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Basics

  • Based in: Switzerland
  • Started in: Early 2020, had its token launch on 14-8-2020.
  • "Is improving (3-2-2020) slippage for DeFi stablecoin conversions, like DAI/USDC. If successful, the protocol would be more efficient than any other DEX." More explanation in the link.
  • From DeFi Weekly (3-3-2020):

"Curve Finance is an automated market maker protocol (an exchange that doesn't have an order-book and uses math to automatically determine the price) for just stable coins. People who provide stable coins to Curve earn trading fees and interest on the liquidity they've provided."

History

  • Curve Finance began as a crypto swapping platform, offering traders low slippage trades across major stablecoins. It had no native token at first.

"Besides its surging activity, another interesting aspect about Curve is its mysterious roots. The website lists no official team members and the project has no Medium or publication to reference an official launch date.

Despite this, we can deduce that the project was conceived in 2019, with NuChyper’s CTO Michael Egorov releasing the official whitepaper on November 10th of the past year. Julien Bonteloup, an early investor in the project, told The Defiant Curve has since raised a private round from known people in the industry."

Audits & Exploits

  1. "We could probably summarise the situation as follows:
  2. Someone was snooping Github and realised new contracts with fresh liquidity has been seeded
  3. Through this, Charlie (a whale) thinks he can manually manipulate the pools to steal the BUSD and USDT that was seeded
  4. As he's manually executing each transaction, Andre and Michael realise something's not right here
  5. At the same time, Billy also realises something isn't right. He tries to turn it to his advantage but does it with a tiny bit of success. It's still unclear what his intentions were.
  6. Being one step ahead, 'Friendly Whale' execute the trade the 'Malicious Whale' was trying to do (taking out BUSD/USDT at a highly favourable/manipulated price). A few minutes late and they would have lost funds to the tune of $200k+
  7. Charlie, realises the mistake he's made, cancels his supposed master move transaction and is down $500k."

Bugs/Exploits

  • Curve found a vulnerability (19-4-2020) in the Curve sUSD code. Funds were safe.
  • Martinet Lee and Jun-You Liu found some exploits in the yCurve yVault (10-8-2020).
  • From Peter Zeitz an economics researcher at 0x. "This is a report (8-10-2020) on a smart contract vulnerability I discovered in the Curve protocol. The vulnerability is interesting because it exposed Curve and Swerve users to risk of massive financial loss, but went undiscovered despite multiple contract audits." He got paid a 'very generous bug bounty' by Curve.
  • From Decrypt (8-2-2021):

"Curve Finance shuts down yv2 Pool after finding a vulnerability. No users or funds were affected as the affected trading pool was immediately shut down."

Governance

"While news of Curve’s new governance token remains vague, we can assume it will follow a SAFG model like Compound or FutureSwap in which those using the protocol are the first to earn the native token. As stated in the original tweet:

“All liquidity providers since the inception in January 2020 will be considered for the initial distribution proportionally.”

To this end, we also know that Curve is exploring the use of an Aragon DAO to introduce unique voting frameworks for the growing liquidity aggregator. More so, they’ve stated they will look to make enhancements on the “one token one vote model” likely introducing some sort of weighted voting schema where those who actually earned and used the protocol might have more voting power than someone who comes across tokens otherwise."

Admin Keys

"[Has] a group known as the Curve Emergency DAO, 9 people with basic multisig control over CRV emissions."

DAO

"CurveDAO will use time-weighted voting to give those who lock their tokens more governance weight than someone who participates for the first time. This weighting is likely to be modified relative to how the community sees fit and is really geared at trying to mitigate the 1 token 1 vote model which drastically favors those with deeper pockets."

"A recent DAO and governance token launch brings Curve one step closer to decentralization. CRV holders can vote to introduce an admin fee to the protocol and back the tokens with steady cash flow.

From a governance perspective, the DAO will facilitate on-chain voting for proposals. Employees and shareholders hold the majority CRV voting power at commencement. While LPs account for 62% of total supply, it will take years to accrue more votes than seed investors and employees because of Curve’s slow token release mechanism.

As a result, the team and shareholders will control the network with the majority vote in the early days. This dynamic is very likely to reverse over time, giving LPs more power in the future. Unfortunately, the botched token launch and concentration of critical votes place Curve low on the list of top DeFi projects."

"Curve passed an unanimous governance vote to distribute $3M worth of protocol fees to CRV holders staked into the CurveDAO over the weekend."

