Market Monday: The deeper reason for going bankless

Crypto money as a check on tyrants and a tool for freedom
Ryan Sean Adams Ryan Sean Adams Sep 23, 20199 min read
Market Monday: The deeper reason for going bankless

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Dear Crypto Natives,

It’s Market Monday! Every week I scan the open finance market to surface the best opportunities and insights for us.

Today I want to remind you: there’s a deeper reason we’re doing all this.

Last week videos surfaced depicting Uighurs transported from trains, blindfolded, shaved-heads, locked hands—detained in Chinese state run re-education camps. Reports claim up to 1 million people are being held in these camps.

Do these images remind you of anything?

A state with the surveillance powers of China can do what it wills to its populace. For any totalitarian regime, a first step is to lock political enemies out of the global financial system. And it’s never been easier to do it.

Just make bank transfers an act of terrorism and freeze assets. A quote from last week:

Uighurs living abroad have started to hear reports of family members being arrested and jailed on suspicion of financing terrorism after sending money to relatives abroad. Those relatives have also had their savings and assets confiscated by the state, they say.


Some macro-investors have recently compared our current times to those of the 1930s—I agree. And if we think the democratic republics are immune from totalitarian tendencies, we need to pay closer attention to what’s going on and remember how fast things can accelerate.

It’s too easy for those in power to strip groups from access to their money.

We need crypto money as a check on tyrants.

We need bankless alternatives so the oppressed won’t be locked out of the money system by those who seek to control them.

Every dollar converted into crypto money, every new user of money protocols, every entrepreneur with a business built on this non-sovereign system makes it stronger.

That’s the deeper reason we’re doing all this.

We’re going bankless to create a better system—a legacy for future generations.

A public, neutral, open financial system for the world.


Bankless means freedom from tyrants—sovereignty back to the individual, back to the people—never forget why we’re doing this


Scan this section and dig into anything interesting

Market numbers

  • ETH up to $209 from $189 last Monday
  • BTC down to $9,918 from $10,151 last Monday
  • Maker stability fees hanging at 12.5%—no change

Market opportunities

New stuff

What’s hot

Money reads

Reminder—a limit of 100 slots for the Bankless Inner Circle open up at 12pm EST today. Subscribe now for access. Plus no interruption in program and 20% off forever.


Check out a few opportunities I’m capturing right now with my crypto money

Giving to Gitcoin grants: gave 50 DAI to Prysmatic labs team which will be amplified by matching donation sponsored by the Ethereum Foundation and private donors. I used a MetaMask wallet extension on Brave browser to donate. Felt very cool (almost natural?) to send crypto money through my browser. (Transaction here.)

Opened a Binance.US account: to test out the new Binance exchange in the U.S. Similar KYC signup process as non-US Binance, which I don’t love—but it’s a crypto bank so those are the expectations. You can only deposit, no trades for now—they will activate trading soon. If you want to try Binance US click this referral link and you’ll get $15 after you trade $100. Not a bad deal—$15 cash to test it.

Update on no-loss lottery from last week: I didn’t win again, but this person won 222 DAI. Maybe it was someone in the Bankless program who completed last week’s assignment!


Make time to complete this assignment before next week

Get an insurance quote on Nexus Mutual. (15 mins) Nexus mutual provides insurance for money protocols—they call it smart-contract cover. It insures you against technical failures of a protocol—hacks, bugs, flaws in the code would all be covered. (Note: centralization & economic risks not covered). Invaluable!

You can take a look at the cover breakdown of Nexus here. There’s over $300k worth of cover on Compound and a total of $2.1m of issued cover so far.

This week all I want you to do is to get an insurance quote from Nexus to see how it works:

  1. Go to Nexus Mutual quotes
  2. Enter “makerdaoscd.nexusmutual.eth” under Address to cover
  3. Type 1 ETH under Cover Amount
  4. Type 365 days for Time
  5. Click “Get Quote”

All that’s happening is a quote generation, nothing binding, no transactions.

Now read your quote.

The above would insure you for 1 ETH for 1 year which you’d receive in the event of technical failure of Maker contracts. My quote generated a cost of 0.013 ETH or $2.71 for this insurance, about 1.3% annual. Effectively, for a cost of 1.3% you can mitigate a decent chunk of the risk on the ETH you put into a Maker loan. Very cool.

A few other quotes you could generate:

  • uniswap.nexusmutual.eth (uniswap)
  • compoundv2.nexusmutual.eth (compound—limits exceed though)
  • argent.nexusmutual.eth (argent wallet)
  • dydx.nexusmutual.eth (dydx)
  • tokensets.nexusmutual.eth (sets)
  • instadappv2.nexusmutual.eth (instadapp)

We’ll do more with Nexus soon. Just want you to get a feel for how it works this week.

Extra Credit Learning


Read my takes but draw your own conclusions



Tweet me your question—I reply to one per week

Stanley asks:

Great question Stanley!

No, I do not thinking holding MKR and ETH are interchangeable. They are very different assets with different upside potential and dependencies.

Fundamentally, the value of MKR is based on the value of fees generated through use of the Maker system. Like a bank, the Maker protocol generates revenue through the interest accrued on loans and through fees due to early liquidation. These fees accrue to Maker holders. This makes Maker fairly easy to value—you can use a discounted cash flow model with a set of assumptions to value MKR kind of the way you’d value a rental investment property or a stock.

Want to dig deeper? The above is a bit oversimplified. Here’s a more on Maker valuation, a basic valuation here (i disagree w/ some assumptions), an analyst report here, and a deep analysis here.

ETH on the other hand cannot be valued. It must be priced.

Here’s what I mean: given ETH is a money you can’t value it using a discounted cash flow model the way you’d value a stock. It’s price is determined by the supply and demand of ETH as 1) a currency to pay using Ethereum and 2) as store-of-value commodity—the price of ETH is based on its speculative demand as a money—its monetary premium. Yes, when staked ETH becomes a capital asset like a T-bill with a revenue stream, but since its returns are still self-referentially denominated in ETH, once again total returns must be priced, not valued.

Still with me? Okay so…

Investing in MKR is like investing in the stock of the world’s first crypto-native bank. You get a cut of the cash flows from interest fees generated by this money protocol.

Investing in ETH is like investing in the money of the world’s first non-sovereign economy. As the economy grows the value of ETH will grow. And given this money is potentially the best model for money the world has seen it’s possible that ETH becomes a globally significant reserve asset in the future.

In short, if ETH becomes a globally significant money its upside is far higher. This is why I recommend the largest portion of your crypto money portfolio remain in the money bets category vs the bank bets. How much in each? That’s a topic for a future Thursday thought-piece.


Some recent tweets…


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Not financial or tax advice. This newsletter is strictly educational and is not investment advice or a solicitation to buy or sell any assets or to make any financial decisions. This newsletter is not tax advice. Talk to your accountant. Do your own research.

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