Polygon AMA: Evolution of Esprezzo, Dispatch, Web3, and what's next

by Esprezzo Team on September 21, 2022

Remy Carpinito, our CEO and Co-Founder, joined Polygon for an AMA on the team’s official Discord last week. Remy discussed the story behind Dispatch, Esprezzo’s intuitive no-code blockchain automation tool and how it can help bridge adoption of Web3.

In case you weren’t able to attend, here’s a recording and transcript of the conversation hosted by Zaunzi, a Polygon DeFi advocate.


AMA Interview Transcript

Transcript has been edited for clarity.

Zaunzi: Before we jump into Esprezzo, why don't we talk about you a little bit? What's your backstory? What were you doing before crypto and what got you into the space?

Remy: Yeah, for sure. I've been running startups with my co-founder for almost a decade now, which is crazy to think. We originally started just talking with you a little bit earlier about building out a higher education business. It originally started as a way to replace the student ID card with your phone using NFC chips.

Back in the day, a little bit ahead of our time there, that evolved into a mentoring platform. We got students and alumni connected in mentorship and career discovery, and scaled that up to about 70 schools.

But behind the scenes, how we got into crypto — my co-founder was in crypto for a very long time. Early Bitcoin miner back in the day. Ran a bunch of other mining pools for a number of other protocols in the very early days of crypto. And then as Ethereum started to emerge, he pinged me. He was like, “Hey man, you really need to get into this. I know once you dig in you’ll fall down the rabbit hole, you're not going to want to leave.”

And that's exactly what happened. I started learning about Ethereum more directly in 2016/2017. In 2017, we built out this little skunkworks project behind the other business, trying to build out a student identity play on top of Ethereum. It was a bit early, I'd say, for that, but we ended up building a really interesting middleware solution that enabled our front-end team at the time to be more productive in their development.

We saw an opportunity to productize that part of the tech stack. We ended up selling our core higher education business in 2018 and then started to pursue the early days of Esprezzo in late 2018.

Z: I'm curious where you're currently at in your development journey, like, how many people are on the team, and what does the journey look like for you guys?

Remy: At the time when we started, there was very little infrastructure available and running your own nodes and you had to build out your own data infrastructure to make application development somewhat manageable. Obviously since 2018, a lot has come about — a lot of node providers and a lot of various API services. And along that time also, I'd say the industry has matured and also more capital has become available, which has been a big thing in the early days— pretty much it was just retail capital feeding into ICOs in the beginning when we first were coming online.

As things start to evolve in 2019 and specifically in 2020 — as DeFi emerged, there was a lot of opportunity to start plugging in our technology there. And that's when the bigger opportunity — the bigger idea — for our first product, which is called Dispatch, came about. And what we first did actually was a little bit more basic to test out the waters of this idea of real-time alerts. And we created this bot that sat on top of Uniswap back in early 2020 that would ultimately listen for new pair and liquidity information and feed that out to Telegram at the time.

Telegram was the most popular messaging service for crypto at the time and obviously it seems to be shifting pretty drastically over to this court (Discord) now. But we had this little bot that pinged a Telegram channel. We had a few thousand people sign up for that service in the first 15-20 days with just a simple blog post. It validated our idea that people really wanted this real-time data without needing to really do anything and making it as simple as possible and delivering it where they are. That validated our idea and led us down the road ultimately to our first bigger product, which is Dispatch.

So Dispatch is ultimately a no code automation and alert service. Behind that, we built this performant index that indexes a lot of on-chain data across protocols, anything from DEX data to NFT data, to monitoring specific addresses or influencer wallets and serving that up to wherever you want. It could be email, Telegram, Discord webhooks, etcetera.

July 2023 update:

Use events from any verified Polygon smart contract to trigger alerts or automations.

We've updated Dispatch beta so you can add any smart contract, pick the events you want to get alerts for, and get alerts in Discord, Telegram, email, or delivered to custom apps via webhook. Check out the update >>

Originally it was just a few of us through the early days and then more recently over the last year, we scaled up to just about eight of us. Now we are a fully remote team spread across LA, Miami, Dallas, San Francisco, and Sacramento.

