What is Taiko? An Ethereum-Equivalent and Decentralized ZKEVM L2


What is Taiko?

Taiko aims to be a fully Ethereum-equivalent ZK-Rollup in order to scale Ethereum while maintaining its technical and fundamental principles. As a fully Ethereum-equivalent rollup, it will enable dApp developers and users to leverage the power of Ethereum Layer 1 (L1) without making any changes to their existing dApps. 

Key Takeaways

  • Rollups appear to be the best scaling solution for Ethereum, and Taiko aims to be the most Ethereum-equivalent.

  • Following Ethereum’s spirit of decentralization, Taiko aims to be fully decentralized, with decentralized sequencers and validators.

  • In order to achieve fast network speeds and scalability, Taiko uses zero knowledge proofs.

Ethereum has changed the game with its global settlement network. It gave birth to digital and immutable ownership of assets and data and allows for permissionless transfers to anyone across the world at any time.

This system works because of its focus on decentralization and security rather than speed and scalability. However, the lack of scalability results in high transaction fees and low throughput, limiting Etherum’s potential.

The recent popularity of memecoins such as PEPE on Ethereum has again resulted in network congestion where gas fees cost over $50 per transaction. Thus, the need for Ethereum scaling solution continues. There are other protocols aiming to enable crypto and DeFi to scale, and Taiko is one of them.


Source: Pepe

Rollups have emerged as the most favorable scaling solution, with Ethereum-equivalent ZK-rollups being the most promising type of rollup and this is where Taiko comes in. Taiko was announced in 2022 and is founded by developers who have been using zero knowledge rollups since 2018.

The Taiko team is working to create a robust platform for Ethereum developers and users alike, and they have launched their alpha-2 testnet in March 2023 where there was a $25k prize pool for provers, as well as opportunities for a potential TKO airdrop in the future. Taiko’s testnet is currently closed as of this article while they work on the next phase of their testnet. For anyone interested in airdrops and using the highly talked about ZK rollups, Taiko should be at the top of that list, and we’ll be putting together an airdrop guide once the next testnet phase is up.

In this article, we explore what Taiko is, its unique features, and its ecosystem.

What is Taiko?

Taiko is a decentralized Layer 2 blockchain protocol that uses a Zero Knowledge Ethereum Virtual Machine (ZK-EVM). It is designed to be the most Ethereum-equivalent and general-purpose Zero Knowledge Rollup (ZK-Rollup). 

The main objective of Taiko is to provide a scalable and efficient platform for decentralized applications (dApps) developers and users, allowing them to leverage the power of Ethereum Layer 1 (L1) without having to make any changes to their existing dApps. 

“The moment it dawned on me that Ethereum needed a scaling solution as similar to the original platform as possible was when I considered the long-term sustainability and growth of the ecosystem. I recognized that compatibility and decentralization were crucial aspects to ensure the continued success of Ethereum. I firmly believe in the concept of “develop once, deploy everywhere” as a guiding principle for Ethereum’s future.”

 – Daniel Wang, CEO of Taiko

Source: Taiko Tuesday’s 1 May 2023 Newsletter

Before we take a closer look at Taiko, let’s briefly take a look at ZK rollups as Taiko’s technology revolves around them.

What are ZK rollups?

ZK-rollups scale computation by executing, aggregating, and proving transactions off-chain, and relying on Ethereum for data availability and validity proof verification. 

The biggest drawback of the currently in-production ZK-rollups are that they cannot support the generalized computation of the EVM exactly, but instead are mostly application-specific. This breaks compatibility with existing Ethereum L1 smart contracts and dApps, and further, makes it difficult to build new ones that offer the same type of composable, expressive experiences.

Ethereum-equivalent ZK-rollups, sometimes called ZK-EVMs, are the holy grail of Layer 2 scaling solutions in that they do not compromise on security or compatibility while offering faster and cheaper transactions. 

There are already a few ZK-EVMs such as Scroll or Polygon. Let’s explore why Taiko is unique compared to other networks. 

Ethereum-Equivalent ZK-EVM 

Taiko is building a Type 1 ZK-EVM which is engineered to achieve complete compatibility with Ethereum by incorporating a ZK-EVM that supports all EVM opcodes. The primary goal of Taiko as a type-1 ZK-EVM is to emphasize Ethereum-equivalence over the speed of ZK-proof generation. The term “type-1” originates from the fact that these ZK-EVMs introduce no alterations to the Ethereum framework, including hash functions, state trees, or gas expenses. This compatibility enables the reuse of execution clients with minimal adjustments.

type1 zkevm

Source: Taiko

The main benefit of this is that developers can deploy their existing Ethereum dApps on Taiko without any modifications while still running smoothly on Taiko, saving developer time and attracting existing EVM developers. 

There are three main components to Taiko’s technical structure: the ZK-EVM circuits (for proof generation), the Layer 2 rollup node (for managing the rollup chain), and the protocol on L1 (for connecting these two parts together for rollup protocol verification). These components work together to ensure seamless compatibility with Ethereum L1, providing developers and users with a familiar experience.


Source: Taiko


Such high-level compatibility eliminates the need for developers to rewrite their dApps, saving time and effort while ensuring a smooth transition, improving the adoption of Taiko amongst developers. This focus on compatibility is what sets Taiko apart from other ZK-EVMs in the market as not all ZK-EVMs allow for EVM code to work without changes. 

Furthermore, Taiko aims to scale Ethereum while preserving its technical and fundamental principles, making it a promising solution for the future growth of the blockchain ecosystem. 

High Speed and Scalability with ZK Rollups 

Taiko utilizes ZK-Rollup technology to improve transaction throughput and reduce fees. ZK-rollups use cryptographic proofs to validate transactions, making them more efficient and secure compared to traditional optimistic rollups. 

On top of faster speed, ZK rollups also allow Taiko to scale better by maintaining the state of all L2 transfers with minimal data, simplifying block validation and data transfer to L1. This means Taiko can accommodate a growing number of users and transactions, making it an attractive option for developers and users looking for a scalable blockchain.

Security and Decentralization 

To prove that Taiko prioritizes security and decentralization, they are aiming to launch with a fully decentralized proposer and prover set (aka sequencer and validator), allowing anyone to perform those duties without restrictions. 

L2 rollups

Source: L2beat.com 

As shown in the image above, a properly decentralized rollup with decentralized proposers and provers would say “Propose Blocks” in the Sequencer and Validator Failure columns so that it is highly accessible for users to operate. Currently none of the L2s satisfies both, and so these are are not fully decentralized L2s.

Taiko’s approach is to not whitelist any parties, and allow anyone to propose blocks. To go further, Taiko plans to be leaderless and be completely community driven. It will start from a completely decentralized structure and moving towards a more centralized one if necessary. Taiko’s governance will gradually be transferred to the Taiko DAO, with more details to be discussed in future posts.

Decentralization is an essential aspect of Ethereum-equivalence, and by taking the above steps, Taiko prioritizes it to ensure the network’s censorship-resistance and liveness. By maintaining these core principles, Taiko offers a robust foundation for building and deploying dApps while staying true to the core values of the Ethereum ecosystem.

Taiko is fully open-sourced

On top of all these, Taiko is also fully open sourced with its code available on GitHub. It primarily uses the permissive MIT license, except for its minimally modified geth fork, which retains the original GPL license. The project includes protocol smart contracts, L2 node software, and ZK-EVM circuits, all of which are open for unrestricted participation.

The main difference between the MIT and GPL licenses is the level of restriction on developers. MIT allows for more freedom, only requiring the retention of copyright and permission notice, while GPL enforces stricter rules, such as converting the entire project under the GPL license.

Taiko chose the MIT license to prioritize compatibility and simplicity, making it easier for others to use their codebase and increasing opportunities for collaboration. Although GPL can provide additional user protection, Taiko values inclusivity and accessibility, striving to maintain transparency and ensure user freedom.


Taiko has just ended their alpha testnet 1 and 2 which is primarily focused on having permissionless proposers and provers respectively. 

Their upcoming milestones include more alpha testnets with more zero-knowledge proof features and also more dapps where we will start to see their ecosystem forming.  

taiko roadmap

Source: Taiko


The well-known blockchain trilemma states that it is only possible to achieve two out of three attributes: decentralization, security, and scalability. However, Ethereum-equivalent ZK rollups enable the selection of all three components without any compromise on scaling.

Taiko is looking to solve the issue of Ethereum scaling while preserving a familiar Ethereum experience for its users and developers. It is a promising decentralized Layer 2 blockchain protocol leveraging Zero Knowledge Ethereum Virtual Machine (ZK-EVM) and ZK rollups. As a fully Ethereum-equivalent ZK-Rollup, Taiko aims to maintain decentralization, security, compatibility, and simplicity in order to attract more developers and users.

Taiko’s main focus is having complete Ethereum compatibility, allowing developers to deploy existing dApps without modification, high speed and scalability through ZK-Rollup technology, as well as a commitment to being a secure and decentralization L2 for Ethereum. Furthermore, Taiko is fully open-sourced, primarily using the MIT license to encourage collaboration and transparency.

With the alpha testnet already in progress, Taiko is well on its way to becoming a highly accessible and user-friendly platform for Ethereum developers and users alike.

By staying true to Ethereum’s core values and providing a scalable, efficient platform, Taiko has the potential to significantly impact the future growth of the blockchain ecosystem.

Exploring Starknet and Potential Starknet Airdrop Guide


Key Takeaways:

  • Starknet is a Layer 2 scaling solution for Ethereum and they are launching a STARK token that could be valuable.

  • Interacting with the protocol through the Argent X wallet, StarkGate, dApps, StarkFighter games, and DEXs increase chances of receiving a larger airdrop.

Starknet and the Starknet Token

Starknet is a Layer 2 technology that scales Ethereum securely using zero-knowledge rollups, making transactions more private, cheaper and faster while maintaining Ethereum’s Layer 1 security amongst other smart contract features. 

The network has been around since their in-house STARK (Scalable Transparent Argument of Knowledge) software stack, a proof system, went live on Ethereum mainnet in June 2020. Since then, StarkWare, the team behind Starknet, has gone through multiple rounds of fundraising, and is now valued at $8 billion

Following this success, the team announced that there will be launching a Starknet token on 13 July, 2022.

In order to further decentralize the protocol, it is possible that there will perform an airdrop to their early community supporters to reward them for their contribution, although nothing is confirmed at time of writing. 

While the airdrop has yet to be confirmed, let’s take a look at how we can interact with the protocol to qualify for a potential airdrop! There will be three portions to this, the first is installing the Starknet wallet Argent X, followed by bridging funds over, and finally interacting with the various dapps that are live on mainnet. You will also need MetaMask installed.

Starknet Wallet: Argent X

In order to interact with Starknet, you will first need a wallet. The most popular right now is Argent X. Let’s take a look at how you can install the Argent X wallet.

  1. Install Argent X extension

    Go to this Argent X on the Chrome webstore and click on ‘Add to Chrome’.


  1. Set up wallet

    Click on ‘Create a new wallet’ on the Argent X wallet and go through each step. If you have created an account previously, you can choose ‘Restore an existing wallet’ instead.Set up Argent X wallet

  2. Your wallet is ready!

Now that you have a wallet, the next step is to send some ETH into this wallet in order to perform some activities. Argent X Wallet created

Pro-tip: The amount that you hold in this Argent X wallet may also be a criteria for a potential ARGENT airdrop. Hence, the more you can hold here the better, but as always never deposit more than what you can afford to lose. 


Starknet is the official bridge and we will send a transaction from here first (before we try third party bridges) as the chance for an airdrop using an official bridge is the highest.

  1. Go to StarkGate and connect with both your MetaMask wallet and Argent X.

  2. Input your preferred deposit amount. Any amount is fine, but the more the merrier. I recommend sending 4-6 figures worth of ETH if you can afford it, as that was a criteria for the Arbitrum airdrop, where users received points for transactions and deposits that were more than $10,000 in value.
    Deposit into Starkgate

  3. Once you hit ‘Transfer’, the MetaMask confirmation window will pop up. 
    Confirm transfer to Starkgate

  4. Check your MetaMask transaction’s gas amount: Below $10 is good, between $10-20 is normal, and above $20 you might want to wait for the ETH gas demand to drop.Check ETH Gas Fees

    Pro-tip: You can click on ‘Site suggested’ and select ‘Low’ instead. This might cause your transaction to take a long time to go through but will be cheaper if you are not in a rush.Select gas fees

  5. If the network is not congested, after a few minutes it will be sent. Finally, open your Argent X wallet to check that you actually received it. You are done! 
    Funds transfer to Starknet complete

Note: The network may be heavily congested and can take days for your deposits to go through. For withdrawals, it happens in 2 steps. The 1st step involves a waiting period of several hours, after which you will need to sign the 2nd step in order to complete the transfer.

Orbiter Finance

Now, let’s look at other bridges available. 

Orbiter Finance is a cross-chain rollup bridge with a maker system that allows you to send funds and provide bridge liquidity from EVM chains to Starknet with cheaper gas fees. The team also confirmed a future Orbiter token on their Discord; here’s how to use them (and potentially qualify for an Orbiter airdrop as well).

  1. Input the amount you want to send over. Right now they only support sending amounts 3 ETH and below.
    Send ETH through Orbiter Finance to Starknet

  2. Click send and check that the gas fees are acceptable. It should be less than StarkGate’s gas fees.
    Check Orbiter gas fees

  3. Now repeat the same process using other EVM chains to cover all your bases. Pro-tip: Make regular transactions and ensure that the total volume is more than $1K.
    Deposit with other EVM chains

  4. Now join the guild and get roles by going to https://guild.xyz/orbiter-finance. The more transactions you make, the higher your rank.
    Join Orbiter Finance Guild


Now that you have some funds in Starknet, let’s take a break to play some games!

  1. Go to https://starkfighter.xyz, connect your wallet and play their minigame trying to last as long as possible while avoiding asteroids!

  2. If you want to submit your score and leave your mark, you need a Stark ID domain. Go to https://app.starknet.id/identities to buy a domain. Starknet.id might even have an airdrop similar to ENS as well. You can adjust the “Years” to 1 to reduce the price. 

