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Ever since Ethereum introduced smart contracts into the crypto industry many different ideas for decentralized applications have been developed, but Uniswap became instantly recognizable as soon as it launched.
Since 2018 this decentralized automated market maker has attracted more than $4 billion in crypto assets and outperformed all other dapps by a big margin.
Just like an application that would run on an Android phone, Uniswap is an app that is built on top of the Ethereum network running completely autonomously. It is designed in such a way that it cannot be altered or controlled by one person or entity.
To make any changes a proposal would need to be presented to the community and then it would also need to pass a voting round. Only token holders can decide if a proposal is good enough to be accepted or approved and this decision is made by casting individual votes.
As for the underlying protocol, Uniswap works very similar to a traditional exchange but in a decentralized manner. Instead of depositing funds on the exchange, users are only interacting with the pool that they need. Your funds are going in and out of your wallet directly and there is no central authority that could prevent or modify that transaction.
Cryptocurrency pools are created by many different individuals that deposit two different currencies at a 50/50 ratio. Every time someone interacts with that pool those depositors are rewarded with a transaction fee proportional to their stake in the pool.
So, for example, if you are exchanging Wrapped Bitcoin for Ethereum on Uniswap, you would be putting your WBTC in the pool and taking out the same USD value in Ethereum. The protocol will only make sure that you have the correct amount and that the liquidity providers are rewarded accordingly.
Uniswap is a Web 3 application so you will need a compatible wallet such as Metamask. After depositing some Ethereum into your wallet you can then access the application through your browser, connect the wallet and start interacting.
You can start by clicking on the “connect wallet” button at the top right corner of your screen. Your Metamask wallet will then ask you to connect to the website and once you have approved that action the dapp will load your wallet balances.
Using the same example as above, if you want to swap WBTC for ETH simply select WBTC as your first currency and ETH as the second.
If you have never used Uniswap before there will be two transactions involved in this swap. First you will need to give approval to the dapp to manage your funds during the swapping process, and then the second transaction would execute the swap.
Once both transactions are confirmed your Ethereum will instantly show up in your wallet.
If you click on the settings button on the swap screen you will also be able to set your preferred slippage tolerance and transaction deadline.
Slippage tolerance is important when pools don’t have too much liquidity and you are trying to swap a large sum or when the token has a transfer tax implemented in the contract. To successfully execute such transactions, you would need to increase your tolerance to a few percent but for ordinary transactions it should never be higher than 0.5%.
Transaction deadline helps you set the maximum time for a transaction to be executed. When the ETH network is congested transactions can get stuck and prices can change in the meantime. This setting allows you to have more control over your transactions when you need to.
To provide liquidity, select the “pool” option at the top of the screen and add your pair by selecting “new position”.
From here select your token pair and follow the instructions on the screen.
It is very important to know that Uniswap V2 and Uniswap V3 liquidity pools work differently. Getting familiar with them before use is highly advised. More information can be found on the Uniswap FAQ page.
Due to the decentralized nature of Uniswap, many other projects have simply copied the underlying code and modified it based on their own preferences. New revenue models are still being introduced and tested but the original version of Uniswap and Uniswap V3 allow users to earn in many different ways.
Liquidity providers get a percentage of every swap that takes place in their pool. These fees accumulate in the pool constantly and create a compounding effect increasing the underlying assets consistently.
Decentralized swaps have not been possible until automated market makers were developed. Individuals can benefit from Uniswap simply by having access to almost $5B in liquidity that can be accessed with no customer verification and no accounts or passwords.
Uniswap token holders could be compared to Amazon or Tesla stock owners. The value of the token is directly correlated to the success of the platform so the more the community is involved, the more successful the project will be.
Uniswap, as a decentralized application, has created a lot of opportunities for every crypto investor looking for passive income. Decentralized finance is not possible without a large market maker capable of facilitating transactions worth hundreds of millions and Uniswap has managed to solve that problem.
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