We're starting to bring the product to market a bit more aggressively. We're currently in a private beta, so we'd love to get anyone in the audience and if they're not already using the product, we're looking for feedback, looking to see what else you'd want to use the tools for and see how we can shape this product around ultimately the end user. So that's where we're at. It's a really simple and easy to use interface that's always been the key. We've always wanted to make this technology super accessible and really fast.

Z: Fantastic. That's super cool to hear that you guys have a private beta testing that everyone here can go and tap into. It sounds like a really good product with a lot of good use cases. What do you see as some of the primary ways people are utilizing this? How do you want to see it being used?

Remy: Great question. What's been interesting is when we started, there's been this evolution, right? When we started testing the waters with Dispatch in 2020, DeFi was the hot thing and still is obviously super relevant. We had a few thousand people sign up in the DeFi realm initially. So that led us down the path of, okay, we created this Uniswap new pair alert bot — let's do that across protocols for all the top DEXs.

We started integrating various protocols. We started with Ethereum, got Avalanche integrated relatively early on, BSC, and we recently integrated Polygon, and across those respective protocols we would go straight to the DEXs. So we got QuickSwap on Polygon integrated somewhat immediately. So you can get new pair alerts on QuickSwap that you can filter out based on liquidity information.

I'd say the core audience initially, even in the private beta, there's a lot you can get from the alerts we have on top of QuickSwap. Also the one thing I just note in general, the pace and speed we deliver the data at is very interesting. Internally, we're hitting sub 50 milliseconds and it's obviously depending on internet speeds, but it's very fast and we're loading data faster than some of the trading tools are.

We've always leaned into performance and so DeFi on the trading side in terms of gaining alpha, gaining data as quickly as possible of new pairs coming online, etcetera, that's evolved. Now we've been working on a larger set of Patches (automations and alerts) including address monitoring.

A lot of the early requests came in and people wanted to be able to monitor a set of team wallets across a specific protocol to see what's happening in that particular realm and see something more today. There’s a lot of demand in the NFT space, so we've been doing a pretty heavy index of all the top NFTs. We are starting with this area, but that's quickly going to scale out to all the other protocols.

Getting all the top NFT projects in, getting all the images and rarity information and scoring that and making that available through a simple point and click interface and being able to create real time bots to track transfers — and in the future: pricing alerts.

So you can stay on top of the things you're most interested in. So we're really excited about the NFT front as PFP projects are traditional projects that have gained the most momentum. But I think pretty shortly in this next wave there's a big push into the gaming space, especially in the Polygon sector through your guys’ protocol.

I think there's a lot of opportunity to start working with games directly, but also people that play games to be able to monitor specific items or assets that they're interested in, to be able to scoop those up when they feel they're most appropriate to do so. There's a lot more to do on our end, but there's a lot of exciting stuff that we're already tracking that should add a good amount of value for anyone in the Web3 space.

Z: Yeah, that's really interesting to think about how say someone's playing some Web3 MMO, they could potentially create some kind of marketplace tracker using the Dispatch tool.

Remy: Yeah, exactly. That's a great use case. The players of the game would be able to track a specific item. On the development side, on the game side, we have some interesting stuff coming up with the ability to index specific smart contracts for the developers and be able to serve that data really quickly.

One of the big things I've always talked about is how a lot of people talk about how the UX (in Web3) is broken — the UI is not broken. Everyone can create a pretty button today. There's plenty of open source frameworks to leverage. But I think what most people are speaking to or speaking around is that the latency in Web3 — everything's slightly delayed compared to Web2, which is fine, some give and take, but there are ways to improve the tech stack and to be able to deliver that data extremely fast to remove some of that latency.

Z: So I'm curious, what are you guys doing differently to speed things up and remove latency, and what are people doing that causes them to have latency?

Remy: I think as you think about more data that's at rest, like every single NFT — what's interesting with the NFTs is that a lot of that data is very disparate. So some of the data is on a chain, some of that's behind an IPFS gateway. Many of those IPFS gateways are rate limited and throttled, so you're kind of beholden to that. And so being able to cache some of that data and make that more available is a big thing we look into and just making that more readily available. And that's something that is on a per project level.

