What is Maker?
Maker (MKR) is an Ethereum-based utility and governance token that runs on the Maker smart contract platform. MKR is used to stabilize another cryptocurrency called Dai through “a dynamic system of Collateralized Debt Positions (CDPs), autonomous feedback mechanisms, and appropriately incentivized external actors.” Holders of Maker vote upon adjustments to the platform in order keep Dai pegged to the value of 1 USD, and to keep the system solvent. If the Dai fund cannot remain solvent, new MKR tokens are printed and sold to fund the Dai system.
Through the Maker platform, anyone can leverage Ethereum-based assets to make Dai, letting the system hold them until the debt is paid off in an equal amount of Dai. Another function of Maker is to provide leverage and liquidity for the ERC20 exchange OasisDEX, which sells Maker and Dai among other Ethereum-based tokens.
History of Maker
Maker was announced in August 2015 as the “first tradeable token on the Ethereum network.” It raised funds by issuing MKR tokens for BTC and ETH through its own exchange, before the launch of the Maker platform in April 2016. Project lead Rune Christensen set out to create a “centralized decentralized” bank for Ethereum, the cornerstone of which would be an asset pegged to the US dollar. This asset became known as the Dai and was released in December 2017. Maker has attracted institution-scale investors, leading to hefty increases in price that gave it a multi-billion-dollar market cap only a few weeks later.
How Maker Works
The Maker platform operates according to the principles of a DAO, or digitally autonomous organization. This implies that a degree of artificial intelligence is used to control Maker’s ability to regulate itself and stabilize the value of the Dai. The process of stabilization also has a human element, in that a board of holders meets on a weekly basis to discuss actions to be voted upon and implemented by the network at large. These “Governance Meetings” have been in effect since the creation of Maker and are seen as largely responsible for guiding the coin towards success.
The Maker platform can be used by anyone to generate Dai by depositing collateral assets into the system in exchange for Dai. The assets are then released back to the holder after the debt has been paid off, plus proportional fees required to stabilize the Dai. It does this by issuing Collateralized Debt Positions through use of smart contracts that are generated using a system of dynamic risk parameters. In essence, Maker is half-AI and half-human, attempting to adapt the best qualities of both man and machine into blockchain functionality.
- Novel, prediction/DAO platform built on top of the Ethereum blockchain
- Long history with Ethereum, dedicated team and community
- Provides a “decentralized bank” for Ethereum and ERC20 tokens
- Governs the stability of USD-pegged asset, Dai
- Holders are rewarded for proper guidance of Dai stability