Polkastarter and Charged Particles AMA Recap

Our AMA Recap with Charged Particles Co-Founders: Ben Lakoff, Co-Founder & Business Lead, and Rob Secord, Founder, & Technical Lead.


You can see the original AMA conversation in Polkastarter’s Telegram channel here.

Hi everyone and welcome to another exciting Polkastarter AMA, this time with the Co-Founders of 🔋Charged Particles🔋 - Ben Lakoff, Co-Founder & Business Lead, and Rob Secord, Founder, & Technical Lead. Welcome both, and thank you for taking the time today to join us! 👋 @RobSecord @benlakoff

Ben Lakoff
Hey hey! thanks for having us :)

Alright, we’ll first have a few questions to Ben and Rob directly, before we open it up for community questions. Let’s get started! 🚀

Ben Lakoff

Could you please first both introduce yourselves?

Ben Lakoff
Sure, me, I’m Ben Lakoff, a Co-Founder and Business Lead at Charged Particles.

I am an Entrepreneur at heart with background in Finance (M&A, PE, Angel Investing) before going full time into the blockchain space in 2017. I’ve spent 9 of the past 11 years outside the US, spanning 4 continents - but currently in LA!

I met Rob at the Gitcoin Kernel Web3 accelerator last summer and instantly got hooked on the amazing vision behind Charged Particles.

He's getting situated on telegram :)

Haha aren't we all :)

Rob Secord
My name is Rob Secord and I am the co-founder and tech-lead, and visionary behind the concept that is Charged Particles. I have been a full-stack engineer for over 20 years, with the past 5+ years in FIntech. My primary focus has centered around Ethereum and solidity for smart contracts and DApp development, utilizing various token standards such as ERC20, ERC721, and ERC1155, among others. My latest role before Charged Particles was as a senior developer helping to bring PoolTogether (v3 - the current version) to life!

That's awesome — the dream team of finance, tech and FinTech meets Web3 💫

I'm excited to dive in more to the project. Can you tell us more about the vision behind Charged Particles, and why are you launching it?

Ben Lakoff

Rob Secord was talking about the idea of NFTs holding interest-bearing assets in late 2019, then started thinking more seriously about this concept when thinking about eGift cards represented as NFTs with the ability to grow in value. One of the main things he was trying to solve at the time was enabling small businesses to receive revenue through gift cards so that they might keep their businesses open during Covid. For example, a $50 eGift card (as a NFT) = $25 stays in card earning interest through DeFi protocols, and $25 to the business immediately with store credit.

NFTs are so much more than just art - and the idea of in-game items (NFTs) being able to hold and accrue real value that equates to more power during the game, very powerful and just one of the potential use cases when NFTs can hold an accumulating value.

It creates an entirely new token mechanic that we’re really excited about. DeFi’s interest-generating qualities combined with provable scarce digital goods like NFTs... Near infinite possibilities for creative mechanisms around ERC-20 and ERC-721 tokens inside of NFTs.

That's awesome — what we're seeing in NFTs now is really just scratching the surface. Packing other interest-bearing token possibilities inside them is such a cool vision 💫

Can you tell everyone more about the team behind Charged Particles, and how your experience has led you here? We at Polkastarter are big believers that the team and talent behind the project is one of the most important factors for success.

Ben Lakoff
Scratching the surface indeed.

We are very fortunate to have put together a really rockstar team for Charged Particles. I joined Rob in July-2020, and we hired Vlad (blockchain dev), Eric (full stack dev) in October.

We started adding additional team members more quickly after completing our pre-seed fundraising in 4Q20.

Mango - Community & Events Manager, Sam - Full Stack Dev, Andrew - Full Stack Dev, Jon - Marketing Manager, and Pri - Social Media Manager joined since then, all full time. We’re always looking for experienced web3 developers if anyone is interested!

Our community (shout out #Photons) is very strong and excited - too many true amazing members to list them all here as “team” but they should be included too- you know who you are! They add so much to the team and what we're building. Truly amazing and grateful for their support.

Also important to note that we're also super grateful to have amazing mentors, advisors and investors involved. Advisors include Leighton Cusak (Founder, CEO of PoolTogether) and DeFi Dad (CDO of Zapper). We'll actually be announcing another advisor later in the month as well!

