Breaking: Vitalik Buterin’s First MKR Sale for ETH in Two Years Sparks Market Speculation

Vitalik Buterin, co-founder of Ethereum, just executed a significant transaction involving the sale of 500 Maker (MKR) tokens, valued at approximately $581,000, in exchange for 350 Ether (ETH). The transaction was conducted through the decentralized exchange CoWSwap and marks the first time Buterin has sold MKR tokens in two years. Following the sale, the received ETH was transferred to the address prefix 0x3f6. 

The transaction has drawn attention due to its potential implications for both MKR and ETH markets.

Market Context

At the time of writing, Maker (MKR) is trading at $1,142, while Ether (ETH) is priced at $1,635, according to Binance.

Maker (MKR) is a governance token associated with MakerDAO, a decentralized autonomous organization on the Ethereum blockchain. MKR has seen a significant price fluctuation over the past few months, surging over 100% from its lowest point of $511 on June 10, 2023, to a peak of $1,370 on August 20, 2023. This dramatic surge in MKR’s value has been linked to market maker DWF, who is characterized as a “bad guy” in the industry.

Historical Significance

The trading activities of Vitalik Buterin and the Ethereum Foundation have historically been key indicators for the cryptocurrency market. Sales by Buterin have often been followed by market downturns, making this recent transaction particularly noteworthy.

Market Implications

Buterin’s decision to sell MKR could be seen as a bearish signal for the token. However, the fact that he chose to exchange MKR for ETH complicates market sentiment. This dual action could be interpreted in various ways, but it generally suggests that MKR may be overvalued, while ETH could be undervalued.

Vitalik Buterin’s recent MKR sale and subsequent ETH acquisition could sparke discussions about the valuation of both tokens. While the market has yet to show a significant reaction, the transaction serves as a focal point for ongoing analysis and speculation.

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a16z Continues to Deposit Maker (MKR) to Coinbase

Venture capital firm a16z has made another significant deposit of Maker (MKR) to Coinbase, as reported by Lookonchain on Twitter on July 23, 2023. The firm deposited 1,380 MKR, equivalent to approximately $1.52 million, into the address “0x127941a7741bf11B0391fE995beB60852e5eC13f”.

This is not the first time a16z has made such a move. On July 21, 2023, Lookonchain reported that a16z deposited 1,500 MKR, worth around $1.73 million, to Coinbase.

Currently, the address “0x127941a7741bf11B0391fE995beB60852e5eC13f” holds a substantial amount of MKR, totaling 5,520 MKR, which is valued at around $6 million.

In addition to a16z’s activities, another significant transaction was reported by Lookonchain. An unidentified whale unstaked 4,210 MKR, equivalent to about $4.85 million, and deposited all the MKR to Binance.

Adding to this, a tweet from EmberCN on July 18, 2023, provides further insight into a16z’s recent MKR transactions.

According to the tweet, a16z has been moving MKR into Coinbase from the address “0xd52055A39a3d2f7505C739f981f296Ea31B50191”. In the past week, 9,004 MKR, valued at approximately $8.43 million, have been transferred to Coinbase from a16z-related addresses. As of the tweet’s date, a16z-related addresses still hold a total of 28,514 MKR, worth around $26.7 million.

The recent transactions by a16z and the unidentified whale may indicate the ongoing selling pressure in the Maker (MKR) market. However, the reasons behind these significant deposits remain unclear. As always, investors and market watchers are advised to conduct their own research and exercise caution when dealing with cryptocurrency investments.

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Over $1,570,000,000 Worth of Bitcoin Moved off Crypto Exchanges in Just Seven Days: Insights Firm Santiment

Crypto analytics firm Santiment says that Bitcoin (BTC) is flying off exchanges at its fastest rate in more than four months, a potentially bullish indicator for the top crypto asset.

The crypto insights firm notes in a new tweet that 40,785 BTC, worth over $1,570,000,000 at time of writing, moved off exchanges in the past week, marking the highest weekly outflow total since mid-September.

“The continued trend of coins moving to cold wallets is historically good for long-term price movements.”

BTC is trading at $38,702.68 at time of writing, up nearly 5% in the past week. Despite the slight price recovery, sentiment among traders remains low – another potentially bullish indicator, according to Santiment.