With just under 50% of all staked token holders voting on the proposal, the 100% majority vote signals strong alignment for the stablecoin AMM to distribute the 2.9M yCRV accrued to the Set converter over the past 62 days to veCRV holders.

Curve is the first AMM after SushiSwap to distribute protocol fees directly to token holders. It’s not a coincidence that the two projects to do this are led by anonymous teams; fee distribution is similar to a dividend payout, which may raise regulatory concerns for US-based projects such as Uniswap."

"The community-lead proposal to align incentives between veCRV holders (governance participants) and liquidity providers got off to a very strong start with total fees accrued reaching $1m in its first month. Governance subsequently chose to distribute those fees as 3Pool LP tokens which will start in the coming weeks. After the admin fee proposal was approved by governance, lock rates started to rise. They were around 10% of the total supply and currently stand at 17% and growing rapidly.

With the number of vote locked users fast approaching 3,000, the DAO has become increasingly decentralized with voters holding under 0.5% of voting power accounting for 46% of the total voting power, in stark contrast of early days of decentralized governance."

"veCRV holders can determine the allocation of CRV inflation across the different pools. As Convex now holds the greatest number of votes, they’ll be able to have considerable say in where newly issued CRV is directed. We could see a scenario in which Convex votes to allocate CRV to pools which would maximize their boosts rather than Yearn’s."

Founder took 71% of voting power

"Governance wars have started. Holders of yEarn Finance decided to allocate their CRV treasury ($2.5M) to Curve Finance, taking advantage of their 2.5x rewards multiplier while gaining political power. Curve's team quickly responded by locking the team's CRV tokens, kickstarting a flurry of attention around the hottest governance token on the block.

Later Curve modified their allocation and now no participant owns more than 27% of the voting power."

"Curve lets holders of its CRV governance token lock up their tokens to obtain a separate voting token, veCRV. Holders can then use veCRV to vote on network proposals submitted through the Curve DAO, and those with a high enough veCRV can even submit their own proposals for consideration.

However, since the token’s launch on August 14, only a small fraction of CRV holders have vote-locked their tokens, leaving a handful of addresses with a large amount of voting power. 

In fact, Egorov told Decrypt that only 6.7% of the nearly 10 million CRV tokens currently in circulation are vote locked right now—an indication of how few token holders are actually participating in the DAO.

This made it fairly easy for an address controlled by yield aggregating platform Yearn.finance, which runs a Curve liquidity pool, to obtain a significant proportion of the voting power (close to 58%).

In an apparent move to counter this, Egorov (who controls address 0x9b...36b029) extended a vote lock for a total of 621,860 CRV tokens (worth ~$1.7 million) under a single address, netting him 618,568 veCRV, or 71% of the voting power. The longer a user locks up their tokens, the more voting power they have. He maxed out his vote time to four years. “Maybe too much,” he said.

Meanwhile, if Egorov plans to hold back on voting—a promise, at best—that also means nobody else's vote matters either until the community resolves the issue or comes up with a more permanent fix, since they need a quorum of at least 33% to propose a change and above 50% to pass an update."

"The response from Curve takes on much more meaning when you consider who controls the 0x431 wallet. Nansen lists 0x431 as being the first wallet to farm YFI. As well as holding a large amount of K3PR, this wallet is also now voting to increase the gauge weight of the Fantom pool, so perhaps you can draw your own conclusions."

veCRV Whitelist

For a protocol to use veCRV, they must be listed on Curve’s “SmartWalletWhitelist” contract. As veCRV from smart contract addresses can be transferred between owners, smart wallets go through a whitelisting process in order to prevent abuse. Currently, only Yearn, Stake DAO, and Convex are on this list. At a CRV token price of $2, a protocol must attract around $130 M worth of veCRV (30% of the supply) to become whitelisted on Curve. However, the whitelist is not easy to access, even if the funds are available. There have been multiple failed proposals, which were turned down for not having enough direct benefit to the Curve protocol or its token holders.

Treasury

  • From their forum (15-4-2021):

"The Curve team would like to propose to use a share of the community fund to farm and lock CRV:

  1. Farmed CRV will be locked and used to repay collateral
  2. Admin fees will be used to buy CRV (and lock it or repay collateral)
  3. Voting power will be used to vote to pools with the most volume
  4. Pay out community grants and make the community fund self sustaining
  5. No CRV would be sold"

Token

Launch

"Someone deployed $CRV based on smart contracts we had published on github, front-running our efforts. While we initially were skeptical, it appeared to be an acceptable deployment with correct code, data and admin keys. Due to the token/DAO getting traction, we had to adopt it."

