First Mover: Binance’s New DeFi Futures Let Crypto Traders Bet on Decentralization

Market Moves

The fast-growing realm of decentralized finance – semi-autonomous exchanges and lenders erected from interconnected systems of digital tokens and coding atop the Ethereum blockchain – is one of the hottest corners of the crypto industry this year, with $7 billion of value locked, a 10-fold increase over the start of 2020.  

Now, the big centralized crypto exchanges are finding a way to cash in on the mania, introducing indexes tied to the fate of “DeFi” tokens and new futures contracts and other types of derivatives. For traders, these indexes provide a way to speculate on decentralized finance without going all in on any single project.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="You’re reading&nbsp;First Mover, CoinDesk’s daily markets newsletter. Assembled by the CoinDesk Markets Team, First Mover starts your day with the most up-to-date sentiment around crypto markets, which of course never close, putting in context every wild swing in bitcoin and more. We follow the money so you don’t have to. You can&nbsp;subscribe here.” data-reactid=”26″>You’re reading First Mover, CoinDesk’s daily markets newsletter. Assembled by the CoinDesk Markets Team, First Mover starts your day with the most up-to-date sentiment around crypto markets, which of course never close, putting in context every wild swing in bitcoin and more. We follow the money so you don’t have to. You can subscribe here.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Related: Blockchain Bites: Major Acquisitions, Bitcoin Futures Liquidations and the SEC’s New Rules” data-reactid=”27″>Related: Blockchain Bites: Major Acquisitions, Bitcoin Futures Liquidations and the SEC’s New Rules

The latest announcement comes from Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange. 

The company plans to offer “DeFi Index Perpetual Contracts,” listed on Binance Futures, according to a press release Wednesday. The contracts will be denominated in the dollar-linked stablecoin tether and offer traders leverage up to 50 times their money down.    

The “fully synthetic derivative product enables greater access to decentralized finance,” Binance said in the release. 

Ahem. Never underestimate crypto exchanges’ creativity when it comes to adapting Wall Street-style financial engineering for use on the so-called digital rails. 

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Related: Bitcoin Drop Squeezes Out Weak Derivatives Positions – And That May Be a Good Thing” data-reactid=”32″>Related: Bitcoin Drop Squeezes Out Weak Derivatives Positions – And That May Be a Good Thing

Binance’s new contracts might be an early entrant in what could potentially become a crowded field.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Earlier this week, the exchange FTX announced a futures index tracking the&nbsp;top 100 liquidity pools on the decentralized exchange Uniswap. FTX had&nbsp;already launched its own DeFi Index in June.&nbsp;” data-reactid=”34″>Earlier this week, the exchange FTX announced a futures index tracking the top 100 liquidity pools on the decentralized exchange Uniswap. FTX had already launched its own DeFi Index in June

“We’ve seen large demand from customers to get exposure to a broad base of DeFi products,” CEO Sam Bankman-Fried told CoinDesk’s Zack Voell in a private message.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Binance’s DeFi index consists of 10 tokens associated with DeFi, several of which rank among the year’s best performers. They include&nbsp;Chainlink’s&nbsp;LINK,&nbsp;Compound’s COMP,&nbsp;Kyber’s KNC,&nbsp;Aave’s LEND,&nbsp;ZRX’s 0x&nbsp;and&nbsp;MakerDAO’s MKR.&nbsp;” data-reactid=”36″>Binance’s DeFi index consists of 10 tokens associated with DeFi, several of which rank among the year’s best performers. They include Chainlink’s LINKCompound’s COMPKyber’s KNCAave’s LENDZRX’s 0x and MakerDAO’s MKR

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="In an example of the speculative fervor, tokens associated with the phenomenon now have a combined market value of $12.7 billion, more than the amount of money locked into the underlying platforms, according to the website&nbsp;DeFi Market Cap.” data-reactid=”37″>In an example of the speculative fervor, tokens associated with the phenomenon now have a combined market value of $12.7 billion, more than the amount of money locked into the underlying platforms, according to the website DeFi Market Cap.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="“DeFi is still the big hype, with many coins still flying high,” the Norwegian cryptocurrency analysis firm&nbsp;Arcane Research&nbsp;wrote Tuesday in a weekly report.” data-reactid=”38″>“DeFi is still the big hype, with many coins still flying high,” the Norwegian cryptocurrency analysis firm Arcane Research wrote Tuesday in a weekly report.

Messari, a crypto-markets research firm, has compiled its own list of 30 tokens associated with DeFi. On average, they’re up 13-fold in 2020.

It almost makes bitcoin’s 56% year-to-date gain look like dead money.  

Bitcoin watch

Bitcoin’s latest price drop has a silver lining: It has forced out weak hands in the derivatives market and potentially opened the doors for a more sustainable rally to recent highs. 

