Ultimate Resource For Decentralized Crypto-Currency Exchanges (#GotBitcoin)
July’s Decentralized Exchange Volumes Have Already Topped June’s Record, Reaching $1.6B. Ultimate Resource For Decentralized Exchange Volumes(#GotBitcoin)
Best Decentralized Exchanges (DEXes)
In the past, users had to rely on centralized exchanges to trade their cryptocurrency. But, things have come a long way since then and you have other options. And, nowadays decentralized exchanges provide users with a competitive alternative.
Not Sure What Decentralized Exchanges Are?
It’s okay if you’re unfamilar with what decentralized exchanges are. Here’s a helpful explainer you can read to learn what a DEX is.
Now that you’ve got a grasp of the basics, let’s move onto a few examples. We’ve put together a list of some innovative and popular DEXes that people like to use in the Ethereum community.
Funded by an Ethereum Foundation grant and launched in November 2018, Uniswap is one of the most popular decentralized exchanges and is known for its wide selection of trading pairs. Uniswap’s code is open source and it has no investor tokens.
Uniswap’s smart contract let’s you swap ETH or ERC-20 tokens on-chain by pooling liquidity. Each swap is charged a 0.03% liquidity fee which is added to the pool incentivizing users to contribute equal parts ETH and ERC-20.
Join hundreds of Liquidity Providers (See demo example) finding the best pools and tracking the returns of their Uniswap investments.
Is Uniswap Governance Centralized? New Report Finds It Could Be Controlled By Binance
A recent report by on-chain analytics firm Glassnode has delved into the governance mechanisms for Uniswap and the role of its UNI token suggesting that it may not be that decentralized after all.
Uniswap made a shrewd move by airdropping millions of tokens and launching its own liquidity pools to reclaim what SushiSwap had taken from it in just over two weeks. It has propelled the platform back to the most dominant DEX as total value locked approached $2 billion while that on rival SushiSwap has dwindled.
Uniswap made it clear that 40% of all UNI tokens would be allocated to the team, investors, and advisors, with just over half of that going to the latter two. The Glassnode report has delved into this and alludes that the protocol falls far short of true decentralization.
Token Allocation And Storage Anomalies
Liesl Eichholz, who penned the report, questioned the distribution of these tokens, which was supposed to take place over four years. However, the public schedule for vesting has not been announced.
She added that it was even more concerning that these tokens currently appear to be fully liquid and are presently held in regular Ethereum addresses with no transfer restrictions.
1/ The 400mm $UNI allocated to the @UniswapProtocol team and investors is supposed to vest over 4 years – but no vesting schedule has been published, and the tokens are currently liquid.
Why aren’t these vesting tokens under some kind of timelock?
The term ‘vesting’ has been used loosely by Uniswap, and this method of storing the tokens effectively gives the team and investors admin rights over the protocol, the report added.
“The Uniswap team and investors have allocated themselves an immense proportion of the total supply of UNI tokens. The pie chart feels more reminiscent of a 2017-style ICO than a 2020-style fair launch,”
The report continued to criticize Uniswap governance, noting that in order to submit a proposal, at least 1% of the entire UNI supply needs to be possessed, and 4% of the total supply, or 40 million tokens, is required to reach a quorum.
The report stated that only 15 addresses control at least 10 million UNI, four of which are reserved for the governance treasury, and one is the airdrop distributor address. Of the remaining ten addresses, nine of them contain part of the team and investor token allocation.
Assuming the team and investor allocation will not be touched, that leaves one address which currently has enough UNI to submit a governance proposal. That address is owned by Binance, holding around 26 million tokens.
“This means that even though the governance treasury will be unlocked in less than a month, currently only Binance – a centralized exchange in direct competition with Uniswap – has the power to propose uses for these funds.”
The report concluded that community-led governance is essentially impossible for Uniswap for the time being.
Report Questions Uniswap Token Distribution To Team, Investors
Glassnode says Uniswap isn’t being fully transparent about its token vesting process for team members and investors.
In a report published today, market analysis firm Glassnode chided Uniswap for not being more transparent about elements of its token protocol and suggested it may be deviating from its promise to vest tokens set aside for the Uniswap team and investors.
When Uniswap, the decentralized exchange for Ethereum-based ERC20 tokens, unveiled its UNI governance token on September 16, it said tokens distributed to team members and investors would vest over four years. But those tokens currently appear to be sitting in standard Ethereum addresses, where they can be used by anyone who controls the key.
According to the report, “This method of storing the tokens gives the Uniswap team and investors what essentially amounts to admin rights over the protocol.”
Though it assumes Uniswap is acting in good faith, either to transition to decentralized governance over time or to repel attacks from centralized exchanges, Glassnode wants to know: Who controls the keys and why are the tokens not locked in a smart contract?
In its UNI announcement, Uniswap stated that 1 billion UNI had been minted and would become accessible over four years. While the bulk (600 million) were set aside for Uniswap community members, just over 215 million were reserved for current and future employees, and 178 million were earmarked for investors. Advisors were to receive just under 6.9 million tokens.
UNI tokens are supposed to be vested over the course of four years. That means team members and investors wouldn’t be able to access all of their tokens until the four years expire. But as Glassnode notes, vesting details are hazy.
You might be asking: So what? Whether Uniswap gets them in batches over four years or has them all now, same difference, right?
There are two main reasons timing is an important detail.
The first is price. UNI tokens are currently selling for over $5 a pop. If someone were to dump millions of them on the open market, the price of the coin could collapse. Of course, there’s no indication Uniswap would come all this way to create a usable product just to cash out and blow it up. But that’s essentially what the creator of its much younger clone, SushiSwap, did before repenting.
Even without a massive rug pull, selling tokens can affect price, at least in the short term. In the past, Ripple, the main holder of XRP, has been taken to task for selling large volumes of the cryptocurrency on the market. Former Ripple founder Jed McCaleb, who owned 9 billion XRP, was once selling off about 500,000 XRP each day.
All of which make it important for community members to know more about the vesting process.
Second, UNI’s primary purpose isn’t to stuff wallets; it’s a governance token. Those who possess it control the network, just like shareholders vote on a company’s direction. But as with company shares, you need a certain amount of tokens in order to be truly relevant. At the moment, just to submit a governance proposal, a user needs to have—or have delegated to them—at least 10 million tokens. That benefits holders that can vote as a team, such as Uniswap.
Moreover, token holders make real financial decisions. They have control over the governance treasury, which is currently stocked with 430 million UNI. Those funds, locked by smart contract, begin being distributed in October. Forty percent of the supply is released in year one, then 30% in year two, and so on until it’s empty. How the funds are used, however, is determined by vote.
Glassnode’s report reads: “Even if we assume that the team and investors will not use tokens that have not vested, Uniswap’s team and VC investors will have a disproportionate amount of power in the early stages of governance.”
Ryan Watkins, a researcher with Messari, says that’s intentional. “It allows the team to still play a significant role in governance while the project is still young,” he told Decrypt.
But that’s something the Uniswap team says it won’t do…at least, kinda. Its September 16 UNI announcement states, “Team members will not participate directly in governance for the foreseeable future, although they may delegate votes to protocol delegates without seeking to influence their voting decisions.”
As the Glassnode report notes, “While the seemingly unattainable 1% proposal threshold may seem like a power grab on the part of the Uniswap team, it is more likely that this model was implemented with benevolent intent, in order to protect the protocol from radical changes in the early stages of its transition to decentralized governance—even at the cost of community disenfranchisement.”
And enfranchisement is really what’s at stake here. Who’s controlling the decentralized exchange? At the moment, it appears, it’s still the people who created it.
You Can Now Trade On Uniswap Without Leaving Twitter
Mask Network has launched a widget allowing Twitter users to trade on Uniswap without leaving the social platform.
Mask Network has launched a trading widget allowing Twitter users to access market data and trade Ethereum-based crypto assets without leaving the platform.
Powered by Uniswap and CoinMarketCap, the new Mask widget brings up a window featuring market data and an interface for trading on Uniswap when users hover the mouse pointer over crypto asset tickers in posts.
In a Tweet thread announcing the new widget on September 24, Mask Network (formerly known as Maskbook) said it hopes to expand the service to other popular social media sites such as Facebook as well as other protocols in the decentralized finance (DeFi) ecosystem.
1) Today we are thrilled to introduce a new version of #Mask with a trading widget powered by Uniswap & CMC. It will automatically pop up whenever your mouse hovers on a “$+ticker” like $ETH or $UNI. Users can now view token price and trade with Uniswap without leaving Twitter! pic.twitter.com/xJQsBNKdTS — Maskbook (@realmaskbook) September 24, 2020
Mask has come a long way since its initial launch in July 2019. Back then its widget was designed to enable Twitter and Facebook users to encrypt posts on the platforms.
Mask has since developed a number of ‘applets,’ including a feature that detects all tweets containing a Gitcoin URL to enable readers to make direct deposits to a grant campaign in one click without leaving Twitter.
A new version of Mask is slated for release in 45 days, bringing a yield aggregator, portfolio analysis, and ‘Initial Twitter Offering’ features to the widget. They are yet to explain what that is.
There are also plans for the widget to offer peer-to-peer payments, token issuance, and decentralized storage functionality to Web 2 users. The team is also eying the e-commerce sector, predicting that future versions of the widget will facilitate a booming market for social content in the form of non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
Warning Bots Front Running Uniswap Contracts
With the DeFi space tremendously growing we also saw the incredible growth of decentral exchanges (DEX), particularly Uniswap.
However, due to certain attributes natural to blockchain technology the most widely used DEXes like Uniswap are vulnerable to so-called Front Running.
Front Running is an arbitrage strategy that basically leads to a user having to pay a higher price than the market actually needs him to pay.
This seems like an unfair and inefficient situation that resembles an obstacle on the road to decentralized exchanges breakthrough and therefore demands a fairer and more efficient solution.
In two previous articles on the Lien protocol, I explained how Lien built a better and new kind of stablecoin by creating two kinds of derivative tokens that are in and of themselves attractive to be traded.