We're excited to be able to work with some of these projects — we’ll cache a bunch of your data and make that immediately available. So you don't need to reach out or query an RPC node or you don't need to go bump into IPFS to pull an image that's more or less static at this point. So that's stuff we've been looking into — still early days on that front, but we've been starting to really ramp up a bunch of conversations on the project level to see how we can help.

There's been a lot of projects showing a lot of interest in the NFT space, spanning a lot of the PFP style projects, but also more into the game realm and education realm… I think the use cases right now are quite vast and what we're looking for is finding the best projects to work with that can showcase what we can do and then be able to help other projects within those purposes.

Z: Say I was using the Dispatch tool. Yes. On one hand I can convey the data I'm reading via Telegram. Could I also display it through a front end, like a website?

Remy: Yeah, great question. The initial set of output channels were all very message driven, right? So exactly like you said — Telegram, Discord, email, etcetera. Our next release actually with the NFTs will come with the ability to output to a webhook, which is really interesting because through the way we've designed the interface and the user flow — we pretty much allowed anyone to create an on demand data stream.

I think the no-code space in Web3 is still relatively early. There's some great companies doing some awesome work in the smart contract space, but as we think about being able to feed on-chain data off to applications or other apps, whatever it may be, I think there's a pretty big space there to make things really simple and easy and that's something we've been hyper focused on.

Z: Frankie Fox is asking — Do you have an API en route or any plans for developers to be able to tap into this?

Remy: Yeah, I imagine they were writing the question as I was just saying that we 100% do. We're super excited about it. We are eating our own dog food right now in the sense that our API that we're going to start exposing is what powers Dispatch. So Dispatch is almost a use case of our deeper infrastructure that's going to be available to all the developers and that's what's pretty cool. I think you could build pretty much anything that you want leveraging some of the data we have. With that performance caching system we built, the performance of a particular dApp can have a pretty big impact on some of the stuff we can do.

If anyone's interested in the API, we do have a separate form right now that we're letting people fill out so we can have a better understanding of what you're trying to do. And we're going to get people early access that go through that process too. So we can pretty much build it alongside them, make additional endpoints available. I think in this next release we do have the webhook coming out. So if you did want to programmatically interface with some of the data that's going to be available shortly.

Z: Sweet. I'm curious, like, I feel like I'm understanding what you guys do, but what category of product would you put yourself into? Like, how would you define yourself?

Remy: Our deeper index is very much an infrastructure and index and caching system. But I'd say on the Dispatch side, it’s like an automation play. No code automation and alerts is what Dispatch powers right now. In the thought process we're taking, it's very different from a node provider where there's no need to interface with the node through our service. It's really just surfacing the data you want and that's something that we're really excited about and something that I think — just ultimately the way things are trending — abstracting away the complexity of the Web3 tech stack is going to become instrumental to the next level of next wave of adoption, especially for developers.

We think the set of tools we are building and the no code aspects will be a really good gateway for a lot of these devs to come in and start using it and get familiar with the type of data they can receive.

Z: That is phenomenal. Yeah, the no code side of things is definitely still in its infancy and I think it'll really help drive a lot more adoption. Are you working on any collaborations with any other Web3 development companies? I know we got a bit of a partnership going on and then I see a lot of other ones as well.

Remy: Our approach has been to be pretty methodical about how we go to market. Working in Web3 has been really fun and interesting. Working in higher education prior, running a very traditional kind of SaaS B2B — very different ballgame, very formal process, etcetera. In Web3, there's a few different ways you can go to market, you can go be super hype and blow out partnerships with everyone under the sun. But when you actually start digging into what is actually happening, I think the biggest thing we've always wanted to focus on is really working with projects and protocols that have staying power and then also really thinking through what's the longevity and additional use cases that can pop up along the way.

Ethereum was by far the most used blockchain and obviously more or less still is. But as things start to spread out, there's very much a need, especially as development talent continues to spread out across various protocols. There's very much a need to serve these other providers.

