State of the Opera – March 2022

Greetings and welcome to the third installment of the State of the Opera. March was a month of monumental milestones. In this edition we will mull over Andre Cronje’s sudden departure, REKT getting REKT, upgrades to some of your favorite protocols, and unfortunately, some exploits.  

Don’t forget that the Learn team wants to hear from you! Come join us on Discord where we post articles, postulate propositions and prepare prosperous positions for the community. 

Use the form at the bottom of this page to get in touch with us if you’d like us to cover something, if we’ve made a mistake or if you just want to tell us what’s on your mind. The team checks them all so don’t be shy. As always, don’t forget to check out the rest of our website for more information as we’ve got plenty in the pipeline. 

State of the Opera

Table 1 - FTM community March 2022
Table 1 – FTM community March 2022

Since last month, the largest Fantom native protocols have lost significant amounts of TVL. From our select list only Tarot, Spirit Swap, and Liquid driver have managed to grow during this bearish cycle. Why? Chance? The Solidly effect? REKT? Read on and come to your own conclusions 🙂

Andre Cronje leaves Crypto

Andre Cronje, technical advisor to the Fantom Foundation announced that he will be stepping away from the crypto verse. This is not the first time Andre has left the space having announced his departure in March 2020 and then again in August 2020.

In an interview with Decrypt after his previous departure, Andre said “I just don’t get it, man. So sick and tired of this space. Nothing has changed.” Andre previously detailed his negative experience building in DeFi with an aptly titled Medium article titled ‘Building in DeFi sucks’.

In three short tweets, Anton Nell announced his withdrawal from the space alongside Andre and noted that the decision had been carefully considered. This announcement came on the heels of Andre’s highly anticipated Solidly exchange launch, shocking the entire community.  Compounding the confusion, Nell’s tweets mentioned that 25 apps including Solidly, Yearn Finance, and Multichain would be terminated. This was poorly phrased as the only thing terminating was their involvement. Other teams have stepped in to continue the development and maintenance of these protocols.

Nevertheless, this resulted in mass hysteria in the Fantom community. Many users were under the assumption that Andre was the core developer for the Fantom Network itself in addition to the 25 projects. Rumors swirled that this was the death knell for the entire chain. The cost of this uncertainty and apprehension around the future of Fantom is apparent in the price charts of the chain’s largest native projects. 

In reality, most ‘terminated’ projects were handed over to ‘existing teams developing and running independently’ long ago. For example, both Multichain and Yearn Finance’s teams have been operating for years without Andre’s direct involvement. Andre has spoken before in a self-published medium article where he touted the immutability of the blockchain and how projects could live on indefinitely without any one person:

“Immutability and the lack of human interaction is a feature, not a bug.”

The Fantom Foundation quickly began damage control. They have released an official statement and dispatched leadership on an extensive media tour to address the true implications of Andre’s departure. The key talking points were:

  • Operations remain exactly the same
  • Andre was an advisor and not a core developer at Fantom. He helped kickstart the team but stepped back in his role in the last couple of years. 
  • Fantom’s technology development will continue and is even accelerating with the addition of new team members. 

In the aftermath of the announcement, Solidly has seen a sharp decline in both the TVL and market capitalization. So much uncertainty has cast major doubts about the longevity of the project. 

Check yourself before you REKT yourself

Independent DeFi journalism group ‘Rekt’ published a widely shared article targeting Fantom and several protocols, including Solidly, SpookySwap, and Geist. The article accused the Fantom Foundation of lying, fund mismanagement, and price manipulation. 

The article claimed that a Fantom Foundation wallet (0x431) had ‘an unmatched level of power over the entire network’ with Rekt suggesting ‘a gross mismanagement of their Foundation funds’. Additionally, they stated that ‘Fantom looks more like a centralized money-making scheme with little care for its user base’. 

The article had damaging effects on the reputation of Fantom and added further uncertainty around the project, especially in the wake of Andre Cronje’s departure. Twitter user @Alexandomega was quick to debunk several claims within the article. The community rallied, calling out the article for unfactual reporting. Rekt was quick to retract the article just two hours after its initial publication. Many users voiced their distaste for the handling of the retraction and its damage to the Fantom brand. 

TAROT’s Renaissance

Tarot deployed a new UI update offering improved responsiveness, token pricing, and additional pool information on the market page. Users were then treated to two new upgrades (with great names)  Tarot Requiem and Tarot Carcosa.

