Poll: options to handle COMP farming

I know I seem a bit harsh here but I feel like compound mis-action or inappropriate action is causing us here to also be reactionary and pretty much to ignore risk (your area - so my post above really is meant to assist you and all of governance here in assessing risk against action). If I had in my head a great way to narrow the parameters to post a kind of gaming analysis on the different possibilities I am suggesting.

Two in particular (tighten a bit now in advance to drive the market in direction it will go anyway to see if we can with SF, and high DAI PEG drive off the DAI comp farmers). Or just give with the liquidity at low fees and take on a huge amount of risk we won’t get crap for compensation for.

I wish I had it for us. What I really want to do and I hope they are reading this thread is to shake compound governance harshly and wake them up. This is a serious problem that requires a hard and fast move. Their decentralization should not put the rest of the ecosystem into a higher risk situation and governance needs to know this. Cut the COMP now - 0 it and revisit how to approach this. If they won’t please exclude DAI from comp so Maker only has to deal with this indirectly. Maker IS the only DeFI space project that has it’s own stablecoin we really need the community to realize how important it is to not kill us here or make us do things that together really increase risk in the entire crypto space.

@cyrus I appreciate the praise and I highly respect your opinion. I also wanted to say thank you for creating this thread it was timely and needed.

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Another thought came to me on this 101LR on USDC-A.

Say the DAI PEG is 1.02 - This means leverage is infinite and I earn USDC by levering. Literally one could make USDC by levering this up to total DC. I think we have to have the USDC-A LR at least at a level we don’t expect to see the DAI PEG at. 105 at least because if the price goes above this then the USDC DC attack is effectively on. Now can someone manage this attack to walk with their capital and leave the system in a lurch. Depends on the DAI price they can get.and how much they have to lever before they can walk with all the USDC they started with.

This is something we need to take into account here on the LR especially for USDC btw. So a big no to the idea of 101LR and $1B cap… I think 105 is probably the lowest we want to try to go if we even go down this road and know a USDC attack is possible if the DAI USDC price rises above 1.05. What I don’t know is if the DAI USDC price is used to calculate whether a USDC loan on Maker is underwater or if this is still pegged to 1. I understand the idea of not doing liquidations (I really want to urge people to turn liquidations on on USDC) but peggin the DAI/USDC price to 1 just opens up the above USDC DC LR attack.

BTW: The above only came to me because as I use the USDC-A facility to take the DAI USD short. I realized a while ago the higher above 1% I get on the DAI USDC sale the closer I come to edging out the 20% on the 120%LR - this allows me to extend my LR effectively because the DAI USDC price is helping get me more USDC to feed into Maker extending my leverage with the USDC profits. I then was like shit if we lower the LR to 101 I literally make USDC if I sell DAI for USDC over the LR price (101 being 1.01 in DAI).

I think this bodes well for a LR that should never be below 110% because as the PEG approaches 1.1 leverage effectively is growing already. I think 1.1 DAI PEG in most normal circumstances should never sustain for any length of time…

EDIT ADD: Also where is the room for the Liquidation Fee of 13%? I mean literally to have a hope of getting that 13% are we not required to have LRs > 113%? Literally the protocol has to have room for profit on ALL of the assets that might liquidate otherwise the protocol loses money and MKR flop auctions occur. I know USDC doesn’t have liquidations turned on. But when we turn them on we are going to want a LR of 113% AT a MINIMUM at least if we think the 13% LF is important risk parameter to govern behavior?

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Yesterday it was Black Thursday, today it’s COMP, tomorrow there will be something else. The DAI model is not working or it works only in an ideal 2017-2019 world when there is no large demand/supply, no economic crisis, no Covid, no incentives, no $20+ network fees, no bank runs in the developed world…

We have to search for solutions outside of the comfort zone:

  • negative SF
  • incentives
  • minting ‘out of thin air’
  • L2

We should’ve had a team working on the next version of DAI as soon as it became obvious that we need more and more hacks to keep the system afloat (3+ months?).

