Maker is the largest DeFi (Decentralized Finance) platform in the cryptocurrency industry, holding a total of $447 million locked within its smart contracts at the moment of writing:
It is a platform that allows its users to come and take out non-custodial collateralized loans in the form of DAI. Basically, users put up collateral in the form of cryptocurrency such as ETH, BAT or USDT and are able to withdraw the DAI stablecoin (pegged to the US Dollar) for them to use as they please.
To retrieve their collateral, the user must then pay back the DAI generated plus a small fee and their cryptocurrency is then unlocked.
Vitalik has been interested in MakerDAO for a very long time. In fact, the following Tweet shows that he was buying MKR as far back as 2016 before we all even started to understand the potential that DeFi would have on the industry.
Vitalik actually believes so much in Maker that he has included it in his list of projects that Ethereum has in 2020 that it didn’t have in 2017 - showcasing the growth of the overall network in just three short years:
He mentioned it again in March 2020 when somebody questioned why people would want to swap their BTC for ETH in a decentralized manner. His response was for users to have the ability to use applications based on Ethereum with the first application he mentioned being MakerDAO again:
In 2018 he was also quoted saying that MakerDAO “works great” which can be considered as a very promising review of the entire project:
It is no surprise that Vitalik is extremely bullish on MakerDAO. It was literally one of the first DeFi platforms to be introduced to the world and has been growing ever since. MakerDAO actually can provide finance to users around the globe that need loans but cannot get them due to poor credit ratings or due governmental legislation. MakerDAO excludes nobody. If you have collateral to put up, you can take out a loan.
Furthermore, the stablecoin behind Maker, DAI, is something that we can actually trust. It is issued in a completely decentralized manner and can only be generated when users put collateral in the MakerDAO smart contracts.
This is converse to other Stablecoins on the market, such as Tether, that are issued by centralized authorities, making it harder to trust the issuance of the tokens. Vitalik said it best in the following tweet where he states that the built-in mechanisms of MakerDAO create a scenario that you don’t need to trust any platform other than DAI itself;
In fact, Vitalik actually likes DAI “the most” out of all of the stablecoins out there;
The Maker team has always been great at keeping the community informed about what is going on behind-the-scenes within the project. The latest happenings seem to revolve around discussions about what will happen when the project fully becomes decentralized to become a true decentralized autonomous organization.
The latest include deep conversations in Maker Governance revolving around what will happen when the Foundation has been dissolved and the project becomes fully in the hands of the community. These conversations include;
- 1 - Elected Paid Contributors and Domain Teams; these will include elected human expertise and knowledge as a decentralized workforce voted in by Maker governance to operate a transparent and horizontal form of organization to keep MakerDAO functioning efficiently.
- 2 - Maker Improvement Proposals; These are proposals made by community members to improve the Maker system. However, these proposals need to be rigidly structured and formalized to avoid any ambiguity. MKR voters have the final say on which MIPs will be implemented.
- 3 - Vote Delegates; This will allow users to pool their voting power with others to give them greater agency and ownership of the project.
Other recent developments are centered around integrations of Dai on other platforms. For example, DAI has been introduced to the HashKey Hub, a digital asset management platform;
Another example is the integration into 2Key, a 2nd layer protocol on Ethereum to create a referral network on the blockchain;
Kyber Network is an on-chain liquidity protocol that allows users to swap their digital assets. The platform allows users to swap ETH with Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC), as well as other ERC-20 tokens. The most beautiful thing about the Kyber Network is the fact that it is all conducted on-chain, meaning there are no centralized authorities that you need to trust ownership of your tokens to.
Additionally, the Kyber protocol is designed in a way that developers can easily integrate it into their own applications or even build their own financial dApps on top of.
The Kyber Network is the solution to a problem that Vitalik Buterin was talking about way back in 2017;
Here, Vitalik is explaining that decentralized exchanges are mainly needed for the convenience of regular users.
He states that trading on centralized exchanges is inconvenient due to the fact that users have to register with the exchange, wait for confirmation from the exchange, login, deposit tokens, wait for the deposit to be confirmed, trade, withdraw, and then wait for the withdrawal to be confirmed.
This is a very lengthy process.
Instead, trading on Kyber allows its users to instantly convert A into B in just one transaction as everything is processed on-chain without the need to deposit into a centralized exchange wallet.
