DeFi Update — a weekly snapshot of the decentralized finance market.
- Decentralized exchange Uniswap launches a much-awaited new version of its protocol.
- Visa can now settle payments in stablecoin USDC.
- Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are still in the spotlight.
DeFi metrics of the week
Uniswap launches a new protocol
The launch of Uniswap v3 on Tuesday, March 23, was probably the biggest news of the week in decentralized finance, but it remained largely hidden to many in a fog of crypto lingo. What does it all boil down to?
- Uniswap is built on top of the Ethereum blockchain and is one of the largest decentralized exchanges, or DEXs, and generally one of the top platforms in what we know as the DeFi market.
- Currently about 20% to 25% of all transactions on Ethereum actually happen via Uniswap, according to The Block. It also has about 15 more users than any other DEX.
- Uniswap was the first platform to launch the concept of automated market making (AMM) but competitors have caught up since. The stated aim of v3 is to make Uniswap “the most flexible and efficient AMM ever designed” by bringing “up to 4000x capital efficiency relative to Uniswap 2.”
- Breaking with the usual open-source DeFi ethos, the code will remain licensed “for up to two years” to prevent competing platforms from copy-pasting it. That’s understandable: back in August, a copycat project, SushiSwap, led Uniswap to launch its own governance token, UNI.
- The price of UNI, Uniswap’s governance token, has grown over 800% since its launch and is now the 8th largest cryptocurrency in the world by market capitalization.
NFTs are staying in the spotlight
NFTs are unique, non-interchangeable items on a blockchain. Their use as proof of digital art ownership has boomed over the past couple of months and the trend is only continuing. Here are the top three things you need to know this week when it comes to NFTs:
- The co-founder of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, put his genesis tweet for sale as an NFT earlier this month. The winning offer of 1630.6 ETH, made on March 6, has not been surpassed and closed on Monday, March 22. In the meantime, the bid’s worth has gone from $2.5 million to $2.9 million, per OKCoin market data. Dorsey immediately converted the proceeds to Bitcoin and gave them to charity.
- Author and New York Times columnist Kevin Roose put one of his columns up for sale as an NFT. It was sold Thursday, March 25, for 350 ETH, or $640,000 at current market prices. The proceeds will go to the NYT’s Neediest Cases Fund.
- Fintech company Circle announced that it has developed a payments solution that lets NFT marketplaces accept credit cards, as well as crypto, as payment for NFTs.
Visa to settle USDC transactions on Ethereum
Visa announced on Monday it will be possible to use USD Coin (USDC) to transact on its network. USDC is a so-called “stablecoin” — a cryptocurrency pegged to the U.S. dollar and maintaining a 1-to-1 parity with it.
Until now, Visa partners have had to convert the cryptocurrency they received into fiat currency for Visa to process the transaction. Not anymore — now transactions can be directly settled in USDC, which operates on Ethereum.
Many stablecoins, including USDC, can be deposited on DeFi lending platforms to earn interest. On our DeFi aggregator platform Earn, you can deposit your USDC on to Compound to earn crypto as interest — get started.
On OKCoin, you can buy and sell USDC for USD or BTC today. For faster and cheaper settlement, OKCoin supports USDC on the Algorand blockchain — learn more about how to transact with Algorand-based USDC here.