Reflection, Inspection, and Anticipation
Today we celebrate the 1-year anniversary since the birth of Thales… Well, at least of the decentralized permissionless parimutuel positioning protocol built on Ethereum. It’s also the 2646-year anniversary of the birth of Thales of Miletus, the philosopher, mathematician, astronomer, sage, first options trader, meta-physicist, undisputed BC-era alpha male, and generally the ultimate chad (or is it Chadistotle?).
We are honored to pay homage to the historical person by carrying his name and using themes and events from his life as motivation, e.g. building the awesome in-game pixel-art tutorial game where we play out the historical events that led to Thales inventing Options trading in Miletus.eth and building his academy of what is today thousands if not millions of disciples.
Well, maybe it’s one interpretation of those historical events, but we can neither confirm nor deny that it was Vitalik who traveled ~2600 years into the past to share the vision of the decentralized permissionless parimutuel positioning protocol with Thales.
However, even though it now seems like the naming of our protocol was decided and locked-in so many years ago, the provisional name of the protocol once initially pitched to Synthetix was different: Episteme finance. That name was rightfully deemed not sexy enough by the amazing Jordan, the Synthetix Spartan General, and thus we looked for alternatives. On the road to finding “Thales” we spitballed a few other possibilities: OptionX, BinEx, Emporio (“Market” in Ancient Greek)… We hereby forfeit any copyright to these names should someone want to use them 😃
The initial roadmap locked in with Synthetix when agreed the initial seed investment was split into 3 deliverables:
1. A new dapp by September-October 2021 using existing Binary Options contracts in Synthetix and peer to peer order book trading
2. Token Release in Q1 2022.
3. L2 release in Q2-Q3 2022
We started with a team of 3 engineers, myself on the backend and Vladan and Gorstak as frontend magicians (cause frontend is literally magic to me, CSS rules are basically an homage to Random Number God and JS has a mind of its own when working with data types). We were soon joined by dMonkey as the marketing lead.
Not long into development, we realized the inherited Synthetix’ contracts could be reworked to offer a model much better suited for market making and trading. We also found other potential improvements that would save gas, which for an L1 release was quite important. So we decided to bite the bullet and rework the contracts even though it might push back the initial roadmap.
The result was that we delivered the dapp with our famous 50 shades of blue theme (shoutout and joke for our amazing designer Ivana) and with new contracts in June 2021!
We then moved to the second item on the roadmap which is the token. As the protocol would never exist without Synthetix (and founding CCs basically learned to DeFi in Synthetix discord) we felt that we owe it a huge debt, and we wanted to ensure we maintain a healthy c-ratio (I know, know, but let me have this attempt of a joke) and reward every single person that has ever staked SNX!
As soon as we made this bold statement we got inquiries about whether automated SNX staking strategies which were xSNX (xtoken) and ySNX (yearn) will be included… We realized that we made a strong promise, and there is no backing down now, so we sat down and started working with those projects on getting every single address that ever staked SNX through them.
The result was a list of more than 16,000 unique wallets which all received retroactive THALES rewards!
In preparation for token release we also secured very strong and well-known backers:
- Kain (Synthetix)
- Jordan (Synthetix)
- Justin (Synthetix)
- Nodar (Zapper, DeFrag finance)
- Nick Tong (Perp protocol)
- Xavier (PrePo)
- Tyler Ward (Barnbridge, XYZ universe, League DAO, Fiat DAO, Enter DAO…)
- Ryon (Horizons Law)
We also conducted a crowd pooling where we partnered up with DODO and raised 5,000,000 USDC for 2% of total supply indicating a 250m FDV in a 21m USDC oversubscribed raise.
Between Synthetix’ initial seed, Strategy round, and Crowd Pooling we can safely say we got 4 years left of development budget based on stable coins amount in treasury alone!
Token was launched in September 2021 with staking launched the following month. The launch included a suite of contracts for Airdrop, Ongoing rewards, Retro linear vesting rewards, and Staking and Escrow contracts, all built in-house and optimized for gas costs on L1.
It was about that time that Optimism opened up deployments to the world and standardized their compiler so that existing L1 contracts could be easily deployed to their mainnet. However, there were still some dependencies as we needed to wait for an order book provider to be available on Optimism.
We decided to use that time to build something new, something like “pool together”, but better and more fun (the idea came during Squid Games binge, obviously). We came up with Thales Royale, a sequential positioning game where you either position correctly and move to the next round, or feel like a morale winner because you stick to your beliefs (like refusing to position DOWN no matter what!) and lose. Those still standing after 6 rounds split great rewards.
We also decided to try to deliver a more superior trading experience well known across DeFi as Automated Market Maker.
Thales protocol was launched on Optimism with peer-to-peer order book trading and AMM in December 2021. With that, we concluded the initial pitched scope 6 months ahead of initial estimates and we delivered not only the cherry on top but much more.