Tarot Requiem is a new core for Uniswap-compatible lending pools that supports higher maximum supply APRs, lower one-time borrowing fees, and up to 45x cheaper compounding than other vaults. The core is already at work in nine new pools where users can deposit their Spirit Swap and Spooky Swap LP tokens for a streamlined auto compounding experience.

Tarot Carcosa is the other new core in the Tarot arsenal and focuses on Solidly/Solidex lending pools. Users can enjoy full support for leveraged yield farming and auto compounding of Solidly vAMM LP, on both 0xDAO and Solidex.

Check out the Medium post by Tarot for more information on their new upgrades. If you’d like a detailed overview of Tarot, check our protocol overview.

Liquid Driver V3 – Financial NFTs and Shadow Farms

Liquid Driver recently announced financial NFTS (FNFTs) produced in partnership with Revest Finance. Revest’s FNFTs are financial instruments that offer frictionless transfer possibilities for ordinary users. These FNFTs will enable xLQDR holders to lock their positions and then trade the positions on secondary markets. Users will be able to mint and hold multiple positions as FNFTs in a single wallet, opening up a range of potential investment strategies. More info can be found on their Medium post where Liquid Driver discusses their new partnership and the exciting new potential for this innovative technology. Revest Finance did a great AMA with Professor Crypto Banana discussing the power of FNFTs.

Followers of Liquid Driver on Twitter were also treated to a post about Shadow Farms. The post offered users insight into how the farms will work to accumulate governance tokens within the Fantom ecosystem. Shadow farms allow users to stake their SpiritSwap, SpookySwap, and Beethoven-x LPs and earn their respective governance tokens. Check out their Medium post from the end of last year detailing the strategy behind Shadow Farms.

If you’d like to know more about Liquid Driver, check out our protocol overview.

Driving Liquid

The Granary’s silo overflows! – TVL surpasses $15m

Regular readers will remember our featured project, Granary Finance, from our February edition. Within the first 24 hours of its release on the 5th of March, the platform boasted an impressive $4.4m in total value locked. Less than two weeks later it was up to $7.5 million and as of the 29th over $15 million in TVL! 

The Granary is a clean fork of AAVE with some simple math adjustments and a lower fee to create an attractive lending market. The core focus is on high stablecoin yield. The early TVL burst exemplifies the power of speculative airdrops as users take on debt and supply liquidity just for a slice of the action. More information surrounding tokenomics of GRAIN is expected to be unveiled over the coming weeks as they continue their soft launch on Fantom, before expanding to other chains swiftly.

Check out their website, Discord, and Twitter. Don’t forget to do your own research and check out their documentation. Expect a helpful how-to lend and borrow on The Granary soon on Learn.

The Granary prospers

Fantasm, One Ring and Revest – Post Mortems

Three protocols operating on the Fantom suffered attacks on their protocols from nefarious actors.

One Ring suffered a flash loan attack with over two million dollars in USDC lost. Details on the attack can be found on their Medium post-mortem with the team suspecting a ‘professional’ and ‘planned’ attack. The hacker specifically targeted One Ring with a tailor-made smart contract. 

Fantasm also suffered an attack. The hacker exploited an error in Fantasm’s Pool contract. The developer missed the condition checking for the minimum amount of input FTM when minting XFTM. 

The attacker was able to exploit a total of just over 1008 ETH or approximately $2,622,097 USD. More details on the attack and Fantasms response can be found in their Medium post-mortem.

Revest Protocol also experienced a ‘highly sophisticated attack on a vulnerability that led to roughly two million dollars worth of tokens being stolen from the Revest Protocol Token Vault. The vulnerability that was exploited went unnoticed during the protocols Solidity. Finance audit as well as multiple code reviews. Details can be found in Revest Finance’s Medium article ‘Revest Protocol Exploit Recovery Plan’.

Teams were quick to assess the damage, bring in security consultants and auditors, and lay out steps moving forward to start refunding the users that were affected. Exploits will occur in DeFi but it is important to take note of how a team reacts and responds to such trials. The trio of protocols swiftly and openly communicated their plans for compensating users and ensures all steps are made to prevent this from happening in the future.

Fantom Foundation introduces new incentive program 

The Fantom Foundation announced that its DeFi and Gaming-focused grants will be ‘sunsetting’ i.e. discontinued. This is in light of recently publicized flaws in its previous grant program which allowed participants to halt protocol development and continue to pocket incentives.

