2 months ago

Say goodbye to Ponzi yields - A new era of decentralized perpetual

Decentralized perpetual may be the next crypto market boom; with tons of perpetual popping up, let's look at two protocols that offer organic, non-inflationary yields.

Decentralized derivatives exchanges' market share has increased tenfold in a year, but it's still 2% of CEXs'. DEXs have a long way to go before they can compete with centralized exchanges in speed, liquidity, user experience, and composability.

I'll cover and GMX protocol in Polygon, Avalanche, and Arbitrum. Both protocols support leveraged perpetual crypto, stock, and Forex trading.

Why these protocols?

Decentralized GMX Gains protocol

Organic yield: path to sustainability

I've never trusted Defi's non-organic yields. Example: XYZ protocol. 20–75% of tokens may be set aside as farming rewards to provide liquidity, according to tokenomics.

Say you provide ETH-USDC liquidity. They advertise a 50% APR reward for this pair, 10% from trading fees and 40% from farming rewards. Only 10% is real, the rest is "Ponzi." The "real" reward is in protocol tokens.

Why keep this token? Governance voting or staking rewards are promoted services.

Most liquidity providers expect compensation for unused tokens. Basic psychological principles then? — Profit.

Nobody wants governance tokens. How many out of 100 care about the protocol's direction and will vote?

Staking increases your token's value. Currently, they're mostly non-liquid. If the protocol is compromised, you can't withdraw funds. Most people are sceptical of staking because of this.

"Free tokens," lack of use cases, and skepticism lead to tokens moving south. No farming reward protocols have lasted.

It may have shown strength in a bull market, but what about a bear market?

What is decentralized perpetual?

A perpetual contract is a type of futures contract that doesn't expire. So one can hold a position forever.

You can buy/sell any leveraged instruments (Long-Short) without expiration.

In centralized exchanges like Binance and coinbase, fees and revenue (liquidation) go to the exchanges, not users.

Users can provide liquidity that traders can use to leverage trade, and the revenue goes to liquidity providers. and GMX protocol are perpetual trading platforms with a non-inflationary organic yield for liquidity providers.

GMX protocol

GMX is an Arbitrum and Avax protocol that rewards in ETH and Avax. GLP uses a fast oracle to borrow the "true price" from other trading venues, unlike a traditional AMM.

GLP and GMX are protocol tokens. GLP is used for leveraged trading, swapping, etc.

GLP is a basket of tokens, including ETH, BTC, AVAX, stablecoins, and UNI, LINK, and Stablecoins.

GLP composition on arbitrum

GLP composition on Avalanche

GLP token rebalances based on usage, providing liquidity without loss.

Protocol "runs" on Staking GLP. Depending on their chain, the protocol will reward users with ETH or AVAX. Current rewards are 22 percent (15.71 percent in ETH and the rest in escrowed GMX) and 21 percent (15.72 percent in AVAX and the rest in escrowed GMX). escGMX and ETH/AVAX percentages fluctuate.

Where is the yield coming from?

Swap fees, perpetual interest, and liquidations generate yield. 70% of fees go to GLP stakers, 30% to GMX. Organic yields aren't paid in inflationary farm tokens.

Escrowed GMX is vested GMX that unlocks in 365 days. To fully unlock GMX, you must farm the Escrowed GMX token for 365 days. That means less selling pressure for the GMX token.

GMX's status

These are the fees in Arbitrum in the past 11 months by GMX.

GMX works like a casino, which increases fees. Most fees come from Margin trading, which means most traders lose money; this money goes to the casino, or GLP stakers.


My personal strategy is to DCA into GLP when markets hit bottom and stake it; GLP will be less volatile with extra staking rewards.

GLP YoY return vs. naked buying

Let's say I invested $10,000 in BTC, AVAX, and ETH in January.

  • BTC price: 47665$

  • ETH price: 3760$

  • AVAX price: $145

Current prices

  • BTC $21,000 (Down 56 percent )

  • ETH $1233 (Down 67.2 percent )

  • AVAX $20.36 (Down 85.95 percent )

Your $10,000 investment is now worth around $3,000.

How about GLP? My initial investment is 50% stables and 50% other assets ( Assuming the coverage ratio for stables is 50 percent at that time)

Without GLP staking yield, your value is $6500.