“Bitcoin is back above $38,000 and Ethereum is up to $2,580. There is a long way to go return back to mid-November all-time-high levels. But traders appear to be quite doubtful. This negative sentiment has a high probability of fueling further price rises.”

Santiment also says that whales appear to be accumulating the stablecoin governance token Maker (MKR) over the past year, though the firm says the large addresses have yet to make a significant move on the asset in the most recent period of bearish price action over the past month.

MKR is trading at $2,227.76 at time of writing, up more than 27% in the past week.

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How MakerDAO’s Content Team Was Fired by MKR Holders

In brief

  • MakerDAO transitioned to decentralized governance in 2021.
  • The Maker Protocol is now governed by people who hold MKR tokens.
  • A successful December proposal called for the “offloading” of the content team.

In July 2021, one of the first decentralized projects to take hold on Ethereum fundamentally changed the way it did business: Instead of managing development and channeling funds through its foundation, MakerDAO would let holders of the MKR token run the show.

“MakerDAO is now completely decentralized,” wrote Maker Foundation CEO Rune Christensen in a blog post, announcing the dissolution of the organization he founded.

Flash forward six months, and it’s clear that MakerDAO members have high expectations for those taking the project forward. This week, after a contentious discussion, they narrowly voted to euphemistically “offboard” (i.e., fire) its content team, known as the Content Production Core Unit.

In a proposal initiated last month, community member Deimos argued that the team had neither demonstrated speed nor quality of work. “This team has produced two (arguably unremarkable) original videos since they started: Wormhole and How To Vote,” Deimos wrote. “The rest is just the [Governance and Risk meeting] remixed and rebranded in 7 different flavors.” 

Adding insult to injury, Deimos suggested that community memes were having a greater impact.

The community agreed in a 49.1% to 47.3% vote. As a result, the team is no longer being funded by MakerDAO’s coffers.

Members of the content team didn’t have much of a head start before Maker Foundation shut down. Seth Goldfarb, the leader of the squad, worked as a freelancer within the MakerDAO community for almost a year before transitioning in May 2021 to a full-time role as unit facilitator. 

Goldfarb did not respond to a Decrypt request for comment, but stated in vote discussion threats that he was never hired by the Foundation before taking the reins: “We participated in several calls coordinated by [former MakerDAO product manager and program lead Tim Black] to try and communicate with the Foundation’s MarComms team but legal restrictions kept them from sharing anything of substance.”

Others pointed out that the initial intention was for the content team to work alongside a marketing team staffed with foundation veterans. When that failed to materialize, more of the burden fell on the content team.

Black himself took some of the blame, stating that in several ways “this unit has overcome being set up for failure from the beginning, due to the decentralization of our particular initiatives.”

The transition from foundation to decentralized management, during which some of the former employees stayed on the project in new roles while community members ascended to the ranks of full-time staffers, was a bit messy in his telling.

Nonetheless, Black argued that the content unit was working on increasing visibility while urging community members to support a team that’s been working from scratch: “Who here can say they have provided actionable feedback? subscribed to their newsletters? Shared wild ideas for new content streams?” 

MakerDAO was the first lending protocol to take hold on the Ethereum network. The protocol works via its own stablecoin, DAI, which is pegged to the U.S. dollar. To get a loan in DAI, users deposit Ethereum or other cryptocurrencies as collateral. Though smart contracts do the heavy lifting, the protocol itself still requires managing. Which assets can serve as collateral? Should interest rates go up or down? That’s all determined by those who own the protocol’s MKR governance token, which is an investment asset in its own right because the protocol buys and destroys MKR tokens to add deflationary pressure.

While the proposal suggested that the team was underperforming, the discussion suggests that running a protocol and associated cryptocurrency isn’t as easy as it looks. And the vote hints at a measure of dissatisfaction with Maker’s place in the DeFi pecking order.

After peaking above $6,000 to begin May 2021, the price of MKR has declined 73% to just above $1,700, according to data from CoinMarketCap. By comparison, Ethereum is down 27% in the same time period (though it has lost 48% from its November 16 all-time high). While MKR remains in the top five of DeFi tokens, its sub-$10 billion market cap looks paltry compared to Terra’s $24 billion.

