TL;DR: Serum DEX is the core infrastructure powering financial and other major projects on the Solana ecosystem. Protocols with trading-related features benefit from being able to use Serum DEX’s central limit order book (CLOB) for trading, data, pricing, and risk management. One can build a myriad of sophisticated financial services on top of the DEX and all composing with each other to deliver synergistic value. Nevertheless, the entire ecosystem bottoms out at Serum DEX, which collects DEX fees that go to $SRM buy and burn. We identify a number of exciting and promising projects in the Serum ecosystem to illustrate our point.
Serum emerged from the experimental energy of DeFi summer in 2020.
The team behind Serum chose the path less taken, insisting on ambitious design choices despite their immense challenge. One such choice was building on Solana as opposed to Ethereum. Another choice was to build a DEX with a fully on-chain central limit orderbook (CLOB) — an architecture whose immense network intensity would be unsustainable without a blockchain like Solana.
The question naturally arises: of all ideas, why build a CLOB-based DEX? Why not pursue, for example, an AMM model?
The rationale behind building Serum concerns the future of DeFi. We return to a question asked in Part 1 of our series: What infrastructure must be present to support and attract an ecosystem of one billion users and $10 trillion of on-chain value? In other words: How do we go about realizing the global mass adoption of DeFi?
One crucial element for answering this challenge is financial services: such an ecosystem would surely replicate the financial products we take for granted in our day-to-day lives.
This observation alone is not very interesting. But consider how almost all financial services essentially reduce to the exchange-level (or, somewhat more philosophically, the level of exchanging between two parties). At the end of the day, there is a trade on an exchange to make a number of superstructure services happen. This is where Serum DEX steps in.
We noted in Part 1 that:
A central limit orderbook (CLOB) matches all bids and offers according to order price and (then) time priority. The matching between buyer and seller is fundamental to all types of financial transactions.
Solana allows Serum to deliver this service on-chain. The value-add behind Serum’s CLOB-based design is two-fold:
At one level, the market structure of a CLOB-based trading venue allows for larger trades than, say, an AMM might allow, but without heightened risk of slippage.
For AMMs, the risk of slippage depends on the slope of its (x * y = k) price curve and the total value locked in its pool. Every unit of liquidity added is spread across the slope of the price curve, including areas of the curve containing prices which are unlikely to be traded at in the short or medium term. The liquidity being allocated to those ‘stale’ prices is wasted and could be used somewhere else, such as a price range that matters.
The beauty of CLOBs is that liquidity can be concentrated in the most efficient way and adjusted in real-time. This ultimately results in more accurate pricing and more efficient markets.
At another level, users benefit deeply from DeFi’s composability and the synergies arising from a system of projects connected, firstly, with Serum DEX, and, potentially, with each other.
With the Serum DEX alone, we have spot trading. New projects can, and continue to, explore new ways to compose with the DEX. Where could financial innovators go from here?
A scattering of ideas:
With a composable on-chain CLOB, one can create a borrow-lending protocol with specialized infrastructure for capital efficiency and leveraged trading. Features could include in-pool trading directly to an exchange and allowing for margin trading via borrow-lending iterations in a single click. The permissionless nature of DeFi combined with Solana’s latency and costs make such on-chain features feasible.
What about structured products? Perhaps one way to build a future contract may be to create a market between two tokens that turn into the actual underlying upon expiry via a redemption facility. With an oracle network in place, futures can be on any underlying you can obtain data for. Composing this with borrow-lending would then allow for leveraged trades.
Replication of other products is conceptually straightforward too. One way to think about ETF’s may be something like on-chain pools. Options would be prediction markets expiring to a chosen function of an underlying price; combine this with an oracle feed, and you can have a market of a token expiring to a value of 1 or 0 depending on a measurable outcome. A way to think about bonds is tokens issued by someone promising to honor it with the strongest word they have, perhaps by collateralizing their bonds with the tokenized equity of what they are building.
The point here is not to trivialize the sophistication of these instruments. Rather, we hope to lightly illustrate one path by which developers can build, on-chain, the underlying financial instruments driving at least half of the world’s financial activity.
Other infrastructures are also essential, of course: risk engines, prime brokerages, retail-facing GUIs — there are many project choices and exciting approaches for passionate developers who share our ambitions for DeFi.
However the system is built, it all bottoms-out to the on-chain DEX and orderbook. And this is just with regards to the financial realm. Industries like social media, gaming, and travel can also be enriched through building on and interacting with the Serum DEX.
