AMA Recap: Sheesha Finance CEO Saeed Al Darmaki
Welcome all, to our second community AMA session!
This one will be one of the most important that we do here at Sheesha Finance, as we’ll be joined by our Founder and CEO Saeed Al Darmaki to provide you with insight and answer all your questions regarding our recent Enhancement Strategy announcement.
We have carefully selected some of the previously submitted questions from our members, which will be addressed during the session. The top 4 questions will receive a reward and the winners will be announced in the next few days.
Make sure to stick until the end to not miss our live Q&A! So, without further ado, let’s get into it.
The Full AMA with Saeed Al Darmaki as it Happened
Hey everyone. We’re joined here by Saeed Al Darmaki, who I’m sure you know is our Founder and CEO here at Sheesha Finance. We’ll be answering questions around the Enhancement Strategy which I know you’re all keen to hear about.
We’ve collected and collated key questions from the community. Welcome Saeed, it’s a pleasure to have you here. Would you like to make a quick introduction before we dive into the questions?
Thanks Yusef, it’s good to be here and good to give the community a chance to hear what we have to say about the new developments and plans for the future.
My name is Saeed Al Darmaki, founder and CEO of Sheesha Finance. We launched 14 months ago, and previous to that I was co-founder of Alphabit digital currency fund and previous to that I used to be at Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds.
Five years ago when I co-founded Alphabit, I decided to personally invest in crypto assets and I’ve been doing so now for a really long time and been involved in some amazing projects. I’m happy to be here today and to be talking about what we’ve been doing and what we’re planning as well.
Fantastic, thanks a lot Saeed. As you’ve all heard a strong background in traditional finance and crypto so we’re led here by a fantastic CEO for sure.
Now let’s get into some of the questions.
We’ve carefully selected this from previously submitted questions from our community. Saeed, let’s start with the first question.
So, it’d be great if you could tell us more around the thought process behind the new strategy, what it is, why it’s happening, and why you think it’s the best path forward for the project?
Great question. We’ve been looking at the price performance for Sheesha tokens over the last 14 months and we’ve been looking at the behaviour of the people that have been receiving the rewards, and the returns of the portfolio that we have, have been great. But the price of the token which should be matching the underlying assets hasn’t been moving in line with performance of the portfolio. We have 65 projects in the portfolio, around 20 of them are listed, and the ones that are listed have had a great ROI between 2x-3x since we started deploying capital to invest.
But looking at what happened in the markets and the business model, the SHEESHA price hasn’t been matching the returns. We thought it was best that we pivot from just distributing tokens of the projects, and rather the team have control over the tokens and make sure that the value generated is reflected in the price of SHEESHA tokens.
Previously, what would happen is people would be taking profits from the tokens of the projects and then keeping it in their wallets or using it for other projects, so the value of the portfolio wasn’t actually staying within the ecosystem, and rather only benefitting individuals.
But now, the pivot that we’ve applied is to benefit everybody in the community. Everybody that’s holding Sheesha tokens and everybody that’s staking Sheesha tokens, rather than individuals.
That’s why we’ve had thorough conversations within the team and with our biggest stakeholders and partners and so on and we’ve come up with this decision which we feel is for the benefit of everyone rather than a few.
Fantastic, so I guess the key there is the fundamentals of the Sheesha project are strong, and it’s just a new mechanism to provide this value back to the community by keeping the majority of it within our ecosystem. Thanks a lot for that Saeed.
I suppose part of this, building on what you’ve said, to find out what you thought the problems with the old model were and if you can share some insights about what’s convinced us as a Sheesha team to make the change. I know you’ve touched on it and I’ve been involved in the comprehensive decision making as well, but it’d be good to tease out exactly what these reasons are and what drove the final decision.
We’ve spoken to the biggest backers of Sheesha Finance, the biggest investors into Sheesha Finance, and we’ve spoken to our partner and internally as a team as well. We also tested out this pivot and we could see clearly that there was a better correlation between the value of the portfolio and the price of the tokens. We tried it out on mSheesha and the price has gone up quite a lot because we’ve been going into the market and buying back tokens which reduces the circulating supply and adds those mSheesha tokens into our treasury so we can use them in the future to benefit the Sheesha ecosystem and replenish the rewards at a later stage if needs be. Rewards are emitting over 2–3 year period and at some point we can add more Sheesha tokens to the rewards pool.
