JD Sutton (DeepSea) - Program Lead Application

Just to make it easier to read and in one spot, here are they are:

Name: JD Sutton (DeepSea)

Date: 21 November 2022

Crypto APIs Shimmer Spending Proposal 2:

Question: Would you approve the spending for this proposal from the Shimmer Community Treasury based on the Shimmer Community Treasury Grant Committee - Version 2?

Answer: This proposal would be initially rejected until further review, verification, and the submitter can resubmit the proposal adhering to the Treasury Tier 3 standards.

*Note : If verification and resubmittal is returned positively then I believe this grant should be approved. However, I think preferably, it should be scheduled to be executed in the second half of 2023 (See comments below).

Initial Proposal Review:

The grant proposal is very well done and includes a very detailed breakdown of the execution and budget summary. I believe this proposal can offer great value to supporting the positive growth of the Shimmer & IOTA ecosystem. Yet due to its technical nature and minor red flags as the program lead, I would seek a technical consultant unless one of the reviewers could manage such analysis.

Given the present-day price of $SMR being $0.0458 we know the Mcap value for Shimmer would be $83,063,865. This puts this project under a Tier 3 (Low Tier) value and such requirements of a proposal are below.

  • Three milestones defined and presented**
  • Initial payment is up to 30% of grant requested**
  • Whole project team must do KYC**
  • Entire grant team approval**
  • Invitation for live interview**
  • Assign a reviewer to be a project lead

The project has good relevance, great execution, and an impressive laid out budget plan. There are a few red flags regarding the verifiability. Not only can CryptoApi provide a robust B2B suite but they will also support Shimmer developer tooling by hosting a pool of public Shimmer nodes hosted on AWS, Azure, and Google Could. We know, the majority of Shimmer and IOTA nodes are hosted in Europe and on the Hetzner platform which though the protocol is decentralized, centralized node hosting causes risks for a crypto network. This grant proposal would not only provide an easy onramp for business developers using an open source SDK, but also support more global public nodes on other hosting platforms which gives better protection to the Shimmer network. Additionally, CryptoAPI will host a public block explorer alongside Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other major crypto block explorers.

Though this project would support the Shimmer ecosystem we can not give special preference to even the most outstanding grant proposal. As the Shimmer Community has built the treasury structure we must adhere to such standards or submit changes per the community governance prtocol. As the program lead I would reach out to the point of contact, CEO Mr. Nashwan Khatib, and ask him to resubmit their proposal and adjust it so that it follows the structured guidelines of the Shimmer Treasury.

Proposal Acceptance and Execution - Analyzed Risks:

As a program lead the next step would be to check for any conflict of interests among the review team. If the committee decided to approve this grant, the next step would be setting up an interview with the grant receiving team and two treasury reviewers. For this interviewer, I would absolutely choose the two reviewers that have the most developer experience. In the case that only one reviewer or no reviewers were experienced developers I would bring in a technical consultant.

Note: This would cause extra expenses in running costs for the treasury, but this is a phase 3 proposal and I think it is important to mitigate any risks with such large grant funding requests.

Additionally, I would appoint one of the reviewers to be a grant manager as per the shimmer treasury governance framework, as well as, line up a technical consultant (if needed) to review deliverable milestones.

Despite this being a well written proposal, there are a few red flags which I think should be clarified during the interview and vetting process before final acceptance.

Risk 1 -

  • After completing a bit of due diligence and seeking public information on the company and team I found a few discrepancies. The first small red flag I found was that the manager of the funds, CEO Mr. Nashwan Khatib, has a public Twitter profile though he has not posted in the past five months. As well, I couldn’t find any information on their website about their team. In the proposal, the teams linkedin profiles are provided, yet when reviewing those links I found the Chief of Engineers Malin Ivanov and the DevOps Lead Radoslav Mitov, their pages are no longer present on LinkedIn. Further internet searching revealed the original team started in Bulgaria, but the company is now potentially registered in Delaware USA. Another article written on December 14, 2021 stated that WonderFi was to acquire CryptoAPI. Now, saying that, the website looks outstanding, professional, and easily worthy of completing this proposal. They have shown they completed other projects and support several major protocols and as an organization can visibly can execute their planned grant objectives.

Risk 2 -

  • The second minor red flag I saw was that there Github account (Crypto-APIs (Crypto APIs) · GitHub) doesn’t appear to have a lot of activity over the past year. Given that I am not a developer, I would first present this question to the review team for their opinion, and if there was still no confidence in clarity I would reach out to a technical consultant through the to review this issue.