I hope my remarks won’t sound hostile - I like DAI since the beginning and I know that it’s easy for me to complain and do no development but it’s hard to design/program and maintain a complex system.

Now for the solution…

There are not many solutions that we can implement quickly but one of them might be to mint DAI ‘out of thin air’ and buy ETH (not USDC as @MakerMan suggested as we’ll quicky end up being backed mostly by a centralized coin). DAI has already bet on ETH’s success as being part of the ecosystem - now we might want to double down.

I know that being a decentralized system you cannot just buy/accumulate ETH, hold it in some multisig wallet and sell when needed - you have to define some rules and conditions, but it can be done - maybe in a more centralized/manual way in the beginning and more decentralized/automatic in the future.

If there are enough likes for this post, I can set up a signal/separate thread for that idea or other more controversial ideas.

As for this poll - there is really no option that I think will help. We can try raising the DC for ETH to “unlimited” (no other collateral type is significant/decentralized - we can raise them but it doesn’t matter) to see how much demand there is but then what?

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“minting DAI out of thin air” and buying collateral with it would negate practically all work done by the Maker team since 2016. The good will and credibility built by Maker in the Defi community will be gone in a single vote.

Proponents of such ideas are better off getting involved in stablecoins based on algorithmic designs such as Ampleforth.

Do note that I am not criticizing the idea as such, it is just that it is the wrong action to take for a collateral based stablecoin such as Maker.

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That is your opinion. I think that improving the peg will help regain confidence in the Maker governance. The system might be undercollateralized for a while, maybe not. We just don’t take actions on every ETH price swing. I admit it is a significant change - I wish a working solution within the current design exists.

But the current actions are not working (4 months above the peg, DAI supply not growing). Should we just activate global shutdown in a few months so that we don’t change the original design?

The real problem is the lack of collateral, diversification and scale of the system, which is why getting pushed around by Compounds distorted economics is a real risk. It’s a fundamental issue which will be solved as the system becomes able to onboard real world assets as collateral to properly scale.

Getting real world assets as collateral is something that the Foundation and many of the companies in the ecosystem are working on, and which will come over time (please keep in mind that connecting a DAO with real world legal systems is something completely unprecedented and revolutionary - it was never going to happen overnight).

Until we get it, having a low LR on USDC to prevent the peg from failing is the best option. The alternative is to just give up and either call ES, or just give up on the peg and disregard the users of the system.

The great thing about stablecoins as collateral is that they naturally unwind themselves when the system gets back into balance with enough long term collateral to cause an increase in the DSR. So it cannot cause a long term problem, if there wasn’t already a problem to begin with (broken peg and not enough collateral). It’s the best interim solution that’s available.

And it might seem uncomfortable to potentially have a lot of USDC as collateral as an interim measure until the system can get back into balance - but it’s important to look past the narrow “centralization bad” memes and be realistic about the risk that exists in crypto. All assets in the market, including ETH, already fundamentally relies on, and is thus effectively backed by, Tether (plus a few centralized exchanges). What’s gonna happen to the ETH in the maker collateral portfolio if tether vanishes? From that perspective, does it really make sense to make the “centralization bad” argument against USDC? The truth is that as long as the system relies significantly on a single type of risk, which is the risk of the small and insulated crypto market, it will always be in a transition stage where it could fail due to a single catastrophic event, and where the community needs to work decisively towards mitigating this risk.

The only sustainable solution is getting significant amounts of real assets with actual value to hedge the risk of the crypto markets. Until we get there, we can pick our poison: Do we want to have bad liquidity in Dai and greater risk of being forced to ES - but be able to say centralization bad (while still secretly counting on tether, binance and coinbase to not mtgox), or do we want to use stablecoins to make the user experience better and risk lower as an interim measure while we work on the long term growth of the collateral portfolio?

