– Words by Glenn
There is a new breed of Solana NFT.
You may not have noticed it creeping up on us.
A paradigm-shifting change in the seasons. These are teams who deliver before they mint, rather than after.
They build in the quiet, then they make a fanfare.
The hype rests on the substance of their endeavours, rather than empty promises.
Elixir are one such team.
It is easy to forget how young the Elixir NFT ecosystem actually is.
Only launched on 1st September, this team has delivered an extraordinary amount in just one quarter.
Together with Hadeswap, Elixir started by ushering in a new paradigm for NFT trading on Solana: the AMM (automatic market maker) marketplace. Their app (https://app.elixirnft.io/) has become arguably the leading such platform.
And while it started with a Marketplace, Elixir expanded to Mines, a Brewery, a Factory, and a Launchpad.
Feeling overwhelmed? Read on, and all will be made clear, as we do a deep dive into Elixir.
What is this project all about? Who are this team who arrived with everything assembled and ready to go? And what is next for this impressive young project?
This is Elixir, with words by Glenn.
What is Elixir?
Before we dive into the details, a few introductions.
Elixir is the umbrella term for an ecosystem of NFT products and services based on the Solana blockchain.
Their flagship product is the Elixir marketplace, an automated market maker which was the first of its kind in the space.
Since its successful launch they have dropped other products, including custom single sided staking, ‘gamified’ minting, a launchpad service, and a community council.
Oh, and a 10k NFT collection with a market cap approaching $2m.
Who are they?
What of the team that achieved all this?
Well, you can meet them here:
They are a large team, doxxed, and come from running other successful Web3 businesses.
Co-founders Swervor, Goon, and Jaidha are no strangers to liquidity providing platforms.
After all, some of them are also involved with Bridgesplit (https://www.bridgesplit.com/), a platform that allows Web3 companies to “transform illiquid or complex assets into investable ones”.
Before we take a walk through the Elixir journey so far, some housekeeping.
All the documentation you could ever need on Elixir can be found on their extensive documentation, found here:
Team details can be found here:
Other important links:
So that’s the basics out of the way.
Let’s take a deep dive into the nuts and bolts of this project.
It started with the marketplace.
Just one day after their first tweet on 30th August, Elixir’s ecosystem began with the launch of their flagship product, on 1st September of 2022.
This was a very different kind of marketplace to the prevailing archetype. In a similar model to the Ethereum blockchain’s Sudoswap, Elixir created and launched a fully decentralised, trustless, Automated Market Maker (AMM).
So what is an AMM, and how does it apply to NFTs?
In simple terms, an AMM is a buying and selling platform which automates several functions, taking the labour away from the buyer or seller and making it, well, automated.
With me so far?
To understand it properly, you need to understand some basic principles which will be familiar to DeFi (decentralised finance) aficionados, or even stock traders.
Firstly, buy and sell orders:
If the price of an asset is $100, I can place a ‘buy order’ which will attempt to purchase an asset if the price dips to, say $90. Similarly, if I already own that asset, I can ask my trading platform to sell if my asset value reaches $110, or any other price I choose.
So far, so simple?
Now, here’s the issue with NFTs. Cryptocurrencies or fiat currency are fully ‘liquid’, i.e. you can buy and sell them instantly for the market value at any given time.
The historical drawback of NFTs has been that they are sometimes fairly ‘illiquid’. That is, you cannot simply sell them instantly, you need to list them on a marketplace and wait for someone to buy them.
How do AMMs solve this?
They allow buyers and sellers to deposit liquidity into pools, to create frictionless trade that is instantaneous.
An AMM like Sudoswap on Ethereum will allow a seller to deposit 5 NFTs into a pool, and tell the AMM what price they would like the sales to start and end.
The AMM can automatically increase the selling price with each subsequent sale by a set percentage (known as a bonding curve).
The same can be done for buying tokens. The buyer sets their preferred buying price(s) which can decrease with each sale according to a pre-determined price change (normally a %).
The problem with the above approach?
NFTs can have multiple pools, each with its liquidity provided by different individuals. This is inefficient and labour intensive. It can also be quite confusing for the buyer.
Elixir’s solution to this? The fAMM.
What is a fAMM?
NB- For the video-inclined reader, a nice explainer by @EasyEatsBodega can be found here:
fAMM stands to ‘floor automated market maker’. It is an AMM which aims specifically to allow users to buy and sell ‘floor’ NFTs, i.e. the most common tokens.
It does this by merging all the buying and selling pools into one, single, collection-wide pool.
Elixir’s fAMM is the first of its kind on any blockchain, as far as this author is aware.
The platform means that prospective buyers can instantly purchase ‘floor’ NFTs from a collection, and sellers can instantly sell, both for a predictable price.
Take Claynosaurs for example:
Here, we can see the simplicity of the Elixir user interface. If you want to buy a Claynosaur NFT, it will cost 24.49 Sol, and you if want to sell instantly, you will get 23.65 Sol. The Magic Eden marketplace price is also shown for comparison.
