As one of the youngest founders in the decentralized finance (DeFi) space, DODO co-founder and CMO Diane Dai has faced her share of interesting situations. In a recent interview with Authority Magazine, she said that people sometimes mistake her for an intern–backstage. At one industry event, someone even asked her herself, “Where is Diane Dai?”
The truth is, she’s everywhere. Over the past year, Diane has been featured as a prominent speaker in many events, frequently appeared as a podcast guest, and given numerous interviews to text- and video-based publications–all while championing DODO’s development as an innovative decentralized exchange (DEX) that offers something different.
The DODO media crew caught up with Diane to talk about her entrance into the DeFi world, her philosophy behind guiding DODO’s growth, and her role as the leader of the platform’s team.
Diane’s journey into DeFi began in 2017, when she started to translate DeFi-related news and information from English into Chinese. “I was basically one of the first crypto natives to introduce DeFi protocols to a Chinese-speaking audience,” she said.
When Diane first began sharing information about DeFi in Chinese, she shared her notes with a small group of friends. But pretty quickly, her audience grew: “in late 2018, I created a blog called ‘DeFi Labs’ to share my articles. Then, in April 2019, the first [major] DeFi social media group.” The group was cleverly named “DeFi the World.”
In a short time, Diane became known as the first DeFi influencer in China’s FinTech sphere. Her articles included news, analysis, and opinion pieces. She also introduced many DeFi projects to the Chinese-speaking audience. “[A lot of people in the Sinosphere] learned about DeFi from my articles, so they really value my opinions, which I am very grateful for.”
But her time sharing information about DeFi did more than establish her as a thought leader–it also gave her a keen ability to pick up on the best practices from the West and bring them to her work in the East. She explained that alongside other members of her DeFi community, she “[observed] a lot of different solutions–some that worked, and some that didn’t.” This insight prepared Diane and the DODO team to launch the platform with the best tools and technology built-in.
DODO was Created out of Traders’ Need for Better Capital Efficiency and Liquidity
When DODO went live in September 2020, “there was a consensus in the Chinese-speaking DeFi community that we needed a ‘hometown hero’–a native and local DeFi product that would operate globally.” At the same time, the DEXs that were on the market faced some technical hurdles that discouraged users from choosing them over their centralized competitors. These included things like ”limited transactional throughput and low capital efficiency.” In other words, the challenges were clear–but so were the opportunities.
And so, DODO was born: “Radar Bear, who was my colleague at DDEX at the time, had just created a new market-making algorithm that we believed could solve many of the current problems we saw with decentralized exchanges (DEXs),” Diane said. “Our idea was to combine the order book model with the concept of an automated market maker (AMM).”
Order books are the trading interfaces that are traditionally used on centralized exchanges, while AMMs are primarily used on DEXs. Order books rely on third-party buy and sell requests for tokens to be traded, while AMMs process all transactions automatically. By combining these two concepts, Diane and Radar Bear created DODO’s Proactive Market Maker (PMM) algorithm, “a totally new market-making algorithm that enables really high capital efficiency for trading and liquidity.”
“We Want DODO to Be the Best Trading Protocol”
Since then, Diane has continued to dynamically guide DODO’s development based on what the DeFi community needs. “We keep observing what is happening in the market,” she said. “Crypto is very exciting and fast-paced. There are new ‘hot topics’ showing up every day. We are always studying social media and various other industry indicators.”
“We also keep close relationships with the DODO community,” Diane continued. “We have many channels that connect us to our users–our Discord server, our forum, our community-run discussion groups, and more. We have over 110,000 followers on Twitter.” Additionally, DODO and vDODO holders play a direct role in the platform’s governance: “token owners have the right to vote on [governance] proposals called DODO Improvement Proposals,” or DIPs. So far, the community has voted on six proposals, which we covered in a previous article.
In addition to the community’s role in governance, Diane and DODO’s team play an important part in the platform’s development. “Our philosophy guides us in creating the best products to fit and lead the market,” Diane explained.
