Analysis

DeFi Mission Highlight: Euler Finance, the Subsequent-Technology Cash Market

Key Takeaways

  • Euler Finance is a second-generation DeFi lending protocol {custom} constructed to permit permissionless lending and borrowing of long-tail crypto property.
  • Euler has innovated and constructed a variety of novel DeFi options, together with asset tiers, reactive rates of interest, risk-adjusted borrow elements, Dutch-auction liquidations, protected collateral, and batch transactions.
  • On Euler, anybody can create a cash marketplace for any crypto asset with an ETH liquidity pair on the Uniswap V3 decentralized change.

Euler Finance is a second-generation cash market protocol that introduces a variety of improvements to the DeFi area to allow permissionless lending and borrowing of crypto property. It’s designed to maximise capital effectivity and reduce the dangers related to the lengthy tail of the market.

Euler Finance Defined

Euler Finance is a novel lending protocol constructed to allow permissionless borrowing and lending of risk-on, long-tail crypto property.

To grasp Euler’s distinctive worth proposition, it’s price exploring DeFi’s present lending panorama. Right now, the 2 dominant decentralized lending protocols are Aave and Compound. Collectively, they seize about 50% of the full market share, respectively holding about $6.06 billion and $2.79 billion in complete worth locked. Customers trying to earn curiosity on their crypto property can deposit them into Aave or Compound’s liquidity swimming pools to make them accessible for borrowing. Then again, customers trying to brief crypto property or tackle extra leverage use these lending protocols to borrow.

Compound and Aave deal with enabling lending and borrowing for a small variety of crypto property. The tokens accessible in each protocols are typically deemed as a number of the most secure in the marketplace. Neither protocol was designed to deal with the dangers related to extra risky, illiquid crypto property. As an alternative, each protocols depend on a permissioned itemizing system whereby any new tokens aspiring to get listed should first be authorized by governance via voting.

Whereas this considerably conservative method has its advantages, it leaves an enormous portion of the conceivable lending and borrowing market utterly unserved. That is the place Euler is available in. Euler is a permissionless cash market protocol designed to serve the intensive long-tail finish of the market. On Euler, each token with an ETH liquidity pair on Uniswap V3 might be listed and made accessible for borrowing and lending. 

Crypto Briefing linked with Euler Finance co-founder and CEO Michael Bentley to be taught concerning the protocol, and he started by highlighting the protocol’s help of riskier property. “Euler was designed with a number of improvements to extend capital effectivity and scale back threat. Particularly, it was designed or custom-built to deal with the dangers related to risky, long-tail tokens,” he stated. Since launching in December 2021, Euler has grown to help 74 property. It presently holds round $200 million in complete worth locked. 

Whereas permissionless markets actually profit the business, it’s price underscoring that in addition they introduce a myriad of dangers. Therefore, Euler needed to contemplate the entire perils and innovate throughout the constructing course of. 

How Euler Allows Permissionless Asset Itemizing

To construct a permissionless lending protocol that maximizes capital effectivity whereas mitigating potential dangers, Euler got here up with a variety of modern options.

One in all its key options is an asset classification system. It goals to mitigate the potential spillover affect liquidations might trigger by classifying property in keeping with their threat profiles. Belongings are divided into three tiers: isolation-tier, cross-tier, and collateral-tier. Isolation-tier property can’t be used as collateral, nor can they be borrowed from the identical account alongside some other property. Cross-tier property, which fall extra on the left-hand facet of the chance curve, can’t be used for collateral, however they are often borrowed alongside different cross and collateral-tier property. Lastly, collateral-tier property are the one property that can be utilized as collateral.

By isolating the riskiest property and proscribing their use as collateral, Euler can permit permissionless itemizing and run cash markets with out endangering the entire protocol. First-generation lending protocols like Aave can’t take this method as a result of a possible liquidation cascade in a single market might spill over to a different and go away the protocol with dangerous debt. Consequently, their itemizing necessities are a lot stricter. 

When property are first listed on Euler, they’re categorised as isolation-tier. Their tier might be modified pending a governance vote. There are presently 59 isolation-tiered markets, 11 cross-tiered markets, and 7 collateral-tiered markets.

Moreover, Euler makes use of Uniswap V3’s Time Weighted Common Value (TWAP) on-chain oracle resolution to supply its worth feeds as a substitute of counting on centralized oracle suppliers like Chainlink. This method has two principal advantages: Uniswap’s TWAP is on-chain, that means it doesn’t require centralized intervention every time a brand new lending market is created on Euler. Secondly, executing financial assaults on lending markets leveraging Uniswap’s TWAP oracle is capital-intensive, that means the protocol is extra immune to potential exploits involving worth manipulations than different centralized options.

