MakerDAO is launching a new version of its programmatic stablecoin DAI next month.
MakerDAO Foundation CEO Rune Christensen announced the Nov. 18 launch date at the Devcon ethereum developer conference in Osaka, Japan, on Wednesday.
He said the MakerDAO team has been working toward the launch of multi-collateral DAI (MCD) for five years.
Currently, users of the decentralized financed (DeFi) platform can borrow DAI tokens after committing ETH as collateral. Now, with MCD, users can stake virtually any other cryptocurrency as collateral in the MakerDAO system.
There is a caveat, though.
MakerDAO token holders need to vote on cryptocurrency assets assessed by the MakerDAO Foundation’s Risk Team before being accepted as collateral in the system. The Risk Team is currently evaluating seven cryptocurrencies including prediction market Augur’s REP token and digital advertising platform Brave’s BAT token.
Once it approves new collateral types, MCD will also allow users to earn interest on DAI by locking up a DAI Savings Rate (DSR) smart contract on ethereum.
The DSR allows users to earn a variable return on their DAI holdings “risk-free … at the protocol level,” in the words of Christensen.
This means any cryptocurrency exchange or application can integrate the DAI Savings Rate into their platforms and that users can begin earning rewards on their DAI holdings.
“We think [this] is going to cause an explosion of new innovative ways to implement DAI,” Christensen said.
Contrasting the DSR with Coinbase’s newly announced rewards program for the dollar-pegged stablecoin USDC, Christensen added:
“The DAI Savings Rate is likely to be higher than the USDC rate but it will also fluctuate. It will depend on the supply and demand of the MakerDAO platform.”
To date, the MakerDAO platform is collateralized by 1.5 million ETH, worth roughly $295 million. Launched nearly two years ago, MakerDAO is now the most popular decentralized financial (DeFi) application on the ethereum blockchain, and it has inspired the creation of several other DeFi protocols including crypto lending and borrowing platforms Compound and dYdX.
In spite of MakerDAO’s rise, it has faced several governance challenges.
For example, a lack of voter turnout to ratify decisions made by the MakerDAO community has resulted in delayed changes to the MakerDAO system.
This, though, won’t be an issue for the executive vote needed to ratify and activate MCD on Nov. 18, according to Christensen.
“Depending on what people are voting on, there will be different levels of voter turnout. If you have something that’s extremely important or very controversial, you’ll get a lot of people voting,” Christensen said, adding:
“The thing that’s not completely clear is how quickly these votes will happen, which is why we’ve made sure voting begins on Nov. 15.”
Voting by MakerDAO token holders for ratifying MCD will begin three days in advance of Nov. 18, so MakerDAO Foundation can roll out its newly updated user interface for borrowing MCD tokens.
Still, with a history of such deliberations lasting up to 11 days, this is no guarantee MakerDAO token holders will take action within three.
Christensen hinted at new governance processes for the MakerDAO system to further incentivize and streamline MakerDAO’s voting, which to this point has mostly revolved around ratifying changes to the MakerDAO Stability Fee. These fees play a dual role in theMakerDAO system, both stabilizing DAI to the $1 peg and providing interest on debt taken out against cryptocurrency collateral.
Christensen says DAI’s peg to the U.S. dollar will become “easier [for MakerDAO token holders] to control.”
In the last month, DAI market price presently hovers between $1.02 and $0.99 across different cryptocurrency exchanges and over-the-counter trading desks.
Rune Christensen image by Christine Kim