Andreas Brekken, Founder of SideShift.ai, on Bull Run, Meme Coins, and Ethereum Sharding | Ep. 327 – Cryptonews

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April 19, 2024 11:15 EDT
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Andreas Brekken, the founder of SideShift.ai, a platform offering direct-to-wallet trading, sat down (in his hammock) for an exclusive interview with the Cryptonews Podcast.

Talking with host Matt Zahab, Brekken recalled how difficult it was for people to buy BTC in 2011, noting that the ease of purchase today contributes to its adoption.

He remarked that meme coins are actually great for the crypto space because they are fun, cheap to get, and generally harmless. Importantly, they are stress-testing the biggest chains in the sector.

The crypto veteran talked about multiple markets happening simultaneously and the potential significance of the Ethereum Dencun upgrade.

Brekken also touched upon the necessity to re-examine our interaction with centralized exchanges and the need for services like SideShift.

In this interview, Brekken discussed:

  • Buying BTC in 2011 vs. today;
  • Multiple markets currently happening at the same time;
  • Rethinking how we interact with crypto exchanges — particularly as the bull run ushers in a new wave of mainstream adoption;
  • How products like SideShift encourage mass adoption;
  • The Ethereum Dencun upgrade;
  • If meme coins are generally good or bad for the crypto space;
  • How increased meme coin trading will show us the limits of current protocols, forcing chains to compete with each other to show who can handle the most traffic.
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Brekken gave a wide-ranging exclusive interview, which you can see above or read below.

How the Bitcoin Times Have Changed!


Brekken discovered Bitcoin in 2011.

At that time, he said, there were very few routes for people to get BTC. One option was dark web markets, including the infamous Silk Road.

“But in my case, I’m just too much of a nerd,” Brekken remarked. He didn’t know about this avenue at the time.

But he had an advantage over an average Joe: he was a programmer.

Therefore, Brekken discovered information on BTC online and started learning about the novel technology.

Notably, at the time, anyone interested in BTC needed to install a program on their PC to get it. This program would create addresses and allow users to find a place to buy the coin, receive it, and send it.

This was obviously a much more difficult system than what we have today.

But Brekken said another advantage a programmer or engineer would have at the time is the way they view and think of technology.

They seek to understand how it’s made and how they can build upon it. They’ll to to find a way to improve it, create something similar, find another use case, etc.

Direct-to-Wallet Trading: Recipe for Mass Adoption


And this is how SideShift.ai was created. There was a way to make a piece of tech that would help fulfill a demand, and Brekken went for it.

The team developed an efficient, easy-to-use, newcomer-friendly platform that offers direct-to-wallet trading.

When one uses a centralized crypto exchange, there are many steps to complete before finally getting the coins.

This includes all the necessary log-ins, 2FA, KYC, choosing the deposit, finding the network, waiting for confirmations, and so on, says Brekken.

However, it can get more complicated in certain cases, such as buying a specific meme coin. For example, the user needs to trade BTC for UDTS first before getting WIF.

SideShift.ai performs the trade immediately and delivers the coins to the wallet, the founder said.

“That’s why we call it direct-to-wallet trading because it’s the only way I know to explain that you don’t have to click 700 buttons in order to do something as simple as just going from what you have to what you want.”

There was lots of demand for this service, he added.

But speaking of exchanges, Brekken gave a warning: take your funds out.

The more long-term view for this industry is that people need to stop leaving their money on exchanges. It’s a huge problem, he said.

Simply said, the incentives are not aligned between the user and the exchange.

The exchanges have full control over users’ funds and make money off of it.

Also, they may use the funds without telling users, be attacked, do a rug pull, etc. There are too many red flags.

AI In Name Only


Brekken briefly touched on the ‘AI’ part in ‘SideShift.ai.’

“I’m going to be completely honest with you,” he said, “I just thought it sounded really awesome.”

The closest the company will get to an actual AI is the amount of automation they’ve done.

The company has a small team of people who deal with “quite a lot of volume.”

Yet, they keep everything smooth and stable thanks to “excessive automation internally,” Brekken said.

There’s very little human intervention, he added. “It’s like a giant machine” running nearly everything.

However, when talking to customer support, the team “makes it a bit confusing” for people to know if they’re talking to a human, a machine, or a machine pretending to be human.

“More likely, you might be talking to a human pretending to be a machine,” Brekken said.

