Just as roads and bridges help people move, this entrepreneur is building cross-chain infrastructure
The need for bridging infrastructure shaped Ramani Ramachandran’s Singapore-based blockchain ventures Router Protocol and Dfyn Network. Here’s why the entrepreneur remains bullish on the future of blockchain innovation in India and the world.
With major metropolitan cities across the world turning into bustling and congested concrete jungles, satellite cities and adjacent towns have cropped up to provide them relief. Roads, highways, bridges, and other infrastructure have become critical to the smooth movement of people between cities and urban localities.
For serial entrepreneur Ramani ‘Ram’ Ramachandran, the same analogy works in the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry.
In fact, the need for bridging infrastructure has shaped the concepts behind his Singapore-based blockchain ventures Router Protocol, a cross-chain liquidity aggregation protocol, and Dfyn Network, a multi-chain decentralised exchange live on Polygon.
“After Ethereum became popular due to its smart contract functionality, it started seeing a lot of congestion. People started helping it scale and built Layer 2 blockchains. Here is where Router comes in. Like roads and bridges help people move, Router helps liquidity move from chain to chain in a seamless manner,” explains Ram.
With Router, Ram is building bridging infrastructure to allow contract level data flow across various blockchains, thus enabling asset-level data transfer.
“With Dfyn, we are building a network of decentralised exchanges across multiple Layer 1 and Layer 2 blockchains and plug into multiple liquidity sources across chains, including the cross-chain liquidity ecosystem being developed by Router.”
Success amidst a volatile, disruptive market
Ethereum is infamous for its high gas fees, and unlike mainstream financial products and networks built by Visa or Mastercard, it cannot handle several thousand transactions per second.
Ram believes Router and Dfyn can be a part of the solution, not only for Ethereum but also other chains that want Dfyn to set up nodes and leverage Router infrastructure to optimise the movement of liquidity. “The technology is open source and anyone can use it,” he adds.
Besides Bitcoin and Ethereum, the top 10-20 altcoins by market capitalisation have frequently changed over the last four or five years.
For Ram’s blockchain startups, whose native tokens are named ROUTE and DFYN, the key to continued success is constant evolution, innovation, and listening to the community, according to the entrepreneur.
“From day one, running a blockchain startup is like running a public company. You always have your online communities engaging with you and letting you know when some of your features are not working as desired. Further, success in this industry is transient and ephemeral, so we need to constantly innovate and get through several product cycles aggressively,” he explains.
Despite the highly volatile nature of blockchain and cryptocurrency, Ram maintains his faith in decentralised ledger technology. In the last year, he says the industry has been more productive than usual on account of worldwide and nationwide lockdowns.
This has helped developers invest more focus and time in building better blockchain products, according to him.
India’s future in blockchain
In recent months, the Indian blockchain and cryptocurrency industry has been rejuvenated by a Reserve Bank of India clarification stating that its 2018 circular preventing banks from dealing in “virtual currencies” is invalid and cannot be cited anymore after it was set aside by the in 2020.
In the same year, the NITI Aayog published a paper on blockchain technology discussing the value of the technology in facilitating trust in government and private sector interactions, evaluating blockchain use cases, and more.
For India to capitalise on such developments, foster blockchain and cryptocurrency innovation, and build a robust ecosystem of startups involved in the space, Ram, like other industry leaders, believes a framework for regulation is the need of the hour.
“Decentralised consensus is important to reduce reliance on third-party organisations, such as banks, which are not immune to failure. But in India, the blockchain industry has seen a rough ride. With the right regulations, it becomes possible to track data. But if there’s a ban, scammers or any other “bad guys” will figure out even more use cases for the technology,” he says, adding that he sees similarities between the rising adoption of blockchain technology since 2009 and the proliferation of the Internet since the 90s.
Joining the race for blockchain innovation
Ram also cites the example of China, which has been a forerunner in blockchain and cryptocurrency innovation, saying that India should not miss the blockchain bus and fall behind its rival.
More recently, Bitcoin and most other altcoins have been enduring a bear market as prices fall amidst Bitcoin mine closures in China and potential regulatory scrutiny.
“In China, despite such bans, innovation still flourishes. Here in India, there is a ton of programming talent that lends itself naturally to this space. We’ve seen many Indians living elsewhere spearheading exciting blockchain projects in decentralised finance (DeFi). So, it is imperative that we do not lose this race,” he says.
Going forward, Ram is keen to play a part in building a multi-blockchain universe. With cross-chain infrastructure solutions such as Router becoming popular, he plans to expand it into more blockchains on its mainnet.
He also plans to expand Dfyn into a node of multiple blockchains and grow the possible number of cross-chain use cases.