Yes, you read that right, a DeFi project that delivers 6 months ahead of initial estimates.
The initial planning assumed the token would only be supported on L1. However, we felt we should make THALES as approachable as possible and also allow all of those that still haven’t claimed their rewards due to gas costs on L1 to do so with cheap fees on Optimism L2.
The migration planning required unprecedented discipline and execution and we were proud to announce its completion early February 2022.
However, as by that time we already established we want to do a combination of DeFi and Gamification (plus actual gaming, shout to Tale of Thales), we added a bit of a twist to THALES staking: Instead of paying liquidity and trading rewards directly, we added those as bonuses to staking rewards, thus linking protocol usage rewards with DAO staking and voting power. This led to a 50% increase in the number of DAO stakers in 3 weeks since gamified staking was released.
We now arrive at the present time.
Currently we have a team of 22 Core Contributors each as committed and talented as they get, and I will try to deliver a new roadmap of features and some estimates, hopefully just as wrong as the initial roadmap shared with Synthetix.
Positional Markets and AMM
We are currently working on a brand new UI for trading based on much useful feedback we received from our users. The new UI will also adapt the new terminology on both UI and contract side which is positional markets and UP and DOWN token. We are hopeful to deliver this in the next few weeks. Sneak peek below.
This allows us to take the next step in building structured products. We want our offer to be extended from simple UP or DOWN tokens to ranged positions, e.g. you can play the low volatility Iron Condor strategy on ETH price movement in which you position that ETH will remain within certain bounds, or high volatility play AKA the Reversed Iron Condor in which you take a position that ETH will move outside predefined bounds by a certain date.
How about parlays in which you combine positions on two or more assets? This is in a very early stage and feasibility study, but it is definitely something we will pursue.
Our AMM contract is currently being audited and is pending some improvements to the pricing algorithm laid out in TIP-30.
However, we will soon start working on allowing users to provide liquidity into the AMM and tie that into the AMM bonus for stakers, while increasing the maximum potential bonus.
What started as a fun experiment made its way into protocol standard offering with a seasonal approach where the Royale contract is fully decentralized and doesn’t require any Protocol DAO maintenance.
Pro tip: Still don’t know what Thales Royale is? Check our documentation!
Per community feedback, we could release more types of Thales Royale such as Speed royales or Bullet royales.
Thales has been leveraging NFTs since inception, but the first on-chain use case was the Thales Royale NFT pass which could be minted and gifted to anyone to participate in a single Thales Royale season by burning it on the Royale contract. It almost looks too good to be burned ngl.
We are also working on mutable NFTs that would serve as unique identity for a royale player and could open up the possibility of trading positions within a running royale
The nature of Thales Royale contract is such that it can be easily deployed to any chain.
Tale of Thales
While this continues to be a fun side activity, we want to see just how far the brilliant Sanguine will take it. The next plans revolve around being able to actually interact with the Protocol and the rest of Synthetix Ecosystem directly from the game, building a metaverse world, playing with your own characters as NFTs, etc…
Exotic Positional Markets
TIP-28 laid out the architecture of setting up Optimistic (pun intended) participants curated positional markets. We already made significant progress on this on both contract and UI side and are hopeful to release it within a month.
We are very proud to offer permissionless exotic market creation, which is unique in the space. We don’t want to choose which markets will be interesting for you, you can make the choice for yourself. Find sneak peeks of the UI below.
Sport Positional Markets
We continue working with Chainlink and data providers on setting up decentralized feeds where Thales Markets can be created and resolved without any DAO interaction. There are challenges regarding aggregating data from different APIs to ensure robustness of the framework, but progress is being made and results will follow.
The framework we create here will surely be used by other projects in the space as decentralized Sport markets are definitely an upcoming thing in DeFi.
Once we have the feeds secured we will draft the architecture of how the markets will be set up.
It is our vision to aim for 1-click deployments across any EVM compatible chain. We are working towards building such a scalable framework and plan to trial it with a Polygon deployment in near future. This will initially include a subset of products which are the Positional Markets, AMM and Thales Royale.
Thales will use sUSD wherever applicable, but until sUSD is fungible we will use whatever the most liquid stable coin is available on the said chain.
While further diversifying and increasing potential bonuses to support new products we release, we also have a vision to remove the necessity of weekly claims.
The idea is rewards accruing every block, but with bonus taken into account. We need more time to come up with an exact proposal and architecture for this.
There are many other ideas, initiatives, integrations, co-operations, CEX listings, etc. floating around that I didn’t even get to in this blog. It is however all quite fluid as this space requires thinking on your feet, and also we don’t really want to decide what Thales is or will be alone, we want to shape our protocol with our community.
Don’t sleep on Thales anon, or we just might change DeFi without you!
- Danijel, founding Core Contributor