Risk 3 -

  • The third minor issue I would double check is the time of this grant development and execution. My worry would be that the Shimmer network development is not yet mature enough for this type of project. The risk would be that CryptoAPI builds these B2B tools, public nodes, and then in six months the Shimmer protocol layer updates requiring CryptoAPI to recode their applications. As the program lead, to clarify the risk impact, I would reach out to the Tangle Ecosystem Organization (TEA) and IOTA Foundation and verify that 1) the protocol is ready for this type of grant proposal tooling development and 2) this type of application is needed in the Shimmer and IOTA Ecosphere. I would then bring this information back to the review team so we can make an informed and educated decision.

During the interview I would pose these questions to the CryptoAPI team. I would verify their team members, their company standing, and confirm their acknowledgement that the Shimmer network is a testnet and not 100% finalized. I would also relay that the Shimmer treasury allows for 30% of the total grant funding (ie. $27,000 USD) and requires a minimum of three milestones. If the grant receiving team accepts these conditions, verifies their teams and organizations credibility, then I would relay to the team that if they need support I can provide support by connecting them to experienced Shimmer developers through the TEA, TouchPoint, XTeam members, and or the IOTA Foundation.

Proposal Opportunity:

In conclusion, as a Program Lead, if the IF sees this as a viable proposal for the ecosystem, the team, company, and GitHub are verified, I would then address the timeline of execution potential risk. I would maybe suggest that this proposal is executed in Quarter 3 of 2023 to ensure that any technical specifications of Shimmer do not change with the implementation of the IOTA 2.0 modules. However, I would defer to the IF representatives recommendations regarding such timing and hopefully get assurance that such modules would not change nor affect the execution of CryptoAPIs development of the open-source KMS/SDK, pool of Shimmer nodes, and block explorer. It is true that we already have block explorers, B2B developer tooling; however, these are projects that come from within the Shimmer and IOTA ecosystem. Not only is this an opportunity to integrate with an organization outside of our ecosphere, but CryptoAPI also states in their proposal what their plans are in the future. They plan to further support Shimmer and potentially the IOTA Mainnet.

In Annex B of their proposal they state how Crypto.API plan to build other products that will include:

  • Wallet as a Service - An MPC-based business wallet with three types of key management schemes. It offers a Governance Layer used to define the roles that will control incoming and outgoing transactions and a Crypto APIs Approver app for 2FA and transaction approvals.
  • Blockchain Data APIs - Offers unified endpoints through REST APIs for much faster surfing and response time shorter than 25 ms. The user needs one integration only to access all protocols that Crypto APIs support.
  • Blockchain Events (Webhooks) - Allows the user to subscribe for incoming transactions, internal transactions, etc., and get immediate callbacks for these.

This shows how the Shimmer Treasury can create a multiplying organic positive affect to grow the ecosystem. By initially funding the creation of some foundational tooling, CryptoApi then has the ability to continue expanding and marketing other business integrations. CryptoAPI even states, “The use of these products is free for testnet. We try to reduce vendor lock-in as much as possible and provide the highest possible independence.” If their tooling is successful there is a good probability that they would build these modules and offer them on the IOTA 2.0 mainnet as a service. This example shows how Shimmer is the proving ground for innovation that eventually could make it way to the IOTA Mainnet.


Result: (Result 16 points:) Tier 1, tier 2, and tier 3 allowed.

1. Relevance to the Shimmer/IOTA Ecosystem

  • Rating: Good (3 Points) – The project is relevant to the Shimmer Ecosystem and either builds exclusively on Shimmer or plans to deploy later onto IOTA Mainnet as a second instance.
  • Comment: More stable and reliable nodes is always a benefit to the Shimer/IOTA ecosystem, as well as, having a block explorer next to other major protocols would also be good PR. The only reason I did not give this review a grade of ‘Outstanding (4 Points) is because their current product nor an MVP is currently built on the Shimmer network. Yet if approved, they plan to build their product on the network.

2. Plan and Funding Model

  • Rating: Good (3 Points) – The team has somewhat clear, realistic expectations on their milestones and how the funding will move the team closer to these goals. They somewhat follow the expectations of the grant system.
  • Comment: At first glance the budget breakdown can be viewed in the execution summary. Per the website, it appears this company is well seasoned and experience to complete such a project. Still, I would have a technical specialist review the execution and budget summary to ensure it is realistic.

