Maker (DAI)

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Maker logo.jpeg
Founded 2014
Key People Rune Christensen, CEO; Andy Milenius, CTO; Steven Becker, President and COO
Products Stablecoin
Twitter @MakerDAO
LinkedIn Profile
Facebook MakerDAOOfficial
Website Maker DAO Homepage

Maker is the nickname for MakerDAO, which is a decentralized autonomous organization smart contract platform. DAI is a stablecoin created on the Maker platform. MKR is a token that funds MakerDAO.


MKR is a non-mineable ERC-20 token on the Ethereum blockchain issued by MakerDAO that confers governance rights to its holders.[1] At the start of 2019 MKR had the 19th largest capitalization among cryptocurrencies with a value of about $360 million.[2]

MakerDAO's selling proposition for its stable coin is its transparency. Not only do MKR holders have governance rights that affect the value of Dai, but MakerDAO also publishes its governance and risk meetings on the internet at SoundCloud[3] as well as its Community Meetings on YouTube.[4]

Dai is created against the deposit of Ether in a multi-step process. First, a customer deposits ether into a smart contract that pools the funds into an exactly corresponding amount of "Pether." Pether is then shifted into an MKR token before Dai can be issued into an account.[5] Pether is the vehicle for Maker to recapitalize the value of Dai in the event of a fall in the price of the Ether that is collateralizing the issuance of the Dai. Owners then simply reverse the process to sell Dai back and receive their deposited Ether and any MKR that was in the account.[6] The value of Dai is tied to the value of the US dollar at a rate of 1:1, with the exchange rate managed through smart contracts that respond to market dynamics.[7]


MakerDAO received $27 million in venture capital funding during 2017 and 2018. The first round included eight investors including Andreesen Horowitz.[8] On September 24, 2018, Andreessen Horowitz revealed that it had made a $15 million investment in MakerDAO by having its a16z investment fund purchase 6 percent of the total supply of MKR. [9]

Dai was launched on December 18, 2017, and a year later it had become the 45th most actively traded cryptocurrency according to CoinMarketCap, an industry data reporting service.[10]

Company History

Two venture capital firms, Dragonfly Capital and Paradigm, invested a combined total of $27.5 million in the MakerDAO platform in December 2019, purchasing about 5.5 percent of the total supply of DAI in circulation worldwide.[11]

Coinbase announces custody service; Maker support planned

In March 2019, Coinbase Custody announced through Coinbase's Medium blog that it would begin offering staking services to clients who are institutional traders. The concept of this service is based on the proof of stake model. The first coin that will be used in this service is Tezos (XTZ). This service involves storing Coinbase's clients' assets in cold storage, substantially mitigating the risk of theft. Because of the way this staking service works, only certain cryptocurrencies will be applicable; bitcoin, which uses a governance model based on proof of work, and Ethereum, which is also currently using this model, will not be supported in the near future.[12][13] According to the blog post, support for Maker tokens is planned for the future.[14]

MKR Debt Auctions

Between March 19 and March 28, 2020, the Maker Foundation held a series of digital token auctions to cover $4.5 million worth of undercapitalized debt created on March 12, when liquidators won collateral liquidation auctions with 0 DAI. The crypto firm Paradigm won 68 percent of the auctions, gaining over 14,000 MKR tokens.[15]