Serum has come a long way since its founding in 2020. In less than a year, we have fostered a thriving and growing community of developers who share our vision. At the heart of our ecosystem is the SRM utility and governance token which accrues value for holders through protocol fees that go to regular token burns.

The first batch of SRM unlocks is approaching and SRM holders have expressed pertinent feedback and questions. The Serum Team Lockup Agreement continues to play a critical role for SRM’s strategic direction and value capture.

To summarize: The original members of the Serum Team and a number of investors have committed to furthering the lockups and reducing the sale of team SRM tokens beyond the scope of the simple 7-year schedule.

Many SRM supporters will remember that the original members of the Serum team have all agreed to the following the following conditions back in November 2020:

  • For the next 7 years, the team members will aggregate their SRM actions in a pool
  • The team members will vote on how the pool behaves
  • As a general guideline: if the pool does decide to liquidate SRM, it will likely limit itself to small single digits of its total size each year for the first few years at least — in the end, this process is controlled by governance
  • Any buying/selling will be pro-rata for all the participants in the pool
  • This covers every original team member (and has been agreed to by each member)

Tokenomics Structure

Year 1

As you know, just 10% of all SRM were unlocked for the first year (with 825m tokens reserved for building out the Serum ecosystem staking rewards). This included 6m tokens that were sold in the IEO and 169m tokens that were made available for liquidity (of which 44m is currently in circulation and 125m is reserved for further liquidity provision and is not circulating).

In response to feedback from the community, we sought to manage the circulating supply in line with demand, and we worked with liquidity providers to lock up 125m of the tokens allocated for liquidity provision with the standard 1–7 year lockup. This effectively reduced the circulating supply to the 50 million tokens today and accounts for all tokens available either on exchanges and non-custodial wallets.

In addition, 825m unlocked tokens were set aside for ecosystem incentives for SRM holders and Serum users, including staking rewards and grants. These tokens are still controlled by the foundation for distribution in future years.

Year 2 and onwards

When we drafted plans for Serum, we were mindful of the pace of the industry and set out to ensure our product had the best chance to withstand its cycles. This meant designing incentives and tokenomics that would extend far enough into the future, but also close enough to muster support from our ecosystem partners. 7 years is an eternity in crypto, but the truth is, this is still only the beginning. We expect the road to 1 billion users (and beyond) to be a longer journey than many realise.

As you know, over the next 6 years, 90% of the remaining tokens will unlock linearly in equal proportions (starting August 11, 2021 at 12:00 AM UTC) under the same schedule. We expect a very small percentage of these tokens to actually enter the circulating supply.

You may recall the following:

  • Only 4% of tokens were sold to private sale investors
  • Team tokens are controlled by governance
  • Circulating supply is closely managed by the foundation

This means that despite the unlock schedule, circulating supply may not necessarily change in a meaningful way. We expect in future upgrades that many decisions by the foundation, including those related to circulating supply, will be made via governance and look forward to building out those systems in due course.

SRM (Revisited)

SRM tokens are the backbone of the Serum ecosystem. SRM is native to SPL and cross-listed as ERC-20.

SRM has proven popular due to its utility: SRM holders can enjoy reduced fees on Serum.

The fees on trades are (taker / maker):

  • Hold < 100 SRM: 22bps / -3bps
  • 100 SRM: 20bps / -3bps
  • 1,000 SRM: 18bps / -3bps
  • 10,000 SRM: 16 bps / -3bps
  • 100,000 SRM: 14 bps / -3bps
  • 1m SRM: 12 bps / -3bps
  • 1 MSRM: 10bps / -5bps

SRM staking rewards prove extremely popular. Staking is available at stake.projectserum.com as well as FTX and AscendEX. SRM staking rewards come from DEX trading fees: one part of fees go towards buy and burn, and the other part goes towards staking rewards. The Serum Docs offer a helpful staking guide.

SRM holders benefit from 100% of Serum’s net fees through the buy and burn mechanism. In terms of breakdown: 10% of net fees go to nodes as staking rewards; 20% go to hosting activity; 2% go to ecoSerum and the remaining 68% go to SRM and buy and burn. SRM is burned virtually every week, removing the supply from the open market.

Last, but not least, Serum is anticipated to have specialized on-chain governance. It will be responsible for setting certain important parameters (such as fees) without having the ability to take actions that would cripple Serum.

Next Steps for Serum and SRM

There’s a lot in terms of next steps lined up which will be shared in due course. To give a preview of next actions:

  • Direct Serum DEX upgrades
  • Derivatives on Serum
  • Decentralization
  • EcoSerum grants
  • Institutional access and liquidity providing

We will keep you posted about these updates.

We remain proud of the design of the SRM token. As you know, the long-term lockup ensures that all major contributors to the product — the team, partners, VCs, and early supporters — are dedicated to the long-term success of the Serum ecosystem and SRM token.

We can’t wait to share with you further plans for what’s coming to the Serum ecosystem over the medium and long-term. In the meanwhile, thank you for all your support and feedback.

Project Serum is a decentralized liquidity infrastructure protocol. Learn more at https://projectserum.com