However, since the trading of LBTs is required for the iDOL system to function, the team behind Lien intended to create a liquid and truly fair market place. They, therefore, created FairSwap, a DEX which is capable of preventing current decentralized exchanges’ biggest problem of front running and hereby providing a marketplace where digital assets can be traded at a truly fair price.
This article will explain to you why your normal Dex or Dex aggregator is not what it could be and how bots are literally stealing away your money. It will explain to you the inefficient design of current decentral exchanges and especially elaborate on how FairSwap is designed to mitigate this inefficiency.
Decentral exchanges are vital for the future of Defi but being a money-making platform for the very few that know how to operate front running bots will prevent them from succeeding.
Therefore a system like FairSwap will form the next generation of decentral exchanges.
So Let’s Start. First Some Basics.
1. Constant Product Market Making Model
To understand what a Dex does, you need to know what the Constant Product Market Making Model (CPMMM) is. First and foremost it is what FairSwap as well as the most successful DEX Unsiswap is based on.
In the CPMMM, somebody called a Liquidity Provider (LP) or Market Maker can open up a new market and provide an opportunity to exchange two assets. Within the lien system, the team plans to open marketplaces for exchanging ETH, iDOL, and LBT with support for various maturity dates. However, for the sake of explaining, I will take a hypothetical token “ABC” and look at how the liquidity provider within this marketplace can allow us to “buy” and “sell” the ABC token in exchange for ETH.
In contrast to the designs of traditional stock exchanges, the CPMMM does not prespecify the asset price (e.g. the ETH/ABC exchange rate) but instead algorithmically “adjusts” the price based on the inputs from buyers and sellers so as to eliminate arbitrage opportunities.
This Works As Follows:
A liquidity provider opens up a marketplace by providing pools for the two traded assets (ETH and ABC).
Any user can submit a buy order (i.e. send ETH into the ETH pool and take ABC from the ABC pool) or a sell order (i.e. send ABC into the ABC pool and take ETH from the ETH pool) to the marketplace.
If we assume X ETH and Y ABC to be currently pooled, then the price of the ABC token (denominated in ETH) is determined by the ratio of X to Y. For reasons of simplicity, we ignore the commissions paid by users to the liquidity provider for now.
To place a buy order, the user transfers the amount of “value” (ETH) he wants to exchange. After receiving ∆x ETH from the user, the marketplace determines ∆y ABC, the amount of ABC tokens the user can receive by solving the following equation: (X+∆x)(Y −∆y)=XY.
The product of the two factors remaining constant gives the Constant Product Market Maker Model its name. It always holds constant the product of X and Y, or the amount of ETH and ABC held by the marketplace.
This price obviously decreases as ∆y increases, meaning that the more the ABC the user wants to sell, the lower the price of each token will be. Consequently, the bid price = which is the best possible price proposed by the market maker to a seller, is X/Y ETH/ABC.
So while we ignore the commissions paid to the validators and the liquidity provider we can see that the CPMMM model always allows for buying and selling the ABC token at the price of X/Y ETH/ABC. If the price for ABC outside our market differs from within the market, a user can take adventage of the arbitrage opportunity always resulting in an overall ratio of X to Y being fixed immediately.
Therefore, the CPMMM can always propose a fair price to the users.
2. Front Running
So much to the model that most of the common DEXes use to provide liquidity at a fair price. In theory…
However, the past has shown us that this is just a theory and that the price actually is not fair. This is because, in its current form of implementation, arbitrage bots can exploit the natural attributes of distributed ledger technologies and hereby artificially increase the users buying price to an unfair price.
This so-called Front running strategy is currently the biggest inefficiency of decentral exchanges and is prevented through Liens FairSwap by design. To give you an understanding of how FairSwap does this, you need to know how front running works:
Consider The Following Properties That Are Associated With Distributed Ledger Technologies:
Transactions on a blockchain are processed in a discrete manner:
The Ethereum network adds a new block every 10 to 20 seconds, meaning transactions are never processed immediately — even in the best-case scenario, a user needs to wait for the next new block to be added to the blockchain before his transaction can be processed.
Pending transactions are publicly visible: All pending transactions are stored in a public mempool, from which validators pick transactions to create a new block. The mempool is public so that anybody can easily check the details (gas price, value etc.) of the pending transactions. As a result, they can observe the orders sent to Uniswap along with their details.
Lastly, users can control the order of transaction processing. Usually, validators on the Ethereum network put transactions in descending order based on their gas prices (=fee they receive = their incentive to validate). This allows users to select the relative position of their transactions within a new block by configuring the gas price and hereby make validating particularly their transaction more attractive.
The validator can freely choose the order in which he will validate the transactions but will most logically do so in an order that is most profitable to him. Configuring the gas prices will therefore allow to influence the order in which transactions will be validated.
These Three Attributes Of The Ethereum Blockchain Allow And Arbitrager To Exploit A DEX Like Uniswap By Doing The Following:
Front running opportunities arise whenever a user (who is different from the arbitrager) conducts a high-value transaction. Suppose that the ask price proposed to a user was P0 and that he decides to submit a large buy order.
This order will now be stored as an Ethereum transaction in the mempool and will not be immediately processed (Attribute 1).
The arbitrager can now find this order with all its details (gas price, value etc.) in the public pool (Attribute 2) and send in his buy and sell order with approximately the same value.
He will then adjusts the gas price of his orders in such a way that the transactions are processed in the following order (Attribute 3):
1. The arbitrager’s buy order
2. The user’s buy order
3. The arbitrager’s sell order
Since the arbitrager’s buy order is processed first, the ask price P1(> P0) proposed to him, is close to the users ask price P0.
However, since he made a large buy order (1), that is processed first, the ABC tokens price will increase so that the actual user is presented with a higher, and less desirable, price, P2(> P1 > P0).
After 1 and 2 are processed/validated by validators, the arbitrager’s sell order (3) is processed. Since the price has now increased due to his buy order he will now benefit from that higher price to make a profit by selling at P3 (P2 > P3 > P1).
In a nutshell, front running means that arbitragers can effectively use the blockchains specifications and exploit systems like uniswap to buy ABC tokens at P1 and sell them at P3. This means, that actual users end up buying the ABC token at a higher price than necessary and losing money to the arbitrager. This situation seems like an unfair one and is successfully prevented by Liens FairSwap.
3. Price Slippage Limit
What allows front running to happen is that a system like Uniswap is adjusting the price too often (every time the marketplace finds a new order) compared to the frequency at which blocks are validated (20–30 sec).
The user sent a buy order, after he observed P0 as the ask price. However, the actual price proposed to the user (P2) turned out to be different from (and higher than) P0 because of the arbitragers manipulation. This difference between P2 and P0 is called price slippage.
Uniswap mitigates the front-running problem by allowing users to cancel orders when the price slippage results in too large a price discrepancy.
The user is allowed to refuse to buy the ABC tokens when the price is higher than (1 + ε)P0, where ε > 0 is the maximum price slippage (slippage limit). Through this, the arbitrager is discouraged from buying a large number of tokens because he cannot make a profit when the user’s buy order is canceled
Even though the arbitrage opportunity remains, the arbitrager has to act within the following constraint: (1 + ε)P0 > P2 > P3 > P1 (> P0). So, if ε is close to zero, the profit an arbitrager can make as well as the loss the user incurs will become close to zero.
However, This Price Slippage Limit Solution Has A Severe Drawback:
To completely exclude front running opportunities users must not tolerate price slippage. However, price slippage always occurs whenever new orders are processed. Tolerating it is necessary for a well functioning market place. If not tolerated we can think of an extreme case where all successive transactions in one block are canceled after the first transaction causes the critical price slippage. This means that in that extreme case the marketplace could only process one transaction per each block which in turn means that only one user can make a trade for every 10 to 20 seconds. Obviously, such a system fails to provide enough liquidity to the market.
This poses a dilemma. Front running causes price slippage and to prevent front running, price slippage would have to be forbidden. However, price slippage is necessary for a liquid market so that there will always be front running in the Unsiwap model as long as we allow for the necessary 1 + ε.
Now to the important part. How is the new DEX FairSwap designed so that Front running is prevented while the required slippage is provided?
Frequent Batch Auction
FairSwap will as well be based on the CPMMM but will furthermore incorporate the idea of so-called frequent batch auctions. This is believed, to be an improvement over the CPMMM as it is implemented in Uniswap and others. The difference between Lien’s model and the original CPMMM is that it does not process transactions serially but forms a batch of transactions to process them simultaneously. This design will make Lien FairSwap robust against front-running.
Because FairSwap makes use of the frequent batch auction mechanism, it does not process orders one by one but rather batches all orders from several neighboring blocks in a so-called exchange box to then clear these orders within that exchange box simultaneously. Orders included in the same exchange box are cleared with the same price.
The cool thing about this is that batching eliminates the possibility of manipulating the transaction order.
Putting orders in an exchange box and clearing all orders within one box at the same time makes the order by which they have been sent irrelevant. FairSwap can therefore ignore the sending order of transactions so that arbitragers cannot exploit normal users by sandwiching transactions, making the front-running activities unprofitable.
Of course, although FairSwap is resistant to Front running, it allows its users to cancel transactions if users find the natural and necessary price slippage to high. However, since Fairswap is resistant to front running, we can set the parameters for slippage tolerance (parameter that determines when the price slippage limit is reached and orders are canceled) to higher values than traditional Dexes. This means that fewer orders are canceled because of reaching the price slippage limit so that FairSwap is capable of processing more transactions much faster.
To Be Continued
The implementation of the Frequent Batch Auction mechanism allows to clear transactions from several blocks at the same time, which also means that we have to clear buy and sell orders at the same time. Because of this, the formula for the clearing price has to be adapted. This new clearing price, the consideration of commissions for the liquidity provider, the price slippage limit and the technicalities of the clearing procedure will be subject to Article number 4. Like everything else in this article, you can already find these contents in Lien’s second whitepaper.
So What Is Fairswap?
FairSwap is a new decentralized exchange that is designed to make sure that transactions are settled in a fair and more efficient manner by implementing the Frequent Batch Auction mechanism to prevent front-running observed on current exchanges like UniSwap.
