Umee: The Successful Path to Cross DeFi Waves

It’s hard to believe it’s already been a year! And what a year! Let’s take a look at how we’ve grown:

  • 25 people on the Umee team
  • 70,000 followers on Twitter
  • 165,000 members on our Discord channel

In this article, we will review the beginning of Umee’s journey, from its early days as a twinkle in the eye of its founder and CEO, Brent Xu, to an established, cutting-edge, interoperable DeFi hub.

The Umee Team is deeply grateful for its enthusiastic, dedicated, and positive community! We’re ecstatic about all the accomplishments in the past year, and we are even more excited about where we’re headed!

– The Umee Team, May 2022

TLDR

2021

  • April. Brent Xu started a new cross-chain DeFi project: Umee.
  • May. Umee secured its seed round funding led by Polychain, with investors including Coinbase Ventures, Alameda, Ideo CoLab, ConsenSys Ethereal, and others.
  • August. Umee launched its testnet, which included an IBC compatible Umee blockchain, borrowing and lending functionality for ERC20 tokens, and the Umee version of the Gravity Bridge.
  • September: Umeevengers: Phase One incentivized testnet program began.
  • October: Umee completed its strategic round of funding with partners including Jump Ventures, GSR, Figment, and others.
  • December. Umee secured $32 million through its CoinList sale, resulting in the largest number of CoinList registrants ever with almost one million registrants. Umeevengers: Phase Two incentivized testnet program began. Keplr wallet was integrated.

2022

  • January. Chainlink was integrated. Umee web app testnet launched.
  • Early February: The incentivized web app testnet, Umeeverse Party, began.
  • 15 February. Umee officially launched mainnet.
  • 16 February. UMEE token was listed on FTX, OKX, and other exchanges.
  • 17 February. The Umee Validator Delegation Program launched.
  • 20 February. The first community governance vote completed.
  • 14 April. Umeemania launched its incentivized testnet to test out Umee’s native (Cosmos-based) lending module.

April — June 2021: The Early Days

After cutting his teeth working with Tendermint to build Gravity Dex and the Gravity Bridge on the Cosmos network, Brent Xu founded Umee in April 2021 to bring cross-chain DeFi use cases to the Cosmos and Ethereum ecosystems. Umee aspires to create a DeFi experience across blockchain networks and resolve three major issues universal to all DeFi projects:

  1. Detached yields
  2. Concentrated systematic risks
  3. Isolated capital

Umee was designed to use the IBC protocol, an “internet of blockchains,” created from the Cosmos ecosystem. Initially implementing a cross-chain borrowing and lending framework, Umee’s vision evolved to include DeFi and open finance more broadly.

To accomplish this, Umee would need to break the existing silos between blockchains with novel bridging solutions — a difficult and critical obstacle to the broad adoption of DeFi.

The native UMEE token is a Proof of=Stake asset that can exist as a Cosmos SDK token and as an ERC20 token on Ethereum. Ab initio, Umee would be built to be interoperable with blockchains such as Terra, Crypto.com, Binance Chain, Osmosis, Secret Network, and many, MANY others. In plain language, users could lend, borrow, stake, delegate, and more, across dozens of chains.

Through the implementation of bridging solutions, Umee is meant to create a universal capital pool for cross-chain assets. Umee envisions new worlds of opportunities in both proof-of-stake networks as well as in DeFi.

July — September 2021: Buidl

Development ramped up quickly, focusing on launching the Umee tesnet and its capabilities to allow cross-chain interest rates, multi-chain staking, and interchain leverage. Cross-chain rates allow a combination of time value transformations and staking yields for better results. Multi-chain staking contributes to the “money legos” concept, or composability. In other words, combining the pieces from two Lego sets to create something entirely unique to you and your investment strategy. Lastly, leveraging assets across chains substantially improves capital efficiency, similar to how fiat money can flow between nations.

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After a busy summer of work, in August Umee launched our Testnet! Crucially, the Umee blockchain included a working implementation of the Gravity Bridge for bridging assets between the Cosmos and Ethereum ecosystem as well as an IBC-compatible Umee network. It also featured a pooled borrowing and lending protocol on the Ethereum side that allowed leveraging Cosmos-based assets to be used for borrowing and lending. Interchain leverage is a cornerstone of Umee’s cross-chain DeFi vision. Bug bounties, participation incentives, and community development drives were part of the launch, too.