  • Bitcoin is currently trading near $11,400.
  • Tuesday’s 3.7% price drop triggered sell liquidations – the forced unwinding of long trades – worth nearly $50 million in perpetuals (futures with no expiry) listed on cryptocurrency exchange BitMEX, according to data source Skew.
  • “The positives of last night’s move was that it cleared out a lot of the weak leverage longs,” Singapore-based QCP Capital said in a Telegram post, in reference to the perpetuals liquidations. 
  • Following Tuesday’s price drop, the cost of holding long positions in BitMEX perpetuals, known as the “funding rate,” has normalized.
  • A high funding rate discourages new investors from entering the market and existing holders from boosting their long positions.
  • “The unsustainably high funding rate has been pushed back to its typical baseline levels of 11% annualized,” QCP Capital said. 
  • The funding rate had jumped to highs above 60% in annualized terms on Aug. 18, when bitcoin broke above $12,000.
  • As a result, stronger buying pressure may emerge, leading to a re-test of recent highs above $12,000. 

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Read more:&nbsp;Bitcoin Drop Squeezes Out Weak Derivatives Positions – And That May Be a Good Thing” data-reactid=”52″>Read more: Bitcoin Drop Squeezes Out Weak Derivatives Positions – And That May Be a Good Thing

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="– Omkar Godbole” data-reactid=”53″>– Omkar Godbole

Token Watch

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Aave (LEND):&nbsp;Decentralized&nbsp;lender passes MakerDAO to become&nbsp;No. 1 in DeFi rankings&nbsp;(CoinDesk)” data-reactid=”55″>Aave (LEND): Decentralized lender passes MakerDAO to become No. 1 in DeFi rankings (CoinDesk)

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Wrapped bitcoin (WBTC):&nbsp;Fees on Ethereum blockchain are so elevated that BitGo is scouting for&nbsp;partners for new sidechain. (CoinDesk)&nbsp;” data-reactid=”56″>Wrapped bitcoin (WBTC): Fees on Ethereum blockchain are so elevated that BitGo is scouting for partners for new sidechain. (CoinDesk) 

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Ether (ETH):&nbsp;More than $1 billion of ERC-20 tokens vulnerable to “fake deposit exploit.” (CoinDesk)&nbsp;&nbsp;” data-reactid=”57″>Ether (ETH): More than $1 billion of ERC-20 tokens vulnerable to “fake deposit exploit.” (CoinDesk)  

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="PAX Gold (PAXG):&nbsp;Crypto exchange&nbsp;Binance lists the gold-linked digital token&nbsp;as precious metal trades around $1,900 an ounce. (Paxos)” data-reactid=”58″>PAX Gold (PAXG): Crypto exchange Binance lists the gold-linked digital token as precious metal trades around $1,900 an ounce. (Paxos)

Analogs

The latest on the economy and traditional finance

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Big companies load&nbsp;up on debt as&nbsp;borrowing costs fall, even amid recession (Bloomberg)” data-reactid=”61″>Big companies load up on debt as borrowing costs fall, even amid recession (Bloomberg)

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="U.S. consumer confidence unexpectedly falls to 6-year low as stimulus checks expire (Reuters)” data-reactid=”62″>U.S. consumer confidence unexpectedly falls to 6-year low as stimulus checks expire (Reuters)

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Stimulus-induced inflation puts $40 trillion of retirement savings at risk (Bloomberg)” data-reactid=”67″>Stimulus-induced inflation puts $40 trillion of retirement savings at risk (Bloomberg)

Tweet of the day

What’s Hot

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="FTX Exchange Trying to One-Up Binance’s CoinMarketCap Acquisition&nbsp;(CoinDesk)
FTX has acquired Blockfolio, the mobile news and portfolio tracking app, for $150 million.
” data-reactid=”70″>FTX Exchange Trying to One-Up Binance’s CoinMarketCap Acquisition (CoinDesk)
FTX has acquired Blockfolio, the mobile news and portfolio tracking app, for $150 million.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="BitGo Might Do a&nbsp;Sidechain for WBTC as Fees on Ethereum Mount (CoinDesk)
Pressure plaguing the Ethereum blockchain might prompt BitGo to build a sidechain to sidestep exorbitant fees.
” data-reactid=”71″>BitGo Might Do a Sidechain for WBTC as Fees on Ethereum Mount (CoinDesk)
Pressure plaguing the Ethereum blockchain might prompt BitGo to build a sidechain to sidestep exorbitant fees.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Bitcoin Lightning Startup LastBit Working With Visa to ‘Fast Track’ Card Payments (CoinDesk)
LastBit’s hope is to allow users to harness the Lightning network&nbsp;to pay for just about anything.
” data-reactid=”72″>Bitcoin Lightning Startup LastBit Working With Visa to ‘Fast Track’ Card Payments (CoinDesk)
LastBit’s hope is to allow users to harness the Lightning network to pay for just about anything.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Japan’s First IEO&nbsp;to Launch via Crypto Exchange Coincheck&nbsp;(CoinDesk)
One of the largest crypto exchanges in Japan is supporting the&nbsp;launch of the country’s first initial exchange offering.
” data-reactid=”73″>Japan’s First IEO to Launch via Crypto Exchange Coincheck (CoinDesk)
One of the largest crypto exchanges in Japan is supporting the launch of the country’s first initial exchange offering.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="– Sebastian Sinclair” data-reactid=”74″>– Sebastian Sinclair

Related Stories