In addition, the liquidity is provided through the CPAMMM (Automated Market Maker), allowing for Uniswap-like trading experience.
The result is a fairer and more efficient marketplace to exchange digital Assets (starting with assets used in the Lien ecosystem) without any kind of intermediary or bot that unnecessarily takes money/value from a user.
The main difference between Uniswap and FairSwap is that they have different ways of settling transactions which leads to FairSwap being the fairer and more efficient solution for a user.
In Uniswap, transactions contained in the same block can have different settlement prices depending on the order in which they are included in the block. This allows the activity of front running bots or a very inefficient situation through price slippage limits.
FairSwap transactions included in subsequent blocks are settled at the same price regardless of their positions within those blocks so that front running can be prevented and price slippage limits can be high to allow for faster and more settlements.
For all of you that bore with me: Thanks for reading and I hope you got what a big thing the whole Lien system is. Their stablecoin and DEX design will be a tremendous innovation to the DeFi space and will help the space to succeed in its mission.
As always comment below or contact me on Twitter for any of your questions. I am happy to answer them.
Also again the whole concept with all its formulas and graphics is developed by the Lien Team. I just tried to make their concepts more transparent!
Staring Into The Monster’s Eye: Analyzing A Generalized Front-Running Ethereum Arbitrage Bot Attack
TL;DR: As it turns out, “general front-running arbitrage bots” that can steal earning opportunities on the Ethereum blockchain, which were only thought to be theoretically possible, are indeed very real. The existence of such bots proves once more that arbitrage trading is a game for professionals, not amateurs.
A few weeks ago, a DeFi thought leader named Dan Robinson published a great story on how his team lost a potentially profitable DeFi arbitrage to what he called “a monster.”
The monster he was describing was a generalized bot that can identify profitable DeFi transactions and kill them by getting there first and claiming this profit (an act known as “Front-running”).
In this post, we take a glimpse into this monster’s eye and provide new evidence that shows how the bot can devour generic opportunities, not only specific ones.
The Monster Attacks
The blog linked to above describes how Dan and his team tried to salvage users’ funds mistakenly locked in a Uniswap contract and vulnerable to extraction by anyone who knew what to look for. All that was required to extract the funds was to call a special `burn` function of the Uniswap contract, which would result in a contract rebalancing and payment of the locked funds to the caller.
Dan’s team was aware of the possibility of a front-running attack. They understood that all transactions are visible in the Ethereum txpool (mempool) for a short period before being executed. They knew observers of the network could see and react to the transaction before it was included in a block and could get ahead in the mempool by paying a more significant fee (front-run the transaction).
Taking this into account, Dan’s team wanted to cover their tracks as much as possible. This meant not executing the call to ‘burn` directly, but instead using a set of special smart contracts that only run the call to `burn` once carried out in the right order. However, this method wasn’t successful. The bot got there first, taking the $12K worth of tokens from the contract.
The evidence of this race is very much visible on the blockchain. In the screenshot of the Ethereum block below, we can see the bot’s transaction in the red frame at the bottom (lower is earlier). We can also see Dan’s transaction at the top with the red exclamation mark signifying it failed because the money was already taken.
Looking Deeper Into The Abyss
The critical part of this story is the writer’s description of a “generalized” arbitrage bot. This bot knows how to watch specifictransactions and arbitrage opportunities but can analyze any transaction that might make them a profit. Such a mechanism is much scarier because it means that no transaction is safe.
To find out more about how generalized this specific bot was, we performed a quantitative analysis of the bot’s activity in the last 30 days using duneanalytics.com. Over this period, approximately 8,000 of the transactions were on DEXs, such as Uniswap. Some liquidations were also performed on Compound (bot liquidation example), indicating that the bot is quite versatile.
However, this versatility doesn’t prove the bot is generic, so we dived deeper into Dan’s specific case. Following the trace of the bot’s transaction, we observed that the burn function of the Uniswap contract was called during the execution.
Usually, the call to `burn` emits the `Burn` event, which is triggered by calls to remove liquidity. However, in this case, the burn function was called directly in an unusual manner, precisely as it would if the team succeeded in executing their special obfuscation contract. This suggests the bot had “copied” it from the team’s transaction and was not pre-programmed to do so. (There may be other contracts associated with the same bot operator that have performed a “direct burn” before, but it is more complicated to find every transaction that could be associated with the operator).
To stress this point further, the only time (according to Dune Analytics), a `Burn` event was triggered by this bot was during this event. This means that even though the bot hadn’t previously executed a transaction in this specific scenario, it could still successfully intercept the call to the `burn` function. This implies that the bot is not programmed to do only specific tasks, but can exploit opportunities not seen before.
How To Create A Monster
As Dan and Georgios recently discussed on Hasu’s podcast in an episode about this very case, such a bot may be able to achieve this generalized behavior by replaying all transactions in the mempool, as if they originated from the bot’s address. If some profit is to be found, they copy the transaction and rebroadcast it as their own (or even a part of a transaction).
To circumvent this, the team tried to obfuscate the call to ‘burn’ by hiding it within a contract. The call to ‘get’ would fail unless a previous call to ‘set’ has already been complete. Unfortunately, in this case, the call to ‘set’ was completed long before the block where the ‘get’ was called. (In fact, ‘set’ was called several times). The getter was effectively already “unlocked,” making it easier for the bot to detect a successful execution.
Therefore, we can’t know whether this would have worked if the transaction were executed as intended. It’s possible to envision that even with a successful obfuscation, an advanced bot could run a modified EVM version, where simple reverts on ownership and source addresses are ignored and replaced with the bot owner’s address.
The existence of such generic front-running monsters proves once more that arbitrage trading is a game for professionals, not amateurs. In the long run, these types of bots pose some challenges to Ethereum and its applications.
For applications that rely on third-party arbitrage closing to function properly (e.g., Compound’s liquidations), these bots might be detrimental to security and lead to real arbitrageurs not participating in a game they know is unwinnable. The bad news is that all of the challenges discussed in this post get amplified if/when miners start running these types of bots themselves.
Ultimately, the next challenge for system and protocol designers is how to make the processes involved in arbitrage trading fairer by using a method that strengthens system security.
KyberSwap’s a DEX that allows users to swap tokens, powered by the Kyber Network. Kyber Network, a liquidity protocol which aggregates liquidity reserves, held an ICO for its KNC token in late Q3 2017. Kyber Network Crystal (KNC) tokens have a variety of uses on the Kyber Network.
For example, each swap performed on the Kyber Network require the fees to be paid in KNC which is then burned. Paying your fees in KNC gives you a discount. Otherwise, the smart contract swaps part of your payment for the KNC to pay the fee. KNC’s also needed to open your own liquidity reserve to earn on the Kyber Network.
KyberSwap recently added the option to place limit order trades. No deposit is required and you receive a 50% discount on the 0.1% fee when you pay in KNC.
Radar Relay is the most popular 0x protocol relayer. With the 0x trading protocol, users submit signed trade order. Users’ orders are kept in orderbooks off-chain and eventually all trades settle on-chain.
Those who keep orderbooks are called relayers because they relay signed orders off-chain. When the order is taken off the book, the other party signs the pre-signed order transaction. And then, the transaction’s submitted and the funds transfer from their wallets.
And, one of the best parts is that there are no sign-ups, deposits, and currently no fees. Radar Relay offers an experience more reminiscent of traditional exchanges. There’s no fees to place limit orders; Only trades that take orders off the books, or taker orders.
DEX.AG is a free site that searches over 10 of the most popular DEXes for the best price, saving you time and money. Instead of having to run around to each individual site, DEX.AG scans Uniswap, Kyberswap, Radar Relay, Eth2Dai, and loads more DEXes for the best price for your trade.
Simply, enter the token and quantity of what you’re looking to buy or sell and DEX.AG finds you the best deal. And if you hit the ‘Buy Now’ button, DEX.AG will walk you through completing your trade via MetaMask or your web3 browser wallet.
And best of all, you and your trade are interacting directly with the DEX’s smart contract. So, there are no additional fees on top of fee of your selected exchange.
Decentralized exchange volumes have already broken the all-time high set in June, according to data from Dune Analytics.
* Total traded volume for July passed $1.6 billion, as of Tuesday.
* Four platforms – Uniswap, Curve, Balancer, and Bancor Network – have already surpassed their June volumes.
* Balancer, one of the newest decentralized trading platforms, is close to doubling its June volume at $160 million, up 72% from $93 million at the end of last month.
* “For investors racing to get exposure to the newest decentralized finance (DeFi) projects, decentralized exchanges are the earliest and often only place to make those initial investments,” said Joseph Todaro, managing partner at Blocktown Capital.
Decentralized Exchange Volumes Up 70% In June, Pass $1.5B
June trading volume on decentralized exchanges set a record high of $1.52 billion, up 70% from May, according to data from Dune Analytics. This double-digit percentage growth is simply “the continuation of a trend dating back to the end of ,” Jack Purdy, decentralized finance analyst at Messari, told CoinDesk.
Curve and Uniswap control the largest amount of traded volume, recording $350 million and $446 million, respectively, in June. Both protocols are automated market makers that can also function as decentralized exchanges. Balancer, a similar platform, recorded $93 million in traded volume, up 2,460% from $3.6 million in May.
Significant growth can be partially attributed to the “proliferation of automated market makers,” according to Purdy. As a result, these markets offer greater liquidity for “the tail end of crypto assets” and even occasionally less order slippage than centralized exchanges, Purdy said.
In June, automated market makers grew by more than 170% while pure decentralized exchange platforms grew by only 10%.
Too much growth too quickly could be cause for concern, however, as decentralized exchanges still need time for continued development and stress testing. Recent increases in trading volume are “starting to become a bit worrisome,” Purdy said, adding that an “unnatural rush to deposit assets” into these exchanges is fueled, in part, by the “liquidity mining phenomenon.”
Since January, aggregate decentralized exchange volumes, including automated market makers, have more than quadrupled from $276 million to $1.52 billion.
