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.
DAI is a cryptocurrency that is suitable for payments, savings, or collateral. Its value is stable relative to the US Dollar (USD) but is collateral-backed by Ethereum rather than a fiat currency; DAI is an Ethereum ERC20 token and every DAI is worth $1. The coin is soft-pegged to the USD and can be moved to another currency should the US economy collapse.
DAI was developed as a solution to the volatility of popular digital assets like Bitcoin and Ether (ETH), which MakerDAO claims are impossible to use as everyday currencies due to their massive price fluctuations. Through smart contracts and MKR, the platform uses interest rate mechanisms to stabilize DAI’s price.
DAI is created through borrowing against collateral on the Maker platform. To acquire DAI you need to leverage some of your ETH and lock it up as collateral in a CDP contract. At any time you can reclaim that collateral by returning the borrowed DAI plus an accumulated fee.
Maker supports DAI’s stability directly by liquidating CDPs if the price of DAI’s underlying collateral (ETH) falls too far. This process is carried out by keepers; that is, traders that use programs to scan the blockchain for risky CDP’s. When a CDP is liquidated, the keeper receives a small reward for triggering the liquidation process; any excess proceeds are returned to the original borrower.
MKR is a token that has governance rights over the Maker smart contracts. For instance, the collateralization rate of CDPs is set by a vote of MKR holders. In return for regulating the system, MKR holders are rewarded with fees. They also function as the buyer of last resort. Should the collateral in the system not be enough to cover the amount of DAI in existence, MKR is created and sold on the open market to raise the additional collateral.
MKR’s value is volatile and based on the concept that it is the only token that can be used to pay the fees for creating a CDP to generate DAI. As of 2018, there were approximately 530,000 MKR in circulation out of a total supply of 1 billion. Whenever they are used to pay fees, the MKR gets consumed and destroyed. The more MKR is ‘burned’, the more its value will increase while less of it is required to perform transactions. At launch, there was a total token supply of 1,000,000 MKR.
The company was co-founded by Rune Christensen, who studied International Business from the Copenhagen Business School. He also a founder of Try China, an international recruiting company. In 2019 it was reported that MakerDAO had raised $27 million over two previous funding rounds.Read More