This past week, we were very excited to host AMAs with some of our new partners! Below is the transcription of our conversation with Robert Alcorn, CEO and Co-founder of Clearpool. You can learn more about our partnership with Clearpool here.
The following AMA took place in our community Telegram channel on the 2nd of December, 2021. (Prior to this, we hosted an AMA with Starbots.) A special thanks to Dave Mcleod, PARSIQ Community Manager, for hosting the event.
Dave: Alright guys, thanks for joining us for another AMA this week where we can get to know a little bit more about one of our most recent partners to join forces with PARSIQ. Welcome to all the people joining us from the Clearpool community too!
And welcome to Rob!
Thanks for joining us. Could you introduce yourself and the Clearpool team for us?
Robert: I am Robert Alcorn, Co-Founder and CEO of Clearpool. My background is in entrepreneurship and traditional financial markets, where I spent the last 12 years working mainly in credit markets as a broker, salesperson and most recently as a collateral trader. I have been involved in crypto since 2015 when I was researching blockchain for an automated wealth management project that I was working on. I first bought bitcoin in 2016 and have been trading crypto ever since. I am from the UK, but I have also lived and worked in the US, The Middle East, Hong Kong & Singapore.
Clearpool was founded by myself and my friend and ex-colleague, Alessio Quaglini, the CEO of HEX Trust. We used to work together at a bank, and we shared an interest in blockchain and crypto. The idea came up in a conversation earlier this year. We realized we had something good, and so I left my job as a trader and started building Clearpool. I recruited Jakob, our CCO, very early on, and he became the third co-founder. Jakob’s background is in start-ups and fintech, and he brings a lot of expertise to our team.
Our CTO Pavel and his team of developers are highly experienced blockchain developers, having worked on multiple Ethereum and DeFi projects previously, and also winners at several Ethereum hackathons such as ETH Waterloo. Vadim is our product owner; he is also very experienced in blockchain and crypto. We have some great advisors with who we work closely, including Alessio, who I mentioned earlier, and some of his senior team members at Hex Trust.
Dave: Some impressive credentials there, sounds like your team has plenty of experience!
Can you give a high-level introduction of Clearpool and what it intends to solve?
Robert: Clearpool is the first decentralized marketplace for unsecured institutional liquidity on the blockchain.
Institutional borrowers can open individual liquidity pools and attract liquidity directly from the DeFi ecosystem. Anybody can be a lender to these institutions and get rewarded with higher APYs for lending unsecured.
Pool interest rates are dynamic and increase when the borrower utilizes more liquidity from the pool, rewarding LPs with higher yields when risk increases. Pool APYs are also enhanced with additional rewards paid in CPOOL — Clearpool’s governance token.
Clearpool was built to solve the problem of overcollateralization that exists in DeFi lending and borrowing. Institutions can now access uncollateralized liquidity through Clearpool’s single borrower pools.
The single borrower pool concept also paves the way for a system of tokenized credit, which in turn provides the foundation for developing decentralized risk management products, assisting DeFi lenders with risk mitigation and hedging solutions, which will also attract new lender profiles to the DeFi space.
Dave: Interesting sounds like you’ve definitely identified an important gap in the market there. I can see why that would be an attractive prospect for borrowers in particular.
So what’s your near-term roadmap for the product?
Robert: We have recently made some big announcements since we launched CPOOL in late October; our partnerships with X-Margin, PARSIQ, and Lithium Finance have received excellent feedback from the community. Just this week, we announced that we would be bringing Clearpool to the Polygon ecosystem (as well as Ethereum). This is the first step on our journey to become a multichain project. We will make further announcements on this in December.
We have also recently announced some of the institutions that will open the first borrower pools on Clearpool — Amber, Folkvang, and Wintermute have been announced, and once again, there will be further announcements in December.
The protocol will be deployed on the testnet in December; everything is looking great and on schedule for that. We will invite some members of our community to test it. The smart contracts will be audited at this time, and we will announce a bug bounty program. Our mainnet launch will be in January.
Dave: Awesome, it sounds like a big December ahead of you. I’ll definitely be sure to check out your mainnet upon launch. PARSIQ has integrated with Polygon ourselves and, more importantly, with Clearpool.