  3. If you want a free xplorer.stark subdomain (you’ll only need to cover the gas fees), go to https://xplorer.starknet.id, type your domain name you want and click on register. 

  4. Now go back Starkfighter and play again, you will be asked to sign a message and ‘Tweet’ to participate. Well done you are done!
    Save your high score on Starkfighter

Interacting with DEXs

For the final step, you want to interact with the core pillar of DeFi – DEXs! Here are the top 3 DEXs in Starknet to participate in. 

  1. Go to JediSwap, Starknet’s leading DEX and click on “Launch App”.

  2. Trade some ETH into USDC, the more the merrier. Click on “Confirm” on Argent X. You will incur fees such as swap fee, gas fees, and possibly slippage when making swaps, but this can’t be avoided. As liquidity is low, it’s best to avoid large transactions. Split up your transactions if you are looking to increase your volume. 
    jediswap ETH to USDC

  3. Now that you have USDC, add ETH-USDC liquidity at this link. Type in the amount you want to add, click “Supply” and click “Confirm” on your wallet. 
    add liquidity jedi

You are done! Now do this regularly every week on the other top DEXs to increase your airdrop chance and amount. Arbitrum required you to transactions regularly and had a volume criteria as well with the max criteria of over $100,000 in volume; hence, it is possible that Starknet has similar criteria as well. 

Bonus: Argent X NFT Drops

Argent is also doing a series of NFT drops over 8 weeks to encourage users to explore Starknet. At the time of writing, they’re currently on their second NFT drop in partnership with JediSwap. To qualify, all users have to do is to perform a swap on JediSwap using their Argent X wallet on Starknet by 23:59 UTC on 23 May 2023. This means if you follow the above steps on interacting with the JediSwap DEX, you’ll qualify for the NFT drop as well as potentially improving your Starknet airdrop chances!


Starknet is a highly anticipated scaling solution for Ethereum, and has been said by Vitalik Buterin as the future of Ethereum. Seeing how popular and profitable the Arbitrum airdrop is, Starknet might yield similar rewards as well. 

Additionally the team behind Starknet is valued at $8 billion and have also confirmed the launch of a Starknet token. The higher the valuation of the team, the higher the valuation of its token as well. The airdrop will likely be sent to early community supporters to reward them, similar to most airdrops in the past. That said, do note that the team has not confirmed the airdrop as of time of writing.

To qualify for the potential airdrop, users need to interact with the protocol by installing the ArgentX wallet, bridging funds through StarkGate, engaging with various dapps on the network, playing games on StarkFighter, and participating in DEX trading and liquidity provision on top DEXs like Jediswap. Regular interactions and higher transaction volumes may increase the chances and amount of the airdrop. 

Overall, participating in the Starknet ecosystem presents a generally low risk and high reward opportunity for users to benefit from the project’s growth and potential token distribution.

Starknet: Scaling Ethereum with Rollups and ZK-STARK


What is Starknet?

Starknet is a Layer 2 solution that uses zero-knowledge (ZK) rollups to help Ethereum scale securely while improving the speed and reducing cost of transactions. It offers exceptional transaction processing capacity, reduced gas costs, and upholds the same high levels of security as Ethereum Layer 1 while also providing privacy and is one of the first protocols to integrate account abstraction (AA).

Key Takeaways

  • Starknet uses ZK rollups and STARK proofs for secure and efficient Ethereum scaling to achieve over 1,000,000 TPS.
  • Starknet offers enhanced security, privacy, and scalability while incorporating account abstraction.

  • Cairo is Starknet’s native smart contract language and offers optimized performance and cost-effective computations when building blockchain applications.

ZK technology is said to be the future of Ethereum, but as seen in our Taiko article, there are different types of ZK technology. Let’s explore how Starknet’s ZK technology works. 

How Does Starknet Work?

Starknet uses a scaling solution known as ZK-rollups. Let’s break this term down into ZK and roll ups. The acronym ZK-STARK stands for “Zero-Knowledge Scalable Transparent Argument of Knowledge.”

The rollup part is simple – it bundles transactions together, and “rolls” them “up”, hence the term rollup, before posting these lonto Ethereum as a single transaction. 

ZK is short for zero knowledge proofs, which are used to instantly prove if transactions that are happening on Starknet are valid or not. It helps ensure security through the utilization of the highly secure and scalable cryptographic proof system known as STARK

This process involves a prover, who creates a proof for some information, and a verifier, who checks the proof without sharing any information with the prover. 

The prover aims to convince the verifier of a truth without revealing any additional information, and possesses a secret known as the witness that serves as evidence for the statement’s validity. Without learning anything about the witness or the underlying data, the verifier’s job is to verify the proof that the prover has provided. 

Through an interactive process, the prover commits to the witness, the verifier challenges the prover, and the prover responds accordingly. This back-and-forth continues until the verifier is convinced of the statement’s truth without knowing any sensitive information.

To illustrate the concept, let’s use a sudoku puzzle – a type of math problem.

Here is an unsolved sudoku puzzle on the left, and a solved sudoku on the right. 

sudoku analogy for zk

Do you think it is faster to solve the puzzle on the left, or to check that the solved sudoku puzzle on the right is correct?

Validating that a sudoku puzzle is solved correctly is significantly simpler and faster than solving the sudoku from scratch, as you simply need to check that all the rules are applied. 

In reality, this “witness” is usually the answer to a complex math problem (far more complex than a sudoku). But the principles applied are the same, where checking is much faster than solving. 

Zero knowledge proofs work by proving that a complex math problem has been solved, and time and computational resources can be saved by having one person solve the puzzle, and then allowing others to verify it. This approach allows the complex calculation of a solution to be a one-time event, eliminating the need for redundant calculations across the entire network. 

This is how Starknet uses math and cryptography to securely enhance Ethereum scalability by replacing resource-intensive Layer 1 computations with more lightweight (and thus more cost-effective) Layer 1 verifications utilizing STARK proofs generated off-chain. 

To summarize, Starknet uses rollups to combine multiple transactions into a single transaction that is sent to Ethereum, and uses ZK proofs to prove to Ethereum that the transactions are valid. 

Benefits of Starknet

Let’s explore some of the benefits of Starknet.

1. Security

As mentioned, Starknet uses ZK STARK, which is a provably secure cryptography. On top of that, Starknet has other security features.

Starknet also leverages existing security measures from the Web2 sphere to authorize transactions, such as facial identification or fingerprint login. These security checks are already integrated into applications on Starknet, allowing users to enjoy the same level of security that people are accustomed to in their daily activities. This immediate availability of familiar security methods within the Starknet ecosystem makes it easier to onboard users as they feel safer.

Moreover, Starknet supports multisig features, adding an extra layer of security to transactions. With multisig, multiple users can sign off on a transaction before it is executed, ensuring that it meets the required threshold of approvals. This capability enhances the security of funds and reduces the risk of unauthorized access or fraudulent activities. By incorporating multisig functionality, Starknet empowers users with greater control over their assets and enables secure and transparent transaction management where needed.

2. Account Abstraction (AA)

AA is essentially a smart contract account. Think of it as combining user accounts and smart contracts into a unified account type, enabling security features like social recovery and multisignatures. 

With AA, users are not required to sign every transaction using their private keys. AA tackles the limitations of Externally Owned Accounts (EOAs) by merging the two types, granting users access to inherent fail-safe mechanisms and additional verification features for transactions.

The distinction between AA on Ethereum and Starknet lies in the native integration within wallets and applications on the Starknet blockchain. In contrast, Ethereum requires additional effort from providers and wallets to integrate AA functionality. This comes not only at a cost, but takes time and effort to ensure a seamless integration.

According to Kolodny, co-founder and CEO of StarkWare, the existing legacy on Ethereum poses a significant limitation. Even with the introduction of AA, developers building applications must consider the substantial number of externally owned accounts (EOAs). In contrast, Starknet starts anew, where users exclusively interact with the network through smart wallets.

3. Scalable

As mentioned above, Starknet helps to scale Ethereum by using rollups and using ZK proofs. 

It is also able to generate and verifiy proofs more quickly compared to other ZK solutions like ZK-SNARK. As the computational complexity increases, STARK proofs only see a modest rise in prover and verification times. 

This allows Starknet to be highly scalable, and can have millions of TPS, while still being efficient and maintaining low gas costs. 

Downsides of Starknet

1. Incompatibility of Starknet’s Native Language: Cairo

Given that Cairo is a relatively new programming language, developers who wish to code for Starknet might hesitate due to the need to learn Cairo, which is different from Solidity, the main programming language for Ethereum smart contracts. 

To elaborate further, Cairo is a Turing complete programming language that supports various business logic and offers native compatibility with Starknet and was specifically optimized for ZK-rollups, providing capabilities beyond those of the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) and offering more cost-effective computations. Cairo 1.0 have also launched as the upgraded Rust-inspired version of Cairo, allowing developers to write Starknet smart contracts in a safe and convenient manner.

Fortunately, there are transpilers available, such as Nethermind’s Warp, which can convert Ethereum smart contracts into Cairo. 

However, it should be noted that the converted contracts may not be fully optimized for Starknet, potentially leading to suboptimal performance. Ultimately, there is still a certain level of technical barrier for developers who are looking to build optimized apps on Starknet by using Cairo directly. 

2. Difficulty in Achieving Adoption for AA

There are still challenges in receiving widespread adoption for AA. According to Ben-Sasson and Kolodny, co-founders of StarkWare, user education regarding this feature is crucial for its successful implementation and for cryptocurrencies to gain broader acceptance.

In addition, encouraging developers to build on Starknet and fostering their understanding of concepts like AA will require time, effort, and educational initiatives.

Starknet’s Use Cases

As mentioned in the previous paragraphs, Starknet offers several notable benefits that enhance security and is aimed at creating a better user experience (UX) through its incorporation of account abstraction technology. Let’s take a look at Starknet’s use cases.

1. Deadman Switch: Digital Will for Transfer of Personal Assets

A native use case offered by Starknet is what’s referred to as a “deadman switch”, made possible by the account abstraction features that have been integrated into Starknet. This feature allows users to incorporate specific logic and functionalities into their transactions. 

For instance, if a predetermined event occurs, like the unexpected death of the wallet holder, the assets can be automatically transferred to pre-approved recipients, preventing the wallet from becoming a dead wallet which is inaccessible due to the permanent loss of private keys. This functionality is akin to a digital will, streamlining the process of transferring digital assets without the need for intermediaries or costly legal procedures. By enabling users to program these automated asset transfers through code, Starknet provides an efficient, seamless and highly affordable solution.

2. Automatic Recurring Payments

Visa has highlighted the potential of Starknet to facilitate seamless bill payments for users of self-custodial wallets. The concept of AA was explored as a means to implement smart contracts for automated and programmable payments, filling a gap in existing blockchain infrastructure.

Visa collaborated with the Argent crypto wallet to create a proof of concept, leveraging the Starknet scaling platform. This approach enables users to send payments automatically through their self-custodial wallet without the need for manual transaction signing. The proof of concept also suggests that this innovation opens the door for various real-world applications to be integrated into the blockchain ecosystem.

Now, let’s explore how Starknet compares with other blockchain networks.

Starknet and Ethereum

Starknet is Ethereum’s Layer 2 and uses Ethereum for security. In terms of TPS, Ethereum has a TPS of less than 50, whereas Starknet can have a TPS of over one million. 

In terms of Ethereum compatibility, the first question in a developer’s mind is usually “is this EVM compatible so that I can redeploy my Solidity code without much change?” – In other words, what type of zkEVM is starknet? 

There are 5 different types of ZKEVM based on their compatibility as shown in the chart below.

zkevm chart

Source: https://vitalik.ca/general/2022/08/04/zkevm.html

Starknet is a type 4 zkEVM, meaning it is a high level language equivalent and takes smart contract source code written in a high-level language (i.e. Solidity) and compiles it to some language that is explicitly designed to be ZK-SNARK-friendly.

This means that some applications that uses certain infrastructure or Solidity code will not work and will have to be changed. 

As mentioned above, Starknet’s preferred language is Cairo for writing smart contracts. 

Starknet vs. Optimistic Rollups

Optimistic rollups are another popular type of Ethereum L2 scaling solution used by networks such as Coinbase’s BASE and Optimism. The current TPS of optimistic rollups is in the thousands compared to the millions by Starknet.

Optimistic rollups also differ in how they validate proofs and handle data transmission compared to ZK-rollups used by Starknet. 

Optimistic rollups assume all Layer 2 transactions are valid until proven otherwise, while ZK-rollups use zero-knowledge proofs to prove transaction validity without revealing specific transaction details. 

Additionally, ZK-rollups send less data to the base chain since they validate transactions before posting and only share validity proofs for transaction settlement. In contrast, optimistic rollups transmit the entire transaction data, all of which are assumed to be valid unless a dispute arises. This is also why optimistic rollups have a waiting period before transactions are finalized and funds can be accessed. 

Furthermore, STARK cryptographic proofs, used by Starknet, are acknowledged for their complexity compared to the security mechanisms employed by optimistic rollups. Despite being more complex, Starknet prioritizes scalability and ensures that gas fees are kept low.

Starknet vs. zkSync

Starknet is more trustless than zkSync during the setup process as zkSync requires a trusted setup, but in reality both networks are sufficiently trustless and secure for the average user as they do not hold custody of any of the user’s assets. 

Starknet also has faster TPS than zkSync with a theoretical TPS of millions where as zkSync Era is currently at around 2000 TPS. 

Here is a comparison table between Starknet, zkSync Era, and Optimism that I created:

NetworkStarknetzkSync EraOptimism
TechnologyZK-STARK rollupZK-SNARK rollupOptimistic Rollups
ScalabilityHigh TPS (over 1,000,000)High TPS (up to 2,000)High TPS (up to 2,000)

Security Proofs

Uses zkSTARKsUses zkSNARKsUses Fraud Proofs to handle Disputes

Transaction Cost

Low transaction feesLow transaction feesLow transaction fees
DecentralizationFully DecentralizedFully DecentralizedFully Decentralized
TrustlessDoes not require trusted setupTrustless after trusted setupDoes not require trusted setup


Centralized for nowCentralized for nowCentralized for now

Smart Contract Support

Supports custom STARK-based codeSupports EVM-compatible codeSupports EVM-compatible code

EVM Compatible




StarkWare: The Team Behind Starknet

Now, let’s learn more about the team behind Starknet. 