The Fantom Foundation has announced a new incentive program in an effort to continue growing the Fantom ecosystem. The Foundation plans to offer 335 million FTM to help fund projects of all scales and scopes. The incentive rewards will use Gitcoin Grants Quadratic Funding Mechanism. This means Fantom users will be able to contribute their own funds to grants and the foundation will match. The Foundation will distribute greater FTM matching rewards to the projects that are supported by the most users.

Featured Project – Excalibur Exchange

Excalibur Protocol Overview

Excalibur is a new decentralized exchange protocol built off the widely utilized UniswapV2 contracts. Excalibur differentiates itself from the competition by incorporating several new features into the typical decentralized exchange (DEX) structure. The protocol has implemented revenue sharing in the form of dividends, time-vault staking, variable swap fees, a protocol-owned liquidity model, and a bonding system. The protocol’s two tokens are GRAIL, the governance and revenue sharing token, and EXC, the farming rewards token. 

The stated goal of the protocol is sustainability and capital efficiency for partnered protocols and users alike. To this end, the team has sought to create a flexible system that can evolve to meet the changing needs of market participants. The protocol offers swapping, staking, dividends, bonding, a referral program, and more. Each of these services is implemented in a unique way on Excalibur. Check out our protocol overview here for a more detailed description of what’s on offer.

If you want to engage with the protocol, the first step as always is to DYOR and the best initial resource is Excalibur’s published documentation. Diligent DeFi users can find information on the services provided, the tokenomics of the two protocol tokens, and even review their safety audits and contracts. Hop into their Discord and check out their Twitter to stay updated on the latest developments.

DeFi Snapshot

Table 2- L1 and L2 Blockchains March 2022
Table 2- L1 and L2 Blockchains March 2022

Outside the Opera 

Avalanche climbs mountains within the cryptosphere; partly thanks to the Avalanche Summit hosted in Barcelona earlier this month. Ava Labs, the team developing the Avalanche blockchain, made an announcement during the summit that the chain will be launching its own wallet application named ‘Core’ and adding Bitcoin bridging functionality. The Avalanche Foundation launched ‘Avalanche Multiverse’, an incentive program offering up to $290 million dollars with the goal of ‘accelerating the adoption and growth of its novel ‘subnet’ functionality. The subnet enables a rich ecosystem of scalable app-specific blockchains. 

Binance has rebranded the blockchain powering its platform in a bid to emphasize decentralization. Build and Build Chain lives up to its name as the number of crypto projects on the chain continues to grow. The network announced it’s BNB Chain Application Sidechain (BAS) will allow developers to port data and assets directly from the main BNB Chain which will reduce strain on the main network

The chain benefited from the announcement of ‘Bifinity’, a new fiat-to-crypto payments provider.  The company hopes to connect businesses, merchants, and millions of crypto users worldwide by empowering merchants to get their business crypto-ready and begin accepting crypto payments. Binance also released Binance Bridge 2.0 which acts as a new way to bridge listed and select unlisted tokens from Ethereum to BNB Smart Chain as BTokens. Binance made world news by becoming the first-ever official cryptocurrency exchange partner for the  64th Annual Grammy Awards.

Ethereum continues to work towards becoming a proof-of-stake (POS) network as the network merged on the Kiln testnet earlier this month. Kiln is expected to be the last merge testnet created before existing public testnets are upgraded. The hype around the merge has caused a huge increase in capital inflow with the asset recording a gain of $31 billion in its market cap amid the anticipation of the POS upgrade. Ethereum’s top 10 whale addresses now hold almost 25% of total supply, according to on-chain and social metric analysis firm Sanbase.  

The first step is admitting you have a problem and Vitalik admits ‘fees are a huge problem’ for Ethereum usability. In a recent article in Time Magazine, Vitalik expressed his frustration with fees and how they affect the implementation of ‘critical projects’. The enigmatic creator of Ethereum also expressed optimism that sharding could be the answer to high gas fees. Check out one of Vitalik Buterins latest blog posts on his journey and the ‘forks-in-the-road’ that he encountered. 

Terra’s March can only be described as out of this world with $LUNA overtaking $SOL to claim the title of largest POS network by staked market capitalization. Currently, LUNA holds second place in terms of total value locked (TVL – $31.07B) with more value locked than 3rd (BSC – $14.54B and AVAX – $11.34B combined.