So in essence it’s about how we manage this and I’m sure there’s a lot of questions from the community, but the main reason we launched Sheesha is to give everyone access to the returns of a diversified crypto portfolio across all different use cases and blockchains. We want to give people the opportunity to have access to the returns of that portfolio which would only be available to the bigger VCs and investors and people who have the privilege of having the resources to be able to get into a lot of early stage deals on projects. We are giving that access to people, even if they just want to invest $100 or $1000, it doesn’t matter. Everyone can participate and everybody can benefit just like all the big VCs out there. That’s the main ethos of what we’re trying to do.
Amazing. So effectively, community first and levelling the playing field. To touch on how we made the decision, there’s been a lot of thinking and discussions at management level, and trying and testing some of this as well. I guess part of this will require a transition period. We do have a current model that we’re working with, so it would be good to understand which partners will be going ahead with this current model and how we transition into the new pivot and enhancement strategy that we’re proposing.
So all the projects where we are already distributing the tokens to the community, those tokens will continue to be distributed as for the smart contracts that have been deployed. But any future projects where we haven’t started the distribution tokens for, those projects and those tokens will be within the control of the Sheesha Finance team and we will decide what’s best to do with those tokens and how to utilise the returns to buy back SHEESHA across all the different blockchains.
I suppose that segways us into one of the other questions that was asked by our community which is, if there is a longer term goal to merge into one multichain token, then why have we just recently announced a token specifically for the Algorand network?
We’re launching on Algorand because we want to give the opportunity to people out there who prefer just to interact with smart contracts on Algorand. This is a good way to actually access our platform and stake on our platform while using the Algorand blockchain, similar to what we did with BSC, ETH and Polygon when we launched tokens there.
This is the final token launch, then we’ll be reviewing the technologies and blockchains that are out there and also looking at the existing blockchains that we’re on to see which one makes the most sense to launch a single SHEESHA asset and deploy smart contracts.
So we’ll see over a long period of time, over the next year or so. We’ll look at the performance across the blockchains and which communities are most engaged and we’ll make a decision based on this.
Ultimately, all the existing SHEESHA tokens will be consolidated on to that token. So it doesn’t matter if you’re only on Ethereum or only on the Algorand blockchain, the sum of all tokens across all blockchains will be put into one chain and that’s how we’re going to work out the migration. But it’s still in process and planning stages, and I think we need to do things in the short term and I think the community wants to see the functionality across different blockchains. That’s always been the way we want to do things. We want to support all the different blockchains out there, and I think algo doesn’t have a DeFi protocol that’s doing what we’re doing so we wanted to give the opportunity to people in the algo community, and people that are building on the chain to get involved on the Sheesha platform.
Thanks a lot Saeed. I’m stepping back slightly to other comments now but I think it’s important to draw this one out specifically. So, since partner tokens will no longer be distributed for rewards directly, then how exactly will SHEESHA stakers gain value from the ecosystem?
There’s a few things here. One is that the actual value of the Sheesha token that people are staking, instead of going down in value over time, will go up in value over time. That will be the same for the rewards in Sheesha tokens that people are getting. Also the combination of reducing the circulating supply and increasing the number of tokens within the Sheesha treasury will benefit the whole ecosystem in general. It’s something that we really need to focus on. We’re looking at the market and looking at conditions, and I think this is the best way forward.
There’s so many factors that we’ve had to consider, and through this consideration we’ve come up with this decision. But if there are specific things this question is alluding to, then I’d be happy to discuss that further.
Building on that, we’ve discussed investment coming from ourselves to keep the value within the Sheesha ecosystem. Who will be responsible for reinvesting these partner tokens and how will you execute on this? Will there be particular intervals where it will be done, or done another way? It would be good to understand the decision-making process behind this.
Initially it will be the Sheesha Finance team that makes the important decisions, but once we have the DAO mechanism in place then we’ll put it out to the DAO and to the community to decide what we’re doing with the tokens of these projects. So it will initially be the team, and then after that we’ll open it up to the DAO to decide what they want to do and how they want to make the decisions about how to use the returns of the portfolio.
