2021 Review: The Steakwallet Genesis
2021 was a breakthrough year for Web 3. From new ATHs across the board in crypto assets and NFTs, institutional demand going parabolic, the London hard fork and EIP 1559, dog coin frenzies, the first Bitcoin ETF in the US, to DAOs buying one-of-one albums and almost the US constitution, to Web 2 incumbents trying to rebrand themselves as Web 3 native. This year had it all.
But most importantly, 2021 marked the year that crypto went multichain. It also marked the year that crypto got its mobile wallet for multichain – the Steakwallet (now Omni). 🥩
While we are full force ahead on making Steakwallet the best mobile wallet for all chains with the launch of our upcoming beta, here’s a quick overview of what we accomplished in merely 7 months since the launch of Steakwallet.
Ignition Sequence Started
After years of Ethereum being the undisputed incumbent for anyone looking to deliver innovation on-chain, 2020 saw something groundbreaking: the mainnet launch of the first set of credible competitors to Ethereum. After years in development, projects Solana and Near, and at the tail end of DeFi summer, Avalanche and BSC, finally launched on mainnet. After being mostly focused on building out core infrastructure post genesis, it wasn’t until 2021 that this new cohort of L1s saw their first indications of user growth. It was throughout 2021 that these first indications of growth turned into exponential adoption. 2021 was also the year of Ethereum L2s becoming viable with projects like Polygon, Arbitrum, and Optimism pushing the envelope for finality, gas costs, and ease of use.
All of a sudden, DeFi had broken out of the walled garden of Ethereum, and yield opportunities abounded on every major chain. Iterations of virtually every Ethereum infrastructure puzzle piece were popping up on every L1. And while the strategies for a 10x return were once limited to LPing on Uni, this could now all of a sudden be accomplished for a fraction of the cost and and time on Trader Joe, Raydium, or Spookyswap. As the core infrastructure of these L1s and L2s quickly caught up with their Ethereum counterparts, teams started wondering why they should limit themselves to one L1 user cohort when they could service them all with little additional overhead and cost. Nothing exemplified this more than the ridiculous proliferation of OHM forks with trillion % APYs that inflated and then deflated portfolios in record time.
Not only did building on multichain get easier by the day, but it also got increasingly incentivized by the different protocols themselves and therefore more lucrative. Enormous incentive programs such as Avalanche Rush ($200MM), Near Grants ($350MM), and the Binance Growth Fund ($1BN) paved the way with gold for teams that wanted to wander beyond the Ethereum pale.
However, with all the amazing functionality being built out on all these protocols at record speed, it became abundantly clear that the very foundation all of this infrastructure was built on had not been upgraded to adequately address the needs this new brave world of multichain brought about: wallets were still looking like Steve Balmer himself had made the final UX decisions (and decided on shipping intervals). In fact, not only was the wallet layer not being adequately addressed, but it stood the risk of protocols building out their own wallets to fix the functionality and UX shortcomings of incumbent platforms. With composability having emerged as the hallmark of Web 3, each L1 and L2 building their own wallet would result in the creation of walled gardens where each wallet would exclusively serve one protocol, thereby resulting in a Balkanization of the Web 3 ecosystem. This stood the risk of imperiling the highly collaborative dynamic that underpinned Web 3 so far and marked a possible inflection point heading towards Web 2 dynamics of locking users in rather than encouraging free flow across systems.
In order to prevent this from happening, and in order to promote synergies and cross pollination among the burgeoning class of new L1s and L2s, in April 2021 we decided to build a wallet for the new world of Web 3; one that allows users to hold and manage their crypto assets not just across some chains, but across all chains. With the world already having gone mobile, it was clear that it would need to be a mobile wallet to allow users to participate in Web 3 whenever and wherever they were. Not just that, but we also set out to natively tackle one of the most important UX challenges facing these L1s and L2s in the face of PoS, namely staking. Because for us, staking was just the entry point to the world of Web 3. Our mission was to remove complexity, abstract heterogeneity, and make it as easy as humanly possible for users to savor all the life changing delights that Web 3 had to offer. And that’s how in April 2021, Steakwallet was born.
We released Steakwallet on iOS and Android with multi-key management and multi-chain support from the start. Staking support for ETH (via Lido), Celo, GRT, ATOM, and shortly thereafter OSMO was also part of the initial release. I'd also be remiss to mention that there was a 3D rotating steak adorning the background of our Alpha. Sadly, it was a wee bit too much to handle for some phones.
