List of AMA questions asked by the community
The first AMA with the Neptune Mutual community was held in Discord, where the founders responded to the community's questions.
Date: May 13, 2022, 9:30PM HKT
Binod is co-founder and CEO of Neptune Mutual. He has been involved in the blockchain industry from its outset and has extensive experience of writing and auditing smart contracts, exposing hacks and exploits, and developing a range of blockchain applications. He was previously the CTO of InvestaX.
Gillian is a co-founder of Neptune Mutual and the founder of Mulana Capital, a crypto VC fund. Prior to this, she was the CEO of Huobi Asset Management. She built that business line from scratch and managed to get the SFC virtual asset manager license in Hong Kong. Prior to Huobi, she has a decade-long working experience in the insurance industry and is well-connected within the Asian crypto community.
I am an adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship at KEDGE business school. I am also a startup investor and mentor, and I manage a quantum materials deeptech startup. At Neptune Mutual, I manage operations and finance.
At Neptune Mutual: Binod is the yacht and he is captain of the yacht. He is the form of the project and provides the direction; Gillian is the sails, her network and knowledge provide the power that keeps our yacht elegantly driving forward at pace; and me … well, I am the keel … the rather heavy weight under the water line, ideally out of sight, that helps keep the boat upright when the wind blows and the sea gets choppy.
The Neptune Mutual project safeguards the Ethereum community from cyber threats to contemporary financial products. Our investor network, partners, and community have all been formed on the principle of defending the Ethereum and other blockchain ecosystems from cyber threats.
Just like the traditional parametric cover products, Neptune Mutual cover pools provide guaranteed payouts upon triggering a set of the predefined event(s). These predefined events are also known as cover parameters. Cover parameters consist of rules and exclusions. Payouts can only occur when all cover conditions are met, no exclusions are present, and the incident is successfully resolved by the community. The term cover incident refers to a state in which all cover rules and exclusions have been met.
You can use our application in the Mumbai test network.
Watch our YouTube videos to learn more about the project.
Parametric covers vary from discretionary covers in several respects.
With parametric cover, all policyholders are eligible for payouts if predetermined events are triggered and resolved. One decision applies to everyone. In contrast, and as the name suggests, with discretionary cover, it is possible to discriminate against policyholders simply because the decision is given on a case-by-case basis.
With parametric cover, because you do not have to “explain” your case and “upload” proof of loss to a risk assessor or claim adjuster, the payouts are much faster with parametric models. Some discretionary cover products force you to submit your identity before you can purchase a policy. If you think about it, your identity might potentially be compromised if you disclose your personal details to a third party. A person’s identity is just as vital, if not more significant, than money for some individuals.
The primary motivation behind creating an on-chain cover product was to create an ecosystem where average investors can minimize their risks from hacks and exploits by enabling them to purchase policies (policyholders), assist platforms and ecosystems (cover creators) minimize their losses by crowdsourcing the investor protection fund, and provide community opportunities (LPs) to join cover projects as co-underwriters.
The design of Neptune Mutual is demand and supply driven. As and when usage of cover grows, the fee also increases, which makes it attractive for LPs to co-underwrite risk capital together with the cover creators.
Cover creators can be CeFi platforms (crypto exchanges, custodians, etc.), DeFi or Metaverse protocols, or anyone looking to safeguard the reputation of their platform. Users of such platforms can purchase covers from the cover pool to hedge the risk of these assets against hacks or exploits.
Neptune Mutual will review and validate each cover creator prior to a cover pool being set up to ensure that the marketplace of cover pools has been created by reputable organizations that meet our minimum due diligence requirements in terms of security, transparency, and reliability.
Security is our top priority. Before our protocol is launched, we will publicly release our audit report(s). For the first round of the protocol audit, we’re collaborating with BlockSec. We are engaging another well-known auditor for the 2nd audit, and we expect to negotiate a long term partnership with an auditor for ongoing audit work both for our own project and also for the projects within our ecosystem.
As we have witnessed numerous supply-chain attacks against DeFi apps, smart contract audits alone is not enough. Neptune Mutual has been investing extensively in cybersecurity in order to protect itself against frequent, unique, and ever-evolving threats and risks.
