Weekly Updates

Q&A with Baking Bad Co-Founder Vladimir Zarechnev

Baking Bad is one of the most active Tezos development teams, so we were thrilled to sit down this week with Co-Founder Vladimir Zarechnev to discuss how Baking Bad got started, what the team is working on, and what he looks forward to seeing built on Tezos. We hope you enjoy!

Vladimir Zarechnev from Baking Bad

What is Baking Bad?

Baking Bad is a team of developers with an extensive background in cryptographic protocols, algorithmic trading, financial software, and data mining. We have been together for more than 10 years starting from the university where we studied computer security and got to know blockсhain for the first time. Not at once, but gradually we all got involved in the world of crypto, and for three years now we have been working on that only, the last one and a half exclusively Tezos. Baking Bad was originally the name of our very first tool for the Tezos ecosystem, a staking rewards auditor, but it just so happens to be associated with the team as well.  


Why did the team decide to build a staking rewards auditor? 

We fully realized how unique the Liquid Proof-of-Stake (LPoS) algorithm is when the Tezos mainnet was launched in summer 2018. This started a competitive market of validators, which had no analogues at that time (in fact, it still remains very special). Each participant offers its own terms and conditions, carries out certain work in the network, attracts delegates to its stake. This is all very cool! But we started to notice the bad behaviour of some bakers and realized that the community just didn’t have a tool to check the correctness of the reward payments. That’s when baking-bad.org came into being.


What other projects is the Baking Bad team working on?

We are maintaining several Tezos SDKs and working on various developer tools, but we are most proud about our explorers: baking-bad.org for tracking staking rewards, better-call.dev for exploring contracts, and the general-purpose explorer tzkt.io with its own open-source indexer and API. We’re asked why you won’t combine everything into one big product. Because our explorers are very different, from the target audience to the functionality and interface. What they have in common is our vision of how blockchain data should be presented to the end user. We tried to avoid clichés and do things that nobody has ever done. This is for example how the single event feed appeared in TzKT, with extended operation types, verbose error descriptions, mempool operations, and all other unique features. A significant part of the functionality became possible only thanks to Tezos technologies, for example Better Call Dev explorer owes his existence to the Michelson language, that is unique of its kind and provides valuable metadata for analysis.

And of course we can’t help but mentioning our flagship product, one of the first DeFi applications that actually operate in Tezos mainnet, Atomex DEX and the Atomex wallet our DEX is built in. It enables secure cross-chain asset swap. Besides that, Atomex is one of the first wallets supporting the tzBTC token and enabling the secondary market for it. Generally, we think the ordinary atomic swap protocol is seriously underestimated being shadowed by on-chain DEXes and L2 solutions, but it’s just simple things that usually work.


What drew you to build these tools on Tezos? Why not on another blockchain project?

We have been in Tezos since the fundraiser and still have a running bakery, so we are directly interested in Tezos long-run success. It is no secret that much of what we do for the Tezos project is supported by the Tezos Foundation, and this allows us to realize all the interesting opportunities that we see and most importantly publish results in open-source. Tezos Foundation does a great job introducing competition and at the same time facilitating interaction between various teams in the ecosystem. This brings us to the following reason — an extraordinary community of developers, which is inspiring and with which one wants to share ideas with. And finally, the Tezos tech which is very special and based on a non-mainstream stack, which is a real challenge. Every week we learn something new and feel that we just have to apply the accumulated expertise and share the knowledge to help make Tezos more accessible and welcoming to newcomers.


What three things are you most excited to see built on Tezos?

One of the main strengths of Tezos is the baker community, which, combined with a smart contract platform free of typical vulnerabilities, is an ideal base for building DAOs of arbitrary complexity. We are particularly interested (and working on several concepts ourselves) in a generic-purpose DAO that has numerous potential applications. Here are two we are most excited about:

  • Blockchain oracles with economic guarantees — a truly decentralized way to access off-chain data backed by a reward-punishment system which ensures correctness;
  • Cross-chain bridges and arbitrary message bridges in particular — a way to transfer value beyond the network or even invoke a smart contract from another blockchain, also backed by a DAO-regulated set of operators.

These applications are also interesting in terms of building alternative business models for bakers. Performing tasks of this kind can be a significant addition to the baking rewards and provide incentives for running operations in long-term.

Additional Ecosystem Updates:


When will the next biannual report be published?

We are in the early stages of preparing the next biannual report (see past reports here), and plan to have it published by the end of August.


TF made a big push towards STOs throughout the entire last year. In addition to applications like STOs, what other categories of app development is TF currently focusing on? Are there partnerships or acquisitions in DeFi, gaming or other sectors lined up for this year?

As highlighted in a previous FAQ, Tezos is open and inclusive infrastructure for financial applications and a wide variety of other use cases, some of which likely have yet to be imagined. In addition to Tezos as a cryptocurrency (and programmable money), digital securities emerged as an initial strategic area of focus for the Foundation, but they by no means define our belief of what Tezos is. While we are not able to announce any specific partnerships or acquisitions at this time, the Foundation and other community members have ramped up efforts to grow the DeFi and gaming ecosystems on Tezos, along with other use cases. For example, we are excited about projects such as Dexter, tzBTC (and future wrapped assets on Tezos), QuipuSwap, and others that are in development and will launch on Tezos in the future. A primary focus for the Foundation has been to support development teams building tools and infrastructure that make such applications possible – we are pleased to see these tools and infrastructure mature, make Tezos development a more accessible and seamless experience, and pave the way for end-user applications.


When will the winners of the last funding round go public? When does the next round start? Why is this process so long?

The current process is designed to give the Foundation adequate time to perform due diligence on both existing and new grants to ensure that the deployed resources add proportionate value to the Tezos ecosystem. That being said, the Foundation is constantly evaluating its grants process to ensure that grants work to promote the long-term success of the Tezos project. We have progressively seen an increase in the number of proposals submitted over the last few application periods, which has required more and more time to perform due diligence on prospective grants. We will be announcing the latest cohort of grantees within the next 1-2 weeks. That announcement will include information about the next application period.


When will you start doing something about broader awareness about Tezos in the crypto sphere (marketing and such)? It’s a way to adoption.

The Tezos Foundation has prioritized the funding of entities around the world who focus on marketing and driving awareness for Tezos. Tezos Commons, Tezos India, Tezos Southeast Asia, and TQ Tezos, are prime examples. We believe coordination of marketing efforts across the ecosystem will not only help scale, but better position Tezos as the premier blockchain of choice for developers and teams building on a blockchain in the future. That said, if you have a specific marketing idea that you would like to get funding for, please reach out to us at [email protected].


Why is the developer activity for dapps non-existent even after two years? Even if most dapps on Ethereum may not make sense, there are hundreds of experiments taking place there and Tezos seems to have none of it. What kind of incentives is TF creating so similar experiments can take place on Tezos as well?

While much of the Foundation’s early focus revolved around tooling and infrastructure development, we have been encouraged by the development of the dapp ecosystem as tooling and infrastructure have matured. Significant resources have gone to teams that contribute to the infrastructure layer to help make Tezos development a more seamless experience. Furthermore, we are committed to supporting teams that build end-user applications using this infrastructure. For example, the newly announced Magic and Beacon SDKs will make it easier to connect Tezos wallets to dapps on Tezos, Truffle will make it easier to develop, test, and deploy Tezos smart contracts, Dexter will enable decentralized asset exchange (which is a critical decentralized financial primitive), and projects like tzBTC will bring a wide range of assets to Tezos and facilitate novel financial applications.

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