It’s a similar story for the DAI stablecoin itself. Though its volumes are on par with Terra’s decentralized stablecoin, it’s in the third tier behind top-dog Tether and centralized competitors USDC and BUSD.

Which isn’t to say it’s doing poorly. In the last year, DAI’s market capitalization has gone from $1.59 billion to $9.25 billion, according to CoinGecko. And its market dominance has ticked up from 4.7% to 5.5%. It’s just that Terra, which barely counted as a rival a year ago, has overtaken it in both categories.

Laced throughout the discussion is talk about the lack of performance indicators and strategy. “They aren’t judging what works and what doesn’t,” said Deimos. 

The market, however, is. And the Maker community is clearly concerned about how investors see its product.


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US Lawmakers Fear Cryptocurrency Could Be a ‘Financial 9/11’, Says Congressman

In brief

  • Rep. Ted Budd is a member of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus.
  • He said some of his colleagues on the House Financial Services Committee have fears about blockchain and DeFi.

Cryptocurrency has been the talk of Washington in recent weeks. 

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Fed Chair Jerome Powell are meeting behind closed doors to discuss the dangers of stablecoins. SEC Chair Gary Gensler has said tokenized stocks are securities. And Senator Elizabeth Warren is urging regulation to protect small investors from crypto scams.

Rep. Ted Budd (R-NC), a member of the House Financial Services Committee and the Congressional Blockchain Caucus, thinks it’s getting overheated for House legislators as well. 

“There are some on the Senate side and some on the House side which fear, especially when it comes to currency, the blockchain, decentralized finance and how it’s going to evolve… will it hurt our national sovereignty, will it destabilize the dollar, is it a threat to national security?”  he said yesterday on the Maker Speaker Series, sponsored by Ethereum-based lending protocol MakerDAO. “You even have some in the House that sit not too far from me on the House Financial Services Committee that would call blockchain basically a financial 9/11.”

Though Rep. Budd didn’t name names, several members of the committee, including Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MA), have positioned themselves as crypto-skeptical. Chairwoman Waters has called for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency to repeal rules allowing federal banking charters to crypto asset custodians. Rep. Tlaib introduced the STABLE Act, which would require stablecoin issuers such as Circle to get banking charters while also maintaining adequate reserves in line with FDIC standards.

A hearing of the committee’s Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee this month raised concerns that the sudden expansion of crypto trading could lead to a financial crisis akin to the 2008 subprime mortgage crisis, though it also provided opportunities for lawmakers to question cryptocurrency experts directly. 

In yesterday’s media appearance, Rep. Budd suggested that crypto innovations such as decentralized finance (DeFi)—blockchain-based protocols that allow people to lend, borrow, and trade without ever letting an intermediary such as a bank handle their funds—neither put the nation’s security nor its economic stability at risk.

On the contrary, he thinks that the U.S. risks losing its hegemonic status if it doesn’t embrace the new technologies.

“It’s going to evolve, and I’d rather it evolve here in the U.S. than…other nations that could be hostile to us,” continued Budd. “So, I’d rather it be on our shores, so we have a regulatory framework where people can expect what the future’s going to look like and they can develop inside that framework.”

Ultimately, then, Rep. Budd wants the same thing as Sen. Warren or Rep. Tlaib: clear-cut regulations. However, they’re approaching the problem from different angles. 

The senator is emphasizing consumer protections. “Who takes advantage of there being no rules?” she rhetorically asked on CNBC yesterday. “It’s the big guys.” Congressman Budd, on the other hand is emphasizing American innovation, signalling an instinct to protect U.S. firms within a burgeoning global industry.

Who says politicians can’t agree?


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Ethereum DeFi Pioneer Maker Foundation Is Shutting Down, DAO Will Take Over

In brief

  • MakerDAO began in 2015.
  • The Maker Foundation has been guiding development of the Maker protocol as MakerDAO grew and matured.
  • The foundation is formally shutting down “within the next few months.”

Making good on a promise, Maker Foundation CEO Rune Christensen announced today that the Ethereum-based DeFi protocol he created is now in the hands of others.