Even though popular decentralized finance protocols may be “highly audited and deemed safe,” plenty of potential attack vectors still exist, Purdy said. A decentralized liquidity provider, Balancer, lost $500,000 in a sophisticated attack Monday, for example.
The number and varieties of potential attacks only increase as decentralized finance protocols become more intertwined, Purdy said.
Bitfinex Lists New Cross-Chain DeFi Token To Drive DEX Liquidity
Bitfinex is planning to list its first cross-chain DeFi token pBTC to further push DeFi adoption and liquidity.
Major crypto exchange, Bitfinex, continues to drive decentralized finance, or DeFI, adoption by announcing support for a new cross-chain DeFi solution.
Bitfinex exchange plans to list pTokens (pBTC) — a new token that aims to unlock cross-chain DeFi liquidity by connecting Bitcoin (BTC) to any blockchain. The token is pegged 1:1 to Bitcoin and is compatible with the Ethereum (ETH) and EOS DeFi ecosystems to date.
Bitfinex To Streamline Liquidity Flows Between Centralized And Decentralized Exchanges
Bitfinex CTO, Paolo Ardoino, told Cointelegraph that the platform expects to add support for pBTC deposits and withdrawals by the end of May 2020. Ardoino elaborated that pBTC will become the first DeFi interoperability-focused token supported on Bitfinex.
“At the moment we are supporting only pTokens but we welcome more projects to work with us to make it easier for our users to obtain access to cross-chain liquidity.”
Ardoino previously endorsed the pTokens project in late December 2019, predicting that cross-chain value transfers would be the most critical issue facing the cryptocurrency sector in 2020.
Thomas Bertani, founder of Provable Things, the main development team behind the pTokens project, said that pTokens’ integration with Bitfinex streamlines the flow of liquidity between centralized and decentralized exchanges. Bertani added that the listing facilitates an easy token switch and creates a new gateway for BTC liquidity to stream into the DeFi ecosystem. As of press time, pBTC is only trading on two markets — Kyber Network and Bancor Network — according to data from Coingecko.
pTokens Launches Bitcoin To EOS Interoperability Bridge
Listing pBTC on Bitfinex comes in conjunction with pTokens launching an interoperability solution. Thanks to this new release, Bitcoin users are now able to use pBTC in both the Ethereum and EOS ecosystems. pBTC was brought onto the Ethereum network back in March 2020. Bertani pointed out that DeFi applications have to be interconnected to contribute to the entire DeFi industry growth:
“Decentralized applications today must interoperate and complement each other like lego blocks in order for the entire DeFi industry to scale. This interoperability is vital for the movement, as liquidity is the catalyst which will help DeFi reach its true potential.”
Bertani Also Added That The Firm Is Actively Working On Other pTokens, including pETH, pEOS, pLTC and pDAI:
“New pTokens such as pEOS and pLTC have already been deployed in a test environment and will also soon be available on Ethereum mainnet. The same will apply to other assets, bringing pETH and pDAI to EOS.”
More Options For Stable Bitcoin Collateralization Via EOS DeFi
While the majority of the DeFi lending solutions integrate Bitcoin via Ethereum, pBTC’s launch on the EOS DeFi introduces Bitcoin as collateral for EOS stablecoins. As part of the initiative, pBTC will integrate with major decentralized EOS stablecoin, EOSDT. Developed by multi-chain DeFi framework Equilibrium, EOSDT will become one of the few Bitcoin-integrated EOS DeFi solutions. It will act as a new DeFi tool to provide the stable collateralization of pBTC.
Equilibrium appears to be one of few established firms that bring Bitcoin to EOS DeFi lending. The EOSDT project positions itself as the first solution to provide Bitcoin-EOS integration, Equilibrium’s CEO and co-founder, Alex Melikhov, said. Melikhov added that the pBTC integration with EOSDT is scheduled for next week.
When a technical issue at MakerDAO triggered millions of dollars-worth loan failures in March, pTokens’ Bertani said that the industry needs new solutions like EOSDT.
“The crypto industry has learned some hard lessons from the latest market falls. We can all agree that stablecoins have proved to be far less “stable” than we first imagined, with recent events like the MakerDAO debt auction exposing some hidden architectural flaws. New solutions are needed to guarantee the stable collateralization of these digital assets like DAI and EOSDT.”
The news comes after Chinese lending platform, Lendf.me, part of the dForce network, suffered a $25 million hack on April 19. The hacker subsequently returned the stolen money as of April 22 after potentially exposing their own identity data.
Good luck finding the right decentralized exchange for you. And if you have any questions, we’re here to help.
DeFi Explosion: Uniswap Surpasses Coinbase Pro In Daily Volume
The volume of Uniswap has surpassed the daily volume of Coinbase Pro after the demand for DeFi has exploded.
Uniswap, the most widely-used decentralized exchange (DEX) on Ethereum, surpassed Coinbase in daily volume on Aug 30. The explosive growth of the Decentralized Finance (DeFi) market has pushed many avid investors to DEXes over centralized exchanges.
According to the data from Uniswap, the platform processed $426 million in 24-hour volume. In the same period, Coinbase Pro saw $349 million in volume, according to CoinMarketCap data.
Why Is The Popularity Of Uniswap Rising So Rapidly?
Since June, the total value locked in DeFi protocols surged from $1 billion to $7.7 billion, Defipulse.com shows.
Following the surge, many small DeFi-related tokens, especially governance tokens, emerged. Before they’re listed on centralized exchanges, they typically launch on Uniswap as it does not require the approval of central entities.
As an example, when yearn.finance (YFI) first released, it was trading on decentralized exchanges like Uniswap. Then, Poloniex, FTX, and eventually Binance listed the token.
Many small to mid-cap DeFi-related tokens are actively traded on Uniswap, especially those that are not listed on major exchanges.
The abundance of DeFi tokens on Uniswap supplemented by the fast expansion of the DeFi market has catalyzed Uniswap’s exponential growth. Hayden Adams, the creator of Uniswap, wrote:
“Wow, Uniswap 24hr trading volume is higher than Coinbase for the first time ever. Uniswap: $426M Bank Coinbase: $348M. Hard to express with how crazy this is.”
The surging user activity on Uniswap also coincides with a noticeable increase in the daily Ethereum transaction volume.
The Ethereum blockchain explorer Etherscan shows the number of Ethereum transactions have increased from around 435,000 in January to over 1.1 million in August.
The daily transaction activity on the Ethereum blockchain is nearing 2018 levels for the first time in two years. At the time, ETH surpassed $1,400 on Coinbase, its all-time high price.
Will The DeFi Craze Be Sustained?
The pace of the DeFi market’s growth has increased to a point where it could be more lucrative to “harvest” DeFi coins than to mine. As Clearmatics head of markets Tim Swanson said:
“There are more than 150k txns in the Ethereum mempool and even a ‘slow’ tx fee is around $10. that may sound like a lot of $$$ for miners (it is relative to other time periods) but RoI of capital into harvesting DeFi coins is probably higher, even with impermanent loses.”
The sheer momentum of the DeFi market and the volume on Uniswap indicate that the DeFi market’s upward trend is not showing signs of slowing down.
Impermanent Loss On Uniswap And Other AMMs Is Always Permanent
Is it time to find another name for this phenomenon?
Alexis Direr, a researcher at the University of Orleans in France, has released a paper summarizing the mathematical underpinnings of Uniswap and other exchanges based on Automated Market Makers.
Automated Market Maker is the term for a class of decentralized exchange that reached significant popularity in 2020, spearheaded by Uniswap.
In a nutshell, these exchanges do away with traditional order books and instead rely on liquidity pools governed by a mathematical formula. Traders are always able to make a transaction with the pool for even the most illiquid tokens, but each order will impact the price of the asset they are trading — a phenomenon called slippage.
The mathematical formula defines how the price changes in response to the size of a particular order. For example, the formula may say that exchanging 10 Ether (ETH) into Dai (DAI) yields $3,500, but exchanging 100 ETH only yields $3,400. This means that the price of 1 ETH is $350 in the former case, but only $340 in the latter.
The formula is often called the “bonding curve,” as the various possible combinations describe a particular price curve. In the case of Uniswap the curve is a hyperbola, though other AMMs may have more complex shapes to optimize for different scenarios.
AMMs rely on liquidity providers — people and entities committing their capital into liquidity pools to facilitate trades and lower slippage. In return, LPs obtain trading fees paid by users.
While this may sound like a sweet deal, liquidity providers need to deal with “impermanent” loss. LPs may end up with less money than they put in initially when the price swings significantly in one direction. Compared to an equivalent 50:50 portfolio of the assets in question, the pool underperforms significantly with large price deviations.
The researcher explains that this phenomenon occurs due to the presence of arbitrage traders. Outside market prices do not obey the bonding curve, so constant action is necessary to keep Uniswap’s price in balance with the rest of the market. But when arbitrageurs rebalance the pool to the correct value, they do so at a “suboptimal exchange rate” defined by the bonding curve. This action extracts value from liquidity providers in favor of the arbitrageurs.
The loss is generally named “impermanent” because if the price were to return to its initial value, liquidity providers are completely even compared to the benchmark 50:50 portfolio. Discounting the case where the price permanently moves to a new equilibrium, Direr posits the question:
“The fact that the two strategies yield the same result seems at first disturbing. In the pooling strategy, the pool incurs arbitrage costs twice […] In the holding strategy, the investors avoids arbitrage costs altogether, yet ends up with the same final wealth. How is it possible?”
The researcher’s answer is that the way benchmarking is commonly done is misleading. Uniswap constantly rebalances the pool as it moves higher or lower, so that liquidity providers have fewer units of the asset that went up in price, and more units of the asset that went down in relative terms.
LPs effectively conduct a profit and cost averaging technique in both ways of the trip. They lock in some of the profit as one asset’s price moves higher, and progressively buy more as it goes back down.
Similarly to how such an averaging technique would work, a 50:50 portfolio that constantly rebalances will turn a profit, despite the price returning to the initial number. In comparison, the liquidity pool’s value simply remains where it was.
Hence, “impermanent loss” appears to be a misleading term. The loss is always permanent, but in the optimistic scenario it merely cuts into the gains that an equivalent strategy would have netted.