If there is a difference between the Elixir price and another marketplace, then arbitrage is possible. This is the strategy that theoretically, a trader could purchase a token from Elixir and try to immediately sell it for a higher price on a different exchange or marketplace, for a small profit.
See here for an explainer on arbitrage using Elixir:
Additionally, if you own an NFT from a collection on Elixir, you can currently exchange it for any of the other tokens in the liquidity pool for free.
Spotted one you like in the pool? Instantly swap yours in and that one out, for free.
That all sounds simple and wonderful, but how can Elixir do this, and what opportunities does it afford users?
Liquidity provision, Impermanent Loss, and Elixir Earn.
Ok this could get very technical, very quickly.
In order to provide instant buying, selling, and exchanging of NFTs, Elixir needs people to provide two things: the NFTs, and a bunch of Sol.
All the people providing the NFTs and Solana (the liquidity), are called liquidity providers. These people stand to receive a share of the trading fees taken when users buy and sell on the platform.
This is also the principle behind much of the APR/ APY earned on decentralised finance liquidity pool provision: you provide a bag of each token; every time someone exchanges them, you take a cut of the fees.
In effect, Elixir have turned your illiquid JPEGs into a financial instrument to earn you passive income at the click of a button.
This is dubbed Elixir Earn.
So if you’re not planning to sell your NFTs, and they are otherwise lying around in your wallet, why not use them to earn some extra income? What is the risk?
Impermanent loss is the theoretical risk taken by pretty much all liquidity providers in decentralised finance models.
In simple terms, it is the risk that the two assets you are providing to the pool (in this case, the NFT and Sol), will diverge in value significantly enough that when you remove them from the pool they will be worth less than when you put them in.
In other words, you’d be better off just holding them in your wallet.
This concept is not a problem with Elixir, it is more of a generalised risk in liquidity provision for any asset pair in these kind of financial instruments.
For a more detailed explanation, the Elixir team recommend this article, helpfully titled: “Beginner’s Guide to (Getting Rekt By) Impermanent Loss”.
Let’s move on.
After all, Elixir is much more than just a Marketplace.
Nectars, the Mines, and $OVO.
It is easy to forget that Elixir launched their marketplace before any NFT collection.
Just 4 days later, however, the 777 Nectars were revealed.
These would become one of the most sought after whitelists in recent memory, as investors knew that obtaining one of these beauties was guaranteed to be handsome profit.
The details surrounding the mechanics of the collection and the mint were kept back by the team until the end of September, when The Mines were announced.
Put simply, users would be invited to send NFTs and Sol to “The Mines” for a specified timeframe. These would be used by the Elixir platform to provide liquidity for the marketplace. In return, the owners would earn the Ovostone ($OVO) token.
How useful was $OVO? Well, the team call it “The Currency of Elixir”.
For starters, it would be used to mint Nectars.
Staking and tokens may sound familiar to residents of the Solana NFT space, but they are often criticised for being a mechanic that brings no real value to holders. Earning a valueless token benefits no one.
$OVO would be different for two reasons: firstly this was pre-mint, and secondly it brought tangible benefits.
In fact, in one stroke the team had found a way to provide an enormous amount of liquidity to their marketplace, whilst rewarding providers with access to a lucrative minting opportunity.
Early supporters who used The Mines to deposit their assets earned enough $OVO to mint Nectars, and many were able to sell their surplus for great profit.
After just one week of the Mines being open, 1,500 NFTs and 15,000 Sol had been deposited by users of the platform.
Soon, they would have a place to put their well-earned $OVO to good use.
The Nectar mint took place on a gamified custom launchpad built from the ground by Elixir, known as The Brewery.
OVO holders were invited to use the brewery to mint Nectars in two ways: they could pledge enough OVO for a guaranteed mint, or they could ‘wager’ less for the chance at minting. Like any wager, there was a chance they could leave with nothing.
This mechanism turned the minting process into game theory in real time. It was a resounding success, and the 777 Nectars completed brewing on October 12th.
Early trading revealed that the markets knew how valuable these NFTs were, but details were yet to be released by the team.
Attention turned instead to Elixir’s promised 10k collection: Ovols.
The flock lands — Ovols by Elixir.
By October 10th, in under 6 weeks, Elixir had achieved an incredible amount of work.
They had launched a new AMM marketplace, one of the first of its kind; deployed a gamified launchpad (The Brewery); and successfully rolled out a single-sided staking platform to deposit either Sol or NFTs to earn OVO: namely The Mines.
They had partnered with over 100 collections to list their NFTs with instant buying, selling, and exchanging using liquidity pools.
But the endgame was nigh. The focal point of the Elixir universe was about to be revealed. On 31st October it was announced that the awaited 10k collection would be powered by the existing Nectars.
By using a platform known as The Factory, Nectar owners would gradually be able to produce a number of Ovols. In doing so, their Nectar would be depleted and eventually used up.
