There are many facets to the notion of liquidity. Liquidity may be defined as the ability to convert an asset into cash readily on demand. If this definition seems myopic, you can see it as an asset that can be sold or bought at its fair price. Therefore, liquidity signifies that there are no premiums or discounts attached to an asset when selling or buying it. This makes it easy to enter and exit the asset at will.
For any tradable asset, liquidity is paramount. Liquid markets are smoother and deeper when compared to illiquid markets, which can put traders in a place from which it may be difficult to navigate out. For instance, Bitcoin has experienced significant growth within nine years of its existence. In 2009, there were only 50 Bitcoins but today, there are over 13,000,000 bitcoins in circulation. Virtual currencies or cryptocurrencies have witnessed waves of illiquidity. What are the factors that influence liquidity?
Exchanges: The increasing number of cryptocurrency exchanges has provided opportunities for more individuals to trade in cryptocurrency. The increase in volume and frequency of trading has contributed to enhancing liquidity. Acceptance: The acceptance of cryptocurrencies at online shops, brick and mortar stores, bookings, etc. has contributed to its usability while reducing its volatility. Coins become more liquid when frequently used as a means of payment. Regulations: Both direct and indirect regulations have played a crucial role. The position of cryptocurrency in each country is different – banned in certain areas, allowed in others, while in dispute elsewhere. Because of the increasing presence of cryptocurrency in the form of exchanges, ATMs, casinos, transactions in shops, financings, etc. these clarified regulations will continue to influence liquidity. Awareness: Many people are practically unaware of what cryptocurrency is all about and how it works. In the midst of these are prospective investors, buyers, and traders of digital coins. Lack of clear guidelines by relevant authorities and limited knowledge has limited engagement to devotees to this moment, but as this changes, so will liquidity via increased volume and acceptance.
Then, How can one technically solve the issue of liquidity facing cryptocurrency? Below we will explore a solution provided by Bancor for addressing the challenges of liquidity faced by cryptocurrencies, conventional tokens, and community currencies. According to Bancor, the issue of liquidity can be addressed through the use of Smart Tokens, by programming tokens to be autonomously convertible for other tokens within the same network. This is achieved through the use of Connectors, which are modules in a token’s smart contract that hold balances of other tokens they are connected to.
What is the Bancor Protocol Smart Token all about?
Let’s begin with the Bancor Protocol which is the standard for what Bancor calls Smart Tokens. The method is as follows: A Smart Token is programmed with one or more connectors, which are modules in their smart contracts. Each connector holds a balance of another connected, the connected token, which can be deposited by the Smart Token creator. These balances are used by the Bancor Formula to calculate the exact price of a Smart Token in any of its connected tokens. The Smart Token can be bought and sold by depositing or withdrawing the calculated amount from its connector balances. For example, if a Smart Token has one connector which holds a balance of Ethereum, that Smart Token can be bought by sending Ethereum to the Smart Token’s contract, or sold by sending Smart Tokens back to the contract and receiving the corresponding amount of Ethereum in return.
If you haven’t heard of smart contracts, these are