Bancor V2 and Mooniswap have adopted techniques to mitigate this type of loss. The former uses oracles to read true market prices and balance the pool accordingly, while the latter introduces a gradual time delay to minimize the profits of arbitrage traders.
Decentralized Exchange Volume Rose 160% In August To $11.6B, Setting Third Straight Record
August trading volume on decentralized exchanges set its third consecutive monthly record high after climbing 160% from July, according to Dune Analytics.
* Aggregate trading volume on decentralized exchanges reached $11.6 billion in August, up from $4.5 billion in July as the intense enthusiasm for decentralized finance (DeFi) applications continued to spread.
* Leading decentralized exchange platform Uniswap reported a 283% volume increase in August, reaching $6.7 billion after topping its July record less than two weeks into the month, as CoinDesk previously reported.
* Only two decentralized trading platforms – Loopring and Oasis – reported a drop in volume over the past month, falling 5% and 3%, respectively.
* Along with aggressive volume growth, Uniswap reported an almost 100% increase in the total trading pairs listed on the platform, totaling 6867 as of Monday.
* By design the platform allows any user to create and list a token. Currently 6,020 assets are available for trading.
* The effects of decentralized exchanges’ exponential growth is seen in traditional cryptocurrency exchanges listing a variety of tokens that originated on platforms like Uniswap.
* For example, there is Binance-listed Balancer’s token, Poloniex-listed Tendies Token and FTX-listed yearn.finance in addition to a perpetual futures index of the top 100 coins on Uniswap.
SushiSwap’s Liquidity Grab Actually Made Uniswap Stronger — Data Shows
New data shows that one month after SushiSwap’s vampire mining attack Uniswap is the real beneficiary.
SushiSwap is widely thought to have syphoned liquidity from Uniswap but new data from Flipside Crypto, a cryptocurrency on-chain analytics resource, suggests that the decentralized exchange’s launch mechanism actually benefited Uniswap by bringing new money into its liquidity pools.
According to Flipside Crypto, much of the liquidity that entered Uniswap during the SushiSwap launch appears to have come from new users and additional funds deposited into the liquidity pools in order to receive SUSHI rewards.
Initially, liquidity providers who elected to migrate were probably impressed with the strong performance of SUSHI token but Chef Nomi’s unexpected rug pull negatively impacted the price. A few weeks later Uniswap’s UNI token was launched and all this new liquidity was captured by the exchange.
Since UNI’s launch on September 16, liquidity on Uniswap grew significantly. According to Defipulse, the total value locked has surged 165% from $786 million to $2.09 billion. Meanwhile, SushiSwap’s total value locked has dropped 46% from $754 million to $402 million.
The way that UNI launched may have also contributed to the increased inflow to its liquidity pools. Uniswap’s suprise airdrop distributed 400 tokens to users that provided liquidity before Sept. 1 most recipients likely exchanged the tokens for Ether or used the funds to provide liquidity to other asset pools listed on Uniswap.
Something May Be Fishy About SushiSwap
SushiSwap was able to attain short-lived success despite its controversial launch. However, the red flags mentioned earlier appear to have damaged the DeFi community’s confidence in the project.
These issues, along with the current bearish altcoin market resulted in SUSHI price dropping from it’s all-time high at $9.85 on Sept. 1 to $1.24 a month after launching. Meanwhile, UNI is trading around $4.34, after dropping roughly 76% from its record high at $7.66.
Given that governance tokens are not meant to accrue value and the token has limited use cases outside of yield farming and providing certain holders with voting rights, it is unclear if it will follow the steps of its vampire clone.
DeFi Has A Front-Running Problem. Sparkpool’s Potential Fix Is Launching This Month
Ethereum mining pool Sparkpool will launch its new mining network, Taichi Network, complete with a “private transaction” feature in October, CoinDesk confirmed with Sparkpool co-founder Xin Xu.
The network “will gradually go online” this month in what could be one solution to decentralized finance’s (DeFi) long-standing problem with front running, the practice of trading based on information about future trades contained in a blockchain’s transaction queue in cryptocurrency markets.
Taichi’s features are “not designed for selfish usage” but instead for the “public good” of the Ethereum ecosystem, Xu told CoinDesk in an email.
“We will offer Taichi Network’s features as infrastructure to the Ethereum [ecosystem], and we will see how the reaction works out then,” he said. Think of it as a privacy shield meant to level the playing field for all traders.
Sparkpool currently makes up 23% of Ethereum hashing power, according to Etherscan.
Ethereum’s Dark Forest
Ethereum’s transaction queue – called a mempool – is often alluded to as a “dark forest” due to the predatory nature of arbitrage bots spying on transactions.
First coined by venture capital firm Paradigm’s Dan Robinson, the “dark forest” metaphor describes bots lurking in a blockchain’s mempool to copy and execute profitable trades before the original executes.
Bot arbitrage has long troubled Ethereum, most notably described in a 2019 Cornell University paper entitled “Flash Boys 2.0.”
Profits earned by arbitrage bots skyrocketed over the summer months with an average of 50-100 ether (ETH) earned per day in May, according to estimates shared with CoinDesk by one arbitrage trading firm that requested anonymity. These profits climbed as high as 2,000-3,000 ETH per day at the height of the DeFi mania in early September.
Private transaction networks like Taichi can cut a path through the trees, however. The mining party, in this case Sparkpool, opts out of broadcasting the chosen transaction destined for its block to the rest of the network. By not communicating to other mempool lurkers, the miner’s transaction gains a higher degree of safety from hungry bots.
For example, Sparkpool’s latest innovation enabled white-hat hacker Samczun to recently save 25,000 ether worth $9.6 million from broken decentralized finance (DeFi) project Lien Finance, according to a self-published account.
On the other hand, you are entrusting your transaction entirely to Sparkpool, meaning the mining giant could front run you itself more easily.
Xu said disrupting the current front-running issues plaguing DeFi transactions “is definitely a direction worth exploring” with Taichi.
Taichi’s Early Days
Certain aspects of Taichi Network are public, including a general domain registered in July 2020, according to WHOIS. The website remains under construction, but describes Taichi as a “viable Proof-of-Stake (mPoS) Ethereum sidechain” complete with relayers and smart contract capabilities.
Relayers broadcast transactions faster than regular settlements on blockchains by constructing pathways between major nodes. Both Bitcoin and Ethereum have their own relayer networks, such as FIBRE and BloXroute.
Sparkpool data website GasNow also includes information on Taichi, describing the network as “greatly improving the efficiency of transactions broadcast” by “directly pushing received transactions into a mempool of mining pools.”
Venezuela Trials ‘Decentralized Stock Exchange’ That’s Open To The World
Venezuela has announced a 90-day trial for a decentralized stock exchange supporting “alternative digital assets” and fiat currencies.
Venezuela’s National Securities Superintendency has given the go-ahead for a 90-day pilot of a crypto-powered “decentralized stock exchange” in the country that aims to have a global reach despite international sanctions.
Cointelegraph Espanol reports that news of the Decentralized Stock Exchange of Venezuela’s authorization to operate was published in the country’s official gazette, issue 6,578, Sept. 29.
The exchange is known as BDVE and its website claims that the platform comprises “the first decentralized stock exchange in the world.” It highlights that users will be able to access the exchange “from anywhere in the world” and “without restrictions.” Both fiat currencies and “alternative digital assets” will be traded on BDVE.
“[BDVE] represents a new and innovative segment of the stock market, which, with the use of new information and communication technologies, provides the investor with security and control over its financial assets.”
The local securities watchdog will determine whether the exchange will be granted a license to continue trading after the 90-day trial is over.
The platform’s operating manual notes that the securities traded on the platform will comprise ERC-223 or ERC-721 tokens, or a third “packable” token. While the document does not contain the word Ethereum, use of the popular Ethereum (ETH) token standards suggests that the platform may be built on Ethereum.
Surprisingly, the manual does not mention whether Venezuela’s oil-backed national cryptocurrency El Petro will be utilized by the exchange.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced on the same day a new “anti-sanctions bill” intended to mitigate the impact of economic sanctions imposed by the United States.
The bill, which is currently being reviewed by Venezuela’s National Constituent Assembly, noted that both private and state-backed crypto assets could be used to conduct trade beyond the reach of U.S. sanctions.
Why The BitMEX Charges Could Be Bad News For DeFi
Charges against BitMEX for weak AML and KYC policies could be bad news for the world of decentralized finance.
In the aftermath of criminal charges against BitMEX, the crypto community is debating whether the decentralized finance sector is also set to face the wrath of regulators.
On Oct 1, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission announced charges against three BitMEX executives for violating the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) due to the exchange’s allegedly weak anti-money laundering and know-your-customer (KYC) policies.
DeFi protocols, including Decentralized Exchanges (DEXs) have made a virtue of having minimal AML and KYC procedurs. However many now wonder if DEXs are also obliged to comply with the BSA, even though most projects seek to decentralize ownership and governance throughout their communities.
While many DeFi protocols appear to believe that they can evade regulators simply by becoming fully decentralized, there are increasing doubts as to whether this is true — and in any case, DeFi protocols have come under fire recently for operating with a high degree of centralization, with 12 out of 15 top projects maintaining ‘God Mode’ admin keys.
So a lot of Crypto Twitter doesn’t understand why today’s news isn’t just bad for CeFi but is also bad for DeFi.
It has a something to do with legal nuance and a little something called the “Bank Secrecy Act” (BSA)
In a 25-post Twitter-thread, angel investor and blockchain consultant Adam Cochran examined the potential fall out from the BitMEX charges for DeFi protocols.
He argued that while authorities cannot directly shut down a DEX due to its decentralized nature, regulators could target the core developers who hold the admin keys and the domain providers hosting the front-end interfaces of DEXs:
“If that happened to a protocol, a large bulk of users would stop using it and not interact with the contract directly, essentially killing the protocol,” he said.
“The takeaway here is that a protocol isn’t outside the reach of the government, there is always pressure points that can be applied.”