Starting with additional L1s in the EVM ecosystem was the first path we took. Starting with additional L2s in the EVM ecosystem was also along that path. For us the reality is we aren't a 100 person team so we can't integrate every single protocol under the sun. But with the nature of the EVM, it just makes it really easy for a lot of dApps to lean into the languages they are already accustomed to and there's definitely going to be more and more languages popping up over time.

Obviously there's a number of protocols that are not EVM focused and that's great. But I think for now that's the route we took and we'll definitely branch off soon in terms of additional protocols.

I think I touched on this pretty slightly earlier, but we started initially focusing on DEXs, so we worked a lot across the Avalanche ecosystem, Trader Joe and Pangolin. Uniswap was our first integration. The nice thing with Web3 is that a lot of this stuff is open source. So if we have the pleasure of working with the team, that's awesome, but if we can't get a hold of anyone over there, we can just keep going forward with the integration. With the DEX protocols, it's been a blend of both working independently and with the teams and now with a lot of the new wave of projects, specifically in the NFT space.

A lot of the NFT projects I'd say are a little lighter on the development front, and there's a lot more opportunity to help them and add value. I think that's where a lot of our tools are starting to speak to these teams a bit and that's what I'm excited about. I think NFTs as a pillar of Web3 is one of the fastest growing and I think it’s going to be one of the most important as it makes crypto more tangible.

There's millions, I mean hundreds of millions of people that use these services, and as we start thinking about scaling crypto to the next 10 million people, this is how it's going to happen and I think NFTs are that gateway. As we start ramping up, so far the conversations I'm having have been working with all NFT projects. I won't name any names yet as we're still early in the process from a discovery standpoint, but I will say we will probably be announcing NFT partnerships by the end of the year and we're super excited about that space. So there's a bunch of stuff on the horizon that I'm excited about and a bunch of different ways that we can provide value. One to the community is like the simplest thing we can do.

Z: Yeah, that's phenomenal. Honestly, I can see so many potential use cases in the gaming industry, especially with all these Play-to-Earn games that are super competitive not only on a gameplay level, but like an economic level as well. And then there's all these guilds that are going to be building their own tooling and they're probably going to be leveraging Dispatch to create their own ways to monitor the game ecosystem. You also wanted to do a screen share, correct?

Remy: So this is Dispatch. I'll give you guys a little sneak peek at some of the new stuff coming.


Z: So this is the private beta that people can register for right now?

Remy: Yeah, NFTs are releasing in the next week or so, but I'll give you guys a little peek at the NFT stuff before it's live. But yeah, the private beta is live. You guys can come in here and play with this. If anyone signs up, we do have a little survey that goes out. If you just mention you're part of the Polygon community, we'll just get you in here. Let me just give you a quick tour.

When you first come into the Dashboard, we have like a little onboarding if you're just signing in for the first time to teach you a little bit more about it. But we call our automations and alerts Patches; so you get to create your own Patch. It's like the whole concept of patching data or moving data around. So that is the kind of naming paradigm we lean into.

But ultimately, we have a bunch of different ways you can get going. So you can pick from this list. So if you want a specific address or alert, you can come in here. If you want to leverage a template, we have these set up on the bottom and then we have a Patch Template screen as well.

So let's do something for the community. So let's do a QuickSwap alert and say we want to hook it up to Discord. It's a very simple walk through. You can come in, connect your Discord account, hook it up to whatever server you wish and then hook it up to your specific channel if you're not already authenticated. Obviously very straightforward Discord flow that I'm sure everyone is familiar with and then you can send a quick test that will go through and confirm everything's working. Turn that on, and so now anytime that's hit on the chain, you will get notified.

Z: Sweet. This looks fantastic. Really easy to use and navigate. I actually just applied for early access, so definitely encourage everyone else to do so. Try it out, see what it's all about. Thank you so much for that demo. I'm looking forward to using it. It looks awesome.

Okay Frankie asked an amazing question— this is a bit of a tricky one, but Frankie wants to know what your exact definition of Web3 is?

Remy: Web3 to me is the next generation of the internet, which is ultimately leaning into decentralization, more of a peer-to-peer kind of set up. I think at the end of the day it's about a more decentralized internet. The ability to transact peer-to-peer obviously unlocks an unlimited number of use cases. In the early days, we saw this with file sharing, etcetera. Obviously initially with Bitcoin and a number of other protocols now it’s absolutely massive. But I think it's an evolving definition because again, when we started, DeFi didn't exist. Web3 is constantly evolving, but it's going to really encapsulate this whole next generation of the Internet, which is primarily built on decentralized technology.

