gTrade 2022 Recap:
Dominating the Bear Market
To say that 2022 was a transformative period for gTrade is an understatement. Last year, gTrade grew from a relatively behind-the-scenes protocol to one of the biggest players in the decentralized trading space — but the journey was not without its ups and downs.
In this recap, we’ll take you through both the catalysts and setbacks that the protocol had to overcome with tenacity for its continual growth. We also want to emphasize the consistent behind-the-scenes effort from our development and marketing team (both of which we built during 2022 as well) that made last year a success.
Before 2022, gTrade was known as GFarm, a yield-farming and leveraged trading protocol. Our custom Chainlink DON was already live before 2022 and was a major reason we decided to rebrand from GFarm to gTrade since this name didn’t reflect the quality of our product.
The $DAI Vault was just newly launched, to later become a springboard for many of the features you enjoy on gTrade today: shared liquidity between all trading pairs, unrivaled liquidity efficiency, real yield paid out in $DAI, and most importantly: the ability to seamlessly list a variety of asset classes on the platform.
Let’s dive in.
At this point, gTrade only supported cryptocurrency and forex pairs. The protocol was relatively new to the scene and grateful for all the support it received early on. Polygon granted gTrade $250k in $MATIC to fund 2 trading contests, which became the first initial push to help the protocol gain traction on Polygon — we immediately launched the gTrade’s first trading contest on January 7, 2022!
This was the month the team was hard at work preparing for launch v6.0, which saw us implement gas and logic optimizations. We brought Crumb onto the team as a part-time, Full-Stack dev to help us with website front-end and back-end tasks.
We also lifted limits that we deemed to be irrelevant at the time, allowing an increase in max trade collateral per trade to a fixed value of 75,000 $DAI. Previously, collateral size was a floating percentage of vault TVL.
The minimum trade collateral was replaced with a minimum trade position size (collateral x leverage), which is still applied today.
We also introduced an open collateral long/short limit per asset class, which improved the risk management across all trading pairs in the protocol.
Many of these improvements formed the basis of v6.0 which would be launching next month.
The contracts were ready and unit-tested — we were just waiting for the results of the Certik Audit to return.
gTrade v6.0 was launched! This is the basis for the current version of gTrade we still use today, and it took months of work to get to this point.
On the platform:
Guaranteed Stop Losses — Most importantly, we rolled out Guaranteed Stop Losses this month — the feature you now know and love. Due to gTrade’s unique synthetic / oracle-based architecture, stop losses are executed at exact prices on cryptocurrency pairs (zero slippage).
Block Confirmations — The RPC / Matic nodes on Polygon were under a lot of stress at this point in time causing frequent reorgs, which cascaded into an inconsistent trading experience on gTrade. In response, we revamped and optimized the backend to support block confirmations.
Drew, one of the OG community devs, has contributed some serious hours to the back-end work for block confirmations.
At this point in time, we knew that gTrade was a differentiated product, but we just needed to take steps to get the word out….
We hosted the second gTrade x Polygon Trading Contest this month with a total prize pool of 80,000 $MATIC and $37,750 in $GNS! We’re grateful to Polygon for helping facilitate these first pushes for the platform.
That said — with marketing being the new top priority — we added 3 new members to our marketing team in March of last year!
Lunaman joined as a growth/BD lead and he’s been invaluable to the team ever since. Jim (DipGom) joined to create beautiful visuals for all of our content.
We also sped trades up by optimizing the website backend. gTrade selects the most synced RPC, block by block, which speeds trades up by up to 8 seconds!
It’s not quite 1 click-trading (yet) — but consistent improvement paves the way for big breakthroughs in the future.
In terms of adoption, gTrade experienced unprecedented growth this month by achieving its first $300,000,000+ trading day on March 4th, 2021!
The protocol also surpassed $9B+ in total traded volume and gained a 50% monthly increase in unique gTraders to a total of 4,000 gTraders. We hit the $10M revenue mark within 6 months, which further cemented our decision to scale our marketing efforts.
April saw the protocol breach a new total trading volume milestone of $10B!
This is the month we started to think more organized and professionally as a team. We worked hard on scaling the marketing side and identified the best next steps to take.
This was a quieter month in terms of news, but only because we were silently gearing up to list stocks in the next month!
Finally, we brought Konrad on as a front-end dev to help clean up the codebase and help with various tasks.
We all know what happened in May last year!
gTrade introduced its first stock pairs on May 3rd ($AAPL, $FB, and $GOOGL) to beta-test how well the platform can add new asset classes. The beta test was a resounding success, so we added 20 more stock pairs that month!
$AMZN, $MSFT, $TSLA, $SNAP, $NVDA, $V, $MA, $PFE, $KO, $DIS, $GME, $NKE, $AMD, $PYPL, $ABNB, $BA, $SBUX, $WMT, $INTC, $MCD were all simultaneously listed on the protocol for traders to be able to speculate on their price.
gTrade became the first decentralized leveraged trading platform to introduce trading the price of stocks on-chain! Anything with a price feed can be synthetically listed on gTrade — which becomes one of the many pillars of the platform moving forward.
