AMA with Pollen

11 min readMay 26, 2021


Nebo: @romkry Welcome to our community — Thanks a lot for joining us today

Roman: Hey CSP DAO @Moe_CSP thanks for having me! Glad to be here

Moe: Thanks for taking the time! — Can you please introduce yourself and your role @ Pollen?

Roman: Thanks Moe. I’m one of the co-founders and COO of Pollen. I started my career on Wall Street at Nasdaq. After that, I was one of the first 10 employees at Celsius Network and built their CEL token model and the economics around their borrowing and lending platform. Been advising a number of projects since then before starting Pollen, a portfolio management DAO with Phil Verrien

Moe: Awesome! What is it that you’re currently building with the Pollen project, what problem are you trying to solve?

Roman: We are building the world’s first decentralized portfolio management platform, where anyone will be able to have a say in the investment decision-making process and earn rewards for their actions in managing portfolios

In the traditional world of asset management, there are 2 classes of people: portfolio managers and investors. Portfolio managers make all the investment decisions and earn all the fees for managing portfolios, while investors have little say over what happens in a given actively managed portfolio they are invested in

With Pollen, we are flipping the script by enabling anyone to serve in either (or both) roles to the best of their abilities/ willingness, and there is an incentive structure in place to reward people who make the best investment decisions on behalf of the portfolio, represented by the PAI token. Users use their POLLEN tokens to vote on investment decisions, and also earn POLLEN for their actions in helping to manage the portfolio

This is accomplished through a sophisticated DAO architecture and incentive structure behind the scenes, while presenting users with a sleek and simple interface to interact with

You can check out for yourself what we’ve built so far on our Alpha by switching your MetaMask wallet over to the Ropsten testnet and playing around with the DApp as it exists currently before launch:

Moe: Just before the AMA, I connected my wallet and got to play with the interface on your website, I must say it’s really neat!

Can you further expand on the way the DAO structure works? Essentially the investors are the ones who vote for portfolio investment decisions if I understood correctly. Who creates those investment strategies?

Roman: Thanks! Credit has to go to our world-class development team who have built it all in-house

Correct — anyone who is invested in the portfolio can submit investment proposals, and vote on others’ investment proposals. A user’s POLLEN token balance represents their voting power. For good decision-making, you earn more POLLEN, so there is an incentive to be active and perform well on behalf of the portfolio

Once a proposal reaches a sufficient quorum (i.e. voter threshold), it gets moved to the “Awaiting Execution” stage, where anyone who holds those assets can execute the trade (or a portion of the trade) on behalf of the portfolio using tokens from their wallet, receiving the equivalent amount of newly minted PAI in exchange, based on the current exchange rate. So there is a built-in DEX under the hood

PAI is minted or burned depending on whether assets are added or removed to the portfolio, ensuring that PAI is fully-backed the assets in the portfolio

With these pieces in place, we have managed to decentralize the entire portfolio management process: investment decision-making, the portfolio itself, as well as asset order fulfillment/execution

Moe: These are proposals that would be submitted by members of the DAO?

Roman: Yessir. These are all real — and currently live — investment proposals that our community has recently submitted within the last few hours for others to debate the merits of and vote on whether they should be added to the portfolio

We are incredibly fortunate to have a highly engaged community, even at this early pre-release stage on our testnet where no real value is being exchanged yet.

We get regular feedback from our community, and welcome any suggestions from the CSP DAO community!

Moe: I thought those were dummies hahaha — good to know you have real traction going on :) I think the concept is really interesting and really is a concrete example of how a DAO would operate. Love it!

Roman: Haha no sir. These are all real proposals submitted just today within these last few hours by our community.