But Cochran believes the crypto community should actually want regulations like the BSA to apply to DeFi, adding that “there is a difference between wanting sovereignty and privacy over your funds vs enabling criminal activity.”
In response Twitter user ‘tendies.eth’ argued that DEXs are already more compliant than their centralized counterparts due to the ability to track every last transaction onchain:
“CEXs can enable money laundering through their private databases but this is not true for DeFi where every tx is public and transparent. DeFi is much more trackable than private banks and CEXs.”
Chief Investment Officer at Apollo Capital Henrik Andersson told Cointelegraph that “considering the time it took to bring this [BitMEX] case, I don’t believe DeFi cases will be brought in the short term.” He added that DeFi projects should essentially keep calm and carry on:
“DeFi projects need to continue focusing on building unstoppable financial infrastructure by free and open code.”
Dave Jevans, CipherTrace’s chief executive officer, said he doesn’t believe DeFi protocols are likely to embrace regulations, but it was coming anyway.
“They’re not going to be able to escape from regulation for long,” Jevans said. “The eyes are upon them.”
CryptoWhale told his 40,000 followers that he believes regulation is coming for 8,800 projects on the market “that are operating illegally and will be shut down” including DeFi tokens, exchanges and privacy tokens.
Once regulations come, the owners of these scam projects will leave the markets in flocks to avoid prosecution.
Thats billions of dollars leaving the markets, which will certainly have a large impact on the general sentiment in crypto, and force us to continue the bear market.
Only two DEXs received high security scores, with most viewed as less than adequate.
A recent report from Cer Live, a crypto exchange ranking platform, indicated that 14 of the top 25 decentralized exchanges, or DEXs, scored poorly in terms of cybersecurity.
The report looked at a variety of unique problems that most DEXs face, including fake token listings, the prevalence of slippage, delays in transaction confirmation, and a lack of data about listed trading pairs. They also looked at whether each exchange had undergone security audits, offered bounties to incentivize the public discovery of bugs, ensured adequate end-to-end security, and more.
The assessment then allocated a score ranging between 1 – 10 based on each venue’s overall security. CER deemed that any score above an 8 should be classified as “high.” Scores ranging between 6 – 8 were considered “good”, and anything below a 6 was viewed as “low” and, thus, “unsafe.” Out of the 25 exchanges analyzed, only two of the reported DEXs received a “high” security score: Uniswap and Syntetyx.
CER called out low scoring exchanges for their auditing practices, saying that many failed to re-audit their offerings following recent additions to their code. Scores were reduced for any exchange whose audits were considered to be out of date. Other exchanges failed to release public audits at all:
“6 exchanges (24%) failed to pass a security audit or did not publicly announce that they have undergone an audit. It should be noted that an unaudited exchange cannot be considered safe.”
Some of the 25 exchanges hired individual researchers rather than specialized companies to complete their audits — a practice that the report’s authors strongly discouraged. Remarking on the incredible growth of DeFi in the last few months, the researchers concluded that DEX users are generally more exposed to fraud than hacks:
“Despite the fact that there haven’t been any significant hacks on decentralized exchanges in comparison to centralized platforms, DEX users are actually more susceptible to fraudulent attacks.”
CER’s report ultimately determined that 92% of the top 25 DEXs need to place a stronger focus on security. They encouraged these exchanges to follow the industry’s existing best practices in future in an effort to ensure a safe trading environment for their users.
FTX Created A Wall Street Bets Index Including GME, DOGE And Others
The FTX crypto exchange’s new index is called the Wall Street Bets Index.
Following numerous headlines about the meteoric price rise of several assets, including GameStop (GME), AMC Entertainment (AMC) stocks, and Dogecoin (DOGE), crypto exchange FTX has listed an index following the assets. FTX named the index after Wall Street Bets — the Reddit group thought to be associated with pumping the prices of those assets.
“We’re happy to announce that we have launched trading for a basket of Wall Street Bets markets,” FTX said in a public statement on Thursday. The index trades as a futures contract with expiration on March 26, 2021.
When asked if the product is just a short-term offering on FTX, the exchange’s CEO, Sam Bankman-Fried, said it depends.
“We’ll see,” he told Cointelegraph. “If there’s enough demand we’ll list Junes!”
Bankman-Fried also explained that the WSB index futures contract is “cash settled vs the index of tokenized share markets on FTX.”
The Wall Street Bets, or WSB, index, officially trading under the ticker WSB-0326, “tracks the price of NOK, BB, AMC, GME, SLV, DOGE, and FTT using a weighed average of their prices,” FTX says in the product’s description on the exchange.
Each asset price holds a weight of 16.5% in the basket, except for FTT, which has a weight of just 1%. Adding the six assets with a weight of 16.5%, and FTT with a weight of 1%, gives a total of 100%.
Over the last several days, the Reddit group known as Wall Street Bets has reportedly worked to pump the prices of multiple stocks, including GME and AMC, in light of larger entities’ efforts to short those assets. Yesterday, DOGE also pumped massively in line with chatter from the group.
FTX Lists Gamestop After Reddit-Fueled 200% Rally In Two Days
Reddit’s r/Wallstreetbets is beating hedge funds at their own game.
Crypto exchange FTX has listed GameStop, a global video game retail chain, after the stock became by far the most popular choice on Reddit’s infamous r/Wallstreetbets, a community dedicated to trading stock market options.
The FTX listing on Wednesday morning allows crypto traders to get in on the action as well. The offering comes as part of FTX’s tokenized stocks program, which features both spot and futures markets for popular stocks and indices. This allows crypto traders to get exposure to stocks using crypto and stablecoins, in addition to fiat options.
GameStop’s stock, trading under the ticker GME, has generated massive media attention after a dramatic rally has resulted in more than tenfold gains since Jan. 12.
The rally is largely attributed to r/Wallstreetbets, a subreddit for stock market traders. GameStop has long been one of the favorites of the community, though it shared the spotlight with other high growth stocks like Tesla or Nio.
GameStop itself has been in rough financial shape for a long time, as digital video game delivery has steadily eroded its brick-and-mortar business in the past few years. The COVID-19 closures further depressed the company’s prospects.
These factors likely contributed to Melvin Capital Management’s decision to enter a short position in the stock, betting that its price would go down. Unfortunately for the company, someone at r/Wallstreetbets discovered this short position due to mandatory disclosures with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.
The subreddit then rallied behind the stock in a concerted effort to squeeze the short out — to force the price to go up so much that the short position must be liquidated. After GME topped out at $320 in pre-market trading, it appears the Redditors were successful in their mission, as the hedge fund announced it closed its position.
The unfortunate trade reportedly caused a $3.75-billion loss for the fund since the start of 2021, amounting to more than 30% of its capital.
Other hedge funds “bailed out” Melvin Capital Management with a $2.75 billion investment. Still, some details of the story remain unclear. For example, the initial short position discovered by Redditors was just $55 million in put options. The losses from buying options are limited to 100% of their value, which could suggest that other positions had a strong contribution to the supposed multibillion-dollar loss.
The story has a very similar analog within the crypto space. In the summer of 2020, the Chainlink community rallied against an announced short position opened by a company named Zeus Capital. The details of that event led many to question the true motives of announcing the supposed short position.
As of writing, GME has fallen by over 33% since being listed on FTX.
Crypto Entrepreneurs Seize On Reddit Revolt Ethos To Sway Users
Crypto entrepreneurs are moving quickly to launch products to emulate the adrenaline-charged rush that lured many in the WallStreetBets crowd to stock markets.
FTX Cryptocurrency Derivatives Exchange announced in a blog post that they have launched trading for a basket of WallStreetBets favorites. Companies included in the index are some of Reddit crowd’s most-beloved stocks, including GameStop Corp., AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc., Nokia Oyj and BlackBerry Ltd. The exchange will also offer exposure to iShares Silver Trust.
Sam Bankman-Fried, FTX’s chief executive officer and one of the largest crypto traders, even chimed in on Twitter about his take on the GameStop saga in response to a post by billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban.
Bittrex Global Ltd., on Friday, also said it has listed tokenized stocks for similar names. The company said it will add additional stocks should other firms restrict them from their platforms.
“We intend to list every stock that gets delisted from platforms like Robinhood, so that even small investors have the same opportunities afforded to multibillion-dollar financial institutions,” said Bittrex Global CEO Tom Albright in a statement. “The current situation feeds into the narrative that the financial system is rigged against the little guy. We believe blockchain, decentralization, and cryptocurrencies will finally put retail investors on a more equal footing with financial institutions who have been gaming the markets for decades.”
Though not all industry participants agree. While these types of investments could offer possible solutions for a myriad of issues in the space, they need time to develop and rolling them out too quickly could prove to be folly.
It’s “pie-in-the-sky overreactions to recent events,” said Aaron Brown, a Bloomberg Opinion writer and a crypto investor.
“Longer-term, I think tokenizing and single-stock futures and active-basket futures are intriguing solutions to a number of issues, including GME-style volatility. But they’re complicated fixes that will take a lot of design and infrastructure work, not fire extinguishers to be rushed into service in panic.”
Newbie investors may have been enticed by Bitcoin’s more than 16% surge Friday, but those gains eroded through the day as the U.S. equity market slumped.
Meanwhile, more crypto firms are piling in on opportunities to give retail traders exposure to their beloved stocks. Justin Sun, founder of the cryptocurrency platform TRON (TRX), tweeted his support Friday saying that he plans to purchase $10 million in GameStop.
$1 Mil doesn’t seem enough, I’ll be buying $10 Mil $GME instead tonight from Asia when market opens! It’s time to unite & squeeze out those greedy hedge funds! Wallstreetbets, 4 billion Asian community & 20 mil $TRX community supports u! Let’s do this! @WSBChairman@wsbmodpic.twitter.com/d494a77RNq
FTX Set To Secure Naming Rights To Miami NBA Stadium Until 2040
Cryptocurrency exchange FTX is on the brink of securing naming rights to Miami Heat’s stadium until 2040.
FTX has reached an agreement with Miami-Dade County on a 19-year partnership worth $135 million, to name Miami Heat’s home stadium the FTX Arena.
