Uniswap Website Geo-Ban Can't Stop DeFi

Also Dai/Sai flippening, Loopring launches on mainnet

Hello defiers, hope you’re having a great start to your day! Here’s what’s going on in decentralized finance,

  • Uniswap bans some users from its front end, but #defidontcare
  • There’s now more Dai than Sai outstanding
  • Loopring’s latest version launched on mainnet promising to be the next-gen Dex

The Day a Ban Highlighted DeFi’s DeFi-Ness

Uniswap’s move to ban 10 countries from its platform ironically highlights how decentralized finance can broadens access to all users.

On Friday the automated market maker blocked Belarus, Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Côte d'Ivoire, Liberia, North Korea, Sudan, Syria, Zimbabwe from its site, uniswap.exchange.


Image source: Uniswap Exchange

The move appears to contradict the very ethos of decentralized finance, the reason why this stuff is useful in the first place, which is to give access to financial tools to anyone, anywhere. Deciding who can and can’t access a platform is what centralized exchanges -not dexes- do.

The so-called geo-fencing was apparently spotted by a change on the code posted on GitHub, not by an official announcement from Uniswap. Hayden Adams, the company’s founder, declined to comment.


Image source: GitHub

Some speculated Uniswap, whose team is based in New York, excluded countries the U.S. government prohibits transacting with to remain compliant with U.S. laws. Most of the platform’s now blocked countries (except for Liberia) are part of OFAC’s sanctioned nations. Not all of OFAC’s countries were banned though, for example, Venezuela, Yemen and Somalia weren’t on Uniswap’s list of blocked countries.

The move follows similar actions from decentralized exchanges in the past, such as Bancor, ShapeShift and IDEX, which included know-your-customer processes or also excluded some countries from their platforms.

But Uniswap is comprised of a front-end used to access the Uniswap protocol, and the protocol itself, which is built with smart contracts hosted on the Ethereum blockchain. The Uniswap team controls the front-end, but doesn’t control the underlying protocol, which can be freely accessed and copied. This means anyone can create a point of access to the platform.

Soon after the 10 countries were banned, this is exactly what happened, and a couple of new versions of Uniswap popped up. It happened in a few hours, and users excluded from the original front-end could now access a site that looked and worked almost the same. At least one of these sites was hosted on IPFS, a peer-to-peer network.


Image source: Uniswap front-end on IPFS

The move that initially looked so against the core of DeFi, ended up highlighting one of its key strengths. Even in the case of a project that decided to exclude some users, developers were still able to give them access. Needless to say, this could never happen in traditional finance.

There’s Now More Dai Than Sai

The Dai flippening is upon us. The amount of Dai outstanding now exceeds the amount of Sai for the first time.

Dai is the MakerDAO stablecoin that’s backed by different types of collateral, not just ether. Sai is the stablecoin from an older version of MakerDAO, which was only backed by ether.

{Read my explainer on multi-collateral Dai clicking here}


Image source: https://sai2dai.xyz/

It doesn’t make much economic sense to hold Sai after MKR holders on Friday voted to increase the Dai Savings Rate (the amount of interest Dai holders can get) to 4 percent, which is higher than what lending platforms are currently offering for Sai.

The upgrade from single-collateral Sai into multi-collateral Dai is no small feat as it meant educating holders of more than 100 million Sai, which has been the backbone of decentralized finance, to manually switch into the new version of the token.

The flip is a sign the migration is goin smoothly as four weeks after the upgrade, Dai is already overtaking Sai as the most used stablecoin in DeFi.

A Next-Generation Dex Protocol is Live

Loopring, a decentralized exchange protocol, launched its 3.0-beta4 version on mainnet last week, with the aim to become the best orderbook-based DEX protocol on Ethereum. WeDEX will be the first exchange built on this protocol.

Some of the most-used decentralized exchanges, such as Uniswap, Kyber Network and Bancor, use liquidity pools stored on-chain for users to automatically exchange tokens. While the model has gained popularity because of its ease of use, order-book-based exchanged often diminish price slippage and allow for more functionality.

Dexes in general also have limited throughput as transactions speed depend on blockchain confirmation times, which is why most crypto trading volume is on centralized exchanges. The Loopring protocol tries to overcome this problem by using the underlying Ethereum blockchain mainly as a data layer, and zkRollup technology to migrate most computations off the blockchain. As a result, Loopring says its throughput can be as as high as 10,500 trades per second and the cost per trade settlement as low as 0.21 US cent.

Dexes advantage over Cexes is security as users are in control of their funds, which means they don’t risk losing money if the exchange gets hacked. Loopring 3.0 relies on smart contracts to hold assets to be traded and users can claim their assets at any time, even when DEX operators are evil.

With the latest version on mainnet, we should be able to see very soon how these claims hold up.

Thanks for reading dear subscribers!! Feedback, comments, shares are always appreciated :)