Dai (DAI) is the first decentralized stablecoin on the Ethereum blockchain. It is soft pegged to the US Dollar meaning the value of 1 Dai is roughly equivalent to $1 USD. As an ERC20 token, anyone with an Ethereum wallet can own, accept, and transfer Dai.
Because the price of popular cryptoassets like Bitcoin and Ether are so volatile, few people are using them for everyday purchases. That is why stablecoins were invented. Stablecoins are cryptocurrencies that are pegged to other stable assets. Unlike centralized stablecoins (for example Tether), the stability of Dai does not rely on a trusted third party. Dai’s price is maintained using smart contracts and external financial incentives that keepers take advantage of. A keeper is an independent actor (usually automated), who among other things, buys Dai when the market price is below the Target Price (i.e., $1 USD) and sells Dai when the market price is higher than the Target Price in order to gain a profit.
Dai is created when a user takes on a Collateralized Debt Position (CDP). By depositing collateral (e.g., ether) in an Ethereum smart contract, a portion of the value of the locked assets are paid out in Dai. Just like holding any other cryptocurrency, Dai can be used for various purposes: trading, payments, personal savings account, etc. To reclaim the collateral from the CDP, the user must repay the borrowed Dai along with an extra stability fee.
Users can also purchase Dai directly from a broker or exchange.
Dai is part of the two-token system on the Maker platform. Dai is the stablecoin targeting a value of $1 per unit, and Maker (MKR) is the utility token used to pay fees on Dai loans. The Maker token also enables holders to contribute to platform governance by voting on proposals like increasing or decreasing the stability fee. Where Dai is for everyday use, Maker - which is not a stablecoin - is specifically for people who want to help govern the Maker platform.
The MakerDAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organization), co-founded by Rune Christiensen in 2014, is made up of the Maker platform technical infrastructure and the community of Maker token holder (i.e., voters).
As of the time of this writing, MakerDAO has raised $27 million from investors including Andreessen Horowitz, Polychain Capital, FBG Capital, Walden Bridge Capital, Distributed Capital Partners, Wyre Capital, and more.
MakerDAO is headquartered in Santa Cruz, California and also has offices in New York, Copenhagen, and Warsaw.
Maker and Dai launched together on the Ethereum blockchain in December of 2017.