Could you tell us a little more about how you plan to utilize PARSIQ’s technology to improve Clearpool’s marketplace for its own users?
Robert: Clearpool was delighted to be able to announce this partnership. PARSIQ has been an early believer and investor in Clearpool, so it was great to integrate PARSIQ’s technology to benefit our users.
Clearpool will integrate PARSIQ’s blockchain monitoring tools to enable borrowers and lenders to be immediately notified once critical activities and events are triggered on the protocol.
Activities and events will include single borrower pool utilization ratios, borrower pool applications and approvals, borrower pools deployment, and when new auctions start and end. This will significantly enhance the user experience for Clearpool users.
Cool, it’s always great to hear more about how different projects can put the tech to work! So who are the main target users for the borrowing feature?
As mentioned, the early borrowers on Clearpool will be crypto trading firms/market makers such as Amber, Wintermute, and Folkvang. We are currently onboarding many others who will be announced soon.
In the short term, early growth will most likely come from within the wider crypto ecosystem; however, we have started to see some strong interest from more traditional institutions.
This is where the long-term vision for Clearpool is focused, ultimately any institution can open a pool on Clearpool, and we want to be the bridge between DeFi and TradFi, not just on the borrowing side but also by attracting new lender profiles from TradFi to DeFi as well.
We have a lot of institutional investors committed to become lenders on Clearpool. Initially, it will be mainly crypto native institutions and family offices, but we also have some traditional institutions interested in becoming lenders. Ultimately we believe the big opportunity lies in getting more traditional lenders, and we are already putting the necessary measures in place to achieve that.
Dave: That’s interesting to hear since PARSIQ has always had similar aspirations to move into more traditional markets. Hopefully, the two projects will be able to continue to work together! But right now, in the crypto world, competition is pretty fierce.
Does Clearpool have any competing products? What are the advantages of Clearpool?
Robert: There is nothing really like Clearpool. There are some platforms where institutions can borrow unsecured, but it’s done through multiple borrower pools.
The advantage of Clearpool is that lenders can select exactly who they want to lend to through our single borrower pool structure. This makes it easier for them to manage the risk that they take. They also get higher interest rates when the borrower utilizes more of the liquidity in the pool, meaning that LPs get rewarded more when risk increases.
The cpTokens that LPs receive when they supply liquidity to a pool represent the credit worthiness of the borrower. They can be redeemed at any time or traded in a secondary market. They provide much more flexibility to LPs in terms of risk management. cpTokens accrue the interest from the pool on each block, and they can be staked to earn additional rewards paid in CPOOL.
This will make Clearpool one of the most attractive venues for DeFi lending.
Alright, it sounds like you guys are definitely ahead of the curve.
So $CPOOL is a DeFi token, but which other utilities does it have? Why should people hold it in the long term?
Robert: CPOOL is the utility and governance token for the Clearpool protocol. CPOOL holders will be able to vote on the whitelisting of new borrowers, a process that will qualify participants to earn additional CPOOL through an incentive reward scheme.
Eventually, a full decentralized governance system will be introduced, allowing CPOOL holders to propose, vote, and implement future changes and upgrades to the protocol.
Pre-staking is currently available on KuCoin, AscendEX, and Gate, where APR is 100%, and we have a Uniswap v3 liquidity mining pool which currently pays around 650%.
A new staking program will be announced before the mainnet launch of the Clearpool v1.0 protocol. We will announce more details soon, but essentially longer-term stakers will earn significantly higher rewards for interacting with the protocol, whether it’s for whitelisting/governance or lending activities.
CPOOL staking will also be a required action for borrowers, who must stake an amount of CPOOL to access the area of the protocol where they can make a proposal to be whitelisted.
Liquidity providers earn additional CPOOL rewards, enhancing pool interest rates to attractive levels.
Clearpool will also announce a buyback program, where a share of protocol revenue will be used to buy CPOOL in the open market to sustain reward pools perpetually.
Dave: Awesome, it really sounds like you guys have a great DeFi solution for interacting with more CeFi entities/businesses.
Well, thanks a lot for that, Rob! I think that’s a good opportunity to open things up to the chat then; I’m sure they have some interesting questions.
Q: Is there any due diligence done on what the borrower is using the capital for?