What is this philosophy? It’s simple: “We want DODO to be the best trading protocol.”
Trading and Beyond: User Experience, Liquidity, Crowdpooling, NFTs, and More
There are several aspects to this mission: “to create the best user experience for retail traders, and to provide the best liquidity, as well as tools for liquidity providers.” So far, DODO’s philosophy is clearly reflected in its product roadmap: “We’ve created liquidity pools based on PMM to give high capital efficiency for traders and liquidity providers, and we’ve built a comprehensive aggregator that provides the best trading prices at any time.”
Diane and her team have also worked to launch a suite of products that extend beyond simple trading: with DODO, “you can create a token, and build liquidity pools; you can hold Crowdpooling events where you crowdsource liquidity for your tokens. You can also start your own liquidity mining campaigns. Basically, if you want to fund a business [by offering highly liquid] digital assets, you can do it on DODO.
“In the very near future, we are expanding our assets from fungible tokens into non-fungible tokens (NFTs). We’ll also provide the tools for NFT holders to fragment their tokens, and will offer a more efficient trading model for these assets.”
Diane has shared the updated DODO roadmap for the next three iterations of DODO below, as well as DODO’s multi-chain deployment plans for the upcoming quarters.
- DODO Lite Mode
- DODO Expert Mode
- UI/UX upgrades
- NFT Fragment Pools
- Trading widget
- Faster on-chain and off-chain data loading and synchronization
- Better on-chain transaction confirmation speed and likelihood
- Faster trading API responses
- Optimizing for fewer external dependencies
- A new internal data analytics platform
- Internal trading API dashboards
- Limit orders
- Request for Quote (RFQ) Mode
- NFT Fragments: Blindbox Mode
- DAO for risk parameter fine-tuning
- More robust backend services
- Better trading API querying experience and stability
- Limit orders for NFTs
- NFT Fragments: DAO Mode
- Aurora, a EVM on NEAR Protocol
- Neon Labs or Solana Native (TBD)
Diane’s Unique Project Management Style
In addition to her work guiding DODO’s development, a key part of Diane’s role is project management. “There are three founders on our team,” she said. “There’s Radar Bear, who leads our product design and development, and Qi “Mark” Wang, who is really good at financial management and business development. For myself, it’s more about team project management and marketing.”
DODO also has “a distributed team with members located across the globe, including Singapore (where DODO is headquartered), China, Japan, United States, Canada, and Australia.” Working with team members from so many different locales and cultures has many advantages. I’ve created guidelines that make sure everyone can work together efficiently, even though we’re in a traditional office environment.”
These guidelines include practical things, like making sure that everyone is using the same channels of communication or accommodating for timezone differences. But Diane’s agile project management style also operates on a much deeper level. She explained that “We have very clear meeting practices. All team members need to have very clear OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) for their working groups.” Similar to KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), OKRs are a collaborative goal-setting tool that helps teams set ambitious goals with quantifiable results.
DODO’s team is split into eight working groups, each of which has its own OKRs. Diane also explained that “The whole team has a central, overarching OKR, which is to make DODO the best decentralized trading protocol.” At every meeting, “We make sure every team member is on the same page and believes in what they are doing.
“Naturally, as a founder, the challenges that your team face are always top-of-mind: we see problems, and we think about solutions. So, I think of my main job every day as simply solving problems. I enjoy that.”
Building for the Future: Blockchain and Web3
Beyond the day-to-day work of guiding DODO’s development, Diane also recognizes the potential that DeFi has to change the world: “Blockchain gives us an opportunity to grant everyone equal access to financial services,” she said.
Diane believes that this potential expands financial services into greater society: “Today’s youngest generations have grown up in Web2–we’ve seen what that world looks like,” she said. “If you live in Web2, it means that you’re working for somebody else; you’re not working to improve the future. So for us, blockchain technology and DeFi are part of Web3–When we build Web3 platforms, we’re building for the future.
“When I’m 70 years old, I want to proudly be able to tell my grandchildren that I was one of the earliest builders for the world that they live in.”