Weekly Progress: August 2, 2020

Earlier this week, we identified some limitations around KYC for the non-custodial wallet we were trying to integrate with. This caused issues during the fiat-onramp of end-to-end testing, so we started considering alternatives.

The good news: We found another option that doesn't cause this issue, and allows users to log in/create a wallet with a Google or Facebook account. We're now continuing with user testing after integrating the new wallet.

Done this week:

18% increase in waitlist signups (lower rate than last week)

New digital wallet integration with 1-click login

Deployed demo wallet to production and running live user tests!

Built support for USD Coin in addition to DAI

Added transfer functionality so that users can transfer their USDC after purchasing

Bug fixes!

Communicating with leadership teams of the tools we integrate with, making progress on feature requests

More feedback/advice from reknowned mentors in crypto space

1-click login and transfer

Weekly Progress: July 26, 2020

This week, we decided to zero in on the most demanded value proposition from users who have been joining the waitlist. We completely redesigned the wallet dashboard and enriched the landing page. We also doubled down on fiat on-ramp, experimenting with a few flows that can allow mainstream users to onboard smoothly. Also did some testing in production!

Done this week:

Increased number of waitlist signups by 33%, which is more than 20% higher than last week!

Added FX conversion tool and price chart to landing pages (EN and PT)

Designed & implemented more attractive, intuitive UI for dashboard

Incorporating fiat on-ramp, which will make it easy for "mainstream" users to acquire stablecoins

Tested fiat on-ramp flow with international debit/credit cards

Got more feedback from advisor at crypto fund

The new dashboard

Weekly Progress: July 19, 2020

Similar to last week, this one was also focused on MVP development. One of the challenges is balancing user experience with libraries/tooling required for some of the DeFi functionality.

Done this week:

Increased waitlist signups by 27%, more confidence in the target audience's desire to save in USD!

Incorporated a non-custodial wallet that supports purchasing of cryptodollars using debit card

Built functionality for earning interest and withdrawing invested funds

Received more feedback from mentor at a blockchain VC fund

Weekly Progress: July 12, 2020

This week, we were focused on development and finished part of the onboarding flow.

In the meantime, waitlist signups continue to trickle in. In the signup form, we ask users to select their top 2 out of the following:

  • Earn interest on savings
  • Buy and store USD
  • Transferring money abroad
  • Protection against inflation

The responses help us develop a stronger sense of features to double down on.

Done this week:

Increased waitlist signups by 36%, and one of our FB posts received 17 comments

Devised a development roadmap based on product milestones

Built signup/login flow in React Native

Experimenting with 2 non-custodial wallet options for users to store cryptodollars within the app

Weekly Progress: July 5, 2020

This week, we made more progress on market validation, engineering and business planning. We're kicking off the implementation of an Android app to target the large market that is Brazil, and had productive conversations with mentors and investors in the space.

The user interviews and acquisition will continue. Going forward, we will keep gathering interest through our landing page, while forging ahead with product development.

Done this week:

Implemented feedback on landing page from a UX expert: made updates to include better messaging, which resulted in a noticeable increase in conversion rates (now at 3%)

Improved Google Ads targeting, resulting in 47% increase in traffic

Wrote a new version of the Medici business plan, after extensive competitive and market research

Designed the technical architecture for mobile (Android) app, kicking off development in React

5 user interviews

Compound article published on Hacker Noon and featured as story of the day!

Conversations with 3 mentors/thought leaders in DeFi

Call with fiat onramp tool to discuss integration

Compound Article Featured on Hacker Noon

Our post about Compound, the interest rate markets protocol on Ethereum, is on the front page of Hacker Noon, an international publication with 4M+ monthly readers! Read it here.

Weekly Progress: June 28, 2020

A week after IDEO's Product Validation Day, we set out on another wave of user research to test our new assumptions. A mistake we made during the PVD itself was that 2 of the 3 interviewees were not quite the target audience. So this past week, we spoke to a more precise group of people.