The cryptocurrency derivatives exchange backed by Alameda Research, is set to become the first member of the crypto industry to secure NBA naming rights, pending approval from the Miami-Dade County Board of County Commissioners on March 26.
The deal marks a significant mainstream partnership for a crypto-based platform, which will see FTX tied to the Miami Heat until 2040. As part of the Miami-Dade County’s press release on March 23, FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried noted:
“This opportunity is more than putting our name on an iconic building. It is a chance to provide value to the growing and diverse community in Miami and its surrounding cities, as well as join a championship community, a championship organization, and a championship culture.”
According to the Miami Herald Miami-Dade County will see $90 million from the deal once expenses and payments to the Miami Heat are deducted, with the funds being divided among the 13 county commissioners and directed toward combating gun violence and poverty.
Legislation allocates “20% of the revenue to each district equally for payments to programs and organizations that either combat gun violence or promote economic prosperity,” with the remaining 80% “distributed based on each district’s share of the county’s “shooting homicides and shooting incidents.”
If the deal is approved, it marks another significant partnership secured by FTX, as the crypto-exchange has been actively expanding its market reach since its launch in 2019.
In August 2020, the crypto exchange acquired Blockfolio for $150 million, a digital asset portfolio tracker with a strong user base of 6 million. Twitter user “Litocoen.eth” summed up the feelings of many by stating the deal was the “smartest acquisition in crypto imo.”
— FTX – Built By Traders, For Traders (@FTX_Official) March 19, 2021
The exchange has listed a variety of tokenized mainstream stocks to attract a broader market. In December, they listed five stocks related to cannabis companies, along with offering traders exposure to Airbnb and pre-IPO derivatives contracts.
Following the reported controversy surrounding retail investors from r/Wallstreetbets and trading platform Robinhood, the exchange-listed a r/Wallstreetbets index of several assets such Doge, AMC Entertainment (AMC), and GameStop (GME).
Bitfinex Now Owns A Stake In No-KYC Bitcoin Decentralized Exchange (DEX) Hodl Hodl
Bitfinex plans to enter the DeFi market via Hodl Hodl and will add fresh liquidity to the Hodl Hodl lending pool.
Bitfinex, one of the largest centralized crypto exchanges, is now a shareholder in a decentralized exchange (DEX) that doesn’t conduct know-your-customer (KYC) checks.
The British Virgin Islands-based exchange has purchased a stake in Hodl Hodl, a DEX that provides lending and private transaction services.
“When it comes to genuine support of the bitcoin ecosystem, Bitfinex is about action rather than just words,” said Paolo Ardoino, CTO at Bitfinex, in a statement shared with CoinDesk. “Our investment in Hodl Hodl will help grow its amazing community and support the wider digital token ecosystem.”
A move might seem a bit unorthodox for Bitfinex, the sixth-largest spot exchange in the world and a sister firm of the major stablecoin issuer Tether. Centralized exchanges have been closely watching the fledgling decentralized finance (DeFi) industry since last year’s boom and some, like Binance and FTX, are dipping their toes in the sector by launching Binance DEX and Serum.
Bitfinex, in fact, was one of the first to launch its own DEX, Ethfinex, back in 2017. The exchange later was rebranded as DiversiFi.
However, major exchanges haven’t invested in outside DeFi vehicles so far. And in addition to being the first, Bitfinex also made a somewhat unexpected choice of partner: Unlike most DEXs, Hodl Hodl runs on the Bitcoin blockchain. The firm has also recently launched a peer-to-peer lending platform, Lend, allowing users to borrow stablecoins, including tether, directly from other users for bitcoin collateral.
And here is where Bitfinex comes into play.
“Bitfinex will provide us more liquidity for lending,” Hodl Hodl CEO Max Keidun told CoinDesk, pointing out that Tether, which shares executives and corporate ownership with Bitfinex, is the issuer of USDT, the most popular stablecoin to date.
“The demand for lending is growing, and sometimes we don’t have enough liquidity on the platform,” Keidun added. “So we need an institutional provider, and soon, some more institutions will join [Lend] as well.”
He said that since the lending platform launched over seven months ago, more than 800 loans have been issued worth over $10 million in total.
In addition to the extra liquidity, the Hodl Hodl and Bitfinex alliance will bring some more bonuses, Keidun said. Both exchanges are users of Liquid, a permissioned settlement layer for exchanges run by Blockstream. The two exchanges have been thinking of releasing some new features on Liquid together, Keidun said.
Another opportunity is a potential integration of Hodl Hodl with Bitfinex’s API, which would help Hodl Hodl users to automatically convert bitcoin into stablecoins through Bitfinex, Keidun said.
On Lend, lenders and borrowers open two out of three multisignature wallets in which borrowers lock their bitcoin collateral to receive stablecoins from lenders (stablecoin transactions happen outside of the platform).
When the loan expires, or if the price fluctuates too much and the collateral doesn’t sufficiently cover the loan anymore, the bitcoin collateral gets liquidated: part of it equal to the amount of borrowed stablecoins goes to the lender, and the rest goes back to the borrower, as the loans are normally over-collateralized.
So if a lender doesn’t want bitcoin instead of the stablecoin they provided earlier, they can immediately exit back into stablecoins via Bitfinex, with a proper integration, Keidun said.
At the moment, the Hodl Hodl team, around 20 people, holds around 70% of the company, Keidun said, and the rest is in the hands of a handful of investors, including Lemniscap venture fund and bitcoin advocate Stefan Jespers.
These numbers will not change after Bitfinex enters the scene: It has bought an undisclosed amount of shares from another investor on the secondary market, Keidun said. Bitfinex will be a significant shareholder, but it won’t make Hodl Hodl dependent on its partner, he adds.
“Every decision at Hodl Hodl is made by the team. We’re fully autonomous and independent from our shareholders,” Keidun said, adding: “Of course, we consult with our investors and don’t make important strategic shifts without talking to them. But, in general, we’re independent and autonomous.”
Another interesting point in this new alliance are potential regulatory ramifications as Hodl Hodl is by design a KYC-free crypto business. Bitfinex only recently recovered from a court battle with the New York Attorney General, which alleged Bitfinex covered a $850 million hole in its budget with the funds from Tether’s reserves.
The case ended with a settlement, and now Tether is obliged to provide the breakdown of its reserves on a monthly basis.
Hodl Hodl is one of the very few places allowing bitcoin purchases for fiat with no know your customer/anti-money laundering checks. As Hodl Hodl’s team says, the exchange’s non-custodial approach allows it to be “exempt” from the KYC/AML requirements for crypto, which has been increasingly spreading across the world under the auspices of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
But Hodl Hodl, which runs on multisignature bitcoin contracts, doesn’t custody users’ fiat or crypto, CEO Keidun said, which makes it “exempt” from the KYC requirements.
All the deals are executed automatically, directly between users’ personal bitcoin and fiat accounts except for the disputes, when the Hodl Hodl team weighs in with its own private key for a multisig and releases funds to whatever party is considered right.
This makes Hodl Hodl closer to the DeFi enterprises like Uniswap than to centralized exchanges like Bitfinex. However, such DEXs, running on Ethereum or other blockchain smart contracts, normally don’t allow you to buy crypto for fiat – for that, you need to go to a centralized exchange, which accepts your fiat and requests a KYC verification.
This combination of a fiat on-ramp and non-custodial approach makes Hodl Hodl a somewhat exotic creature on the current crypto landscape, and a rare exception from the prevalent attitude towards more compliance and regulation.
Asked if this worries investors at all, Keidun said that talks about KYC happen “quite rarely.”
From time to time, however, some investors would ask: “What if new regulations get introduced?”
“If KYC requirements get introduced for non-custodial services, we have plans for how we structure our business for different scenarios playing out,” Keidun said.
Asked if Hodl Hodl’s no-KYC policy is of any concern for Bitfinex, the company’s senior PR manager, Joe Morgan, declined to comment on the matter, saying that “this is really a question for Hodl Hodl, as Bitfinex is merely collaborating with them.”
FTX Becomes Official Crypto Sponsor Of MLB
Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder and CEO of FTX and Alameda Research, announced the new partnership on Wednesday.
Crypto derivatives exchange FTX has become the official sponsor of Major League Baseball, setting the stage for broader mainstream recognition of digital assets.
As part of the sponsorship deal, which is expected to last for at least five years, every Major League umpire will receive an FTX patch on their uniform, Blankman-Fried tweeted Wednesday morning. Over time, the agreement is expected to evolve to include collaboration on the design of world-leading brands.
“It’s not the only partnership we were considering, but the enthusiasm and creativity of the MLB team made it the one we were excited for,” he said.
MLB teased the announcement just one day earlier in a tweet that said: “Big things are coming.” The tweet has since received over 12,900 likes.
FTX made history earlier this year by becoming the first crypto company to secure the naming rights of a major sports arena. The derivatives exchange struck a 19-year deal with Miami-Dade County to name the Miami Heat’s home stadium the FTX Arena.
The FTX brand is appearing in other domains as well. Earlier this month, the exchange reached a $210 million deal to have its name infused with global esports brand Team SoloMid. The esports brand is now referred to as TSM FTX.
In terms of real spot volumes, FTX is now a top-15 cryptocurrency exchange in the world. Over the last 24 hours, the exchange processed more than $344 million worth of volume, according to Messari data.
First Decentralized Exchange Launches On Polkadot And Kusama Ecosystem
Karura Swap opened for trading with $3.4 million in total value locked.
The first decentralized exchange on the Polkadot and Kusama ecosystem has been launched by Karura, the DeFi network of the Acala Foundation.
* Karura Swap has opened for trading with $3.4 million in total value locked, according to an announcement Friday.
* The exchange’s first trading pair is KSM/KAR, formed of the native tokens of Kusama and Karura.
* Karura Swap will harness a “bootstrap” mechanism as a means of launching a new trading pair in a warm-up mode as a means of achieving liquidity without some of the risks of market manipulation.
* Trading is temporarily disabled in bootstrap mode until the predetermined liquidity requirements are reached, the announcement said.
