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News/Ethena's USDe Stablecoin Ignites $600M MakerDAO Bid, Unsettles Aave

Ethena's USDe Stablecoin Ignites $600M MakerDAO Bid, Unsettles Aave

Van Thanh Le

Apr 2 2024

4 months ago3 minutes read
Ethena airdrop celebrated by cubic mosaic robot

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Ethena Labs Storms into Crypto Limelight with ENA Token Blitz

Ethena Labs' audacious entry into the stablecoin arena sent shockwaves through the crypto world. Its ENA token, fueled by a significant airdrop event with the biggest recipient getting nearly $2 million worth of tokens, rocketed to a staggering $1 billion market capitalization, propelling Ethena Labs to the fifth-largest stablecoin issuer's echelon. Traders pounced on the opportunity, driving ENA's initial trading price to a hefty $0.64, with a fully diluted valuation exceeding a mind-boggling $10 billion.

While the token's value recalibrated to $0.73, bringing its market cap to $1 billion and a fully diluted valuation north of $11 billion, the airdrop's 750 million ENA tokens (5% of the total supply) to early adopters cemented Ethena Labs' meteoric rise. Concurrently, its synthetic dollar, USDe, boasted a formidable $1.6 billion market capitalization, underscoring the protocol's rapidly expanding footprint.

Ethena Labs' strategic maneuvers didn't stop there. The airdrop marked the culmination of a six-week-long Shards Campaign, meticulously designed to incentivize traders to post collateral for future ENA distributions. Simultaneously, ENA's listing across major exchanges like BinanceBybit, and Kucoin signaled Ethena Labs' unwavering commitment to decentralization.

With ENA integrated into Ethena's governance model and a portion dedicated to Ecosystem Development, the protocol's transition towards decentralization was officially underway. This milestone also ushered in the "Sats Campaign," a second phase aimed at seamlessly integrating Bitcoin as collateral within Ethena's ecosystem, a move projected to unlock a staggering $25 billion in open interest for Bitcoin perpetual futures and potentially generate an annual gross cash flow of around $2.75 billion.

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Ethena's synthetic stablecoin, USDe, underpinned the protocol's economy, providing a $1-pegged stablecoin and generating yield for holders through strategic hedging and staking mechanisms. However, amidst the innovative approach and rapid growth, on-chain analysts like TardFiWhale, known for predicting the TerraLuna collapse, raised concerns over potential vulnerabilities within Ethena's structure, specifically regarding transparency and risk disclosure of its operations.

The airdrop's largest single recipient received a staggering $2 million worth of ENA tokens, underscoring the substantial interest and participation in Ethena's ecosystem development. Post-airdrop, ENA traded at $0.58 before going up, firmly cementing its position as the 88th largest cryptocurrency by market cap.


As Ethena Labs navigates its meteoric ascent, scrutiny over its risk management and transparency practices persists, with community members and analysts calling for more open disclosure of potential risks and flaws, ensuring the protocol's long-term sustainability and trust within the ever-evolving crypto landscape.

DeFi Giants MakerDAO and Aave Navigate Uncharted Waters

MakerDAO is weighing a bold proposal to allocate a staggering $600 million of its DAI stablecoin into USDe and its staked counterpart, sUSDe. This strategic maneuver, introduced by risk intelligence firm Block Analitica's MonetSupply, aims to enhance liquidity and fortify financial resilience within the decentralized finance sector by leveraging Morpho Labs' advanced lending capabilities.

Underpinning this audacious initiative is MakerDAO's broader strategy to diversify investments and bolster the resilience of the DeFi ecosystem, specifically targeting support for Ethena Labs' stablecoins. The community's preference veers towards USDe over sUSDe pools, reflecting a higher inclination for utilizing higher leverage in financial products within the DeFi arena.

The proposed allocation promises significant financial and strategic benefits, including substantial incentives for using USDe and sUSDe as collateral on Morpho, potential reduction in liquidity risk, and enhanced revenue for Ethena's insurance fund. 

Recognizing the inherent risks, the proposal recommends an initial exposure limit of $600 million to USDe, with the potential to escalate to $800 million to safeguard against significant losses and ensure financial stability. An ultimate cap of $1 billion DAI is suggested to minimize governance overhead for future exposure adjustments.

