[Exclusive Interview] Meet Fig, Co-Founder of Squid
Today we have the chance to welcome Fig, Co-Founder of Squid. Together with Fig, we will go through what Squid is about, who is the team behind the protocol, how they met, what makes Squid different, why they decided to build on Axelar, and many more. Let’s get started!
[SurferInvestor] Could you please summarise briefly what Squid is about?
[Fig] Squid is a set of developer tools which makes adding cross-chain functionality to your apps easy. We have a router which powers cross-chain swaps, and front end tools which make it easy to add cross-chain flows to your app. Users can use our own app to swap any token on one chain for any token on another, in one click, in under 20 seconds.
[SurferInvestor] Could you please introduce the founding team? What is their background and what makes them the right team to run Squid?
[Fig] The founding team is 9 people who came together in June last year to build the first version of Squid, with some seed funding. 8 of us are developers, most of us are surfers, we all love culture as well as more technical stuff, and love working together.
[Fig] We have two very senior engineers who have led teams shipping products for 20 years each. All of the devs in squid are amazing in their own right and I feel super lucky to work with them. We’re proud of shipping fast and building products that actually work and are useful. On the non-technical side we have two heavy hitters who each have 10 years experience building communities and marketing startups, as well as bringing “real life” experience from tier 1 advertising firms outside of crypto. We all love the Squid brand, and it’s usually the first thing anyone says to any of us.
[SurferInvestor] Could you tell us a few words about the brand? Why Squid?
[Fig] Haha well there you go. The brand was built to stand out from the repetitive galaxy and matrix brands that are everywhere in crypto. It was a risk, but it’s paid off for us. Squids look a bit like a hub and spoke networking model if you look at them the right way, we connect apps on different chains to make them appear as if they’re part of the same system, and the same experience.
[SurferInvestor] You mentioned that a big part of the team was surfing, is this how you met?
[Fig] Not how we met, but it sealed the deal in some cases. There’s something about the way surfers think that is appealing. They’re exploratory, patient, and high performing when it’s game time. Also if you’re going to work with someone closely for years, you’d better be able to connect with them. We’ve worked together in many surfing areas around the world, Australia, Portugal, Costa Rica.
[Fig] My co-founder Koda is a wizard in the barrel. Good at navigating dangerous situations safely :p
[SurferInvestor] How many people are on the team?
[Fig] There’s now 11 of us.
[SurferInvestor] How did the idea of Squid come to life?
[Fig] Squid came about because the alt-L1 hype and launch of the first rollups in 2021 created a version of crypto which was basically unusable to anyone non-technical. Trying out a new application involved tens of clicks, visiting many new websites you didn’t know were safe, and just generally a lot of uncertainty and fear. We knew there was a serious problem, and together with the Axelar team (we were already building in their ecosystem), we came up with a design we thought was a logical endpoint for where UX and connectivity of applications across chains needed to get to. Users should be able to interact with an application if they have funds in a crypto wallet, without ever thinking about how to get their money there. We wanted a VISA or Stripe experience for interacting with crypto products.
[SurferInvestor] There are already a lots of bridges around – what are you doing differently?
[Fig] First of all, we route all our volume through Axelar Network. Security is everything in cross-chain.
[Fig] Secondly, Squid’s contracts do not hold any liquidity. Our users are not at risk of losing funds before or after using Squid. We achieve this by route through existing DEXs on single chains, making them appear as one super interchain DEX.
[SurferInvestor] Why have you decided to build on top of Axelar?
[Fig] We love their team and their tech. They’re leading the way with new thought on interoperability and are actually shipping the products. They have the highest security and decentralisation on the market.
[Fig] Axelar is a proof of stake Cosmos blockchain, which connects other blockchains. It has a set of 70 validators who verify every message that is sent across chains through the protocol. Start here.
[SurferInvestor] What item in the roadmap gets you the most excited?
[Fig] Definitely launching full any:any swaps in the Cosmos. We are so close, and it’s going to be an insane unlock for the entire Cosmos ecosystem.
[SurferInvestor] In an ideal world, how would Squid look in 5 years?
[Fig] In 5 years I’d love for crypto to actually be used in the real world, and whatever transfer of value that is needed in that future I would like Squid to be powering.
[SurferInvestor] For people who wanna jump in, how to get started?
>> Users: try a swap >> Frontend devs: Try installing our swap widget in a front end. >> Backend devs: Try buying an NFT across chains with our SDK
[SurferInvestor] Any alpha you would wanna share with our readers?
[Fig] Only alpha is that I think we’re about to make an unprecedented new thing with the connection between Cosmos and EVM and I’m super excited about it hehe. Talking about the EVM world and the Cosmos world.
It was a pleasure to interview Fig, especially because I am a surfer myself, from Squid today. We wish him and the remaining of the team all the best to accomplish their vision.
I heard about Squid first on Bankless, when David Hoffman was attending the Interop Summit couple of days ahead of ETH Denver 2023 (link of the interview in the footer). I then started using the router to move funds around between Osmosis and Arbitrum and then decided to join the Discord. That’s how this interview came to life!
And remember: “You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.” (Jon Kabat-Zinn).