To that point I’ll add the following. Naturally I’m a bit biased, but I believe that we’ve built what is arguably the simplest (and cleanest) implementation of true on-chain governance, where users do not even necessarily need to understand that that’s what they are actually engaging in, but rather all they see is a simple “Vote Yes” or “Vote No” button where they can vote with their POLLEN tokens to manage the PAI portfolio

And exactly, I couldn’t agree more. Right now, most DAOs (or wannabe-DAOs) are rather esoteric concepts vs accessible and user-friendly platforms. It was very important to us to abstract as much of the complexity away as possible when designing the user experience so that anyone can come onto and use Pollen

Moe: Agreed, thanks for this intro, Roman! I will let our community ask their questions now :)

It’s great to see you’ve went the extra mile to make the experience as simple as possible, that’s very helpful for people who are just starting to invest in crypto, it’s a great way to drive more adoption.

Roman: Simple user experiences are key if we want to achieve mass adoption in crypto. Even most DEXs today are too complex/intimidating for new entrants to the space

We’ve designed Pollen DAO to be as simple as possible to address this, and also have created an incentive structure for users to be as active (for more advanced traders/portfolio managers who stand to earn more POLLEN) or passive (for people who simply want broad exposure to a range of digital assets through holding a single token, PAI, backed by a basket of other tokens that they can trust others are managing and incentivized accordingly to do so) as they want to be

Member 1: Ethereum primarily carries high transaction fees, which have made minting, buying, selling, or shipping assets excessiveIy expensive. What are the costs incurred by you? What benefits do I get with POLLEN in terms of offers? What network do they appIy to carry out transactions?

Roman: We have a few solutions to this problem

1. While every action (e.g. proposing, voting, executing, etc.) is an on-chain transaction which incurs gas fees, users are compensated for each action they perform on the platform/in interacting with the DAO in the form of POLLEN tokens, which they can then use as future power. Furthermore, users are more highly compensated for actions which positively impacted the PAI portfolio

2. In the future, we plan to introduce gasless transactions where users will be able to pay in POLLEN to perform an action/transaction, rather than in ETH, giving further utility to POLLEN

3. We are exploring other Layer 2 solutions/EVM-compatible chains to have deployments there as well to make it less expensive for people to interact with Pollen

Member 2: can you explain the role of the PAI token in the Pollen ecosystem?

Roman: PAI represents a share in the portfolio, and is fully-backed by the assets in the portfolio. Another way to think about it is that the TVL in the portfolio should be equal to the market cap of PAI (Pollen Asset Index)

I should note here that, in the future, we plan to allow communities to create their own custom portfolios/asset pools, similar to PAI, which will also be secured by the POLLEN token governance model

PAI will be our first community portfolio, but in the future you can imagine e.g. cspPAI 😉 Or wsbPAI (for Wall Street Bets)

Member 3: DeFi is trending and already well-known in 2020, what role does Pollen Dao play in DeFi’s change and your approach to DeFi and DeFi’s final solutions?

Roman: Great question

I see Pollen DAO as leading the 3rd major wave in DeFi. The 1st being lending/yield solutions. When I was at Celsius 3+ years ago, DeFi as a term did not yet exist and crypto lending was a totally new concept that people were not immediately ready to accept as becoming the single biggest new development within the entire crypto ecosystem in the near future, which it of course did, and we also saw more decentralized versions in the form of Aave and Compound pop up thereafter

The 2nd key piece was decentralized liquidity solutions. Uniswap and Balancer approached liquidity from a different perspective with the AMM designed specifically for the on-chain environment, and it resulted in the explosion in TVL in DeFi products we’ve seen this past year+

The 3rd wave will be decentralized asset management solutions, where anyone can take part in (and be compensated for their input in) the portfolio management process. We intend to lead that next wave with Pollen at the forefront of this as-of-yet untapped opportunity

The same way the modern wave of DEXs enabled the rise in TVL from a few hundred million to now tens of billions of dollars in various liquidity products (and how lending platforms similarly enabled it for loan products), we believe Pollen will enable a similar explosion in TVL in index tokens/ decentralized portfolios by doing something no existing platform has done yet: empowering the community to collectively make 100% of the as it relates to investment management decisions

Member 4: Too many projects promise magic but never release any working product or prove any revenue, Within a short/long time of release. Is your project also like this? If not can u tell us, What makes Pollen Dao project different from other projects?