  • More info on the premature launch can be read here (14-8-2020).

Token allocation

"The current proposal suggests CRV will be issued with a supply of 1B CRV which will be gradually inflated to a max supply of 3.03B Curve. Inflation is set to be the highest in the first year and scale up over time, suggesting early adopters will see the most upside from protocol usage. Just as with Compound and Balancer, CRV will be earned by those who provide liquidity to the protocol."

"The total supply of 3.03b is distributed as such:

  1. 62% to liquidity providers
  2. 30% to shareholders (team and investors) with 2-4 years vesting
  3. 3% to employees with 2 years vesting
  4. 5% to the community reserve

The initial supply of around 1.3b (~43%) is distributed as such:

  1. 5% to pre-CRV liquidity providers with 1 year vesting
  2. 30% to shareholders (team and investors) with 2-4 years vesting
  3. 3% to employees with 2 years vesting
  4. 5% to the community reserve

The circulating supply will be 0 at launch and the initial release rate will be around 2m CRV per day."

Utility

  • From DeFi Rate (30-6-2020):

"The paper suggests that Curve will collect all protocol fees and redirect them to the DAO, ultimately being used to burn CRV off the open market."

"On [its] volume, Curve levies a trading fee of 0.04%. As of September 19th, an "Admin Fee" was implemented which diverts 50% of all trading fees (i.e. 0.02%) to CRV stakers, with liquidity providers receiving the other half. The question is, can Curve generate enough volume and trading fees that people are incentivized to stake CRV faster than it’s released? With 22.5% of issued CRV already locked for 3.62 years on average, it's not unreasonable."

"Curve passed an unanimous governance vote to distribute $3M worth of protocol fees to CRV holders staked into the CurveDAO over the weekend."

"The protocol will continue to disburse fees on a weekly basis following this initial payout, Curve CEO Michael Egorov told CoinDesk.

In order to vote, users must stake CRV tokens to the protocol’s voting contract which then supplies users with veCRV, creating a kind of voting escrow. Since September, veCRV holders have earned half of the 0.04% trading fee the protocol levies, with the other half going to liquidity providers."

"When users lock CRV in the protocol they receive governance rights, 50% of the Curve trading fees on the AMM, and the ability to “boost” their liquidity provider rewards up to 2.5 times what they would be otherwise. The recent flurry of airdrops have likely been a nice cherry on top."

Token Details

  • Has CRV and veCRV, from Bankless (17-6-2021):

"Although it can be held like any other asset, tokenholders can lock their CRV to access the full benefits of the asset. Locking is the process of staking CRV tokens within Curve for a period of time, between one week to four years, in order to receive vote-escrowed CRV (veCRV). It should be noted that this process cannot be reversed, meaning that once you convert CRV to veCRV, you will not have access to your underlying tokens until the lockup period ends. In addition, veCRV is non-transferrable.

To incentivize longer lockups, the amount of veCRV you’ll receive is proportional to how long you decide to lock your CRV. For instance, you’ll receive 1 veCRV for every CRV you decide to lock for four years, 0.50 veCRV for every CRV locked for two years, 0.25 veCRV per CRV for one year, and 0.02 veCRV per CRV locked for one month.

Post locking, veCRV holders are then entitled to:

  1. Governance rights (like deciding on the allocation of CRV inflation between different pools)
  2. 50% of protocol trading fees (0.02% of every trade for non-volatile pools)
  3. Boosted CRV rewards

While the first two are relatively straight forward, this final point needs some unpacking. Boosts act as a multiplier on the amount of CRV inflation a liquidity provider can earn. Boosting can be highly lucrative, as it is capable of increasing an LP’s CRV rewards by up to 2.5x."

Coin Distribution

"At least one person was able to farm CRV for hours while others waited for confirmation from the Curve team that the contracts were safe. Some skeptical users assumed an illicit pre-mine. It [also] emerged that the development team owns a majority of governance tokens."

"63% of the circulating CRV supply has been locked for veCRV. Of the 212 million veCRV, the two entities holding the most are Convex with 35.5 million (17.1% of the supply), and Yearn with 18.3 million (8.7% of the supply)."

Tech

  • Whitepaper can be found here (10-11-2019). The whitepaper of their AMM with Dynamic Peg (aka V2) can be read here (9-6-2021).
  • Code can be viewed [insert here].

Implementations

"The majority of the liquidity, or 93%, is represented by Ethereum. Polygon ranks in the second place with an amount of $542M, a 5% of the volume on Ethereum."

