Synthetix is a decentralized protocol built on Ethereum that allows SNX users to generate a wide variety of synthetic assets, known as synths. Users can generate synths by locking their SNX as collateral via the Synthetix smart contract.
The collateralized assets are combined to create a counterparty debt pool to all the minted synths; thus allowing Synthetix users to trade synthetic assets directly without the need for counterparties. This mechanism solves the liquidity and slippage issues experienced by DEXs.
Users can use a decentralized application, Mintr, for interacting with the Synthetix contracts. Minting synths bring debt to the SNX stakers, which they need to pay on exiting the system. To unlock the staked SNX, users need to burn the generated synths.
SNX stakers are required to maintain a collateralization ratio (C-Ratio) of 600%. If the value of SNX or synths fluctuates, each staker’s C-Ratio will fluctuate. If the user’s C-Ratio is below 600%, they will not be able to claim any fees until they bring up their ratio either by burning synths or buying extra synths to raise the ratio. They can also mint synths if their ratio is above 600%.
Synthetix currently supports five categories of synths:
- Fiat currencies – sUSD, sEUR, sKRW, sAUD, etc.
- Commodities – Synthetic gold and synthetic silver, measured per ounce.
- Cryptocurrencies – sBTC, sETH, sBNB, etc.
- Inverse Cryptocurrencies – iBTC, iETH, iBNB, iXMR , iLTC, iLINK, iDASH, iADA,iXRP, iXTZ
- Cryptocurrency Indexes – sDEFI and sCEX
SNX holders receive two types of incentive if they stake their tokens and mint synths:
- Exchange Rewards – A part of the exchange fee when any users exchange synth on the Synthetix Exchange is sent to the fee pool. And every week, SNX stakers can claim their rewards proportional to their stake assets.
- SNX staking rewards – It comes from the protocol’s inflationary monetary policy. These SNX tokens are distributed to SNX stakers weekly, provided they maintain the threshold collateralization ratio of 600%.
Users can buy SNX from many exchanges like Uniswap etc. You can check out CoinGecko to find more exchanges from where you can buy SNX.
Go to Uniswap and connect your MetaMask wallet. Now you can buy SNX with ETH.
Confirm the transaction in MetaMask.
SNX Token in MetaMask
After a successful transaction, you can now see the token in your wallet.
In case you are not able to see the SNX token in your MetaMask wallet, then you can manually add the token by providing the contract address. You can check the token contract address from etherscan.
Minting Synth Asset
Minting of synthetic assets is done by a dApp, Mintr, that SNX users can use. Users can also use it for claiming rewards, burning synths, and manage their staking.
Go to the Mintr page.
The application will give you various options to connect your wallet, including a hardware wallet.
Connect your MetaMask wallet. The landing page looks like this.
The Mintr portal allows users to do a variety of tasks.
Users can use the MINT option to generate sUSD from the SNX that we have bought.
Once the transaction confirms, you should have sUSD in your wallet. You can use these synths for trading on the Synthetix Exchange.
Kindly note that all synths users are required to maintain a collateralization ratio of 600%.
If the user wants to exit the system or want to retrieve the locked SNX, then they need to pay the debt that has incurred from generating synths. To unlock SNX, users need to burn synths, which they can do from the Burn tab. Enter the amount of synths you want to burn (you can also burn the max synth amount) and you can then check how much SNX you will receive after-burn.
Confirm the transaction in MetaMask. Now you will see the debt amount, after-burn, becomes zero.
One important thing to note here is that if the debt pool value fluctuates, then the individual debt of users will also fluctuate. Hence, it is quite possible that users need to pay/burn more or less the amount of synths than they have generated.
Users can claim two kinds of rewards, i.e., SNX staking rewards and synthetic exchange rewards.
IMPORTANT: Users need to manually claim the rewards every week, otherwise it will be returned to the pool and re-distributed among other users. But before claiming, they have to ensure that C-Ratio is above 600%.
Claim Case 1: C-Ratio is below 600%
Users are required to maintain a C-Ratio of 600%. If it is below 600%, then users will be blocked from claiming any rewards.
Claim Case 2: C-Ratio is above 600%
If your C-Ratio is above 600%, you are eligible to claim rewards.
The Mintr application allows you to trade your synths only with sUSD. For more trading pairs, you can use the Synthetix Exchange, which we will explain in our next article.
Users can use the Mintr application to transfer ETH, SNX, and sUSD to another user.
It also allows you to customize the gas fee and choose the transaction speed as per your requirement.
Through tracking, users can check their debt graph over time.
Users can perform two types of activity through the Depot tab.
- Deposit – Allow the users to deposit excess sUSD, which others can purchase with ETH.
Important: The minimum deposit amount is 50 sUSD.
- Withdraw – The withdraw tab allows you to take out the desired amount of sUSD while waiting.
You can see your transaction details from the Transactions tab. You will have the flexibility to check and filter by transaction type, date, and amount.
Users can claim the SNX staking rewards through the Mintr portal. Every week, SNX stakers can claim SNX staking rewards, depending upon their staking proportion. Users can withdraw the rewards but it will be escrowed for 12 months, which can be seen from the Escrow tab.
Users can delegate their wallets and execute an operation on behalf of another wallet. It allows users to mint, burn, claim, and exchange, but they will not be able to transfer synths.
Read a more detailed post about delegation here .
Synthetix is currently the third-largest decentralized finance (DeFi) project in the blockchain space. The interface is user-friendly, and the platform offers stake benefits. However, there are a few areas which need improvement. The protocol is built on Ethereum; thus, users need to pay the high gas cost. Network scalability is yet another concern. Another important concern is that it is likely that users are required to pay/burn more synths than they have generated.
Resources: Synthetix official blog
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