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Synthetix is a derivatives liquidity protocol on Ethereum that enables the issuance and trading of synthetic assets. Each synthetic asset (or Synth) is an ERC20 token which tracks the price of an external asset; for example, each sUSD token tracks the price of the US dollar (and unlike the other synthetic assets, is fixed at 1). A wide variety of Synths exists within Synthetix, including fiat currencies, cryptocurrencies, commodities, and inverse indexes. In principle, the system can support any asset with a clear price and provides on-chain exposure to an unlimited range of real-world assets. The protocol will enable a variety of trading features including binary options, futures, and more.
Synthetix is otherwise composed of a smart contract infrastructure and a set of incentives that maintains Synth prices. It is underpinned by the value of the Synthetix Network Token (SNX). SNX acts as collateral; staking a proportional value of SNX is required to mint Synths. Stakers are rewarded for supporting the system with a pro-rata share of the fees generated by activity in the system. The value of SNX is thus directly connected with the usage of the network it collateralizes.
This mechanism allows Synthetix to support instantaneous, near-frictionless conversion between different flavors of Synths without the liquidity and slippage issues experienced by other decentralized exchanges. The resulting network of tokens supports an extensive set of use cases including trading, loans, payments, remittance, eCommerce, and more.
Synthetix was launched in late 2017, originally under the name of Havven (HAV).
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