Positive sentiment for LUNA has grown within the last month largely due to the Luna Foundation Guard (LFG) announcing its plan to purchase over $3 billion worth of Bitcoin to serve as additional collateral for  UST, Terra’s decentralized dollar-pegged stable coin. LFG now has the third-largest disclosed Bitcoin treasury with over 30,000 BTC. Terra co-founder Do Kwon tweeted that the target $BTC reserve will be $10 billion-plus. Do Kwon seems very confident in the future of Luna having finalized two separate bets  ($10 million and $1 million) based on the price of Luna in one year’s time. May the best degen win. 

LegitDoc is a document-verifying system on the Polygon blockchain that has been deployed in the district government of Maharashtra, India. The district has started issuing certificates online and established an online portal to verify the validity of these documents using the Polygon blockchain. The system hopes to remove the complexity and laborious qualities of government as the original method required the coordinated efforts of a minimum of 1,122 government personnel. 

The network was hit with an eight-hour stoppage after a technical upgrade caused issues with the chain. Polygon Studios recently welcomed new hires from popular web2 companies such as Amazon, Google, YouTube, Electronic Arts, Penske Media, and Mythical game. The wave of hires is the first step of many for the studio to strengthen its crypto gaming initiatives. 

Solana has partnered with Krafton, the gaming company behind the popular battle royale game Player’s Unknown Battlegrounds (PUBG), to create play-to-earn crypto games. The move has put Solana Labs in a strong position to capture market share in the lucrative blockchain gaming ecosystem. A smart move as blockchain gaming accounts for nearly 50% of all users within the blockchain industry. 

Accessibility for this Layer 1 blockchain grows as popular web browser Opera announces support for several major blockchain ecosystems such as Solana, Polygon, and Bitcoin. Users will be able to utilize the built-in crypto wallet granting access to dApps and services within the ecosystem. Coinbase also announced support for the Solana ecosystem on its Coinbase Wallet browser extension.

Key Metrics 

Market Cap 

Table 3 - Market Cap Dec 2021 - Mar 2022
Table 3 – Market Cap Dec 2021 – Mar 2022

The market cap for Fantom continues to bear down the charts with all metrics hitting yearly lows. The latter half of March showed the beginning of a resurgence with consistent growth in total market cap after the network hit its quarterly low on the 15th of March. 

The network was hit hard following the announcement of Andre Cronje leaving his position in the Fantom Foundation with a steady decline in market capitalization occurring post the announcement earlier in the month. The retirement of the former technical advisor to the Fantom foundations caused panic amongst those within the ecosystem with users wrongly believing that many of the projects that Andre helped create would cease operation. It’s not all bad news as many protocols within the ecosystem are primed to release new versions of products that promise to boost yields and accessibility for users.

Price movement

Table 4 - Price Movement Dec 2021 - Mar 2022
Table 4 – Price Movement Dec 2021 – Mar 2022

FTM price follows the trends present in the market cap with a new quarterly low with FTM trading for as low as $1.08 USD. Price action has seen some signs of recovery with metrics trending upwards at the end of March. 

User Engagement

Table 5 - User Engagement Dec 2021 - Mar 2022
Table 5 – User Engagement Dec 2021 – Mar 2022

Transaction count and average daily unique wallets created both show their first signs of decline this year while still remaining significantly higher than the numbers from the end of last year. FUD has made the network unappealing to new users this month with Andre’s departure raising severe uncertainty amongst those unfamiliar with the ecosystem. The lowering transaction count could indicate existing users are weathering out the storm with their tokens/coins safely in their wallets. 

Total distinct addresses did see an impressive growth spurt this month with an almost 20% increase in addresses within the network. 

Reaper Farm

Popular auto-compounder, Reaper Farm has recently celebrated crossing 40,000 users! The protocol recently underwent a technical risk analysis from DeFi Safety and received a supportive thread on Twitter further cementing the Byte Masons as a team that values safety and collaboration. 

Top FTM Senders and Receivers 

Figure 1 - Top 10 FTM Senders/Receivers 26 Mar - 01 Apr 
Figure 1 – Top 10 FTM Senders/Receivers 26 Mar – 01 Apr 

Spooky and Geist both maintain their respective positions from last month with a slight decrease in total FTM received from the end of February. Tarot and Spirit Swap enjoyed a small increase in FTM received compared to last month\’s results. 

Top Tokens by Transaction Count

Figure 2 - Top 5 tokens by transaction count 26 Mar – 1 Apr
Figure 2 – Top 5 tokens by transaction count 26 Mar – 1 Apr

Another new DeFi protocol has graced the top five tokens by transaction count. DeFi Olympiads offers ‘players’ a chance to compete and test new DeFi protocol designs in an isolated environment before they’re launched to the public. The project amassed great interest for users and white hat hackers hoping to put their contract analysis skills to the test.