One thing to note is that I’ve always been in favor of a low LR for stablecoins (below 101% IMO). 100x leverage is the standard in Forex, but that’s between different currencies. Here we’re talking about backing USD with USD.

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I think that option is very very far away and I’m not sure if it’s even worth mentioning at this time. Even if we onboard such collateral in less than a decade - the problem IMO is not the lack of collateral - it’s the lack of incentives and punishments (to vote, to borrow, to repay, to save, to spend, to arbitrage…) and the lack of trust in ETH (as a store of value).

I also see only those 3 scenarios except that I believe that #1 will not work because there is no immediate arbitrage opportunity even at LR 100% (maybe I don’t see it?).

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I think it will happen, and at scale, sooner than most people expect. There’s already a number of real world assets that have been proposed as collateral - some of them more realistic than others. And once just a few have been onboarded to prove that it is possible to do, it could begin drawing in more assets because of the better rates that Maker can offer compared to banks or their intermediaries.

The hardest guarantee comes when you are able to buy more Dai by buying USDC and then generating Dai, rather than buying Dai directly on the market for USDC. So the LR of USDC, if there’s available debt ceilling, always sets the upper bound for the price of Dai. E.g. If USDC LR is 101%, the peg shouldn’t be able to go above 1.01 Since at that point you’d rather buy USDC, generate Dai, and potentially just ditch the vault (if there’s a positive SF) or wait until more collateral is added and the system gets into balance to make an extra profit by closing the vault when the Dai price goes back down.

And IMO having this kind of guarantee is actually really important for attracting more ETH collateral to the system, since it reduces the risk of ETH vaults being stuck without a way to easily wind down their Vault. In the worst case scenario they can wind it down at a 1% loss on the Dai price by just buying USDC and generating Dai with it.

Obviously, to my earlier point, none of these scenarios are ideal but that’s a consequence of the fundamental issue which is lack of collateral, not that stablecoins are bad or are causing these issues in the first place. However, I think it is pretty much indisputable that will be in a better position to escape this situation of lack of collateral if the peg is under control, vs if it is neglected, because users will be much more willing to add new collateral to the system if they don’t see a huge peg risk that could make the price of their debt grow unpredictably.

Having an upper bound on that risk in place through USDC is a huge improvement IMO.

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I see. The plan for profit with 101% LR and $1.02 DAI/USDC is:

  1. Mint 1M DAI with 1.01 M USDC
  2. Sell DAI for 1.02 M USDC
  3. Ditch the vault and earn 10k USDC

…but what would the system do with all that abandoned USDC in vaults generating 0 in fees?

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Isn’t the plan at 101% to recursively mint dai, trade it for usdc, lock up, repeat? So… you should be able to mint ~ 1M dai with ~10k usdc.

It takes a long time to do that though, would be nice if there was a way to lever directly in the app. Maybe this can be done easier within defisaver?

Yes, you can directly do this direct recursive behaviour with flash loans. Possible with other interfaces like defisaver and instadapp.

Also it should be noted that you can mint 1M DAI with 10k USDC if the peg is at 1.00, if the peg is at 1.005, you only need 5k capital, if the peg is at 1.01, you need 0k capital.

Considering that you currently can’t get liquidated, it doesn’t make sense to be giving out free put options at 1.01. I’d recommend at least a 103% collateral ratio. This isn’t like trading Forex, and with forex you can get liquidated.

Also, it’s not just shorting DAI. This will be quite popular for rate arbitrage too. With a 103% collateral ratio, it makes sense to use this vault if the interest rate on DAI is 1.03x more than USDC. Seems like it’d be quite popular even with a 105% CR and a modest SF.

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Is there a major technical hurdle that prevents us from activating usdc liquidations? Is it primarily an oracle issue? This feels like something we really need to activate asap. It would be terrible if usdc vaults started going below 100% collateralization.

@bit I completely agree a team should have been working on this. Personally I see this in the risk and governance domain. @cyrus brought up the topic and proposed a solution but did not provide a real analysis of the additional risk it will bring to the system.