3. Execution

  • Rating: Outstanding (4 Points) – Several critical steps have been taken towards their project goals. This could be seen in the form of a significant MVP, high traction, etc.
  • Comment: The execution plan is very well done and thought out. The budget analysis is integrated within the execution plan along with the schedule by a Gantt chart. One note here is that there doesn’t seem to be a buffer for any budget slippage. Given the technical aspect I would give this budget and execution summary a quick review by a technical consultant to ensure it is feasible to complete the deliverables within the defined scope.

4. Verifiability and Quality of the Team

  • Rating: Good (3 Points) – The Team is somewhat doxed, and backgrounds are easy to verify. They are trustworthy.
  • Comment: The company appears to be registered in Delaware, United States; however, it seems to have been founded in Bulgaria in 2018. Nashwan Khatib (CEO) and Viktor Petrov (COO). Looking on the CryptoAPI website (www.cryptoapis.io) there is no team listed. As well, on Nashwan Khatib’s Twitter feed he hasn’t posted since June 6th, 2022. Was not able to find Viktro Petrov on Twitter and his Linkedin shows he may not work at CryptoApi anymore.

*Note: I did find one article that WonderFi may have purchased CryptoAPI. As Nashwan Khatib was listed to be the KYC grant owner, this project should be verified; especially it being a Tier 3 project.

5. Overall Quality & Originality of the Idea

  • Rating: Good (3 Points) – The project would significantly impact the Web3/crypto ecosystem and is decently unique.
  • Comment: There are a couple block explorers and node hosting services within the Shimmer network. A bit of research should be used to check if there are any projects that are in stealth mode. I would also seek out an IF representative to see if this project would support the ecosystem or are there enough node hosting projects in the space already. What is great about CryptoAPI is that they are from outside of the Shimmer & IOTA ecosphere which is exactly what we need. SUBMITTER:


Name: JD Sutton (DeepSea)
Date: 21 November 2022

EasyA x Shimmer - Hackathon Proposal

Question: Would you approve the spending for this proposal from the Shimmer Community Treasury based on the Shimmer Community Treasury Grant Committee - Version 2?

Answer: I would approve this grant after some conditions were met and the proposal is resubmitted. If the proposal was resubmitted adhering to the Treasury Tier 3, as well as, the team clarified some foreseen risks, I would happily support this grant.

Initial Proposal Review:

This grant proposal is very well done and explains the objectives and goals clearly. Particularly the deliverable and objective of a successful execution is articulated in a good manner. This type of grant is exactly what I believe the treasury should focus on. Especially as the Shimmer network is just launching, spreading education and brining in new developers from outside the Shimmer ecosphere is highly important. As the proposal stated, the objective of the grant is to onboard 200 developers to the Shimmer ecosystem. They also specifically stated that, "an onboarded individual will be defined as one who has an introductory understanding of Shimmer and has joined Shimmer’s communities and platforms.” EasyA also initially appears to be a very legitimate hackathon and very experienced with event planning and management.

Their Co-Founder and proposal point of contact, Phil Kwok, is easily found publicly on multiple social media platforms and recently active with postings. I personally think, it is not only imperative that the program lead of the Shimmer Community Treasury is a public and transparent figure, but also, we should be funding projects in which their leaders and teams are also public and transparent within the crypto space.

Further analysis showed me that the EASYA organization has completed recent hackathons and hack events as recently as October and November of this year. These events included Hack Boston ’22, together hosting with the Algorand Foundation, and working with Tezos. EasyA has conducted hackathon events with several major crypto organizations and treasuries and appears to be very credible over a long period of time. The organization has 15,900 followers on Twitter, as well the organization and its team is very public and transparent within the crypto space.