“MakerDAO is now completely decentralized,” Christensen wrote in a blog post, continuing: “The DAO is now self-sufficient and the Maker Foundation has fulfilled its bootstrapping responsibilities. The Foundation will formally dissolve within the next few months.”

The announcement has been anticipated for quite some time. In May, Maker Foundation sent MakerDAO 84,000 MKR tokens, then worth $480 million (now closer to $185 million), from its Development Fund as it began winding down.

MakerDAO is one of the original decentralized autonomous organizations, a group of people who harness the (Ethereum) blockchain to make collective decisions about a protocol’s future. That’s done via MKR, currently valued at $2,197 per Nomics, a utility token that’s used to both make votes and stabilize the Maker’s other crypto asset, the dollar-pegged DAI stablecoin.

The DAO’s members have big responsibilities. The protocol they now completely run, Maker, is a popular decentralized finance (DeFi) product that enables people to lend and borrow cryptocurrencies. In keeping with the DeFi ethos, this is all done without intermediaries such as banks. Instead, it’s automated with smart contracts—computer codes that carry out instructions on a blockchain.

Maker’s launch in 2015 revolutionized the capabilities of Ethereum, a blockchain then in search of use cases, inspiring the development of other decentralized financial products, such as Compound and Aave.

The Maker Foundation has been there most of the way, supporting the project as control over it gradually dispersed to all those who hold tokens. Since its creation, DAI has grown into the fourth-largest stablecoin by market capitalization, while the Maker protocol has over $5 billion worth of tokens locked into it as collateral by those seeking crypto loans.

And although it’s disappearing, that doesn’t mean there’s no longer a need for the services it provided. It still takes developers, marketers, and others to keep a multi-billion-dollar protocol running—even if it is decentralized. 

Christensen reckons, however, that such operating decisions are best left to those with a rooting interest in the cryptocurrency they hold.

“MakerDAO,” he said, “has come full circle and is in good hands.”


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Here are the Top DeFi Tokens With The Largest Price Jumps This Week

Bitcoin has been smashing records in the last few months and has rallied to record highs above $60K. However, DeFi tokens have also performed well in recent weeks, allowing savvy investors to rake in some of the biggest returns in the crypto market.

Diving into the DeFi Market

DeFi refers to peer-to-peer crypto protocols that facilitate lending outside the traditional banking system. The majority of these platforms run on the Ethereum network and utilize smart contracts that set rates in real-time based on demand and supply.

More and more of these platforms are rapidly being built off blockchain ecosystems like Binance Smart Chain and Ethereum. 

Data from DeFi Pulse shows that the total value locked on DeFi protocols currently stands at a whopping $88.5 billion. Here is a look at some of the DeFi tokens that have made the most significant price jumps this week.

YFI Token Surges To New Record

Yearn Finance’s governance token, YFI, has been one of the primary beneficiaries of the current boom in the fast-growing DeFi sector. The token jumped 22% on Tuesday, clocking a new lifetime high of $78,019 per data from CoinMarketCap.

Since smashing its previous record on May 11, the YFI/USD exchange rate has gone on to add over 26% in the last 24 hours to changing hands near $83,296.32 currently. Traders have seemingly flocked the Yearn Finance market as their upside opportunities in other top coins such as LTC, DOGE and XRP diminish.

Yearn Finance is also benefiting from the recent launch of Yearn v2, which introduced essential improvements such as a new fee structure and multi-strategy vaults. The YFI price has responded bullishly to these events, while the TVL inside the Yearn Finance pool has increased to $4.36B.

Following YFI’s latest move higher to unchartered territory, Denis Vinokourov, head of research at Synergia Capital, commented:

“The rally was overdue, given the token’s relative underperformance compared to other DeFi blue chips.” 

Yearn Finance has seen strong growth in recent months, and its native token’s price has tripled in 2021 alone. Last month, the collateral locked in the DeFi protocol more than doubled to hit $4.1 billion. This incredible growth trajectory coincided with an increase in the overall TVL in the DeFi market, which rose by 70% to hit $80 billion.

Aave (AAVE) Rallies 20% in 24 Hours

DeFi liquidity protocol Aave has been surging in recent weeks after launching on the ETH sidechain Polygon in April. The Polygon sidechain is designed for scaling and infrastructure development on Ethereum. It allows the Aave protocol to offer services without charging gas fees.

