Hot Cross started as a B2B-facing multi-chain bridge and infrastructure tooling project in 2020. At the time, we were a team of 5—all still part of the core team—with little to no attention from anyone. During May, we exited stealth, launched out to KuCoin and PancakeSwap, and started building out our community.
Sounds simple enough. Definitely not easy to do.
Fast forward to the end of 2021, and we’ve had over 55 audits from the best in the industry, released around 15 different products—both B2B and B2C—and now support up to 7 blockchains through Cross Connect, the “glue” that binds most of our applications together. Our thesis was that multi-chain and cross-chain would be big in 2021, which turned out to be pretty much spot on.
Next year will probably be different.
We’re seeing 2022 shape up to be a year that puts quite a bit of focus on user-facing, B2C products in verticals like GameFi, SocialFi, the DAO space, NFTs (yes, still), home-grown incubations by quality teams in the space, experiments with liquidity, you name it.
If 2020 and 2021 were “DeFi 1.0,” we expect 2022 to be version 1.1. Iterations on what already works but done in a way that’s either sustainable to a protocol or mutually beneficial to an ecosystem. We do think that the term DeFi 2.0 is a bit of a meme; it’s like when high-TPS blockchains were all the rage. Means nothing.
We’ve released a ton of stuff, primarily visible at the main dapp. There’s more to do, absolutely, however, we’ve probably been a bit too insane with building nonstop. Gotta breathe a little sometimes.
Next year we’ll probably tackle some of the things we’ve wanted to touch on lately, namely:
Improvements on our data indexing and API handling; performance is good;
Improvements on Cross Connect, caching, etc.; the site handles insanely heavy load due to quality back-end engineering but we need to make some of those smaller interactions smoother;
DAO R&D and/or Incubation;
Guild R&D and/or Incubation;
GameFi R&D and/or Incubation; (by the way, the current model is super-broken)
A more community-driven social setup (letting the community manage itself);
Cross Bosses and NFT work. Yes, this includes staking. There are more exciting things left to be done with NFTs, though. If you think they are only images then that’s a problem. They are a shift in how ownership and online signaling is playing out;
Evaluating Ethereum, Avalanche, Binance Smart Chain, and Polygon again. We need to make sure that what we are developing and where we are developing it will have traction. So far, BSC has been pretty solid, and we hope that continues in 2022 and will also plan to deploy our entire stack on at least one other blockchain. There’s nothing “wrong” with Ethereum, by the way—internally, we all miss working on it. Great ideas happen on Ethereum and none of the other L1 forks would be a thing without Ethereum. This is a fact;
Probably more, but roadmaps are for fortune-tellers, and we tend to adapt quickly to the now. The point is that we’ll probably end up moving swiftly with trends because at our core we just make tools. There’s no strict guideline about what those tools or applications have to be. That’s what makes this fun.
The biggest wins this year, without question, were on the tech and community side. It’s hilarious when we’re asked about marketing because our community does it for us. Our user base is strong; our technology stack is second-to-none, and we kind of march to the beat of our drum. It’s not just a joke or a meme when we say that we’re bossy. We are BOSSY in our behavior. We do what we want, and the community formed around this sort of whatever-build-it-and-ship attitude has been excellent. Thank you, guys and gals. The word “community” in blockchain is sometimes tossed around but we do feel that we’ve found some amazing people in our ecosystem. We’re even hiring some community members who are now becoming part of our official team. That’s a win.
The biggest Fail of the year was simple event and awards handling. We’re probably backlogged on around five events or so. Not tiny backlogged but months backlogged. Our thinking is, “do we ship an IHO, or do we airdrop this $10; meh, do the IHO now now now” but community sentiment is essential, and the bounty hunters and airdroppers need love too. We’ll hire this part of the company out next year—easier to have someone else distribute the prizes while we handle the ideas around the events. We need to constantly push events and fun things but also make sure that others are around to handle that distribution and workload of processing them.
BizDev but not suit-and-tie types. Just super-cool, positive, engaging people to come in and reach out to other projects;
CMO/Community types. Sooner or later we’ll end up needing to have someone who handles all things communications and community so we’ll probably look into that aggressively soon;
International (Chinese, Spanish, etc.) handling. We will need to move our stack into a more non-English approach at some point. Every single member of our team speaks at least two languages so we’re well equipped to handle that setup;
QA people. We do so much QA pre-launch on things. Like… SO MUCH testing. But nothing can be covered 100%. We’ll need to find a QA to come in and lead those efforts to make sure all use cases are covered;
Content writers. The hardest part about running Hot Cross is that our tone is sometimes hyper-professional but also pretty fun and laid back. This letter sounds pretty chill, Twitter is funny, official announcements are serious, etc. We’ll find people who are amazing at content but also fit into our fluid culture.
Data never lies.
2021 taught us that data doesn’t lie. We’ve started ignoring what the market says it wants and started paying more attention to what it is doing. When we say “market,” we mean the space and its participants. So you’ll see a lot of weird and random new things coming out of Hot Cross in 2022, and all of it will be fantastic we hope.
The last 12 months have been epic, and the next 12 months, we expect to be pretty cool as well.
Thank you to the community. Legit thanks. You all have been the reason why we get a laugh every day and enjoy building some of the most extraordinary tech in this space. Can’t wait to run it back and do it again during another year.
The Hot Cross Team