YAM: An Experiment in Fair Farming, Governance, and Elasticity

Yam Finance
Yam Finance
Published in
4 min readAug 11, 2020


The Protocol

Yam is an experimental protocol mashing up some of the most exciting innovations in programmable money and governance. Built by a team of DeFi natives, it features:

  • an elastic supply to seek eventual price stability
  • a governable treasury to further support stability
  • fully on-chain governance to enable decentralized control and evolution from Day 1
  • a fair distribution mechanism that incentivizes key community members to actively take the reins of governance

At its core, YAM is an elastic supply cryptocurrency, which expands and contracts supply in response to market conditions, initially targeting 1 USD per YAM. This stability mechanism is supplemented by one key addition to existing elastic supply models such as Ampleforth: a portion of each supply expansion is used to buy yCRV (a high-yield USD-denominated stablecoin) and add it to the Yam treasury, which is controlled via Yam community governance.

We have built Yam to be a minimally viable monetary experiment, and at launch there will be zero value in the YAM token. After deployment, it is entirely dependent upon YAM holders to determine its value and future development. We have employed a fork of the Compound governance module, which will ensure all updates to the Yam protocol happen entirely on-chain through community voting. Immediately upon launch, ownership of every contract in the Yam protocol is given to the time-locked governance contract, controlled by YAM holders.

The Launch

Rather than allocating a portion of the supply to the founding team, YAM is being distributed in the spirit of YFI: no premine, no founder shares, no VC interests — simply equal-opportunity staking distribution to attract a broad and vision-aligned community to steward the future of the protocol and token.

The initial distribution of YAM will be evenly distributed across eight staking pools: COMP, LEND, LINK, MKR, SNX, WETH, YFI and ETH/AMPL Uniswap v2 LP tokens. These pools were chosen intentionally to reach a broad swath of the overall DeFi community, as well as specific communities with a proven commitment to active governance and an understanding of complex tokenomics.

Following the launch of the initial distribution pools, a second distribution wave will be incentivized through a YAM/yCRV Uniswap pool. This pool will allow Uniswap’s TWAP-based price oracle to provide necessary input for rebase calculations, as well as provide liquidity for the rebase to purchase yCRV for the treasury.

The Future

The future will be entirely controlled by the community of YAM holders. Again, YAM holds zero inherent value; any value which might accrue would be an entirely emergent property of the community that takes control. This community of YAM holders will determine and update the functionality of the Yam protocol, including oracle usage, rebase functionality, inflation, incentive design, the Yam treasury, and more. While the treasury begins empty with potential growth configured to be denominated in yCRV, any future capital allocation can ultimately be controlled by YAM token holders, as can any yield that it might generate. In theory, it is possible that such a treasury could add robustness and security to the protocol, if properly cultivated by YAM holders.

The Horticulturalists

The Yam protocol was crafted and planted by Brock Elmore, Trent Elmore, Clinton Bembry, Dan Elitzer, and Will Price. It will be left entirely to those who choose to farm YAM to decide the future direction and evolution of the protocol and its crop(s). We have no collective entity or interest other than an excitement to see how this experiment plays out. At this time, we have no intent to play a further role in the Yam protocol, aside from some of us expecting to harvest YAM on a modest scale on equal footing with all other farmers.

The Details

Official Sources

Token Address: 0x0e2298E3B3390e3b945a5456fBf59eCc3f55DA16

GitHub: https://github.com/yam-finance/yam-protocol

Twitter: @YamFinance

Hosted Interface: yam.finance

Initial Protocol Parameters

Total Supply: 5,000,000 YAM (Note: this and all other YAM figures are subject to change via rebase)

Rebase Period: Every 12 hours (8am UTC, 8pm UTC) — initial rebase to occur roughly ~1-2 hours after the beginning of Wave 2 Distribution [edit: post originally had “12 hours” but was corrected to “~1–2 hours” at roughly 3:28am UTC on August 12th, 2020]

Portion of Rebase Used for Reserve: 10%

Asset Contributed to Reserve on Rebase: yCRV

YAM Threshold to Submit Governance Proposal: 1% of Total Supply

Quorum for Governance Proposals: 4% of Total Supply

Proposal Voting Period: 48 hours

Queue After Successful Proposal: 24 hours

Wave 1 Distribution

Pools: 8 (COMP, LEND, LINK, MKR, SNX, WETH, YFI and ETH/AMPL Uniswap v2 LP)

Distribution Amount: 2,000,000 YAM (250,000 YAM per pool)

Distribution Period: 7 days [EDIT: 62,500 seconds, this means Wave 1 distribution will end approximately 12:30AM UTC, 8/19]

Launch: 19:00 UTC, August 11th, 2020

Wave 2 Distribution

Pools: 1 (YAM/yCRV Uniswap v2 LP)

Distribution Amount: 3,000,000 YAM

Distribution Period: 1,500,000 YAM in 1st week, decreasing by 50% each week [EDIT: Halving occurs after 62,500 seconds. This means rewards will halve at approximately 12:30AM UTC, 8/20]

Launch: 19:00 UTC, August 12th, 2020

Audits: None. While the initial creators of the Yam protocol have made reasonable efforts to attempt to ensure the security of the contracts, including forking much of the codebase from existing well-audited projects and soliciting review from friends, nothing approaching the rigor of a formal audit has been conducted at this time. This was a 10-day project from start to launch. We STRONGLY urge caution to anyone who chooses to engage with these contracts and think a proper professional audit would be highly advisable if this project gets any meaningful use.