StarkWare Industries, an Israeli software company with a focus on cryptography, is the creator of Starknet. The co-founders of StarkWare, Eli Ben-Sasson and Uri Kolodny, have a longstanding relationship, and Ben-Sasson, a computer science professor at Technion, has a notable history in the blockchain realm, having co-founded Zcash, a privacy-focused cryptocurrency built on the Bitcoin blockchain.

They have a team of blockchain engineers, with a workforce of 70 dedicated individuals and the support of advisors including Joseph Lubin from ConsenSys, the company behind MetaMask.

The company secured an impressive $100 million in a Series D funding round led by Greenoaks Capital and Coatue in May 2022, with prominent investors such as Tiger Global entering the round, elevating its estimated valuation to $8 billion.

The StarkWare team also invented zk-STARKs, which are proofs designed to be scalable and transparent, utilizing lightweight hash functions to verify computational integrity without the need for trust. StarkWare is focused on the development of Layer 2 blockchains for Ethereum by leveraging zk-STARKs for enhanced computational security. 

As mentioned above, zk-STARKs offer the advantage of being faster and more scalable compared to other proof systems while relying on cryptographic assumptions that are both safer and less demanding.

In addition to building Starknet, the StarkWare team developed StarkEx, which is also a Layer 2 scaling solution designed specifically for specific decentralized applications (dApps). StarkEx can be seen as a permissioned version of Starknet, where it caters to specific decentralized finance (DeFi) trading applications, including dYdX, Rhino.fi and many others. Hence, contrary to Starknet, the dApps targeted by StarkEx are a lot more specific and does not cater to the broader ecosystem like Starknet does.


Ethereum’s founder, Vitalik Buterin, has previously voiced his opinion that ZK-rollups will beat optimistic rollups in the long term. Given the benefits brought about by Starknet, including privacy, scalability, security and account abstraction, it will be exciting to see the potential use cases receive adoption from the wider market.

The potential for Starknet is huge, with 68 projects already onboarded onto its mainnet, and more than a 100 projects are building on Starknet inclusive of the testnet. In particular, certain projects on Starknet have started gaining the market’s attention, including JediSwap and the Argent Wallet. If you are interested, do try out some of the dApps within the Starknet ecosystem and you could stand a chance to receive an airdrop!

EigenLayer: ETH Restaking and How It Works


What is EigenLayer?

EigenLayer is a middleware that is built on the Ethereum network, which lets protocols that integrate with it leverage Ethereum’s highly secure trust network without needing to establish its own validator set.

Key Takeaways

  • EigenLayer is a middleware build on the Ethereum network to commoditize decentralized trust

  • Protocols have lower cost barriers to kick-start when they are able to leverage on Ethereum’s highly robust security layer

  • Users benefit from increased capital efficiency by having the option to restake their ETH, in turn receiving more staking rewards

EigenLayer recently caught the market’s attention with their Series A $50 million raise, led by Blockchain Capital and attracting prominent investors including Polychain Capital, Electric Capital, Coinbase Ventures and Ethereal Ventures. 

EigenLayer is a middleware that is being built on the Ethereum network to commoditize decentralized trust. Protocols that look to integrate EigenLayer will be able to leverage Ethereum’s highly secure trust network. This allows protocols to kick-start their launch with much less cost, since they do not have to bootstrap an entire validator set through reward incentives. This significantly increases the potential innovations that could be developed by protocols, as it frees up startup capital.

In this article, we will be exploring what EigenLayer is, its benefits, and its use cases.

What is EigenLayer

As mentioned earlier on, EigenLayer is building out to become a marketplace for decentralized trust. This means that protocols can integrate EigenLayer to leverage Ethereum’s underlying security by ‘renting’ it. This is achieved by allowing ETH stakers to restake their ETH to secure these protocols. 

The goal of EigenLayer is to create a much more robust blockchain ecosystem, with the bulk of protocols being highly secure.

What Is Restaking?

Let’s delve a little deeper into what restaking is about. To put it simply, restaking allows users to stake the same ETH on both Ethereum and on other protocols, securing all of these networks simultaneously. Hence, restaking allows for leverage of existing trust networks.

However, when users opt-in to restake their ETH, they are being exposed to increased slashing risk. As a result, restakers are compensated with higher staking rewards for undertaking more risk.

How to Restake

There are multiple restaking methods offered by EigenLayer (risk level from least to most):

  1. Native Restaking: Validators restake their staked ETH

  2. LSD Restaking: Validators restake assets that are already staked via liquid staking providers, including Lido, Rocket Pool etc.

  3. LSD LP Restaking: Validators restake the LP token of a pair which includes a liquid staking ETH token

  4. ETH LP Restaking: Validators restake the LP token of a pair which includes ETH.

The above can be visualized with this diagram:

Restaking on Eigenlayer

Source: Messari

The ultimate restaking method chosen by users will be dependent on the level of risk they are willing to take on and the kind of positions they already hold.

Problems Tackled by EigenLayer

EigenLayer’s architecture tackles multiple problems that are being faced by the market today.

1. Difficulty and Cost Inefficiency in Establishing Protocol Security

The validator set belonging to a protocol holds the key to the level of protocol security. Currently, protocols that are built on top of the Ethereum network are required to bootstrap their own set of validators, which needs to be sufficiently large in size to achieve decentralization. This becomes a bottleneck to developers due to two reasons. The first being that they will have to fork out a large amount of capital to incentivize the validators to secure the network. The second being that the time taken to manage the validators takes away the time developers have to further the protocol development.

One evident example of this would be the sky high annual percentage rate (APR) that some protocols have to provide to attract stakers to secure their network. This APR that is given to users comes in the form of token emissions, which draws down on the network’s treasury. An example can be seen from the diagram below, which depicts the tokenomics of the Evmos protocol. It can be observed that a very large portion of the tokens (40% < 4 years, now 32%) have to be allocated to ‘Staking Rewards’ to attract and maintain a sufficiently large set of validators.

EVMOS Allocation

Source: Evmos Tokenomics

2. Lack of Sovereignty

Protocols that wish to build on Ethereum are required to adhere to the fundamental set of rules that have been incorporated into Ethereum. Hence, these protocols will face a limit to the extent of innovation they can achieve. This lack of sovereignty has been a factor which drives developers to build on other chains such as Cosmos which grants them a higher level of customizability.

3. Lack of Trust in Other Protocols

A protocol is often dependent on various other protocols for certain functions, with an example being oracles. However, given that these protocols might be built on chains other than Ethereum, it translates to a lower level of security. Hence, this poses a security risk to users because the protocol’s security is only as good as the security of the weakest component, as depicted by the figure below.

Improved trust models with EigenLayer

Source: Kirill Naumov’s Twitter

Benefits of EigenLayer

Now that we have understood the problems that EigenLayer is trying to tackle, we can have a deeper look into the benefits EigenLayer brings about.

1. Increased Protocol Security

With EigenLayer, protocols will be able to tap on Ethereum’s security layer by incentivizing ETH stakers to stake on their protocol. This helps the protocol to gain access to a much larger set of validators, and improve their initial security.

2. High Degree of Flexibility

By building on EigenLayer, protocols will be able to retain sovereignty and have the freedom to customize their architecture, including the type of consensus mechanism, slashing conditions etc.

3. Increased Capital Efficiency

Given the ability to restake ETH, stakers can now earn rewards from multiple protocols with the same capital.

Capital efficiency has proven to be favored by the market, with liquid staking derivatives including Lido and Rocketpool receiving widespread market interest. Governance tokens of such protocols, LDO and RPL, have also experienced huge increase in prices. With EigenLayer, this capital efficiency benefit is increased further, since users are able to stake their ETH across more than one other protocol.

EigenLayer’s Use Cases

One of the most prominent use cases of EigenLayer right now is EigenDA, which is a decentralized data availability layer secured by Ethereum. With EigenDA, the gas fees on Layer 2s (L2s) can be reduced significantly. This is made possible because EigenDA is a separate data availability protocol, secured by Ethereum’s security. This is in contrast to existing infrastructure where data availability is in-built into Layer 1s. The biggest bottleneck that arises from this would be network congestion, since the Layer 1 network has to carry out all the different aspects including execution, data storage and more, which inevitably leads to higher gas fees. In addition, EigenDA also provides higher bandwidth for data availability. The existing Ethereum base layer is able to process 80 kilobytes (KB) per second, while EigenDA is looking to offer up to 10 megabytes (MB), which is order of magnitudes higher.

One of the existing partners is Mantle, a modular Ethereum L2. Mantle utilizes EigenDA as its data availability layer. By separating the data availability layer while leveraging on Ethereum’s security through the restaked ETH, Mantle is able to reduce L2 transaction fees by approximately 80% as compared to existing L2s. This could potentially attract a large number of users.

EigenLayer has also presented the possibility of improving the censorship problem faced in the maximal extractable value (MEV) vertical. The transition of Ethereum from Proof-of-Work consensus mechanism to a Proof-of-Stake consensus mechanism had introduced the issue of censorship. Since EigenLayer introduces slashing for misbehaving blocks proposers, any malicious activity would face slashing, tackling the censorship problem. To have a better understanding of this, you can refer to this article here.


EigenLayer is one of the most interesting protocols that have been built in recent periods. With its architecture, it is able to benefit multiple parties, including developers working on protocols who now have access to limitless innovation possibilities and market participants who are able to make use of their capital to earn more rewards. More importantly, we can foresee the blockchain landscape becoming increasingly robust given the improved security and innovation that can be brought to the market. This will be a critical driving force in attracting more users to come and participate in the ecosystem.

With the testnet live, we’ve put together a guide on interacting with the EigenLayer testnet to better understand how it works (and potentially scoring some tokens if an EigenLayer airdrop happens).

Potential EigenLayer Airdrop: Guide to Testnet Interactions


Key Takeaways:

  • You can improve your eligibility for a potential EigenLayer airdrop by interacting with the testnet, while familiarizing yourself with how the protocol works as a source of additional yield.
  • EigenLayer is a middleware that enables protocols to utilize Ethereum’s highly secure and decentralized trust network, removing the need to establish their own validator sets.
  • The EigenLayer team has not confirmed a token release at the time of writing.

EigenLayer is a middleware developed on the Ethereum network that aims to commoditize decentralized trust. Integrating EigenLayer enables protocols to utilize Ethereum’s highly secure trust network, reducing costs by eliminating the need to establish a complete validator set through reward incentives. This approach substantially enhances the innovation potential for protocols. Meanwhile, stakers will receive additional staking rewards, as they’ll be undertaking increased slashing risks. 

The chain is still in the testnet phase and currently does not have a mainnet date or token release date, but it has already achieved a Series A $50 million raise, led by Blockchain Capital and attracting prominent investors including Polychain Capital, Electric Capital, Coinbase Ventures and Ethereal Ventures. Hence it’s definitely the right time to start trying out the testnet and familiarize yourself with this new source of yield! 

Do note that the EigenLayer team has not confirmed a token release at the time of writing, and proceeding with the steps below is not guaranteed to result in receiving airdropped tokens.

Before proceeding further, you will need to make sure you have MetaMask installed first (there might be a MetaMask airdrop too). 

Now let’s get to interacting with EigenLayer to increase the chances of qualifying for a potential airdrop: EIGEN!

Step 1: Get Goerli ETH (gETH)

There are 2 methods to get access to Goerli ETH.

Go to http://goerlifaucet.com to request for gETH. Take note that this will require you to have an Alchemy account.

Alternatively, you can go to https://faucet.quicknode.com/drip.

Step 2: Get rETH

Go to https://testnet.rocketpool.net/.

Connect your wallet using the Goerli network and stake ETH (Goerli network) to receive rETH. 

If the staking deposit pool is full, go to http://app.uniswap.org instead and connect your wallet.

Click on ‘Select token’.

Enter this address: 0x178E141a0E3b34152f73Ff610437A7bf9B83267A

You will be able to see the Rocket Pool ETH (rETH) token. Click on it to select the token.

Enter an amount of ETH (Goerli network) and swap it into rETH.

You will receive a prompt to add rETH into MetaMask. Click on ‘Add token’. This will make rETH visible within your MetaMask wallet.

Step 3: Get stETH

Open your MetaMask wallet and click on ‘Send’.

Add in this address: 0x1643E812aE58766192Cf7D2Cf9567dF2C37e9B7F

This will be sending stETH to the EigenLayer testnet.

Click on ‘I understand’ and proceed to enter the amount of ETH, and get ready to send gETH in exchange for stETH

Click on ‘Next’ and confirm the sending process.

Step 4: Stake on EigenLayer Testnet

Go to http://goerli.eigenlayer.xyz and connect MetaMask.

You should be able to see Rocket Pool Ether (rETH) and Lido Staked Ether (stETH) which we have added to metamask earlier on.

Click on your rETH and stETH and stake them.

And with that, we are done! You can do this weekly, as airdrop programs tend to reward users based on the frequency of their interactions.


EigenLayer is a promising and innovative protocol that offers numerous benefits to developers and market participants. By following the outlined steps to interact with the EigenLayer testnet, users can increase their chances of qualifying for a potential EigenLayer airdrop. The protocol’s architecture allows for limitless innovation possibilities and enables participants to capitalize on their investments for greater rewards. Furthermore, EigenLayer is expected to contribute to a more robust blockchain landscape, driving improved security and innovation, and attracting more users to participate in the ecosystem.

This article is created for informational purposes, and should not be taken as financial advice.

How to Improve Shardeum Airdrop Eligibility


Shardeum is an EVM blockchain network that was designed to be most scalable layer 1 with low gas fees forever. Its own native governance token is $SHM.

If you haven’t read our previous article explaining how Shardeum works and its existing ecosystem, you can read it here.

The chain is still in its ‘beta’, but both Shardeum mainnet and its native token is said to be launching this quarter, and they have also confirmed that 5% of the token supply will be airdropped to testnet users and node runners on the official website, hence it’s definitely the right time to start trying out the testnet! 

shardeum airdrop confirmed
Source: shardeum.org

Before proceeding further, you will need to make sure you have MetaMask installed first (there might be a MetaMask airdrop too). 