Hopefully, this gives a vivid and inspiring picture of Serum DEX’s potential as the matching engine powering Solana-based projects which benefit from the DEX’s matching service, liquidity, and price data.
And the more, the merrier: the Serum and Solana communities are ones driven by camaraderie, passion, and innovation. It’s never been better for $SRM holders and DeFi users, who all benefit from the arrival of more projects driving further volume and innovation for Serum.
Who’s Building What?
Established and new players continue to join our ecosystem, and we’re impressed with the influx of innovative and original approaches towards replicating financial and other day-to-day services on-chain. Developers are always invited to utilize existing resources, check out popular project ideas, and to come interact with the community.
So who’s building what on Serum? How have they chosen to connect with Serum DEX and the ecosystem?
We offer a comprehensive but not exhaustive list of exciting projects. We hope this line-up will both inform and inspire users and developers alike.
Bonfida is the flagship Serum GUI and full product suite bridging the gap between Serum, Solana, and the user through its highly intuitive trading interface, Solana data analytics, and sophisticated ancillary features.
On top of offering a user-friendly DEX UI, Bonfida features advanced on-chain order types, exclusive markets, and listings, and two trading modes for users of different experience.
Bonfida also developed Bonfida Bots, which allow people to automate their trading strategies on Serum as well as copy trading. These bots also have the capacity to plug into TradingView natively so any TradingView strategy can be automated on Serum out of the box. In the first month of launch, the bots executed over 240k trades with an average of 8k trades daily. This is a monumental feat as it clearly indicates that it is being adopted by the community.
The $FIDA utility token ties everything together: holding and staking $FIDA grants fee discounts, governance powers, and access to special Solible markets and features.
Mango Markets intends to merge the liquidity and usability of CeFi with the permissionless innovation of DeFi at a lower cost to the end user than both currently provide. Towards this goal, Mango is building margin trading/lending and perpetual futures along with decentralized governance to decide the future evolution. Mango’s permissionless ecosystem encourages spectacular, unpredictable innovations.
Mango harnesses the power of Solana as well as Serum’s CLOB. Mango Markets is currently in public beta offering up to 5x leverage margin trading on BTC and ETH with more token pairs arriving soon.
PsyOptions is an options protocol that utilizes Solana’s speed and throughput to bring a TradFi feel to DeFi. Options minted via the protocol are represented as SPL tokens to allow composability such as trading options on Serum order books. The protocol is responsible for the minting, clearing, and settling of options, and is completely decentralized.
Users will be able to write and trade options from the PsyOptions website, which integrates with Serum directly. Users will eventually be able to create and manage complex/multi-legged strategies through the dashboard. Mature options infrastructure is severely lacking in DeFi and PsyOptions aims to fill that void.
Raydium is an on-chain orderbook AMM built on Solana and leveraging Serum DEX’s central limit order book for fast trades, shared liquidity, and features for earning yield.
Unlike other AMM platforms, Raydium provides on-chain liquidity to Serum’s central limit order book, meaning that Raydium’s users and liquidity pools have access to the order flow and liquidity of the entire Serum ecosystem, and vice versa.
Raydium also offers single and fusion (dual) reward farming pools to drive ecosystem-wide liquidity and enable projects to grow. Raydium’s initial Fusion pools will be the first to offer dual yield rewards for liquidity providers and stakers. Users receive farming rewards in both $RAY, as well as the project token for the pool they are staking.
Raydium’s AcceleRaytor launchpad allows new Solana projects to raise capital and drive initial liquidity in a decentralized and interoperable manner, while enabling both project and Raydium communities to participate in carefully curated and vetted token offerings.
Oxygen is a DeFi prime brokerage service built on Solana and powered by Serum’s on-chain infrastructure. Built to support hundreds of millions of users, it serves as a permissionless, cheap, and scalable protocol that democratizes borrowing, lending, and trading with leverage and allows users to make the most of their capital. Oxygen aims to recreate the business units traditionally found within investment banks and to make them accessible to retail and institutional users.
With Oxygen, users can earn yield, borrow from peers, trade directly out of your pools, and get trading leverage against a portfolio of assets. Oxygen provides a more efficient way to manage capital and is unique from other borrow lending protocols through features like multiple uses of the same collateral, cross-collateralization, and market-based (order-book based) pricing.