Done this week:

Updated our Portuguese landing page to target a Brazilian audience, with more targeted and clear messaging. Embedded a new interest form. The keyword that drove the most traffic to our site was "price of dollar today". Conversion rate was 2%

Deep dive into the protocol that will help Medici users earn interests, submitted to HackerNoon for review! We expect it to go live in the coming week.

Interviewed 7 potential users and walked away with insights that made us more confidence about Medici's value propositions such as owning a stronger and less volatile currency, earning interest, as well as the difficulties we might run into (awareness/education).

3 conversations scheduled with DeFi thought leaders in the upcoming week

Preparing for intro call with fiat onramp tool we plan to integrate with

In the coming week, we will be solidifying the roadmap for the new quarter, and expect to do some more building!

Weekly Progress: June 21, 2020

A lot of user interviews, product validation, and planning for what's next.

Done this week:

Participated in the IDEO Product Validation Day! An action-packed sprint driven by the world-class team at IDEO. We were joined by a few other stellar projects in DeFi (Decentralized Finance), and spent the day in user interviews, data collection, synthesis and extracting insights. The most valuable takeaway from this event was a system with which we can evaluate any product or idea going forward.

Prototyped a new, mobile-friendly user experience for Product Validation Day

Interviewed 10 potential users, totaling about 9 hours of calls, data-collection and synthesis.

Landing page traffic went up 4x, conversion rate of 3%.

Drafting an article on the interest-earning protocol behind Medici, for a popular publication with 4M monthly readers

Weekly Progress: June 14, 2020

Brand new landing page released, and all hands on deck for the upcoming IDEO Product Validation Day!

Done this week:

Preparation for IDEO Product Validation Day: Kickoff call with IDEO team, reached out to 11 individuals to recruit for 40-minute user interviews, prepared critical assumptions to validate, user profile & journeys and interview questions. Here's an example user profile:

New landing page with better UX and more context. Landing page traffic went up by 170% in the past week. Paused ads for most of week while updating landing page, restarted during the weekend. Conversion rate is still ~4%.

Prototyping new mobile UX flow on Figma (to be used during IDEO Product Validation sprint)

Spoke to co-founder of Infura, one of the most popular projects in the Ethereum ecosystem. Shared more about Medici and our developer experience with their tooling.

More user conversations: Collected product feedback from 2 individuals

Weekly Progress: June 7, 2020

Plenty of progress on customer/market research, while adding support for a new token in the prototype!

Done this week:

Accepted to IDEO's DeFi Product Validation Day! Among 32 selected teams from 120+ that applied.

Compound Protocol mentioned Medici as one of its favorite projects from HackMoney!

Landing page traffic went up 3x, received collaboration request from a DeFi startup

Launched Google Ads campaign in Latin America, seeing 5% conversion rate. Got some feedback for improving the Portuguese landing page, so that we can drive conversions further up.

Built the functionality for supplying and redeeming USD Coin in the demo wallet

Shared Medici with 5 potential users and recorded actionable feedback

Added an embedded waitlist signup field instead of punching out to Typeform

Composed a list of 20 "hard questions" about Medici's product. Deepdive into Compound's docs/whitepaper, analysis of fiat on-ramp tools

Weekly Progress: May 31, 2020

Had our judging session for HackMoney this week, and invested some much-needed time on validation, customer research and outreach.

Done this week:

Presented to panel of 3 judges for HackMoney: Fernando Martinelli of Balancer Labs, Liraz Siri of OpenGSN, and Simona Pop of OST (livestreamed on YouTube)

New UI for landing page & interest form added

Translated landing page to Portuguese for running LatAm customer research, shared with 4 potential users

30-minute user interview

Published 2 new blog posts (on stablecoins and Portis)

Discussed project with 2 industry experts, one of which encouraged us to apply to IDEO's DeFi Product Validation Day

Banner for Portuguese landing page:

Earning Interest from USD-based Stablecoins

May 30, 2020

Medici is focused on helping its users store and earn interest in stable cryptocurrencies. This means we specialize in tokens pegged to fiat currencies, and select those with a proven track record of a 1:1 token-to-fiat ratio.