Oh and Sumit! Another Front End (he just joined a few weeks ago) :)

That's a great crew! DeFi Dad is the best, those are some a great advisory partners to help shape the Charged Particles vision into DeFi 😎

So let's talk about Charged Particles' competitive advantage. What differs you from other similar projects?

Rob Secord
An easy way to think about it is that we have enabled any NFT to have it's own Smart Wallet. A smart-wallet that is capable of earning interest from various protocols.  AaveGotchi is a simple example that was actually inspired by Charged Particles long ago, and built a game around interest-bearing NFTs. This is just one use case for our protocol - we're actually working with a few games on implementing our tech currently as well.

Our DApp has a minting station and marketplace, already generating >$2M in NFT sales, but we aspire to do so much more than that.

There are many NFT platforms coming online, we plan to integrate into as many of them as possible.

We are currently the only "Window" into your NFT to find out what is actually held inside of it.  We want this "window" to be available on every platform, so people always know what is in their NFT.  We hope to bring the CP technology to every NFT project out there.

We'll continue to innovate and build at the protocol and DApp layer. And we're just getting started!

We also provide an interesting new "Token Mechanic" - Charge!  Other applications can now read how much "charge" your NFT has, and different rules can be built around that like, a Sword NFT that generates more power over time, defeating the pay-to-win mechanic or membership NFTs that hold voting-power - the vote-weight could be determined by how much "charge" the NFT has with this new Token Mechanic, the possibilities are endless!

That. Is. So. Cool.

NFTs with their own 'chargeable' smart wallet. love it.

Speaking of tokens, can you tell our community a bit more about your $IONX token, particularly about the token utility and your token generation event (TGE)?

Ben Lakoff
We think so for sure, perhaps a bit biased though

Definitely - We actually just published a piece on it Wednesday that goes into a lot more detail

We're big fans of decentralization and this governance token is a key step in that direction.

The Cliff notes: $IONX is the native governance token for the Charged Particles Protocol.

Any changes to the Protocol will be proposed and voted on by $IONX token holders.

These proposals can include things like adjusting contract configuration values to adjust the protocol deposit fee, implementing scaling solutions, adjusting 3rd party integration fees, registering, adjusting or disabling DeFi protocols as yield sources, and controlling future distribution of $IONX to protocol contributors. So there's a lot.

We've recently launched gov.charged.fi/ as well - to start getting input from the community here and moving toward a more decentralized state

Re: IDO / TGE. TGE is on 31-May, 1% of the supply is unlocked for Polkastarter whitelist participants, and then ALL other investors / team have locks. We are doing an airdrop to early community supporters, there's 1% of the supply that's also unlocked on the TGE for that as well.

Haha A supercharged $IONX token for a supercharged platform 🔥

We'd love to hear a bit more about your upcoming roadmap. What key features are you developing?

Rob Secord
Sure, our roadmap can be found on our site at, ummm, let me grab the link real quick...

Some big ones coming up in the next month include:

- Layer 2 (Polygon)
-  Liquidity Mining and staking rewards
- Whitelisting of other NFT platforms --> your favorite NFT from Rarible? you'll be able to "charge" it up very soon!

Longer term: we're implementing the CP Protocol into numerous NFT platforms and working VERY closely with a number of upcoming Dapps built on top of our Protocol

Ben Lakoff
with this, we've been voting in our discord... have a favorite NFT platform you want to see included? Join and vote :)

Rob Secord
We have a tonne of other ideas too, and we have been sharing many with the community looking to build cool new projects.  We have also sponsored hackathons and we will continue to do so in the future

That all sounds super exciting, we'll be following along eagerly to watch as it unfolds !

Speaking of following along, could you please share with our community your website and social media channels, so they can make sure to stay tuned and keep up to date on all of this progress?

Ben Lakoff
Oh definitely! Would recommend to follow:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DefiNft

Telegram: https://t.me/chargedparticles

Telegram announcement: https://t.me/CPAnnouncements

Then our discord is really amazing, as well http://discord.gg/definft

Nice! Thanks for that

Thank you Ben and Rob for the exciting overview!

