UMA Token Sale Also Launches New Fundraising Mechanism for Startups

Also, Bancor releases details of its V2, MakerDAO is shutting down Sai, Instadapp launches DeFi smart accounts

Hello Defiers! Here’s what’s going on in decentralized finance:

  • UMA is selling tokens via an “Initial DEX Offering”

  • Bancor tackles most common automated market makers’ flaws in its V2

  • The process to shut down MakerDAO’s Sai is underway

and more :)

Excited to have Lucas Campbell of Fitzner Blockchain Consulting writing today’s main post. Please reach out if you’re interested in becoming a contributor.

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UMA Issues Tokens in First Ever Initial DEX Offering 

UMA Protocol, an Ethereum-based platform for issuing and trading synthetic assets, is launching a token sale via a decentralized exchange, the first time this fundraising mechanism has been attempted.

The derivatives protocol will deposit 2% of its token supply along with ~$535k in ETH into Uniswap available for the public to purchase. The sale, known as an “Initial Uniswap Offering” will officially begin at 15:00 UTC on Wednesday, April 28th. 

With the launch of UMA’s Initial Uniswap Offering, we’re seeing the emergence of a new liquidity framework for privately funded DeFi projects. By using a permissionless liquidity protocol like Uniswap, projects can allocate a portion of their raise to bootstrap liquidity and anyone can participate in the sale. This helps projects distribute tokens to their community members. The only thing required for launching a new token on Uniswap is the capital to back it. 

With 100M UMA in total supply, the initial offering will value UMA at $0.26 per token with a diluted market cap of ~$26.67M –– UMA, short for Universal Market Access, is living up to its name with the low price point. As noted by Placeholder Partner and UMA investor, Chris Burniske, the offering is priced at the same valuation given to seed investors.

UMA tokens will be allocated as follows: 

  • Initial Uniswap Listing: 2,000,000 (2.0%)

  • Future Token Sales: 14,500,000 (14.5%)

  • Developers and Users: 35,000,000 (35.0%)

  • Founders, Early Contributors, and Investors: 48,500,000 (48.5%) 

What is UMA?

UMA Protocol is a permissionless derivatives protocol establishing a generalized framework for creating synthetic assets on Ethereum.

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The first product available with UMA will be priceless synthetic tokens on Ethereum, which will launch in the coming weeks. UMA’s goal is to enable developers to build any financial asset or contract imaginable in the form of an ERC20 token while simultaneously having minimal reliance on oracles.

The platform features two core components: a decentralized oracle (DVM) and a financial contract template.

UMA’s oracle solution

As we’ve seen with Maker and Black Thursday, oracles can fail in extreme or unexpected market conditions (like severe volatility). UMA tackles the oracle problem by minimizing the reliance on on-chain price feeds and incentivizing participants to properly collateralize their positions at all times. If there’s ever a dispute on what the proper collateralization ratio is, UMA token holders are incentivized to step in and accurately resolve the dispute. More on this in the next section. 

If you’d like to get a deeper understanding of the DVM, you can read up on the DVM whitepaper here. If you’re interested in learning more about self-enforcing financial contract templates, read the whitepaper here

What’s the point of the token? 

UMA token utility falls into three main buckets: 

  • Governance: Users can earn inflationary rewards by participating in governance

  • Disputes: Tokens are used to properly incentivize price requests during disputes

  • Burns: All financial contracts using UMA pay a tax that’s used to buy and then burn the token, driving value to UMA and scaling economic guarantees as protocol activity increases

The primary purpose of the UMA token is for governance and voting on UMA Improvement Proposals. Users who elect to be active governance participants and vote with the majority will receive inflationary rewards in the form of UMA. More details on the UMAIP Process can be found here.

Another important use is for price disputes. To ensure the safety and security of oracle-minimized financial contracts, the profit from “attacking” the contract (known as profit from corruption, PfC) must be less than the cost of the attack (known as cost of corruption, CoC). Given UMA tokens are used for voting on price disputes, the cost of corruption of an UMA contract is calculated as the value of 51% of all UMA tokens. 

As more value is locked in UMA contracts, the potential profit from corrupting the underlying contracts rises in tandem. That said, in order for UMA to scale, the network relies on proportional growth in the value of UMA tokens to ensure economic guarantees.

The protocol drives this dynamic by embedding a small protocol tax on all of UMA’s financial contracts. The tax is then used to buy-back and burn UMA on the open market. Therefore, the more value locked in UMA, the more revenues generated from the tax, and in turn, the more value accrues to the token. 

For more information surrounding UMA and its design, feel free to reference the whitepaper here

Decentralized governance

The use of UMA as a governance token also sheds some light on another emerging trend in DeFi - the role of governance. In the past few months, we’ve seen Kyber, Synthetix, and Compound (to name a few) all announce their upcoming transition towards decentralized governance. 

By transferring the administrative control from single teams to a distributed network of token holders, DeFi projects can realize their value proposition as “decentralized” financial protocols and applications. The theme of decentralized governance will become increasingly important as these protocols become more robust and less reliant on the core teams. 

Given that the derivatives sector is largely dominated by Synthetix today, the launch of UMA presents a unique (and promising) opportunity for another derivatives protocol to emerge in the DeFi ecosystem. 

As for the Initial Uniswap Offering, it’ll be interesting to see what other prominent projects adopt this liquidity framework for bootstrapping their token in the future. 

For anyone interested in participating in the UMA sale, you can purchase tokens by adding this contract address into Uniswap starting at 15:00 UTC on Wednesday, April 28th.  

Bancor Upgrade Aims to Tackle Main Flaws of AMMs

Decentralized exchange Bancor released details of its second major version, aiming to tackle flaws which have plagued DeFi’s automated market makers.

MakerDAO is Shutting Down Single Collateral Dai

The process to shut down MakerDAO’s Single Collateral Dai, or Sai, is underway, so that the system will only maintain the Dai stablecoin. Sai holders should migrate to Dai ASAP. MakerDAO started accepting collateral other than ether to back its Dai stablecoin last year, creating Multi-Collateral Dai. Sai, is the previous version of the stablecoin, backed only by ether.

Instadapp Launches DeFi Smart Accounts

Instadapp, which built a bridge connecting major DeFi lending protocols, deployed to mainnet DeFi Smart Account (DSA) contracts. Most users interact with DeFi through wallets, which were mainly designed for tokens. Instadapp wants to improve that experience with a platform which “provides a single point of integration to access all the DeFi elements.”

It is really hard to read Adam Cochran’s thread analyzing Ethereum’s top 10k addresses and not become at least a bit more bullish on ETH. His findings show ether and Ethereum have become extremely useful to holders, with many ways to put money to work, other than just “hodling.”

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About the author: I’m Camila Russo, a financial journalist writing a book on Ethereum with Harper Collins. (Pre-order The Infinite Machine here). I was previously at Bloomberg News in New York, Madrid and Buenos Aires covering markets. I’ve extensively covered crypto and finance, and now I’m diving into DeFi, the intersection of the two.