?
Matic wants to be the leading L2 player in hosting decentralized finance applications, so enabling payments, lending, derivatives, and other financial protocols will be our priority in the long term. This will help Matic onboard users who want a one-stop decentralized financial stack for all their financial needs. TLDR: Matic wants to power up the DeFi engine on Ethereum!
The key hurdle to achieving adoption is to offer users of DApps on the Matic Network an experience that is on par with, if not better than, their centralized counterparts. Along with delivering on scalability, we are tackling this hurdle by providing tools to empower developers to offer a better user experience on Matic sidechains. We’ve recently announced our developer support program, and we will be announcing other developer initiatives soon (so stay tuned!).
From an architectural standpoint, how does Matic Network achieve sub-second block generation times, and what are other benefits of using Matic Network and its DApps/ SDK/APIs versus other platforms in the space?
Matic Network derives its security and performance from a three-layered security architecture:
- Block producer Layer
- Checkpointing Layer
- Fraud Proofs
The block producer layer has a limited number of block producers in order to achieve faster block times of ~1 second. They achieve quick consensus and allow us to scale to potentially thousands of TPS on every Matic sidechain.
What really puts Matic ahead of other projects is its design considerations and, as I’d mentioned, the focus on the user and developer experience. We have developed the SDK/APIs to ensure that developers can focus on their core product without worrying about UI/UX issues. To this end, the team has developed Matic Wallet with native Plasma chain support and Dagger, the real-time Ethereum notification engine. The EVM-enabled sidechains also allow developers to leverage the entire Ethereum toolkit, developer docs, and resources when porting to Matic. These tools help simplify interactions for users and give developers more freedom to build.
Where do you see Matic Network making the biggest impact for businesses and consumers in 5-10 years?
With the high throughput and low transaction costs on Matic, we believe decentralized finance will be able to reach the masses. We see payments, lending and other areas of the financial stack (decentralized exchanges, for example) spearheading the open finance movement. Open finance is one of the most exciting areas of interest for us at Matic. The way businesses operate will dramatically change once we can enable micropayments on Matic, for example.
You seem to have a great core team and group of advisors in place. Would you mind walking me through how some of these experts have helped shape Matic’s development?
Our advisors are very hands-on with our core product development and business models. Esteban Ordano (Founder & CTO of Decentraland) has been instrumental in our early architecture design. Pete Kim (Head of Engineering – Wallet, Coinbase), on the other hand, helps us keep our feet grounded and eyes focused on the actual end-user needs since he has a ton of experience on that front with his earlier work on Coinbase wallet and Toshi browser. And Ari Meilich (Project Lead, Decentraland) is a business wizard who has helped us design our go-to-market and marketing strategies. We are privileged to have such a wealth of experience to draw from!
Could you briefly outline each of your core products?
Matic can be classified into two parts: the core network (Matic sidechains) and tools (Wallet, Dagger, and Zapier). Although the tools aren’t directly a part of the sidechain network, they are fundamentally important in providing a better UX. I’ll go a little deeper into the details of each tool.
Matic Wallet: Matic Wallet is a crypto wallet which can be used to store and transfer crypto assets securely. It has native support for Matic’s plasma sidechains and also has WalletConnect integrated. This gives the wallet powerful utility in the coming future dominated by L2 chains.
Dagger: Dagger is a real-time notification engine for Ethereum. It listens to events on the blockchain and provides alerts to events users subscribe to. In such a fast-moving ecosystem, many teams building on Ethereum use Dagger to stay up-to-speed.
Dagger + Zapier: Dagger has an integration with Zapier, which allows users to be instantly notified about their events of interest via the platform of their choice, including email, Slack, and even text alerts.
What are some advantages of Matic Network’s “dual strategy Proof of Stake” consensus algorithm?
Both block producers and checkpointers in the Matic Network need to provide stakes in order to participate as contributors in network security. The block producers are responsible for batching transactions into blocks, and the checkpointers push them via checkpoints to the main chain for finality. We’ll be publishing exact specifications for becoming a block producer in the near future.
These two components, which use Proof of Stake, are an important part of Matic’s security triad. They provide multi-layered security and help us tackle scalability issues.
Interoperability seems to be critical to platform adoption. What other blockchains do you see Matic Network integrating with in the future?
Matic sidechains will be deployed to Ethereum first. That said, we are open to integrating with other chains and have researched partnerships with other blockchain projects looking for scaling solutions. Stay tuned to our announcement channel for details as that research continues!
Security is another hot-button topic. How will Matic Network secure transactions and ward off malicious actors?
Security is indeed a primary concern. If you look at the so-called “scalability trilemma,” projects have historically failed to achieve a certain degree of proficiency in all three vectors of the trilemma. Matic uses an innovative three-layer security architecture to achieve scale while not compromising on security and decentralization (see exhibit below).
The checkpointer layer catches any fraudulent transactions included by block producers and penalizes the perpetrators of the fraud. The fraud proofs are deployed on the main chain and function like perennial bounties for third-party actors to identify fraud on the sidechains.
Unlike traditional raises, the IEO model meant that not all of your followers were able to secure an investment. How will you turn the speculative nature of IEO investment into long-term support for Matic?
Though Matic’s lottery on Binance Launchoad was extremely well distributed with more than 50% success rate for retail , we have multiple programs to draw our community in as long-term supporters of the projects. Those not participating in the sale have the opportunity to take advantage of other campaigns, including:
- the Gleam giveaway held before the sale, which had $1,000 worth of tokens in rewards;
- the currently ongoing Matic Wallet testing program with $60,000 worth of tokens in rewards; and
- upcoming surprise contests, which will be published on our announcement channel, for the community to get involved with the project.
We are always on the lookout for community members who want to contribute to the project in any capacity. We encourage interested community members to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It was rumored that you’d taken an investment from Coinbase Ventures, and you’ve since been able to speak about this. Can you talk a little about the process of securing this funding?
Absolutely—it’s not a rumor anymore! We were thrilled to announce Coinbase Venture’s participation in our seed funding round. We’ve had a long-standing relationship with Coinbase; Pete Kim (Head of Engineering for Coinbase Wallet) is a Matic advisor and has helped us shape the Matic Wallet. We look forward to working with Coinbase and harnessing synergies that will help both organizations, including:
- Enabling real-world commerce by integrating USDC on Matic’s sidechains;
- Allowing Coinbase Wallet users to leverage the Matic Network to transfer and trade assets instantly; and
- Making DApps deployed on Matic easily accessible from Coinbase Wallet.
We look forward to this collaboration!
Thank you again for your time, it’s been fascinating getting an insight into Matic. Is there anything you’d like to say before we wrap this up?
I am among the many in the space who strongly believe Matic will play a big role in taking blockchains mainstream. Matic has the expertise and the resources to be one of the top projects in this space, both by impact and value, and I’ll continue to work tirelessly to make our vision a reality.