I think if we wanted to look at tools we could simply look at Central Bank and FED monetary policy tools to see what they have in their basket and figure out what we could apply.

Purchasing assets IS in the CB/FED tool box. They also literally can inject and remove liquidity AT will in pretty much every market now (in the past these injection mechanisms were limited to only certain markets - after 2008 and now covid it is pretty much a free for all on what CBs are doing with liquidity here)

I have suggested that the reserve fund could hold many assets. I tended to favor assets that either had stable valiues or ones that were anti-correlated with the accepted collateral simply because a reserve is usually designed to hold or increase in value when markets are stressed. They should also have good liquidity in case cash needs to be raised. My thinking here is just based on a company or business perspective as well as a financial one.

I am at a loss to understand how the DAI price will stay below 1.01 if we put USDC LR to 101. I also completely disagree with rune suggesting this is like forex markets when liquidations are turned off. forex markets with 100x leverage have pretty dang aggressive liquidations because of the high leverage. Rune can you even imagine what a forex market without underwater position liquidations would look like? I am thinking my decades now trading and watching these markets in different capacities is pretty worthless in the face of these kinds of suggestions when one simple fact remains. Why has Maker added what 4 or more new asset classes all with liquidations turned on and leave what was an emergency facility both active, fixed oracle price, and liquidations turned off?

So yeah I feel what you are saying @bit but honestly feel like anything that isn’t just twisting a pre-existing knob pretty much is going to fall on deaf ears. It is a lot harder to look at a problem and be open to all solutions - even if they are not practically realizable at the time vs. the reverse of this. Only be open and entertain solutions that ARE practically realizable now. The first is a different and proactive way of approaching process optimization, the second is for the most part a reactionary approach. As a freelance consultant I could see quite clearly how hard the first is to do efficiently, and how easily the second became a cheap dead end leading usually to some kind of systemic failure that needs an out of the box idea in the first to solve provided your business was not entirely ruined before you could successfully implement it. It is quite difficult to find an effective middle ground between these two allows for successful major upgrades and real open discussions about issues (even if difficult and politically/economically divisive or costly) while also paying attention to what can be done practically with the system as-is without a major upgrade which has its own hazards.

We will all see how Maker navigates these issues as time passes.

Compound Governance Proposal: Update cDAI Interest Rate Model

Also, wondering why @rleshner polled for “Add MKR as a Vault collateral type with high debt ceiling and high stability fee type parameters, something like USDC-B” – highly doubt the Maker Risk Team would agree with such opinion :thinking:

Speaking as a MKR holder, its an efficient route to draw DAI. Nobody knows MakerDAO better than MKR holders, and the “availability” of the asset probably rivals or exceeds ETH. I’m not sure why it’s considered so taboo.

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The problem with USDC liquidations is that the current auction system cannot handle them well if they happen at a large scale. The new upcoming liquidation system would do so. But it is not as urgent as with other assets from the risk perspective, since USDC risk is very much all or nothing.

The difference between Forex and USDC as collateral is that there is no market risk - both are USD. To better understand what it is you’re worried about, can you explain what scenario you imagine where having real time USDC liquidations online would be useful in the short run? So not a situation where USDC has been banned/seized/frozen because trying to do a liquidation then wouldn’t really matter.

Keep in mind governance can always manually activate liquidations, or turn on the real time oracle based liquidations.

And let me try to better use examples of how a low USDC LR helps create an upper bound on the peg.

The peg goes above e.g. 1.01 USD because people are buying Dai with USD and are paying more than 1.01 USD for 1 Dai. But if the cheapest way to buy Dai becomes buying 1.01 USDC, and then generating 1 Dai with it, people will stop buying it on the open market, and start generating it instead (thus alleviating open market price pressure). If market participants still pay above the 1.01 on the open market (e.g. 1.02), then arbitrageurs will step in and sell e.g. 1 Dai for 1.02 USDC, then use 1.01 of that USDC to generate the 1 Dai back and then pocket the free 0.01 USDC. This arbitrage will continue until no one is buying Dai on the free market above 1.01, as long as a single arbitrageur is active.

