Sorare: A Beginner’s Guide To The NFT Fantasy Soccer Game

In brief

  • Sorare is a fantasy soccer game using NFTs that lets you purchase, verifiably own, and resell digital player cards from more than 100 licensed teams.
  • You can play lineups in fantasy leagues to win rewards, as well as buy and sell the in-game cards.

Fantasy sports is a booming global business, with an estimated market size of $18.6 billion in 2019, projected to grow to $48.6 billion by 2027. In traditional fantasy football or soccer experiences, users draft their favorite professional players, set their weekly lineups, and reap points for all of their players’ on-the-pitch actions. in the hopes of beating their buddies.

Sorare does things differently. It’s still a fantasy soccer game at heart, but instead of just picking player names from a list during a draft, you purchase digital trading cards that are tokenized on the Ethereum blockchain. You own these non-fungible token (NFT) cards and can freely resell them as crypto collectibles, but they’re also the heart of Sorare’s fantasy experience. And there are prizes up for grabs, both in the form of cryptocurrency and rare, valuable cards.

It’s fantasy soccer paired with real digital ownership, concepts that have shot to prominence in recent months thanks to the surging value of licensed sports NFTs such as NBA Top Shot. Here’s a look at how Sorare works and how to get started.

What is Sorare?

Sorare is an online, web-based fantasy soccer game with a crypto twist. Like traditional fantasy soccer, it’s all about building your lineup each week using professional soccer stars, and their respective on-the-pitch stats—such as goals and assists—translate into in-game points. Your goal is to beat other users in the leagues by amassing the most points each week.

Sorare has licensed players from more than 100 international teams across various leagues, and you’ll add to your team by purchasing digital trading cards from the marketplace. The licensed teams include Juventus, AC Milan, Liverpool FC, Paris Saint-Germain FC, Real Madrid, and all of Japan’s J.League teams and Spain’s LaLiga, as well as every player in Major League Soccer (but not the clubs themselves).

How does Sorare work?

The game offers several different leagues that you can sign up for, including a rookie league for newcomers, particular regional leagues, and even one solely for lineups with young players who are no older than 23. Once you join a league, you can set a new lineup each play week using the cards that you have in your account. After the week is completed, the in-game points are tallied based on all of the players’ real-world performances, and the Sorare users with the most points are eligible to win amounts of ETH and rare cards as rewards.

What’s so special about Sorare?

Sorare brings together a few things that people become obsessively excited about—soccer, fantasy sports games, sports collectibles, and crypto NFTs—and does so in a way that no other experience has matched.

NBA Top Shot is considered Sorare’s biggest crypto NFT collectibles contemporary, but the basketball NFT series has no real “game” element aside from individual collection-based challenges. Sorare has real, fantasy-style competition, even if there is a clear pay-to-win element to it. But for the die-hards who don’t mind spending real money for the best team, there are meaningful rewards alongside the potential thrill of victory.

How to get started with Sorare

Like other free-to-play games, crypto-infused or otherwise, you can start playing Sorare without spending a cent. Simply sign up at the Sorare website and follow the prompts to unlock up to 12 free “Common” player cards.

Sorare screenshot
The Sorare signup process. Image: Sorare

These cards hold no real-world value and cannot be sold, but you can use them in the fantasy leagues just like any other cards in the game. During the sign-up process, you’ll pick your favorite teams amongst the licensed squads, enter your first league, and build a lineup.

Sorare screenshot
Choosing a starting lineup. Image: Sorare

It’s a pretty straightforward onboarding process that helps you learn the basics, and then drops you into the Market to consider buying premium NFT cards that are tokenized on the Ethereum blockchain. The “New Signings” tab lets you bid on new cards introduced to the game, while the “Transfer Market” lets users resell their own cards at a fixed price—typically much higher than when first released.

Sorare screenshot
The Sorare transfer market. Image: Sorare

Did you know?

Major game publisher Ubisoft (Assassin’s Creed, Just Dance) partnered with Sorare in March 2021 to launch One Shot League, a free-to-play spinoff game that uses the same Sorare cards. It only features the Belgian Jupiler Pro League to start.

The future:

Sorare raised a $50 million Series A funding round in February 2021, including participation from high-profile investors such as Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian and entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk. In September 2021, it announced a $680 million Series B funding round at a valuation of $4.3 billion, led by Japanese tech and investment conglomerate SoftBank.

It’s a big vote of confidence following significant trading volume growth over the course of 2020 and into the start of 2021, coinciding with the wider explosion of interest and value in the crypto collectibles NFT market.

“We have ambitious plans to keep growing Sorare into a sports entertainment giant,” Nicolas Julia, co-founder and CEO of Sorare, told Decrypt. “The new funding will be used to help us continue to grow a world-class team, expand to new leagues and new sports, and keep improving our experience for users, including shipping a mobile app.”

Sorare has also branched out beyond fantasy football with the launch of its Legends NFT collection in September 2021, a series of trading cards based around iconic retired football players such as Franz Beckenbauer, Diego Maradona and Michel Platini.

Soccer is a truly global game and Sorare already has many licenses from across Europe, America, and Asia—but there’s plenty more to add—and potentially many, many millions more users to get hooked on its unique crypto spin on fantasy sports.


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How to Use CoinList: The One-Stop Shop For Early Adopters in Crypto

CoinList has a mission: to accelerate the adoption of cryptocurrency. To that end, the crypto platform has developed an all round offering for users, taking in everything from trading tools to lending. Using the multi-service platform, users can buy, trade, stake and lend the hottest new crypto assets.

Here’s how to get started with its array of features.

What is CoinList?

Crypto platform CoinList has shot to prominence for providing fast-lane access to crypto assets before they list on other wildly popular exchanges.

As a global leader in new token issuance, CoinList has helped blue-chip projects like Filecoin, Solana, Celo, Algorand, Dapper, Blockstack, Mina, and Casper connect with hundreds of thousands of new token holders. And they now support the full crypto lifecycle, from token sales through token distribution, trading, lending, and staking.

Previous raises on CoinList
Image: CoinList

What’s available on CoinList?

CoinList rigorously vets projects, so the selection on its platform is carefully curated. There are around 40 cryptocurrencies currently available to purchase or trade, including many emerging assets that have yet to hit the wider market.

Getting started with CoinList

Signing up for CoinList takes just a couple of seconds. Go to the registration page and enter a few basic details. CoinList will send a verification link to your email, and the moment you click it, you’re in!

Here’s how the dashboard looks:

CoinList screenshot

To use many of the services that CoinList offers, you’ll need to verify your identity—a simple legal process known as KYC (Know-Your-Customer). This step will ask for your name, address, selfie, and government-issued ID. For most individuals, it should take less than 5 minutes.

Once your account has been verified, you’re good to go!

How to trade on CoinList

Before you can start buying, selling and trading crypto on CoinList, you’ll first need to fund your wallet. Once you’re logged in, click on “Wallet” in the left-hand sidebar. This will default to the first entry on the list, the US Dollar (USD). To add funds to your wallet, click the “deposit”. You’ll now need to link a bank account (using the Plaid service) or send a wire transfer using the details provided (when sending a wire transfer, it’s very important to include the Memo field exactly as written).

Once you’ve loaded up your account with some USD, you can start buying crypto. Simply use the left sidebar to navigate to the “Buy & Sell” page, and use the drop-down menu to select your cryptocurrency of choice. Enter how much you’d like to purchase, and click “Preview Order.” If you’re happy with the transaction, click “Confirm Order”, and the crypto should arrive in your wallet.

