Orca is Uniswap V3 on Solana, Thanks to Open Source Code and Grants

Solana-powered Orca has a grants program, and its ready to award $225,000 to 11 projects building DeFi protocols in a bid to rival Ethereum


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key takeaways

  • “We’re just on a lower-fee chain that functions very similar to Ethereum,” Milan Patel, head of business development at Orca told Blockworks
  • Ethereum remains the dominant blockchain for DeFi applications with a total locked value (TVL) of $34.1 billion

Orca, an automated market maker (AMM) on the Solana blockchain, has announced Wave 1 winners of its Whirlpools Builders Program

The first version of Orca was similar to Uniswap V2 — an AMM that allows liquidity providers (LPs) to facilitate trades at all prices.

Whirlpool, a “concentrated liquidity” feature launched in March this year, is similar to Ethereum-powered Uniswap V3, where LPs can choose a price range when they deposit their tokens, Milan Patel, head of business development at Orca told Blockworks. 

Concentrated liquidity means LPs can provide liquidity at any price range — allowing them to earn greater yields and traders to transact at lower costs.

“Similar to how there’s Charm, Gamma and Arrakis [on Ethereum], we want to build something similar for us on Solana,” Patel said. “We would like to improve the usability of Whirlpools, and extend their functionality.”

And so, Orca launched its funding initiative, the Whirlpools Builders Program, to entice protocols on Solana to use its concentrated liquidity pools and find new applications. In total, $225,000 in grants were given to 11 projects, including:

  • Tulip: a concentrated liquidity vault that reduces divergence loss and auto-compounds rewards.
  • Kamino: a vault that gives liquidity providers (LP) exposure to the benefits of concentrated liquidity without continuous rebalancing.
  • Investin: vaults with active liquidity provision executed by vault managers. LPs would be able to monitor activity through an interface that shows vault positions and performance charts.

“I think a lot of grant programs choose one protocol and give them a very large grant, but this is DeFi, everyone should get a grant and everyone should build and whoever executes the best, we will support them in getting more users. This is why we have 11 grants, even though they’re a little bit smaller,” Patel said.

Orca hopes the push to encourage builders to innovate through the Whirlpools Builders Program will bring more DeFi users to the Solana blockchain.

Currently, Ethereum remains the dominant DeFi blockchain, with total locked value (TVL) across its applications reaching $34.1 billion at the time of writing.

By comparison, Solana’s TVL sits at $1.44 billion, significantly less than its rival blockchain. Uniswap currently accounts for about 16% ($5.46 billion) of the TVL on Ethereum and Orca’s existing TVL is around 6% of Solana’s ($87.92 million).

Patel reasoned the Orca team operates more like their Ethereum counterparts than most Solana developers, as everything related to the project is open source, with a mind to build out the ecosystem through a grants program.

“There are a bunch of parallels between us and Uniswap V3,” Patel said. “We’re just on a lower-fee chain that functions very similar to Ethereum.”

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