Maker (MKR) is a proprietary utility token for the Maker platform operated by MakerDAO. It forms the basis of a blockchain-based banking system that simplifies international payments and peer-to-peer transfers. The main purpose of MKR is to govern the Maker Platform and to maintain the stability of the Dai stablecoin (DAI) through a “collateralized debt position” (CDP) contract.
Maker Platform represents a decentralized autonomous organization based on Ethereum and aiming to reduce the volatility of such an unstable cryptocurrency market. The company reasonably believes that the ever-changing rates of cryptocurrencies are one of the key obstacles preventing them from being adopted at a mass scale. In order to achieve its goals, Maker creates a set of digital assets linked to real-world assets such as gold, fiat currencies, etc.
Maker’s key competitors in this niche include Tether which is one of the eldest and most reputable stable coins in the cryptocurrency industry. Among other stable coins, there are TrustToken’s TrueUSD, USDC issued by Circle, PAX from Paxos and a few more. All of them have the same flaw - the lack of transparency and true decentralization. These flaws come from their business models.
For example, Tether claims that every issued USDT is backed by 1 USD that is transferred from users’ accounts to the company’s financial vault. However, there is no explanation of how the company manages to cover transaction fees and still support USDT price at a stable level. In addition, the company has been accused of market manipulations in conjunction with one of the biggest cryptocurrency exchanges Bitfinex as the opaque model of coins’ issuance leaves a lot of options to play with numbers.
Maker implements a different approach. It uses Ethereum as collateral and builds its whole system upon transparent smart contracts. This helps to reduce the necessity of any centralized authorities to audit the money flow as in the case of Tether. Fiat currencies to back the coins’ supply are not needed either. Maker relies totally on Ethereum and its smart contracts and represents the truly decentralized and trustless stable cryptocurrency that is resistant to censorship.
The Maker’s products
One of the key products issued by Maker is a stable coin DAI. This coin utilizes the key principles of Maker described above. Both DAI and MKR coins enable passive income by simply holding the currencies on personal wallets. Also, holders of MKR get a right to participate in voting for the platform’s improvements continuously suggested by the community members. Since bad governance leads to MKR price reduction, voters are incentivized to vote only for those proposals that improve the project’s work. This makes Maker a truly democratic system.
Another important product developed by Maker is a decentralized exchange Oasis. Users can connect their personal web-based or hardware wallets to the system and switch cryptocurrencies directly between them without having to upload their funds to any third-party. At the time of writing, Oasis supports a bit more than a dozen cryptocurrencies each of which can be traded against DAI, USDC, wETH or SAI (an older version of DAI supporting single collateral).
Maker token MKR
MKR is an ERC-20 cryptocurrency which can be stored on any Ethereum-compatible wallet such as Coinomi, Metamask, Trezor or Ledger Nano S. Initially, the total supply covered 1 million MKR, but some tokens regularly get burned or created according to the prices’ volatility to cover the fees needed for the closure of CDP contracts in DAI and to maintain the stable rate of the latest one. Thus, the total supply constantly changes as well.
MKR cannot be mined and can only be purchased on cryptocurrency exchanges such as OKEx, BitFinex, KuCoin, Bibox, and some others. MKR genesis block was issued on November 25th, 2017, without an ICO.
Maker team, partners and investors
The Maker Foundation which stands behind the project has launched it in conjunction with a few outside partners back in 2014. It’s headquartered in San Francisco, California, and also has smaller departments across other regions.
Maker’s founder and CEO Rune Christensen operates from Denmark. His colleague and partner Steven Becker is the President and COO of the organization with robust experience in leading positions at such companies as Penryth Global Securities Lending, Polus Capital, Cubit Capital, and many other financial projects. Another notable person who has significantly contributed to the project is Phil Potter. He worked as a COO both at Maker and Tether and stepped down from these positions in June 2018 following allegations of price manipulation involving USDT and BTC.
In late April 2019, leadership conflicts inside Maker’s team led to multiple departures from key positions.
MakerDAO has gathered a big list of partners having gained the support of many blockchain industry representatives. Maker’s partners include such projects as OmiseGO, Kyber Network, Digix, Tradeshift, CargoX, and many others. Among notable investors of MakerDAO are Andreessen Horowitz, Fenbushi Capital, Polychain, IOSG Ventures, FBG Capital and many more.