- 1.Smart Contract Security
- Role-based access control
- Well-structured, properly-defined, and fine-tuned ACL usage that conforms to the principle of least privilege
- Internal Solidity security guidelines
- Adherence to SWC Registry guidelines
- Unit Testing & Test Stories (BDD)
- Source code analyzers: static, dynamic, and subscription based
- Third-party smart contract audit(s)
- 2.Application Testing
- Penetration testing
- Stress testing
- 3.Proper Cyber Hygiene
- 4.Supply-chain Security and Monitoring
- Dependency audit
- HTTP security
- DNS security
- Secrets and access key usage audits
- Favoring pull over push when deploying
- 5.Bug Bounties
The Neptune Mutual protocol will initially be available on the main Ethereum network. Additionally, we want to support various blockchains in order to grow our cover marketplace. To support our mission of securing as many DeFi protocols as possible, we have been in constant communication with a number of blockchain projects, including Avalanche.
Technically, the Neptune Mutual protocol is chain agnostic and is able to support projects deployed on any chain. Using Ethereum, Neptune Mutual can handle and resolve incidents that have happened on other blockchains.
However, we do plan to deploy on more chains, provided we have strategic support from the chain and foresee good demand from the users active on that chain, as well as being able to deploy protocol liquidity natively into low-risk and high-quality lending protocols available on that chain to optimize the yield for liquidity providers.
Indeed, there are many insurance protocols available, and we agree that the quality of cover pools is equally important.
We have been in discussions with Huobi since our early days. We think Neptune Mutual’s cover marketplace can contribute to supporting and enhancing an exchange’s insurance protection fund over time. Since we are still discussing details, we can’t say if Huobi will make a cover for the Neptune Mutual marketplace or not. Suppose there will be a dedicated cover pool created for Huobi, the people who are insuring Huobi are the liquidity providers, which can be anybody who finds the risk reward proposition attractive.
Please stay tuned for partnership announcements.
Neptune Mutual does not have plans to support privacy protocols as of now.
Currently, creating a new cover is an invitation-only feature. It is possible to launch pools for new startup projects after we have conducted our due diligence and if the new projects are also willing to provide incentives to attract liquidity providers to support their own cover pool.
Since we are focusing on DeFi parametric covers, we do not have plans to create a lending protocol.
However, you can deposit USD stablecoin to receive PODs in a cover pool of your choice. PODs are income (or loss) bearing instruments that represent your share of the liquidity pool. In addition to this, you can also stake your PODs in the POD staking pool to receive extra income in the form of the cover project’s native tokens (not stablecoins).
Because we are an application-layer protocol, there are no technical requirements for developing and/or running validator nodes. We’re inheriting Ethereum’s security and have no plans to build our own or one that’s in competition with Ethereum.
To achieve consensus, a cover incident must go through a governance process to reach a resolution. The incident resolution process is the key use case for the NPM governance token. Any NPM token holder can stake NPM and report an incident. The whole process will be based on proof of stake consensus to reach a resolution in 7 days.
The Neptune Mutual protocol has a number of liquidity pools, namely: cover pool, bond pool, token staking pools, and POD staking pools.
Liquidity providers can join any pool of their choosing after having thoroughly assessed the underlying risks. The cover liquidity pools are denominated in stablecoins and have earnings in stablecoins via policy premiums, flash loans, lending interest, etc.
Bond pools, which provide discounted NPM tokens for the NPM/DAI Uniswap pair, are announced on a seasonal basis to fund cover pool liquidity and also enhance our token liquidity in DEXes.
Token staking pools will list ERC-20 tokens to be given as a reward to NPM token holders. POD staking pools are only available to the LPs who have supplied liquidity to select cover pools; LPs receive rewards in the format of the underlying projects’ tokens.
For our partners and integrators, a fully-audited SDK will be provided that brings full cover functionality to their frontend or backend application. In addition to the SDK, we also have an audited “NPMDistributor.sol” contract that can be used by third parties to sell our covers with an added fee that goes directly to them.