In short, the Nectar owners would be rewarded for their early investment with a stack of Ovols, vested over time. As more of their Ovols would unlock, gradually their Nectar would become depleted, until it was fully consumed.
Elegant, and simple.
So what were these long awaited PFPs actually going to be?
We met them on November 3rd, 2022.
The art for Ovols was revealed to be an owl based PFP, with the collection artwork completed by Sirenia (@SireniaNFT; https://exchange.art/Sirenia/nfts).
These NFTs represent the centrepiece of the Elixir ecosystem. The team have stated many times that they want all the value they create to be returned to holders.
Indeed, once the mechanics of utilising Nectars to earn Ovols is complete, they are consumed and no longer exist.
As such, Ovols will remain as Elixir’s only collection.
Ovols were minted on November 17th, on a custom launchpad built by the team.
With a majority to be produced in the Factory from Nectars, around 2,500 were left for a mint which was mostly whitelist based, with a small handful reserved for a gamified public mint. The same wager mechanics were used as the Nectar mint, as previously.
Although the mint was completed rapidly, it’s fair to say the wager system for the public mint did not prove to be as successful as the $OVO wager mint for Nectars.
This was partly due to users feeling uncomfortable wagering Sol instead of $OVO. Although the platform worked seamlessly, many felt the game theory was unforgiving.
The team’s response to this was honest, open, and generous.
They refunded many, gave out free NFTs, and (it is generally accepted) went above and beyond to compensate the few community members who had felt hard done by in the process.
The Elixir buzzwords, often used on official announcements are: Community, Transparency, and Value. They demonstrated these after the Ovols mint in a tangible way.
Indeed, just prior to the Ovols mint, Elixir had announced the creation of The Parliament — a community run ownership and governance platform. (Fun fact — a group of owls is known as a parliament.)
They are committed to giving their community a proper say in how things are run.
Launchpad & Expresspad.
In addition to the above, Elixir have also developed a two tier launchpad.
The first tier, known as The Launchpad, will be a vetted, doxxed, partnership launchpad for a more select group of projects. These will be handpicked and curated by Elixir.
The second, The Expresspad, will be of a DIY affair, whereby projects can use the platform to self-mint a collection, rather like a high end LMNFT (“Launch My NFT”, a platform that saw huge popularity during ‘degen’ mint season earlier this year.)
The fees taken by the launchpads will make their way back to the community in building Elixir further, and directly to Ovols holders.
Elixir — The Timeline So Far:
A brief history of Elixir:
Launch — 1st Sept
Nectars announced — 5th Sept
The Mines announced — 27th Sept
$OVO rewards for active community members via Grants
Mines reach 1,500 NFTs and 15,000 Sol deposited — 4th Oct
Constitution released — 5th Oct
Nectars brewing starts — 8th Oct
Nectar mint completed — 12th Oct
The Factory announced: Nectars release Ovols — 26th Oct
Invitation for community feedback — 31st Oct
Art by Sirenia revealed — 3rd Nov
Launchpad revealed — 7th Nov
Elixir announce they had no exposure to FTX — 12th Nov
The Parliament announced — 14th Nov
Ovols dynamic mint — 17th Nov
Apologies over wager mint, some refunds issued — 18th Nov
Ovols listed on Elixir, future LP fees for ovols holders announced — 25th Nov
Elixir earn launched — 2nd Dec
The Elixir ecosystem so far, and the future.
It is worth taking a moment here to acknowledge what Elixir have achieved in such a short space of time.
Indeed co-founder Swervor has done so recently:
They have delivered 5 amazing products: The Marketplace, The Mines, The Brewery, The Factory, and The Launchpad/ Expresspad.
Additionally they have announced the creation of their community ownership concept, The Parliament.
What comes next for this team? They have already delivered exceptionally quickly even by the lightning quick standards Sol NFTs are often held to.
Naturally the team are bullish on their prospects. Judging from the Twitter feed of their co-founder Swervor, 2023 could reveal that the best is yet to come:
Elixir have made no secret of some of their grand ambitions.
The development and release of NFT longing/shorting will be another significant step towards making our illiquid .jpegs fully liquid.
Enhancing the trading and market experience of users, whilst rewarding Ovols holders, appears to be the name of the game.
And as yet, we have no details about the 3 other unnamed protocols already fully built. (I tried my best to get some juicy alpha for this article, but no luck…)
Regardless, there is absolutely no doubting this team know how to build, know how to read the market, and know how to deliver.
There is so much about Elixir to be impressed by.
They have made this game look very easy. Consistent, smart, and open: they have set the standard for Sol NFTs in a market that is becoming increasingly discerning.
To me, the key to this whole project remains the Ovols collection. Bringing value to Ovols, and making them the centre of the ecosystem: that appears to be the key to success.
It is also the stated intention of the founders.
The Elixir team promised an incredible amount in a very short window. Their delivery has been almost entirely seamless. Their ambitions: limitless.
I would not bet against them taking centre stage in 2023.