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Our goal is to have 1 mn users on Shardeum: Nischal Shetty

Our goal is to have 1 mn users on Shardeum: Nischal Shetty
18 Oct, 2022
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Nischal Shetty, co-founder and CEO of WazirX, is planning to officially launch Shardeum in the first quarter of next financial year. The Layer-1 (L1) network, which is essentially a sharded blockchain being built from scratch, is currently being tested. Headquartered in Switzerland, Shardeum is also expected to soon close an estimated $20 million seed round funding from multiple investors within the Web3 and crypto industry, which will value it at about $200 million. In a recent interview in Dubai, Shardeum's co-founder Nischal Shetty declined to comment on his funding plans for Shardeum or talk about the WazirX-Binance issue, but he spoke about a host of other issues including the future of WazirX, the roadmap for Shardeum, and his outlook on Web3 and cryptocurrencies. Edited excerpts:

What inspired you to build Shardeum? Does Shardeum have any customers right now? What’s the target market?

I entered the crypto space in India in 2018 when there were about 5 million crypto users and 7-8 exchanges. People asked me then, "Why am I building another crypto exchange?" My answer was that this market is growing rapidly, which is why we launched WazirX. The market grew from 5 million to 25 million in four years. And because we were at the forefront, we acquired about 50% of the market, which is about 12 million users. I see these 25 million users (number of users who have interacted with crypto in India in these years) touching about 100 million users in the 3-4 years, despite all the hurdles. That said, India has never seen a Layer-1 blockchain since all blockchains have been built outside India by people from outside the country, and for users out of the country. A Layer-1 blockchain is where everything starts. In India, a mere 2-3 percent of crypto users in India use a blockchain -- the rest are on crypto exchanges, which is why the opportunity is huge.

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How big is Shardeum currently? And we understand you plan to raise about $20 million to expand this network?

Shardeum has about 29 employees on board who sit across the world including India, the US, the UK, and even Brazil. We will first be focusing on the US and India, and then spreading to the globe since this is an open-source project. I can't comment on the funding plans.

How much progress have you made with Shardeum?

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People in India want a blockchain that scales and is cheap -- no one wants to pay $1 for a transaction. Our aim is to reduce the transaction fee (also known as gas fee) to Rs.1-2. Shardeum increases the transactions per second (TPS) and total capacity of the network to scale and ensures low transaction fees even as volumes grow. We do so by adding more nodes (servers). It can process more than million transactions if needed unlike other blockchains, without raising fees -- this has never been done before. My co-founder and chief technology officer, Omar Syed, began working on this technology in 2017. We plan to launch a full-fledged network in the first quarter of 2023. About 100,000 people have already tested the platform (Testnet), and most of them are from India. People are, for instance, sending test tokens to their friends. And those who add nodes get node rewards, similar to other blockchains. Our goal is to have one million users, most of them from India, but we have not set a time for this. And we will need about 1000 developers (for applications).

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