October — December 2021: Listing, Testing

In Fall 2021 Umee announced its public sale for its token, UMEE, via CoinList. With nearly 1 million registrants and more than 64,000 new token holders after the sale, UMEE became one of the largest sales and listings ever on Coinlist.

To immediately build on that overwhelming success, Umee launched its Umeeverse community development program, Umeevengers! This program encourages and incentivizes community members to create educational content, expand social media presence, contribute to the protocol’s technical development, become an Umee Validator or Delegator, go after bug bounties, and more.

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In Umeevengers Phase One: Rise of the Umeevengers, Umee deployed an incentivized testnet program with 4 million Umee tokens set aside for rewards. Participants were given tasks ranging from sending transactions, delegation and un-delegation, jailing and un-jailing, submitting and voting on governance proposals, editing validator parameters, setting up a public RPC, and much more. In light of the number of validator participants, the Umee team decided to launch a final chain without the incorporation of the Gravity Bridge code, and Umeevengers-1c was born! Validators who participated in the testnet were also given priority in the queue for the Umee CoinList sale on 1 December.

In addition, many users also submitted some fantastic contributions to improve the testnet user experience, ranging from Grafana dashboards helpful in monitoring validator performance and network statistics, to Telegram and Discord bots, to very cool graphics.

Umeevengers Phase One witnessed the beginning of a strong and active validator group shaped for the Umee blockchain.

Umevengers Phase Two: Gravity Wars was launched soon after, rewarding users who conducted attacks on the Umee blockchain and the Umee Bridge, found vulnerabilities, exploited other validators, or simply gave the Umee Bridge implementation a stress test. Validators were free to collude with other validators, find points of weakness amongst others and the network itself, and complete various testnet objectives.

Just before the end of the year, Umee announced the integration of the Keplr wallet, making it one of the wallets that would be supported at the mainnet launch. Through this integration, users would be able to transact, stake, and participate in the Umee governance via the Keplr web and mobile wallets.

And, last but certainly not least: MEMES!

January — March 2022: All Systems Go 🚀

With all sights set on the mid-February launch of the Umee mainnet, the new year started out with a bang when Umee announced it had integrated Chainlink, the market-leading decentralized oracle service provider. By integrating Chainlink Price Feeds, Umee provided users with highly secure and reliable ATOM price data to help ensure that DeFi functions execute according to premium, aggregated market data. This strong data security layer helped make numerous other DeFi capabilities secure, even when they move across IBC-enabled blockchains.

The Gravity Wars concluded soon after, and that testing that Umee’s bridge implementation could faultlessly handle burdensome traffic levels, and ultimately function without issue during periods of immense stress. 4 million UMEE tokens were set aside as rewards for the Gravity Wars adversarial testnet.

In late January, the team released the Umee web app in its testnet iteration. Users could familiarize themselves with the new web interface while improving user experience and security in preparation for the mainnet launch.

Early February saw the start of the Umeeverse Party, the incentivized web app testnet. Users were encouraged to contribute the highest total value locked (TVL) of assets onto Umee, which can be achieved by strategically depositing and borrowing various testnet tokens while maintaining healthy collateralization ratios to prevent liquidation.

The following week, Umee rebranded! New logo, new color palette, new fonts, new mascot, and new website. The UMEE token was listed on CoinGecko and CoinMarketCap around the same time.

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Umee launched on Mainnet on February 15, concluding one journey and embarking upon another! The Mainnet launch was the first major step in our mission to expand scaling and interoperability in DeFi.

Soon after, the UMEE token was listed on FTX, OKX, and other exchanges, and the Umee Validator Delegation Program was launched. Also, the first community governance vote was completed several days later.

Within only a month of the launch on Mainnet nearly 3 million transactions had already been made!

In April, Umee’s mainnet hit 1 million blocks. Also, Umeemania, the incentivized testnet to build Umee’s native (Cosmos-based) lending module, began. Umeemania is ongoing.

What Comes Next

The Umee Team has turned its focus to building a suite of cross-chain DeFi tools. Looking ahead, we are working on our cross-chain roadmap and expanding our presence to other exciting ecosystems. We are also pioneering in areas such as liquid staking, bridgeless transactions, and a series of other products that we can’t wait to reveal to the world soon.

The future looks very bright for Umee and its awesome community! We are building something truly innovative together and we can’t wait to show you what Umee’s coming future will contribute to a cross-chain world.

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