We are very pleased to announce our investment in Uniswap, the leading decentralized crypto exchange. We participated in the $11m Series A raise, alongside our friends at a16z, USV and Paradigm.
Exchanges have been the most important piece of infrastructure when it comes to building out crypto networks. The first generation of exchanges were centralized in nature and our portfolio company Coinbase emerged as the clear winner in that space. The second generation of exchanges took a decentralized approach (DEX), allowing peer-to-peer trading of cryptocurrencies without a central authority in between.
But some of the early DEX’s suffered from low trading volumes and market liquidity. This is where Uniswap’s innovation comes in.
Uniswap is a protocol on Ethereum for swapping ERC20 tokens. It’s trying to solve the liquidity problem by allowing the exchange to swap tokens without relying on buyers and sellers to create that liquidity. At the core is an “Automated Market Maker” (AMM) model that makes it possible to add any token to Uniswap by funding it with an equivalent value of ETH and the ERC20 token being traded.
Uniswap’s combination of an open platform and an automated liquidity creation mechanism is crucial for the long tail of crypto currencies and tokens, to a point that one can imagine Uniswap becoming the default price API for every single token out there.
Uniswap has seen incredible traction over the last few months and is now on an annual run rate of over $18b in exchange volume. And yet, it still feels like we are just at the beginning of what Uniswap can become and we are incredibly excited to partner with Uniswap’s founder Hayden Adams on this path forward.