Now, let’s look into the steps required to potentially qualify for the airdrop!

1. Obtaining SHM Testnet Tokens via the Faucet

The first part is to connect to the testnets and obtain testnet tokens before you can interact with any of the Shardeum testnet applications. 

Simply go to https://docs.shardeum.org/network/endpoints and click to connect to their different testnets. Some might be temporarily unavailable. 

Next, go to https://docs.shardeum.org/faucet/claim and follow the instructions to join the Shardeum discord, use the faucet command, and insert your MetaMask address.

Note: Do not use Ledger as Shardeum testnet currently does not work well with Ledgers. 

claim testnet shm

2. Interacting With DApps

The second step will be focused on interacting with the various dapps on the Shardeum testnet. If you have been following our airdrop guides, you should have a pretty good idea of what to do.

Let us walk you through how to interact with the dApps on their testnet ecosystem. Before we begin, make sure your MetaMask network is on Shardeum Liberty 2.X which is their testnet.

The first dApp we will interact with is Swapped Finance


Approve your SHM, then swap some of your SHM into some test USDC. Make sure you have at least 30 left over!  

provide liquidity on Swapped

Once you have some USDC, on the left menu, go to ‘Pool’, then ‘Add’, then select SHM and USDC, approve your USDC, and provide some SHM-USDC liquidity on the DEX and you’re done for now!

Next hop over to dotshm.me. It is a domain name marketplace similar to Ethereum Name Service (ENS). Search for an available domain and buy a Shardeum SHM domain.

The last step is to trade some NFTs. Go to Spriyo, Shardeum’s NFT marketplace which is similar to Opensea, view NFTs that you like and make some bids! 

Once you’ve performed all those actions, it’s time to go deeper! 

3. Creating Your Own Token 

Next we’ll create your own token on Shardeum’s testnet. Don’t worry it’s easier than it sounds, we’ll go through it step by step.


  1. Go to: https://docs.openzeppelin.com/contracts/4.x/wizard

  2. Type in a sample name, symbol, and premint amount (example below), then click on ‘Open in Remix’.
    openzeppelin Shardeum

  3. Now go to ‘Solidity compiler’ and click on the Compile button.
    Solidity compiler Shardeum

  4. Then go to ‘Deploy & run transactions’ and change the ‘Environment’ field from ‘Remix VM (Merge)’ to ‘Injected Provider’ and click ‘Deploy’ and approve the MetaMask transaction.deploy token on Shardeum

  5. Once you’ve deployed the contract successfully (you might have to try a few times), scroll down below the ‘Deploy’ button and find your contract under the ‘Deployed Contracts’ section. Click on the transfer field, paste your address and amount in (not more than what you minted), and click on ‘transact’. Approve the MetaMask transaction, and you will have received the token in your wallet. You’re done!

4. Setting up Your Own Shardeum Validator Node

Running a testnet node historically gives you a high chance of getting an airdrop

To run a node, we need to complete 3 main steps:

  • Buy a VPS (Virtual private server)

  • Run a node

  • Stake SHM tokens

The full guide is too technical to explain as there are many steps that can cause errors for different setups, and the cost may outweigh the benefits, hence this step is only recommended if you are familiar with setting up validator nodes. For more information, visit Shardeum’s validator guide here.

Note: If you are new, it is best to rent a virtual private server (VPS) to try so that you don’t have to keep your computer online 24/7 as your VPS will be doing that for you. A VPS is not free and will usually cost about $14 to $25 a month, but DigitalOcean, a server hosting platform, has a free $200 credit that you can start with. You will likely need to keep running the node until the testnet airdrop is given and it may cost more than what you received in airdrops. 


The market will soon focus on sharding solutions as it is part of Ethereum’s next big update after Shanghai, it will be fascinating to see what Shardeum has up its sleeve to further the sharding technology. It is likely that Shardeum will gaining some attention after it launches its mainnet, which may cause its token to appreciate in value. 

Hence, while the testnet is still live, you should perform all the above steps as they are free and grant a chance of getting the airdrop! 

What is Shardeum and How Does It Work?


What is Shardeum?

Shardeum is an EVM-based Layer 1 network designed for linear scalability that promises low gas fees forever thanks to having the most advanced sharding solution. Shardeum will also have its own native coin, SHM.

Key Takeaways

  • Shardeum solves the scalability issue through linear scaling and sharding, along with autoscaling and its unique Proof of Quorum consensus.

  • Shardeum utilizes dynamic state sharding to improve transaction throughput while maintaining low gas fees.

The Arbitrum (ARB) airdrop was a highly anticipated airdrop that was awarded to those that participated in the Arbitrum mainnet beforehand. 

One of the reasons why Arbitrum was so popular was because it was a scaling solution for Ethereum, performing at a far higher TPS and allowing for much cheaper transactions.

There are other protocols that aim to allow crypto and DeFi to scale, and Shardeum is one of them. 

Shardeum’s team has been building since 2017, and was founded by the founder of WazirX, India’s largest crypto exchange. They raised $18.2 million in October 2022, and might be doing an airdrop to those that participate in its testnet.

Source: Shardeum Blog

In this article, we will take a look at what is Shardeum, some of its unique scalability features, along with a quick look at its ecosystem.

What is Shardeum?

Shardeum is an EVM-based Layer 1 blockchain designed for linear scalability, providing low gas fees forever, while maintaining true decentralization and solid security through dynamic state sharding. With the aim of onboarding the next billion people onto crypto, potential use cases for Shardeum ranges from DeFi to open source AI and games. 

To overcome the blockchain trilemma of scalability, security, and decentralization, Shardeum draws on Ethereum’s decentralization and security, while adding linear scalability through dynamic sharding and its combination of Proof-of-Quorum and Proof-of-Stake consensus. 

Shardeum will have its own native cryptocurrency called SHM, although it is still in the development stage. That said, the team has shared the SHM tokenomics, and SHM will have a fixed supply of 508 million SHM coins.

Shardeum SHM Tokenomics

Let’s explore what makes Shardeum worth keeping an eye on. 

Shardeum’s Unique Features

Shardeum is able to scale by using sharding technology that divides the blockchain into smaller, more manageable pieces, also known as shards, hence the name! 

To elaborate further on sharding, a blockchain is essentially a large database system, and sharding blockchains refers to splitting large data tables into smaller tables called shards. By breaking information down to manageable pieces. This enables sharded networks to process more transactions per second (TPS) than non-sharded blockchains. 

Sharding is not new to Shardeum, sharding is used by Zilliqa, Polkadot, Near, and even Ethereum (they use a version called Proto Danksharding). However, Sharedum uses a unique sharding technology called “dynamic state sharding”, which is the most advanced form of sharding. 

Dynamic State Sharding

Dynamic state sharding is one of the most advanced sharding types. It is built to be flexible, and easily adaptable to changes in the overall blockchain ecosystem. Instead of having all the nodes in a shard covering the same address range, these nodes are assigned different address ranges with a significant overlap, enabling transactions that affect multiple shards to be processed simultaneously instead of sequentially, thus reducing the time to process the transaction. This also helps to increase transaction throughput and while always maintaining low gas fees. 

Essentially, it allows a network to dynamically add or remove blockchain shards or the data storage method, as demand fluctuates. The main benefit of this is easy network upgrades without needing to halt the ecosystem. 

Dynamic state sharding, unlike static state sharding, doesn’t slow down the network as it can perform when the network load varies, while unsharded networks struggle with fluctuating network loads. 

Atomic Processing and Cross Shard Composability

Shardeum also has atomic processing, which ensures that transactions are executed atomically. Atomic means that either all parts of the transaction are executed successfully or none of them are. Without atomic processing, transactions could fail or have inconsistent state data, which results in security risks and reduced reliability. 

Together with atomic processing and Shardeum’s cross-shard communication, which allows for transactions to access and utilize data and state from different shards, it will enable complex transactions and smart contracts to be executed in a sharded environment, making coding easier for smart contract developers.

Autoscaling Feature

A network’s load and demand vary from time to time, and having the ability to scale automatically to accommodate the highs and lows of demand without compromising security or performance is known as autoscaling. 

Autoscaling works by measuring the network load every cycle (1 minute), and based on the load, it will come to consensus on the number of validator nodes needed to process the load. The whole process is self-performing without any intermediaries.

This is similar to the Bitcoin network automatically adjusting its difficulty level every two weeks based on the hashrate. 

For example, when a Shardeum dApp is receiving a lot of activity, the network automatically adds more active validator nodes to increase throughput. When activity goes back down, it will reduce the number of active validators and keep the operations on the network lean. 

Linear Scaling

As its name suggests, Shardeum allows for more and more nodes to be added to the network to increase the transaction throughput instantly during peak demand. By adding more nodes to the network’s ‘standby’ validator pool, the TPS will increase proportionally making Shardeum the first Web3 network to scale linearly. When a node is on standby, it simply waits until the network activity picks back up and standby nodes will begin to be activated to increase the TPS. 

This is the main X factor that impacts every other outcome on a blockchain network favorably including throughput, decentralization, security and constant transaction fees irrespective of the demand in the network.

Therefore, it is theoretically possible for Shardeum to achieve lightning-fast transaction speeds of over 100,000 TPS if there are enough demand and nodes!

Proof of Quorum Consensus

Shardeum uses a unique combination of consensus mechanisms, using both Proof of Stake (PoS) + Proof of Quorum (PoQ). 

Proof of Stake is a way to decide how new blocks of transactions are validated and who earns the reward for validating correctly. Anyone with the minimum required stake of SHM can participate in validation. This is the most popular consensus mechanism at the moment and is used by Ethereum, other L1s, and all Cosmos applications.

While Shardeum uses Proof of Stake to validate new blocks, it uses Proof of Quorum to validate transactions within groups. To elaborate, Proof of Quorum governs how transactions within a consensus group are validated, and a consensus group is made up of multiple nodes in a shard. PoQ nodes validate transactions individually as soon as they are received with a time stamp (this prevents double spending, which occurs when someone alters a blockchain network to reacquire the cryptocurrency that they spent so they can spend it again). The transactions are then gossiped to all the other nodes in a consensus group/shard on the network rather than every node on the network. 

Together, Proof of Stake and Proof of Quorum allows for the collection of votes (aka quorum) in the form of receipts in a trustless and leaderless manner, allowing the network to remain decentralized.

Low Gas Fees Forever

On Shardeum, the consensus and processing are done at the transaction level and not at the block level. 

Thanks to dynamic state sharding, the network will shard its state evenly and dynamically distribute compute workload, storage, and bandwidth among all the nodes. This type of parallel processing of transactions results in very low overhead for validator nodes as they will store only the state data of transactions they are involved in. 

This enables Shardeum to maintain low gas fees for developers and users forever. 

The Shardeum Ecosystem

shardeum ecosystem

Shardeum currently has three testnets: Shardeum Liberty 1.X, Liberty 2.X and Sphinx1.X and there are 69 projects in their ecosystem.

There are various categories of applications on Shardeum, from NFTs, to DeFi, and even games are being built.   

The most important pillar in an ecosystem is the DEX, so let’s first take a look at the DEXs that are already live on Shardeum’s testnet. 


swapped finance dex Shardeum

Every ecosystem needs a DEX, as it’s where most of the transactions and trading is done. As of this writing, Swapped Finance is the only DEX that is live on Shardeum testnet. 

It is similar to a Uniswap v2-style DEX where you can swap different tokens and incur a 0.3% fee, as well as provide liquidity and earn a ~0.21% fee on all trades proportional to the liquidity you’ve provided.

Domain Name Service

dostshm.me Shardeum

The next dApp we’ll explore is a domain name service application. 

Dotshm.me is a Web3 domain name service similar to Ethereum name service (ENS), making it easier for others to send crypto to your name instead of your ‘0x’ address. 

To get a domain on the testnet, simply connect your wallet to Liberty2.X, search for an available domain, and register a domain.  

NFT Marketplace

nft marketplace Shardeum

No DeFi ecosystem is complete without an NFT marketplace, and Spriyo.xyz is exactly that. There are almost 3,000 different collections, and over 120,000 NFTs minted! 

Go into the marketplace, explore, and even place some bids on NFTs that you like. 

Just remember that all of these applications are currently testnets, but it is possible that they may have their own individual airdrops to testnet users in the future as well. 


As the next billion users enter into crypto, scalability becomes a very real issue that many networks are looking to solve. One way to achieve improved scalability is through sharding, where blockchain databases are split into smaller tables known as ‘shards’. It is also one of the next big upgrades for the Ethereum ecosystem, although they’ll be facing competition from other chains. Shardeum willl likely be one of the key contestants in the scaling and sharding wards, as they’ve been building their own advanced version of sharding since 2017, and this allows their network to be infinitely scalable.

Fortunately they are still in the testnet phase, which means that there’s still a potential to receive a Shardeum SHM airdrop, especially with the announcement that they’ll be setting aside 5% for the ecosystem and airdrops. 

Potential Scroll Airdrop: Improving Eligibility via Testnet Interactions


Key Takeaways

  • Scroll network is an L2 scaling solution for Ethereum that utilizes ZK technology, making it a zkEVM network.

  • It enables faster and more efficient transactions while maintaining the security of the Ethereum blockchain.

  • As zkEVM uses EVM as well, developers can easily migrate their EVM dapps to Scroll, creating a fast-growing ecosystem that supports the wider adoption of decentralized applications.

  • Scroll’s use of zero-knowledge proofs makes it a promising solution for addressing the scalability and privacy challenges facing the Ethereum network.

  • As Scroll does not have a token yet, it is possible that they may gave a potential airdrop for interacting with some the dapps on their testnet. 

With the recent Arbitrum (ARB) airdrop that happened on 23rd March, there has been renewed interest from the market and we have seen active participation in airdrop hunting. Hopefully you followed our Arbitrum Ecosystem Airdrop article, and got your share of ARB airdrops. If you missed it or want more and are wondering about upcoming airdrops, read on. 