Z: Yeah, I think he nailed that. So I guess we'll tie it into my next question, which would be like, how do you feel you guys are positioning yourself for the future of Web3?

Remy: I think right now what's really interesting is that on the whole, as fast as the space is moving, it's still early. And so with that, you need to create this experience that a lot of traditional Web2 devs are accustomed to and that's meeting them where they are with more traditional style APIs and indexes and caches.

But I think as we look ahead, I think what's really interesting about the service we built, we're agnostic, we've always been agnostic from the start. So as new protocols pop online or new projects pop up within a specific layer one or layer two protocol, there's so much opportunity to add value and work with these teams.

If there's a new smart contract standard that pops up, that's the next type of wave of NFT, but something entirely different; we're ready for that. To us, the smart contract is a smart contract and we just build out tools and parse that data and make it immediately available.

To us, that's the beauty of what we're doing. We're not locked in in any one direction and I think that flexibility and agility is something my co-founder has always talked about. Something we've been fully in agreement with is that that's extremely important in the space that's moving this fast. Just being able to be nimble and keep up with the trends and being able to immediately have impact within those particular new trends is something we're excited about. But all in all, still early and so much opportunity for everyone here.

Z: One thing I'm thinking of, do you guys charge a fee or will you be charging for people to use these services? I'm wondering how you guys earn revenue, or do you just earn revenue from using the tools yourself?

Remy: So Dispatch will be the first paid product we release. Everything else has been open source for free. And the thought process around Dispatch is that it's driving alpha and value to the people that use it. And ultimately a lot of those people may be traders or they may be developers, and we may be able to save them a bunch of time. There will always be free access. And then there will be additional features and larger kinds of data thresholds that you get access to the more you pay. At a pretty lightweight scale initially, but that'll ramp up.

Z: I think that is a fantastic plan. I think a lot of people would definitely pay for a premium plan on this kind of product. I feel like I personally would, depending what I'm getting up to.

Remy: I think for us now, we are in this exciting go-to-market mode. So I'd say again, anyone that wants to play with the product, use the product, provide feedback to us that's hyper critical and stuff we're super excited about. So definitely encourage anyone there to sign up and you can drop me a line.

And then on the other side, I would say if you're working on a project, I'd say what's really interesting on the project front, I'm wanting to help early stage projects. I think there's a lot of opportunity to work with these early stage projects to identify where the hurdles you're trying to jump over right now.

Are there ways that our tools can help you? I think that's what's the most exciting. There's so many new projects coming online, there's all these awesome creative minds that are coming into the space and we want to be part of the conversation to be helpful.

And I think the way we're styling and building our tools in the sense of approachability and ease of use is that initial differentiator. I think once we scale up and start getting these tools embedded in a few different projects, the speed and performance gains too are going to be a differentiator so I think that's the stuff that we're excited about. So I definitely encourage anyone out there that's working on projects to reach out — we’re doing a lot of interesting discovery work right now with a number of different projects.

The other thing too is depending on what you're building, we're very transparent. We want to work with some groups. If it's an awesome project, we can put together a case study, co-market things together. We want to showcase what both of us are doing right ultimately and win-win across both sides. So that's always something we're looking for and we're starting to get into that mode of highlighting some of the projects we're working with. So definitely reach out on that front and if there's any other things you guys are looking to see that we don't have yet.

The feedback is instrumental and creating that feedback loop for our team right now is awesome. I think those are the key things that I would say are the biggest takeaways. And I think as you think about the product, like anything, real-time alerts, data automation, data streams, etc. are all on the table for what we can do. And it's just a matter of prioritization. So the more people provide feedback to us, that allows us to build a better product for you all. So that's the most exciting part of the business.

Z: Yeah, definitely. Honestly, love the energy, love the mindset. That's one of my favorite things about Web3 collaboration/partnerships. Teamwork makes the dream work.

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