Hubble blockchain protocol combines financial primitives

By Anna Akopyan

Anna Akopyan talks to Marius Ciubotariu, Hubble Protocol project lead

Marius Ciubotariu speaking in front of audience                                 
Hubble Protocol project lead Marius Ciubotariu speaking at Solana Breakpoint - Photo: Anna Akopyan / Currency.com
                                

During the Solana Breakpoint conference, crypto projects presented different views of blockchain and its application. In particular, Hubble Protocol offers multi-asset collateral and the yield on deposits. Currency.com journalist Anna Akopyan spoke to Hubble Protocol project lead Marius Ciubotariu about the company and its future.

Anna Akopyan (AA): Why did you choose the name Hubble? Was it after the telescope? 

Marius Ciubotariu (MC): Yeah. I guess we wanted to go for something inspiring and aspirational. It's fun to have a name like that in the crypto space. I'm fond of physics, so you can say it was a personal choice as well. It's a good reminder of what we have to do and that we believe in Hubble.

AA: How did you come up with the idea of Hubble?

MC: When I think about DeFi and see what's happening on Ethereum I’m impressed by the new financial primitives that people have come up with. There's a lot of smart people that have built new things like AMMs, games, stablecoins, synthetics, or repurposed 'old' things carried over from traditional finance.

We found something which worked well on Ethereum, and we thought that we could bring something new to the table by building Hubble on Solana. We got our inspiration from the smart guys that started from the very beginning but we are adding our own contributions that could only be enabled by Solana’s speed.

AA: Is that why you chose Solana?

MC: Yes. Solana is a superior chain from many points of view. It allows for (crypto) arbitrage, and because it's so fast and cheap, you can keep things on a tight peg. It also allows you more freedom to manage transactions and you can have as much memory as you want. You don’t have that option with Ethereum. 

If you're smart about writing your smart contracts, you can do pretty much anything. And because of that, it allows you to do things that wouldn’t be computationally possible on Ethereum, so it opens up new possibilities. And so it's like as you build, you realise 'oh, I can do these new thing'. And then like, 'oh, all this makes sense, I can combine these new things together'.

A lot of people think along the same lines. They realise they've got something that works in one scenario and want to use it for something else — DeFi Legos if you will. But if you technically want to execute it, you have a problem of doing it on a chain that’s not technologically there. Solana seems to be the most technologically advanced at this point in time, allowing you to combine a lot of these primitives together in new ways. 

AA: Could you give me a quick run-down of Hubble's stablecoin, the USDH? What does the H stand for?

MC: Stablecoins are generally assets that are tied to the dollar. When you hold them and want to exchange them for something else, it's as if you're exchanging dollars. It maintains the same peg — the same price as a real US dollar. 

We called our stable USDH where H stands for Hubble. We didn't want to come up with a crazy name because you want to create a great user experience, and you want people to know it's pegged to the dollar. If you come up with a more complicated name, people will question it and eventually just avoid it. They won't spend time trying to understand it. You want to make it easy for them. That's why we use the H.

We're building an over-collateralised stablecoin, backed by multiple types of collateral, and all of the collateral will be yield bearing. If you want to mint a stablecoin, you can deposit your bitcoin, and then your bitcoin will earn a yield for you on Hubble. 

There are many reasons why people want to mint stablecoins. You may want a stablecoin because you want to go long on your bitcoin, and you don’t want to sell it to do other things. You might want to use stables as a vehicle to get deeper into crypto and leverage your position. 

You may want to diversify into other crypto assets, too, or you can use the stablecoins to generate passive income from yield. On Hubble, you can even use USDH to participate in liquidations. That's stablecoins for you.

AA: What's next on the Hubble roadmap? What can the crypto community expect in the near future? 

MC: We're going to add more integrations with other protocols in Solana, and there are two more phases after that. One is structured products, and the other one is collateralised lending.

Structured products are essentially derivative products that give custom pay-offs to different people with different risk profiles. Some people generally take on lower risks, while other people are more open to it. You should be able to choose what you want your (risk) exposure to be.

The other thing (we plan to get into) is under-collateralised lending. That means I don't have to deposit much more than I borrow, which allows for greater capital efficiency. Collateralised lending in the real world involves an army of credit scores, lawyers, and solicitors that will chase you down if you default. 

But on-chain, you can't do that because people are anonymous, so you end up non-guaranteed everything. So far, the problem of under-collateralised DeFi lending has not been solved yet. There have been attempts at solving that issue through risk delegation; by moving it from one person to another or still having off-chain agreements. 

So that's what we're going to work on next. We're going to try to create a way to allow people to learn about new pay-offs, to choose different risk profiles on the protocol, how risky they want to be, which risk they want to buy, and enable them to get that exposure. There are different ways of achieving these goals. There are critical tradeoffs between them, and we're going to work with our team and advisors to build these services.

AA: Where is your team settling down? When will you start working on Hubble?

MC: Our work actually started in August 2021. Our developers are working full-time. We’re giving the project everything – blood, sweat, and tears – and it's been a bit stressful. We've been building an actual product and we want to go to market. The team is remote; we have one developer in London, one in Romania, and a few other remote developers in different parts of the world. We have a marketing team from all over the world, as well as a number of advisors.

Everyone is pretty much working remotely. That's why I met some people for the first time here in Lisbon, but we work together every day, and we have great chemistry.

We're excited to be part of a growing industry. That excitement makes people feel that we’re all working towards the same thing, which makes it easier to work together. If you don't really care about what you're building, if you're just there for the sake of the job or the salary, it's less likely that you’re going to be excited. 

I think what's happening today at this conference – and with crypto in general – is truly amazing.  

About Hubble
Hubble is a fee-sharing DeFi protocol built on Solana. Users can deposit multi-asset collateral to mint USDH for a one-time 0.5% fee. There is no interest charged for borrowing USDH. Assets generate yield while deposited on Hubble, creating the potential for zero-cost loans. Hubble has its own native token, HBB, which users can hold to take part in the project’s governance. Staking HBB also earns Hubble’s users the fees generated by the system, and 100% of liquidations are rewarded to users who deposit USDH on Hubble.

 

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