You can also deposit crypto to your wallet from elsewhere, by navigating to the “Wallet” page and selecting your crypto of choice. Click the “deposit” button and follow the instructions on the page; you’ll need to copy the CoinList wallet address on the page and follow the usual steps for sending crypto from your wallet or exchange of choice.

As well as buying and holding crypto on CoinList, you can also actively trade crypto within the platform. Simply navigate to the “Buy & Sell” page, select which two assets you’d like to trade and enter the amount you’d like to trade. Then click “Preview Order” to check the details of your order.

If you’re happy, click “Confirm Order” and your assets will trade near-instantly, with your wallet updating to reflect the new token balances. You can only trade between selected types of asset.

More advanced users can also navigate to CoinList Pro, which offers a wider range of trading tools including limit and stop orders.

CoinList Pro offers a wider range of tools for advanced traders. Image: CoinList

How to stake on CoinList

While cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or Dogecoin are secured by mining (proof of work), many newer cryptocurrencies use an alternative consensus mechanism known as proof of stake (PoS). In PoS, you replace mining—and the expensive hardware required—with another economic resource: staked funds.

Stakers pledge their crypto assets to the network to help the blockchain validate transactions—and they’re rewarded for it with a share of the network rewards.

Staking can be a technically involved and complicated process, with high financial requirements. CoinList abstracts away that complexity, making staking a simple process for users. Indeed, it’s an opt-out process, so your assets held on CoinList will automatically be staked for you unless you choose otherwise.

There are no requirements for staking on CoinList beyond holding the relevant assets.

CoinList currently lets users stake FLOW, MINA, CSPR, NU, CELO and ALGO (US users are restricted to staking NU, CELO and ALGO).

In order to stake an asset on CoinList, you’ll first need to buy it or deposit the asset into your CoinList wallet—for this, refer to “how to trade” section above. Staking begins once your crypto is in the CoinList wallet!

CoinList doesn’t charge users for staking, but it takes a fee on staking rewards paid out to users—like all intermediary validators out there.

Rewards vary by asset and fluctuate according to the conditions of the blockchain network. For many assets, the more people stake, the less rewarding it becomes.

If, for whatever reason, you don’t like the idea of staking, you can choose to opt out.

How to lend on CoinList

CoinList allows users to lend crypto and earn a fixed interest rate on certain assets (at the moment, lending is limited to Filecoin).

Lending on CoinList requires just a few clicks.

On your dashboard, click “lending,” which will list the programs available at the time. Programs include key information such as minimum crypto requirements and the duration; before participating in a lending program, you’ll have to meet those requirements, which include providing photo ID and (for U.S. users) your social security number.

Once you find a program you like and meet the minimum requirements, just click on it and enter the amount you want to lend. At the end of the lending duration, you’ll get back the initial capital, plus the interest generated. Remember, lending means you can’t touch your funds while it’s lent out.

These are time-limited programs, so keep an eye on when CoinList starts accepting the next batch for the asset you want to lend.

What’s next for CoinList?

In September 2021, CoinList launched Karma, a system that rewards users for contributing to token rewards on CoinList. The greater your contribution through value-add activities, the higher your Karma. Activities can be as passive as staking your coins on CoinList or more active, such as taking part in CoinList’s hackathon or miner programs.

Karma is a form of badge, and users with high levels of Karma earn access to the Priority Queue, which lets you access token sales quicker than the usual route. In the last 3 sales, CoinList invited users with Karma over 1,000 to the Priority Queue.

Sponsored post by CoinList

This sponsored article was created by Decrypt Studio. Learn More about partnering with Decrypt Studio.


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What is Bored Ape Yacht Club? The Celebrity NFT of Choice

In brief

  • Bored Ape Yacht Club is a popular series of NFT profile pictures minted on the Ethereum blockchain.
  • They typically sell for many thousands of dollars, and some are even owned and used by pro athletes and other celebrities.

NFT avatars blew up in 2021, commanding up to millions of dollars apiece for individual images that could be collected and used on social media, and driving billions of dollars’ worth of collective trading volume in the process.

CryptoPunks are the OG Ethereum NFTs, having been created back in 2017—well before anyone outside of crypto die-hards knew or cared about provably scarce digital collectibles. But among the more recent crop of projects inspired by CryptoPunks, there’s none larger than Bored Ape Yacht Club.

Bored Ape NFTs have now generated more than $750 million worth of trading volume, including subsequent variant sets, per data from CryptoSlam. And they are increasingly the Twitter NFT avatar of choice for athletes, musicians, and more. Buying a Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT grants access to the titular “club” of sorts, and membership has benefits.

Thinking about “aping in” and buying one? Here’s what you need to know about the Bored Ape Yacht Club, Mutant Ape Yacht Club, and Bored Ape Kennel Club, and how to buy them.

What is the Bored Ape Yacht Club?

Developed by Yuga Labs, the Bored Ape Yacht Club is a collection of 10,000 profile pictures minted as NFTs on the Ethereum blockchain. An NFT, or non-fungible token, acts like a deed of ownership for a digital item, allowing buyers to prove that they own the one-and-only version of that image. In this case, buyers own an illustration of a disinterested-looking ape with randomly-generated traits and accessories. No two images are exactly alike.

The Bored Ape Yacht Club is not alone on that front, as there are many other popular NFT avatar collections that have sprung up of late—including Pudgy Penguins and 0N1 Force. But the Bored Apes have found an avid base of collectors, plus there are perks.

Did you know?

As of publishing, the record sale for a single Bored Ape NFT is 740 ETH, or just over $2.9 million, in September 2021. It was purchased by the developer of the upcoming Ethereum game, The Sandbox.

What’s so special about them?

As the name suggests, the Bored Ape Yacht Club is billed as an exclusive society or social organization, and owning one of the coveted NFTs unlocks that membership. It earns users access to an exclusive Discord server, for example, where fellow owners—including celebrities—hang out and chat. And Apes tend to flock together on social media, where the increasingly familiar avatars have united a digital brotherhood of sorts.

Perhaps more importantly, owning a Bored Ape NFT earns you access to additional NFT collectibles, which can then be resold for potentially considerable amounts of cash. Yuga Labs first offered free Bored Ape Kennel Club dog NFTs to Bored Ape owners, and then later released free “mutant serum” NFTs that generated a Mutant Ape Yacht Club image. It’s almost like paying a one-time fee for an ongoing subscription plan for NFTs and perks.

How to buy Bored Apes

Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs are available through secondary markets, most notably OpenSea. To purchase a Bored Ape Yacht Club, Bored Ape Kennel Club, or Mutant Ape Yacht Club NFT on OpenSea, simply visit the project page for each to view the entire collection.

Some may be listed for sale at a fixed price, while others can be listed for auction. You will need an Ethereum wallet, such as MetaMask, to purchase an NFT on the site, as well as enough ETH to cover both the purchase price and Ethereum gas transaction fee.

The future

In terms of trading volume, the Bored Ape Yacht Club is the second-most-popular profile picture NFT collection behind CryptoPunks at the time of publication—and they’ve only been around since April 2021.

Gradually, we’ve seen more and more prominent people using Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs as their social media avatars. Three-time NBA champion Stephen Curry bought one for $180,000 worth of Ethereum in August 2021, joining a list of athlete owners that includes fellow NBA stars Josh Hart and Tyrese Haliburton, as well as NFL players Dez Bryant and Von Miller. Musicians like The Chainsmokers, Waka Flocka Flame, and Jermaine Dupri also own Apes.