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I guess the risk with usdc liquidations turned off is more just not being able to stay above minimum collateralization as interest accrues… which is a risk that becomes much greater as the LR moves close to 1. with a 1% SF at 101% CR I believe it only takes a few days for a maximum leverage vault to be underwater.

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PSA: USDC-A debt ceiling is already 95% used, ETH debt ceiling 82% used, and DAI is already 1.3% above peg. COMP farming hasn’t even started yet—it will pick up tomorrow as Compound gov proposal is executed. Pointing this out to emphasize that there is some urgency in addressing this issue ASAP so that DAI does not drift too far off peg.

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Can we have an onchain vote ASAP about the LR for USDC-A (i.e. 101%, 102%, 105%, 125%…)? It seems that we also might want to vote for the new USDC-A DC.

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There are a couple of assumptions implicit in your argument.

  1. There will be 0 interest charged otherwise over time these positions can go underwater relative to surplus due to interest. at low interest this could take a lot of time but then what about abandoned vaults? Another implicit assumption here is that high DAI PEG means low or 0 SF.
  2. Orderly liquid markets - without significant fees and with liquidity to fund them (not just DAI but USDC etc.)
  3. All DAI holders value $1USDC or even 1.01USDC = $1 USD
  4. Implicit in the above is that the DC will never be hit so that DAI always can be minted.

I think there are cases where these assumptions will be violated that lead to different forms of risk either for DAI holders or MKR holders.

I am skeptical that a liquidator would actually pay $1DAI for 1.01USDC if the DAI price is above 1.01USDC since bidding and moving money around involves fees and liquidators want to profit not lose money. I am also skeptical that ALL DAI holders value 1 USDC = 1 USD. We already know markets can get ‘disorderly’. I am skeptical the USDC SF will be 0. In fact it is not 0 now even though at .25% it would take something short of 4 years to put the position underwater due to interest. Also unless I see MKR governance putting the USDC DC at say some effectively infinite or very large number that the DC will be hit and DAI won’t be mintable, or it will be at a higher price.

Right now USDC-A is almost at capacity after being down for a while and we still have a PEG around 1.5 the question then again will be whether to even have a DC. The whole interest thing on USDC-B would also still apply even if one set the 1.01 LR there - in fact it would be worse as it would only take a week to go underwater on interest there. Where does DAI get minted if we are having a collateral asset price crash and possibly a USDC price drop below $1 USD. In this case even if we were liquidating the net DAI yield for 1.01 USDC would likely be below 1 DAI making a system surplus loss even if small.

I grant you - IF the above assumptions hold - then your argument is reasonably sound. I don’t believe we can count on the assumptions above to always hold and in particular to hold for all DAI holders at all times.

Turn your argument around. IF USDC is so valuable why not allow liquidations to be turned on since based on your assumptions the system would never lose money. Right now the answer is because the liquidation system can’t handle the massive load. Why is this? Because without the fear of liquidations there is no real structure to the collateralization of vaults. Everyone can lever up to max at the same LR without fear of liquidation where as there at least would be some skew of collateralizations if liquidation was turned on meaning not everyone is going to lever up and do it at the 101LR level because they would be concerned about either interest or DAI USD price rising to cause them to be liquidated and ofc they would get nothing back.

Your example basically incentivizes the worst behavior without any control or possible scatter to allevaite a massive liquidation scenario and just heaps risk of some uncovered loss into the system…

EDIT ADD: I think this idea has some merit but I think a LR of 101 really doesn’t build in any system safety margins from a risk perspective and liquidations off means there is nothing to temper borrowing behaviors to provide system Collateralization variance so the vaults don’t clump at the same CR levels.