Before our protocol is deployed on the mainnet, we plan to complete a couple of audits. We’re working with BlockSec on the first protocol audit. The second round of audits will start once we implement and fix all the suggestions provided by BlockSec. At a later date, we will announce the name of the second audit firm.
Regarding the inflation question, the NPM tokens are fixed and deflationary. We do not think inflation is healthy for an application-layer protocol’s token.
Additionally, we believe that onboarding “new users” by paying them and artificially inflating the numbers is not a sustainable business model and isn’t fair to the future users in the long run. We also strongly believe that it is impossible to sustain any percentage amount of guaranteed yield or returns, unless the token supply can be inflated. When there is inflation, it has a nasty side effect: it punishes the existing tokenholder community by diluting everyone proportionately.
Since our token is deflationary, I will instead describe how this works.
In order to create a cover, you need to pay an amount in NPM tokens as a fee, which is burned forever. You also need to stake a fixed minimum amount of NPM tokens to create a cover. When an LP provides liquidity to your cover pool, they too have to stake a fixed minimum amount of NPM tokens. Similarly, incident reporters stake NPM tokens to vote. The side which is found to be invalid loses all of their stake, a portion of which is burned. Both burning and staking help in deflation. Burning reduces the total number of NPM tokens in circulation while staking reduces the number of tokens in circulation.
Since there will be an organic and ongoing demand of the NPM tokens whenever an incident occurs, the tokens that are staked for voting incident resolutions go out of circulating supply.
The Neptune Mutual protocol has a deflation mechanism that activates during consensus attacks, unlike other protocols that inflate their tokens to guard against consensus attacks. As we have recently seen well-motivated and highly-coordinated attacks against some protocols, the protocol governance committee will manually defend against any kind of governance attack if it occurs on Neptune Mutual. A lot of NPM tokens will be burnt as a consequence of attackers losing their tokens.
Detailed information about the bug bounty program will be made public when our protocol audit is complete and before the mainnet release. Our bug bounty programs will continue to be offered on a regular basis going forward.
Building an active and trusted community is very important for the success of Neptune Mutual. We are encouraged to see that over 20K users have tried our testnet, and we have also seen very high quality interactions from community members across our social media channels. We are also in touch with CeFi, DeFi, and Metaverse protocols, a number of which have announced their intent to create cover pools and/or provide liquidity on our platform. This has set a strong foundation for our mainnet launch. Going forward, we will continue to leverage our product strength, engage more stakeholders (cover creators, liquidity providers, policyholders, as well as NPM governance token holders) to create trustable and easy-to-claim cover solutions and help platforms and their users reduce their overall risk exposures.
We’ve built a thriving community of like-minded people who are actively engaging in our social channels, helping us test our solutions, and guiding our product development via feedback and feature requests. The Neptune Mutual community’s organic development is a significant testimony to the fact that the cryptocurrency and DeFi audience recognizes the value of a parametric-model for protection of digital assets on the blockchain. Our community’s enthusiastic support has allowed us to extend our outreach to a much broader audience than a typical DeFi project.
The first season of the ambassador program is ready to go live. Please stay tuned in Discord, and of course you can also follow us on Twitter, YouTube and Medium etc. I’ll post all the links at the end of this session.
We have already conducted numerous giveaways. We plan to do AMAs with a number of regional communities and KOLs in the next few months. Around the mainnet launch, we will provide updates on new partnerships and new features, and we will, of course, hold regular update sessions across different media channels with our community.
We believe it’s important to translate and distribute our content, website, web application, documentation, and other materials to a much broader non-English speaking audience throughout the globe.
Right now, our website offers 10 different language options, including English, Chinese, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, etc. We will create specific language channels in Discord and hire country/regional moderators to support the local communities. If you are interested in the role, please do not hesitate to contact us.
You can find the details about our project here:
Tokenomics to be added into the doc soon once the public round is finalized.
