The Early Days
As I sit here ruminating on the past and contemplating the future of Sablier, I am struck by the journey we have taken. It all began back in June of 2019, when I launched a proof-of-concept version of Sablier after spending the entire Spring developing it. I had to learn UI design from scratch, and while the web app lacked aesthetic appeal due to my novice skills, it was functional. It marked a promising start to our journey.
Later, joined by my co-founder Gabriel Apostu, we released the first version of the Sablier protocol in December 2019. I was so impressed with our product that I began dogfooding it. And, as fate would have it, Sablier quickly gained traction within the crypto community. Even Vitalik himself spoke about it!
The allure of experimenting with this new primitive (i.e., money streaming) was irresistible to many, as its potential use cases were not entirely clear at the time. It was evident to all that payroll and subscriptions would be a significant use case, but what else could be achieved with it?
During the first few months, the protocol’s TVL grew to ~$100k, which by today’s standards, isn’t much, but it was an achievement in those days. DeFi wasn’t even a thing yet, as it only took off during the famous “DeFi summer” of 2020.
However, we faced a significant hurdle; we were not generating any revenues. We had been fortunate to receive a generous grant from MakerDAO during the summer of 2019, but as the months went by, we were running out of money.
Eventually, we found an acquirer. I had spoken to the CEO of Hifi Finance, Doug Leonard, during the months leading up to the acquisition, and the idea was for Hifi to acquire Sablier, while I would join the company as Technical Lead.
During the summer of 2020, this became a reality, and for the next two years, barely any new features were implemented in Sablier as I was entirely focused on building the Hifi lending protocol.
However, during that time, with absolutely no marketing, the protocol found product/market fit and quickly grew to millions, then tens of millions, then hundreds of millions, and finally reached its peak with a TVL of $1.5B in 2021.
Things were going so well that it became clear to Doug, Gabriel, and myself that Sablier needed its own independent team building it out full-time.
The positive trajectory was so apparent that Doug, Gabriel (who was then working at Pods Finance), and I were compelled to acknowledge the necessity for Sablier to have its own dedicated, full-time team. The project needed an all-hands-on-deck approach.
And thus, in early 2022, I left my job at Hifi to start working again on Sablier along with Gabriel and also with Maxime Desalle (fellow Hifi alumni).
After having been acquired by Hifi two years before that, Sablier spun off into a new UK-based company called Sablier Labs. This means that we are independent entities now, run by different teams, and we are working on solving different problems in crypto.
I continue to maintain a close relationship with both Hifi and Doug Leonard, and I will remain forever grateful for the early-stage investment that facilitated Sablier’s growth and development.
After raising a small financing round and making a few hires, we set out to write the next chapter in Sablier’s story: Sablier V2. This is the latest iteration of the Sablier smart contract protocol, and we have been working on it for over a year now. It will come out later this Summer.
We believe that Sablier V2 will revolutionize how cryptoasset streaming works. Our product keeps getting better and safer. Sablier has now been running on Mainnet for nearly four years, and it has never been hacked. We intend to keep it that way. The safety of the funds locked up in the protocol is our first and foremost priority.
As I stand here, filled with a sense of excitement, I am awed by the vast potential that lies ahead for Sablier. Observing how this project, with its humble beginnings, has risen to become a prominent platform for a diverse array of crypto operations — including token vesting, payroll, and airdrops — is just amazing.
And yet, we are not satisfied with just resting on our achievements. Instead, we are ready to become the leading crypto streaming platform worldwide. The future is calling, and we are eager to step up to the plate.