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Mike Silagadze

Mike Silagadze is a software developer, founder, and CEO of , a non-custodial and decentralized protocol. [1]

Education

Silagadze graduated from the University of Waterloo in 2007 with a BASc in Electrical Engineering. He also worked as a developer at Miovision Technologies, a traffic solutions provider. [1]

Career

In 2009, Silagadze founded and served as the CEO of Top Hat, a higher education app focused on replacing traditional education and making it more engaging for students. [1][2]

“I started Top Hat pretty much right out of undergrad and like a lot of good startups, good companies, the interest in the space and the problem that we were trying to solve really just grew out of my experience. In many ways, I was just solving a problem that I had when I was a university student.”

He later became the CEO of Gadze Finance, a next-gen fund, in 2021. At the same time, he also became a venture partner at Ripple Ventures, a B2B SaaS startup investment venture fund in Canada and the U.S. [1]

ether.fi

In October 2022, Silagadze founded and serves as the CEO. In an interview with , he shared why he started the company, advised future startup entrepreneurs, and shared his vision for the company. At the start of the interview, he advised future entrepreneurs about starting a business: [3]

“The first thing I would say is, look, most people shouldn't be starting companies. Doing a startup is a really, really bad idea, even joining a startup generally is a really bad idea for probably 99% of people or whatever the ratio is because the risk-reward, I mean, the fundamental sort of equation doesn't make sense for most people.”

“I often tell would-be entrepreneurs to really ask themselves if they want to do it, and nobody ever does. Nobody ever actually takes a pause and assesses whether they're actually looking to get into it because, you know, a startup will take, if you're doing it properly, a startup will take over your life.”

He also shared advice on finding a co-founder: [3]

“Another piece of advice, and there's a million things, is being very careful with co-founders. You often meet folks who are asking, 'How do I find a co-founder?' And it's almost like if you're asking that question, you're already in trouble because your co-founder needs to be somebody that you've already been entrenched with. The odds that you could pick a random person and it'll just work out are basically zero. So, you almost want to put yourself—I mean, this is why university is actually a good place to find co-founders because you get the opportunity to go through the grinder with a bunch of different people and you get a feel for who are the people that you wanna work with. So, that's an important thing.”

When asked why he moved to , Silagadze responded: [3]

“It wasn't actually much of a jump because I'd been dabbling in . I guess it was sort of a side project from pretty much the very beginning. I bought a few back in 2011. Wow, this was before there were even . It was like less than a dollar per or whatever it was trading at. There weren't even ….It was almost even more sketchy than that, just a random guy in a forum. I PayPal'd him some money, 20 bucks, and he sent me 20 . I was like, 'Oh, cool, this is neat.' Then I played around with , just messed around with it.”

Midway through the interview, he discussed how the team at ether.fi decided on their particular solution: [3]

“I'll start with how we settled on this particular problem. At the highest level, is a decentralized protocol. The reason we decided to enter this category was because we started and ran an fund, essentially a hedge fund for people to invest their dollars in . We would stake it and use strategies to boost yields. When we started, we evaluated all the different options available for and fairly quickly realized that there actually wasn't anything we were comfortable using ourselves.”

“We were excited by the prospect of restaking because we felt like that was an opportunity to expand the scope of and increase overall yields. It's something we were very interested in as well. So, we decided to build a product that we ourselves would use as part of the fund. As we got into it more, we realized we wanted to double down on this and make it our primary and only focus. That's how was born.”

Towards the end of the interview, Silagadze shared his thoughts on solo stakers and discussed Operation Solo Staker program: [3]

“If you could do it, and there's lots of complexity in doing it, it's better, and I think in every way. I don't know that there's any cons to it, actually. So, whether it's metallic or Justin Drake or any of the folks, I think if you ask them if you could snap your fingers and just turn all staking into solo stakers, they would say, 'Yeah, of course, why wouldn't you do that? There's no downside.'”

“So the idea is basically we're sort of bringing together people who want to stake and solo operators and then DVT provider Obol that makes it sort of safe and secure to subsidize the hardware using staking income so from the perspective of the operator they're getting a free machine and submit the stake and a bit of a surplus income that they can use to pay for their you know internet connection and do whatever else.”

Presentation

Decentralized RPC

Silagadze and Koray Koska discussed the potential of decentralized RPC with restaking. Silagadze highlighted the platform's novel feature of allowing stakers to retain control of their keys, distinguishing it from other protocols. Koska, the founder of ChainNodes, emphasized the benefits of decentralized RPC in enhancing security and censorship resistance while discussing technical aspects like load balancing and DNS decentralization via . They explored the concept of restaking, where staked automatically earns rewards without additional action, and its potential applications beyond , including revenue generation for stakers. [4]

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Mike Silagadze

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Edited On

April 26, 2024

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