Though their grant is suitable for funding and would benefit the Shimmer ecosystem, if I was acting as the program lead, I would notice that the proposal does not meet the Tier 3 requirements. Per version 2 of the Shimmer Community Treasury Framework a Tier 3 proposal (Low Tier ($SMR price of $0.045): $25,000-to-$100,000) must meet:

  • Three milestones defined and presented
  • Initial payment is up to 30% of total grant requested
  • Program lead to assign a reviewer to be a grant manager
  • Whole project team must do KYC
  • Entire grant team must give approval
  • Invitation for live interview

The current proposal submitted only has two milestones provided and requests for $30,000 USD up front when 30% of the grant would be provide a maximum allowance of $16,500 USD. As stated, I think this grant is a great proposal and should be funded. So as the program lead I would reach out to the point-of-contact and request that they resubmit their proposal and provide the required milestone breakdown and initial funding amount that is acceptable per the treasuries guidelines. Additionally, there is only one point of contact that appears to be willing to KYC. I would double check if they have any event managers that will be supervising this grant execution and request for that or those individuals information in order to KYC the team as a whole. Yet looking at the organizations website (Meet the brains behind the app | EasyA) their team is very well public and easily seems willing to KYC. At first glance it may seem like a lot of requests. Yet lets not forget this is a Tier 3 proposal. The Treasury at this point would only be a few million USD in total value. Unfortunately we don’t have the luxury of a $800+ million treasury to simply throw money into the abyss. Where as with a Tier 1 or Tier 2 grant the guidelines are less stringent. Simply because the grant is a suitable and positive grant does not mean I would allow special favors to waiver outside of the community created treasury structure.

Proposal Acceptance and Execution - Analyzed Risks:

The next step as a program lead would be to check for any conflict of interest of reviewers and then have the entire committee (or consultant) review the proposal. If the committee decided to approve the grant I would then arrange a video interview with grant proposal group and two key reviewers. One of the reviewers participating in the interview would be one of the designated reviewers I appoint as the grant manager to follow the grant execution.

Though this is a great proposal as concept and the overall objective would benefit the Shimmer ecosystem, I would want to clarify a few points from the proposal to ensure that the deliverable is clearly stated, written, and understood between the review team and the grant submittal group. This is the time that I, the program lead, and the reviewers could catch small red flags and see known risks and work to mitigate them.

Risk 1 -

  • In the proposal it states, “By getting Shimmer Treasury’s financial support, EasyA will be able to organize a hackathon which will give students a crash course on Shimmer.” In their budget summary they state, "As explained above, we will endeavor to recruit passionate school/college teachers to be the instructors. For those who don’t already have Substrate/Shimmer experience but who teach Computer Science (or related subjects), we will have an experienced Substrate instructor to support them in the lead up to the hackathon”. Further, the budgeted amount for these experts is $8,000 USD for a total of 8 staff instructors.

The “Substrate” mention confused me and either a) could be simply a mistype or b) could be an intended slip of wording to allow a back door, or worse, the ability to scam the treasury. This verbiage could technically be used to simply host an event for Substrate and not include any Shimmer developer experts at all. There reasoning could be, “well, we didn’t find any Shimmer developers”. This is a small red flag to me and I would want to clarify directly with the team, “and” have in writing a resubmitted proposal that all the instructors are experienced developers specific to the Shimmer EVM network.

Now, I personally believe in interoperability and partnerships yet for a grant that will teach and bring developers, I think within the first year while the treasury is a lower amount, events should solely focus on bringing Shimmer developers strictly. Saying that, if the grant was to partner with other networks and build integrations or bridges, I would support certainly support that. I personally don’t think at this present time we have enough funds to cover expenses for other ecosystem protocol developer training. Again, this would be a question to the grant receiving team as to what is their idea of how Substrate might integrate with Shimmer, or was this simply a mistake written into their proposal.

Another role and responsibility as the program lead is not necessarily to simply focus on the grant program and review team but to also act a supportive member and representative of the Shimmer, IOTA ecosystem, and liaison for the IOTA Foundation. For this example, I would assure the grant receiving team that if they do not already have the amount of staff instructors experienced with Shimmer EVM, I can easily connect them with some. I would then approach the TEA, TouchPoint, IF, and or the community X-Teams and for sure find willing contractors to support this event.

Risk 2 -

  • As the proposal was very well done and clear, specifically on the execution and objectives of the event, I still felt it lacked clarity and granular task description within the planning phase. Their schedule shows the day of the hackathon on very clearly. Yet it doesn’t breakdown the pre-execution phase, such as task breakdowns of how to arrange location spaces, equipment, staff, marketing vendors, etc. I would ask and request to see more detail such as:
  1. The May and June description breakdown I think can have more defined tasks. Who is completing those tasks? What vendors are being used? Can there be a more itemized budget breakdown during this pre-execution project phase?
  2. The 60 day period ahead of the hackathon I think can be executed by an experienced team which EasyA fully appears to be; however, I will still request and test the teams experience regarding these events to ensure the team is not brand new for that specific event.

