Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC) Goes Live on Ethereum Blockchain; Much-Needed Liquidity to DEX, DeFi Sectors


Well, they left it to the penultimate day of the month, but those behind the Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC) project have made good on their promise of a January launch after today saw the ERC20-compliant version of the bitcoin (BTC) cryptocurrency go live on the Ethereum (ETH) mainnet.

For those that need reminding, the Wrapped Bitcoin project was unveiled late last October by its three founding projects – Kyber Network (KNC), BitGo and (the formerly named) Republic Protocol (REN). It was borne out of a desire to add much-needed liquidity to the Ethereum network; a problem that has negatively impacted the user-experience on various Ethereum-powered non-custodial exchanges (e.g. IDEX, ForkDelta, Ethfinex Trustless) and lending platforms (e.g. Dharma, Lendroid, Compound).

Looking to the orderbook – where all minting and burning of WBTC is recorded – the first day of WBTC’s existence on the Ethereum mainnet has seen the supply of the bitcoin-backed ERC20 token balloon to 65.42, at the time of writing – the equivalent of $223,169 (USD).

Notably 50 of this 65.42 WTBC – or, 76.4 percent – was minted by Kyber early on Monday morning. Together with crypto liquidity firm Prycto – who has minted 12.18 WBTC – the two projects account for a whopping 95 percent of all WBTC in existence.

Whilst there is an impressive total of 24 launch partners for the WBTC project, just seven of these are so-called ‘merchants’, that is, the projects responsible for interacting with custodians so as to mint and burn WBTC and provide KYC/AML for users.

With Kyber and Prycto being two of these seven, the remaining five are as follows: AirSwap (AST), Dharma, Ethfinex, GOPAX, Ren (formerly Republic Protocol), and Set Protocol. Once these projects begin minting, expect to see the WBTC network total increase significantly. Currently, the only destination available for these seven projects to go to create wrapped tokens is WBTC co-founding corporation, BitGo.

It will be interesting to note the rate of adoption WBTC sees moving forward. Certainly, it appears a godsend for the nascent open finance space running on Ethereum, not to mention the numerous non-custodial exchanges that, due primarily to debilitated liquidity, are seeing all-time lows in terms of USD traded value – according to the most recent issue (i.e., v3.3) of Diar.

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