One interesting integration in progress is Oxygen’s composing as the financial backend for the DeFi yield generation function in Maps.me. Maps.me users will interact with an intuitive UX to enjoy their wallets earning them yield. In the background, Oxygen will match borrowers to the requested liquidity through Serum DEX. The provision of this valuable service to Maps.me users in turn provides liquidity for Oxygen from the lending-side.
Jet Protocol is a borrowing and lending protocol built on the Solana blockchain. Jet’s core lending function will build on the token-lending program found in the Solana Program Library repository as well as the applicable cross-margin pull request for the initial mainnet launch. Users can also look forward to Jet Protocol’s innovative interest bearing products which will be used to create markets on Serum DEX.
Beginning with the launch of the cross-margined lending protocol, extendable via APIs will be provided to traders, market-makers, and liquidity providers. Upcoming features include liquidity mining, innovative liquidation mechanisms, interest-bearing tokens, and cross-chain modules for equalization of interest rates.
The Jet Protocol will provide Solana market participants a place to borrow against their assets and manage their debt positions. This functionality paves exploration for leveraged borrowing automated position management and liquidity provisioning for senior and junior debt positions.
Solrise Finance is a decentralized fund management and investment protocol built on Solana and Serum. Solrise allows users to create and enter decentralized funds with under $20, reducing the barrier-to-entry to nearly 0, and is completely non-custodial — which means fund investors know their funds are secure.
Solrise is building on top of Serum’s SWAP and DEX architecture, with fund managers able to access both platforms with invested funds. Solrise intends to provide fund managers with access to all of the tools and DeFi protocols they need to compete on the cutting edge and get the highest possible returns.
COPE is a project that has two phases. In Phase one, trader performance will be evaluated retrospectively based on their calls on crypto markets; call makers will be categorized into a leaderboard which provides a narrative informing a new type of investment product based on top trader calls. Phase two involves an automated investment product that users can permission to trade on their behalf based on this leaderboard.
There are three core products on the horizon: COPE Leaderboard, COPE Index, and COPE Trading Pools. These products will use the Solana blockchain and integrate with its ecosystem. The COPE Leaderboard allows COPE to catalogue and understand the skills of the most effective investment minds in the community. The COPE Index allows the Community to harness and invest in those minds. The COPE Trading Pools will allow Community members to select call makers with the most effective performance. These products are made possible by the Serum DEX. Below is an illustration of how trading pools will work:
Users will be able to send their USDC to a call-maker’s Solana program. Each Solana program will invest the user’s USDC in a Serum market associated with the call maker’s most recent coin/token mentioned in their call.
With the support of its community, COPE continues to garner more traction everyday. The COPE community is over 20,000 strong and continues to grow stronger, with over 21,000 Solana wallets having interacted with the COPE token in the last month.
Maps.me is the world’s leading offline mapping application. Over the last nine years, Maps.me has been trusted by 100M+ users, with over 60M people using Maps.me last year to navigate across 195 countries. The app provides turn-by-turn routing, travel guides, and detailed mapping.
Maps.me 2.0 is a reshaping of the popular Maps.me offline mapping and travel-booking app to be the ultimate travel companion and your passport to the new financial system. Maps.me 2.0 will support both online and offline maps, and will be launching its native financial suite to a hundred million users, with its key DeFi components built on Serum. Powering Maps.me 2.0 is the $MAPS token which governs 100% of the platform’s net revenues; MAPS token-holders using the app will also benefit from personalized promotions and rewards.
Maps.me 2.0 has a natively integrated wallet which will allow users to discover, review, and book directly, creating a seamless and cheaper experience. Users will be able to transfer money cross-border with low fees, manage multi-currency accounts, and exchange across 37 currencies. The wallet will have a yield generation feature, which allows users to deposit their fiat and generate income. Oxygen Protocol will operate as a financial backend to this wallet functionality.
Pyth Network is an oracle network “being built by some of the biggest names in traditional finance and DeFi” with the goal of providing the infrastructure for DeFi to support reliable, institutional grade market data oracles. Existing solutions focus on harnessing the wisdom of crowds to source data; Pyth seeks to become a complementary oracle solution to these current offerings.
Pyth Network has attracted some of the largest traders and exchanges who have lots of data, but for whom selling data is not a primary business. Using the power of decentralization, Pyth hopes to pool that unharnessed data and create alternative sources of high-quality composite market data. Pyth’s network offerings feature access to unique data sets, sub-second update speeds, sophisticated outputs and aggregation methods, and a thorough incentive system to ward off spurious or malicious data breaches.