To engage with the DeFi Olympics, players temporarily lock up any amount of $DOLA  in order to mint 1 $TICKET for each $DOLA. Players will use their TICKET tokens to collect the largest amount of MEDAL tokens using the experimental DeFi protocols available within the DeFi Olympiads games. Users who hold MEDAL will be airdropped tokens of the tested protocols once they launch proportionally to each player’s MEDAL balance. Registration is currently closed but keep an eye on this interesting experiment for future updates.

Want to learn more about DeFi Olympiads? Check out our protocol overview here.

Top Tokens by Unique Wallets

Figure 3 - Top 5 tokens by total unique wallets 26 Mar – 1 Apr
Figure 3 – Top 5 tokens by total unique wallets 26 Mar – 1 Apr

$TOMB and $TSHARE return to the leaderboard this month in top tokens by total unique wallets and top tokens by transaction counts. The project was supported by the release of Tomb Swap and its meteoric rise to $100 million in TVL after a month of its launch, driving interest in the protocol’s native tokens. 

Pulse of the Network

This section will hope to aggregate and compound your own interest within the FTM network space. If you’re looking for some research to claim as your own or just the headlines for all the latest news and gossip this is the Pulse of the Network, the information you don’t want to miss out on.

FTM Headlines

eToro lists Fantom – Another mainstream exchange lists $FTM

Solidly migrates and handed over to Solidex – Teams consolidate post-Andre’s exit 

Fantom Foundation announces Professor Bernhard Scholz as the new Chief Research Officer – Highly regarded in the programming language field and comes recommended from (former) members of the community 

Ankr supports liquid Fantom Staking – Users can simultaneously earn staking rewards and participate in DeFi with the value of their staked FTM assets 

Metamask now allows for direct purchase of FTM through Transak – Users are now able to purchase FTM directly through Metamask

Oraichain: the world’s first fully on-chain VRF is now live on the Fantom network – Builders within the FTM ecosystem can now utilize a fully decentralized and publicly verifiable random number generator.

Ronin Bridge attack – In one of the biggest crypto attacks to date, hackers steal roughly $600m from a blockchain network connected to Axie Infinity online 

The Rumor Mill

Bitcoin Conference coming up – Last year saw the announcement of El Salvador’s landmark Bitcoin adoption – What announcement will happen this year?

Australian federal government has hinted at favorable tax treatment for cryptocurrency businesses – A possible new crypto-friendly haven down under

DeusDao has officially purchased $SOLID veNFT from SpookySwap – New player enters the field – What’s their endgame? 

Fantom CEO discusses FTM and its roadmap – Michael mentions discussions with institutions and governments via real-world solutions through Fantom 

FTM Podcasts and Videos 

What’s Next For Fantom? | Interview with FTM CEO Michael Kong – Interview with Fantom CEO Michael Kong to discuss the future of FTM following Andre Cronje’s departure

Fantom Unchained Episode 30! – The team discusses exploits, audits, and the Fantom ecosystem upgrades

FTM Alerts live with the Fantom Foundation! – Austin talks with members of the Fantom Foundation and answers some community-submitted questions

Nick Drakon and Chadly McChief discuss the state of the Fantom ecosystem here – A great free-flowing conversation between two respected figures within the community 

Coin Bureau talks everything about FTM updates and Andres’s departure in his wonderful ‘edutainment’ format

Nick Drakon and Justin Bebis talk about Audits and Security within DeFi – An important resource to develop your understanding of security risk and the role of audits in DeFi

Highly revered Professor Crypto Banana interview with Justin Bebis of Byte Mason fame – Part 1 of 3

Chadly McChief and Justin Bebis discuss the Fantom ecosystem via Twitter Space – The two delve into DeFi, DAOs, and Learn with some community questions answered at the end

FTM Foundation and Industry Reports

Glassnode talks about Bitcoin accumulation – The Week On-Chain Week 11 2022

Bridgewater report explores how institutions are gaining exposure to cryptocurrencies –  ‘The Evolution of Institutional Investors’ Exposure to Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain Technologies’

FTM Community/Fan Content

Twitter user TrueVoodooMasterpiece of an art piece that piqued the interest of Justin Bebis himself

Another great Twitter post from user Dantetron3030 – Check out the ‘Reaper of Farms’

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