In this article, we will be looking at one of the highly anticipated developments in the crypto space: Zero-Knowledge (ZK) Rollups. In particular, we will be diving deeper into the Scroll ecosystem, and identify some opportunities for a potential airdrop by interacting with their testnet: Scroll Alpha.

What is Scroll?

Within the zkEVM space, a few networks other than Scroll exist. Examples of which would be StarkNet and zkSync. With the launch of the Scroll Alpha Testnet, Scroll is a step closer to improving the Layer 2 landscape with their technology. Given the competition in this space, let’s take a look at what are some of the key value propositions brought about by Scroll.

1. Hierarchical Zero-Knowledge Proof (ZKP) System

By utilizing this proving scheme, Scroll is able to achieve efficient verification through succint proofs. In addition, it becomes more compatible for decentralized applications (dApps) to be deployed on L2s.

2. Efficient Communication Channels

Scroll is working towards building a robust L2 ecosystem, which is achieved by open innovation. Hence, effort has been made by the Scroll team in terms of establishing communication channels between dApps on Scroll and dApps on the other L2s. This also provides a good opportunity for strategic partnership between applications, potentially creating synergies that could spillover as positive externalities to users.

3. L2 Mining

By introducing robust and permissionless L2 mining, miners will be incentivized to generate zero-knowledge proofs (ZKPs) for users. The separation of transaction packing and mining process also reduces the maximal extractable value (MEV) issue. With these architectures in place, it is likely that Scroll will be more attractive to users given the robustness of the network and the protection from negative MEVs.

With the success of optimistic roll-ups, we can look forward to zk rollups bringing about a new wave of improvement to the crypto landscape.

What is zkEVM?

zkEVM (zero-knowledge Ethereum Virtual Machine) is a type of zk rollup, which is part of a broader vertical known as Layer 2 scaling solutions. In short, they are networks aimed at increasing the transaction throughput while lowering costs. Rollups gained significant market attention between late 2021 to early 2022, with the high gas fees on Ethereum proving to be a huge financial barrier for users to come onboard. Also, while there are established optimistic rollups like Optimism and Arbitrum, they require a 7-day window for any potential disputes before a transaction is confirmed on the Layer 1. Meanwhile zk rollups takes significantly less time for a transaction to be finalized, with the Scroll testnet currently requiring a maximum of a few hours, with the expectation of even lower confirmation times on Mainnet. 

A zkEVM is a virtual machine that is able to execute smart contract transactions in a manner which allows them to be compatible with both zk proof computations and Ethereum’s existing infrastructure. Given that the Ethereum ecosystem is the largest, being EVM compatible would give zk roll-ups a huge leverage in terms of the potential market they can tap on.

Now, let’s look at how we can improve our eligibility for the potential Scroll airdrop through testnet interactions.

Entering Scroll Alpha

Before we begin interacting with any applications, we will first have to connect the wallet to the Scroll Alpha environment.

Step 1: Adding Goerli Testnet & Scroll Alpha Testnet

Go to https://scroll.io/alpha and click on ‘Add to MetaMask’ for both the Goerli Testnet and Scroll Alpha Testnet

scroll network metamask

Step 2: Getting Goerli ETH

Sign up for an Alchemy account at https://auth.alchemy.com/signup. Once you have done so, head over to https://goerlifaucet.com/, login to your Alchemy account from this page and key in your wallet address to receive Goerli ETH. This will allow you to receive 0.02 Goerli ETH every 24 hours.

If this does not work, you can also try Quicknode’s faucet which may take 140 hours or more as it is often congested. Lastly, if you really want to, you can buy Goerli ETH with real ETH on https://testnetbridge.com which is powered by LayerZero.

Note: The gas fees requirement might be more than 0.02 ETH, so you might need to get Goerli ETH from the faucet a few times. goerli faucet

Step 3: Bridge Goerli ETH to Scroll

Once you have received your Goerli ETH, head over to http://scroll.io/alpha/bridge and bridge 0.01 ETH from Goerli Testnet to Scroll Alpha Testnet.

A few things to note for this section

  • Your wallet should be connected to the Goerli Testnet

  • Click on the arrow to change the direction of the transfer to be from Goerli Testnet to Scroll Alpha) Testnet (make sure it’s not the other way round)

  • This process might take up to 10 minutes.

scroll eth bridge

We are all set and ready to start hunting for the Scroll airdrop!

Join the Scroll Guild

Go to https://guild.xyz/scrollzkp and click on ‘Join Guild to get roles’. You will be asked to connect your wallet, Discord and Twitter. Do take note that to qualify for this mystery role, you will need to have a Twitter account that was created before 1st October, 2022. For those that do not qualify for this criteria, fret not as we have more Scroll applications to interact with!

scroll guild


Alright, first up, we will be interacting with Uniswap that has been deployed on the Scroll Alpha testnet.

Go to https://uniswap-v3.scroll.io/#/swap and connect your wallet. Make sure that you are connected to the Scroll Alpha Testnet and not other networks. Remember the steps we did earlier on? That should have gotten you your ETH for use on the Scroll Alpha Testnet. There are a few steps to interacting with Uniswap.

Step 1: Wrapping ETH to WETH

(A) Click on the ‘Select token’ and select Wrapped Ether (WETH).

(B) Enter 0.0001 in the row with ETH and the corresponding amount of WETH will be generated automatically. Afterwards, click on ‘Wrap’.

(C) After you have wrapped the tokens, you can now proceed to unwrapping it. Click on the arrow to change the order of ETH and WETH, and you should be able to see this on the screen. Enter 0.0001 in the row with WETH and the corresponding amount of ETH will be generated automatically. Click on ‘Unwrap’.

Wrapping ETH to WETH Scroll Airdrop

That concludes the first part of interacting with Uniswap! Let’s move on to provision of liquidity.

Step 2: Get USDC

(A) Once again, click on ‘Select token’ from the swap interface. Enter this string ‘0xA0D71B9877f44C744546D649147E3F1e70a93760’ into the search panel. You will see the ‘USD Coin’ pop up in the list, click on it.

Take note that while adding the USDC token, there will be a warning sign that appears. It is safe to ignore the warning in this testnet.

(B) Once you have added the token address in, you can swap 0.0001 ETH to USDC. Do take note that the amount of USDC you receive might be different from what is shown below; it is a normal occurrence.

Get USDC Scroll Airdrop

Step 3: Add Liquidity to the ETH-USDC Pool

Go to https://uniswap-v3.scroll.io/#/pool and click on ‘New Position’. Under ‘Select Pair’, type in ‘USDC’ and select the token that appears. You will be able to see USDC because you have added it in the previous step.

You can select any of the fee tiers. For this guide, I have selected 0.3%.

This next portion will require you to play around with the price. Since this is a testnet, the token does not reflect the actual price of USDC, which causes the price range to vary significantly. Under the ‘Set Price Range’, you will have to adjust the range to be able to see the ‘Preview’ and carry on with liquidity provision. One trick that you can try would be to click on ‘-’ for the ‘Min Price’ and ‘+’ for the ‘Max Price’, as this allows you to be adjust until you are within a suitable range. Once this has been done, key in the amount of ETH, but do take note not to deposit all ETH as Goerli ETH is not readily available.

Once all of the above has been completed, click on ‘Preview’. There will be a couple of prompts and you will have to sign the transaction from your wallet. 

deposit liquidity into pool Scroll testnet

Upon the successful provision of liquidity, you should be able to see the position in your dashboard. By clicking into the position, you will have access to a Non-Fungible Token (NFT) which is presentative of the position. Over here, you will be able to access other features such as ‘Increase Liquidity’, ‘Remove Liquidity’ and ‘Collect Fees’.


And with that, we are done with the Uniswap interaction! If you are interested, feel free to play around with some of the other functions that were mentioned above.

Let’s move on to other interesting dApps on Scroll!

Scroll Guardians

Scroll Guardians is a simple boss killing game. Users are able to mint the hero of their choice, and engage in a fight with the boss Moloch. Head over to https://scroll-guardians.vercel.app/ to give this a try.

scroll guardians

Scroll.chat: A Way to Learn More About Scroll

I’m sure you have used, or at least heard of ChatGPT, given it’s newfound popularity over the past few months. Well, scroll.chat is a chatbot that utilizes the OpenAI (which is used to develop ChatGPT) API to help answer questions pertaining to Scroll. So if you are keen on learning more about Scroll, do make sure to hop over to https://scroll-chat-frontend.vercel.app/, connect your wallet  and try this out!

scroll chat


And that would be all for this article! Do remember that interacting with the mentioned protocols might give you an opportunity to receive an airdrop, however, this has yet to be confirmed by the Scroll team themselves. Nonetheless, it would be interesting to begin interacting with some of the applications building on a soon-to-be released Layer 2 and to see what the protocol has to offer.

Fuel: Ecosystem Overview and Potential Airdrop


Key Takeaways

  • As the industry shifts from monolithic blockchain architecture to modular ones, the execution layer is now separated from other functions, allowing for specialization and increasing throughput.

  • To become the fastest execution layer, Fuel uses parallel transaction execution, its own Fuel Virtual Machine, and enhanced developer tooling.

  • With the testnet up, users can participate and potentially earn a share of Fuel’s potential airdrop.

With the recent announcement of the highly anticipated Arbitrum (ARB) airdrop, the market’s attention around the Arbitrum ecosystem has been on the rise. Some of us might have missed out on the ARB airdrop, and are looking for the next big airdrop. Within the optimistic rollup vertical, there is one other player that might potentially have an airdrop: Fuel. The team raised $80 million in September 2022, and has been relatively under the radar for the time being.

In this article, we will take a look at what is Fuel, some of its unique features, use cases and of course, details for the potential airdrop.

What is Fuel?

Fuel (v1) was the first optimistic rollup to be launched on mainnet Ethereum and can be largely thought of as a Layer 2 protocol for Ethereum. The main issue that Fuel targets is that of scalability, which is still lacking. In the current rollup landscape, the increase in throughput brought about by both optimistic and zero knowledge rollups are modest, and during periods of high transaction volume, the fees are still high. To achieve global access to the blockchain technology, more has to be done to improve blockchain’s scalability.

The industry has seen a shift from monolithic blockchain architecture to one that is modular. The traditional monolithic structure is one where all four blockchain functions: data availability, consensus, settlement and execution are all carried out by a single party. With such an architecture, the bandwidth that blockchains can reach is restrained given the heavy workload that needs to be carried out. A new age comes with modular architecture, where execution is separated from the other functions, allowing for specialization at the base layers and thus increasing throughput. And this is where Fuel steps in to be the fastest modular execution layer. 

Fuel’s Unique Features

Let’s take a look at the features that Fuel possesses to be able to achieve the afore-mentioned.

  1. Parallel Transaction Execution

By utilizing strict state access lists in the format of a UTXO (Unspent Transaction Output) model, Fuel is able to execute transactions in parallel. As a result, Fuel can tap on a significantly larger number of threads and cores of CPU that would otherwise be idle in single-threaded blockchain. Hence, this will allow Fuel to drastically increase the transactional throughput as compared to single-threaded counterparts.

Think of it as cars trying to cross a bridge. In a single-threaded blockchain, these cars can only cross the bridge in single-file. This would obviously take a very long time. With parallel transaction execution, there are now five lanes instead of one. As a result, five cars will be able to cross the bridge at any one time, increasing the speed significantly.

  1. Fuel Virtual Machine (VM)

To learn more about what are VMs, you can refer to this article here. Simply put, this is the software platform that allows developers to create decentralized applications (dApps). By learning from the mistakes of previous blockchain architectures, Fuel has created a VM which reduces the energy wasted on processing while concurrently offering increased design flexibility for developers. This allows more novel use cases to be developed on the Fuel network given the nuances that can be integrated by developers.

  1. Enhanced Developer Tooling (Swap and Forc)

Swap is Fuel’s domain-specific language while Forc (Fuel Orchestrator) is a supportive toolchain. Both of these are native to Fuel and is aimed at providing developers a better user experience (UX). Specifically, the development environment offered by Fuel integrates the benefits of other smart contract languages and the novel features offered by Rust tooling ecosystem. By combining the best of both worlds, Fuel boosts the suite of resources available to developers, possibly hinting towards a robust ecosystem.

Fuel’s Use Cases

As mentioned earlier on, flexibility is an aspect highly touted by Fuel. Let’s take a look at how Fuel can be deployed in different manners to provide different functions to other protocols or chains. Note: It’s even cooler because the different functions can be accessed just by switching the modules.

  1. Fuel as a Rollup

Fuel’s technology allows it to function as both an optimistic rollup and a ZK-rollup. And unlike typical rollups, Fuel’s is built to be able to withstand large amount of Layer 1 bandwidth, the core reasons for which it allows for scaling.

  1. Fuel as a Sidechain

By running as a sidechain to a Layer 1, there will be a message passing bridge that is established between the Layer 1 and Fuel. In this scenario, Fuel will handle both data availability and execution, while the settlement of the transaction if performed on the Layer 1.

  1. Fuel as a Layer 1

The technology possessed by the Fuel network technically allows it to function as a Layer 1 solution. However, Fuel’s mission is to enhance existing blockchains by offloading the intensity of transaction execution. Hence, this use case is not actively supported by Fuel.

Fuel’s Potential Airdrop and How to Qualify

Now, let’s look into the steps required to potentially qualify for the airdrop!

1. Installing the Fuel Wallet

The first part will be installing the Fuel wallet and interacting based on the documentation.

  1. Install Fuel wallet

Go to https://github.com/FuelLabs/fuels-wallet. Scroll down and click on ‘Install Wallet’. Afterwards, click on ‘Download Fuel Wallet’ from either of the buttons.

Fuel Airdrop 1: Go to website to download Fuel wallet

Fuel Airdrop 2: Download Fuel wallet

  1. Go to Chrome extension management page

Click on the chrome extension management page (on the top right of browser) and click on ‘Manage Extensions’.

Fuel Airdrop 3: Chrome extension

  1. Turn on developer mode

Turn on the developer mode (top right). Click on ‘Load unpacked’ (top left) and select the downloaded Fuel wallet file: ‘fuel-wallet.’

Developer mode


  1. Create Fuel wallet

Click on ‘Create a Wallet’

Create new fuel wallet

Store the recovery phase safely and tick the checkbox before proceeding on.