* Karura was announced in June as the first winner of a 48-week lease to build on Kusama, Polkadot’s pre-production environment, also known as its “canary” network.
* Polkadot and other networks like Cosmos and Solana are offering developers a way to avoid the higher costs and increased congestion on Ethereum that have come with the explosion in the DeFi market.
DEXs Could See Demand Boost As Regulators Target Centralized Exchanges
From indictments against figures behind BitMEX to banks blocking transactions, and then Binance, some CEXs are under pressure. Is this an industry-wide phenomenon?
Over the last 10 years, Bitcoin (BTC) has performed exceptionally well as a store of value and for speculative investment purposes. However, a lot of this can be attributed to its decentralized nature, which could have resulted in regulators and governments worldwide making attempts to shut it down long before it ever took off.
Governments are evidently perturbed by the potential impact digital assets could have on national economies. However, while legislators are unlikely to find ways to shut down decentralized networks permanently, they can block access to the centralized platforms interacting with digital assets.
Recently, top global cryptocurrency exchange Binance has been under fire from regulators around the globe, with several countries issuing warnings or announcing investigations into its activities. At present, centralized exchanges (CEX) appear to be more willing than ever before to work with the regulators which could eventually have an impact on decentralized exchanges (DEX).
The blockchain and cryptocurrency industry has hinged on an ethos of decentralization for over a decade now, and with the goal of removing as many centralized intermediaries as possible, CEXs, reluctantly, could very well be the next to go, leading volumes to move to DEXs.
Despite providing investors access to a wide range of assets, sometimes soon after launch, centralized exchanges require traders to give up custody of their investments — something that isn’t too revered in the space. Though decentralized exchanges (DEXs) have existed for some time now, it was only last year that they began to pose a genuine threat to their centralized counterparts.
More regulatory control is a double-edged sword. On the one side, new users that were previously cautious of the unclear regulatory environment around exchanges would now be more willing to join the industry. But, on the other side, it could be argued that some users may leave CEXs as the result of tightening regulations and opt to take their business to DEXs
“More regulation automatically means more users,” said Jack Tao, CEO of the Singapore-based global cryptocurrency exchange Phemex. “The government has a responsibility to protect every investor, and the increased regulation of centralized exchanges will push the barrier for entry higher for new CEX platforms.”
He also mentioned that while greater regulation could reduce the number of initial coin offerings (ICOs) listed on exchanges, it could improve the quality of projects in the space. Enforced properly, regulation could have a more positive impact on the market than expected. Tao added:
“Centralized platforms still have a lot of services to offer. A DEX is merely a product with no ‘service’ and I don’t think they will take over centralized exchanges in the short term.”
From the automated market maker- (AMM)-based exchanges such as Uniswap and SushiSwap on Ethereum where the order book is replaced by liquidity pools to the order book-based Serum on the Solana blockchain, decentralized exchanges offer an alternative way to trading, including the ability to earn rewards for providing liquidity.
Decentralized finance (DeFi) is built on a foundation of crowd-sourced liquidity, and with centralized exchanges appearing more and more under the crosshairs of governments, the demand for DEXs is on the rise.
Recently, senior management at one of the world’s largest Bitcoin derivatives exchanges, BitMEX, received indictments for allegedly lax protocols for Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know-Your-Customer (KYC) security. This caused a stir, raising fears of a lawsuit against the exchange and causing the exchange’s wallets to sink to their lowest levels since November 2018.
Uniswap alone has a market cap of almost $27 billion at the time of publication, accounting for over $1.4 billion in trading volume each day. Hundreds of billions of dollars are pouring into DEXs every month, with Uniswap surpassing trade volumes on American crypto exchange giant Coinbase last October.
Are decentralized exchanges finally giving CEXs a run for their money? With the growing regulatory concern surrounding centralized exchanges, the demand for trustless cryptocurrency exchanges potentially has room to grow.
The primary advantage of decentralized exchanges is that they do not require a trusted intermediary to perform trades. However, this brings various benefits to traders such as cheaper transaction fees due to lower overheads. With traders constantly looking for the best deal, centralized exchanges might need to start slashing their fees to compete.
DEXs also offer reduced counter-party risk since orders are filed against a smart contract instead of another person, and this also reduces the attack surface for malicious actors attempting to siphon funds. Decentralized finance and, by extension, decentralized exchanges have also improved access to digital assets, empowering anyone with an Internet-enabled smartphone to access financial services.
Several centralized exchanges are restricted from serving people in certain jurisdictions due to regulatory issues. DEXs don’t have these limitations, allowing them to tap into markets previously inaccessible to centralized trading platforms. They are also not required to provide information to third parties, with limited registration requirements to use the exchange platform.
Since DEXs don’t deal with fiat currencies, they’re able to get away with a lot more than centralized exchanges, but there’s a very good chance that regulators will not sit on the sidelines and watch the show. They may eventually come for them as well.
DEXs are still very much in their early stages, and until more research is done to mitigate the risks they pose, centralized exchanges are still likely to exist in some form or the other. After all, CEXs offer some benefits that cannot be implemented in a decentralized manner – for example, insurance.
While DEXs may be a different beast to hack, funds lost from attacks on centralized exchanges are often refunded to investors, offering a sense of accountability to one of the riskiest investment markets in the world. They also provide features like customer support, fiat on and off-ramps and, generally, greater liquidity.
That’s not to say decentralized exchanges won’t continue to eat into their market share, and while there will always be a need for centralized exchanges, the industry may be standing on the cusp of a shift toward crypto trading without intermediaries.
The Future Of Exchanges
Ethereum isn’t the only one benefiting from the DEX game. Other blockchains like Polkadot and Solana have already created their own decentralized exchange ecosystems for their respective platforms while also being interoperable. Though most interoperability protocols already have bridges into the Ethereum network, improved cross-chain support could be precisely what DEXs need to begin dominating the space.
However, decentralized exchanges do have their pitfalls. For one, they don’t safeguard against money laundering or implement robust KYC procedures. This could be a significant hurdle for regulators to tackle, especially if DEXs become the primary portal to trading cryptocurrencies. “DEX will be a big headache for regulators,” said Tao, adding:
“Currently, regulatory authorities face a gargantuan technological challenge, and the only way for them to be part of this innovation is by improving legacy systems to catch up with the space.”
Evidence exists that criminals use decentralized exchanges to conduct their business activities. Last September, $281 million worth of cryptocurrencies were stolen from the KuCoin exchange, and the perpetrators reportedly used the Uniswap decentralized exchange to trade stolen tokens for ETH, according to blockchain analytics firm, Elliptic.
That being said, decentralized exchanges are little more than protocols, enabling distributed nodes to communicate with each other. While they can be used for both good and evil, there’s very little the protocol itself can do to stop malicious activity. This is similar to how the internet is still used for crime, and while the security systems have improved to an extent where the most heinous crimes are still trackable, the internet itself can’t stop people from misusing it.
With no centralized servers, decentralized exchanges are practically impossible to shut down, making it unclear how governments could enforce them to abide by regulations. One solution involves a centralized gatekeeper to identify users on the protocol, but this is likely only a preliminary solution that will soon be replaced by decentralized alternatives.
As digital assets continue to enter the mainstream, the infrastructure borrowed from centralized finance has come under immense scrutiny in recent months, leaving both retail and institutional investors uncertain about how to proceed.
The current DeFi and DEX ecosystems are still in their infancy, and the industry will only be able to build the financial infrastructure of the future through trial and error. As the access to trading platforms and other financial services improve by eliminating trust factors and reducing costs, digital assets could soon start to be adopted by the general public.
Enforcement attorneys are reportedly looking for information about Uniswap’s marketing and investor services.
The United States Securities and Exchange Commission is reportedly investigating the startup behind the world’s largest decentralized cryptocurrency exchange, Uniswap.
The U.S. securities regulator has initiated a probe into Uniswap’s main developer, Uniswap Labs, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.
The report says that enforcement attorneys are now looking for information about Uniswap’s marketing and investor services, citing anonymous sources familiar with the matter.
A spokesperson for Uniswap Labs reportedly said the firm is “committed to complying with the laws and regulations governing our industry and to providing information to regulators that will assist them with any inquiry.”
Uniswap is a decentralized exchange that enables users to swap between Ethereum-based coins and tokens without a central entity. The exchange is ranked as the largest decentralized exchange, with a $1.5-billion trading volume over the past 24 hours at the time of writing, according to data from CoinMarketCap.
A spokesperson for the SEC declined to comment on the existence or nonexistence of a possible investigation to Cointelegraph. Uniswap did not immediately respond to Cointelegraph’s request for comment.
The news comes amid the U.S. regulators paying increased attention to the decentralized finance (DeFi) industry, with SEC chairman Gary Gensler last month announcing the authority’s plans for more crypto-related rules targeting DeFi, token offerings, and stablecoins. In late August, the regulator signed a $125,000 deal with blockchain analytics firm AnChain.AI to get tech assistance in monitoring and regulating the DeFi industry.
Prior to the SEC’s increased efforts to look into the DeFi, Uniswap delisted dozens of tokens and tokenized stocks from its trading platform in late July, citing growing regulatory pressure. “We monitor the evolving regulatory landscape,” Uniswap said, pointing out similar moves taken by other DeFi players.
By its definition, the DeFi industry is a blockchain-based form of finance that does not rely on any central financial intermediaries, operating transactions through automatic protocol mechanisms known as smart contracts instead. The industry has seen massive growth in recent years, jumping from around $8 billion in total value last September to more than $174 billion at the time of writing.
In line with DeFi principles, decentralized exchanges (DEX) like Uniswap don’t have a central person or team responsible for running the protocol, operated and supervised either automatically or by the participants. According to the crypto investor and entrepreneur Alistair Milne, regulators won’t be able to shut down DeFi smart contracts like Uniswap but could potentially make DeFi transactions illegal in a similar way to transacting on the dark web.
No, the SEC and others can’t shut down Uniswap’s or other DeFi smart contracts
But they can easily make it as difficult/illegal as transacting on the Dark Web for residents in their jurisdiction (at least)
As well as declare all governance tokens as securities
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