Orca is an AMM DEX that runs on the Solana blockchain that mainly focuses on ease of use.
What web3 projects can learn from Apple, the legendary tech company, when building platforms, services, and products?
Each of the company’s products has revolutionized different industries, from computers and music to mobile phones, because of its one immovable principle. Its massive achievements repeatedly proved that people love simplicity, and run away from complex and cumbersome functionalities, a lesson that some blockchain platforms have applied.
Orca, a decentralized exchange (DEX), was built on the principle of simplicity to provide an opportunity for more people to tap the possibilities of decentralized finance (DeFi). But for adoption to rise, DeFi platforms need to be easy to use, even for first-time users, leading Orca to continuously refine its network to become Solana‘s easiest-to-use DEX platform.
What is Orca?
Orca is an automated market maker (AMM) running on the Solana blockchain, focusing mainly on user-friendliness. It prides itself as the easiest place to exchange one’s cryptocurrency in the most affordable and convenient way in the Solana-verse. Users can also earn token emissions and trading fees through its liquidity and concentrated liquidity pools.
It has selected the Solana network because of its impressive 50,000 transactions per second (tps), 400ms blockchain, and cheap $0.01 average transaction fees, ideal features that any DEXs need to leverage. The platform’s name, Orca, is named after the largest dolphin species which is also considered one of the strongest predators in the ocean.
Yes, it deserves its own subheading. User-friendliness is one of the main selling points of Orca, making it one of the most popular DEXs in Solana. Its Fair Price Indicator, Magic Bar, and Your Tokens panels are the most praised components of its user experience (UX) because of their convenience, even to new users.
AMM: A Refresher
There is a big difference between a cryptocurrency exchange that functions as a traditional “order book exchange” and the one that delivers AMM capabilities. The order book exchange functions by matching users looking to buy and those looking to sell the exact amounts of the token. In AMM, users are not directly trading with each other but with a pool of tokens, and because of its simplicity and composability, Orca believes that it is the most efficient way of trading tokens.
ORCA is the project’s governance token with a total supply of 100 million. ‘Orca Treasury’ and ‘Orca Impact Fund’ are the components that utilize ORCA to bring efficiency to the platform and the environment. Orca Treasury is a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) that links the value of ORCA to the trading activity of the network.
Its collected fees may go to the funding of buybacks and other things that can enhance the “health” of the ecosystem. Meanwhile, Orca Impact Fund serves as the project’s social responsibility initiative, and its collected fees will help preserve the marine ecosystem and combat the effects of climate change.
Aquafarm (Yield Farming)
Aquafarm is Orca’s very own yield farm program where liquidity providers (LPs) will have the capability to earn not just trading fees but ORCA tokens as well. Orca will soon allow other projects to integrate their tokens into Aquafarms as rewards to expand its functionality. Orca’s yield farms offer value to the network by gradually increasing its decentralization through the consistent distribution of ORCA to LPs.
Whirlpool (Concentrated Liquidity)
Whirlpools offer “concentrated liquidity” to provide bigger yields for the most active liquidity providers. While Orca’s traditional pools, where liquidity trades at any price, offer simplicity for everyone, also have their downsides, including the unutilized capital yields for LPs and high slippage.
Whirlpools combat these hurdles by letting LPs concentrate their liquidity in particular price ranges; hence the name “concentrated liquidity”. LPs who can contribute deeper liquidity in those price ranges will gain a bigger percentage of rewards and fees. Furthermore, another benefit of deeper liquidity is lower slippage costs for traders.
Whirlpool Builders Program
Whirlpool Builders Program is Orca’s latest project that lets interested participants create applications (apps) for Orca’s Whirlpools and offers them a chance to win a $200,000 grant. According to the program, participants must only submit apps that can achieve two specific criteria: First, it must have the potential to allow more user contribution to the Whirlpool liquidity. Second, it must be a promising tool to enhance LPs’ yield returns. Applications are open until June 30, 2022. After deliberation, the team will announce all the “Wave 1” winners.
Orca’s Governance V0, or version0, serves as the “prototype” edition of its governance initiatives. Through v0, Orca has launched new Forums and a platform to submit proposals on-chain, giving
the community a louder voice in improving the ecosystem.
v0 will also offer rewards to participants who have initiated efforts in turning their proposals into reality. Orca hopes that these rewards will motivate the community to take more actions in improving the project, which, in the end, will benefit every participant.
Governance V0 uses Realms, Solana Lab’s open-source governance platform. But as the team’s governance learning and experience grow, it plans to establish custom governance capabilities to deal with the unique needs of its community.
It also intends to test governance parameters, discussion periods, and proposal thresholds, to improve its governance community. V0 wasn’t launched in haste, as the team had to wait for its platform to grow and its Whirlpools to roll out before introducing it. Fortunately, the project has finally achieved the said two criteria, leading Orca to finally dive into the governance water.
How Does Orca Governance Work?
Anyone can submit their proposal ideas at Orca Governance Forum and gather community feedback to determine their potential and viability. But only participants with at least 100,000 ORCA tokens can formally propose to the governance platform.
After the proposal submission, the system offers seven days to let ORCA holders vote. One ORCA token is equivalent to one vote. The proposal needs to gather at least 500,000 “yes” votes to pass, and when it does, it’s up to the team how and when to implement the approved plan.
Increase Trading Activity
The team’s primary measure of Orca’s growth is its increasing trading volume because it indicates that more people are choosing the platform as a go-to AMM. Capital efficiency is a critical solution in improving the network’s trading volume, a thing it is currently achieving through the rollout of “Whirlpool”. While it is now focusing on aggressive growth, it will soon transition to sustainable development to bring more value and efficiency to its user base.
Enhance Reward Options
Orca knows that consistently improving its list of incentives would keep its platform active and stronger, not only in terms of features but also from the competition. To enhance its reward offerings, it is considering offering Treasury Staking, which lets token holders stake their ORCA tokens to gain Treasury fees, a rewarding system similar to SushiSwap’s xSUSHI.
Orca’s easy-to-use platform, Whirlpool service, exciting incentives, and growing user base serve as its strongest assets. But its governance component, which is still in the experimental stage, limits the community’s potential to bring significant improvements to the project. Hopefully, its Governance v0 can fastrack its development to unlock more benefits for the ecosystem.