Let's open the chat for a brief window to give our community a chance to ask their questions, and don’t forget, that after the AMA, Ben and Rob will choose the best question and hand out one whitelist spot for their upcoming IDO on May 31st (don’t forget you will need to KYC fast and on time).

Question #1
How big of a fee does transactions in the $CP farm have covering anything?

Ben Lakoff
No Fees at the Protocol or DApp level currently - $IONX holders can vote to add either!

Question #2
What is actually the best possible way to calculate the percentage of a number in Solidity? I always have had trouble trying to implement a method to calculate percentages.

Ben Lakoff
We have  a channel for solidity questions in our discord!

Question #3
I read Charged Particles stance on partnerships is generally MOAR. What do you expect from your future partners, what are the values you respect?

Ben Lakoff
haha it's true. we're NFT agnostic, so anyone doing anything with NFTs can be a partner and implement our protocol - giving their users access to our tech and unique offering

Question #4
In case a investor wants to charge and deposit assets into a NFT, what happens, what is the procedure?

Ben Lakoff
Definitely - we have some shiny new guides here.

Question #5
So I have imagined that CPNFTs basically become wallets earning interest for ERC20 tokens. Is there a thought that CP might actualy become a smarter wallet for erc20 tokens in which someone could also go to any dex and connect their NFT wallet and execute swaps in addition to simply holding for interest?

Ben Lakoff
This has come up before! in theory yes!

Question #6
Do you think Charged Particle will be the only project going this route? If no, how do you intend to stand out in a space full of clones and the habit of cloning?

Rob Secord
We enable simple integrations with our protocol for ZERO fee.  The entire scene will get really complicated if everyone has a different system for embedding into NFTs, therefore we are providing a very simple route for other projects to "feature" the same "window into your NFT" without having to clone or build out the system themselves.  This is a "feature" that will be available to everyone without having to build it.

Question #7
In case customer buyers your accelerators, Leptons, what is the process if customer wants to sell those for some reason?

Ben Lakoff
any NFT from CP is a normal ERC-721 - can be bought sold on any 3rd party marketplace (e.g. OpenSea / Rarible)

Question #8
What actually are Leptons within the Charged Particles ecosystem?

Ben Lakoff
Yield multiplier NFTs - here

Question #9
Do you currently have a liquidity pool/ $CHARGE token I can buy?

Ben Lakoff
not really - it's a social token (NOT $IONX)

Question #10
IS CP going to have a fixed amount of any of your tokens? IF not, how does supply of each token fluctuate as supply and demand grows or contracts within your ecosystem?

Ben Lakoff
it's fixed with some inflation coming in after 2 years (after all supply is circulating)

Question #11
Will your platform ever add support for other media formats such as mp3, mp4, mov, etc? Id like to mint a short animation on the platform, but there is no option to upload an mp4.

Ben Lakoff
yep! we'll be adding it, prioritising getting everything ready for IDO then we'll continue to optimize the DApp and add more features

Question #12
Building an entire chain is a very huge task so on this side how can Charged Particles pull or bring developers onboard? What’s your strategic plan to bring projects who wants to adopt on Charged Particles?

Ben Lakoff
It's a protocol, but built currently on ETH!

Question #13
The Vision behind Build a Great Project #ChargedParticles is the most striking. What revolutionary ideas have been obtained by trying to merge different minds and make them partners in a common work? What other events do you plan to organize to strengthen and invest in technological innovation and industry?

Ben Lakoff
we plan on doing more hackathons :)

Question #14
There are so many NFT projects right now. From the Ethereum blockchain or BSC. There are projects that are dead or cannot compete with other projects. How do you respond to the competition for the NFT project in the crypto space? And what is your strategy in the future so that Charged Particles (DefiNft) can last a long time in the crypto space?

Ben Lakoff
There's a bit of a red ocean in the NFT platform world right now... We're unique in that we can integrate into these platforms and offer them a unique offering (CP Tech) in the background and it adds even more value to our ecosystem.

Question #15
Multi-Wallet Support, I don't see a Trust wallet, why don't you list the Trust Wallet which is more widely used?