Even Arizona Iced Tea bought a Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT and used it in marketing materials. However, Yuga Labs told Decrypt that while the drink brand can use the image of the NFT it owns, its usage of the official Bored Apes branding was “inappropriate.”

In addition to giving existing Bored Ape owners a “mutant serum” to mint a free Mutant Ape NFT, Yuga Labs also released 10,000 new Mutant Apes that anyone could purchase for 3 ETH. The entire set sold out within an hour in late August 2021, generating $96 million in the process.

At this point, the big question is: how many more NFTs will Bored Ape owners get, what other perks could come, and what will Yuga Labs do next? We’ve seen Larva Labs sign with a Hollywood talent agency to bring CryptoPunks and Meebits to TV, movies, and more. Could the Bored Apes follow a similar path?


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What Are CryptoPunks? The Ethereum NFT Sensation

In brief

  • CryptoPunks is an Ethereum-based NFT project from 2017, making it one of the earliest examples of crypto collectibles.
  • Prices skyrocketed as the wider NFT market expanded in 2021, leading to numerous sales in excess of $1 million each.

The market for crypto collectibles released as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) exploded in 2021, with $2.5 billion in transaction volume in the first six months as NFTs entered the mainstream.

The boom has also seen NFT enthusiasts rediscovering some of the earliest non-fungible tokens, propelling the value of these crypto collectibles to hitherto-unknown highs.

One of these early NFT projects is CryptoPunks: a set of randomly generated pixel-based avatars. Some of the rarest, most desirable CryptoPunks have sold for millions of dollars. Seriously!

Here’s what you need to know about one of the most popular NFT collections around.

What are CryptoPunks?

Created by development studio Larva Labs, CryptoPunks are a series of 10,000 images tokenized as NFTs on the Ethereum blockchain. An NFT is effectively a deed of ownership to a digital item, and in this case, holding a CryptoPunks NFT means that you are the sole owner of a one-of-a-kind pixel avatar.

Each CryptoPunk is randomly generated from a list of dozens of attributes, which means there’s an array of designs: people, zombies, apes, and even aliens. The aliens and zombies are among the most popular avatars that have commanded some of the highest sale prices to date.

Where did CryptoPunks come from?

Believe it or not, CryptoPunks were released for free back in 2017. Ethereum’s ERC-721 non-fungible token standard wasn’t even a thing at that point, and the two-person team at Larva Labs released them as an experiment. Ethereum wallet owners snatched up the 9,000 CryptoPunks that were released to the public, while Larva Labs held onto the rest.

NFT volume gradually rose over the next three years, but it wasn’t until late 2020 and especially early 2021 that demand skyrocketed for these provably scarce digital collectibles. The secondary market value for CryptoPunks shot through the roof, leading to multi-million-dollar NFT sales, auctions at Christie’s and Sotheby’s, and a wealth of CryptoPunks used as Twitter profile pictures.

Did you know?

CryptoPunks have been responsible for more than $870 million in total trading volume, as of August 24, 2021.

What’s so special about them?

One of the biggest drivers of demand for CryptoPunks is that they’re one of the oldest NFT projects around, and the first set of randomly generated profile pictures to really click with the crypto community. They’ve inspired a rising tide of profile picture NFT sets, from Bored Ape Yacht Club to Pudgy Penguins and plenty more, each of which only reinforces the influence and legacy of the source project. CryptoPunks have some high-profile owners, too, such as rapper Jay-Z and influencer and investor Gary Vaynerchuk.

On top of that, there are clear differentiators that make certain CryptoPunks more desirable and valuable to collectors. Alien avatars are the rarest of the randomized images, and as such, alien CryptoPunks are among the most expensive NFTs sold to date. Ape and zombie designs are also in demand. Most of the CryptoPunks just look like humans with varying features and accessories, however, and the plainer-looking ones are close to the market floor in terms of asking price on NFT marketplaces.

How to buy CryptoPunks

While it’s possible to view all of the CryptoPunks on OpenSea, the leading secondary marketplace for NFTs, you can only purchase them through Larva Labs’ website.

You will need to log in with an Ethereum crypto wallet, such as MetaMask, and then you can buy, bid on, and sell CryptoPunks through the official site. Helpfully, Larva Labs has a handy tracker that lets you see all of the listed Punks in order of price, from low to high.

Did you know?

The most expensive CryptoPunk sold to date went for $11.8 million worth of ETH in June 2021 in a Sotheby’s auction to Shalom Meckenzie, the largest shareholder of DraftKings.

The future

What’s next for CryptoPunks? Well, they will likely continue to change hands on secondary markets, potentially generating huge returns for investors who bought in before the surge.

There’s no way to tell whether the current level of demand will continue, but the entry-level price for Punks continues to rise. The price floor hit $100,000 in early August 2021 and topped $150,000 just days later. It’s well over $200,000 now, as of this writing.

Financial services giant Visa became the unlikely owner of a CryptoPunk in late August 2021, calling the NFT a “historic commerce artifact” and suggesting that “NFTs will play an important role in the future of retail, social media, entertainment, and commerce.” Almost immediately following the announcement, the market for CryptoPunks skyrocketed, with more than $101 million worth of the collection’s NFTs sold on that day alone—a single-day record, as of this writing.

It seems unlikely that Larva Labs will release more CryptoPunks, given that a big part of their appeal is that they are limited in supply and are amongst the oldest NFTs around. Instead, the company has started moving onto other projects, such as 2021’s Meebits—a set of 20,000 3D voxel avatars very much created in the same spirit as CryptoPunks.

That said, there still could be further development around CryptoPunks. For example, in August 2021, Larva Labs announced that it had put all of the artwork for the existing CryptoPunks on-chain on the Ethereum blockchain. It’s a collector-requested move to help ensure the longevity of the NFTs, so that they don’t someday disappear from the web. While it was expensive to put everything on-chain, the move may add to the “durability” of CryptoPunks investments.

We could even end up seeing CryptoPunks on the silver screen, too. Larva Labs has signed with United Talent Agency to represent the firm as it explores bringing its properties to film, television, video games, and more. Can a CryptoPunks cartoon be far off? We’ll have to wait and see.


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What is Audius? The Decentralized Music Sharing and Streaming Service

In brief

  • Audius is a blockchain-powered, decentralized music streaming service with social media features.
  • It’s owned and run by an open-source community of artists, fans, and developers, and has its own crypto token, AUDIO.

Music streaming services have over 400 million subscribers worldwide between them, and raked in over $13 billion in revenue last year. But critics of the industry claim that artists are being unfairly compensated for their work, with musicians and politicians alike claiming that performers and songwriters are “losing out.”

That’s where Audius comes in. It’s a crypto-powered music sharing and streaming protocol that aims to give artists more power over how their music is monetized and enable them to connect directly with fans.

One of the largest non-financial crypto applications, Audius is owned and run by an open-source community of artists, fans, and developers. It passed more than 5.3 million unique users in July 2021, jumping from 2.9 million unique users in January 2021. Users listened to tracks 7.5 million times over the course of April 2021, the busiest month for Audius so far.

It’s powered by AUDIO, the protocol’s governance token, with a market cap of $1.2 billion as of August 2021.

So what makes this project so different from any other music streaming platform?

What is Audius?

Founded in 2018, Audius is a decentralized music streaming service with a social media component. It lets artists upload their tunes to the app and connects fans directly with artists and exclusive new music.

On a technical level, it’s a blockchain protocol that lets artists produce immutable and timestamped records for their creative works, secured by a decentralized network of node operators.