However, the biggest event by far in May was the $LUNA crash (and $UST de-pegging).
It was a rude event that forced us to implement many new risk-management measures that would later become pivotal to gTrade withstanding future contagions, such as delisting risky trading pairs and adding additional trading fees.
It’s important to note that we never paused trading or withdrawal of funds during the crash. Every single gTrader that shorted $LUNA was fully paid by gTrade, even at the expense of losing $DAI Vault collateralization. Traders are always paid out fairly on gTrade — no exceptions — because the self-custody of trading funds is one of the defining pillars of our architecture.
Unfortunately, the $DAI Vault took a hit (which it recovered from months later), but we had to pause the minting of $GNS from the vault. All of these setbacks later contributed to architecture upgrades and eventually the $gDAI Vault’s (re)design later in the year.
gTrade v6.1 was our answer to the $LUNA crash. It was the risk management update for the protocol and we took all the lessons we learned from the crash to turn gTrade into the most antifragile, black-swan-resistant trading protocol possible.
v6.1 introduced fees that are still mainstays on gTrade today:
Funding Fees rent capital to the side that the majority is exposed to (more longs pay shorts, for example) to limit directional drawdown risk.
Rollover Fees make it so you are essentially taxed for leaving a trade open for an extended period of time to limit the risk from low-leverage, long-duration trades.
Price-Impact prevents spot price manipulation using simulated 1% depths.
The fees above are only meant to balance out riskier trades. They actually resulted in new lower fees for short-term trades (the closing fee on collateral was reduced from 1% to 0.5%)! These fees would later be battle-tested by the $FTX collapse.
Lastly, the v6.1 risk management measures have allowed us to safely return max trade collateral to 100,000 $DAI!
Keep in mind, this massive update was all done in the span of one month! We pride ourselves in having a resilient team that can roll with the punches and quickly adjust on the fly.
This update has turned out to be a major success, as the $DAI vault reached 100%+ collateralization only a few months later without any significant drawdown since it was introduced.
July had us working hard on v6.2 that would be released in the next month — this was a key inflection point for the decentralization of gTrade!
gTrade v6.2 redistributed our platform fees to accommodate the upcoming release of $GNS Single-Sided Staking. After all, our staking rewards come from platform usage and not inflationary token printing.
We also had to take the upcoming Referral System into consideration and design rewards that were fair, sustainable, and attractive. This would be our second attempt at a referral system and we took several lessons forward from the first one. The end product of this period would later become known as the gTrade Ambassador Program.
On the front-end, trading fees were also simplified such that Market Orders now cost as much as Limit Orders (both at 0.08%).
To accommodate the multifaceted nature of all the developments this month, we needed to onboard even more dev power. We enlisted Dreamersnat as a part-time, frontend dev to ensure that we stayed on pace to ship all of this month’s deliverables!
Finally, trades collaterals now stay in a storage contract instead of being stored directly in the $DAI Vault, making it impossible for the vault to burn trade collateral. This remedied one of the primary causes of $DAI Vault’s under collateralization during the $LUNA crash. We dive into all of the above in further detail here.
August was the month when gTrade further rose out of obscurity and exploded into crypto-consciousness as one of the frontrunners of the Real Yield Narrative. DeFi users desperately needed a counterweight to all the inflationary yield in the space and they were waking up to the fact that gTrade’s rewards derived from platform fees are more sustainable than token-printing.
Moving in step with this increased demand for Real Yield, we introduced two new revenue sources this month: our gTrade Referral Program and $GNS Single-Sided Staking! The gTrade Referral Program pays rewards in $GNS, while $GNS SSS rewards users in $DAI — all derived from various platform fees.
We also enlisted Ross, Ishan and Kenji from SCRIB3 to focus on content, growth, and marketing strategy. They became instrumental in growing our social media presence. If you noticed a big shift in our Twitter and medium content from this point onwards — this is the reason why!
This month was essential in establishing gTrade as a frontrunner for sustainable yield among decentralized platforms of all types.
On the front-end, we added the New Favorite Pairs system this month! This iteration significantly improved page performance by only displaying the prices of your chosen pairs on screen.
Finally, we’ve made significant progress with the lookbacks update. This innovation is another “gTrade first” in the space! We dive into it deeper here.
September saw gTrade migrate to IPFS (Interplanetary File Service) to decentralize its front-end infrastructure.
Changing hosting solutions is non-trivial, however, the gTrade team executed this in such a way that the accessibility of the gTrade UI remained uninterrupted during the migration to IPFS. When we say that we’re a trader-centric platform — we mean it.
We’re no strangers to solving problems using unconventional solutions, so the gTrade team came up with an innovative solution that leaves both IPFS and DNS gateways permanently accessible to gTraders, despite IPFS not being designed for web hosting.
The end result? The gTrade website is now always accessible.