Since switching to the ETH sidechain, Aave’s native token (AAVE) has seen a remarkable increase in adoption. The token has gained over 22% over the past 24 hours to trade for $526.99 currently.

Moreover, data from a Dappradar report published on April 27 showed that Aave transactions on Polygon rose by 50% in seven days, while the number of unique active wallets jumped almost 20% to 2,800.

The Maker (MKR) Price is Surging

Maker is one of the best-performing DeFi projects after its governance token MKR soared by 14% in the past 24 hours to trade for $5,642.78 currently. The total value locked on the protocol has also increased to $15.72b, per data from DeFi Pulse.

MKR, the native token of the world’s biggest DeFi platforms in terms of TVL, is benefiting from a recent move by MarkerDAO to bring real estate to decentralized finance. 

The protocol has also seen increased demand after it recently unveiled its liquidations 2.0 upgrade that came after a great deal of community involvement and support. The upgrade marks a ground-breaking achievement that will push MakerDAO closer to becoming fully decentralized.

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Maker Foundation Pursues Full Decentralization, Returns 84k MKR to Community

The Maker Foundation has announced that it has now returned 84,000 MKR tokens from the Development Fund to the MakerDAO DSPause Proxy smart contract. The Foundation says the move is part of plans to fully decentralize the project, according to a blog post on May 3, 2021.

MakerDAO on the Path to Full Decentralization 

While decentralization is one of the core ethos of distributed ledger technology (DLT), only a handful of blockchain projects are fully decentralized and the Maker Foundation, the team in charge of the MakerDAO (MKR) lending and stablecoin protocol is striving to make the platform 100 percent decentralized.

Against that backdrop, the team has announced via a May 3 blog post that it has now returned 84,000 MKR from the Development Fund to the MakerDAO ecosystem. This way, the Foundation will no longer be in charge of the money. Instead, the community will be responsible for deciding what to do with it.

“In particular, these MKR tokens were transferred to the DSpause Proxy smart contract in the Governance Module, and are now under the control of Maker Governance. The transaction was completed at 01:23:36 PM UTC in block number 12361485,” wrote the team.

Importantly, the Foundation has made it clear that it has placed no expectations or conditions on the MakerDAO ecosystem regarding how to utilize the returned MKR tokens.

Focusing on Dissolution 

While the return of the tokens to the MakerDAO ecosystem is a key milestone towards decentralization, the foundation has, however, made it clear that it still retains less than one percent of the total MKR supply, to enable it to efficiently manage its dissolution and also function as a “bulwark against future potential liabilities.”

What’s more, the Foundation says the dissolution process is expected to get completed by December 31, 2021. However, the Foundation plans to publish progress updates on a regular basis until it fully dissolves.

As reported by BTCManager earlier in April 2021, the MakerDAO liquidation 2.0 executive vote went live, as part of plans to implement the MIP45, a proposal designed to restructure the protocol’s current liquidation system and usher in several improvements.

Now, The Foundation has revealed the introduction of a new governance poll that will enable members of the MakerDAO governance community to support or oppose the addition of multiple vault types in the Liquidations 2.0 Framework.

At press time, MakerDAO (MKR) is the fourth-largest decentralized finance (DeFi) protocol in the world, with $9.7 billion in total value locked (TVL), as seen on DeFi Lama.

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Maker Foundation Sends $480 Million to MakerDAO Before It Dissolves

In brief

  • The Maker Foundation has been in charge of decentralizing the Maker protocol.
  • It’s handing over the reins—and funds—to the community.

The Maker Foundation, the organization charged with decentralizing the Maker protocol, today sent 84,000 MKR tokens worth approximately $480 million to MakerDAO. The protocol’s users will now decide what to do with the influx.

Maker Foundation, in truly decentralized fashion, is now gearing up to self-destruct by the end of this year, a sign that it views the project, governed by anyone who holds MKR tokens and uses them, as self-sustaining.

Perhaps as evidence, the price of MKR has surged 15% in the last 24 hours and is now worth over $5,700, according to data from Nomics.