All Engines Running
Speed was the name of the game for us. That’s why our very own Sous Chef, aka Kobae.eth, probably broke every shipping record in the books. Not a week went by where we didn’t add more L1 and L2 support.
Next to the multichain portfolio view, we also added an advanced token view with more details on historical price data, staking specifics, and more. Adding push notifications allowed for proactive interactions and showed users incoming transactions, staking updates, rewards claiming alerts, and more.
A mere four months after inception, Steakwallet covered support for most blockchains. From Ethereum, to Solana, Near, Cosmos, Terra, Celo, Binance Smart Chain (BSC), Tezos, and Fantom, to major ETH L2s, such as Arbitrum, Polygon, and Optimism. Support for us didn’t mean merely adding the different protocol tokens, but every single token on those protocols. Within just a couple of months, Steakwallet allowed for multichain custodying of more than 10,000 assets.
Of course we didn’t just stop at mere support for holding assets and managing your keys across all chains we supported, which in itself would have made us the only wallet in the market to get to this point. Since our name was Steakwallet, our UX maestro, Stackhousehouse.eth, designed the most elegant staking flow seen to date, which we implemented for every single chain so every asset supported could be natively staked within the Steakwallet app. Instead of having to go to the Graph and familiarize yourself with the protocol’s staking flow, or go to Osmosis to learn about IBC transfers, or to Celo to learn about stake activation, and then having three different wallets for these three different chains, how about we give you one wallet that allows you to hold all these assets in one place with one Mnemonic and the exact same three tap staking process for every chain that fully automates all idiosyncratic staking behaviors and abstracts away all complexity? Fortunately, users agreed and our Alpha was ready for takeoff.
We Have A Liftoff
Since staking was merely our Step 0 in the Web 3 journey, we set the stage for natively integrating non-staking yields natively into our app. We started this by integrating Yearn Vaults to allow Steakwallet users to gain access to the best automated strategies. Yearn Finance optimizes token lending by algorithmically finding the most profitable lending services and the highest yields, socializing gas costs, and thereby making advanced strategies and farming accessible to the masses. Shortly after, we broke new ground by integrating Yearn Beta Vaults on Fantom to allow users to put their assets to use without having to pay the crazy high gas fees on Ethereum.
Of course, we didn’t want users to be confined to exclusively our (admittedly phenomenal) native integrations. That’s why in late Summer 2021, we became the first wallet to fully support WalletConnect v1 and v2. This meant that users could leverage Steakwallet across all dApps across all networks featured on Steakwallet, including but not limited to:
Celo: Pool Together, Ubeswap, Sushi
Fantom: Sushi, Curve
And many more…
While there are not many projects, yet, that support WC V2, it’s the future of aping since it’ll allow seamless network switching (which currently has to be done manually), making the multichain experience even more enticing. So of course, we had to be at the forefront of supporting it.
As 2021 progressed, we went further and further down the Web 3 rabbit hole. Of course we couldn’t have done this without integrating support for the Ethereum Name Service. With this feature launch, Steakwallet now resolved addresses if they've been set via ENS on more than 10 different L1s. Once set, Steakwallet now showed your ENS name and avatar for the extra little customization sparkle.
Lastly, to allow everyone to make their Steakwallet truly theirs, we brought NFT support to Steakwallet and allowed our users to set any NFT they owned as their Steakwallet background. We also added a nice NFT viewer in the wallet showing all relevant details, giving users the ability to send their NFT, and trade on OpenSea. While we initially only launched with support for Ethereum based NFTs, more L1s and L2s will be added in the coming months.
Into Orbit and Beyond (or 2022)
2021 was a breakthrough year for the Web 3 markets and marked the genesis of Steakwallet. If 2021 was great, 2022 stands to be that much greater. As some of you may know, we’ve been hard at work throughout these last weeks and months on an absolutely groundbreaking Steakwallet Beta. It’s an app so good, once you try it you won’t believe you ever put up with any other wallet. To set the stage for 2022, we will be releasing the Beta in Q1. We’re talking more native staking integrations, swaps, bridges, broader NFT support, more yield generation opportunities, and so much more.
We look forward to pushing ahead together and creating the single best wallet this market has ever seen.
The entire Steakwallet team wishes you all a fantastic start into the new year and a healthy, happy, and prosperous 2022.