On Tuesday, Uniswap Labs founder and CEO Hayden Adams made an official announcement stating that the company has acquired Genie, one of the leading NFT marketplace aggregators in the space.
Uniswap is considered to be one of the best DeFi exchanges and ranks as the largest decentralized exchange by trading volume. The platform allows users to swap a wide range of tokens by simply connecting their Web3 wallets. Genie, on the other hand, allows users to “batch buy and trade NFTs across all major marketplaces in a single transaction and save up to 40% on gas fees.”
Genie NFT marketplace as a growth catalyst
Uniswap is currently in the process of extending its product offering to include non-fungible tokens (NFTs). The company said that the acquisition will also help to enable the purchase and sale of ERC-20 tokens on the web app starting later this autumn. Users of the platform will be able to buy and sell NFTs on all major marketplaces via its web app. In addition, features such as developer APIs and widgets will also be embedded into the platform, to ensure a cutting-edge experience on Uniswap NFT.
Investing into NFT aggregation allows Uniswap to profit off of NFT marketplaces, diversifying its positions as the market recovers. The Genie acquisition comes just two months after OpenSea announced it was buying the NFT aggregator Gem, which also allows users to purchase multiple NFTs in a single transaction. Like Uniswap, OpenSea also plans to integrate NFT aggregation features into its main platform. Adams, said in the announcement: “We’re excited to bring what we’ve learned building DeFi products to NFTs.”
Uniswap Labs has launched its first instance of NFT liquidity pools, called Unisocks, in the spring of 2019. They also view NFTs as “an important gateway to web3” rather than “a separate ecosystem from ERC20s.” “We’re trying to bring everything we brought to the ERC-20 space to the NFT space,” Uniswap founder and CEO Hayden Adams said on Tuesday in a Bankless interview discussing the announcement.
NFTs, the unique blockchain tokens that signify ownership, can be purchased on a number of different marketplaces like OpenSea, LooksRare, or Coinbase NFT, but few offer users the ability to purchase multiple items in one transaction, and none offer aggregation tools that allow traders to see listings on rival marketplaces, while Genie offers both.
“We see NFTs as another form of value in the growing digital economy, and it’s a no-brainer for us to integrate them,” Uniswap Labs wrote on Twitter.
To welcome the existing Genie community to the Uniswap metaverse, the company will be distributing USDC tokens to them via airdrops later this summer. To be eligible to receive this gift, users will either have had to have used Genie more than once before 15th April or alternatively hold a Genie GEM NFT.
The Uniswap Labs CEO outlined that its goal is to make Uniswap more useful, accessible and easier to use. It will build out an entire suite of tools and products focused on utility and user experience. “There’s no point in anything we’re working on if nobody uses it”, he added.
The CeFi anger
Not everyone is happy with the Genie acquisition. Uniswap user and software engineer Micah Zoltu pointed out that Uniswap is permissionless whereas Genie contracts are centralized. On this basis, it goes against the permissionless ethos of Uniswap’s current offering. The Genie owner is an externally owned account (EOA), meaning that one individual has the ability to shut down the whole system. This is a concern unless major changes are implemented prior to Genie being integrated.
The past few weeks have been a dark time for NFT lovers and players in the cryptocurrency industry, but for startups and executives that are dug into the vision of a crypto future, it has also been an opportunity to double down. Uniswap’s move into the NFT space is aimed at diversification. Currently, the majority of NFT volumes happen on OpenSea. With this acquisition Uniswap will be a tough competitor to OpenSea.