Putting Web3 In People’s Pockets: A Discussion With Grindery CoFounder Tim Delhaesby@musharraf
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1,519 reads

Putting Web3 In People’s Pockets: A Discussion With Grindery CoFounder Tim Delhaes

by Mohammad MusharrafApril 9th, 2024
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Grindery co-founder Tim Delhaes discusses how account abstraction and integration of web3 stack to privacy-focused message apps can increase web3 adoption.
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Improving Web3 accessibility is mission-critical in the industry’s current adoption phase. The tech stack has evolved significantly, alongside a steady cultural shift towards viable, long-term solutions.

Integrating Web3 features into existing applications is a way forward. I discussed this in-depth with Tim Delhaes, a serial entrepreneur and the Co-Founder and CEO of Grindery.

We explored why account abstraction matters, how messaging apps can catalyze mass crypto adoption and more. Let’s dive in.

Welcome, Tim. It’s great to have you. Tell us a bit about your exciting, multi-faceted journey and crossover from Web2 to Web3.

I’m deeply interested in how the Internet transforms human society, from politics to business and education. This is the driving force for every project and company I’ve built or scaled in so many different forms.

But I initially saw Web3 as mere hype. During the ICO Summer, for example, I readily dismissed everything about blockchains as BS. Then I realized just how much money founders were raising through ICOs, so I dug deeper into the industry. I was willing to understand things better this time.

One of the first things I did was start programming in Solidity. It was exciting, because I touched any code for the first time in almost twenty years.

Soon, it was clear that this technology was here to stay. You can’t shut it down. And it can produce immense economic benefits across industries—the ultimate incentive to drive Internet-scale adoption. There was no looking back.

You’ve built and scaled businesses all your life. What are some of the key hurdles budding entrepreneurs face, especially in Web3?

I’ve built startups in every era of the Internet: Web1, Web2, and now Web3. Through this, I realized how experience is both good and bad.

You gain a lot from experience. Many things become easier than otherwise. But it also makes innovation somewhat harder, especially for those who’ve done it before.

In Web3, specifically, there are technical challenges on one side. Understanding cryptographic models or methods, parsing complex mathematics, and coming to terms with community-oriented cultural dynamics.

It took me a long time to get comfortable here, and that’s something new entrepreneurs face as well. The toughest challenge, however, is breaking away from the old ways of thinking and problem-solving.

Web3 solutions require fresh, novel approaches that are fully upside-down at times. It takes conscious effort and education to overcome this, especially for those coming from Web1 or Web2 like myself.

Too many legacy thought processes and methods entering Web3 are a threat to this industry’s ability to fundamentally transform the world.

What’s the significance of democratizing technology and empowering communities through decentralized solutions?

The undeniable ‘bling-bling’ is what initially attracts most people to Web3. But those with deeper interests become hooked and fascinated by the power of the underlying technology.

This interested lot starts working in Web3, moving beyond financial speculation. They discover Web3’s most overlooked but most important and impactful aspect, i.e., the ability to democratize technological access, power, and control.

That’s how I got so deeply into DAOs. And after speaking with dozens of people in this space, I believe it’s the democratization and empowerment of communities that truly makes a difference.

Web3 brings a beacon of hope for those who mistrust big corporations and profoundly dislike interacting with mainstream banks, tech companies, etc.

Coming to Grindery, why Telegram? More generally, why integrate payments with instant messaging platforms?

Bringing more power to more people is my core mission. Messaging apps are a great tool for this as they’re increasingly becoming super apps.

Consider WeChat, for example. It evolved from a simple messaging platform to an ‘everything app’ that supports digital payments, transportation, physical services, etc.

Now, I see crypto payments serving as the financial DNA of next-gen messaging apps. Bringing crypto to apps like Telegram will make it more accessible and useful for the next one billion users. It’ll unlock the real-world utilities necessary for Web3’s mass adoption.

We first integrated Grindery into Telegram because of the gaps between present users, dApps, liquidity providers on EVM chains, and millions of potential users.

Web3’s ideal consumers are people concerned or unhappy with the Internet’s current privacy and security landscape. They want to take matters into their own hands, which is why Telegram is often their go-to messaging app.

However, taking the next step and connecting Telegram to the existing Web3 tech stack is still an uphill battle for many. There are severe complexities and risks.

Grindery abstracts these complexities while minimizing the risks involved. We’re already seeing an overwhelming response to our solution. Over 700K sign-ups in the first few months. Plus, our smart wallet is the most deployed contract in its category and the third-most deployed account abstraction contract across all blockchains.

As a pioneer in account abstraction innovation, what are the biggest advantages of this technology from a consumer’s point of view?

Account abstraction simplifies digital currency interactions, making them more secure and easier for everybody, including newcomers. This happens mainly in two ways.

One, you don’t need to handle complex passphrases or private keys. This eliminates the risk of losing your keys and makes managing crypto wallets much easier for daily use.

Two, abstraction allows protocols to use special contracts that cover transaction costs across chains. The end-user experience is smoother and cost-effective.

We’re taking these improvements to the next level with Grindery. Connecting Telegram IDs to Web3 wallets lets users send or receive crypto using familiar identifiers. Making transactions becomes as easy as sending messages.

Grindery does for crypto payments what PayPal did for fiat transactions in the 90s when it replaced bank accounts and routing numbers with email addresses. Its impact will go beyond existing crypto wallets that essentially mirror legacy banking apps packed with third-party services.

The true power of account abstraction lies in its ability to seamlessly integrate diverse applications and services. Wallets become invisible but omnipresent.

Grindery, thus, paves the way to a more accessible, user-friendly blockchain ecosystem that is available to users with the ease and comfort of their Telegram accounts.

What’s stopping Web3 from achieving internet-scale adoption? How can we get there?

There are two main hurdles. One is regulatory clarity for businesses and end-users; two is ease of use.

While the first problem demands collective action, we’re focusing on solving the second issue. Using account abstraction and everything I’ve discussed so far.

Making Web3 easier to use will inevitably attract the next billion users. Many of them are waiting on the sidelines.

When the average Telegram can swap, stake, and perform other DeFi actions and also pay for pizza, cabs, clothing, etc., we’ll know the future is here. It’s not far away.

To conclude, what’s your best advice for new consumers entering Web3 while another bull cycle takes shape?

Be prepared for a rocky ride. There are no beds of roses in Web3. It’s only been a little over a decade, and we’re still very early.

There are many opportunities, but also potholes. So watch your steps. But above all, be ready to explore, experiment, and learn.

You’ll start seeing things through a new lens, which is ultimately great. Dive deeper into rabbit holes, go beyond the obvious, and always ask/answer—why?

Embracing Web3 will transform your life. It’ll never be the same again, in a good way.