Uniswap, is the leading decentralized exchange protocol (DEX) built on Ethereum. Uniswap has progressively assumed a key role in the cryptocurrency world thanks to its particular mode of operation that allows users to operate token exchanges without intermediaries, with a high degree of decentralization. Uniswap has been appearing on the crypto scene since the second half of 2018 thanks to its inventor, Hayden Adams. So let’s delve into its history, to understand how the idea behind Uniswap was born and what sparked Hayden’s interest in the crypto world.
The Uniswap idea
After earning a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Stony Brook University in New York in 2016, at age 25, Hayden Adams began working as a mechanical engineer for Siemens. However, the job did not satisfy him completely. In fact, after only a year, Adams was fired from his position as a junior engineer and returned to live with his family in the suburbs of New York City. During this period in which Hayden was trying to understand which was his true path to follow, the role of his friend Karl Floersch was crucial. Both had attended Stony Brook University and Floersch after graduating was immediately interested in Ethereum, managing to be hired by the Ethereum Foundation. It was Floersch who introduced Adams to the crypto world and he soon became passionate about it, dedicating himself to the development of Smart Contracts. After the first months of learning he decided to start thinking about a more articulated Smart Contract, to manage a more ambitious project, what would become Uniswap: in the wake of Vitalik Buterin, founder of Ethereum, Adams’ goal was to create a new decentralized exchange protocol.
The development of Uniswap
Initially, Adams built a proof-of-concept that included a smart contract and the first draft of the project’s website. The contract had a single liquidity provider and allowed for simple swaps. This was the first step followed by studying the UX implications of automated market makers and the unlimited potential of Ethereum. Hayden Adams notes that the major projects on Ethereum that existed at the time embodied some of its properties, but few were able to fully embrace them. Moreover, almost all of them turned out to be too complex and unreliable from a security perspective. Adams realizes that Uniswap can be not only a personal learning project but a genuinely useful tool for others.
In April 2018 Adams is well on his way with his project and decides to buy a last minute flight to Seoul, South Korea where Deconomy 2018 would start soon. With great perseverance, he tries to get into the conference even without a ticket but he does not make it. But his friend Karl, who was arriving at the event along with other members of the Ethereum foundation, manages to get him in and introduce him to Vitalik who was already aware of the project. Initially it was to be called Unipeg, but the founder of Ethereum himself, during their conversation, advises Adams to rename it Uniswap.
Difficulties in communication
Hayden Adams had concerns about the underlying security of the project and the relationship with potential investors: how was it possible to convince people to exchange their assets on trust and how to protect them from losing their capital? When someone asked him how Uniswap actually worked, he often remained confused even after his explanation. Adams soon realized that if he wanted people to use his project, he had to talk about it on their own terms so that they would understand, abandoning the technical language of the developers, but identifying the key words that made up the value of Uniswap:
– Smart contracts finalized and ready for production
– Responsive and easy-to-use trading interface
– Extensive control of smart contract security
Smart contracts start to be optimized and towards the end of July 2018 Uniswap receives a grant from the Ethereum Foundation. In November 2018 Uniswap is launched at the Devcon4 conference in Prague.
Adams’ story, therefore, is not far from that of the many who enter the world of cryptocurrencies driven by curiosity about their potential: Hayden Adams, despite starting out as a self-taught person, has in fact managed to create one of the most relevant and innovative solutions of these years that is opening up new ways towards further evolution of the crypto world.
At the end of 2020 Uniswap is the largest DEX Exchange, and the fourth Exchange in general in terms of volume of cryptocurrencies traded every day. In just 2 years then, Uniswap has become a leading system in the cryptocurrency world.