We started with supporting DAI, and are in the process of adding USD Coin and Tether.

USD Coin

Managed by Circle and Coinbase, two of the most reputable organizations in the cryptocurrency space, the USDC Coin (USDC) is a stablecoin pegged to the US Dollar. It has a 1:1 representation against the US Dollar on the Ethereum blockchain. USDC tokens can be converted to USD at any time. The issuing and redeeming of USDC tokens is tracked by an ERC-20 contract.

The stability mechanism of the USD Coin is that every USDC token is backed with a US dollar.

USDC can be acquired using a debit card via Wyre or Moonpay, and sent to the user's Medici wallet. From there, the user decides how much USDC they want to supply for earning interest.


Tether also aims to have a 1:1 peg against the US Dollar. It is relatively more controversial than its competitors such as DAI and USDC.

Tethers exist on the Bitcoin blockchain, and utilizes "proof of reserves" to ascertain its stability against traditional currency. Tether is currently publishing the value of their reserves daily, and claims that the value of their reserves match or exceed the value of all Tethers in circulation.

Earning APY

The current Compound APY earned by supplying the above tokens:

Token APY
DAI 0.73%
USDC 2.08%
USDT 1.74%

Medici's Built-in Wallet

May 30, 2020

Medici uses Portis, a non-custodial wallet that allows users to interact with the blockchain without having to install anything. The user's private keys are encrypted and stored client-side and can be accessed from any device.

Users can log in with a username/password and sign transaction in the browser. This allows for a much smoother experience when it comes to onboarding, checking crypto funds, as well as signing transactions. It makes decentralized apps less intimidating to the mainstream user.

To use Portis, Medici installs the SDK into its web app. If a user is on Medici for the first time, they can use the Portis widget to create a new account. As soon as a new account is created, a wallet is also generated. To access their wallet on Medici (or wallet.portis.com), all they have to do is log in with their username and password.

Ability to Relay Gas Fees & Automatically Confirm Tarnsactions

Gas fees are required for Ethereum transactions, as a form of incentives for miners to keep the network running. However, this can also add friction to the user experience. We can think of it like paying for AWS fees when interacting with a "mainstream" app. It is a) a technical detail that the user might find counterintuitive and b) an additional step in the user experience. Portis offers the ability for apps to pay for these small fees under the hood.

With Portis, users will also be able to confirm transactions automatically by toggling the "Trust this app" option.

These features are not yet implemented, but we're excited about the ability for more abstraction in favor of the user!

Weekly Progress: May 24, 2020

This is the final week of HackMoney, and tonight's the submission deadline! I learned a lot over the last 4 weeks, only to walk away with an idea of how much I have yet to learn about DeFi.

This was the most productive week since the inception of the project, probably due to the looming deadline. 😅

The final submission video:

Updates for the week:

Completed the implementation for supplying and redeeming DAI, the most reknowned stablecoin pegged to the US Dollar.

Added modal for purchasing tokens with debit card + FX conversion widget

Major UI upgrades: Redesigned the wallet for mobile-friendliness, added dynamically-updating balances based on interest rates, new logo, new look!

Homepage redesign, fixed navbar bug

Got in touch with MoonPay for better fiat-to-crypto payments

Prototyped Chinese and Portuguese translations

Produced 4-minute presentation and demo for HackMoney submission

Weekly Progress: May 17, 2020

Deployed demo app to Rinkeby testnet! In-app wallet (Portis integration) working smoothly for account creation and confirming transactions. Interacting with the Compound contract on Rinkeby.

Customer research: conversations with 8 individuals from emerging economies, about spending and saving habits

Feedback from Pioneer tournament: participants in Russia and New Zealand mentioned concern about domestic currencies, which means there are opportunities for DeFi to help these individuals diversify their assets.

Using the Compound API to fetch interest and exchange rates

Added Wyre widget for wallet funding with fiat (debit card)

Wallet UI re-design: Better organization and clarity, new font, assets

Landing page improvements, enabled SSL

Weekly Progress: May 10, 2020

Quite a few highlights this week!

