Single collateral Dai— 9 months in review

As we approach the launch of multi-collateral Dai, I wanted to take a look back at the last 9 months of Dai v1 to highlight some interesting statistics of the first decentralized stablecoin built on Ethereum. This post will mainly focus on the raw analytics and less on the business developments / partnerships that Maker has also been hard at work on.

Dai launched on Dec 17, 2017 and has remained stable through one of the most brutal bear markets crypto has seen — ETH price dropped from an ATH of $1,432 all the way to $183. To better understand the magic of the CDP (Collateralized Debt Position) engine, below is a visualization of >3000 CDPs over the span of 9 months.

Bubble size represents amount of Dai Debt from $0 to $4.4 million

Some of the larger CDPs above include: 3, 150, 614, 1185, 1681, 2715

I think what’s most interesting about this animation is that it shows a continued demand for CDPs throughout different market conditions and timeframes. There wasn’t initial hype and then long tail interest like many dApps have seen.

Dai Statistics

Dai Total Supply
  • A total of 114,512,112 Dai has been drawn against collateral over the last 9 months
  • Aug 7 hit an all time supply high of 55,870,234 Dai, and the current supply sits at 46,268,800.
  • Dai’s daily token velocity min/max/avg/median are respectively 0.07/5.62/0.54/0.39. This is also shown in the chart below in comparison to the ETH price.

It seems like Dai exhibits more “medium of exchange” characteristics in normal/bull markets and more “store of value” characteristics in bear markets, however there is not enough data at this point to draw any conclusions.

MKR Statistics

  • The burner contract currently holds 53.3 MKR (which will actually be burned and reduced from totalSupply in a later upgrade)
  • If all existing debt was to be wiped at a price of $335 / MKR, an additional 192 MKR would be burned — 0.025% of the total MKR supply (including the 53.3 MKR above)
  • There are currently only 4,610 MKR holders. I attribute this to accessibility and psychology of a high price since the supply is only 1 million (which I think is a clever mechanic in token design to prevent uneducated speculators)

CDP Statistics

  • 3270 total CDPs of which 2572 remain in an open state.
  • 0.48% of the entire ETH supply is locked as MakerDAO collateral (credit)
  • Currently, the largest CDP is 2715 which has: 46,025 locked pETH, $3,190,867 drawn Dai, and a collateralization ratio of 273%.
  • Average age of a CDP is 134 days.
  • 42,101 transactions with the CDP tub contract: 3,269 opens, 14,801 locks, 11,543 draws, 5,893 wipes, 3,603 frees, 1,127 gives, 921shuts, and 945 bites.

For those unfamiliar with the MakerDAO vernacular, more documentation can be found here. I will also quote a quick description of the bite action as that will be the focus of this next section.


When a CDP (cup) is not safe, anyone can perform bite(cup), which takes on all CDP debt (art) and confiscates sufficient collateral to cover the debt plus a liquidation fee (axe); any excess collateral remains in the CDP.

A CDP becomes unsafe when the collateralization ratio falls below the liquidation ratio (mat), which sits at 150% for ETH collateral. The liquidation penalty is 13%, however this doesn’t seem to be deterring many people — CDP 1272 has been bitten (liquidated) 9 times!

Of the 945 total liquidations, 557 happened in the months of August & September. Here is an animation which really highlights the extreme stress test that Dai has undergone the last 45 days:

In total there was 84,378 pETH (~$18 million using VWAP) liquidated in August and September with a single CDP (1185) accounting for 9,373 pETH.

The table to the left breaks down the number of CDPs by liquidation amount.

There were 20 CDPs that had over 1000 pETH liquidated!

All of the liquidated pETH gets sent to a tap contract where a parameter called fog tracks the pETH pending sale for Dai. Normally when a CDP gets bitten, a keeper of the system (external arbitrager) will bite the CDP and buy the liquidated pETH at a 3% discount all in a single atomic transaction. Therefore the fog has rarely stayed above 0 for more than a few blocks. However, the largest hit to the Dai system was when ETH dropped from ~$250 to ~$215 on Sep 6. The fog of the system reached 21,738 and wasn’t sold off for 1,654 blocks or 6.5 hours. This is shown below.

fog — is the pETH pending sale for Dai, which is used to cancel out the bad debt

Using some extremely rough calculations, keepers have made between $400,000 and $600,000 in profits these last 2 months by buying liquidated ETH at a 3% discount and turning around and selling it on the market. Not bad for only needing to take a directional position for a few minutes!

Closing Notes

If you would have asked me in January if I thought Dai could survive a drop in ETH to sub $200, I probably would have said no. But it has been incredible to watch Dai’s resilience and the system function as designed throughout the last 9 months. At no point has the overall system collateralization approached dangerous levels, and CDPs of all sizes continue to be opened. I look forward to the launch of multi-collateral Dai and continuing to BUIDL and gather data / analytics for the community to better inform scientific governance decisions.

Stay tuned for the relaunch of tracking multi-collateral Dai with more statistics, data visualizations, and interactive tools. Feel free to reach out to me on twitter (open DMs) if you have ideas for interesting data analyses or want to collaborate on code. I will also be releasing details about a stealth company I am building on top of the Maker / Dai ecosystem in the coming months.

Like what you read? Give Mike McDonald a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.