The company that supports decentralized exchange Uniswap has announced that it is acquiring the NFT aggregation platform, Genie.
Uniswap Labs founder and CEO Hayden Adams made the announcement on a livestream of the Bankless podcast yesterday. Genie was the first NFT market aggregator to be established. The platform allows users to discover, buy and sell NFTs across a number of different NFT marketplaces.
The plan is to integrate Genie into the Uniswap web app later this year with the addition of an NFT tab, facilitating Uniswap users in buying and selling NFTs. Furthermore, NFTs will be integrated into its developer APIs for the benefit of web3 users and builders. With the development of NFTs being at an early stage, the intention is to bring Uniswap’s experience in the ERC20 space to the NFT space.
As part of the acquisition, Uniswap plans to airdrop USDC stablecoins to those that have used the Genie marketplace more than once before. Additionally, those who hold Genie Gem NFTs will qualify for the airdrop, which will launch in August.
The Uniswap Labs CEO outlined that its goal is to make Uniswap more useful, accessible and easier to use. It will build out an entire suite of tools and products focused on utility and user experience. “There’s no point in anything we’re working on if nobody uses it”, he added.
Concerns about permissionless status
Not everyone is happy with the Genie acquisition. Uniswap user and software engineer Micah Zoltu pointed out that Uniswap is permissionless whereas Genie contracts are centralized. On this basis, it goes against the permissionless ethos of Uniswap’s current offering. The Genie owner is an externally owned account (EOA), meaning that one individual has the ability to shut down the whole system. This is a concern unless major changes are implemented prior to Genie being integrated.
Centralized control within DeFi has long been a bugbear of DeFi researcher and analyst, Chris Blec. Blec stated that he’s “not surprised” to find that Uniswap is integrating an entity with a centralized point of control having warned in a previous tweet that “Uniswap is not what you think it is”.
Adams has responded on Twitter to state that improvements are planned for Genie smart contracts with a view towards making them as trustless and secure as possible.
Against the backdrop of a harsh crypto bear market and adverse macroeconomic conditions, the Uniswap DEX hasn’t been fairing too badly. Last month Uniswap achieved the milestone of $1 trillion in cumulative trading volume. Adams stated that “any project can do well when everything is up. In bear markets the projects that do well are the projects that have the most fundamental value and real use case”.
He went on to say that “bear markets are a time to discover what was really working and out of that, we will be able to develop the next set of use cases and the projects that will set the stage for web3 in the future.”
But it hasn’t all been plain sailing for Uniswap Labs in 2022. Earlier this year, the company was the subject of a class action lawsuit that could have wide-ranging consequences for it and for decentralized exchanges generally.
The Uniswap DEX has around 80% market share in the decentralized exchange market. Uniswap Labs has grown headcount to 85 and it will increase that by another 15 by absorbing existing Genie employees into the business.
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