Presented at the HackMoney halfpoint demo session, with 50+ attendees and YouTube/Twitter livestream. Got some valuable feedback.

Put together this simple landing page to communicate Medici's motivations and progress.

Integrated our Web3 dApp with Portis, an in-browser, mobile-friendly wallet that allows users to interact with the Ethereum blockchain using a username and password. No additional installation required!

Implementation of the logic to supply Ethereum assets to the Compound protocol and earn interest

User research: Speaking to 10+ individuals to analyze the implications of fiat currency fluctuations on emerging/developing economies

Continuing through week 2 of HackMoney, a virtual DeFi hackathon. Grateful for the support from its amazing team, mentors and sponsors!

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Weekly Progress: May 3, 2020

Finished week 1 of HackMoney, a virtual hackathon for hackers around the world to build DeFi applications.

In less than 24 hours, built proof of concept for the wallet using web3.js, interfacing with Compound protocol on Ethereum. Engaged with the core devs!

Published 650-word post to share the initial concepts behind Medici

Got extensive feedback from 3 of my smartest founder friends

About Medici

Earn interest on savings converted to crypto assets.

Open to anyone in the world. Get started in seconds.

What is Medici?

We are building Medici to address a few issues in today's turbulent economy and the blockchain space:

  1. Hedge currency depreciation risk: Make it easy for anyone in the world to hold "stable" assets (digital gold, digital dollar)

  2. Lower barriers to entry for investing: Allow anyone to invest in a range of interest-earning assets, without the need of setting up a bank or ETRADE account

  3. Poor UX in blockchain apps: Easy onboarding without needing an existing crypto wallet, browser extensions, etc.

How does it work?

Medici values accessibility for international users—often, those who are the most in need for decentralized finance.

To get started, Medici allows anyone to fund a crypto wallet with their debit card. The funds are then converted into a digital asset such as a stablecoin (DAI, USDC) and deposited into Compound.

Compound is an algorithmic, autonomous interest rate protocol built on Ethereum, that allows users to supply and borrow crypto assets. When you supply an asset to Compound, that asset can start earning interest right away.

In V1, users will be able to monitor their earnings on the Medici UI and instantly deposit or redeem their assets (as Ethereum or DAI).

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Why blockchain?

  1. You only need an internet connection to start investing. This drastically lowers the barriers to entry. Those of us who live in the United States take this for granted—we have our Robinhood and Wealthfront accounts, 401k, and we earn a salary in the world's favorite currency. We laugh at how cheap everything is when we take our USD and go to Thailand, Greece, Japan. But most people outside the US (especially in the developing world) have much fewer options.
  2. It is an ingenious method to hedge currency depreciation: Usually, you can't hold USD if you live and have an account in Brazil or Vietnam. But if your domestic currency is one of those being hammered by COVID-19, you might be going through the anxiety of watching the value of your earnings plummet. Today's economy is a global one, so you're impacted even if you don't leave your home country (for example, coffee might become more expensive if your country relies on importing this commodity).
  3. Generate earnings, but not just in a specific currency: Even if you use a Mexican version of Robinhood, odds are your investments are still in Peso. So if you've lost trust in your local currency, you have very few options. The blockchain allows you to hold a variety of assets: USD stablecoins, Ethereum, Bitcoin, and more.

Why now?

  1. In 2020, DeFi is taking the blockchain space by storm. One of its most promising protocols, Compound (funded by Bain, a16z, Coinbase) is now allowing people to earn interest on Tether—which offers digital versions of national currencies like the US dollar, the Euro, and offshore Chinese yuan. Many of Compound's developer docs were written in the past month!
  2. We are seeing a wave of new tools and libraries for developers to build on top of, which can facilitate onboarding the "mainstream" user.
  3. a16z announced crypto fund II this past week (May 2020), a $500M fund to accelerate next-generation payments, decentralized finance, web3, and more.
  4. COVID-19 has caused fear in the markets, hence the spike in gold and anxiety around currency depreciation.