It was originally built on POA Network, an Ethereum sidechain, and later moved parts of its service to the Solana blockchain. Developers can build their own apps on top of Audius, giving them access to a unique audio catalog.

Audius launched its mainnet service in October 2020 with a livestreamed concert featuring deadmau5 and RAC.

But unlike most other blockchain projects, it doesn’t suffer from the problem of being so technical that anyone who isn’t that into crypto is automatically left out. “Users aren’t going to use our things if they are so much harder to use than Google, Facebook, SoundCloud, Steam, or whatever it is,” co-founder Roneil Rumburg told Decrypt in 2019.

Audius received $5 million in investment capital in 2018 from VC firms General Catalyst, Lightspeed, and Pantera Capital, and $1.25 million in funding from Binance Labs, the venture arm of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by volume.

How Does Audius Work?

Audius functions like a music co-op, with the token aligning incentives across the three constituent groups that make the network work: node operators, artists, and fans.

Since Audius is based on blockchain, it operates through a decentralized network of nodes that host content (content nodes) and index that content (discovery nodes).

And of course, as a blockchain project, it comes with a cryptocurrency.

The Audius network is powered by the Ethereum-based ERC-20 token Audius (AUDIO), which serves three functions:

  • 🔐 Network security – node operators stake tokens to run a node and, in return, earn rewards from the network.
  • 🏆 Exclusive features – artists get premium features by staking the token, such as such as displaying NFT crypto collectibles on the site​​.
  • 🗳️ Governance – staked tokens are required to vote on any and all proposals, which make changes to code and the overall network.

But no knowledge of blockchain or crypto is really necessary to participate in Audius, which partly explains why it’s popular even among those outside the crypto community.

The platform automatically rewards certain achievements with AUDIO tokens: top 5 weekly trending tracks, top 5 trending tracks, top 5 trending playlists, top 10 API apps, or uploads by those with verified Twitter or Instagram accounts.

Occasionally, the protocol also airdrops generous amounts of AUDIO tokens based on a formula that takes into account not only the number of listens but also the level of social engagement the artist has displayed. In October 2020, the service distributed a total of 50 million AUDIO tokens between 10,000 artists and users on the platform.

The protocol has yet to work out a more regular and consistent monetization policy consistent with its plans to distribute 90% of the token supply to its artists.

AUDIO tokens are listed and can be traded for other crypto on a number of exchanges including Binance, FTX, and the decentralized exchange (DEX) Uniswap.

What’s So Special About Audius?

Audius differs from other music streaming services because it’s blockchain-based, which shapes how the whole thing works.

Artists can upload their tracks at no cost and users can listen to them for free while everyone earns (crypto) money.

The model of governing a music streaming service together is a unique aspect that’s also powered by blockchain.

There’s no vetting process to get started as an artist, so you can immediately upload your own tracks. Just click “Upload Track” after signing up for free, and drop your music and artwork files. It offers streaming at 320kbps—comparable to Spotify and Google Play Music, albeit not up to the 24bit standard of Tidal HiFi and Amazon Music HD.

Since Audius content is distributed across decentralized nodes, copyright protection cannot be enforced at the moment. But the protocol is currently developing an arbitration system consisting of community members who will decide whether to remove certain content.

Audius’ lack of centralized control also means it provides a safe venue for artists from oppressive regimes who use music as a means of dissent and protest.

Many big-name artists treat Audius as a place to experiment or share tracks that wouldn’t go on other platforms such as works in progress (“WIPs”), weekend beats, long-form sets, or even just more diverse content than what they feel comfortable putting in other places.

What can I listen to on Audius?

At its core, it’s mostly an indie platform. But major-label artists are also welcome.

There are just over 100,000 artists on Audius, including relatively well-known names like Skrillex, Weezer, deadmau5, Russ, Mike Shinoda, Diplo, Madeintyo, Odesza, Disclosure, Alina Baraz, and Wuki.

Generally, artists start with one or two tracks and later expand as they get positive feedback from fans on the platform. Some big names like Mr. Carmack uploaded most of their historical content, a total of 169 tracks.

Another feature of Audius that’s normally uncommon in the industry is artist-fan collaborations through remix competitions, which leads to even more experimental tracks to enjoy.

The future

In August 2021, Audius was chosen as one of TikTok’s partners for its Sound Kit functionality, which allows for song transfers onto its platform. 75% of TikTok users in the United States say that they use the app as a means of discovering new music, which likely also holds true for its overall global user base of 730 million.

The recent partnership with TikTok may make the protocol even more attractive to established artists who want exposure to TikTok’s insane virality.

Audius’ co-founder Rumburg confirmed to Decrypt that the protocol’s working on more plans similar to its TikTok partnership. “The TikTok integration is exciting, and points towards what’s next. Audius will continue to [expand] the scope of the toolchain available to help artists to grow their following as effectively as possible, and better utilize or monetize their relationships with fans,” he said.

And if Audius continues to gain traction, it’s likely to lead to the blossoming of similar projects. So far other blockchain-based music projects include Songcamp, Catalog, and the Song That Owns Itself.


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What is Axie Infinity? The Play-to-Earn NFT Game Taking Crypto By Storm

In brief

  • Axie Infinity is a blockchain-based game in which players purchase NFTs of cute monsters and then battle them against each other.
  • Players can earn SLP tokens during gameplay and trade those for money at an exchange. It’s fueling a “play-to-earn” movement around the game.

Non-fungible token (NFT) crypto collectibles like artwork and videos exploded in popularity in early 2021, but several blockchain-based video games had already been building in the space before most people took notice. 

When NFTs hit the mainstream, the promising crypto game Axie Infinity by indie studio Sky Mavis took off. And when the wider NFT market cooled a bit after all of that hype… well, Axie Infinity got even bigger.

Axie Infinity is inspired by Nintendo’s beloved Pokémon series, and sees you collect and pit adorable monsters against each other in cartoonish combat. Getting started isn’t simple or cheap, however, and there’s a vastly larger upfront investment needed than your average PlayStation or Xbox game. The upside, however, is that you own your Axie NFTs and can resell them, plus its “play-to-earn” approach rewards you with crypto tokens that can be exchanged for money.

It’s a bold new vision for gaming—and it’s catching on. Here’s how to get started.

What is Axie Infinity?

Axie Infinity is a monster-battling game where you pit teams of cute monsters called Axies against each other in battles. 

Axie Infinity screenshot
Axie Infinity sees you collect cute monsters to battle with. Image: Axie Infinity

The game runs on the Ethereum blockchain with the help of Ronin, a sidechain that helps minimize fees and transaction delays. It’s primarily focused on turn-based battles, either against computer-controlled Axie teams or live opponents over the Internet.

In-game items are represented by NFTs, or non-fungible tokens. These cryptographically unique tokens can be linked with digital content; in Axie Infinity’s case, the Axies and land plots that populate the game. Unlike conventional in-game items, the NFT confers ownership on the buyer; you can trade Axies on the game’s marketplace for real money.

Axie Infinity screenshot
You can buy and sell Axies on the game’s marketplace. Image: Axie Infinity

You can also breed Axies, which lets you build potentially more powerful teams and yields additional NFTs to sell on the marketplace. Some Axie NFTs have sold for as much as 300 ETH apiece, or more than $600,000 as of this writing.

How does Axie Infinity work?

As mentioned, Axie Infinity is built entirely around NFT items—and right now, there’s no way to play unless you buy the three Axie NFTs needed to create your first team.

They can be purchased from the official Axie marketplace via your Ronin wallet, which you’ll connect to the game. You can play on PC, Mac, Android, or iOS and take your Axies into battle to win rewards.