Seed phrase

Key in the recovery phase to confirm that you have recorded it down.

Key in seed phrase

Create a password. This will be used to log in to your Fuel wallet.

Set up password for Fuel wallet

Once the above steps are completed, you will receive your Fuel wallet address.

Complete setting up Fuel wallet

  1. Claim testnet ETH

Go to https://faucet-beta-2.fuel.network and key in the wallet address received earlier. Fill in the necessary details and click on ‘GIVE ME ETHER’. Take note that it will take a while before ETH is sent to the wallet.

Claim Testnet ETH

  1. Interact with Fuel

Go to https://wallet.fuel.network/docs/how-to-use/. Start from ‘Request connection’, scroll down and complete the tasks accordingly. The tasks are relatively simple.

Request connection with Fuel

2. Interacting With SwaySwap

The second part will be focused on interacting with SwaySwap.

  1. Go to SwaySwap at https://fuellabs.github.io/swayswap/swap?from=ETH&to=DAI.

Get started on SwaySwap

  1. Set up Fuel wallet for SwaySwap

Set up Fuel Wallet SwaySwap

  1. Request for testnet ETH

Click on the faucet located at the bottom left of the screen.

  1. Carry out a swap

Key in an amount of ETH, the amount of DAI will be automatically calculated. Click on ‘Swap’ to carry out the swap. Afterwards, click on the reverse button and swap DAI to ETH. Repeat this a few times. At the end of it, make sure you have at least 100 DAI and 0.1 ETH.

Swap ETH and DAI on SwaySwap

  1. Provide Liquidity

Click on ‘Add Liquidity’.

Add Liquidity SwaySwap

You will then be able to see the liquidity you have provided.

Liquidity Provided

More Potential Airdrops on the Fuel Ecosystem

Want to participate in more airdrops? Here’s more for you within the Fuel ecosystem. Currently, there are already protocols building on Fuel, and they might potentially be launching a token too, airdropping to early users / beta users. Keep a lookout for some of these:

  1. Elix Finance

This is an automated market maker (AMM) decentralized exchange (DEX) building on Fuel. You can think of this as the Fuel equivalent of Uniswap on Ethereum. DEXes are at times known as the centerpiece of an ecosystem, as it is where trading happens and where users congregate. With a good tokenomics, it is likely that the value accrual of a DEX token will be attractive for users.

  1. Orao Network

Once again, a key infrastructure: Oracle. Simply put, a blockchain oracle is the infrastructure that allows smart contracts to access information from off-chain systems. This is highly essential as the execution will be dependent on data that is derived off-chain. An example that you can think of would be Chainlink, the largest oracle provider currently.

  1. Fuel Nomen

A domain name system. This is a simplified naming system stored on the blockchain, which users will be able to interact with, like Ethereum Name Service (ENS). Fuel Nomen makes it possible for users within the Fuel ecosystem to interact with each other more easily, becoming the vehicle to drive improved UX, while offering a more sustainable fee mechanism.


And with that, you have earned yourself the potential to receive a token airdrop from Fuel. Do note that this interaction with the beta testnet does not guarantee an airdrop. Given that that market has increased their attention for rollups ever since Vitalik has pushed out the rollup-centric roadmap, it will definitely be interesting to see what Fuel has up their sleeves to propel the growth of this vertical. Do also keep a lookout for the projects building on Fuel, for the growing ecosystem could be a sign of more airdrops too!

Exploring the Chinese Crypto Token Narrative and Its Impact


Key Takeaways:

  • China’s recent decision to abandon its "Zero Covid" policy and inject $600 billion yuan into the economy is potentially driving up prices of risk assets, including cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and other Chinese-associated tokens.

  • Hong Kong’s recent proposal to allow retail investors to trade cryptocurrencies from June 1, 2023, is expected to bring more investors to the market, increasing the demand for Chinese tokens, which are becoming more popular among investors.

  • The regulatory environment for cryptocurrencies in China remains strict, and geopolitical tensions between China and other countries could impact the growth of Chinese tokens.

  • The success of Chinese tokens will still depend on how well the teams behind these tokens can remain competitive and meet the needs of investors in China and elsewhere.

On Twitter, there is a new trending narrative of Chinese crypto, but before we get into that, let’s first explore why there is a sudden interest in Chinese coins. 

China’s “Zero Covid” policy has caused their economy to go into a slump, but they have recently announced that they are abandoning this policy. 

On 17 February 2023, the Chinese central bank also injected $600 billion Yuan, worth about $92 billion USD at that point in time. China is expected to continue to increase liquidity due to the abandonment of their "zero covid" policy. 

This has lead to a renewed demand for growth, putting stress on the Chinese banking sector. As a result, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) injected yuan to stimulate the economy to jumpstart growth. 

China Cash Injection
Source: Bloomberg

It was China’s biggest single injection of cash, and it was also meant to help the country’s economy get out of levels that had never been seen before. 

In addition to this injection of cash, Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) recently proposed that retail investors could start trading crypto on June 1, 2023. This could cause a flood of demand from Hong Kong.

In this article, let’s explore a little history of Chinese cryptocurrencies and different cryptocurrencies that may be considered part of the Chinese coin narrative. 

Brief History of Chinese Cryptocurrencies

The history of Chinese cryptocurrencies can be traced back to 2011 when China’s first Bitcoin exchange, BTC China, or simply BTCC, was launched and accepted cryptocurrency as payments as early as 2013. Afterwards, some of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, including Huobi and OKCoin launched in China. 

However, in 2017, the Chinese government cracked down on cryptocurrencies, banning initial coin offerings (ICOs) and forcing the closure of all cryptocurrency exchanges, causing these Chinese exchanges and cryptocurrencies to move to other countries and have continued to make an impact on the global market. 

Let’s explore some of these Chinese coins, both established and new and why they are potentially part of the Chinese narrative. 

NEO Blockchain: NEO


One of the most popular Chinese coins is NEO, often referred to as "China’s Ethereum" especially during the 2017 crypto bull run. It was launched in 2014 as Antshares, one year earlier than Ethereum. Now NEO can do around 10,000 TPS and is worth $1.2b in FDV, however, it has only about $50 million of TVL in its DeFi ecosystem, dominated by Flamingo, their AMM DEX. The total supply of NEO tokens is capped at 100 million to be released gradually over a period of 15 years.

Ironically, in the past since NEO is considered a Chinese smart contract platform, it suffered from a disadvantage due to the Chinese government’s less-than-friendly stance towards the blockchain industry and their banning of cryptocurrency has turned users and developers away from NEO. 

Although NEO has several technological advantages and an early head start, it lacked the strong network effect necessary for success. The more users a blockchain has and the faster its user base expands, the more likely the platform is to succeed; this is known as the "network effect." This is why Ethereum is so valuable  even though its technology might not be the best, its number of users keeps growing. NEO’s lack of growth has hurt its chances of competing with other L1 smart contract platforms. 

However, NEO’s price has more than doubled since its lows, which could be due to a number of factors, some of which will be discussed below. 


China regulates their blockchain industry by having their own Blockchain-based Service Network (BSN) which is a blockchain infrastructure project to provide a standardized blockchain environment for developers to create decentralized applications (dApps). It is developed by the State Information Center of China, a government agency, and complies with Chinese regulations, making it essential for blockchains that want to succeed in China to be integrated with it. 

Neo-powered Jiuquan Chain has recently announced that it will be one of the ten chains that will make up the Chinese mainnet. This will let people in China use NFT markets that run on the BSN Open Permissioned Blockchain, which will increase NEO’s adoption and network activities. 

Jiuquan Chain on the BSN will integrate with the Neo domain name service, giving users the ability to choose a personalized name to use instead of a complicated wallet address or hash string, additionally, NFTs will also be rebranded as "Decentralized Digital Certificates" (DDCs) to distinguish them from NFTs used outside of China. 

Another factor contributing to the renewed interest in NEO is the successful launch of N3, which improves network performance, enables digital ID, more comprehensive developer toolkits, and  ultimately helps to position NEO as a strong competitor against other L1s. 

With the opening of cryptocurrency to retail users in Hong Kong, its new N3 upgrade, NFT marketplaces, and integration with China’s Blockchain Service Network (BSN), NEO may be beginning to regain its foothold in the cryptocurrency world. 

BitDAO & Mantle: BIT


BitDAO is an investment collective DAO token with a daily revenue stream of $2.4 million from the contributions made by Bybit, and was launched by them as well. Bybit is a large cryptocurrency derivatives exchange based in Singapore with offices in Hong Kong and Taiwan. It was founded by Ben Zhou, who is from China and has connections there. 

The BitDAO treasury also has about $2.8 billion in its treasury with a market cap of $722 million, which is about 4 times less than its treasury, however, about 75% of the treasury conmsists of the BIT token.


Layer 2 (L2) networks are all the rage right now, and the recent news that Coinbase is launching Base, their own optimistic rollup L2 network powered by Optimism, is adding to the buzz.   

BitDAO is also launching Mantle, also an optimistic roll up L2 network, and they recently proposed a $200m Web3 fund on their forums to attract developers to build dApps on their ecosystem. BITDAO MANTLE FUND PROPOSAL

Source: https://discourse.bitdao.io/t/discussion-mantle-ecofund/4692/1

Historically, when there are huge incentives for developers and dApps, the ecosystem tends to experience a strong influx of new users and money, as well as positive speculation of the token price. Examples were Polygon’s MATIC incentives, Avalanche’s AVAX rush incentives, Optimism’s OP incentives, etc which all led to the token price going up after incentives were live. 

VeChain: VET


VeChain is a blockchain-based smart contract platform that was started in 2015. Its main goal is to make inventory tracking more clear so that business and supply chain management problems can be solved with the help of blockchain. 

Vechain is designed to solve enterprise problems such as anti-counterfeit for luxury brands by using smart chips to prevents duplication, or using smart IoT sensors to ensure that food doesn’t spoil during transportation by automatically reporting crucial information to the blockchain, and keeping tamper-proof records of automobile vehicle data including repair history, insurance, registration, and driver habits, even quantitatively tracking carbon contributions of a particular company to reduce carbon emissions, and tracing of digitalized clinical trial with a partnership with Bayer China, and more. 

Based on their Q3 2022 financial report, the foundation still has about $400 million in treasury, with a quarterly spend of $10 million, which can be extrapolated to $40 million a year, indicating that there is still around 10 years of runway potentially. 


The company began as a subsidiary of Bitse, one of China’s largest blockchain companies, and the founder, Sunny Lu, previously worked as the CIO of Louis Vuitton China. Over the years it has secured many partnerships with big companies in China such as Walmart China, Bayer China, BMW Group, etc. 

With a focus on real-world use cases becoming increasingly important in blockchain and VeChain being one of the leading real world focused blockchain application, this means that they can potentially lead this real world asset narrative wave. Their existing partnerships with big companies make them a strong candidate for big real world use case announcements which can kickstart a rally. 

Additionally, they have released a new tech roadmap for the next two years. In the first half of 2023, several big changes are planned for the ecosystem, such as the release of a wallet and an NFT market. The team will also be focusing on product NFTs for the metaverse, oracles, and tokenization for sustainability in the second half of 2023. 

The roadmap also outlines plans for the first quarter of the following year, including work on a Layer 2 rollup, an algorithmic stablecoins community and a DAO operating system, features that have proven to be key in a robust DeFi ecosystem which should help VeChain remain competitive in crypto.

vechain roadmap 2023 2024

Source: https://twitter.com/vechainofficial/status/1614218288904691714?

Overall, these changes show that VeChain is committed to continuing to develop and innovate in the blockchain industry, with a focus on real-world applications while adapting what has worked in DeFi to increase its use and stay competitive. 

Conflux Network: CFX


Conflux Network is a high-performance, EVM-compatible L1 network founded in 2018 by a team of researchers and developers from Tsinghua University, a leading Chinese academic institution. 

Conflux achieves high throughput and low latency by utilizing directed acyclic graph (DAG) structure to enable parallel transaction processing and supports up to 3,000 transactions per second (TPS) in a single shard.

why conflux

Source: https://confluxnetwork.org/en


They are a regulatory compliant blockchain in China and have performed a lot of business development activities such as partnering with the China Telecom, the 2nd largest wireless carrier in China with close to 400 million users, and has a sim card with a hardware wallet capability, partnering with Little Redbook, Chinese’s “Instagram” with over 200 million daily active users, and many other partnerships. Due to their strong business development efforts, they can be seen by some as "The MATIC of China."

Additionally, the token has a maximum supply of 5.28 billion CFX which will be fully out after 4 years, and the tokenomics also include a staking feature at a modest return of 4% APR. The Ecosystem Fund, which makes up 40% of CFX token, is used to sponsor transactions and the rest is burnt. To date, they have burnt over 16% of the supply already with a proposal to ramp up CFX crypto token burn

conflux token burn

Source: https://www.confluxscan.io/

CFX has also released a Chinese stablecoin called CNHC. It is fully collateralized by CNH meaning that CNHC is backed by exactly 1 unit of reserved fiat held on behalf of token holders and can be exchanged for 1 CNH. Looking at the profitability of USDC and USDT, a successful China stablecoin  can be highly lucrative as China is one of the largest and fast growing economy, and there is no clear competitor for a Chinese stablecoin yet. If CNHC becomes the prominent Chinese stablecoin, CFX will reap the benefits as well. However, CNHC’s Twitter account has not tweeted in months. 

Overall, Conflux Network is a promising L1 with connections to China as their HQ is located at Beijing, and can attract developers to build dApps on their fast, scalable and interoperable network. 

IRIS Network: IRIS

IRIS network

IRIS is a Layer 1 PoS blockchain built on the Cosmos SDK and developed by some of the developers from Tendermint, the team behind Cosmos SDK. The staking rewards for IRIS is currently around 6.8% a year. IRIS also has a liquid staked derivative created by StaFiHub called rIRIS. 

IRIS Network shares Cosmos’ vision of being the "internet of blockchains". IRIS acts as a hub and other IBC apps can be connected to it, just like the Cosmos Hub. This lets users move assets and data between various IRIS connected networks without any problems. 

