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Alexei Zamyatin, Co-founder of BOB, on the Bitcoin Ecosystem, Hybrid Layer 2s, and Bitcoin’s Brand and Recognizability | Ep. 344

Sead Fadilpašić
Last updated: | 5 min read
Alexei Zamyatin, a co-founder of BOB, a hybrid Layer 2 powered by Bitcoin and Ethereum.

Cryptonews Podcast’s Matt Zahab sat down for a wide-ranging, exclusive interview with Alexei Zamyatin, a co-founder of BOB, a hybrid Layer-2 powered by Bitcoin and Ethereum.

Zamyatin talked about enabling people to use Bitcoin on the chain itself and what BOB is doing to enable this as the app store of finance.

He discussed the possibility of Bitcoin becoming irrelevant if it fails to evolve, but also its key advantage over all other chains in the space.

Why Go From Bitcoin to CEXes?


Zamyatin is the co-founder of BOB, also known as ‘Build Everything on Bitcoin’. It is described as a first-of-its-kind hybrid chain powered by both Bitcoin and Ethereum.

Therefore, it merges the best parts of both chains and turns them into a Layer 2.

Zamyatin has worked on Bitcoin for nearly a decade. But soon after getting into it, he started thinking of ways in which this chain could be more useful.

Also, a major issue he quickly noticed is that users have to go to centralized exchanges to utilize BTC, borrow against it, and generally use it for “more interesting financial primitives.”

“That never made sense to me,” Zamyatin said. “Why don’t we have this on Bitcoin, on the chain itself?”

He found that many of the answers to his questions lie in “the intersection of Bitcoin and other things.”

And this is where Ethereum and its innovative ecosystem come into play.

If Bitcoin Fails to Evolve, It May Become Irrelevant


Bitcoin is often observed exclusively as a store of value. And in its current form, it does work, Zamyatin noted.

However, “it can be so much more,” he said.

A major point in this discussion, he argued, is that regardless how great a pioneer in any industry is, if it fails to evolve, it is likely to become obsolete.

Ethereum ETFs are also excellent news for the entire crypto ecosystem.

It also means that Bitcoin needs to compete with others on the technological side if it wants to – not only maintain its dominant position – but remain relevant.

It would be fine if Ethereum were to win this battle, with Bitcoin taking second place, perhaps. But Bitcoin becoming irrelevant would be a completely different story.

Bitcoin Has a Massive Advantage: Brand Recognition


There is one key thing that only Bitcoin has among thousands of projects and chains in the space: brand recognition.

People know it – its name and its famous symbol – even if they don’t understand how it works.

It is the first and often the only cryptocurrency many will think of.

This gives Bitcoin a massive advantage, and not just against other ecosystems. It also boosts mass adoption of the entire Web3 space.

Additionally, Bitcoin ETFs have opened up the crypto and the entire space to a whole new range of investors.

While people observed it negatively just a couple of years ago, that view has since shifted significantly, Zamyatin argued.

The ETF approvals have given Bitcoin more legitimacy.

“It’s okay for banks to sell Bitcoin to their clients and make money on it. They no longer have the incentive to say that it’s terrible,” Zamyatin added.

Ethereum is harder to understand, he said, but it too could go mainstream.

We can gradually get a lot more people into the space, Zamyatin said, by leveraging the innovation of Ethereum and Layer 2s on the one hand and Bitcoin’s adoption level and global recognition on the other.

The Three Phases of BOB


BOB is launching in three phases, Zamyatin said.

These are:

  • phase one: launch as an optimistic ETH rollup using the OP stack;
  • phase two: introduce Bitcoin Proof-of-Work security to the ETH roll-up;
  • phase three: introduce Bitcoin as a settlement layer to BOB.

The last one – already under research – requires BitVM or a Bitcoin fork, the co-founder said.

“That’s 12 months plus out probably, but that’s what all our research efforts are going into,” he remarked.

Notably, Zamyatin said, instead of placing the technology first, he prefers talking about the reasons behind the project.

“The tech is just a tool,” he said. A lesson the team learned from building in the space is that “if you focus only on tech, and you don’t understand what the problem is that you’re solving, […] it’s not going to work.”

We see a lot of infrastructure being built, but it’s unusable. “So that’s why we focus on infrastructure that matters for products,” Zamyatin argued.

The BOB team’s mission is to enable users to do anything they want on Bitcoin in a simple and easy manner through one app and by abstracting away the complexities of blockchain.

This approach will bring in new users, prevent people from moving to other chains because they offer more abilities, and bring those back who already left Bitcoin for other chains.

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That’s not all.

In this interview, Zamyatin also discussed:

  • why Layer 2s are important for the Bitcoin ecosystem;
  • what hybrid L2s are and what problems they solve;
  • the three problems that need solving when building a Bitcoin Layer-2: connecting to Bitcoin, ecosystem, and liquidity;
  • how the adoption of Bitcoin L2s, Ordinals, and Runes may affect the BTC price, the market, and the network;
  • ‘more things’ moving to Layer-2s on the intersection of Bitcoin and other ecosystems and more Bitcoin moving into DeFi;
  • possible negative outcomes of the dedollarization scenario and switching to BTC;
  • getting into Bitcoin as a research contributor in 2015 by ‘accident’;
  • Ethereum ‘kicking out’ Bitcoin maximalism out of him.

You can watch the full podcast episode here.

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About Alexei Zamyatin

Alexei Zamyatin is a co-founder of BOB, a first-of-its-kind hybrid Layer-2 powered by Bitcoin and Ethereum.

Zamyatin has been a Bitcoin and interoperability research contributor since 2015. He is best-known for his work on trustless cross-chain bridges and Layer 2s.

He holds a PhD in computer science from Imperial College London.