Uniswap (UNI) token deemed nearly worthless by researcher

Uniswap (UNI) token deemed nearly worthless by researcher

The Viability of the Uniswap (UNI) Token in the DeFi Landscape

Recently, Anders Helseth, Vice President at K33 Research, has raised significant doubts about the viability of the Uniswap (UNI) token. His analysis focuses on the decentralized finance (DeFi) market and challenges the current valuation and future potential of UNI. Helseth’s argument revolves around the dynamics of the market and the role of UNI within the Uniswap protocol.

Understanding the Uniswap Protocol and UNI Token

To provide context, UNI is a governance token for the Uniswap protocol, a decentralized exchange that earns a 0.3% fee on trades. However, it’s important to note that currently, the entire trading fee goes to liquidity providers. UNI holders only stand to gain if governance votes permit fee dividends to UNI holders. This situation raises the fundamental question: “Will the UNI token ever capture its (fair) share of the trading fees?”

The Current Worth of the UNI Token

Even in a slow DeFi market, the fully diluted value of the UNI token exceeds the annualized trading fees paid when using the protocol, which is estimated to be around $6 billion. If the UNI token could capture all trading fees, it would be an enticing investment opportunity. However, Helseth presents a compelling argument against this notion.

“The UNI token currently captures 0% of the 0.3% trading fee, which entirely goes to liquidity providers,” points out Helseth, underscoring the token’s lack of intrinsic value.

The Interplay Between Users, Protocol, and Liquidity Providers

Helseth’s analysis focuses on three primary actors in the DeFi space: the users, the protocol (and therefore UNI token), and the liquidity providers. He argues that the relationship between these entities greatly impacts the UNI token’s potential for revenue generation.

Helseth highlights a crucial factor in his argument: the entire protocol can be copied within minutes at virtually no cost. This means that liquidity providers hold a significant advantage in the fight for trading fees.

Users prioritize liquidity and cost-effectiveness. If they can access a replicated protocol with higher liquidity, they will gravitate toward it to minimize slippage during trades. This dynamic strengthens the bargaining power of liquidity providers, who possess real, valuable tokens compared to UNI holders.

Although there may be some costs associated with switching to another smart contract, these costs are relatively low, further reinforcing the influence of liquidity providers.

The Diminished Revenue Potential for the UNI Token

Taking these factors into account, Helseth concludes that “the power lies with the liquidity providers.” Due to the relatively low switching costs from the users’ perspective, the potential for the UNI token to capture any of the protocol’s trading fees is almost non-existent.

In summary, while the Uniswap protocol generates substantial trading fees, Helseth’s analysis suggests that the UNI token may not be able to capture a significant share of this revenue. This raises concerns about the token’s value and future prospects. As of now, the UNI token price stands at $6.19, following a rejection at the 200-day exponential moving average (EMA).

UNI rejected at 200-day EMA, 1-day chart

In conclusion, the analysis presented by Helseth provides valuable insights into the dynamics of the DeFi market and the challenges faced by the UNI token. Understanding these dynamics and the relationships between users, the protocol, and liquidity providers is essential in evaluating the potential viability of blockchain tokens within the ever-evolving landscape of decentralized finance.