In the last 6 months, the entire Orbs team has been hard at work on Orbs V2 – “The Age of Guardians”. This was a huge undertaking from both a technology development and business perspective. This very substantial 2.0 release improves on almost every aspect of the project – from the Proof-of-Stake incentives model, to a tighter integration with Ethereum and a revamped core architecture. I’m very excited that V2 has recently entered a public beta phase where Guardians are already running the new codebase!
Now that the majority of code for V2 has been written and the team is progressing well with transitioning the network, we are free to look forward to what the future holds for Orbs and discuss some of the next areas of focus.
An explosion of interest in DeFi
About a year ago I had lunch with David Yakira and one of the topics we discussed was long term strategy for Orbs. David was one of the early birds of DeFi and had a very strong belief that decentralized finance is the next big use case for Ethereum. I was hesitant at the time and did not see the big potential.
Boy, was I wrong.
If you’re following the crypto and blockchain ecosystem around us, you’ve probably noticed that DeFi is currently exploding with activity and public interest. New projects are being launched daily in a hype that resembles the web3 ICO boom of 2017. Even if you ignore the hype, look at the numbers and see that engagement is through the roof. Over $6 billion USD of value is currently locked and participating in DeFi projects. And of course, the Ethereum ecosystem is leading the pack with over 4.5M ETH locked.
The name of the game is composition
What’s the secret for Ethereum’s success in DeFi? If you look closely, the fuel driving this huge wave of innovation is composition – the ability to interact with multiple tokens at the same time and create smart contracts that move value between them.
Most assets on Ethereum share the ERC20 standard, which means anyone can create a decentralized contract that communicates with any ERC20 token seamlessly – without tiring integration cycles, without waiting for the teams behind these tokens to respond, and without even asking for permission.
Orbs has an advantage in DeFi
The majority of PoS blockchain infrastructure projects, like EOS and Tezos, have chosen to run the primary asset holding the platform’s value as a native app on their own chain. We took a different path in the Orbs project and decided to build the ORBS token on Ethereum. This brings some exciting innovations like external oversight over the PoS voting process and seamless integration with third parties operating on the popular Ethereum ecosystem (wallets, exchanges, etc).
With DeFi, this decision is paying off in another spectacular way – ORBS is an ERC20 token! This means it can be directly integrated with any major DeFi project – a task that would be very difficult for EOS and Tezos to accomplish.
There aren’t many other PoS projects with tokens running on Ethereum. This gives Orbs another interesting advantage. Use of governance tokens brings a lot of value in DeFi, take MKR for example. The Guardian community successfully assembled in the Orbs PoS Universe is able to supply secure decentralized governance backed by a very large community of staked delegators.
The Orbs Grant Program
In parallel but unrelated to developments in the DeFi space, in the last year the project has been getting numerous requests by community members to fund research and development activities. Guardians are regularly expressing interest in expanding their contributions to the Orbs ecosystem given appropriate grants.
As a decentralized project, we understand the power in community contributions and are always looking for ways to further expand the number of contributors developing the network and ecosystem. We’re proud to announce that Orbs is launching a grant program to help fund these contributions.
The first area of focus for the grant program is DeFi, particularly because this field holds a lot of innovation potential but has not been properly covered by our existing roadmap.
The full details of the grant program are available here.
Community-driven DeFi projects
Individuals or teams who are interested in exploring the value DeFi can bring to the Orbs ecosystem are encouraged to submit proposals. Once a team has been selected and receives its grant funding, it will have the sole responsibility to deliver the project as open-source code for the entire ecosystem to enjoy. The Orbs core team may provide technical support and assistance, but execution ultimately falls on the grant seeker.
Consider some examples of project ideas we are interested in hearing more about:
- Leverage the ERC20 nature of the ORBS token, making it seamlessly composable with ERC20-compatible DeFi projects on Ethereum. Explore new ways where integration with established projects can provide value to the Orbs community.
- Liquidity provisioning has proven as an invaluable tool with popular projects like Uniswap, Balancer and Curve, offering decentralized programmable liquidity. Explore how liquidity incentives translate into the ORBS Universe and how Orbs PoS locking and rewards can be incorporated into the existing models of these platforms.
- Lending platforms like Compound, Aave and Maker are gaining popularity and allow stakeholders to earn interest or borrow assets against collateral. Explore how these types of solutions could be integrated into Orbs Ecosystem and how borrowing, pledging, collateral generation and liquidation can interact with ORBS PoS architecture.
- Collateral-backed loans are used as the stabilizing mechanism behind decentralized stablecoins such as DAI (backed by tokens such as ETH, WBTC, BAT and USDC). Explore models of generating stablecoins leveraging the security and decentralized governance afforded by the Orbs Universe.
- Oracles are essential to DeFi and provide services such as external price feeds required by many DeFi protocols. Explore implementations of Oracles on top of the Orbs infrastructure while relying on the Orbs Universe for providing the underlying security for a decentralized Oracle.
- One of the most interesting innovations in DeFi is creative use of token reserves. Consider Maker and Synthetix that rely on their reserves to back the derived assets in circulation. Propose innovative models that rely on the Orbs Token reserves in new ways to provide value to the Orbs ecosystem and its participants.
- Lending on DeFi is currently primarily focused on collateralized loans. Non-collateralized loans are very popular in the real world. Orbs is targeting enterprise markets, where non-collateralized loans are used regularly. Explore the incentive models that can provide decentralized secure implementations in this field.
- Governance tokens like MKR play a crucial role in DeFi, allowing the stakeholder community to control core aspects of the project like the Maker stability fee. The Orbs ecosystem relies on decentralized governance for multiple aspects like controlling PoS parameters on the Orbs PoS V2 Ethereum contracts. Propose solutions to facilitate the governance process in an easy-to-use yet secure way.