And speaking of the team, the founder noted that SideShift.ai is currently hiring for a number of roles, especially engineers.

Meme Coins Are Stress-Testing Major Chains


Commenting on the ongoing meme coin craze, Brekken said that he himself was “really into” Dogecoin when it launched in 2013.

Looking at the craze now, “It was the exact same thing back when there was only Dogecoin, but obviously, this is on steroids.”

There are many more of these coins now, many more communities, and more people involved – even those outside the crypto space. It’s difficult to visit a café without overhearing a conversation about WIF or BONK, Brekken remarked.

But, generally speaking, meme coins are beneficial for the space, Brekken remarked. “I think it’s good in many ways that people are trading meme coins,” he said.

He argued that these coins create fun for friends and communities, that they are harmless, and also an excellent way for people to enter crypto.

Bitcoin’s $60,000-$70,000 price tag can be intimidating for newcomers. Once bought, there’s also a lot to lose.

But with meme coins, it’s a lot easier to afford and trade them.

And this space is growing as well. Now, users have more advanced tools at their disposal trading BONK than they do trading Apple shares, Brekken argued.

Additionally, trading meme coins is potentially becoming a competitor to another giant: sports betting.

“It’s quality fun with your friends,” Brekken said.

Lastly, but importantly, all this activity is stress-testing the technology, specifically the chains these tokens reside and move on.

Solana and Ethereum, in particular, are being stress-tested. Different chains are competing. They must work hard not to fall behind and lose users.

“I will bet you, [the developers] are all working day and night on all these platforms and chains […] to just keep this running and to try to find ways to deal with this record-level high demand for throughput and capacity,” Brekken said.

Multiple Parallel Markets At Work


Another exciting point Brekken made is that we currently seem to be witnessing multiple markets happening simultaneously.

Previously, we’d see one sector at a time significantly rising above others, each with its own cycle.

For example, in the last cycle, there was a decentralized finance (DeFi) summer that turned into a Solana summer. This gradually shifted into a “mania” centered around FTX, and so on.

Today, however, we’re seeing the spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) taking off, the meme coin market continuation, and a new DeFi wave.

It also seems like these three have separate risks and somewhat separate users, Brekken opined.

That said, he hopes that the meme coin cycle will continue to attract more newcomers to the space and encourage users within other cycles to explore other crypto-related markets.

The bull market has been “creeping up on us since the desperation we all felt” when Bitcoin was $20,000-$25,000.

Therefore, Brekken hopes the three different cycles will affect each other positively and prolong this bull run.

“If you’re still alive with a good-looking meme coin portfolio [by the end of summer], I think you are a genius,” he added.

Ethereum Dencun Upgrade and Path to Sharding


Lastly, Brekken briefly discussed certain developments in the space, including the Ethereum Dencun upgrade, which went live in March.

The upgrade aimed to significantly boost the Ethereum ecosystem, reduce Ethereum layer-2 blockchain transaction fees, and pave the way for sharding in the future, which will finally lower Ethereum’s high layer-1 fees.

What surprised Brekken about these Ethereum upgrades is that everybody connected to the Ethereum ecosystem, including other chains, was fully ready at the moment the update went live.

This is a positive development.

There is no longer a need to develop separate software for several years to support an upgrade. These are instantaneous now.

Another notable thing is the ongoing talk about sharding.

Sharding is a solution that optimizes the process of verifying transactions and smart contracts by splitting the blockchain network into partitions called shards.

This way, every node does not need to review the entire transaction history on the network.

Instead, specific nodes are assigned to specific shards, optimizing the process of nodes verifying transactions.

This, said Brekken, has the potential to send ETH to $5,000.

Therefore, the upgrades we’re seeing now are the developers gradually building a path towards sharding. Brekken said it’s a large project that will likely take a few years to complete.

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About Andreas Brekken

Andreas Brekken is the founder of SideShift.ai, a platform offering direct-to-wallet trading. To date, the exchange has processed over $1.25 billion in volume.

Brekken first discovered Bitcoin in 2011 and has a deep technical understanding of the cryptocurrency space.

In addition to being a long-term crypto supporter, he has substantial hands-on industry experience.

In 2013, he founded Justcoin.com, a Norway-based cryptocurrency exchange (later acquired by ANX INTL), and then worked as a software engineer at Kraken in 2015 and 2016.

Brekken is also the founder of Shitcoin.com, a wide-reaching crypto content platform.

This post was originally published on this site

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