Commenting on this design alternative, Bentley stated that it was important if Euler was ever going to realize its aim. “Whereas Compound and Aave act as gatekeepers over what property customers can lend or borrow as a result of they rely upon centralized oracles like Chainlink, we constructed on prime of Uniswap,” he stated. “You want a decentralized worth oracle if you happen to’re ever going to have the ability to supply permissionless lending and borrowing.“

One other characteristic that makes Euler distinctive amongst lending protocols is its implementation of reactive rates of interest, which resolve the issue of manually figuring out the proper parameters for each lending market. “We pioneered reactive rates of interest that a couple of different protocols have now copied and applied,” Bentley stated, explaining that the characteristic works like a thermostat. He stated:

“Reactive rates of interest are a mechanism to extend the capital effectivity of lending markets. They work equally to how a thermostat regulates the temperature in your home: you set the specified temperature and, if it’s chilly outdoors, the thermostat turns up the warmth; if it’s sizzling, it turns up the air conditioning. Equally, reactive rates of interest intention to stabilize the utilization ratio of swimming pools and subsequently improve the capital effectivity of the protocol as a result of lenders get a greater worth for cash on Euler than elsewhere.”

Aave/Compound rates of interest (Supply: Euler)
Euler’s reactive rates of interest (Supply: Euler)

Particularly, Euler makes use of a proportional–integral–spinoff (PID) controller to amplify or dampen the speed of change within the rates of interest relying on whether or not the utilization ratio for the precise lending market is above or beneath a particular utilization goal stage. In easy phrases, as a substitute of utilizing static fashions that modify a particular lending market’s rates of interest based mostly on the availability and demand for capital in keeping with pre-set or hardcoded parameters, Euler makes use of a extra versatile, reactive mannequin that targets a particular utilization ratio, making the protocol extra capital environment friendly.

Danger-Adjusted Borrowing Capability

Apart from the collateral elements that decide borrowing capability based mostly on the chance profile of the property, Euler has applied a two-sided method that additionally considers the chance profile of the borrowed property or liabilities to mitigate the dangers related to the permissionless borrowing and lending of long-tail crypto property. Explaining this characteristic, Bentley stated:

“We’re extraordinarily capital environment friendly in methods I feel Compound and Aave aren’t. We have now one thing known as borrow elements, which allow the quantity of borrowing energy a person has to rely upon each the asset they’re borrowing and the collateral they’re offering. If you concentrate on it, for a lending protocol that caters to the long-tail finish of the market, it solely is sensible to think about the chance issue of the borrowed property.”

Lenders on decentralized cash markets can’t confirm whether or not debtors are creditworthy, which is why borrowing in DeFi tends to be overcollateralized. Lending protocols usually depend on so-called collateral elements that decide the quantity customers can borrow based mostly on the chance profile of the property they’re pledging as collateral. When the loan-to-value ratio drops past a sure threshold and begins approaching a degree the place it turns into inadequate to cowl the borrowed quantity, the place is marked for liquidation.

In first-generation lending protocols that solely listing much less dangerous tokens, the loan-to-value ratio is set based mostly on the collateral’s threat issue alone. For instance, if a person desires to pledge $1,000 price of ETH as collateral to borrow wBTC, when the collateral issue for ETH is ready (by governance) at 0.7, the person can solely borrow $700 price of wBTC. If the worth of the ETH collateral drops to $700, or the worth of the wBTC legal responsibility rises to $1,000, the place will get marked for liquidation.

Whereas this method may match effectively relating to borrowing safer tokens, it doesn’t account for the chance of borrowing extra obscure, riskier tokens. In response, Euler has applied a two-sided method that introduces borrow elements along with collateral elements. 

On Euler, if a person has $1,000 price of USDC, a secure asset with a excessive collateral issue of 0.9, and desires to borrow ETH, a extra risky asset with a decrease borrow issue of 0.7, the person might borrow as much as $630 price of ETH. The quantity is calculated by multiplying the USDC collateral by the 2 borrowing elements ($1,000 x 0.9 x 0.7). On Compound, which doesn’t account for the chance issue of the borrowed asset, a person might borrow $900 price of ETH ($1,000 x 0.9), placing their place at a better threat of liquidation. For property additional to the suitable on the chance curve, Euler has even decrease borrow elements. For instance, the borrow issue for Synthetix’s SNX token is 0.28.

