A new DeFi project called Delta launched on Uniswap. Its rebasing system has made trading volume on the decentralized exchange appear higher than normal.
Trading volume on decentralized exchange Uniswap has jumped 450% over the last 24 hours. Total volume, per statistics on Uniswap.info, is $7.17 billion, compared to $1.6 billion yesterday. The previous daily record was $2.19 billion on October 26, 2020.
The token responsible for most of today’s volume is DELTA. In the last 24 hours, it’s done $6.13 billion in trading, or 85% of the total volume, despite only $16.4 million in liquidity.
The new record, alas, won’t stand. Uniswap creator Hayden Adams wrote on Twitter that the statistics DELTA has accumulated will not count toward the DEX’s global volume because of a quirk of Delta’s protocol. After that change, real trading volume is at around $1.05 billion, a fairly normal day for Uniswap.
Not wash trading but not “real” volume either.
Soon will be considered untracked volume on https://t.co/80BxduZqDD
— Hayden Adams 🦄 (@haydenzadams) March 29, 2021
Delta calls itself “an on-chain options layer which utilizes a combination of liquidity standards to reduce premiums and offer competitive options prices.” More simply, options trading becomes expensive and volatile when there’s a lack of liquidity; Delta says it wants to fix this.
Its methods for doing so are far from intuitive for new initiates to DeFi, the catch-all phrase for decentralized financial systems that allow people to trade, earn interest, borrow, and lend cryptocurrencies without using banks or brokers.
Essentially, Delta introduces a vesting schedule for liquidity: “When Delta is transferred, a token vesting schedule is activated,” the Delta Financial team wrote in an explainer on February 9. “10% of the total token balance is sent to the user while 90% is initially locked and released linearly, over a 2 week period.”
But the large volumes that Uniswap is seeing are the result of Delta’s liquidity rebasing system, an algorithmic way of raising the price to mint tokens over time. The way that system is designed makes it look somewhat like wash trading—swapping tokens back and forth to drive up the volume and price of a token—though it is not because the trading isn’t resulting in the transactions cancelling each other out. Instead, Delta is toying with Uniswap’s liquidity pools to ostensibly keep liquidity solid and make the price less volatile. (Delta has not yet responded to a Decrypt request for comment on its protocol.)
Decentralized exchanges such as Uniswap comprise one corner of the DeFi space. DEXs differ from centralized exchanges (such as Coinbase and Binance) by eliminating the need for users to give up custody of their tokens. Whereas centralized exchanges store tokens to help facilitate exchanges, decentralized exchanges allow people to trade directly between one another.
They also allow just about anyone to start trading their own tokens—even if it throws their numbers off for a day.