However, not all DeFi titans share MakerDAO's enthusiasm for this bold move. In a contrasting stance, the Aave decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) is contemplating the removal of DAI as collateral, driven by concerns over potential contagion from MakerDAO's adoption of USDe.


The debate within Aave underscores the intricate and interconnected risks within the DeFi ecosystem, especially as major protocols like MakerDAO make significant strategic allocations. While MakerDAO's investment initiative could propel the DeFi space to new heights, Aave's cautionary stance reflects the ever-present need for risk mitigation and prudence.

Ethena's Bold Disruption and Divisive Strategies Reshape DeFi Landscape

Ethena's strategic decision to integrate Bitcoin as collateral aims to enhance the safety and scalability of its synthetic dollar, USDe. By capitalizing on the expansive $25 billion Bitcoin open interest, the protocol intends to significantly increase USDe's issuance beyond its current $2 billion mark, offering users a more secure and versatile product.

However, Ethena's innovative approach has not been without controversy. Concerns have been raised about the protocol's transparency and the inherent risks of its strategies. CryptoQuant CEO Ki Young Ju drew parallels to the LUNA collapse, questioning the viability of Ethena's model in bear markets and its potential to destabilize the Bitcoin market.

USDe, Ethena's synthetic stablecoin, aims to maintain a $1 peg while generating yield through hedging and staking mechanisms. Yet, Fantom founder Andre Cronje has expressed concerns about negative funding rates leading to an "unbacked asset," similar to the Terra-Luna scenario.

The DeFi community remains divided on Ethena's approach. While some recognize its potential for scalability and innovation, others highlight the risks associated with its yield mechanisms and reliance on volatile market conditions. This complex debate underscores the intricate dynamics and interdependencies within the rapidly evolving DeFi ecosystem.

Despite the skepticism, Ethena Labs remains confident in its strategy, emphasizing the robust backing provided by Bitcoin and the scalability of its USDe product. The company advocates for the distinctiveness of USDe's yield generation compared to past failures, positioning it as a sustainable and transparent model for the future of decentralized finance.

Wintermute CEO Evgeny Gaevoy stated that holding long stETH and short ETH perpetual positions, using stETH as collateral, eliminates the risk of liquidation. The main concerns are related to custody and execution, with Wintermute being an investor in the protocol.  

Ryan Watkins from Syncracy Capital suggested that those spreading fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) about Ethena may be overly concerned due to past negative experiences with UST. He mentioned that while there are risks with any new protocol, it might be more productive to focus on other potential issues rather than fixating on Ethena as a "boogeyman."  


Ethena Labs' strategic airdrop and exchange listings fueled ENA's growth, while MakerDAO's proposed USDe investment highlights its potential. However, concerns linger regarding Ethena's transparency and potential risks within the interconnected DeFi ecosystem.


1. What is Ethena Labs and how did it rise to prominence?

Ethena Labs, a newcomer in the stablecoin arena, gained significant attention with its ENA token airdrop. The airdrop, coupled with exchange listings, propelled ENA to become the 110th largest cryptocurrency by market cap.

2. What are some of Ethena's initiatives and future plans?

Ethena's synthetic stablecoin, USDe, is a key element of its protocol. The upcoming "Sats Campaign" aims to integrate Bitcoin as collateral, potentially unlocking substantial revenue for Ethena. However, analysts have raised concerns about transparency and potential vulnerabilities within Ethena's structure.

3. How is MakerDAO involved with Ethena Labs?

MakerDAO is considering a $600 million investment in USDe and sUSDe, aiming to bolster DeFi's liquidity and resilience. This proposal reflects MakerDAO's strategy to support stablecoins and diversify investments.

4. Why is Aave apprehensive about MakerDAO's proposal?

Aave, another DeFi protocol, is concerned about potential risks associated with MakerDAO's USDe investment. Aave is contemplating removing DAI as collateral, highlighting the interconnected risks within the DeFi ecosystem, where major decisions by one protocol can impact others.

This article has been refined and enhanced by ChatGPT. 

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