How it works

"Curve Finance is an automated market maker (AMM) designed to facilitate low slippage swaps between tokens with similar prices. Dollar pegged stablecoins like DAI, USDT, and USDC or BTC-pegged tokens like sBTC, RenBTC, and WBTC can be traded for one another at the best prices. Curve was developed as an alternative to trading stablecoins on general-purpose DEXes like Uniswap, whose algorithm isn’t optimized for such trades."

Fees

Upgrades

"Curve has continued to ship new features and product upgrades such as adding virtually one new Curvepool per month, enhanced swap interfaces and automatic staking onramps for liquidity incentives like Synthetix.

This cadence is best highlighted by Curve’s integrations with top DEX aggregators like 1inch, Paraswap and DEX.ag in tandem with asset management partners like Zapper, Zerion and InstaDapp."

"In a white paper released Wednesday, Curve describes a model in which greater liquidity could be achieved on a pool of volatile assets by using a dynamic peg. Curve’s new version should be appealing to liquidity providers because it will offer much of the attractive liquidity depth that Uniswap has enabled without the active management it requires. Curve has deployed this new model on a USDT/wETH/wBTC pool now live on Ethereum."

Staking

  • veCRV is locked up CRV which gives it revenue and lockup bonusses. 63% of the supply has been taken out of circulation in this way (17-6-2021).

Liquidity Mining

"Just like Uniswap and Balancer, anyone can deposit tokens in Curve and become a liquidity provider. Users who do this are rewarded with fees accrued from token swaps. When yEarn Finance announced liquidity mining, there was a burst of activity on Curve. This is because yEarn users had to liquidity mine with the yCRV token. yCRV is the pool token for the Curve market consisting of yEarn’s wrapped DAI, USDC, TUSD, and USDT tokens."

Scaling

Different Implementations

Interoperability

"1inch exchange aggregates liquidity from Curve pools to ensure that users on their platform are getting the best prices possible. Another integration with various DeFi lending and borrowing platforms like Aave, dYdX, and Compound, also see Curve users earn interest on top of their trading fees. So, on top of the 0.04% on fees that LPs collect, they are also earning healthy interest rates. In many ways, Curve Finance fulfills the “Money Lego” meme by interacting with other legos in the ecosystem. Even without this composability, Curve still serves arbitrage traders better than many of its competitors."

Other Details

Oracle Method

Privacy Method

Compliance

  • A discussion around intellectual property has been started by a lawyer and CRV holder (18-6-2021). It got extra attention due to the Saddle fork/competitor.

Their Other Projects

Roadmap

  • Can be found [Insert link here].

Usage

  • "At the time of writing (3-2-2020), Curve has just under $650,000 of liquidity, with that number split almost equally between DAI and USDC."
  • Daily volume reached $4.5M (23-4-2020).
  • Curve.fi did $62 million in daily volume in the week of 20-6-2020.

"Volume on Curve Finance jumped by $213M on the week COMP distribution launched, a ~16x increase from the previous week, as farmers scrambled to get their hands on USDT to maximize their earnings. In the past two weeks, Curve’s cumulative volume has grown over 120% to just over $550M at the time of writing from $250M on June 15th. The hunt for CRV combined with a top trading venue for tokens which yield the highest APYs has propelled Curve to the 2nd slot amongst all DEXs, from 7th before the yield farming boom started, sitting behind Uniswap’s $142M, at $82M worth of volume in the past week according to Dune Analytics.

"On the 13th of August, total value locked (TVL) on Curve Finance peaked $263m. As the news of the CRV launch spread, TVL grew rapidly to reach a new all time high of $825m by the next day and eventually to $1b three days later to make Curve Finance the 3rd DeFi protocol to reach the milestone. Curve Finance also crossed $2.5b in cumulative volume. (Source)"

"The sheer magnitude of trading volume that Curve has generated YTD is impressive, reaching a monthly high of $5.85 billion in September."

"Curve is currently the largest DEX with a TVL of ~$17B; in extension, the protocol’s ongoing CRV token emissions have become pivotal revenue avenues for many DeFi projects."

Projects that use or built on it

"Curve is not just a money factory. The existence of Curve’s stable and secure liquidity pools has allowed an entire ecosystem of DeFi projects and services to be built off of Curve’s backend. Curve operates a pool factory, allowing users to generate their own pools built on Curve’s infrastructure. Many sites within DeFi integrate directly with Curve pools to allow users to make transactions or earn yield on coins."