Environment friendly Liquidation Engine

Talking of liquidations, Euler has innovated on this vertical too. Particularly, as a substitute of providing the borrower’s collateral to liquidators at a set percentage-based low cost, as Aave and Compound do, Euler runs Dutch public sale liquidations, that are far much less punitive for debtors and in addition get rid of fuel wars between would-be liquidators. 

Aave and Compound supply a set 5 to 10% low cost for liquidations, so when the person’s collateral breaks previous the liquidation worth, these hoping to liquidate the collateral rush in on the similar time to seize the premium. This results in precedence fuel auctions as a part of DeFi’s so-called MEV wars, which produces damaging externalities for the broader ecosystem. 

Furthermore, mounted reductions might be extreme for big debtors who are suffering a liquidation, doubtlessly discouraging them from ever utilizing the protocols sooner or later. On the similar time, they could even be too small to incentivize smaller liquidations, doubtlessly leaving the protocol with dangerous money owed. 

Euler’s Dutch public sale course of permits the dimensions of the low cost to extend relying on how underwater a place is. As totally different liquidators have totally different threat and reward expectations, they theoretically decide totally different instances to liquidate, circumventing any must wage fuel wars. Nevertheless, as a result of miners or so-called “seekers”—brokers specializing in MEV extraction—can front-run and steal a liquidator’s transaction, Euler incentivizes the debtors to grow to be liquidators by assigning them low cost boosters. This offers the debtors a bonus in opposition to front-runners by making them extra worthwhile within the Dutch public sale.

Euler’s UX-Centered Improvements

On prime of the core differentiating options, Euler has launched a number of smaller improvements to enhance the platform’s person expertise. These embody protected collateral, deferred liquidity checks, fee-free flash loans, an in-house transaction builder, sub-accounts, and environment friendly leverage.

In contrast to different lending protocols, Euler implements a particular deposit class known as protected collateral, which lets customers deposit property with out instantly making them accessible for lending. By leveraging this characteristic, customers can safely pledge governance tokens as collateral, figuring out that different customers received’t be capable of borrow them to affect governance selections or take brief positions. Commenting on this characteristic, Bentley stated:

“For property like MKR or different governance tokens, folks don’t deposit them on cash markets as a result of they’re nervous folks will borrow them to vote and manipulate the governance of those protocols. Because of this, we created a specifically protected asset class the place customers can deposit an asset as collateral—however nobody can borrow it. This manner, we are able to have a standard MKR market and a protected MKR market the place customers can use MKR as collateral with out worrying that anybody can use their tokens to control the MakerDAO’s governance.”

Deferred liquidity checks, alternatively, let customers execute complicated place administration with out being constrained by inflexible collateral situations. The place different lending protocols test an account’s liquidity in the beginning of an operation, Euler customers can instruct the protocol to test it solely as soon as on the finish of their operation. For instance, as a substitute of getting to pledge collateral earlier than borrowing, by deferring liquidity checks on Euler, customers can borrow with out pledging any collateral, carry out an operation, and repay the mortgage inside one transaction. This successfully permits customers to execute free flash loans to construct up leveraged positions, reap the benefits of arbitrage alternatives throughout DeFi, rebalance positions, execute complicated trades, and so forth.

Euler has additionally constructed a transaction builder contained in the person interface that permits customers to batch transactions and submit them suddenly to save lots of on fuel charges. As well as, the protocol implements a intelligent solution to simplify taking over leverage. For instance, as a substitute of asking customers to execute a number of transactions on a loop to lever up, Euler lets them use the protocol’s mint operate to conduct all of their actions in a single transaction. The mint operate creates an equal quantity of deposits and money owed for an account, permitting customers to lever up in a single transaction through self-collateralized loans.

Last Ideas

In a sea of forks and copycat protocols, Euler is likely one of the uncommon youthful DeFi tasks that really stands out by introducing new options to the decentralized lending area. The important thing downside it solves—enabling a permissionless cash market custom-designed for long-tail property—has by no means been addressed within the area earlier than. Euler’s utilization knowledge signifies that there’s a sturdy natural demand for such a product regardless of DeFi’s year-long bear market.

To that time, it’s price noting that Euler will not be essentially a superior product to earlier lending protocols. Somewhat, it’s a unique one which fills a spot within the lending market that different protocols missed. 

Disclosure: On the time of writing, the writer of this piece owned ETH and several other different cryptocurrencies.

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