Phantom Wallet CEO Brandon Millman argues airdrops may not be worth the hype and self-custody wallets are not off the hook regarding regulation.
Wallets have always been a key topic in the cryptocurrency industry because of their essential role in adoption. As the crypto world evolves and enters the multichain phase, wallets may need to operate differently. In Episode 16 of Hashing It Out, Phantom Wallet CEO Brandon Millman joins Elisha Owusu Akyaw to discuss how wallets are adapting to the cryptocurrency space’s multichain nature. Millman also shares his thoughts on airdrops for wallet applications, regulations and what a multichain landscape means for adoption.
Before Phantom, Millman had prior experience building decentralized tools. He helped build Matcha.xyz, a decentralized exchange aggregator on Ethereum, and 0x APIs that power other aggregators. According to him, the important role wallets play in onboarding users was what attracted him to building a wallet application.
Phantom started as a Solana-only wallet, as the team believed in its growth trajectory because it “had the right ingredients to be a huge ecosystem.” Millman argued that the bet was not misplaced, as the network witnessed growth in 2021 and 2022 and is holding up despite the bear season.
Nonetheless, Millman pointed out that the ecosystem is evolving, and wallet applications need to adapt to the multichain nature of the space. The CEO of Phantom identified that there are some technical hurdles to cross as wallets that have originally been native to one chain move to support other networks. He highlighted two issues: The method for deriving keys on various chains differs, and there is a need to build a system that manages multiple nodes on the back end.
Another issue that has come up recently concerning wallets is the speculation about possible airdrops to decentralize their operations. Speculation recently got so wild that MetaMask warned the general public against a rumor that suggested the app was taking a snapshot for an airdrop on March 31.
Millman said Phantom has no short- to medium-term plans to do a token. According to him, the cost associated with using airdrops to attract users is not worth it and does not lead to the desired impact. He added that Uniswap’s airdrop did not make a meaningful difference in the long term.
The Phantom CEO also highlighted how the regulatory concerns in crypto are an issue that self-custody wallets are not absorbed from, and there is always a need for projects to look over their shoulder.