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Breakpoint 2023: The Phoenix Rises: Why Active Liquidity Enables Sustainable Markets

An in-depth look at how active liquidity contributes to sustainable market economies featuring Ellipse Labs' new decentralized exchange, Phoenix, on the Solana blockchain.

The notes below are AI generated and may not be 100% accurate. Watch the video to be sure!


In the rapidly evolving world of blockchain and cryptocurrency, achieving sustainable liquidity in markets is pivotal. Jerry Xiao, co-founder of Ellipse Labs, introduces Phoenix, a decentralized spot limit order book exchange built on the Solana blockchain, as a prime solution to this need. He elaborates on the significance of active liquidity and how Phoenix's architecture eliminates the need for intermediary settlement processes. Xiao further dissects the performance of market makers on Phoenix compared to other venues, arguing for the superiority of active liquidity in creating efficient and sustainable markets.

Key Points:

Phoenix and Its Contribution to Sustainable Markets

Phoenix represents a groundbreaking decentralized exchange (DEX) that prioritizes immediate funds availability and removes reliance on third-party settlements—a significant stride toward creating sustainable markets. Designed by traders for traders, it showcases the importance of efficient market architecture on the Solana blockchain. Phoenix's rise in market share and integration with top trading firms underscores its impact within a year of launching. This DEX demonstrates the potential of active liquidity management, which allows quicker adaptation to market conditions, in contrast to passive liquidity strategies.

The Role of Active Liquidity

The concept of active liquidity is central to the success of Phoenix. Unlike passive liquidity where funds are locked into a formulaic rebalancing pool, active liquidity allows market makers to update quotes in real-time, providing the flexibility to react to market changes and protect against adverse selection. Xiao effectively communicates the importance of active liquidity in market sustainability, highlighting how it optimizes capital efficiency and improves market maker profitability, thus attracting more quality liquidity to the platform.

Why Solana Is an Ideal Platform for Phoenix

Xiao attributes the choice of building Phoenix on Solana to the blockchain's ability to support fast transactions and low network fees, which are critical for the frequent transactions carried out by market makers. He emphasizes that Solana's infrastructure supports the requirements of active liquidity—being able to provide immediate responses to market movements and maintain profitability for market makers, in contrast to other chains where higher network fees could undermine market participation.

The Difference Between Limit Order Books and AMMs

In explaining the relevance of different liquidity protocols, Xiao distinguishes between limit order books, like Phoenix, and Automated Market Makers (AMMs). Expressibility and fill behavior emerge as distinguishing factors. Limit order books offer more expressiveness, allowing market makers to implement sophisticated strategies, while the fill behavior of AMMs replenishes liquidity on the opposite side after trade, unlike limit order books where market makers decide when to re-enter the market.

Facts + Figures

  • Phoenix is a limit order book decentralized exchange on the Solana blockchain.
  • Since its deployment to the Solana mainnet, Phoenix has recorded over $500 million in trading volume.
  • Phoenix has garnered roughly 20% market share for the SOL/USDC trading pair on Solana.
  • The exchange demonstrates capital efficiency by maintaining high market share with lower locked-in volumes.
  • Market makers on Phoenix have shown a consistently positive markout, indicating profitable trades, in contrast to AMMs such as Orca.
  • Active liquidity on Phoenix has resulted in better price protection against adverse selection.
  • Solana's blockchain supports approximately 4,000 transactions per second with an average block time of 400 milliseconds.
  • The low network fees on Solana enhance the attractiveness of market making on the blockchain.
  • Order books are more expressible and supportive of complex behaviors than AMMs.

Top quotes

  • "Phoenix is a spot limit-ordered book dex on Solana and designed by traders to create interfaces for market makers."
  • "One of the biggest features of Phoenix is that it is crankless."
  • "Phoenix has done over $500 million in trading volume."
  • "Phoenix has slowly accrued more and more market share from Jupiter for all trades including the SOL/USDC route."
  • "Active liquidity is quite a bit different. In this world, market makers are actively updating their quotes to represent price changes in the outside world."
  • "Active liquidity must be a piece of whatever designs take place in the future."
  • "Sustainable liquidity is possible, but what needs to happen is that it has to be more active."

Questions Answered

What is Phoenix in the context of cryptocurrency markets?

Phoenix is a new decentralized exchange built on the Solana blockchain, designed to provide spot limit order book functionalities. It enables users to immediately have access to funds post-trade and does not require a third party for settlement, making it a standout in terms of facilitating active liquidity for sustainable markets.

Why is active liquidity important?

Active liquidity is crucial because it allows market makers to quickly respond to price changes and update their trading strategies in real time. This level of agility is key to sustaining profitable market operations and protecting against negative trading outcomes due to adverse market movements.

How does Phoenix perform compared to other liquidity venues on Solana?

Phoenix has shown remarkable performance by achieving a substantial market share in a short time frame. It has been efficient in terms of capital utilization and has proven to offer competitive pricing, as evidenced by its increasing share of trades routed through Jupiter, Solana's top aggregator.

Why was Solana chosen as the blockchain for Phoenix?

Solana was selected due to its high transaction throughput and low network fees. The platform's ability to process approximately 4,000 transactions per second with block times as low as 400 milliseconds makes it ideal for the demands of active liquidity management and efficient market making.

How do limit order books differ from Automated Market Makers?

Limit order books, such as Phoenix, provide more flexibility and complexity in defining liquidity shapes and strategies, contrasting with AMMs, which are more formulaic and passive in their approach to liquidity management. The ability of limit order books to allow market makers to decide when to replenish liquidity following a trade offers a significant advantage.