October 14, 2022

Ep #1: Ahmed Al-Balaghi

On China, Biconomy, and a frictionless multi-chain future.
  • Founded 2018
  • $50m of volume on Hyphen
  • 22 Heads

A twenty-minute form started Ahmed on a life-changing road, via China, Vitalik Buterin, and the grassroots web3 communities that became Biconomy’s first customers. 

We talk about the fundamental concepts that underpin money - the value we place, its usage as a proxy for conflict, and the fatalism of fiat currency that history is destined to repeat.

Web3 communities feature heavily in Ahmed’s journey, from initiating the first blockchain association for students in China, to sourcing Biconomy’s first customers, and spending most of 2020 actively listening to specific problems discussed in grassroot meetups. 

We discuss the use of trust in selling your solution and how adding value to the projects around you without an agenda is the best way to introduce your project. Solutions not sales. 

Building core infrastructure for web3 means gradually decentralizing and building for the future while solving for the now. Avoid building in a vacuum, focus on intentional use cases, make it provable, and put the end user’s experience at the heart of everything you build. Back in the nascent days of Ethereum, that meant asking how they could empower devs to build simpler experiences for better adoption.

1:54: Intro to Blockchain and studying Mandarin in China. How a twenty-minute form changed my life. 

5.18: How Google’s rejection opened the door to a series of Blockchain meetups

8.16: The paradigm shift to replace fiat currency and the value of money

10.36: My introduction to Ethereum at $2 and speaking Chinese with Vitalik Buterin

13:12: The meeting of Aniket Jindel and how a group of international students initiated the first Blockchain association in China.

16:06: Meeting Sachin Tomar and assisting Polygon in an investment round during a Crypto Winter

17:52: Working for the Amazon of the Middle East

18:33: How a remote side project with staking planted the seed for Biconomy

20:50: A couple of hundred users on Ethereum made us ask how we could increase adoption and the life of developers and end-users

23:15: Meta transactions at a DAP level and focusing on why end-users have to pay gas fees

25:23: Making a full-time commitment to our vision and our first customer

27:10: Building during a bear market and avoiding building in a vacuum 

29:16: Our launch on Ethereum and Polygon

31:19: How we built our growth on trust and solutions 

34:19: A holistic ecosystem that makes web3 usable, frictionless, and gasless

37:15: An entire year of listening to our customers

38:21: Launching Hyphen 

41.44: Things have to be frictionless at a transactional level. End users should be able to move freely.

44:01: Integration with DYDX - the easiest onboarding experience in crypto

46:15: Gas solutions: setting a preferred method for payments

47:24: What next for Biconomy

50:46: Multichain composability. What does the user’s next interaction look like?

53:28: Building for the future and solving for the now 

55:36: Focus on being impactful and useful over decentralized and trustless

57:15: The challenge of scaling a team in web3 

59.51: A shared narrative, North Star, and the founding values of Biconomy

1:05:50: Never lose the heartbeat of what you’re doing as a company

1:09:40: Aligning the team and the community with a vision. We know the direction over the destination.

Latest episodes