In terms of the Sheesha rewards I think over the next few months and over the next year we’ll be adding a lot more utility to the SHEESHA token itself. So for example, we have the NFT lottery use case coming up over the next month or two and you’ll need to use SHEESHA tokens for that. We’re also planning a launchpad for seed stage and private stage and strategic stage of raises for specific projects that we’re integrating and accelerating. There will be a real need for people to use the SHEESHA tokens so when people are getting rewards, they will be incentivised to take advantage of the utilities that we’ll be offering instead of liquidating their holding and so on.
Thanks for beating to me to the punch for one of the questions I had here… You’re making my life easier for sure!
Back to the trading element, so a question that’s come from the community is that, if the only way to profit from the Sheesha ecosystem is to sell tokens, then how will we make sure there isn’t too much sell pressure in the long-run? And what is the plan to ensure that Sheesha is sustainable moving forwards? To stick to what we promised and have been working towards which is provide longevity and value back to our community.
Ultimately what will decide the success of Sheesha Finance as a platform and as a business is if we are actually getting the best possible portfolio that’s generating the most returns, I think if we’re doing for example in the next few years, 10x and 20x on the capital that’s being deployed or we’re getting that as profit, then obviously there will be people that want to sell SHEESHA tokens. But the returns of the portfolio counter that and make it so that the growth and value of the SHEESHA tokens will exceed the selling pressure there.
Don’t forget, there may be selling pressure but there’s going to be constant buying pressure on the SHEESHA tokens at the right times because we’ll be looking at price action and determining the best possible period to go into the market and buy back SHEESHA. Hopefully over the long term we’ll be creating much more buy pressure for the token instead of sell pressure. And of course, once we expand on the utility of the token itself we can reduce selling pressure even further in the long term.
Great. And I think this is a key one for sure, given current market conditions. It’s worth tackling this head on. In a bear market if things were to potentially even get worse, will the partner tokens be enough to drive value in our native SHEESHA token, or do we think that this will bring more volatility and concerns around what we’re doing here at Sheesha Finance?
Great question. So yes, the market conditions aren’t that great at the moment but ultimately I f the returns of the projects that are listing exceed the cost for Sheesha Finance to acquire those tokens, if the returns are higher then that should make it sustainable. But also as a business, we are generating revenues by the portfolio projects that we’re working with. If they need added-value services that we can provide in-house, because over recent months we’ve expanded the team a lot and will continue to do so as the portfolio expands, so we’re also kind of monetising the resources that we have to generate revenues as well. So it’s the combination of the profits from the portfolio and revenues generated from the business that will ensure business sustainability over the longer term.
Thanks for your insights Saeed. I think now is a good time to open the floor, so Albes if you could kindly see if there are any questions within our community, or if anyone in the voice chat wants to raise their hand and ask Saeed a question directly then we do welcome that.
So Albes, I’ll leave that in your hands for now. Thank you.
Of course, thank you Yusef. If anyone has any questions in the video chat then please go for it, and I’ll open the community chat to get some questions in now.
Just while we’re waiting for those to come in, I do actually have one more question for Saeed. Something we’ve spoken about earlier but maybe didn’t go into more detail on with regard to choosing which chain we’ll be reinvesting in when we do sell partner tokens?
Yes, so we’ll be doing this on a case-by-case basis once we decide we want to realise the profits from specific project tokens then we’ll assess the market conditions and the price action on all the different tokens and then we’ll make a decision across the team about which chain we should be supporting. In some cases, it might go to one chain, in other cases it might go equally across all the different chains. All the tokens across all the blockchains are considered before making a final decision.
That’s clear for sure. I’m seeing a question now in the group chat. Someone has asked if we are planning to expand on to the Avalanche network?
At the moment, we aren’t planning on expanding to the Avalanche blockchain. But we are looking at different projects that are building on Avalanche and if there are really promising projects that we feel we should add to the portfolio then we’ll look at it. Maybe in the long-term, if Avalanche turns out to be the best option for having one token on one blockchain, then we’ll consider that as well. But no, at the moment there are no plans to expand to Avalanche, but maybe in the long-term we will depending on the size of the communities and performance of the blockchains we will consider it and make it part of the assessment.
Thanks Saeed. We’ve got a question in here. To give access to the ecosystem for more people, are we planning to create our own wallet or mobile app? I suppose this also touches on fiat on-ramps and plans to be involved from that perspective.
