Accessible Web3, with Ahmed Al-Balaghi of Biconomy


Accessible Web3, with Ahmed Al-Balaghi of Biconomy

From the perspective of the end user, requiring a small amount of native tokens to pay for transactions on DApps is cumbersome and unintuitive. Biconomy solves this problem by paying upfront for DApp users, with end users only needing to sign a transaction. Ahmed Al-Balaghi, one of the co-founders, shares how it works and the plans they have for the future.

Posted by Accessible Web3, with Ahmed Al-Balaghi of Biconomy - April 2022


Accessible Web3, with Ahmed Al-Balaghi of Biconomy Outlier Ventures

  • Have an economics background. Worked for Dow Jones and Citibank
  • Was in Shanghai, China, learning Mandarin. That was when he delved into crypto
  • Did blockchain research for a company based in Shanghai
  • Moved to Dubai to help expand their business
  • Subsequently, he joined Jabbar Ventures, a traditional VC firm
  • In 2019, he and his co-founders got together to form Biconomy


Accessible Web3, with Ahmed Al-Balaghi of Biconomy Outlier Ventures

💡 Biconomy is a plug & play API for developers to simplify the transaction experience for users. It allows for gasless and cross-chain transfers.

  • Every on-chain interaction requires gas
  • To bring crypto mainstream, it’s cumbersome and not intuitive if the end users need to have a bit of the native token to pay for transactions

And if we sort of compare this with the Web2 world, you know, if you’re using Netflix, they don’t charge you their AWS fees for every time you press watch video, right? So that would be a bit bizarre and really annoying for the end user.

– Ahmed Al-Balaghi

  • Thinking of how they could evolve the concept of gas fees
  • Focused on supporting layer 2s
  • Provided the infrastructure for developers to subsidize the gas fees on behalf of their end users
  • Now they support DApps across NFT, gaming, DeFi, etc.
  • DApps see an increase in their revenue and become more willing to pay the gas fees for their end users

The Process Of Subsidizing Gas Cost For End Users

  • Developers sign up with their dashboard
  • Developers enable gasless or meta-transactions for a particular smart contract or method
  • When an end user interacts with an application, they get a prompt to sign a message
  • At the backend, they have relays that are already topped up with the native token and would take the signed message and the transaction parameters and submit it on-chain
  • Gas fees are paid upfront by Biconomy. At the end of the month, the company would pay for the gas fees incurred by their DApp
  • They could batch transactions to optimize gas fees. However, their current focus is to ensure that the transaction does not fail for both the developer and the end user
  • Deploying a new gas management module to allow developers to top up gas into the smart contract. That way, Biconomy does not need to pay for gas upfront

DApps Using Biconomy

  • Zed Run — more end users are coming on board. Biconomy helped them to grow faster
  • Idle Finance — when they integrated gasless transactions, deposits increased by 40%
  • Others DApps include Decentral Games, Decentraland, and UNXD
  • End users will be able to use applications without knowing that there’s an underlying blockchain


Accessible Web3, with Ahmed Al-Balaghi of Biconomy Outlier Ventures

💡 Hyphen enables instant and cheaper token transfers across different blockchains by maintaining token liquidity on both sides of the chains.

  • The DApps that they are working with indicated that end users are finding it tough to easily transfer assets across chains
  • Currently, Hyphen supports Ethereum and Polygon
  • The fastest transaction that they have done from Ethereum to Polygon and vice versa is 6 seconds
  • Have crossed $6 million worth of transfer volume
  • Getting more requests to add new chains and assets

Their Future Plans

  • Currently, they are operating on a semi-centralized state where DApps have to rely on them
  • Thinking of how they could progressively decentralize
  • Working on a multi-chain relay protocol. It comprises:
    • Gasless transactions
    • Cross-chain transfers
    • Cross-chain communication
  • Cross-chain communication involves 2 non-compatible chains speaking with one another

How Can People Get Involved?

  • Have a very active community on Discord
  • Have an ambassador program that people could be a part of

Accessible Web3, with Ahmed Al-Balaghi of Biconomy Outlier Ventures

This podcast summary was prepared by The Reading Ape in collaboration with Outlier Ventures. The Reading Ape is a humble servant of the written word.

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