What’s so special about it?

Axie Infinity takes the fun and alluring premise of Pokémon and adds the element of ownership into the mix. These Axies belong to you and yield tangible rewards: Smooth Love Potion (SLP) crypto tokens that can be exchanged for money. The upfront costs will be a major roadblock for many players, but it’s a game that rewards players the more time and effort that they put into it.

“Play-to-earn” might sound like a marketing phrase or a gimmicky hook, but we’re already seeing evidence of a player-owned economy taking shape around the game.

For example, there are thousands of “Axie scholars” through programs like Yield Guild Games and others, in which Axie owners loan their NFTs to other players to use and earn with. The profits are divided amongst the parties, and in countries like the Philippines and Indonesia, people are playing Axie to support their families. Whether that proves to be a sustainable model remains to be seen, but it’s a potentially powerful and revolutionary idea that is already being put into practice.

How to get started with Axie Infinity

Here’s the hang-up: you will need three Axie NFTs to start playing Axie Infinity, and as of this writing, the most affordable Axies available on the marketplace are about $225-$250 apiece. You might spend $700 or more to build a starter team. That’s more than the price of a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X console, let alone a game. Keep in mind that your Axies are investments and can be resold, plus they generate rewards through gameplay.

Axie Infinity screenshot
You’ll need to buy three Axies to get started. Image: Axie Infinity

Now that Axie Infinity has migrated assets from Ethereum to its Ronin sidechain, you will need to create a Ronin wallet and have an Ethereum wallet (like MetaMask) as well. Once you have a Ronin wallet set up, you can use the Ronin bridge to transfer ETH over to Ronin, where it becomes WETH (Wrapped ETH). You can then use this to purchase Axies.

Create an account on the Axie Infinity website and download the game to your PC or Mac. You can download an Android APK to install on a smartphone or tablet, as well. The game has also been available for iOS via a beta release through Apple’s TestFlight program, but is currently unavailable as of this writing. 

Whichever version you choose, you’ll need to pair your Ronin wallet to your account, and then sync your Axies from the wallet to the game to start playing.

What is the AXS token?

Axis Infinity Shard (AXS) is the native governance token of Axie Infinity. Currently, you can use AXS to pay for breeding fees. In the future, AXS holders will be able to vote on decisions regarding the game and its future development, as well as stake AXS tokens to earn rewards within the game. 

Over time, Axie Infinity plans to gradually shift into a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) to allow for community governance.

Did you know?

You can’t even use Axie’s land in gameplay yet, but it’s in demand: a set of nine land plots sold for about $1.5 million in February 2021.

Where can you buy AXS?

AXS is available from cryptocurrency exchanges such as Binance, FTX, and Huobi Global, although it is not currently sold by Coinbase or Binance.US, for example. Decentralized exchanges like Uniswap and SushiSwap offer it, however.

Here’s how you can purchase AXS from Uniswap. You will need a crypto wallet with ETH or another Ethereum-based ERC20 token to trade at Uniswap. If you need ETH, you can purchase it with fiat money at Coinbase or Binance and then transfer it to your wallet. 

Uniswap screenshot
Buying AXS on Uniswap. Image: Decrypt

Connect your wallet at Uniswap, select AXS from the list, and then choose which asset you want to swap for it. Enter the amount you want to trade and Uniswap will tell you how much AXS you will receive in return. If the numbers square up to your liking, click “Swap” and the transaction will go through.

The future

Axie Infinity blew up in a big way in late June 2021, not long after the Ronin transition and the announcement of a $7.5 million Series A funding round featuring Mark Cuban and Alexis Ohanian, among others. Sky Mavis also has support from major game publisher Ubisoft, which mentored the team in its Entrepreneur’s Lab accelerator program and aided the Ronin launch.

The AXS token saw a 600% increase in value within a month, and the game made nearly $85 million within a month between June and July. According to Sky Mavis, Axie Infinity was generating more fees than either the Bitcoin or Ethereum protocol during a seven-day span in July 2021. Axie Infinity reportedly had more than 500,000 daily active users as of mid-July.

However, the sudden surge in interest also led to widespread server problems, which were exacerbated by a DDOS attack and also hosting issues. It’s a similar problem to what NBA Top Shot faced as it quickly transformed from a niche crypto project into a big deal, and it may take some time for the game to stabilize.

Sky Mavis has an expansive roadmap for the game ahead, including the addition of gameplay based around its land NFTs, which let players customize the terrain and develop shareable experiences. It’s another aspect that will help expand Axie Infinity beyond simply battling and breeding monsters.

AXS staking and rewards are due in Q3 2021, with the land gameplay alpha test due in Q4. In 2022, Axie Infinity will expand its AXS ecosystem with governance and further play-to-earn elements, with land gameplay becoming available to all players in the first half of the year. 

Axie Infinity also plans to eventually roll out a way of playing without the enormous initial investment, by giving new users non-transferrable Axies with “limited earning potential.”


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What is PoolTogether? The ‘No-Loss’ Crypto Lottery Explained

In brief

  • PoolTogether is a service that lets users stake cryptocurrency into lottery pools for a chance to win a significant weekly prize pool.
  • The prize pools are made up of accumulated staking fees, and you can withdraw your full original deposit even if you don’t win.

Since the advent of decentralized finance (DeFi), a number of peer-to-peer financial products have been built, enabling users to lend cryptocurrencies to other users and stake funds in liquidity pools to enable trading. But here’s one that might not make a lot of sense on the surface.

PoolTogether is a lottery in which anyone who purchases a ticket has a chance to win a stash of crypto—but even if you lose the drawing, you don’t lose any of the money you spent to enter. In fact, your tickets just keep rolling into the next drawing again and again. Aside from paying for transaction fees to enter, you literally can’t lose your money. But you could win. Maybe.

It’s essentially a mash-up of traditional lottery systems and crypto staking, with users sacrificing a smaller amount of potential yield in favor of a potential jackpot. Here’s how it works.

What is PoolTogether?

PoolTogether is an Ethereum-based lottery platform that lets users deposit cryptocurrency into pools to buy tickets. Each pool holds a weekly drawing that awards a prize pool to up to five winners, but your tickets do not expire following the drawing. Instead, the tickets roll over to the next drawing, the next one after that, and so on and so forth until you win or withdraw your funds from the pool.

In this sense, it’s a no-loss lottery: you might not win, but you can’t lose. PoolTogether also describes it as a “prize savings” approach, as you could potentially be rewarded for holding onto your crypto funds rather than spending them elsewhere.

How does PoolTogether work?

Many cryptocurrencies offer a staking feature that allows users to lock up their funds within the network to provide liquidity, and they are rewarded with an interest-like staking reward for doing so. PoolTogether takes that premise and executes it on a large scale as a lottery. When users deposit funds into the pools, they are staked via the DeFi platform Compound and the interest that is generated is used for the lottery rewards.

Staking rewards vary by coin, but with so many users playing and keeping their funds pooled long-term, it adds up to large jackpot sums. Automated smart contracts select the winners and keep everyone else enrolled in the latest weekly drawings without any manual action needed.

Did you know?

In one headline-making example, a PoolTogether user deposited $74 worth of DAI into a pool in March 2020 and won nearly $40,000 just over a year later.

What’s so special about it?

Just as DeFi has revolutionized other traditional financial services, PoolTogether is putting a fresh spin on the traditional lottery. But the worst part of playing the lottery—the gradually building sum of money spent on single-use tickets—is taken out of the equation.