As the IRIS hub is similar to the Cosmos hub, it also serves as a redundant Inter-Blockchain Communication (IBC) router with the same functionality as the Cosmos Hub for enabling cross-chain transactions in the event there’s ever a continental network partition. 


IRIS Network project is based in China and has gotten the reputation as China’s Cosmos. It has also established partnerships with several leading Chinese companies and academic institutions, such as  working with China’s Blockchain Service Network which is important for any blockchain projects to succeed in China, as mentioned previously. 

IRIS Network has also partnered with Bianjie AI, which is an AI company in China. The partnership aims to promote the development of blockchain technology and to explore new use cases for the IRIS Network.

The focus and vision of IRIS is also different from ATOM, as IRIS Network is focusing more on real world business adoption of its blockchain solution in China. This can also allow IRIS to ride the real world use case trend when it inevitably becomes an important pillar in the future of crypto. 

Overall, if the Cosmos appchain narrative were to kickoff again while Chinese tokens remain hot, IRIS token is likely to get some attention, especially if they were to announce any interesting real world business use cases or partnership. 

OK Exchange (OKX): OKB


OKex, now known as OKX, is one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, with volumes that are similar to Coinbase and is one of the top 5 exchanges in volume, right behind Binance. 

The exchange supports various trading products such as coin-margined swaps, perpetual swaps, savings, margin tradings, and derivatives of DeFi projects. 

OKB is a utility token that was made by the OK Blockchain Foundation and gives users a number of benefits. Users holding OKB tokens in their OKX account can save up to 25% in trading fees. On top of trading discounts, holders can also use OKB tokens to participate in the OKX Jumpstart feature, have voting rights, and access to C2C lending. 

OKB is also a deflationary token, which means that the number of tokens in circulation is always going down as OKX uses the fees that they generate to buy back OKB tokens from the community and burn them. 

OKX also supports a community-owned IBC-enabled network called OKX Chain that was built on Cosmos SDK and supports Ethermint, allowing for solidity dApps to be launched on the chain for users to use if they are using Metamask


OKX started in Hong Kong and has significant users and connections in the China and Hong Kong regions. This allowed them to work with a number of Chinese companies, such as Cobo, a popular Chinese cryptocurrency wallet, and Longhash, a Chinese blockchain incubator, and more. 

OKX also has a big presence in China, where it has several offices. The exchange has been working hard to grow its business in the country. It recently launched a website in Chinese and offers customer service in Mandarin.

These partnerships improves OKB’s visibility and popularity among Chinese investors, and when Hong Kong opens up crypto trading, a lot of users and volume might take place on OKex which would increase the buy back and burn for the exchange’s OKB token, potentially increasing its value.


Hong Kong’s recent decision to let regular people trade cryptocurrency is a big step forward for the crypto industry in the area. This move is likely to bring more investors to the market, which will increase the demand for Chinese tokens, which are already becoming more popular among investors in the region. 

With China’s huge economy and growing interest in digital assets, the future looks good for Chinese tokens. Also, the decision to make crypto trading legal in Hong Kong is likely to be good for the economy of the country and make it a hub for crypto innovation and investment in the region. As such, we can expect to see continued growth and adoption of Chinese tokens in the coming years.

It is worth noting that the regulatory environment for cryptocurrencies in China remains strict. In recent years, the Chinese government has been very strict about trading and mining cryptocurrencies. At the same time, the country’s central bank is working on its own digital currency, which could be perceived as a threat to existing cryptocurrencies.

Moreover, some analysts argue that Chinese tokens may face challenges in gaining broader global acceptance due to concerns around censorship and lack of transparency. There are also concerns about the geopolitical tensions between China and other countries, which could impact the growth of Chinese tokens.

As China attempts to revitalize their economy by injecting more capital, it is likely to attract more investors to get into the market, including the Chinese cryptocurrency token market which could become more popular and become a bigger part of the global cryptocurrency ecosystem. 

In the end, the success of Chinese tokens will also depend on how well the team behind these tokens can remain competitive and meet the needs of investors in China and elsewhere.

What Are Decentralized Exchanges (DEXs) and Which DEXs Are Popular?


What are Decentralized Exchanges and How Do They Work?

Key Takeaways

  • Decentralized exchanges are one of the pillars of crypto as they allow for cryptocurrencies to be exchanged without holding custody or requiring an intermediary.

  • The three main types of DEXs are Automated Market Makers, Order books, and Aggregators.

  • Just like on a centralized exchange, DEXs do not only support spot trading, but also support derivatives trading such as perpetuals and options.

  • DEXs are similar to a business, with revenue, expenses, and earnings, and can be valued in a manner similar to traditional businesses as well.

The DeFi industry has grown tremendously in the past few years, reaching a peak total valued locked (TVL) of $181.22 billion on 2 December 2021. Even though the current total DeFi TVL has decreased since to $50.46 billion, of which $19.69 billion is currently held in decentralized exchanges (DEXs) as of time of writing. 

DeFi Total TVL

Source: DeFiLlama

Given the black swan events that have occurred over the past year, especially the collapse of FTX, one of the largest centralized exchanges, crypto participants have started to understand the importance of self-custody, removing their funds away from centralized exchanges and into decentralized exchanges for better risk management. 

This has ignited movement in the industry, with DEXs gaining in market share against CEXs and more users being more conscious about leaving funds in CEXs and opting to move their funds into their own cold wallet self-custody solution.

In this article, we will focus primarily on DEXs, how they work and make money, and what popular DEXs you should look out for! 

Read our article about CEX vs DEX if you want to learn more about their differences!

What are DEXs?

Decentralized exchanges, or DEXs, are platforms that crypto traders can connect with using a web3 crypto wallet in order to perform trades using the help of smart contracts (self-executing programs) without the need for a middleman or centralized entity holding custody of the user’s tokens. 

Over 100 million investors frequent these decentralized platforms, and daily volume on DEXs regularly exceeds billions of dollars. DEXs have evolved, growing from only supporting spot trading, to derivatives trading such as perpetuals and options trading.

But without a centralized entity to manage trades, how do DEXs work?

What Are the Different Types of DEXs and How Do They Work?

Automated Market Maker DEXs

An automated market maker (AMM), which was made popular by Uniswap, helps with market orders and tracking the price of digital assets without the need for traditional market makers. This is a game changer when it was introduced in crypto, as it allowed anyone to provide liquidity to markets, which was traditionally only possible by licensed market makers which is difficult to become for most independent investors. However adding liquidity to liquidity pools on a DEX can result in impermanent loss, which occurs when liquidity providers receive a different amount of assets upon withdrawal, which usually occurs due to changes in token price. 

uniswap UI

Source: Uniswap

Instead of connecting buyers and sellers, AMMs use community-funded liquidity pools to carry out buy and sell orders. Liquidity pools consist of two distinct tokens. When someone buys or sells a token through a liquidity pool, the ratio of the tokens in the pool fluctuates and the price of the pool’s tokens changes. 

In an AMM pool for example, if a liquidity pool has 100 token A and 200 token B, where 1 token A is worth 2 of token B. When someone buys 50 token B for 25 token A, the pool now has125 token A units and 150 token B units, and the pool’s ratio changes. The new ratio implies that 1 token A is worth 1.2 token B, and that’s how the price changes when users buy and sell tokens from the pool.

Most AMM pools use a constant product curve, which in simple terms means that liquidity will exist at any price, from $0 to infinity. However there are also other types of curve that suit certain tokens, such as stableswap curve to swap between stablecoins. 

curve whitepaper

Source: Curve Whitepaper

Because there are many AMM pools, each with their own liquidity, an asset’s pricing is rarely the same on every DEX. This opens up the opportunity for arbitrageurs to buy assets from lower-priced pools and sell into higher-priced pools, averaging the price between the two pools while pocketing risk-free profit if it covers the transaction and gas fees.

Order Book DEXs (Off-Chain and On-Chain)

Order book DEXs and centralized exchanges are similar. Both platforms allow traders to submit buy orders at the price they want to pay for a given token, and sell orders at the price they want to sell the asset for. 

dYdX UI order book

Source: Image taken from dYdX

These orders are known as limit orders which cannot be done on most DEXs as typically DEXs only allow for market orders which instantly executes at the current market price. The ability to do limit orders is one of the main differentiation between order book DEXs and AMM DEXs. 

dydx trading limit orders

Source: Image taken from dYdX

The order book collects these offers and connects buyers and sellers to complete trades. Some order books DEXs also offer perps for users to go long as well as short (profit if the token goes down), and have leverage mechanisms to help users increase their profit potential, but it also increases their loss possibility.

Order books can be done on-chain and off-chain. On-chain order books enable traders to purchase and sell crypto with the full security of the network as every order and transaction gets uploaded onto the blockchain. However the drawback is that this increases the cost and speed of transactions, and as we know in trading, cost and speed are two important factors for traders. 

Off-chain order books were created to alleviate this. A user would need to deposit their assets to an off-chain account and order book, where all the transactions happen off the blockchain. This results in the security being more centralized, akin to using a centralized exchange; however, users will enjoy fees and speed that are similar to CEXs. Whenever the user withdraws assets from their off-chain account, the transaction is settled on-chain. 

DEX Aggregators

With AMM DEXs being the more popular type of DEX so far, many AMM DEXs were appearing which was fragmenting liquidity as each AMM pool needed to be separately filled. DEX aggregators were created to solve this issue. 

DEX aggregators are similar to using an aggregator to find the cheapest flights online; they help you search across multiple DEXs for the cheapest path, eliminating the need to manually find the best price for a token, and good aggregators route through multiple pools as well. 

These platforms search across multiple DEXs to combine their liquidity, helping users to avoid slippage on large orders, lower trading fees, and offer the best prices for tokens. 

The only drawback is that this would increase the gas fee if multiple AMMs are used, which can be costly when done on Ethereum which is known for their high transaction fees. 

Let’s take a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of DEXs. 

Advantages of DEXs


Users retain control over their private keys when using DEXs. This prevents funds from being lost due to mismanagement of funds from exchanges and avoids having their funds frozen, or being prevented from withdrawing, or outright taking their funds if they become insolvent. Additionally, it allows for 24/7 trading even when CEXs are down due to overload or maintenance. 

Private and Permissionless

Users do not need to give any information about who they are in order to use the DEX, which is not possible for CEXs as they are required by regulations to have the information from their users in order to operate. This also means that DEXs can be used by anyone, anywhere in the world as long as there is internet access, and will not be subjected to being geo-blocked. 

Early Mover

Most tokens are usually created and tradable first on a DEX before being listed on a CEX, thus allowing DEX traders to potentially buy tokens at a lower price when they are less popular before they are listed on a CEX, which usually inflates valuation. 

More Composability

On DEXs, users are also able to provide liquidity as mentioned previously. On top of providing liquidity, for advanced DeFi users who know what they are doing, it is possible to use that liquidity receipt token on some lending markets to be borrowed against, unlocking more capital. Such advanced features are not available on CEXs, and can only be done on DEXs at the moment. 

Disadvantages of DEXs

Increased Risk and Complexity

It is easy for a user’s funds to be lost forever if they send their funds to the wrong address or wrong network, or approve a malicious contract that drains their wallet. The increased risk and complexity is one of the core reasons why many traders still prefer to trade on a CEX that protects their funds from being taken away by malicious contracts. 

More Responsibility

Decentralized exchanges shift the accountability to users. Users trade directly from their wallets using smart contracts instead of letting CEXs perform the trade for them. Although users fully own their assets, they are now also accountable for the security of their funds. This means they have to be conscious about their own digital security, such as being wary of downloading malicious files that can cause their seed phrase to be leaked to a hacker, as well as storing their own seed phrase securely, as there is no way to retrieve their seed phrase if they lose it as there is no ‘forget password’ function. 

Higher Fees

The average DEX charges 0.3% per trade, which is higher than CEX trading fees which are usually around 0.1% per trade. Additionally, on an Ethereum DEX, transactions take several seconds and gas fees are usually around $10 and can cost upwards of $100 during congested periods, whereas trading on a CEX is both fast and does not incur additional gas fees. 

Sandwich Attacks

Some trades are susceptible to frontrunning, which means when you perform a trade, a trader sees it and frontruns the trade by paying more gas fees, proceeded by your trade and backrunning the trade, to create risk-free profits. This is also known as a sandwich attack or an MEV attack. There are several ways to prevent this and is mitigated on more sophisticated DEXs and networks. 

No Legal Recourse

As DEXs operate in a grayzone where it is not owned by a legal entity, if something happens, the user may not be able to receive help from a dedicated customer support. In the worst case scenario where funds are lost, they are not able to go through the standard legal route to claim for loss of funds. Therefore, it is very important that users only deposit what they are comfortable with losing, in the event that the DEX gets exploited. As DeFi and DEXs advances, the security improves and the chances of exploits is reduced, but it is likely that nothing will remain 100% safe. 

What Are the Most Popular Decentralized Exchanges?

Almost every major blockchain ecosystem has a DEX; some ecosystems even have several popular DEXs. After all, DEXs are an essential pillar of any peer-to-peer DeFi ecosystem. 

Knowing which are the well-known exchanges is advantageous because it will often have larger liquidity pools for trading assets, which means reduced slippage and better prices. It also reduces the chances of any exploits, especially when providing liquidity as it is likely more secure and has undergone more audits or gone through more battle-testing.

Let’s explore some of the popular decentralized exchanges, which can also be found on CoinGecko

UniSwap (UNI)

UniSwap is the most popular DEX in crypto and has the largest spot volume. This DEX popularized the concept of 50-50 AMM pools with one of the simplest trading UI, requiring just a few clicks to make a swap.

It is an on-chain trading platform and offers a safer way to trade by keeping funds secure, since there is no centralized intermediary to hack, and it is fully permissionless as it doesn’t charge listing fees for new tokens. 

The implementation of Uniswap v3 offers concentrated liquidity, which makes slippage even lower, especially for stablepairs, when users are swapping large amount of stablecoins.

dYdX (dYdX) 

Currently the largest decentralized derivative exchange, dYdX brings in over a billion dollars of volume daily, with hundreds of millions of open interest. It rose in popularity as it provided numerous perpetual markets for users to trade with deep liquidity and leverage of up to 20x. 

dYdX is also an off-chain order book, allowing for high speed and no gas fee trading, an experience that is similar to a centralized exchange. 

