Here’s how the token economies of the top 4 DEXs work


In line with Footprint Analytics, as of Feb. 25, there have been 372 DEX protocols, totaling a TVL of $62.3 billion, above 30% of the overall of DeFi.

The highest 5 DEXes by TVL are Curve, Uniswap, Sushiswap, PancakeSwap, and Balancer. Many DEXes have comparable fashions, however their token economies are usually not similar. Curve is the biggest, however as a stablecoin buying and selling platform, it’s barely completely different from the others. Subsequently, his article will examine the token economies of the opposite 4.

 Footprint Analytics - Top 20 Dex TVL in Different Chains
Footprint Analytics – Prime 20 Dex TVL in Completely different Chains


The earliest of the 4 to launch was Uniswap as a pioneer of the AMM, in November 2018. However it issued the token UNI two years later, making it the most recent. Balancer, Sushiswap, and PancakeSwap all issued their tokens (BAL, SUSHI, CAKE) in 2020.


From September 2020 UNI will take 4 years to finish its preliminary 1 billion token concern, after which will probably be issued in increments of two% per 12 months for perpetual inflation, to make sure that passive UNI holders can proceed to take part and contribute to Uniswap.


Sushiswap primarily duplicates the core design of Uniswap, however it issued a governance token proper from launch. It had limitless issuance when it went stay in August 2020, which was later voted on by the neighborhood to a most of 250 million. Will probably be absolutely launched by means of liquidity mining by November 2023, and block rewards will probably be decreased each month till then.


PancakeSwap is a DEX constructed on BSC. To maintain LPs incentivized always, CAKE doesn’t have a tough cap, however it has not been affected by promoting stress as UNI was when it went stay, primarily to get rise to its deflationary mechanism.

Issuance is diminished by reducing the variety of CAKEs minted per block, and a collection of burning mechanisms are in place, reminiscent of 20% of CAKEs being burnt when a lottery ticket is bought. In line with Footprint Analytics, the present circulation is 272 million.


Balancer launched in March 2020 and opened for liquidity mining in June. It options LPs that may customise the ratio of belongings within the pool and helps a portfolio of a number of belongings.

The utmost provide of BAL is 100 million. 7.5 million BALs are distributed yearly by means of liquidity mining, which can take 8.67 years. BAL’s launch fee is far slower than different initiatives, and this fashion it could possibly scale back its promoting stress within the secondary market.


Allocation of tokens displays the diploma of decentralization of the undertaking.


The preliminary issuance of UNI will probably be based mostly on a distribution plan of 60% locally, 21.266% to the staff, 18.044% to the buyers, and 0.69% to advisors. The latter three are set for a 4-year vesting interval.

Of the 600 million locally, 150 million have been airdropped to previous customers, additionally launched by means of 4 swimming pools of 5 million every liquidity mining rewards accomplished. The remaining 430 million will probably be launched over 4 years in declining annual numbers.

UNI 4 Year Release Schedule
UNI 4 12 months Launch Schedule


SUSHI is distributed by means of liquidity swimming pools of 4 million per week. To make sure steady growth and operations, 10% of SUSHI is allotted to the event staff.


Since CAKE is in limitless provide, its distribution is barely completely different from others. 10.62% is allotted to Farms and Lottery and 25% to Syrup Swimming pools.

CAKE Distribution
CAKE Distribution


65% of BAL’s most issuance of 100 million will probably be allotted to LPs, 25% to founders, choices, advisors, and buyers, 5% to ecosystem funds, and 5% to fundraising funds. The portion allotted to founders, choices, advisors, and buyers can also be set with vesting durations.

Balancer takes a extra energetic strategy to decentralization by growing the share of BALs held by the neighborhood and reducing these to governance.

BAL Distribution
BAL Distribution

Utility and Acquiring Tokens

Customers can get these tokens by exchanging them on the change or by contributing to the neighborhood. Along with UNI, all tokens will be mined for offering liquidity, and CAKE will also be received by means of the Lottery.

As for governance tokens, token holders can take part in neighborhood proposals or votes to find out how the protocol works. There isn’t any scarcity of exterior utilities, particularly for UNI in Compound, MakerDAO, and Yearn. CAKE has a variety of utilities on BSC and might proceed to mine different tokens by depositing them in exterior protocols.