You’ll pay transaction fees to enter and exit the pools, but your money remains yours and you’ll be continually entered in the weekly drawings so long as you keep your money in the pool.

How to get started with PoolTogether

PoolTogether screenshot

You don’t need an account to play: simply go to the PoolTogether website and connect a cryptocurrency wallet. PoolTogether supports an array of popular options, including MetaMask, Coinbase Wallet, Trezor, Ledger, and Trust Wallet.

Go to the Pools listing and click the Deposit button to add the specified coins. As of this writing, PoolTogether offers several different pools—including for USD Coin (USDC), DAI, SushiSwap (SUSHI), Compound (COMP), and Uniswap (UNI)—each with its own weekly prize awarded to the winner(s).

PoolTogether screenshot

Once you input how much of the selected cryptocurrency you wish to deposit, you will need to approve the transaction with your wallet and pay the transaction fee in ETH. PoolTogether requires users to keep their funds locked in a pool for at least 10 days, otherwise there’s a fee for withdrawing them early.

PoolTogether screenshot

What are the downsides?

As of this writing, there are no apparent risks: your money is safe, PoolTogether has been functioning successfully for a long time, and it’s not a scam. There are a few downsides to keep in mind, however. Transaction fees can be costly due to demand on the Ethereum network, and if you’re only putting a few dollars worth of crypto into a pool, it might actually cost you more to pay the transaction fee.

Also, there’s an opportunity cost in locking your cryptocurrency into a pool and leaving it there. You could stake those funds or provide liquidity via a decentralized exchange and earn a small amount of yield, but instead, you’re pooling them in the hopes of winning a big jackpot. Lastly, your chances of winning grow significantly the more tickets you buy, so it potentially helps the rich get richer. Still, anyone who plays can potentially win.

Did you know?

As of this writing, PoolTogether has more than $195 million worth of cryptocurrency locked within its pools and awards more than $100,000 per week in prizes.

What is the POOL token?

Launched in February 2021, POOL is a governance token that allows holders to vote on proposals to help shape the future of PoolTogether. Users may be able to vote on how prizes are awarded, which pools the site operates, and changing the future distribution of POOL to users. The site airdropped POOL tokens to early users at launch, plus POOL is distributed to PoolTogether users on an ongoing basis.

Where can you buy POOL?

Aside from earning POOL by using PoolTogether, you can also purchase POOL from a handful of exchanges. It’s not widely available, but you can swap Ethereum-based tokens for it on the popular decentralized exchange Uniswap, as well as buy it on exchanges like and 1inch.

Here’s an example of how you can purchase POOL on Uniswap. You will need to swap ETH or another Ethereum-based token for it. Simply choose the amount of POOL that you want to buy, and the site will use the current exchange rate to tell you how much you will need to spend. Click swap, approve the purchase within your wallet and pay the transaction fee, and you should be set.

Uniswap screenshot
You can swap Ethereum-based tokens for POOL on Uniswap. Image: Uniswap

The future:

With the launch of POOL, PoolTogether opened up future governance of the site to the community, enabling token holders to vote on its development and evolution. PoolTogether has enlisted partners such as popular DEX SushiSwap and blockchain platform The Graph to create new integrations and pools, and held an auditing content to help verify that its code is safe.

Growing Ethereum transaction fees are one potential concern at the moment, as they can vary wildly and be very significant. During a few-hour span while writing this article, we observed fees ranging between $5 and $35 per transaction—and that was for an intended transaction adding just $5 worth of DAI into a pool.

The upcoming London network upgrade for Ethereum should help stabilize the fees, and the eventual Ethereum 2.0 upgrade could dramatically lower fees as the network scales to support more activity.

PoolTogether also launched a pool for Ethereum sidechain Polygon (MATIC) in April 2021 that has much cheaper fees than the Ethereum mainnet pools, and that could be a sign of further change to come for the platform.


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What is Thorchain? The DeFi Bridge for Bitcoin, Ethereum and More

In brief

  • As the number of users on blockchain networks grows, the need for cross-network liquidity likewise increases.
  • Thorchain is a protocol that aims to meet this need by enabling the trading of crypto assets across various blockchains in a completely decentralized way.

While crypto markets are maturing, developing more financial products, and gaining users, most crypto assets are still marooned on their native networks. This means assets minted on a network like Ethereum cannot be used or directly traded to another crypto network, like the Bitcoin blockchain or Binance Smart Chain.

Swapping assets across blockchains is reliant on middlemen in the form of exchanges, such as Coinbase or Binanceor is dependent on tokenized versions of assets, such as Wrapped Bitcoin. This means that while isolated blockchain ecosystems may be liquid, meaning there’s an active market of buyers and sellers, crypto markets in the aggregate are fragmented and hence illiquid.

What is Thorchain?

Thorchain is a blockchain protocol built on Cosmos, the so-called “Internet of blockchains,” that aims to make all of crypto liquid. It seeks to do this by enabling the trading of non-native crypto assets, such as trading Bitcoin for Ethereum, but in a completely decentralized way. In essence, it does much of what Coinbase and Binance dobut without a third party ever taking control of the funds.

The Thorchain protocol also powers a decentralized exchange (DEX) by the same name. Like Uniswap or SushiSwap, the Thorchain DEX allows anyone to trade or lend their crypto assets by providing liquidity to an asset pool and, in exchange, earn a return (or “yield”) on those assets.

Who, when, and why?

Thorchain was built by a mostly anonymous team. Conceived in 2018 during a hackathon, the protocol’s multi-chain “chaosnet” was finally launched in April 2021 after initial development took place on a few testnets

The broader goal of its team and community is to create decentralized liquidity to eliminate the need for centralized parties, who can and have withheld access to financial products or services from individuals for various reasons. 

DeFi, as the name suggests, is all about decentralizing access to finance. DeFi is shorthand for a collection of financial products that allow users to borrow, lend, buy and sell crypto assets without the need for third-party intermediaries. Thorchain, as a DEX (also known as a “decentralized exchange”), is part of that group of products, and it aims to push the boundaries of decentralized finance even further.

Thorchain’s team even plans to completely hand over control of the network to the community by the summer of 2022.

How swaps work on Thorchain

Thorchain uses an adaption of another DEX’s lending system, namely Bancor’s continuous lending pools, to facilitate trades. In these trades, all assets are deposited in liquidity pools shared with one other asset, which is Thorchain’s native token, RUNE. 

RUNE is swapped against other assets in all trades. In a swap for asset A to asset B, the protocol would conduct two trades, swapping A for RUNE then RUNE for B. RUNE double swapping is what allows for decentralized swapping of assets across chains non-custodial.

So far, the protocol has worked as intended, and that has helped push RUNE to a top-ten spot by market cap among DeFi tokens as of June 2021.

Thorchain initially launched with support for assets from Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Binance Smart Chain, and Litecoin. Support for other tokens and assets is continually being added.

Getting into the gears of Thorchain

Thorchain is a proof-of-stake (as opposed to proof-of-work) blockchain, which means it’s secured and maintained by node operators who bond and earn RUNE. Nodes are computers that validate swaps and create pools for assets and in return get rewards.

One hundred validator spots are initially available to nodes, but the network can scale to 300 spots. These spots are periodically recycled in a “churning,” ensuring the network is kept competitive, giving operators anonymity, and providing an additional layer of security as nodes cannot “capture” (control) the network.

Nodes must bond at least 1 million RUNE to be eligible for a validator spot. RUNE is currently worth around $6 and it has a market cap of over $1.3 billion.

Did you know?

