One of the most well-known decentralised exchange (DEX) protocols in the blockchain world is Uniswap, and it is no wonder because this protocol has become one of the largest DEXs in the crypto ecosystem with a blocked value that amounts to five billion dollars. With this, Uniswap has become one of the main opponents of centralised solutions and leaves behind the belief that this type of technology could not become truly viable.
But how has Uniswap achieved this? What technology is behind your design? This and much more you will know below.
Uniswap is a DEX (Decentralized EXchange or Decentralized Exchange), which allows you to exchange your cryptocurrencies for others using smart contracts on the Ethereum network. This fact already tells us one thing: Uniswap works with Ethereum ERC-20 tokens. Let us remember that an ERC-20 token is a type of standard token within Ethereum and of these types of tokens there is a great variety.
In fact, currently, there are more than 420,000 different ERC-20 tokens on Ethereum, which gives us an idea of the huge ecosystem that exists. It is precisely this point that led Uniswap to its immense success: there is a large community that needs this exchange functionality and if you can make money with it, all the better.
However, as Uniswap only works with ERC-20 tokens, it is severely limited in functionality. For example, you cannot make direct exchanges using other cryptos such as Bitcoin or Bitcoin Cash. To overcome this limitation, other projects have dedicated themselves to creating ERC-20 tokens that represent these other cryptocurrencies.
To do this, 1:1 anchored ERC-20 tokens are created with that specific crypto or using other means. A good example of this is RenBTC, where RenBTC is an ERC-20 token anchored 1:1 with the value of Bitcoin and guarded by a decentralised network of nodes. Thus, each RenBTC token can be exchanged 1:1 with BTC (except for a small commission) and you are sure that it will always be like that.
Thanks to this, something exceptional is achieved, allowing Uniswap to carry out exchanges that can then be transferred to other cryptocurrencies. And, although the exchange is not direct, this offers a unique range of opportunities, which not only Uniswap has taken advantage of. In fact, it is thanks to things like these that the DeFi or Decentralized Finance ecosystem has not stopped growing from 2019 to the present day.
Today, Uniswap is much more than just a DEX. First of all, we have that Uniswap was created as an AMM protocol (Automated Market Maker or Automated Market Maker). This means that Uniswap is able to allow its users to create markets from which third parties can benefit. The creation of these markets is self-sustaining, allowing the protocol to generate income that serves to incentivise the injection of liquidity in exchange for a small interest to its investors.
They are the well-known pools, where investors inject tokens to increase its liquidity, and as it is used by third parties, these transactions generate commissions that are used to maintain the protocol and give rewards to investors in said pool. It is, in short, the germ of the well-known liquidity mining.
Secondly, the creation of these pools allows the protocol to amass liquidity to allow rapid exchange of assets. This exchange system is controlled by smart contracts (like the rest of the Uniswap protocol functions), giving rise to its DEX functionalities. And finally, building around these two functions a complex system of rewards, decentralised governance and complementary functions within the increasingly relevant DeFi ecosystem.
The arrival of competitors like SushiSwap (a Uniswap clone), with its application of yield farming thanks to its SUSHI token, made the SushiSwap community respond, and the best response was to launch its own token: the UNI token or Uniswap Coin. Thus, on September 16, 2020, Uniswap announced the launch of this new token designed on three fundamental points:
With that idea in mind, the project created in its genesis the issuance of one billion UNI tokens that will be accessible within the next four years (until 2024). These tokens would be distributed as follows:
After four years, the UNI token will continue its issuance with a perpetual inflation rate of 2% per year. The idea is that the system allows continuing rewarding those who participate in the growth of Uniswap as an ecosystem.
However, UNI would also create a treasure trove for the project, so that the necessary funds will be available to further develop Uniswap. In that sense, 43% of the community tokens would be retained for this effort. This could create taxpayer grants, community initiatives, liquidity mining and other programmes that drive Uniswap’s development. This 43% will be distributed over that four-year period as follows:
This ensures that the community will always be rewarded for its efforts.