Yearn and Curve's Relationship

"Both of these projects hit their stride over the past few months, having benefited from each other in a type of symbiotic relationship, although an argument could be made that Yearn was more parasitic in nature. Through its automated Vault strategies, Yearn drove large amounts of liquidity to Curve's stable liquidity pools. In return for these asset inflows, and as part of Curve's broader liquidity mining program, Yearn's strategies earned CRV, the governance token of Curve's DAO. The strategies were designed to market sell the CRV they earned and reinvest the proceeds generated back into their Vaults. The profitability of selling CRV, at previously much higher prices, enabled Yearn's Vault strategies to offer high yields, thus attracting even more liquidity, and to Curve as well. In a way, Curve was "paying" Yearn through the inflation of its token to help bootstrap its protocol by directing liquidity towards it. As the price of CRV has continued to fall, and Yearn strategy yields along with them, these dynamics are in a state of flux. Strategies that once sold all of the CRV they earned, are now setting aside and locking up 10% of it for 4 years, in order to boost their rewards and influence over Curve DAO."

Competition

"On Uniswap, token-to-token trades are expensive. Tokens only trade directly against ETH so if you want to trade token A for token B, Uniswap will do two trades; Token A for ETH, and then ETH for Token B. This results in double the trading fees.

Uniswap’s algorithm also sips significantly for trades of any size. This is because the algorithm is designed to maximize available liquidity.

With Curve on the other hand, stablecoins trade directly between each other. You only pay one set of trading fees — currently 0.04%. Curve’s algorithm is also designed to minimize slippage. These savings are magnified as the trade gets larger."

"By changing its invariant from Uniswap in order to prioritise lower slippage for stablecoin traders, Curve is proving out to be a key venue for simple stablecoin swaps."

"mStable is a pegged asset swapping protocol that shares many similarities to Curve. It has a basket for each asset (USD, BTC, etc.) and has tokens pegged to that asset inside the basket. Both mStable and Curve serve the unique market of swapping pegged tokens for one another. mStable claims to offer “zero slippage swaps.” This is because of the protocol’s model prices each asset in a basket against every other on a one-for-one basis. Effectively, this means 1 USDT can be swapped for 1 DAI, even if the price of a single DAI is 1.02 USDT in the open market. Hence, prices on mStable are independent of the market, creating a ton of unique arbitrage opportunities. Curve, on the other hand, incorporates the active market price for an asset.

Smaller trades may be more cost-effective on Uniswap thanks to the difference in gas, but larger trades are better on Curve. mStable only has the edge over Curve in a scenario where there is a large enough spread between prices on Curve and mStable to justify paying extra in gas."

  • Saddle Finance is a fork of Curve, which Curve holders didn't let go unnoticed (20-1-2021):

"The founders of Saddle Finance are closely linked to the Thesis project - creators of tBTC. veCRV holders expressed their views on the arrival of Saddle Finance by voting to reduce CRV rewards to the tBTC pool."

"In a white paper released Wednesday, Curve describes a model in which greater liquidity could be achieved on a pool of volatile assets by using a dynamic peg. Curve’s new version should be appealing to liquidity providers because it will offer much of the attractive liquidity depth that Uniswap has enabled without the active management it requires. Basically, it identifies an internal price peg based on trading on Curve and concentrates the liquidity around that peg. The peg can move, but it will only do so if moving doesn’t cause liquidity providers to incur too much loss."

Pros and Cons

Pros

Cons

  • Got accused of censoring their community (7-11-2020):

"The evidence is clear: the Curve team censors their community. From deleting posts on their governance form to removing signaling votes from Snapshot, the Curve team has proven they are willing to censor ideas they do not like. A user named SF decided to post a proposal on snapshot and the Curve governance forum called "Stop Censorship & Embrace Transparency." In this proposal, SF called out Curve for censoring members of their Discord server.'The Curve team responded by deleting SF's account on their governance forum and removing the proposal from the Snapshot UI so users could not participate in the vote."

Team, investors, Partnerships, etc.

Team

  • Full team can be found [here].
  • Swiss Stake GmbH (Switzerland)
  • Michael Egorov, the creator of Curve Finance and CTO at NuCypher
  • Has (3-3-2020) connections with iEarn. Andre Cronje from iEarn also says on his LinkdIn that he worked for/with Curve.

"In 2020, Egorov started Curve Finance. Though it is still unclear the size of the team, Egorov confirmed in a Telegram conversation with Crypto Briefing that five other members join him. These include two developers, Angel Angelov and Ben Hauser, and three community managers, “Charlie,” “Kendrick Lama,” and “Chris.”

Investors

Partners 

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