Media Network is a privacy-first and community-governed content delivery network (CDN) that bypasses traditional CDN providers’ centralized approach for a self-governed and open source solution where everyone can participate.
Media Network creates a distributed bandwidth market that enables service providers such as media platforms to hire resources from the network and dynamically come and go as the demand for last-mile data delivery shifts. Media Network allows anyone to organically set up new Media Edges and serve content without introducing any trust assumptions or pre-authentication requirements. Participants earn MEDIA rewards for their bandwidth contributions, a fixed supply SPL token minted on Solana’s Blockchain.
The protocol utilizes new mechanisms to encourage honest and collaborative work between participants of the network. To scale an existing infrastructure, developers or media platforms will buy MEDIA off of exchanges, provide liquidity to any designated Serum DEX pools, and stake the resulting LP MEDIA tokens.
Media Guards will verify the amount of staked LP MEDIA tokens and authorize the new resource into the network assigning bandwidth quotas, DNS names, and security settings. Everything is encrypted with a password and recorded on Solana’s blockchain. Bandwidth quota depends on the amount of LP tokens staked; the more MEDIA staked, the more burstable bandwidth available for end-users. Media Edges listening to these on-chain transactions will start pulling content from the origin and replicating it worldwide, relaying the data on-demand. End users requesting the new provided URL instead of the original path to the source will get the data from the closest edge based on geolocation and latency.
Star Atlas is an immense metaverse with a space exploration and territorial conquest MMO game built on Solana. By combining blockchain mechanics, state-of-the-art graphics, and the latest in 3D technology, Star Atlas is carving out the future of the gaming industry by redefining how virtual items are traded and what they’re worth both in and out of the metaverse.
Star Atlas uses the Serum DEX for trading all game assets. When a user views their inventory in the Star Atlas UI, they can see all the Official Star Atlas NFTs that they own. When they click to view the details of an item, they will also see the best ask and bid prices on the Serum Market Order Book for that specific item, allowing them to place orders for it. There will be many thousands of in-game items, and to make that efficient, we aim to have one Serum Market per NFT, pairing them with the primary currency of the Star Atlas metaverse, the ATLAS token, and a convenient UI to trade other currencies into ATLAS directly through the same interface.
Aurory is an upcoming gaming platform based on the play-to-earn mechanism. Developed by passionate game developers from France and Canada, Aurory aims to let newcomers discover cryptocurrencies in a fun and educational way.
There are multiple game modes planned for Android and iOS. The solo game mode is a J-RPG inspired side scroller where the player fulfills quests, interacts with NPCs, and defeats opponents to advance the plot. Every creature defeated will be earned as an NFT in players’ wallets. These NFTs cards will be the core of Aurory’s multiplayer modes and will allow players to compete against other players or to gain additional items. Completing quests also allow players to gain tokens for multiplayer game modes or to buy items in the marketplace.
Aurory will use an SPL token as a core of its gaming ecosystem. Using Serum for the marketplace allows for blazingly quick transactions, very low fees, and a performant in-game economy where players can trade their items in exchange for tokens or buy items to compete in the multiplayer mode in the most fair way possible.
OpenEra is a PvP, PvE fantasy MMORPG inspired by the likes of RuneScape. It takes place in a fantasy world with variant timelines. The opportunity to travel throughout these timelines will be given to players, and opted into, via community governance. Each timeline has different monsters, resources, updates to in-game economic models, and quests to challenge players.
In OpenEra, players can customize their avatars, and are free to choose their own journey and desired skills to master. Players can battle NPC monsters for resources and experience to increase their levels, or complete the quests to acquire experience, limited resources or weapons.
OpenEra aims to introduce a unique player driven economy where in-game money markets can be bridged with off-game markets. For example, non-gamers can speculate on the future prospects of the in-game economy which is affected by the players and verifiably random factors within the game. OpenEra leverages Serum to create these in-game money markets where instruments such as local currency, or synthetic in-game financial instruments can be traded. Similarly, it is leveraged as the underlying protocol for in-game commodity trading houses — where players trade raw or refined assets like ore, hyde, or wood. Outside of OpenEra, Serum will be leveraged by OpenEra’s money market protocols that are focused on lending and derivatives markets.
SerumTaxTime is a trade exporter for the Serum GUI that allows users to download their historical trades into a CSV for tax purposes.
This is just the beginning of Serum’s journey. Needless to say, Serum remains committed to its ambitious undertaking of building and fostering an ecosystem for everyone.
There’s much to do. Come aboard, bring your wildest dreams, and let the world know about Serum.