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Tristan Frizza, Founder of Zeta Markets, on Solana’s DeFi Layer 2 Plans, Perpetual Trading, and 2024 DeFi Summer | Ep. 336

Sead Fadilpašić
Last updated: | 4 min read
Tristan Frizza, the Founder of DeFi platform Zeta Markets, an on-chain options trading protocol on the Solana blockchain.

In an exclusive interview with Cryptonews, Tristan Frizza, the Founder of DeFi platform Zeta Markets, an on-chain options trading protocol on the Solana blockchain, discussed how he came to build on Solana, encouraged by a chat with the chain’s founder.

He talked about Solana’s congestion issues, building the first Solana L2, and how this will benefit Zeta and the wider community.

A Call with Solana’s Yakovenko


In early 2021, Frizza started building on Ethereum, wanting to create a derivatives exchange.

However, he soon realized that that product would not scale on the Ethereum mainnet. The team got in touch with various rollup providers, but these were years away from launching.

Frizza decided to look into different chains, finding Solana as “the real outlier.” As an engineer, he thought of Solana as a very interesting blockchain, even though much smaller at the time.

Interestingly, Frizza reached out to people in the Solana team, hopping on a call with co-founder Anatoly Yakovenko himself.

Chatting with Yakovenko and learning more about his professional background further encouraged Frizza to build on Solana.

“I’m like, I definitely want to build where this guy is building,” he said. “It seems like he has a great team, and they’ve got a great vision.”

Solana enabled them to build a network that’s scalable, fast, well-performing, and has lower fees.

Also, Yakovenko eventually became Zeta’s angel investor.

Congestion Issues Are a Major Hurdle


Founded in 2021, Zeta has so far seen $6 billion in transaction volume and over 6 million trades, its founder said. Also, it has roughly 100,000 monthly active users.

“So quite a bit of adoption and a bit of traction going on there,” Frizza remarked.

The team had to scale the systems “pretty aggressively” on Solana over the last six months as all these users and trading volume have poured in. “And it’s been working pretty well,” he added.

There are “hurdles” and technical difficulties, however.

While most are minor, such as fixing a bug every now and then, the most recent hurdle is Solana’s congestion issues.

This makes it “very tough” for the teams to build, particularly products such as lending or NFT protocols.

protocol or an NFT protocol or something like that. It’s maybe okay if your transaction doesn’t land for a second or two. But we’re talking leveraged perps and stuff like that.

In crypto, prices move very quickly, and Zeta needs to be able to move quickly as well for its users.

“We’ve managed to mitigate a bunch of that, which has been good,” Frizza said. “But it’s really nice having our own kind of block space, being able to tune the parameters a bit more to build something that is going to be really competitive with, let’s say, centralized exchanges.”

Building Solana L2: Untrodden Territory


Zeta Markets recently raised $5 million in a funding round led by Electric Capital., with participation from industry leaders and angel investors, such as Yakovenko.

The raise came ahead of Zeta’s Solana Layer 2 rollup and the much-anticipated token launch.

The primary purpose of the raise, Frizza told us, is to kickstart this L2 development.

Zeta has already built a “pretty impressive exchange.” “It works pretty damn well.”

But “now it’s taking that [and] scaling it.”

The team is getting more in-depth on the infrastructure side, which improves customization, throughput, and performance.

Also, the L2 is going to allow Zeta to get from 400 millisecond block times they have on Solana to approximately 10 milliseconds.

To accomplish all this, the team has had to move from building purely a smart contract and adapt to building some of the rails to sit on.

“And to be honest, no one’s built an L2 on Solana before. This is like a very new thing, very untrodden territory,” Frizza said.

It requires a lot of work and research, hardcore engineering, and hiring a team of experts.

Furthermore, the team will also abstract away “a bunch of stuff like gas fees.”

So, at the end of the day, Frizza said, they are working on building “something that competes with centralized exchanges” but still bringing the benefits of DeFi, including self-custody, transparency, and security.

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That’s not all.

In this interview, Frizza also discussed:

  • writing his thesis on Generative Adversarial Network for Image Super-Resolution;
  • how AI models have changed and improved in just a few years;
  • moving to Singapore with a single suitcase and getting a 50” screen for coding;
  • crypto perps, leverage, futures, and options;
  • resolving Solana’s congestion issues;
  • the current outlook on Solana’s DeFi ecosystem and outlook on 2024 DeFi summer;
  • the future trajectory of DeFi and how Zeta Markets is positioned to influence the evolving financial landscape.

You can watch the full podcast episode here.

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About Tristan Frizza

Tristan Frizza is the Founder of Zeta Markets.

He finished his Computer Science degree with an emphasis on distributed systems and PoW blockchain technology.

Frizza then worked in AI research and as a data scientist in Silicon Valley, eventually writing his thesis on Generative Adversarial Network for Image Super-Resolution, for which he received First Class Honors.

In 2021, the Zeta team won a Solana hackathon against 13,000 participants, which catalyzed the transformation of their proof of concept into a prominent decentralized exchange.

Today, Zeta has processed over $5 billion in trading volume.