Let's assume the average APR for GLP staking is 23%, or $1500. So 8000$ total. It's 50% safer than holding naked assets in a bear market.

In a bull market, naked assets are preferable to GLP.

Short farming using GLP

Simple GLP short farming.

You use a stable asset as collateral to borrow AVAX. Sell it and buy GLP. Even if GLP rises, it won't rise as fast as AVAX, so we can get yields.

Let's do the maths

You deposit $10,000 USDT in Aave and borrow Avax. Say you borrow $8,000; you sell it, buy GLP, and risk 20%.

After a year, ETH, AVAX, and BTC rise 20%. GLP is $8800. $800 vanishes. 20% yields $1600. You're profitable. Shorting Avax costs $1600. (Assumptions-ETH, AVAX, BTC move the same, GLP yield is 20%. GLP has a 50:50 stablecoin/others ratio. Aave won't liquidate

In naked Avax shorting, Avax falls 20% in a year. You'll make $1600. If you buy GLP and stake it using the sold Avax and BTC, ETH and Avax go down by 20% - your profit is 20%, but with the yield, your total gain is $2400.

Issues with GMX

GMX's historical funding rates are always net positive, so long always pays short. This makes long-term shorts less appealing.

Oracle price discovery isn't enough. This limitation doesn't affect Bitcoin and ETH, but it affects less liquid assets. Traders can buy and sell less liquid assets at a lower price than their actual cost as long as GMX exists.

As users must provide GLP liquidity, adding more assets to GMX will be difficult. Next iteration will have synthetic assets.

Gains Protocol

Best leveraged trading platform. Smart contract-based decentralized protocol. 46 crypto pairs can be leveraged 5–150x and 10 Forex pairs 5–1000x. $10 DAI @ 150x (min collateral x leverage pos size is $1500 DAI). No funding fees, no KYC, trade DAI from your wallet, keep funds.

DAI single-sided staking and the GNS-DAI pool are important parts of Gains trading. GNS-DAI stakers get 90% of trading fees and 100% swap fees. 10 percent of trading fees go to DAI stakers, which is currently 14 percent!

Trade volume

When a trader opens a trade, the leverage and profit are pulled from the DAI pool. If he loses, the protocol yield goes to the stakers.

If the trader's win rate is high and the DAI pool slowly depletes, the GNS token is minted and sold to refill DAI. Trader losses are used to burn GNS tokens. 25%+ of GNS is burned, making it deflationary.

Due to high leverage and volatility of crypto assets, most traders lose money and the protocol always wins, keeping GNS deflationary.

Gains uses a unique decentralized oracle for price feeds, which is better for leverage trading platforms. Let me explain.

Gains uses chainlink price oracles, not its own price feeds. Chainlink oracles only query centralized exchanges for price feeds every minute, which is unsuitable for high-precision trading.

Gains created a custom oracle that queries the eight chainlink nodes for the current price and, on average, for trade confirmation. This model eliminates every-second inquiries, which waste gas but are more efficient than chainlink's per-minute price.

This price oracle helps Gains open and close trades instantly, eliminate scam wicks, etc.

Other benefits include:

  • Stop-loss guarantee (open positions updated)

  • No scam wicks

  • Spot-pricing

  • Highest possible leverage

  • Fixed-spreads. During high volatility, a broker can increase the spread, which can hit your stop loss without the price moving.

  • Trade directly from your wallet and keep your funds.

  • >90% loss before liquidation (Some platforms liquidate as little as -50 percent)

  • KYC-free

  • Directly trade from wallet; keep funds safe

Further improvements

GNS-DAI liquidity providers fear the impermanent loss, so the protocol is migrating to its own liquidity and single staking GNS vaults. This allows users to stake GNS without permanent loss and obtain 90% DAI trading fees by staking. This starts in August.

Their upcoming improvements can be found here.

Gains constantly add new features and change pairs. It's an interesting protocol.


Next bull run, watch decentralized perpetual protocols. Effective tokenomics and non-inflationary yields may attract traders and liquidity providers. But still, there is a long way for them to develop, and I don't see them tackling the centralized exchanges any time soon until they fix their inherent problems and improve fast enough.

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