Each week, we host top names in DeFi on the CertiK Security Leaderboard Live AMA. This week, we had the pleasure of inviting Shiba Inu project leaders @ShytoshiKusama, @kaaldhairya, and @Ericmx to discuss how they found their way to Shiba, where the project is currently at, and what the future holds for what is perhaps the meme token of 2021.
If you missed the chat in our Telegram channel, don’t worry: here’s a recap of some of what was discussed.
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Aaron: Welcome Shytoshi, Kaal, and Eric. Guys, can you introduce yourselves and give some background on Shiba Inu as well as your roles within the team?
Shytoshi: I’ll start. First, I wouldn’t be here without divine providence so thank you to the Creator. Second, thank you to Ryoshi who is our founder. About me: At times, I feel like a total alien on this wild planet. My entire life has been rather unusual. I’ve rolled with it and continued on until by “luck” I stumbled upon Shiba Inu. I wasn’t here at the beginning, so note that. My focus is business, technology and management. I started as — and am still — a Shiba community member. I was asked to conceptualize what the swap could look like months ago and since then I’ve been grinding against all odds to make it a reality despite no budget and quite a few unseen obstacles. It’s amazing what we’ve done without a thing and I was blessed to meet Eric on the road…
Eric: It’s not easy to describe our roles! The project and its needs have been evolving over time. To make things simple, I’ve been focused on the platform UI design, working hand in hand with all our devs and managing some teams on specific tasks. Sometimes I live on chats and act like a union point between the development team and the community, trying to make things easier to understand for our ShibArmy.
Shytoshi: Let me introduce the community to Kaal. Kaal is one of our secret weapons and despite not asking for fame… I personally respect this man for what he has done. He took what I envisioned and made it better and does so constantly. Without him I wouldn’t be here.
Kaal: Shyto is very modest. I am a technologist who loves to build things and being part of ShibArmy and working alongside Shytoshi, Eric, and Ryoshi is my immense honor.
Aaron: So Shiba started as a meme coin, correct? However, unlike other meme coins, you guys have harnessed the power of a fully-decentralized community in order to deliver real value to your project. This includes things like Shiba Swap, a multi-token ecosystem, Amazon Smile charity initiatives for Shiba Inu dogs, and so on. Is there anything that I’ve missed?
Shytoshi: OK let me break this down because it’s important to note. Shiba is a token that currently lives on the Ethereum blockchain. Ryoshi started this token and took a unique stance that was completely hands off. If it died, so be it. In the early days, when I arrived we had 4k holders.
Aaron: Wow that’s it? You say you weren’t here from the start but uhh… that’s pretty darn early!
Shytoshi: Yes. I actually made a meh NFT because I wanted to remember the number. Might have been 6k, you can find it. I figured they would sell but they didn’t LOL. Anyways, we all just pushed trying to figure out what to do to make the coin better. One of the first things we did was introduce our Amazon Smile initiative. It’s free to make a difference! So while other tokens were setting up wallets and asking for donations, we were telling people just to switch their Amazon Smile to a great non-profit. Simple. Just change your Amazon Smile to that charity and you help save Shibas.
Aaron: So is there an NFT component to Shiba?
Shytoshi: The NFT idea was next. But you know I like to complicate things, right, so first we wanted to make an incubator. Similar to projects like Y Combinator. Problem is, right about this time things started going parabolic for Shib and we had to focus on Swap. Now the Incubator is a different beast altogether.
Aaron: So about Ryoshi & Vitalik. Why did Ryoshi send Vitalik 50% of the total token supply? Did he know that Vitalik would burn them? 90% burned with 10% to charity is about as perfect of an outcome as the community could have asked for.
Shytoshi: Well, we only know what Ryoshi has already said. The most important being that the token needed a weak point. We didn’t think VB even knew Shib existed, until one day it was #2 in his wallet, then #1! And yes, the outcome was the best possible. In my humble opinion he saved lives.
Aaron: So about the whitepaper. When was the newest version released?
Eric: The new WoofPaper was released some days ago. People can find it on our website. I know there’s a lot of people from international channels asking for a translated version. So I want to say that we have an amazing team of people on our Discord channel that is working on translations for practically all the languages needed.
Aaron: That’s awesome news. Based on my DMs it seems the ShibArmy is extremely international.
Eric: Yes, it’s so important that everyone read and understand the WoofPaper, as it’s the base of our project and ecosystem.
Aaron: The fee structure for the three token ecosystem within the swap is novel and complex. Are there any projects you took inspiration from?
Eric: Shyto and Ryoshi had a clear vision of the project from the beginning. We started developing this idea and it was really hard sometimes, because we wanted to respect as much as possible the original plan. It’s a new ecosystem (and I personally don’t know about any other like this one) but it was adding complexity to the platform, for sure.
Shytoshi: One thing that makes this so complex is the number of holders. You have to consider we started development (concepts, etc.) at no more than 20k holders. Then I woke up one day and we were at 500k. So this changes things considerably. On all levels.
Kaal: I remember when I joined and Shyto and I were discussing the tokenomics. He mentioned that his vision is to ensure not just whales get to earn but also someone who is in some distant land earning meagre wages. They can simply stake SHIB and earn daily rewards which can be more than their daily or weekly wages. The impact of that blew me away. Ever since then all we’ve discussed is how to build the most fair system possible.
Aaron: I’ve heard that no single address owns any significant portion of the token supply aside from the burn address Vitalik that sent his to. Any numbers you guys care to share?
Shytoshi: What’s important to note here is that just like our other token LEASH, all holders purchased the tokens themselves from the market. The Grr List allows us to blacklist a wallet if need be, which means that an exchange can’t stake your tokens and receive rewards you should be getting. That said, we have a surprise for the Army.
Aaron: Ooh, news dropping here?
Shytoshi: We’ve been in discussion with multiple exchanges to do the exact opposite of the Grr List. A whitelist so to speak. This will mean that exchanges can stake their SHIB or LEASH and get rewards to give directly to holders without them needing to remove their tokens. This is a complex situation and one of the reasons the “wen swap?” questions drive me nuts. So ask your exchange if they will work with us. We would love to make this a reality with all of them. However, if the exchange won’t work with us to pass on ShibaSwap rewards to their users, we will do our best to blacklist them from the rewards system and also just let the community know they should remove their tokens.
Aaron: I’m sure the community is thrilled about this!
Shytoshi: Just one of the many surprises we have up our sleeves.
Aaron: Do you guys know who Ryoshi is? Do you speak with him/her?
Shytoshi: We don’t have a clue. We just know he’s a very intelligent cat.
Kaal: We have a guessing game between us. I was just joking with Shyto that a few years down the line maybe we should go on a journey to search for Ryo. Everyone is welcome to join us on that journey.
Shytoshi: The truth is we are all Ryoshi. You know, he once said something: Look inside your soul, this is where we will find him if we all search hard enough… I’m still working on it.
Aaron: In terms of the Shiba ecosystem roadmap — what can we expect moving forward? How does the community get involved to help shape the future?
Shytoshi: We are decentralized, so even though us three have been working on Swap there are so many other things happening! I just heard about Shiba Hotel, Shibasco, and much more. But ultimately, our job is to complete Ryoshi’s vision as described in what he published: an L2 solution, an NFT project, and more. We don’t talk much about our future plans because although we are not a Fortune 500 company, we think like one. You don’t hear that a company is working on something until the last moment. The whitepaper goes into detail that the BONE token will allow users to vote on what happens next. It will take us a bit to get this implemented, but once it is, your BONE tokens will allow you to vote on how to use our budget. And this is where the incubator comes in. If you have a Shiba business idea, unique talent or skill, or anything else, join our incubator. Trust me on this.
Aaron: Moving on to security — possibly the main reason we are all here. What have you guys done to ensure security and foster the trust of your community?
Kaal: We have been audited by the best team ever: Certik! It was an amazing experience working with everyone and a special shout out to Connie. In addition to our audit, we’ve done extensive internal testing and admin testing, gone through current and past attacks and considered all the issues across numerous scenarios, and we will be going with 6/9 multisig for emergency situations. We also plan to move on with a timelock feature and governance soon.
Shytoshi: We reached out to multiple parties and CertiK was the most responsive and respectful, and you have done a great job. We wanted to get the best for the community so it was a no-brainer to get the complete package!
Eric: While we select some audience questions, it would be super interesting for our community to understand CertiK’s workflow when auditing a project like ours.
Aaron: Absolutely! Ok so the audit process is as follows:
First we work with the team to understand the purpose of the code. The business logic is just as important as the code logic.
Once we understand the purpose of the project, we work with the team looking at their implementation. Our fabulous engineers go through and look at all possible scenarios in order to see how the smart contracts would react. They mark down anywhere that there is potential for an exploit or failure of code. They then follow up by giving recommendations of how to alleviate these potential issues. At this point the team who wrote the code goes through and makes decisions on how to alleviate the issue we found.
Finally, we include the issues, recommendations, and course of action (alleviations) in the Audit Report.
Ryoshi said “we are an experiment in decentralized, spontaneous community building.” Beyond the number of holders, how do you perceive the success of this decentralization?
Shytoshi: Ryoshi recently unfollowed everyone on Twitter and changed his picture to the stars. This caused some confusion and made people think this token is (fill in the blank) but the reality is, Ryoshi has always said he doesn’t matter in the scheme of things. Right? So, him essentially removing himself was his way of showing us that we had achieved more than he expected.
He once said that when he read the first WoofPaper he was in tears. I agree with him, of course. When you look at how the community has grown across the entire world, and in less than a year, without a budget, you can see that we have a truly powerful and involved community — the best I’ve ever seen in any community.
How do you keep everyone aligned with the vision and mission of SHIBA at all times? Especially with all the challenges that have been thrown at all of you.
