Bringing Maple Solana to Mainnet
By Quinn Barry, Head of Maple Solana.
What does it mean to be the dominant institutional capital network for crypto?
~$1B in loans originated? Check.
~$250M TVL increase in the last 2 months? Check.
Maple has been rapidly shipping code and increasing market share since our commercial launch in May 2021, and momentum has only accelerated in the past few months. Starting with one pool at $17M, Maple is now home to six pools, operated by sophisticated pool delegates who have executed ~$1B in loans to crypto blue-chips to date.
In November, we launched a KYC-AML compliant single-borrower pool for Alameda Research, the first syndicated loan in DeFi, and have quickly scaled that to $100M+. In February, we brought on Celsius as our first CeFi pool delegate. Celsius plans to issue $500M - $1B in loans within 12 months.
And our most exciting announcement is right around the corner. In early April, Maple will be the first protocol to bring undercollateralized lending to the Solana ecosystem.
That’s just the beginning. We plan to originate $1B in loans on Maple Solana by the end of 2022.
In the coming weeks, we will roll out major partnerships that will spur Solana’s growth, including:
- Welcoming CeFi lenders, some of whom will be lending on Solana for the first time
- Onboarding blue-chip pool delegates, who will manage lending businesses on Maple Solana
- Supporting exciting new protocols leveraging Maple to bootstrap liquidity and growth
- Integrating with Solana ecosystem partners, including DAOs, tools, wallets and Solana-native assets
How Maple Solana started: the founding of Avari
It all started in Puerto Rico. Jeff and I had just graduated from Stanford, and we wanted to build something big. The talk of PR (a close-knit, high-signal crypto community) was a new L1 called Solana, which could support heavy-duty applications and was backed by SBF.
I went down to PR to learn more about Solana, and came back certain we were at the forefront of a groundbreaking change in tech. Solana was 3000x faster than Ethereum and had strong backing from forward-thinking institutions like FTX, Jump, and Andreesen Horowitz. At the same time, the nascent community had not yet attracted significant developer interest, meaning there were tons of new primitives to build. In the first few months that we tinkered with Solana, the market validated our view: the price of Solana jumped 800% from July to September 2021.
Coming from startup backgrounds (Jeff worked at Tesla, I worked at 8VC), we discovered that the lack of credit markets was one of crypto’s largest unsolved problems. Even though the majority of the $300T TradFi lending market is un/undercollateralized, undercollateralized lending represented less than 1% of on-chain lending. If executed correctly, on-chain credit-based lending could bring a large capital injection into DeFi by making lending more capital efficient.
We reached out to the top market makers in crypto to test their appetite for borrowing undercollateralized on-chain. They confirmed that despite healthy balance sheets, their firms struggled to access traditional capital markets because of the associated risk of lending to crypto firms. We went all in: we would build Avari, an undercollateralized lending platform on Solana. Our first product would power one-click undercollateralized loans for reputable crypto institutions and return reliable yields for lenders.
A dozen user interviews, a demo, and a few months later, Jeff and I were finalizing our seed round for Avari, with commitments from some of the best investors in crypto and web2. Then after Christmas we met Sid, Maple’s CEO and chief evangelist. Sid presented us an alternative to our seed deal: why not work together to bring undercollateralized lending to Solana, leveraging Maple’s client relationships, brand, and killer team to build the dominant lending platform in crypto? That sounded pretty great to us, and after getting to know Sid and his co-founder Joe, we got to work right away.
Getting Maple Solana ready for mainnet
After the acquisition, there was so much to do in such a short time. We reconfigured our smart contracts to match Maple’s design. Maintaining parity across solidity and Rust codebases is not easy — that’s why so few Ethereum protocols move to Solana.
We put our contracts through rigorous testing, then tested again. We pushed our code through a clean audit with Quantstamp. Then we pushed our code to audit, again. We built a brand new WebApp (dark mode incoming!) and blitzed DAOs, institutions, whales, and protocols who could support our launch,
From Day 1, we felt like Avari (now Maple Solana) had an incredible support team: the super connector Head of Capital Markets in Danny Kim, hungry to win Quinn Thompson leading growth, savvy marketer Charlotte Dodds, compliance whiz Katherine Kirkpatrick, and the brilliant smart contract and off-chain teams. And of course, Sid and Joe, whose daily strategy sessions and leadership have kept our launch on track.
Joining Maple’s first team offsite in February was a stand out moment. The three day meet-up bonded the Avari x Maple team. Beyond building relationships with the team, one thing about Maple’s culture really stood out: the team is singularly focused on building a $100B company and crypto’s largest capital network. Maple’s long-term mindset amidst a sea of noise in the space was refreshing and motivating.
Our goals for Maple Solana are clear: combine Maple’s beautiful product with the scalable nature of the Solana blockchain. Make the product accessible to more users through lower fees, and onboard new partners to grow value in the Solana ecosystem. Bring a brand-new primitive to Solana, and scale composably through integrations with Solana-native apps.
I’ve never felt more confident that Maple needs to exist in DeFi, and it needs to exist on Solana. We can’t wait to share more about our launch and the road ahead in the coming days!