Nodes acting maliciously lose their bonded RUNE while nodes that act correctly earn a portion of the protocol’s income. The bonded RUNE underwrites the asset pools and goes to liquidity providers in the event of a theft or hack, ensuring validators act honestly.

When a swap is made, an asset is sent to a pool’s or vault’s address. A pool address is similar to an email address, except, instead of words and a URL pointing to a person, it’s a series of digits and letters pointing to a digital wallet. Once two-thirds of nodes confirm the address received the coins, they send the other asset back to the user. Again, swaps are native, so the LTC/RUNE vault, for example, has an address to receive LTC.

How liquidity pools work

Like almost every other DEX, Thorchain uses an automated market maker (AMM) model to generate prices. Prices are generated based on the respective number of each asset held in the pool and kept reflective of external prices, like those on other exchanges, by traders. These traders use arbitrage, which is to say they buy assets wherever they’re low in price and sell them wherever they’re high, causing the prices to converge.

Liquidity providers deposit RUNE and one other asset to a corresponding liquidity pool. In return for providing liquidity which traders use, they receive part of the fee taken from trades plus RUNE rewards.

What’s more, validating nodes are incentivized to post double the monetary value of the assets held in vaults. Here’s why:

Fees from trades swing between liquidity providers and nodes. If nodes are “under bonded” a higher percentage of fees goes to nodes, encouraging more bonding. The opposite occurs if over-bonding occurs. When 67% of all RUNE in the protocol is bonded and 33% of it is staked, Thorchain is in its “optimal state.”

In theory, this over-collateralized system of bonding means corrupt nodes have more to lose than gain when acting dishonestly.

Beyond security, the DEX’s incentives are structured to create ample liquidity, as fees, non-custodial yield, and DeFi’s natural openness ensure trades on Thorchain typically have low slippage, meaning the difference between a quoted price and the actual trade price used is minimized.

How do you use Thorchain?

To use Thorchain, you’ll need to access an interface such as Thorswap. Then follow these steps:

  1. Download a wallet compatible with Thorswap. Support for hardware wallets like Ledger is still under development but Thorswap’s own Keystore wallet is already supported.
  2. Connect your wallet to the interface.
  3. Swap, deposit liquidity, or withdrawal assets.
  4. Alternatively, users can use a wallet integrated with Thorchain, like ShapeShift.

What’s the RUNE token all about?

RUNE is Thorchain’s native asset. It’s used for governance, staking, bonding, rewards, and trading—it’s what makes Thorchain work.

RUNE is traded against other assets in every pool on Thorchain, providing a bridge for assets from different blockchains. Staking RUNE also earns users votes on governance proposals and fees from trading, while bonding RUNE lets nodes validate transactions and earn new RUNE generated each block.

Since incentives push users to bond roughly 2x the amount of RUNE provided in liquidity pools, and since RUNE is also held in each pool, Thorchain’s tokenomics are engineered so that RUNE’s price increases “deterministically.” According to the team, RUNE’s price naturally increases as a multiple of any growth in liquidity on the network.

Thorchain’s tokenomics seem to be working: RUNE’s price has appreciated roughly 500% year-to-date with Total Value Locked (a metric that roughly measures the number of funds sloshing around within a given DeFi project) on the protocol hitting as high as $700 million in May 2020.

RUNE is available on a few different exchanges, including Binance, Uniswap, and FTX. Thorchain has a number of interfaces which include Asgardex, Thorswap, and Vanaheim.

What’s Next?

Thorchain’s team believes its protocol of cross-chain swaps is just the beginning. They hope to build a protocol for all of DeFi, offering borrowing, lending, and even synthetics services across various blockchains. 

In the near term, the team is aiming to add greater wallet support, update the main website, add pools for other assets, including Dogecoin, Zcash, and Monero, and remove protective measures currently live on the network, which will turn the chaosnet into the mainnet.


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What is SushiSwap? How to Buy SUSHI (2021)

In brief

  • SushiSwap is a popular Ethereum-based decentralized exchange (DEX) that allows users to swap tokens, earn rewards via yield farming, and more.
  • It was forked from leading DEX Uniswap, which it initially drained liquidity from via a process called “vampire mining.”

Decentralized exchanges (DEXs) enable users to trade directly with one another, without going through a centralized intermediary, such as Coinbase and Binance. That means they can offer access to a wider variety of cryptocurrency tokens and financial services than you’ll find at popular centralized exchanges, plus they allow for trading without an intermediary or a need to provide identifying information.

SushiSwap has emerged as a popular rival to the leading DEX, Uniswap, which makes sense: it’s actually based on Uniswap’s code!

Although SushiSwap had a controversial and drama-filled launch, it has since stabilized and now sports a polished design, plus a growing array of decentralized finance (DeFi) products and services such as yield farming, SUSHI token staking, lending, and new token offerings. Here’s how to become a “DeFi chef” with SushiSwap, plus a look at its volatile history and the SUSHI token.

What is SushiSwap?

SushiSwap is an Ethereum-based decentralized exchange that lets you swap a vast array of tokens, as well as engage in other finance services. It has no centralized authority or middlemen. Instead, it relies on smart contracts—or code that automates processes—and liquidity provided by other users to complete trades. SushiSwap is similar to Uniswap, which also runs on Ethereum, as well as the Binance Smart Chain-based PancakeSwap.

The history of SushiSwap

SushiSwap launched in August 2020 and quickly ran into controversy. The pseudonymous creator Chef Nomi and his collaborators copied (or forked) the open-source code from Uniswap, but made a key change: the addition of a governance token, SUSHI, which users could buy and earn to have a say in the future of the DEX.

Along with that notable change, SushiSwap wanted to crush Uniswap and take its throne as the most popular Ethereum DEX. The creators devised a “vampire mining” scheme to drain liquidity out of Uniswap via incentives: by providing SUSHI in exchange for users’ Uniswap liquidity pool (LP) tokens. Those LP tokens would then be exchanged for the original assets put into the Uniswap liquidity pools, thus creating liquidity for SushiSwap instead.

If that wasn’t bold and controversial enough, a fresh twist came before the vampire mining campaign could be completed: Chef Nomi cashed out about $14 million worth of SUSHI from the DEX’s developer funds for Ethereum—on Uniswap, no less. SUSHI’s price sank and Nomi was assailed by users who thought that they had just scammed or “rug pulled” the newly-formed SushiSwap community.

Nomi reversed course and returned the funds, and ultimately decided to withdraw from SushiSwap. Control over the project was handed over to Sam Bankman-Fried, head of Alameda Research and centralized derivatives trading platform FTX, who oversaw the successful completion of the vampire mining campaign. He then passed control on to numerous trusted community members, ensuring SushiSwap’s decentralized future. To the relief of users, SushiSwap has experienced a much less tumultuous run since then.

How does SushiSwap work?

Like Uniswap, SushiSwap is built on an automated market maker (AMM) system that uses the aforementioned smart contracts to complete transactions. Tokens are provided by other users via liquidity pools. Other SushiSwap users lock up their funds in token pairs to these pools, which provides the funds needed to complete swaps. Those users are then rewarded with a small percentage of fees generated by trades, a process called yield farming.

Beyond token swaps, SushiSwap offers other DeFi features, such as the ability to stake SUSHI coins in the network and earn rewards, as well as participate in lending services and purchase newly-offered tokens DeFi startups via its MISO service.

Did you know?

SushiSwap’s community provides an enormous amount of liquidity: more than $3 billion across 1,300+ token pairs as of this writing.

What’s so special about it?