Vitalik has actually been an advisor to Kyber for a very long time now. In fact, in 2017 he went as far as stating that he would not be becoming an advisor for future ICO projects with jut Kyber and OmiseGo as the only exceptions to this rule;
In March this year, Vitalik Tweeted with a call for developers to dedicate more resources toward further ETH to BTC swaps (and vice versa). Although he did not mention Kyber Swap directly, it is certainly one of the leaders in this sort of development. Vitalik actually went as far as stating that it was embarrassing that we still can’t easily move between the two crypto ecosystems in a trustless manner;
With all of these tweets centered around creating trustless swapping ecosystems, we can certainly expect Kyber Network to be at the forefront of Vitalik’s mind in the years to come, especially if they ever manage to move from wrapped BTC to the regular BTC in their swaps.
The latest in the Kyber Network development sector is mainly focused on the upcoming upgrade known as Katalyst. This upgrade is largely focused on creating strong incentives for KNC holders to participate as they edge toward a fully decentralized system. You can find out more about the Katalyst upgrade here.
Furthermore, they have recently integrated a new token Reserve on their platform creating a flexible pool of stablecoins to reduce risk. It allows users to buy, hold, and spend digital US dollars and it can be implemented on top of any smart contract platform.
Loopring is an entire decentralized exchange protocol that allows developers to come and launch their own decentralized exchanges. DEXs allow users to retain full rights and ownership of their cryptocurrency as all trades are conducted directly on-chain, without the need to be facilitated through a 3rd part centralized exchange.
Loopring is in the process of releasing the 3rd version of the protocol, Loopring 3.0, which will bring a higher throughput level at lower costs and an apparent immediate settlement facility.
Vitalik is very vocal about Loopring, in fact, he included it on the list we showed before about things that Ethereum has in 2020 that it did not have in 2017:
Vitalik is particularly interested in a particular technology that Loopring is employing known as ZK-Rollups as they help to reduce on-chain gas costs:
In fact, he has stated that the ZK Rollup DEX has a theoretical cap of 2500 TPS which blew the previous 15 TPS well out of the water:
Furthermore, he even went as far as stating that they could potentially have a 160TPS limit once Ethereum hits ETH2.0:
Loopring released their very own DEX recently which has introduced ZK-Rollups that allow for mass validation of transactions using ZK-SNARKs technology. The ZK-Rollups have allowed Loopring to reach a TPS level of around 2,025 TPS.
If you have been following my posts you would know that I am very excited about the future direction of Loopring. In fact, one personal thing that I am extremely pleased about is the fact that Publish0x has now integrated Loopring as one of its tipping options. This means I can now receive and tip LCR for content. Great work Publish0x!
The prominent event in recent times is most certainly the launch of thier DEX exchange, Loopring.io, that has ZK Rollups integrated;
To gain some perspective on how cheap it is to trade on Loopring.Io, take a look at this following Tweet;
In other developments, Loopring.Io has been optimized for the addition of using WalletConnect on its platform;
Furthermore, in early April they conducted a relayer upgrade with the following changes made;
Status is an open-source mobile-based messaging platform that allows users to securely send messages to each other. The team over at Status created this project with an ethos to provide a secure communication tool aimed to uphold human rights to help in the fight to preserve privacy. It is already available on both the iOS app store and the Google Play store.
Status goes beyond just a messaging platform. It also has a built-in Web 3.0 gateway that allows users to browse and access every single dApp that has been deployed on the Ethereum blockchain. This now gives the power for users to access dApps straight from their mobile phones!
Vitalik has been vocal about Status for a while now and is actually an advisor to the project making it one of the only two exceptions that he made when he announced that he would stop advising projects (see the tweet in Kyber Network above).
Furthermore, Vitalik included Status in the things that Ethereum has in 2020 that it didn’t have in 2017. He went on to clarify what Status was to the uninitiated:
These aren’t the only times that Vitalik has mentioned status. For example, Vitalik made a comment in early April 2020 when someone Tweeted “I think I have more chat apps than actual friends”. Vitalik replied with the simple message “Are you on status yet?”
Also in April 2020, Vitalik went on to point out that the non-blockchain decentralized message-passing network used by Status can be a very valuable complement to blockchains:
One of the most prominent developments for status is the fact that Version 1 of their application actually went live on the mainnet in February 2020:
Furthermore, the community have been translating the application in languages such as Korean, Chinese, Italian, French, Spanish, and many more:
Additionally, the Status team continues to work on their Nimbus protocol that is designed to help the scalability issue in Ethereum thorough the help of sharding: