DeFi Africa held its first AMA (Ask Me Anything) session with MakerDAO on our public Telegram channel on December 10th, 2020. The guests for this session were Maria Magenes (Community Lead for Europe & Africa, Maker Foundation) and Gustav Arentoft (Business Development for Europe, Maker Foundation).
The AMA was structured into five chapters.
- Chapter 1-Introduction of guests
- Chapter 2-Basic Questions About MakerDAO
- Chapter 3-Answers to Questions on Twitter
- Chapter 4-Questions from the audience live
- Chapter 5-Winners announcement from both live and Twitter
MakerDAO is an open-source project on the Ethereum blockchain and a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) created in 2014. Builders of DAI, the first decentralized, stable cryptocurrency that can be used by anyone, anywhere, anytime.
Chapter 1-Introduction to guests
Sahabia (AMA Moderator)
Hello, Maria and Gustav. Thanks for joining us today.
Could you please tell us a bit about yourselves?
Gustav (AMA Guest)
Hey Sahabia, thanks for having us!
My name is Gustav Arentoft. I manage the European and African Business Development for the Maker Foundation. I’ve been with the project for almost 2.5 years. Prior to joining Maker, I worked and lived in Argentina.
Maria (AMA Guest)
I am Maria Magenes, the Community Lead for Africa and Europe. I’ve been with Maker since 2019, and before that, I worked for Aave Project.I am 28.
Chapter 2: Basic Questions About MakerDAO
Starting with Gustav, please explain: what is MakerDAO and DAI in brief?
MakerDAO is a decentralized organization dedicated to bringing financial stability and transparency to the world economy. MakerDAO enables the generation of Dai, the world’s first unbiased currency and leading decentralized stablecoin. Dai mitigates volatility through an autonomous system of smart contracts called the Maker Protocol, as well as through decentralized community governance.
The Maker Protocol, as one of the largest decentralized applications (dapps) on the Ethereum blockchain, was the first decentralized finance (DeFi) application to earn significant adoption. All Dai is backed by a surplus of collateral that has been individually locked into audited and publicly viewable Ethereum smart contracts. Anyone with an internet connection can monitor the health of the system at any time at daistats.com.
Maria, How is DAI different from other stablecoins in the crypto space?
The main differences are that Dai is decentralized (there is not a central entity in the background) and unbiased. Dai lives completely on the blockchain, making it borderless and available to anyone, anywhere. Though currently on the Ethereum blockchain, Dai is built to be blockchain agnostic.
All Dai is backed by a surplus of collateral that has been individually locked into audited and publicly viewable Ethereum smart contracts.
Also, Maria, what are the various ways one can use the DAI Stablecoin?
There are plenty of use cases. The following are the top five:
- Inflation protection and savings (e.g. in Argentina)
- DeFi products and services, and the enormous opportunities they offer.
- Digital art (NFT)
You can read more here: https://blog.makerdao.com/the-top-five-ways-the-dai-stablecoin-is-used-around-the-world/
Chapter 3-Answers to Questions on Twitter
Starting with Gustav
How do you view competition down the road if someone figures out how to do non-collateralized loans on Ethereum? (Asked by @ubaidu_isa)
Therefore, non-collateralized loans pose another risk to the underlying lenders. Maker is unique in the sense that it does not have lenders, only borrowers. Dai is created at the moment of borrowing. Other protocols therefore deal with liquidity restraints based on the amount of supplied assets they have. We do not have that restraint. To the point of the question, a protocol dealing with non-collateralized loans needs to be able to attract liquidity. We don’t. Therefore, it seems unlikely that someone will be able to do so in a big fashion.
But we are always innovating, so who knows where MakerDAO is at that point in time.
Maybe we could even adopt their framework to our protocol, we are very flexible in the possibilities
Which is the necessity to use a second internal token (MKR). It will not be enough with just the DAI token? (Question by @cudosinichi9)
Thanks for the question.
MakerDAO is a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) with decentralized governance. It is important to make this distinction: DAI is a stablecoin that is soft pegged to 1 USD, and MKR is our governance token. MKR is created to enable governance of the system and give voting rights to MKR holders. The primary responsibility of MKR holders is to ensure the stability of the Dai Peg and the overall health of the Maker Protocol.
Who are MakerDAO’s partners nowadays? Can you appreciate the importance of what partners have supported MakerDAO in protocol development? (Question by @HolderEthereum)
Today MakerDAO has over 900 partners globally, and we have had a huge focus on pushing the protocol to as many people as possible. This is also the focus of the teams that Maria and I work for. Business Development works with partner integrations and Community Development works with individual contributions and people interested in Dai. We have always tried to include as many people as possible in the project. In regards to major partnership integrations, some of the biggest have been companies like Wirex, Coinbase, OkEx, Compound, and AAVE. However, these are just a couple of our big partners.
We work almost exclusively through 3rd party partnerships. So it’s always been very important for us to push Dai as a product via our external partnerships.
What is being done to drive DeFi to Africa, which is the future for everything blockchain? (Question by @SilentShepherd3)
First of all, a lot of education is needed in the African region (but in general, all over the world) and we are pushing it with the help of our ambassadors, like Sahabia and Ahmed, and DeFi Africa. We try to speak about Dai and DeFi every time we can and in the easiest way possible. In order to better understand Dai, there are various resources to learn about MakerDAO and Dai: https://community-development.makerdao.com/makerdao-mcd-faqs/faqs/dai# what-is-dai
Also, increasing access to Dai is crucial for the increased adoption of Dai. For example, integrating exchanges and fiat on and off-ramps are crucial. We just started an initiative with PundiX and Dai Agent Network to push Dai usage and Dai acceptance among merchants in Ghana.
Chapter 4-Questions from the live telegram audience
What are the great achievements that MakerDAO has achieved so far? What difficulties and risks did you encounter during project implementation and what factors helped motivate you to overcome them?
I would say Dai launch in primis, then MCD launch, and we are looking forward to full decentralization.
What are your biggest achievements in 2020?
Reaching 1b Dai and maintaining the space’s top 1 DeFi position
Can you list 1-3 features of MakerDAO Secure that make it ahead of its competitors? What is the competitive advantage your platform has that makes you better than your competitors?
Dai is decentralized and unbiased. It has many use cases and a supply of 1B.
What’s your next development step? What do you want to achieve next year, 2021?
In the upcoming year, there will be a strong community focus on onboarding RWA (Real World Assets). So it will be very interesting to see how the community will push the MakerDAO protocol to normal companies looking for credit.
The crypto world is becoming overcrowded with blockchain projects and tokens. What makes MakerDAO different from other projects?
We are one of the oldest Ethereum projects, which dates all the way back to 2015. We popularized DeFi and paved the way for many partners to grow in this new space. We also have a very unique proposition in regards to being the only major decentralized stablecoin.
You have a bunch of acronyms that exist within the MakerDAO ecosystem. DAI, MKR, CDP, DSR, and soon MCD and SAI, to name a few.
Can you run us through what these terms mean and how they all work together to achieve the end goal of a decentralized asset-backed digital economy?
Dai is not an acronym, MKR is for Maker, CDP is for Collateralized Debt Position, and DSR is for the Dai savings rate. MCD is Multi Collateral Dai, while Sai is single collateral Dai. Some of them, like CDP and SAI, are old. The other ones are still used.
DAI is the multi collateral Dai (the one existing now).
SAI is the single collateral Dai (backed only by ETH prior to 2019).
CDP and Vault are the same. A collateralized debt position (renamed as vault) has to be opened to create Dai.
DSR is the Dai Saving Rate. The user can earn it only by holding Dai.
These are part of the Maker protocol together with the governance, keepers, oracles, and MKR holders. They allow the system to work.
Who will have the final say in development and business decisions? How much will our elected representatives be able to influence when it comes to business and development decisions? Will the company have some kind of veto when it comes to decisions?
The community. In the near future, the community will have the final word on everything.
Does MakerDAO have any plans to look into DEFI insurance?
There are already options for insurance which can be looked at to be integrated into the front-ends of the different protocols.
The common problem that often occurs in cryptocurrency projects is smart contract vulnerability, which has led to the loss of funds. What steps have been taken by MakerDAO to fix this major problem and avoid future occurrences?
MakerDAO has had one of the most strict security roadmaps of all DeFi projects. You can see it here at: https://security.makerdao.com/
The overcollateralization required by MakerDAO is capital inefficient and dulls the benefits of taking out these positions to begin with. How do you plan to solve this?
The overcollateralization depends on the underlying collateral. So on very volatile crypto assets you will have a higher ratio than if you use more stable assets like Real world assets, gold or other commodities. This is the way all collateralized lending works.
Question: The Maker CDP (Collateralized Debt Position) smart contract runs natively on Ethereum. As a result, only ERC-20 compatible assets are available on the platform, So do you have plans to change that and allow use of other kinds of tokens?
Dai is blockchain agnostic, and interoperability is fundamental. Right now, for example, WBTC is accepted as collateral. In the ideal future, real world assets will also be accepted as collateral.
Awesome Gustav and Maria 👏
Thanks for that. We are now getting to the last segment.
Please audience. In the next chapter, we will announce the winners and close for today
Chapter 5-Winners announcement from both live and Twitter
The winners of the AMA are:
Questions from Twitter
From Telegram Questions Live:
Congratulations to all the winners of today’s AMA. If you don’t see yourself among the winners, don’t worry. Hang tight for more similar opportunities. To the winners, please provide your DAI addresses to receive your gifts. Simply DM @realsahabia with your addresses.
Thank you, Maria and Gustav, for honoring our invitation.