Ben Lakoff
Metamask is the most supported, also big fans of portis.

Question #16
We all know that there are many problems with the Ethereum network: scalability issues, high gas costs, slow speeds, etc. So, why did you choose to build a token on the ERC-20 blockchain ecosystem instead of other chain ?

Ben Lakoff
Agree - it's where NFTs  / DeFi are with the most traction at the moment. Don't worry, we'll go live with L2 (Polygon) soon and offer support for many other L1 / L2s in the future if it makes sense for the community!

Question #17
as one of the defi projects that use the ETH chain (erc20) the biggest problem is the enormous cost of gas and of course it will burden the users. My question is, how does $IONX deal with the huge gas cost problem so as not to burden its users?

Ben Lakoff
We'll be on L2 (polygon) soon.

Question #18
Smart contracts are one of the vital objects of security, how about smart contracts at your project  have they been audited by internal or external parties then how ready is Charged Particles respond to these conditions?

Ben Lakoff
We have completed formal audits and those will be announced soon.  We have also been listed on Immunefi for a while now, and have had numerous white-hat hackers attempt to claim our $50,000 bounty without success.

We will continue to get formal audits as resources permit, and our Security Bounties will always remain open and only get larger!  🙂

Question #19
I see you have quite a few good investors backing you up but on the development side what's new with your project? Nft space has been oversaturated as there are no significant improvements over this space from quite a long time

How is your team gonna change it and create something valuable and increase the adoption so that the project stays alive even in the bear run what does charging Nft give to the user? does it give them some tokens for passive income?? What is the real world use case? Are you thinking of expanding to chains like solana as most of the innovation is expected to happen here in the near future

Ben Lakoff
Lots of questions in here. We do a community call every week - can join on Telegram and/or Discord where we give lots of updates :)

Question #20
Recently, NFTs are the new trend that projects are trying to take advantage of. What are the most important features for the distribution and use of NFTs? What innovations will you present?

Rob Secord
We are providing a new "token mechanic" for NFTs everywhere!  We don't want to be the marketplace for distribution, as there are already many of those, we want to integrate with them to give their users more powerful NFTs!

Question #21
How big is your company? How many dev and team members are currently working? Do you hire remote workers? If someone wants to work with you, where should he/she contact?

Ben Lakoff
Yep! 8 currently -  also always hiring - https://docs.charged.fi/other/hiring

Question #22
Why do you name this project as Charged particles. Is the meaning many a little makes a mickle?

Ben Lakoff
A "Particle" is an "NFT".  A "Charged Particle" is an NFT that is earning interest. It's a small, fun play on words.

Question #23
I only asked a little about the yield farming that will be launched. Can you explain how the mechanism is run? Then how can I do a booster in yield farming?

Ben Lakoff
Sure - we'll be announcing more on this. we have 3 forms:
- $IONX Staking
- Uniswap LP Staking
- Liquidity Mining (TBA)

Question #24
Tell us about $IONX long-term vision for its users? And what plans do you have to get more people's attention to $IONX?

Rob Secord
IONX is the governance token for a protocol that we hope to solidify as a foundational "lego-block" in the NFT landscape

Question #25
Many project only tells about their strengths. Can you tell us honestly about the weaknesses of  Charged Particles project now? And what are your plans to solve it?

Rob Secord
The biggest weakness right now, is that we are the only "window" into Your NFT.  What's inside your NFT?  Only way to find out is to use our platform.  We want this "window" to be available in all NFT platforms so that users/buyers know exactly what they are buying.

Ben Lakoff
GREAT Questions guys. If you didn't get an answer, can join our TG here.
Our community rocks, we'd love to have you #photons which, if you haven't noticed, we love the standard model of particle physics theme :)
and, there's more opportunities to win whitelist spots and $IONX.

Thank you Ben and Rob for your time and for the illuminating answers on Charged Particles. 👏  
Really looking forward to the launch of $IONX on May 31st on Polkastarter, and to officially welcome you to the Polkastarter Family and continue working together in the future. 🚀

Ben Lakoff
THANK YOU everyone!

Rob Secord
Thanks everyone!

Thanks to everyone for tuning in! This will be the end of this AMA 🎉