On the UI Side, gTrade also benefited from a massive update this month, which brought you:
- The new Favorite Pair System (improved on from the last month)
- A movable trading panel and notification pop-ups
- The Full-Screen layout with resizable panels
- New Color Themes
- The Share Trade Feature
The end result was a fully customizable UI — the same one that is still in use by the protocol today.
Lastly, the base spread on crypto pairs has been removed, and the minimum leverage for crypto pairs has been reduced from 4x to 3x.
October was a period of singular focus towards building for the Arbitrum launch. Despite the lapse in gTrade’s frequent release schedule this month, the protocol managed to hit (and surpass) some lifetime adoption metrics!
- October 13 was a new most-traded day for gTrade — reaching breaking ~$338,540,000 in daily volume!
- $GNS Holders increased by 50% in October 2022
The gTrade Progressive Web App (PWA) was launched for Android users, giving them on-the-go access to the platform.
New Team Members:
With the Arbitrum deployment coming up and the many upcoming milestones we had left on our roadmap, we needed to go through another round of hiring, and we’re happy to have found the best of the best:
We enlisted Sam to handle business development, partnerships, and connections. He’s been on an absolute tear ever since and has been instrumental in setting the stage for gTrade to become a household name in the decentralized space.
We also brought Nathan into our team as a full-stack developer. On paper, he is a full-time dev. But his role (and output) in the team goes above and beyond that in application. He was the main reason the new $gDAI vault was released in a timely manner. October was a huge month for development and staffing progress!
P.S. October was also the month we invented 1-Click Trading (1CT), despite choosing not to deploy it until December. Remember all that talk about a new secret feature?
If October saw the protocol set new all-time-high metrics, November raised the ceiling even higher! News of gTrade’s upcoming Arbitrum deployment and the inflow of disenfranchised CEX heralded a massive uptick in the adoption of gTrade:
- Profit distribution went from ~895,000 in October to ~1,333,000 in November (48% up!)
- New users grew from ~7,157 to ~8,565. Over 1,400 new gTraders joined in a single month!
- Forex all-time trading volume surpassed $4.3b and accounted for 1/5th of all trades!
- Most impressively, the $DAI Vault broke through ~$20,000,000 in TVL to become the new largest $DAI Holder on Polygon!
More significantly, the FTX crash was proof that our v6.1 risk management measures worked as designed! $DAI Vault collateralization was unaffected by the $FTT despite many traders shorting — in fact, vault collateralization slightly increased during this period! This is a sharp contrast to what happened to the vault during the $LUNA crash.
With a provably safe vault coupled with an unparalleled influx of new users, gTrade was on the way to ending the year strong.
Behind the scenes, November was a full-on grind month for the new $gDAI Vault and Arbitrum. There were so many unprecedented edge cases or the upcoming $gDAI Vault that required a ton of bandwidth — requiring the undivided focus of the entire team. We were up for the task.
Aside from just the $gDAI Vault, we had to take extra considerations into the construction of the bridge, knowing full well the risks associated with cross-chain bridging. We decided to integrate with Layer Zero and rate-limit it using an epoch system to prevent any exploit from the messaging protocol from significantly impacting the $GNS supply or the GNS NFTs.
We also prepared the UI to accommodate the bridge, the vault, and the upcoming OTC page that’d come in the following month. In parallel, the Halborn Security Audit had also started.
On top of all the work for the Vault and Arbitrum, we also shipped a key update: Creating a system that improved gTrade’s ability to handle Forex news and delta-neutral trades right before high-impact announcements. This was an unexpected and intensive effort that the development team handled in stride, as usual.
December was Arbitrum launch month! This single event was the culmination of many tireless months of building and testing, but we had to deliver and launch in December. The month started with the deployment of our new $gDAI Vault.
As previously stated, our old $DAI Vault was functioning as designed, but it needed a layer of composability to truly unlock the potential of a collaborative chain like Arbitrum. Other protocols could not meaningfully build on top of our old $DAI Vault, but the $gDAI Vault solves this dilemma in spectacular fashion. We introduced $DAI vault deposit tokenized receipts in the form of $gDAI (with other gTokens coming in the future for other collateral types). Compared to the old $DAI Vault, the $gDAI Vault has better risk management, more aligned incentives, and utilizes $GNS to more effectively manage collateralization via a new OTC mechanism. It’s a win-win-win across the board.
As a novel DeFi primitive, bringing $gToken Vaults to life required incalculable amounts of research and a variety of technical perspectives. We brought on Alex part-time to the development team this month to focus on risk management and key innovations.
This month, the Halborn Security Audit was successful which gave gTrade the final go-signal to deploy on Arbitrum!
On December 31st of 2022, gTrade deployed on Arbitrum, and One-click trading went live at the same time, providing gTraders with the fastest trading experience in the entire decentralized perpetual space.
gTrade has been moving from strength to strength since…But that’s for a future article. The January 2023 recap article is coming very soon.
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