Robert: During the proposal process, the borrower must provide certain information, including use of funds. The more information they provide, the stronger the proposal and the more likely to get whitelisted.
Additionally, Clearpool has partnered with X-Margin, who will provide real-time risk metrics so lenders can get an accurate picture of the amount of risk that the borrower is taking at any point in time.
Q: Who / What do you use for KYC? Stolen identity isn’t hard to buy on the Dark Web, so what would stop such an event?
Robert: All borrowers must first pass a proof of identity, and proof of KYC process with one of Clearpool’s governance approved digital asset custodian partners.
We have developed a solution for this with another one of our partners — Hex Trust. This will ensure that fraud is eliminated.
Related Post: Clearpool partners with Hex Trust to deliver a decentralized capital markets ecosystem
Q: So currently, you only lend to Single users? Or Small groups? Would you ever begin to KYC large institutions to borrow?
Robert: Borrowers are single entities.
We will be launching thematic pools, where as a lender, you will be able to diversify across a number of different pools by lending to a thematic pool. Thematic pool mandates will be created through governance.
Maybe in the future, we will be able to have pools with multiple borrowers, but the single borrower pool structure gives rise to the tokenization of credit, which is important because it means we can build more risk management tools to assist lenders.
Q: My question is about your protocol’s security. In 2021, there have been around 73 DeFi exploit incidents, according to the DeFi monitoring tool Cryptosec. I’ve read that the total amount lost is approximately $1.5 billion. Is Clearpool aware of this? How do you plan to weapon yourself against this trend? Do you have the expertise in your Team to counter it? Also, do you think integrating PARSIQ improves the security of your protocol in any way?
Robert: Yes, indeed, we are aware of recent hacks, and security of user assets is of paramount importance to our team.
Firstly, we have partnered with Hex Trust, Asia’s leading digital asset custodian. They are experts in the safekeeping of digital assets, and they will assist with custody and some transaction monitoring services. They are also very helpful when it comes to regulation and compliance, as they are licensed and regulated in Hong Kong and in Singapore by MAS.
We have hired two separate firms to audit our smart contracts, and we will most likely hire a third company as well. We will also announce a bug bounty program. Security is very important to us.
Q: It sounds like Clearpool has a bright future with enterprise DeFi and bringing enterprises into the space — What do you think is the number one thing that will bring the noncrypto native institutions into the space?
Robert: I think there are two main areas.
Firstly regulation — many traditional institutions are regulated and stepping into DeFi is difficult for them due to the fact that it sits outside of the regulated activities.
Regulation will eventually come to DeFi and Clearpool will be one step ahead when it does. We are spending a lot of time and effort to ensure that we will be in the best position to continue when it comes.
Secondly, I would say that there needs to be a certain level of sophistication in product offering, especially for lenders. Many traditional lenders have to follow strict mandates, which include having the ability to manage and hedge risks.
This is what Clearpool is all about. We didn’t want just to build a solution that solved the problem of overcollateralization for borrowers; we also wanted to create something that improved the landscape for lenders too. We have a lot of interest from traditional institutions, showing we are on the right path.
Q: What is your vision on Clearpool, and where do you see it in a few years?
Robert: Clearpool has a long-term vision.
Initially, our users will be crypto native, but we believe that eventually, all debt will be originated on-chain, and we want to position ourselves to capture this flow when it begins.
We are working hard in the background to create awareness about what we are doing with more traditional institutions. We want to level the playing field so that all users, retail and institutional, get the same opportunities in the capital markets space.
Q: Are the users borrowing confined to only using the capital on-chain, and what stops the users from taking the money out of blockchain?
Robert: Our initial borrowers are all crypto-native institutions; they execute all of their business on-chain. However, in the future, we will see borrowers who will want to utilize liquidity off-chain. This is expected, and we will create measures to communicate this beforehand and in real-time — maybe in partnership with PARSIQ!
Dave: Thanks a lot for joining us, can’t wait to hear more from Clearpool in the future 💪🏻
Robert: Thanks for having me! Please follow me on twitter @Rob8830
Clearpool is @ClearpoolFin
Our telegram is https://t.me/clearpoolofficial
Its been a real pleasure guys, all the best and speak soon!