Project Serum Quarterly Review— 3Q2021

Project Serum’s new roadmap was released at the end of July. Serum’s ultimate goal never changed, even if the means towards reaching that goal have transformed. DeFi is full of action and flux, and that goes for the last three months as well.

It’s critical for Serum to readily respond to changes in user demand and developer challenges, while still hitting all the necessary milestones. This quarterly update report reflects on some of Serum’s major upgrades and launches. What are some of the things Serum has been up to in Q3 of 2021?

Serum Upgrades

Serum, as a core liquidity infrastructure layer on Solana, has been undergoing and preparing for continuous upgrades to the DEX and order book architecture to meet developers’ changing needs and user demand.

Serum Core by Bonfida

We published our Serum Story with Bonfida — a beloved and veteran ecosystem player.

Bonfida made a name for themselves through their non-stop release of innovative features from their one-stop-shop and product GUI: Bonfida Bots, Bonfida analytics, Serum API, Solana Name Service, and much more.

Bonfida’s newest release speaks to their longstanding commitment and passion for Serum’s vision: Serum Core, an asset agnostic orderbook, built for the universal benefit of Solana and Serum developers.

What is Serum Core? (Technical)

Serum Core is a pure matching engine that can be used to match any financial assets regardless of whether they can be tokenized or not (an illustrative example being Perpetual Futures): with Serum Core, developers can use normal accounts to store state instead of SPL tokens.

Serum Core provides matching as a service and other smart contracts can subscribe to it by sending transactions and consuming its events. The rebuilt Serum DEX is a smart contract that uses Serum Core to match SPL tokens.

“With the AOB, Serum becomes a truly universal component usable by any protocol, derivative, spot or anything else. Devs can use it to match anything — even NFTs or non-fungible stuff or domain names or whatever. Perps are a great example, and the AOB means that builders no longer have to try and represent complex positions via SPL tokens.”

What does this mean for developers?

Perhaps the world. Synchronized migration to the new asset-agnostic order book is key. We highly encourage developers interested in Serum Core to reach out.

Developers will be interested in:

What does this mean for users?

Users can look forward to new waves of innovative dApps made possible thanks to Serum Core. On the flip side, traders on any Serum DEX-based GUI will not notice immediate or flashy changes to the UX. Serum Core is a dev-focused update, with massive and positive implications for the users that developers service.

Permissioned Markets

Serum has always been about driving DeFi’s growth and providing participants with the tools they need. Permissioned markets are a hallmark example of such tooling.

Serum now supports permissioned markets as of August 6!

At a high level, permissioned markets enable market listers to add granular control across specific dimensions such as fee parameters and accessibility by enabling an “open orders authority” which enforces who may and may not trade on a specific market.

Permissioned markets do not mean that markets on Serum now have some centralized component. In fact, it’s the opposite: market listers can now choose how their order books are used. This can now be done on-chain through transparent permissions and with no modifications to the DEX.

“This gives more freedom to programs composing with the DEX. Not less.”

Listers can set custom fees for their own markets or those listing that same market. This level of control over fees and accessibility allow developers to build moats around custom or specific markets, preserving economic incentives for taking on the project risk associated with launching their market.

Control over market access across time can also give rise to an expiratory nature on specific markets, which can be important for derivatives platforms which need to represent that expiratory facet of their products.

Permissioned markets also pave the way for institution adoption, which is critical for driving massive liquidity for DeFi to scale. Solrise Finance and Civic Technologies is one recent partnership geared towards kick-starting institutional adoption. Last week, they announced the launch of Solrise DEX Pro, Solana’s first permissioned DEX, which will stand parallel and complementary to Serum’s existing permissionless market space.

This may seem like an arduous journey towards getting institutional participation into DeFi, but we are confident this is the right path, given the both the appetite for DeFi exposure and stringent regulatory requirements for large capital players. Ecosystem players like off-piste also share the same vision, and we’re excited for Serum to play a critical role in connecting the two worlds.

Developers will want to check out the quickstart repo for creating permissioned markets.

There is another incoming upgrade we want to highlight. As developers know, opening markets on Solana is a costly initiative. The upcoming closeable markets feature addresses this. Closeable markets are markets where a program can clear the order books and recoup the rent from the accounts. Many developers look forward to the ability to close Serum markets for ephemeral assets.

Governance and DAO

On September 27, Serum’s next steps towards decentralized governance were announced. Later on October 7, the Serum Community forum was launched. Sign up and join the discussion!

Serum is preparing to meet the demands of a larger and more diverse group of users. Decentralized governance is a critical step that will create a framework for the community to have their say.

As Serum continues evolving into a DAO, be sure to look out for new governance structures that will give the community the tooling to self-organize and pursue their common goals. Such structures include familiar tools like the multisig and the forum for discussion.

Exciting changes to look forward to include voting rights on a number of significant issues, including:

  • Features you want to see in the protocol
  • Grants to be collectively voted on
  • Fee structure and other parameters of the DEX

A larger DAO announcement is coming soon. Thank you everyone for your continued support. As always, we will keep everyone updated across our channels.

New Content!

Serum has been bringing new content to all the major channels.

Stories and Spotlights

Many of you are familiar with the Serum Stories series, a community-driven journalistic initiative that aims to showcase the incredible teams building on Serum and Solana. We’ve had the wonderful opportunity of interviewing a new team almost every week and learning about the more personal elements of their team’s journey, on top of the hottest things on their roadmap and their general outlook on the industry.

Serum Stories covered an impressive list of Serum ecosystem projects in 3Q: Zeta Markets, DeFi Land, Cyclos, Raydium, Solrise Finance, PsyOptions, Atrix, off-piste, Vybe Network, 01 Protocol, Bonfida, and Dexlab.

It’s inspiring to have such talented teams like these build on Serum, and we’re excited for the next quarter’s line-up.

We’re looking to dig deeper into what some of the major ecosystem players are up to. The new Serum Spotlight series are compact case studies into fascinating and creative ways that different protocols are leveraging Serum’s architecture. We had the honor of collaborating on the very first Serum Spotlight with Star Atlas. There’s many more to come. Don’t hesitate to let us know who you want to read about next.

Twitter Spaces and Podcast Relaunch

Why stop at the written word? Serum’s new weekly Twitter Spaces are a great way to listen in on your favorite teams and Serum contributors. Discussions can get both personal and technical.

Did you miss the last few Spaces with Zeta Markets, PsyOptions, Solrise Finance, and Vybe Network? Don’t fret! You can listen to them on our Youtube channel in our new Series, The Composers.

Expect some classics to come back as well, on top of new content with educational and casual focuses. Stay tuned!

Project Serum is a decentralized liquidity infrastructure protocol. Learn more at