Shytoshi: The army is not always aligned. Being truly decentralized is by far the hardest part of what we are doing. But that’s okay. We encourage the army to work in groups to figure out small, sometimes seemingly miniscule things to help us grow. Be it stickers, music, a mural, meetup or just a private chat with a few people, these things add up.
Will SHIBA, BONE, or LEASH ever evolve and have a utility or will this just be a meme-coin based ecosystem?
Eric: A leitmotif I often use is “we are not a meme-coin anymore.” Our first step to give more utility than just a meme was the creation of ShibaSwap. As Shyto mentioned previously in the introduction, we are developing projects like NFTs or ShibaSwag, and that’s a place where our tokens will keep expanding their usecases. Our intention is that all of our tokens can be used in different ways in our mid-to-long term.
Will there ever be another token burn or a burn built into the system?
Eric: We don’t plan to burn tokens on transactions or anything like that. We trust our project and at this point, it’s smarter to give them a use rather than burning money. In the future people will appreciate that.
What will yield the best rewards: staking, or providing liquidity in ShibaSwap?
Eric: Currently, the pairs BONE-ETH and LEASH-ETH are the ones with the highest APR, but it’s interesting to check all our eligible pairs which receive BONES in order to set your farming strategy.
Do you have an official launch date for ShibaSwap?
Eric: As we’ve mentioned, and as you can see being here on this AMA before ShibaSwap’s release, we are so close to reaching our goal. We’re not going to announce the date today, in fact ShibaSwap will be dropped to the world with no prior announcement. So stay tuned!
Shytoshi: Once we are fully ready, the team will begin the deployment process which is quite intricate and involves a 20+ step process of deploying all the contracts involved in the swap. As soon as we see that it is fully deployed we will do a very fast mainnet test ourselves and then announce to the community admins that the swap is ready. The admins globally can then give a collective “Swap is ready” green light.
Shytoshi has received a lot of flack for the way he expresses himself online. How has that affected you? (P.S. Ignore the hate, I love your lightheartedness. It’s what makes you and SHIB stand out!)
Shytoshi: In real life, I’m a mild mannered reporter that works for the Daily Planet. But when I created this Twitter account, I promised that I would be myself. For months, I’ve faced FUD, name calling, arrogance, anger, hatred, and even threats. What I think people fail to realize is that we are (at least I am not) the 1%. I’m not a Harvard grad (though I turned down a full scholarship to Johns Hopkins). I’m a normal guy that spent his entire life working and learning, taking the best of each company I worked for with me until I was able to integrate that knowledge into an ethos that for some reason people respect and love. Others will hate it. F^&%^ them! While they complain about me and my rants or anti-FUD they could be donating their riches like VB to save lives. Ultimately, I live for this reason, to prove that you don’t have to be a suit to be successful, and to help people all across the world in the process. I live for this. Everyday. I cried this entire weekend out of happiness and frustration because ultimately, I’m still just another community member. So it doesn’t matter what I say, or does it?
It seems like ShibaSwap will have many new features and functionalities, which for beginners in this field may be overwhelming. Are there any measures to make it more user-friendly for newcomers?
Eric: Yes, one of the main concerns of our team is to create a project that can be used and understood by everyone, experienced and new users alike. That’s what made this project so successful: a lot of people discovered the world of DeFi through us. Our team is working on making it as user-friendly as possible and there will be tools to educate users about how the platform works. Also, we have an amazing team of translators that are finishing up translations in an incredible amount of languages. These will be released after launch, but as soon as possible!
What are some of the problems you’ve encountered when creating a community token?
Shytoshi: The biggest problem is finding people you can trust. This will continue to be a problem. Usually, a team hires people after a long and arduous hiring process where multiple people give yes or no (or a hard/soft yes or no) until a fit is found. There are background checks and so many other things that go into bringing on a developer or marketer. In this type of truly decentralized environment, where anyone can use your logo, someone may create a SHIB account, profess to join the ShibArmy, work alongside us for months, and then start shilling Sh*ttoken X. I often recount the story of trying to find a trusted developer.
I went to Ryoshi and said I need a new good Solidity developer. He immediately went to the community and someone stepped up. So I go to meet the guy and I ask him where he’s from.
“Buffalo of the New Yourke,” he replies.
Now, I’m not a New Yorker, but I am absolutely sure no New Yorker spells New York wrong. So I told him I was just up there on my way to Vancouver.
What’s it like to have worked with Ryoshi?
Shytoshi: Working with Ryoshi is like being with a Samurai Cat that hits you over the head with a Boken to teach you how to behave and to enlighten you. I’ve learned how to look out for potential scams, and I’ve also been blessed enough to get drippings of wisdom from his mind that blew me away. I don’t know who Ryoshi is or if I’ll ever meet him, but I love him dearly and wish him the best for what he has done and who he is. HAIL SHIBA!
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That wrapped up this week’s AMA with Shytoshi, Eric, and Kaal from SHIB. For more AMA sessions with top DeFi and crypto projects, keep an eye on our social channels and subscribe to our YouTube channel.
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This interview has been edited for clarity and concision.