Excellent question. For sure we want to have a mobile application that people can use which has a user-friendly experience and different options including going directly from fiat to SHEESHA tokens. At the same time, staking SHEESHA tokens without having to go through Metamask which is not really user-friendly and can be complicated. We want to make sure that people have access to the mobile app that aren’t familiar with crypto, who can just open the app and use fiat and within a few clicks be able to stake SHEESHA tokens and gain exposure to the returns of the portfolio.
That’s something that’s very much important, especially if we want to bring in users from traditional markets that aren’t familiar with crypto. We want to provide easy access to our platform.
I’ve been in various conversations with people across the business around exploring options to make life as easy as possible for our community so I’m looking forward to seeing where this goes.
We have another question here for you, Saeed. When we merge the SHEESHA tokens, what will happen with the LP tokens that are locked for 2 years, and is there still an opportunity to acquire LP tokens?
The model we are going to use is with Algorand where LP tokens are not locked. So we’ll find a way a mechanism whereby LP tokens can be unlocked and users can gain access to their tokens in order to move on to the process of merging SHEESHA into one chain. So we’ll definitely consider that and there will be a soluition, it’s part of our thought process and very important to open up the LP tokens so people can access them and get onto the one token across one chain.
Great. Albes, do we have anyone raising their hand to ask a question?
Yes, there’s someone with a question here. I’ll give them access now.
Can you hear me? Hello guys, thank you for this. I actually have 2 questions. Main question is about security. What measures are you guys taking to improve security for token holders? And my second question is, do you have a deadline for when you plan on doing the merge for the token, as I currently have 18 months left on my LP stake. So when can we expect to benefit from the changes?
To answer your second question about the timeline, we don’t really have a deadline as such. We’ll be looking to implement this in the next 6–12 months. About your staked tokens, we will enable people like yourself who do have locked up LP tokens to be able to unlock them and move the full value of those tokens on to the one chain.
Security is always very important, especially in the blockchain and crypto space. Our tech team is always vigilant, looking at the smart contracts we have before deploying them. We’re making sure that there’s very thorough audit of smart contracts before they’re deployed to make sure that there is testing and quality assurance and that there’s no vulnerabilities.
We want to make sure that staking works fine and we’re always looking to improve the platform and technology as well, so part of that review process always includes security controls and measures that are in place. We definitely have security as a top priority, always.
Thank you for your answers.
Thanks for the question there, a great one for sure. And that seems to be the end of the questions.
We’ll be distributing the live recording of this AMA and everyone is free to ask questions in the community chat if they do have any follow-up questions as well. If there is enough of an appetite, we’ll be hosting another AMA to follow-up and provide clarity for our community.
We think this has been a very valuable chance to hear our CEO speak about the hard work we’ve been doing here at Sheesha Finance, and I will leave things there unless you have anything to add, Saeed.
I think you guys in the marketing team have done a great job, and the community management team and the moderators have been doing a really good job since we started here. I think it’s always important to keep the community engaged and explain things and communicate directly to the community. I try to do it when I have a moment to speak, but this has been an excellent opportunity to express my thoughts, views and opinions and share some insight to the community.
This project has always had the long-term in mind and we’re only 14 months into the project. I think the next 14 will be very interesting and very exciting, and I think fundamentally we’re doing the right things so if we continue the way we’re going, we will see the value of the platform increase over time.
Agreed, we’re all working very hard to deliver our aims. It’s been fantastic to give our community this opportunity and the marketing team has been working hard to ensure we provide initiatives like this to keep our community informed, updated, and allow them the chance to ask key questions about our project.
Thanks a lot Saeed for joining us and answering the questions, and thanks a lot Albes and the community team for making this happen. Of course, thanks to everyone in the community for supporting us and joining us here today for this AMA session. I hope you have a great day, and we’ll speak soon. Take care everyone.
Why Stake with Sheesha?
Sheesha Finance is a leading DeFi Staking Platform. We provide benefits from a premium, diversified cryptocurrency portfolio, with a staking platform that rewards investors of any size, from small to large ticket holders.
We have built an Investment and Incubation platform, Sheesha Foundry, with an extensive network of partners who are thought leaders in the crypto space. This allows us to consistently discover promising projects in their early stages.
Our easily convertible assets can be used to maximise rewards and gain exposure to existing and upcoming DeFi projects. With plans to become a member-managed Decentralised Autonomous Organisation (DAO), Sheesha Finance is dedicated to upholding full transparency and integrity within the DeFi space.