The NPM tokens fuel the growth of the Neptune Mutual ecosystem. From creating a cover to adding liquidity, you need NPM tokens. You also need NPM tokens to resolve an incident, which is one of the important utilities. For detailed NPM token use cases, please view the documentation:
As I mentioned earlier, any kind of high percentage (%) yield is a promise that is too good to be true. Think about it. Unless we dilute all token holders proportionally, new tokens can’t be minted and thus rewards can’t be given.
Also, the rewards given are not equally received by all users because some users simply want to store tokens in an offline cold storage wallet. Inflation can quickly climb to a point where whoever is early to sell benefits, and this encourages people to sell tokens and quickly get out and jump into the next project. We have seen this with numerous crypto projects and, therefore, we don’t think a high percentage (%) yield is a solution to attract users long term. Instead, we believe a product having a real use case creates demand. Where there is enough demand, supply follows.
Having said that, we plan to launch lower percentage seasonal staking rewards from time to time. Please note that we can’t inflate the NPM tokens by minting, and therefore all of our staking or reward pools are periodic in nature. Implying that a pool may run out of rewards, say, after 15 days of launch. And then, the next batch of reward allocations could come later. In addition to the staking reward, we also have bond pools where you can get discounted NPM tokens for a lockup period of 7 days, which will also be seasonal. The bond pool feature is used periodically to sponsor liquidity to cover pools. Those who provide stablecoin liquidity not only receive premium income, but they can also stake their PODs in the staking pools to get additional rewards directly from the cover project(s).
Yes, cover pools will be available for general investors to become liquidity providers. We encourage our investor community to thoroughly examine all the cover parameters and quality of the underlying projects listed in our cover marketplace. Select the ones you’d like to participate in as a liquidity provider. Before you join a cover pool as a liquidity provider, please carefully assess your risks, such as capital depletion in the event of a hack or an exploit.
When you become a liquidity provider for a cover pool, you receive a POD as a proof of your deposit. You can stake your PODs in the staking pools to receive rewards. Sometimes, underlying cover projects can also provide rewards directly on their website. Please stay tuned as there will be many ways and it could be different on a case-to-case basis.
None of our staking yields will be ongoing. In other words, all of the rewards received by users will be periodic and based on the availability of the reward token. This is because NPM tokens are fixed in supply.
I am not sure if rug pulls can be predicted in advance. To begin with, cover creation is an invitation-only system. Meaning, the first batch of covers to be included in our marketplace will be vetted by us. We will gradually open up our platform to a much wider cover creator audience.
Coming back to the question, being a parametric cover marketplace, we can only handle cover incidents that are defined in the parameters and exclusions. A rug pull is not a coverable event unless it is included in the parameters.
Standard exclusions from cover policies will include any deliberate or malicious act by the project team or any trigger event resulting from gross misconduct or gross negligence on the part of the project team; this would include rug pulls.
Do note that our community consists of both policyholders and liquidity providers, and therefore, all parties must adhere to the parameters and exclusions written on the cover page.
Indeed, we have been covering some of the hacks in our weekly reports. If you haven’t already done so, I’d recommend you subscribe to our Medium blog and subscribe to our newsletter.
Regarding privacy, we don’t force you to become a member to use our protocol. The platform does not require any identity verification or signup. There is no exchange, storage, retrieval, or archival of any personally-identifiable information happening in our application or protocol. Since we don’t store your personal information, there is no possibility that your identity is going to be misused.
I think we are still early in terms of web3 innovation. Today, web3 has already made the web an open place to conduct commerce a reality. I am excited to see what the next big innovations are in the web3 and metaverse space.
We issued a press release yesterday where we highlighted some investors that participated in the recent private round raise and briefly touched on how they perceive we can help their portfolio companies better address security risks via cover solutions. We’ve also brought on some more crypto exchanges in the private round, and we expect that they will become cover creators.
In order to give more specific colors, over the coming period, we plan to write and post highlights on each individual partner to elaborate on what role they will play within the Neptune Mutual ecosystem, and how we can achieve 1 + 1 > 2 in more detail. Stay tuned.
Link to the fundraising announcement:
Initially planned to be rather soon, however considering the current market condition, we are consulting a number of stakeholders and shall inform the community at a later stage about more specifics.
