Aurora Plus, Francium Finance | Hidden Gems – Defi
Review Date: May 21th, 2022
TOKEN METRICS WATCHLIST
We scored many projects this week, and these are the DeFi and yield farming opportunities we think you should know about:
- Aurora Plus – gateway to USN, BSTN, PLY, TRI, and more
- Francium Finance – SOL, GST, GMT, and more
Please keep in mind that some of these projects have not yet been subjected to our code review process, but we want to call them out here for preliminarily catching our eye based on our fundamental analysis process.
Aurora is an Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) solution for the NEAR blockchain, a layer-1 blockchain that competes with Ethereum based on its fast transaction times and low fees. Aurora is a smart contract inside of NEAR that allows Ethereum developers to easily create apps that will run on NEAR, as well as allowing NEAR to connect with other EVM blockchains.
Why we like it
We have covered Aurora before, but the focus this time is on its recently launched service Aurora Plus and the yield farming opportunities it presents. Aurora Plus is a new service and landing page for users to interact with the Aurora ecosystem: it is free to sign up, gives everyone 50 free transactions per month on the Aurora network, and is a new hub for managing your staked Aurora tokens. Additionally, everyone that signs up before 5/24 will get 1 AURORA airdropped to them and be entered to win one of 111 Aurobot NFTs.
The biggest news for Aurora Plus, however, is the update that was given on how the platform will interact with the Aurora treasury. $200M of AURORA tokens have been set aside for Aurora stakers to vote on which community projects should receive grants, and in return those projects will allocate a portion of their own tokens to both the treasury and directly to Aurora stakers. This both creates a ﬂywheel for long-term growth and value creation within the Aurora ecosystem, but also directly rewards Aurora stakers with a diverse pool of assets over time.
This feature is already live, and staked Aurora will accrue more Aurora as well as tokens of USN (NEAR’s stablecoin), Bastion (liquidity protocol for Aurora), Aurigami (borrowing and lending on Aurora), and Trisolaris (Aurora’s ﬁrst DEX). The best part is that all of these tokens can be periodically claimed and staked in their respective protocols, compounding returns even further.
Aurora raised $12M from over 100 investors, split between ecosystem projects and venture capital. On the venture side, notable investors include Pantera Capital, Electric
Capital, and Dragonﬂy Capital. On the ecosystem side, some of the projects that invested include Zero Knowledge Validation, Global Coin Ventures, imToken, and Chronicle.
It should be noted that a 6 month cliﬀ for those investors just ended, and there is a possibility of sell pressure in the short term as investors take proﬁts. Smaller unlocks will happen every three months going forward (mid-August, mid-November, etc).
Aurora was built by the same team that created NEAR. The founder and CEO of Aurora is Alex Shevchenko, previously a Product Manager for NEAR who has a PhD in applied Physics and Mathematics. The CTO is Arto Bendiken, previously a Technical Lead at NEAR. The full team size is now 20+ and actively growing.
The primary function of the token to the protocol is governance as Aurora aims to move away from its current, more centralized state. The main utility to the user is being able to vote on projects to give grant money to and receive their tokens in return just by staking Aurora, accumulating a variety of tokens over time with no additional capital. Aurora is also exploring additional sources of utility but doesn’t have anything concrete yet.
- Create a free account on https://aurora.plus/ to receive 1 free AURORA and enter the raﬄe for one of the Astrobots NFTs. There will likely be a waitlist, but signing up before May 24th should lock in the AURORA airdrop no matter how long the waitlist takes.
- If you don’t hold any Aurora, consider if Aurora makes sense within the scope of your portfolio and watch short-term price action. After potential early volatility from token unlocks subsides, look for attractive entry points. At the time of writing, the staking reward across all assets is approximately 480% – this number will certainly come down as more users stake their Aurora tokens, but these staking rewards can oﬀset a portion of potential market declines. Aurora can be purchased on Crypto.com or Huobi, or ETH can be bridged from Ethereum and swapped for Aurora.
- Consider utilizing the 50 free monthly transactions to periodically claim your ecosystem rewards, and then stake them within their respective protocols. Important: claiming your rewards from the Aurora Plus platform takes 2 days, and starting a new claim before the ﬁrst one completes only resets the clock. Links to staking:
- Bastion: https://app.bastionprotocol.com/kingdom/staking (Particularly great because staking Bastion also yields NEAR tokens).
- Aurigami: https://app.aurigami.ﬁnance/ (you might note that Trisolaris is here too – if you stake TRI here you will receive rewards in PLY, so this is a question of which you prefer to have more of).
- Trisolaris: https://www.trisolaris.io/#/stake (as a DEX, staked TRI entitles you to a portion of trading fees that are collected on swaps).
Francium is a DeFi yield aggregator, strategy builder, and autocompounder on Solana. Key features that Francium oﬀers includes leveraged farming, combination strategies that allow you to build delta neutral positions (proﬁt whether price moves up or down within a range), and more automated farming and trading strategies coming soon.
Why we like it
Francium adds many options to the DeFi toolbox for tokens on the Solana blockchain in a clean and easy to use UI. Francium plugs into two underlying AMM protocols (Raydium and Orca) for various liquidity providing options, and allows lending your coins natively for simpler yield earning as well. Leveraged farming opens the door to greater returns, as well as being able to set up a large variety of payoﬀ structures. These include being up to 3x long on an asset, or eﬀectively being short an asset by changing what is borrowed as a part of the LP construction. No matter what position is constructed, its payoﬀ can easily be viewed and conﬁrmed before locking it in.
Francium does not have a token yet, so there is a chance that interacting with the platform now could lead to an airdrop in the future. With the recent popularity of STEPN, users of the platform can also lend or LP both GST and GMT to earn extra tokens.
The team is anonymous but describes themselves as coming from leading blockchain and internet companies, with a wealth of algorithmic research and implementation experience.
Francium raised an undisclosed amount from Coinbase Ventures.
- Visit https://francium.io/app/lend and see if any tokens you already hold are supported by the platform. If you have been staking them elsewhere, compare the yields oﬀered here with those on other platforms. Note that a higher return still carries risks: if the utilization % is too high, users may have delays in withdrawing assets until leveraged farmers repay debts and close positions as well.
- If you are open to more complex yield farming opportunities, explore the Farm tab here: https://francium.io/app/invest/farm. For any pairing, after clicking Farm, make sure to click Simulator to see a visual payoﬀ graph for the position. Leverage can be adjusted on the left to alter the risk-reward proﬁle of any liquidity providing position. Alternatively, try using the templates available on top to see some of the possible payoﬀ graphs to get a sense of all of the options available. Depending on which asset is borrowed, you can construct a short position if that is the desired strategy.
- IMPORTANT: while leverage is a powerful tool, any leverage above 1x opens up the possibility of liquidation. A sharp move in prices could trigger liquidations of positions that are too close to liquidation thresholds. There is a toggle to also set up a stop-loss, which is a helpful measure but should not be taken as a guarantee – recent slowdowns in the Solana network can cause stop-loss transactions to trigger with delay. Always be responsible and do not over-allocate to any one position or platform to diversify your risks.