Roman: Unlike most current projects, we have a real working product that is nearly ready to launch on mainnet (in the meantime people can play around with the Alpha on Ropsten testnet ( . Please note we’re updating the token names to reflect the ones I’ve mentioned here today. So PLN should be PAI, and STEM should be POLLEN. Apologies for any confusion on that point!)

We’ve built a super sleek UI on the frontend, coupled with a highly sophisticated DAO architecture on the backend

Member 5: Can you list killer features of Pollen Dao that makes it ahead of its competitors? What is the competitive advantage your platform has that you feel most confident about ?

Roman: Aside from what I’ve outlined already with Pollen being a step in a brand new direction for DeFi, I’ll discuss another feature which will equally appeal to passive as well as active users

For users who want to be slightly more passive but still participate in governance/ management of the PAI portfolio (or other custom portfolios in the future such as CSP community portfolio), they can alternatively earn POLLEN by delegating their votes to other top-performing users (by looking at their reputation), and split their future POLLEN earnings with the person they are delegating to. So users will have the option to earn income passively this way.

From the other side, highly active and top-performing users/portfolio managers will be more highly incentivized by earning extra POLLEN when others delegate voting power to them.

So there is an appropriate incentive for users to be as active or passive as they want to be in the portfolio management/governance of Pollen DAO.

Member 6: Security and reliability are the factors that are most concerned by users in the blockchain system. Where is Pollen Dao’s transparency reflected?

Roman: Security and transparency are paramount to any decentralized project. We will be undergoing a security/blockchain audit before launch and will share the results publicly. You can also check our Github in the meantime (note that we are currently pushing updates to the Github with a few months delay, similar to Uniswap, to avoid copy-cats)

Member 7: Startup has a very humble mission, helping new projects to scale within the crypto world almost reminds me of a profession as an educator. But for this, it is necessary to have experience and knowledge in the field. What knowledge does the team have?

Roman: We are very fortunate to have a strong team, each with several years of professional experience in crypto before Pollen, and a combined decades of traditional financials services experience prior to that. I’ve already touched on my background so will highlight some of the rest of the team:

Philip Verrien is Co-founder and Project Lead, and brings the technical leadership, having worked in banking technology for many years at UBS before diving head-first into Ethereum in the early days, and working on early DAOs before starting Pollen

Keith Baumwald, our Marketing Strategist, and my former colleague from the early Celsius days. Keith and I have had a close working relationship ever since, and was Celsius’ original Chief Marketing Officer (and Chief Product Officer). We are fortunate to have him on in a similar capacity with Pollen

On the technical side, Vadim Konstantinov, Ahmed Tawfeeq, and Adam Clarke bring a wealth of blockchain and full-stack dev experience

Taking care of our regulatory and compliance matters, is Benjamin Whitby, who we are fortunate to have onboard. Ben has worked with a range of top projects, form Aave to Qredo

That should give a sense of who we are/what we are capable of 😉

Member 8: I wanna ask about what pollendao team think to do in this market condition? Any plan to keep live their project overall market?

Roman: Regardless of where the market goes, Pollen is designed to navigate and incentivize smart management of PAI and other portfolios, so we are confident Pollen DAO and in turn POLLEN will be particularly well-positioned to navigate the bear market, whenever that may be

Member 9: Can you expand our knowledge about Your Roadmap this year and the future and any Updates on your Research and development progress

Roman: Certainly. I’ve touched on a few so far but will outline them explicitly here:

POLLEN Token launch
Very shortly thereafter — live mainnet launch of Pollen DAO, starting with PAI
Enabling voter delegation
Introducing custom portfolio creation/custom asset pools

That’s the roadmap for the next several months!

Roman: Last thing I’ll add, we recently published a detailed how-to guide for those who would like to learn more and want a walk-through for using the DApp. You can find it here:

Just note it still uses the old token names. So to “translate” it so it lines up with the names I used throughout the AMA:


Happy Pollenating! 🐝


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