Seeing the present state of LUNA, UST, and the Terra ecosystem makes me sad. As we’ve pointed out earlier, our goal is to expand alongside the blockchain community, but we also want to be helpful and supportive to our counterparts in the cover protocol industry.
Seeing so many investors lose their money in a matter of days crushes my heart. It would be great if things gradually improved for the Terra community.
Cybersecurity threats such as smart contract vulnerabilities and supply chain attacks are the focus of Neptune Mutual. In addition to NOT covering stablecoin-peg risks, we also have no plans to cover trading losses, such as liquidation.
The Neptune Mutual protocol is already integrated with reliable and proven protocols such as Uniswap, Aave, and Compound. As we have a relatively limited risk appetite, we are not aiming for exceptionally high and unsustainable yields. We will add additional integrations to stable and established protocols if it benefits our community.
Definitely, all of our audit reports will be made public. Full details of the bug bounty program will be shared upon the launch of our protocol. The bounty program will be an always-ongoing campaign.
Neptune Mutual is committed to providing a friendly, safe, and welcoming environment for all, regardless of their level of experience, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, personal appearance, body size, race, ethnicity, age, religion, nationality, or other similar characteristics.
We see our relationship with the community as an integral part of our success. Without a thriving community, we will be unable to sustain the project in the long run. The community is what motivates us and contributes to our success.
Q31. In most ICO or IDO for token sales, carried out in several platforms, one needs to hold a certain amount of tokens to be able to participate, thus those who don’t have much can’t participate in such pre-sale due to low capital, how does Neptune mutual intends to address this for it’s supportive community members?
We are in communication with a variety of fundraising platforms for the public round. Since not all platforms have been confirmed, we are unsure of the specifics. When communicating with fundraising platforms, we always ask if they permit whitelisted addresses to be allocated. On the basis of the fundraising portal, we will try to include community members in a whitelist for an allocation. This may be contingent on the approval of IDO launchpads or fundraising platforms, though. Please do not quote me on this in the future, but we will try our best for sure.
The design of Neptune Mutual’s cover protocol is driven by four underlying principles, namely:
- Maximizing security
- Minimizing risk
- Maximizing scalability
- Maximizing User Experience (UX)
All of these principles are integral to creating the best environment for each and every category of stakeholder within the Neptune Mutual ecosystem: cover creator, liquidity provider, cover policyholder, NPM tokenholder, and, of course, any token holder participating in the reporting mechanism or governance of the protocol.
So, in terms of our roadmap and future development, improving security for everyone in the NPM ecosystem will be a key focus for our team. This is likely to take many forms, from security data analytics to tools that help cover creators assess their own security risks.
We also have a number of ideas that we are working on in relation to developing our cover pool architecture to meet new and specific needs, such as digital asset managers with a portfolio of projects.
For sure, after the mainnet launch, we plan to issue and randomly drop some NTFs to our policyholders. Just to be clear, we will not sell any NFTs but give it to our community for free. Please expect our NTFs to be of premium quality. ;)
In the future, we could cover a variety of different risks, but for the time being we will be focusing on blockchain security, hacks and exploits on DeFi, CeFi, and Metaverse.
The cover creation is an invitation-only system. We are looking to onboard high-quality CeFi & quality DeFi projects in our cover portfolio. You can reach out to us via our community channels.
There will only be one stablecoin supported in one blockchain. However, we do not have any plans to cover stablecoin de-peg risks.
The cover pools are denominated in stablecoins. The NPM tokens are required for governance. We have not yet deployed the NPM tokens. Please be aware of scammers.
Cover pools will be set up by cover creators to cover a variety of different security risks for CeFi, DeFi and Metaverse projects. It is obviously really important to read through the specific parameters of any cover pool for which you might be interested either in taking out cover protection, or providing liquidity as a liquidity provider.
We have released a partnership announcement with XT.com and we are working with quite a number of DeFi and CeFi projects at the moment so that we have a range of cover pools available when we launch on mainnet. Do please follow our Twitter, Medium and other channels as we’ll be releasing partnership news over the coming weeks. Remember also to follow us on YouTube :)