MakerDAO is a decentralized autonomous organization, an online group with a flat structure that uses tokens as a way of voting on decisions. Maker was built atop the Ethereum blockchain as a way of allowing people to lend and borrow cryptocurrency with one another.

Maker is the most popular decentralized finance (DeFi) product on the Ethereum network, helping give rise to a whole slew of applications that allow people to cut out the middleman, whether that be for lending and borrowing, swapping tokens, or trading derivatives. With DeFi, most things are automated via smart contracts—computer code that takes out intermediaries.

Most things.

The Maker Foundation’s existence is evidence that not everything can be left to unfeeling, unknowing computer code. The foundation’s role was to kickstart the DAO, make it self sufficient, and then exit stage left. 

It had at its disposal a war chest known as the Development Fund, where the 84,000 MKR tokens lived. The foundation paid for its work by selling MKR from that fund. But it no longer needs it.

“With its final technical contribution to the Protocol complete (Liquidations 2.0), and the DAO’s Core Unit Framework in place, the Foundation now turns inward to focus solely on its dissolution,” it wrote in a blog post. “To that end, it has retained less than one percent of the total current MKR supply to manage the transition and as a bulwark against future potential liabilities.”

So, what might MKR users decide to do with these tokens, which are sitting within a smart contract under the Governance Module, where all the protocol’s voting happens and where voted-on decisions are implemented? One bullish way of handling it would be to burn it, thereby restricting supply of the token and potentially driving the price up further. 

But that might be imprudent. As Maker users are taking over the work previously done by Maker Foundation, the former envisions a continued need to pay people, including “experienced developers, security consultants, legal advisors, marketing and communications experts, HR and accounting teams, and other necessary roles.”

So, congratulations, Maker governance team! Now, get to work. Or don’t. It’s entirely up to you.


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MakerDAO moves to expand collateral assets and upgrade liquidation engine

Decentralized lending and stablecoin protocol MakerDAO has opened governance voting to allow new tokens as collateral.

A number of new collateral types have been proposed for MakerDAO, potentially increasing the number of digital assets that can now be used to mint its stablecoin, DAI. Voting began on April 19 and will run for fourteen days.

Seven tokens have been suggested as collateral for the Maker, including Moss Carbon Credit (MCO2), Rocket Pool’s staked Ethereum (rETH), the 1inch decentralized exchange token (1INCH), and the BadgerDAO Sett token (bBADGER).

Three liquidity provider, or LP, tokens are also being voted on as prospective collateral, including SushiSwap’s DAI/USDC LP token, Uniswap’s DAI-PAX LP token, and Uniswap’s GUSD-DAI LP token.

If approved, these assets will be able to be deposited as collateral to back the creation of new DAI.

The MakerDAO community is also conducting a governance vote on a proposed upgrade to its liquidation system, dubbed MIP-45. Liquidations are executed by Maker to maintain DAI’s peg to the U.S. dollar by ensuring that all stable tokens generated using Maker’s vaults are sufficiently backed by collateral, the ratio of which varies depending on the asset.

The protocol has been working on an upgrade for the past year in response to the ‘Black Thursday crash in March 2020 that saw millions worth of users’ collateral liquidated after the price of Ethereum crashed by roughly 50% in 30 hours.

Maker describes the new liquidation engine as increasing the predictability and security of the protocol:

“Functionally, the new Liquidations system will provide greater security, predictability, and decentralization, facilitating wider participation by the Maker community and DeFi sector as a whole.”

Several modifications will be made to its smart contracts should the proposal pass, including an increase of the ‘Emergency Shutdown Threshold’ from 50K to 75K MKR. The mechanism is a crucial security feature that allows the system to shut down and make underlying collateral available for redemption by Dai and vault owners.

Other proposed modifications include improvements to the auction model for the liquidation of vault collateral, DeFi aggregator integration to allow greater competition between bidders, and access to more of the market’s liquidity and flash loan support.

At the time of writing, almost 26,000 MKR had been pledged in support of the proposal. As reported by Cointepegraph, MKR prices topped $4,000 in mid-April.

According to CoinGecko, the amount of Dai in circulation has surged almost 200% since the beginning of the year to 3.4 billion.