A two hundred person event is not a small event. It isn’t necessarily a huge event, but it certainly will have numerous instances in which issues can arise and cause delays. Again, for an experienced team that has managed several events within the same area for years, this would be an easy task. Yet rather than assuming the team can manage this, I would verify to the best of my ability. Not only would I check their teams event planning experience, I would also reach out to other crypto projects and treasuries that have worked with EasyA to get a second opinion assessment. I try to follow the old adage, “trust but verify”.

Proposal Opportunity:

Last comment would be that given that EasyA is very publicly known and active in the crypto ecosystem, as a program lead, I would take this opportunity to not only vet and support the approval of a great project but I would take the opportunity to reach out to other crypto treasuries that EasyA has worked with. This would not only allow me to get a referral and check EasyA’s past experience but also to make new connections outside or our bubble. I would want to build bridges and network with other crypto treasuries and look for future grant opportunities, and, also learn from their experience. I would want to know what has worked, what hasn’t, what unknown risks did they encounter and how did they mitigate them. One thing I know, the Shimmer Treasury will one day be the best treasury in this space. Yet, we will only get there through being teachable, humble, networking, and making partnerships .

Finally, if this grant was approved, as a program lead, I would assess our treasury committee team for the best grant proposal manager to be assigned. As per our framework for Tier 3, a grant reviewer will be assigned as a grant manager. My initial focus would be to choose a reviewer if we had one that lived in, or close to, the UK. Second to geographic location would be that the reviewer has specific project or event hosting management experience. Again, this would be a great opportunity for the reviewer themselves to represent themselves and the Shimmer Community Treasury while networking and connecting with organizations outside of the Shimmer ecosphere.


Result: (17 Points) Tier 1, tier 2, tier 3, and tier 4 allowed.

1. Relevance to the Shimmer/IOTA Ecosystem:

Rating: Good (3 Points)The project is relevant to the Shimmer Ecosystem and either builds exclusively on Shimmer or plans to deploy later onto IOTA Mainnet as a second instance.

Comment: This hackathon grant proposal is very relevant to the Shimmer ecosystem. Especially in the beginning days of the network it is important that we get developers educated and bring builders into the ecosystem. The only reason I did not grade this project as Outstanding (4 points) is because it is not exclusively to the Shimmer ecosystem, it also includes the Substrate protocol.

2. Plan and Funding Model:

Rating: Good (3 Points)The team has somewhat clear, realistic expectations on their milestones and how the funding will move the team closer to these goals. They somewhat follow the expectations of the grant system.

Comment: The proposal did not follow the expectation due to not providing 3 milestones and 30% of the grant for initial funding. Additionally, the staffing budget summary seems a bit of analysis to be conducted and requirement to have a minimum of Shimmer developer experts included for the event or else it does not move forward. The execution aspect of the event itself is well written; however, the steps during the planning phase prior to the event is a bit ambiguous. It would be nice to have a bit more detailed layout of task breakdowns leading up to the event. All in all, though, the proposal was well written including their planning and funding model.

3. Execution:

Rating: Outstanding (4 Points)Several critical steps have been taken towards their project goals. This could be seen in the form of a significant MVP, high traction, etc.

Comment: The execution plan is very well thought out and articulated of the event itself. The planning phase (prior to the hackathon) is a bit ambiguous but this was covered under “plan and funding model”. The entity itself, EasyA, is very experienced at executing hackathons. Yet, as a program lead, I would still reach out to other treasury protocols that have worked with EasyA in the past and get a few referrals and active reviews. This would also be an opportunity to connect with other treasuries outside of the Shimmer & IOTA ecosystem.

4. Verifiability and Quality of the Team:

Rating: Outstanding (4 Points) – The team is doxed, and we can easily verify backgrounds. The team is also high quality and seems capable, trustworthy, and ready to take action on the project.

Comment: The company team is well public and doxed throughout social media and other platforms. Easily accessible anyone can see the team on their website (Meet the brains behind the app | EasyA).

5. Overall Quality & Originality of the Idea

Rating: Good (3 Points) – The project would significantly impact the Web3/crypto ecosystem and is decently unique.

Comment: Hackathons are not specifically unique, and this is the only reason why I did not give a grade of Outstanding (4 points). I do believe this hackathon will support and impact the Shimmer ecosystem by bringing and teaching new builders into the network.