Even if it started with Uniswap’s code base, SushiSwap has made significant changes to differentiate itself from its inspiration (and rival). The SUSHI token was a DeFi innovation that ultimately led to Uniswap adopting a similar approach, providing users not only with an additional means of generating rewards but also a say in the future of the DEX.

Also, while Uniswap has raised venture capital funding and has a core, centralized development team, SushiSwap’s decentralized, community-centric ethos extends beyond the DEX itself.

How to make your first trade on SushiSwap

As with other DEXs, you will need a crypto wallet such as MetaMask, WalletConnect, or Lattice to use SushiSwap. It also works with Coinbase Wallet, which does not require an account with the centralized Coinbase exchange. Unlike centralized exchanges, SushiSwap does not make you register an account or provide identifying information—you just need a wallet. However, you cannot use a debit card or bank account to buy crypto with fiat currency at SushiSwap.

Once logged in with a wallet, head to the “Swap” feature at SushiSwap and choose which cryptocurrency in your wallet (such as Ethereum) you want to trade, and which token you want to trade for. SushiSwap allows anyone to create a trading pair and establish a liquidity pool, so it supports a very wide array of Ethereum-based tokens as well as other coins wrapped for use in Ethereum.

Once you choose which tokens to swap, enter the amount of your token that you want to exchange and SushiSwap will tell you how much of the other token you’ll get in return. If you are satisfied with the exchange rate, click the rainbow-colored Swap button to execute the transaction. It may take a few minutes to complete the trade, but if it successfully goes through, then the new tokens will appear in your wallet.

Where and how to buy SUSHI

You can swap for SUSHI at SushiSwap, of course, or even at Uniswap. If you prefer to buy SUSHI tokens elsewhere, however, and then bring them into SushiSwap, you can also do that. SUSHI tokens are available for purchase from a wide array of exchanges, including Coinbase, Binance, FTX, and Huobi Global.

Here’s a look at how you can purchase SUSHI at Coinbase. In this example, we’re looking to buy $250 worth of SUSHI using a linked bank account, and then after taking its transaction fee, Coinbase offered to send back 28.47 SUSHI in return. If the terms are agreeable on your own transaction, click “Buy now” and the SUSHI will soon appear in your Coinbase account.

How does staking work? What is xSUSHI?

SushiSwap allows you to stake (or lock up) your SUSHI tokens into the network to earn gradual rewards over time. According to the DEX, 0.05% of the total swap fees are redistributed to users proportional to the amount of SUSHI they have staked. When you stake your SUSHI, you will receive xSUSHI to hold onto. xSUSHI grants you voting rights and compounds your rewards over time. When you unstake your funds, you will gain back your original SUSHI amount plus however much extra you earned in rewards, minus fees.

The future

Much as SushiSwap emerged out of nowhere to challenge the dominant Uniswap, the DEX market isn’t static. Uniswap, for example, continues iterating upon its concept and launched its v3 DEX in May 2021. Furthermore, DEXs are starting to gain traction on other blockchains besides Ethereum, most notably PancakeSwap and BurgerSwap on Binance Smart Chain.

SushiSwap has already expanded considerably since its contentious launch and transfer of power, rolling out new features like BentoBox, a platform that additional DeFi services can be built upon. The app has also seen a significant visual and interface overhaul that is much more polished and easier to understand, and moved to the simpler URL.

Like other Ethereum-based apps and platforms, SushiSwap has seen rising gas and transaction fees due to high network congestion. Given that, SushiSwap is now expanding out to other blockchains and embracing layer-2 scaling solutions to minimize fees and speed up transaction confirmations.

SushiSwap has launched a version of its DEX on the Polygon (ex-Matic) blockchain, and has created a bridge that lets users move Ethereum assets back and forth between the two DEXs.

Did you know?

There are many decentralized exchanges out there. Click here to learn about some of the other popular options and how they compare.


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What is Snapshot? The Decentralized Voting System

In brief

  • Snapshot is a decentralized voting system.
  • It’s used by several companies in the DeFi space to help survey users.
  • The project uses ‘off-chain’ signing techniques to make voting fee less.

Crypto projects are always exploring new ways to disrupt the world around them—everything from art, to finance, to aerospace to food. Most recently, crypto has been disrupting how communities take part in shaping companies. 

In this Learn guide we’re going to be exploring how Snapshot is helping decentralized businesses enable their users to shape which way a project goes next. 

What is Snapshot? 

Snapshot is a place where projects can create proposals for people to vote on using cryptocurrency. In the industry, this process is called ‘vote signaling’. Traditionally, to vote using cryptocurrency would normally incur fees to process the movement of currency from one wallet to another. 

But on Snapshot, that doesn’t happen, thanks to the clever use of the decentralized storage network called IPFS. Because Snapshot doesn’t use ‘on-chain’ verification, any votes are essentially fee-less. 

Did you know?

There are more than 1,000 project proposals on Snapshot.

It’s a popular tool for decentralized organizations (DAOs) looking to query what their audiences think using blockchain technology. 

How do you use Snapshot? 

For companies looking to use Snapshot, they need to have an existing profile on the Ethereal Naming Service, or ENS. Once they have that, they then add a record on ENS to allow votes to be viewable at that address. 

Users, meanwhile, need a wallet address with the required cryptocurrency in order to take part in a poll. On Decrypt’s Snapshot page, for example, users holding one of our NFTs in a wallet like MetaMask would be eligible to vote. 

Users simply connect their wallet to Snapshot’s website and it will allow a vote to be cast on any open proposals on the site.

What makes Snapshot so special?

Cryptocurrency projects traditionally have to create the infrastructure themselves to conduct this sort of polling or use other methods that aren’t decentralized. These methods are both time-consuming and can be taken over by parties who may not have the project’s best interests at heart to skew the votes. 

Where Snapshot differs is that it allows projects to seek out their most committed members who hold their chosen cryptocurrency and ask them to make decisions. It does this by not sending the transactions to a blockchain. 

Instead, it uses the IPFS network (read here to learn more about IPFS) to create and store the votes. This allows Snapshot to use a blockchain to register how people reacted to a poll, without incurring the usual fees. 

For the poll creator, those votes are made available via an interface so they can keep track of things as they happen. 

A brief history of Snapshot 

Snapshot Labs, the creators of Snapshot, emerged from stealth mode in August 2020. 

At present, there isn’t a lot of information about who is behind Snapshot, but from various forums, it looks like it emerged from Balancer Labs, the R&D division of automated portfolio manager and trading platform Balancer

Who uses Snapshot? 

There are a wide range of companies in the decentralized finance (DeFi) space that have taken advantage of Snapshot’s unique polling system. These include Uniswap, Balancer, Yearn, Bancor, The Graph, Aragon, and others. 

Oh, and Decrypt uses Snapshot too 🙂 

What can you do with Snapshot? 

The system is designed to accommodate a wide range of polls or surveys. For example, one project might ask its audience to vote on new features as part of the project’s roadmap. 

Uniswap, for example, asked its users if it should allocate funds to create a legal defense pool if the project ever came under regulatory scrutiny. In another poll, it asked users about what it should do with its treasury funds. 

The essence of Snapshot is to allow companies aiming for decentralization to be able to poll their users over which direction a project should move in, without the need for pesky middlemen. 

The future 

The project is still in its infancy, but companies have already created 1,000 individual spaces where communities can come together to vote on proposals put forward. 

Snapshot is completely open-source, allowing others to contribute to the project or create alternate versions, meaning it could go in any number of directions. 

For now, it’s become popular among DeFi projects looking for a quick, simple way of asking audiences what they think. 


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