As well as, the utilities for various tokens are additionally completely different.


UNI can not seize protocol charges. Whereas the power to seize mitigates promoting stress, UNI’s 4 liquidity mining swimming pools, which stopped mining in November 2020, additionally mitigates the potential promoting stress.


SUSHI has an elevated token financial incentive over UNI, with a long-term charge distribution for staking SUSHI customers (xSUSHI holders). 0.25% of the 0.3% charge paid by merchants is distributed on to LPs, with the remaining 0.05% distributed to SUSHI stakers as an incentive.

The extra quantity traded within the protocol, the extra income the stakers obtain, and the extra it combines the long-term worth of the LP and the protocol. Nevertheless, as an increasing number of SUSHI is mined out, the power to seize returns from the identical quantity of SUSHI is step by step diluted. That forces LPs to repeatedly provide to amass extra SUSHI.


In PancakeSwap, customers can use CAKE to mine extra tokens or purchase lottery tickets.


Whereas BAL has fewer utilities than different well-liked protocols, Balancer introduced plans to design veBAL for neighborhood governance and income seize, considering Curve’s token mechanism.

Customers can get hold of BPT (Phantom Pool Tokens) with 80/20 BAL-ETH offering liquidity after which lock within the corresponding veBAL for 1 week to 1 12 months. veBAL is just like veCRV in that it could possibly vote on the reward share of the pool and distributes 75% of the protocol income to veBAL holders.

Analyzing the Information

The financial fashions of the above 4 DEX tokens are summarized as follows.

Footprint Analytics - DEX Token Economic Model
Footprint Analytics – DEX Token Financial Mannequin

In line with Footprint Analytics, BAL has the very best token worth as of Feb. 25 at round $12. UNI is subsequent at round $9. DEX just isn’t that prime general.

BAL is making an attempt to attain decentralization by reducing the staff’s token allocation ratio to realize extra desire from customers. On the identical time, on account of its lengthy token issuance interval, the dilution of token worth is slowed down. It’s nonetheless ranked first after the crash of the value in Could.

 Footprint Analytics - Price of DEX Token
Footprint Analytics – Worth of DEX Token

However when it comes to market cap, UNI is within the first place ($4.2 billion) and BAL within the final place ($130 million) on account of solely 10 million in circulation.

 Footprint Analytics - Market Cap of DEX Token
Footprint Analytics – Market Cap of DEX Token

By way of every day transaction quantity, UNI, SUSHI, and CAKE are among the many high, whereas BAL just isn’t as energetic on account of fewer exterior utilities.

 Footprint Analytics - Trading Volume of DEX Token
Footprint Analytics – Buying and selling Quantity of DEX Token

The financial mannequin of various tokens is clearly mirrored within the knowledge, such because the sell-off attributable to the early uncapped SUSHI issuance. Subsequently, it’s needed for customers to have an in depth understanding earlier than holding.

It additionally leads us to think about whether or not a platform issuing tokens by means of liquidity mining is a protocol for short-term success or long-term growth.

Solely a protocol with actual worth can add extra TVLs to the platform by means of such incentives and make it extra decentralized by means of the neighborhood. Protocols that lack actual worth usually face a collapse on the finish of the inducement, and the token will probably be nugatory. Uniswap maintained its TVL rating even after it stopped liquidity mining, displaying its market worth as an AMM pioneer.

The token financial mannequin appears easy, however the inflationary depreciation in worth throughout issuance, the utilities of tokens, and the way they will proceed to be incentivized after liquidity mining is over are all essential to their long-term worth.

This piece is contributed by the Footprint Analytics neighborhood.

Date and Writer: March 04, 2022, Simon

Information Supply: Footprint Analytics DEX Token Dashboard

What’s Footprint Analytics?

Footprint Analytics is an all-in-one evaluation platform to visualise blockchain knowledge and uncover insights. It cleans and integrates on-chain knowledge so customers of any expertise stage can shortly begin researching tokens, initiatives, and protocols. With over a thousand dashboard templates plus a drag-and-drop interface, anybody can construct their very own personalized charts in minutes. Uncover blockchain knowledge and make investments smarter with Footprint.


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