To celebrate Pomelo’s 6th season, we sat down with Aaron Cox at Greymass to get his thoughts on this go-around — including how he feels about doing a non-Anchor grant for the first time, what he’s learned by doing several Pomelo grant seasons (including tips for people who are just getting started!), and what he looks for in projects that he’s donating to. Check out the full interview below.
To start us off, can you describe Greymass’ pomelo grant this season?
This season we decided to put up a proposal for a new feature on Unicove, one that brings some basic EVM functionality to our Antelope-native web wallet. The feature we’re developing is the ability to move tokens from one place to another, which in the crypto industry is typically called “bridging.” We’re going to implement one of these bridges between the native blockchain (in this case, EOS and Telos) and its EVM to allow Unicove users to manage their balances in both environments.
How does this EVM bridge fit with your vision for Unicove?
One of the core principles of Unicove’s design is simplicity. So our goal is to take this bridging process and make it easy to understand and as simple as possible for the users. We likely won’t be utilizing the term “bridge” too heavily in our actual end product, but instead try to convey to users that they are transferring funds between two of their own accounts, much like you’d perform a transfer in your bank account between checking and savings.
While EVM is our first target for these kinds of intra-personal transfers, we are also experimenting with using the same structure to manage other similar activities, like transfers between the native token and REX, or even potentially leveraging it for IBC transfers.
In the past, Greymass Pomelo grants have historically focused on Anchor. What made you decide to do Unicove this time around?
Unicove has been one of our passion projects for a few years now and we haven’t (IMO) given it all the attention it deserves. We’re itching to get back to continuing our work on it, and this seemed like a great opportunity to do so. Long-term our goal is to move the vast majority of user interactions out of Anchor and into Unicove, so that anyone using any Antelope wallet (Anchor included) can make use of the same familiar and easy-to-use interface to interact with these blockchains.
This is a feature we’ve been talking about since Telos first launched their EVM in late 2021, but from our end it was hard to justify building at the time, since it would have only benefited a single blockchain. Now with EOS also launching an EVM and WAX potentially launching their own in the not-too-distant future, it’s raised the priority level of bringing this sort of functionality to Unicove users.
How are you thinking about the Antelope EVMs right now? Is there anything you’re excited about?
While I haven’t worked on anything EVM related in many many years, I think it’s a good opportunity for interoperability between blockchains for developers in the wider crypto space. I think that’s what I’m most excited about. I’m not exactly sure what it’ll bring when it comes to products or usable things, but I recognize this opens the playing field a bit wider and will hopefully bring new developers into the ecosystem.
Does Greymass have any other EVM projects planned for the future?
Nothing currently planned, just this ability for users to more easily move in to and out of the EVM environments from our native tooling! We have talked about other potential EVM ideas, but no thoughts have formed into coherent enough ideas to plan them out and make them a reality yet.
Zooming out a bit, Greymass has participated in 5 out of the 6 Pomelo seasons so far. Do you have any particular lessons you’ve learned from the process, or advice for people who are thinking about creating a grant?
I’m not sure if it’s a direct result of using Pomelo, but participating in all of these seasons has really reinforced my belief that building a reputation matters. So focusing on that reputation as a long-term goal would be my advice. Pomelo itself is a platform that gives everyone a chance to build a reputation by proposing something and then following through on it. Season after season, so long as someone is actually delivering on what they committed to, it helps reinforce their reputation and lead towards success on the platform.
Greymass started building long before Pomelo and had a prior reputation within the ecosystem for getting things done, so it’s a bit of a different beast. If we were starting fresh today though, that’d be what I would focus on for our team. Show that you can come up with beneficial ideas and complete the work, to reassure donors that their donations will go to good use.
Last question! Do you have any tips for combing through the grants when you’re using Pomelo as an individual, rather than as a grant owner?
I am probably one of the worst people to ask due to how involved I am in the ecosystem, which I think makes my approach a lot different than most. I could be completely wrong though, and maybe my train of thought when it comes to evaluating proposals could help others, so here goes.
One of the first things I consider is how feasible a project is — based on the technical details, the people involved, and the scale of the project. I often think “How would I do this?” and then “What benefit would come of this?” The goal here is to think about what’s being proposed and make sure it’s actually possible to achieve. If I don’t think the project is going to achieve anything in the end, I’ll often pass.
However, if I think the project is possible and some sort of benefit from that work will be realized, that’s typically when I’ll donate to a project. The result of that work could be a functional product, some sort of effort that helps others, an open-source piece of work that’ll ease the development of other projects, or even just an experiment that would be worthwhile to learn from. Depending on the type of proposal, these can all be positive end results.