The dApp is moving to Cosmos where they’ll be their own sovereign app chain, as Cosmos allows for more customizability to the chain where hopefully they can provide an even better trading experience. 

Gains Network (GNS)

Gains Network is a decentralized leveraged trading platform on Polygon and Arbitrum with up to 150x leverage and 1000x for forex trades. 

They have a unique liquidity mechanism that allows anyone to deposit stablecoin into a vault, which acts as counterparty liquidity by using the stablecoin to provide liquidity simultaneously to all markets. This is how Gains Network is able to support close to 100 different markets with liquidity for all of them. 

Gains network

Source: Image taken from Gains Trade


GMX is an innovative decentralized cryptocurrency trading platform on Arbitrum and Avalanche, creating the first zero slippage trading with up to 50X leverage for perpetuals. 

Because of deep liquidity and zero slippage, it is regularly one of the top five dApps in terms of fees generated, causing it to be very popular for liquidity providers, especially during a sideways and choppy market. 

Its liquidity provider token, known as GLP, is another aspect of GMX that made it popular. This liquidity token earns 70% of the platform fees and also acts as the counterparty liquidity to traders, earning when traders lose and losing when traders profit. As statistics have shown, net traders lose money overtime, meaning they lose to GLP holders, giving GLP holders additional profit. 


How Do DEXs Make Money? 

Most DEXs charge fees for every transaction – often a 0.3% fee regardless of whether a user is buying or selling. This means if a trader buys a token and sells a token immediately, it would cost 0.6% to the trader. However, only a portion of this goes to the protocol.

DEXs that use community-funded liquidity pools often reward liquidity providers with a portion of the fee revenue as well as additional governance tokens as incentives, which can be viewed as giving away money, or a type of marketing expense. 

How Do You Value a DEX?

A DEX protocol is similar to a business as it generates revenue based on trading volume. Just like there are many ways to value a company, there are many metrics one can use to determine the valuation of a DEX.

The liquidity incentive reward can also be viewed as marketing expenses, and thus a protocol’s profit or earnings can also be viewed as revenue – expenses. 

One of the more popular ways is to use the price-to-sales or price-to-earnings ratio, as it factors the market cap to the revenue that the protocol brings, which is also a popular metric used to value companies. 

For example, using the price-to-sales ratio, if a DEX has a monthly trading volume of $30 million and charges a flat 0.3% fee with 20% going towards the protocol, this means the monthly protocol revenue is $30 million x 0.3% x 20% = $18,000.

The annualized revenue can be estimated by multiplying the monthly revenue by 12, giving $216,000. If the DEX has a market cap of $10 million with an annual revenue of $216,000, the circulating P/S ratio would be around 46x, where the lower the P/S ratio the better.

Here’s a table illustrating these numbers.

PS ratio valuation

Looking at tokenterminal, the top circulating P/S ratios are all less than 10x.  

tokenterminal ps ratios

Other interesting metrics include TVL-to-earnings ratio, which gives an idea of how effectively the DEX is utilizing its capital to generate earnings. The lower the TVL-to-earnings ratio the higher the capital utilization as it uses lesser TVL to generate earnings. However, these are secondary metrics, and price-to-sales or earnings ratio is still one of the most important metrics to look at. 


Decentralized exchanges are one of the pillars of any cryptocurrency ecosystem and will likely continue to be a trend in DeFi for years to come. 

Their privacy and non-custody features aligns them with the ethos of crypto, making them an attractive option for most cryptocurrency traders who want to have fully control of their tokens. It also appeals to users who are looking to earn passive rewards on their assets by providing liquidity.

With centralized exchanges still taking the lion’s share of volume, DEXs are continuing to innovate in order to capture some of this lucrative market. With the improvement in blockchain technology, the regulatory concerns from governments, and the mismanagement of funds from CEXs, DEXs have a bright future and will likely continue to grow.

Real World Assets in Crypto: Bringing Real-World Loans On-Chain


Real World Assets RWA Crypto DeFi

Key Takeaways

  • Decentralized finance (DeFi) yields have dried up, inching closer to traditional finance (TradFi) yields.

  • Increased tokenization of real world assets, including real estate and loans, is a new source of yield in DeFi, providing opportunities for higher yield and portfolio diversification.

  • One concern around real world assets is the default risks faced by real world assets protocols due to undercollateralized loans.

The DeFi industry has boomed over the past few years, reaching the peak of $181.22 billion on 02 December 2021.

DeFi Ecosystem TVL

Source: DeFiLlama

Nonetheless, given the black swan events that have occurred over the past year, including the fall of Luna and FTX, we have seen the TVL drop drastically. The poor tokenomics associated with most tokens have led to inflationary pressure, causing token value to drop by more than 90%. Coupled with these issues, we can see that the DeFi yields have also decreased significantly. The days of easy DeFi yield have passed, and the industry is at a point where DeFi yields are almost on par with that of TradFi yields. Given the lower risk that the TradFi market possesses, DeFi participants have started to exit from DeFi, pivoting their capital into the TradFi market for better risk to reward. 

This has sparked discussions in the DeFi industry, with market participants sourcing for higher, and more sustainable yields, as well as exploring new trends and opportunities like liquid staking. In 2023, we’re seeing real world assets stepping up to attract the market’s attention, offering a different method to earn yield, as the name suggests, by tapping on real world assets such as loans. In this article, other than understanding about real world assets, we will look at some of the most prominent real world assets protocols, including Maple Finance, TrueFi, Centrifuge and Goldfinch.

What are Real World Assets?

These are tangible assets that exist in the physical world. Examples of these are real estate, commodities and art. Real world assets are a significant composition of the global financial value. The value of global real estate was $326.5 trillion in 2020 while the gold market capitalization is $12.39 trillion.

Evidently, real world assets are huge in the traditional finance industry. However, these assets are hardly tapped on in the DeFi world. This brings about the possibility of inclusion of real world assets in the DeFi industry, increasing the liquidity available, and offering a novel asset class for DeFi participants to leverage on for investment yield. In addition, it should be noted that with real world assets, the investment yield could be less affected by crypto’s volatility.

Real World Assets in DeFiL: Credit Protocols

Over the past few years, and in 2022 particularly, the market has seen the rise of protocols tapping on credit markets in traditional finance. This comes as no surprise given that credit is the key to businesses growing. 

Businesses typically use capital to invest in research and development, grow their team and carry out marketing efforts. They can access capital through either debt financing or equity financing. Debt financing is usually preferred by teams, given that it allows them to retain control over their business while gaining access to the capital required.

The emergence of on-chain credit protocols allows for such businesses to tap into the DeFi ecosystem, a $57 billion industry as of writing, for capital. This lowers the barrier to entry for businesses, especially that of emerging markets, to receive loans. This is supported by the chart shown below, indicating the number of loans given by on-chain credit protocols to each geographical region. As of the current point, businesses in Nigeria have achieved the most number of loans, 21 in total, followed by Mexico with 20 loans and Kenya with 19 loans.

Geographical Distribution of Real World Asset Loans

Source: rwa.xyz

Having understood what real world assets are and how on-chain credit protocols generally work, we can now dive into some of the biggest players in this particular sector.

Maple Finance (MPL)

Maple Finance is an institutional capital market infrastructure, creating the platform for institutional borrowers to tap on the DeFi ecosystem for loans. 

There are three parties involved:

  1. Institutional borrowers: These are the participants who require loans

  2. Lenders: DeFi participants who deposit capital into the pools on Maple Finance

  3. Pool Delegates: Credit professionals that underwrite and manage the pools on Maple Finance.

This is how lending is carried out on Maple Finance:

  1. Pool delegates source for institutional borrowers. They will conduct due diligence, underwrite and negotiate terms with the institutional borrowers. This includes Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) processes.

  2. Once it has been established that these institutional borrowers are suitable for borrowing, the pool delegates will set up the pools on Maple Finance, which will be managed by them thereafter.

  3. Lenders will go onto Maple Finance and identify the pools that they wish to deposit into. This will be based on their risk appetite and whether they think that the terms set out in the pools are favourable for them.

  4. Once lenders have deposited capital into the pool, the institutional borrowers can now access the capital. Given that these borrowers have been whitelisted by the pool delegates, undercollateralized borrowing is made possible.

Maple Finance

Source: Maple Finance

Goldfinch (GFI)

The protocol is focused on lending to real world businesses, and particularly, businesses within emerging markets. Goldfinch caters to a diverse range of businesses and offers attractive yields that go up to 30%, as apparent from their pools.

There are three parties involved:

  1. Borrowers: These participants propose Borrower Pools to seek capital financing through Goldfinch

  2. Investors: Participants that provide capital to borrowers. There are two types of investors: Backers and Liquidity Providers

  3. Auditors: Participants who conduct due diligence to ensure that borrowers on boarded onto Goldfinch are not engaged in fraudulent activities.

This is how lending is carried out on Goldfinch:

  1. Borrowers first undergo an audit by auditors to determine that they are eligible to loan.

  2. Once approved, borrowers can create borrow pools and determine the credit terms, which includes metrics such as interest rate, limit, payment frequency, term and late fee.

  3. Investors can now come in to supply capital.

  4. Backers supply capital directly to the borrower pools and are the first loss capital. Hence, they receive a higher return. 

  5. Liquidity providers supply capital to Goldfinch, which is then allocated across all borrower pools.

Goldfinch Finance

Source: Goldfinch Finance

Centrifuge (CFG)

The protocols mentioned above have all been a good example of incorporation of real world assets into the DeFi ecosystem. However, they are all focused on the credit aspect. To bring more colours into the on-chain credit ecosystem, Centrifuge comes around to allow for more forms of real world assets to be brought onto the ecosystem, and has a slightly different mechanism by incorporating Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs).

There are two parties involved:

  1. Asset Originators: These are the borrowers that tokenize their real world assets into NFTs

  2. Investors: These are the lenders.

Centrifuge’s decentralized application (dApp) is known as Tinlake, serving as a marketplace and investment dApp.

This is how lending is carried out on Tinlake:

  1. An asset originator bridges a real world asset using Tinlake. This asset is converted into an NFT, which includes relevant legal documentation.

  2. Asset originators can now create asset pools using the tokenized real world asset NFT as underlying collateral.

  3. Upon pool creation, two tokens are created: DROP tokens and TIN tokens.

  4. Investors can decide which pool to provide capital into based on their individual risk profile, buying either DROP or TIN tokens.

  5. DROP token holders have a guaranteed return, determined by a fee function that has a fixed interest per pool, compounded every second.

  6. TIN token holders, on the other hand, do not have a guaranteed return. They receive a variable yield that is based on the investment returns from the pool, which could be higher than the returns from holding DROP tokens.

  7. TIN token holders borne a higher risk as they take the first loss in the event a borrower defaults.

Centrifuge Finance

Source: Centrifuge

Advantages of Credit Market Protocols

There are a variety of advantages brought about by credit market protocols. There are two angles to view this.

1. DeFi Participants

As of this current point, the yields offered by credit protocols are higher than that of most DeFi protocols. The APY provided by each of the protocols are as follows:

  • Maple Finance: 8.31%

  • TrueFi: 2.08%

  • Centrifuge: 9.31%

  • Goldfinch: 8.31%

In addition, DeFi participants will be able to diversify their portfolio, given that institutional borrowers that run real world businesses are less correlated to that of the crypto market.

2. Emerging Markets

It is typically difficult for businesses in emerging markets to receive undercollateralized loans. This is because of the higher requirements that have been set in stone in the traditional markets. Such regulations make it extremely difficult for small businesses to scale, given that they are unable to access capital and even if they were able to, it would come at a huge cost to them, undermining their runway to scale.

The DeFi ecosystem presents a new source of loans, and increases their capital efficiency given that undercollateralized lending is made possible. This is also a benefit that results from the removal of middlemen and utilization of smart contracts for certain operations.

In addition, by borrowing on-chain, these businesses are building their on-chain credit profile. By paying their loans on time, they will be better positioned to receive more loans in the future, and these loans can even be of a higher quantum.

Disadvantages of Credit Market Protocols

The greatest risk that exists would definitely be the default risk posed by the borrowers. Given that these are undercollateralized loans, the lender will not be able to receive their full capital in the event of default. This has been an ongoing problem, apparent from some protocols:

  • Maple Finance: $69.3 million

  • TrueFi: $4.4 million

  • Centrifuge: $2.6 million

It should also be noted that despite the protocols reducing the amount of crypto volatility faced by lenders because of the usage of stablecoins, it is still subjected to the bigger fallouts in the industry. This is very evident from Maple Finance’s case where close to half of its default came after the FTX fallout.

Other than the impact on lenders, protocols could also suffer from bad debt, undermining the protocol’s longevity.

The other inherent flaw with the current credit protocols would be that of human bias. The KYC and AML process, along with the whitelisting of borrowers, are being determined by humans. 

Real World Assets Protocols’ Token Performance

So how have the credit protocols performed? All the native tokens have underperformed Ethereum by more than 20%. The following table shows the drop in price since their all-time highs:

RWA price changes since ATH

Despite the adoption of credit protocols, with 1,481 loans issued, total loan value of $4,421,679,320 and active loan value of $422,314,511, the protocols have yet to perform well on the token front as of time of writing.


Real world assets is an interesting vertical with lots of potential, given how huge the market is in traditional finance. We have seen the space being occupied by multiple credit protocols, each with a twist on how they run the protocols.

However, it should be noted that despite the advantages that it brings about such as diversification of portfolio and higher yields, the risk of default is an area that has yet to be addressed successfully. The only exception would be Goldfinch, which has not faced a single default since starting.

In addition to the credit market, there are also other real world aspects that have been gaining market interest. An example of which would be the tokenization of real world assets such as real estate or art. With the digitalization of such assets on-chain, fractionalization of the asset is made possible, allowing people to have partial ownership.

This will be an exciting space to watch, given the rapid developments done by the protocols and we can look forward to more adoption from the market.

This article is for educational purposes and should not be taken as investment advice. Always do your own research before investing in any cryptocurrencies or protocols.