Know Everything About Balancer (BAL)

What Is Balancer (BAL)?

Balancer (BAL)

Balancer is an automated market maker (AMM) that was developed on the Ethereum blockchain and launched in March 2020. It was able to raise a $3M seed round by Placeholder and Accomplice. Balancer protocol functions as a self-balancing weighted portfolio, price sensor and liquidity provider. It allows users to earn profits through its recently introduced token ($BAL) by contributing to customizable liquidity pools.

The protocol operates a few types of pools:

  • Private pools give the owner governance over the pool, and make the person the sole contributor of liquidity to the pool. Also, all the parameters are mutable by the owner.
  • Shared pools are for those who want to become liquidity providers (LPs). The LPs are rewarded with the Balancer Pool Tokens (BPTs).
  • Smart pools are similar to private pools but are controlled by a smart contract. They also reward using BPTs and allow anyone to contribute liquidity to the pool.

Who Are the Founders of Balancer?

Balancer Lab was founded by Fernando Martinelli and Mike McDonald, but it began as a research program at a software firm “BlockScience” in 2018. The Balancer project features intelligent, like-minded fellows with an acute understanding of the DeFi space.

Fernando Martnelli, a serial entrepreneur and Maker community member, has many years of work experience outside of Balancer. He co-founded many other companies before he started Balancer with his partner, Mike McDonald.

Mike McDonald is the co-founder and CTO at Balancer. He is a security engineer and the creator of He joined Fernando Martnelli to build the Balancer platform.

Kristen Stone, COO at Balancer, has worked in the crypto industry for over five years. She was a product manager at Coinbase and has built teams in product and engineering.

Timur Badretdinov, is the frontend developer and has worked on several projects before working at Balancer. He founded a company called “Longcaller,” a platform focused on providing cryptocurrency reviews and educational blockchain content.

What Makes Balancer Unique?

Balancer is similar to Uniswap and Curve, in that it enables anyone to create pools of tokens. The pool adjusts itself to keep the tokens equally weighted regardless of changes in their price. However, one unique feature of Balancer is that more than one token can be added and ETH isn’t required.

Although, Balancer isn’t the first DeFi protocol to make use of AMMs, however, it has brought a new face and approach to liquidity. The unique feature of the protocol is that it allows Liquidity providers to have up to eight assets per market which are weighted by percentage and rebalanced automatically.

With Balancer, users don’t have to deposit 50% of the desired asset, but are allowed to decide how much of a supported asset they wish to deposit. Another unique feature of Balancer Lab is that users can make a high return on assets that are in low demand through arbitrage opportunities and slippage-reduction. You can learn more about how Balancer works here.

How Many Balancer Tokens (BAL) Are There in Circulation?

Balancer wasn’t launched with a native token. However, in June 2020, they launched a governance token, $BAL, following the success of Compound’s token COMP. The purpose of the token is to allow for more decentralization and as an incentive for LP.

Of the total 100M tokens that were created, 25M were reserved for the team, core developers, investors and advisors. 5M tokens were allocated for the Balancer Ecosystem Fund, which would be used as incentives for strategic partners. Another 5M were allocated for the fundraising fund. This fund will be used by Balancer to support its operation and growth at future fundraisings.

The remaining tokens are to be mined by liquidity providers on the platform and are released at a rate of 145K per week. Provided the distribution rate is kept constant, it would take approx. 8.6 years to finish distributing the tokens.

How Is the Balancer Network Secured?

For Balancer, security is a top priority and that is why the protocol has been fully audited three times by Trail of Bits, ConsenSys and OpenZeppelin. There are no admin keys or backdoors, hence, making it trustless, and the balancer pools are not upgradeable. Balancer does not support tokens that do not conform to the ERC-20 standard, even though they may be in use on some pools.

The tokens held on Balancer pools are not controlled by Balancer, but are smart contracts. Nevertheless, that does not remove the inherent risks of smart contracts. The configurable rights pools (CRPs) ensure that tokens with known issues are barred from being used in pools. It further ensures that all other tokens safely interact with the protocol

How does Balancer work?

Just as an index fund can be composed of different stocks, Balancer pools are composed of up to eight different cryptocurrencies. 

A Balancer pool’s value is determined by the percentages of each token within it, a weight chosen during the pool’s creation.

Self-balancing index fund
Balancer uses custom programs called smart contracts to ensure each pool retains the correct proportion of assets even as the prices of individual coins in the pools might vary.

For example, a Balancer pool might start off with 25% ETH, 25% DAI and 50% LEND. If at some point, the price of LEND doubles, the pool automatically reduces the amount of LEND it holds so that it can retain 50% of the pool’s value. 

So, where does the LEND go? Balancer’s smart contracts make them available to traders looking to buy LEND as prices go up. 

Of note, liquidity providers still earn fees while their index funds get rebalanced, compared to traditional index funds where investors pay fees for the rebalancing services.

Balancer pools 
Balancer offers private and public pools, aimed at users with different risk appetites. 

Public pools allow any user to provide liquidity by adding or withdrawing assets. The parameters of public pools are set, and cannot be changed, before their launch. 

This means they may be useful for users with smaller holdings seeking to earn fees from the most popular – and most liquid – pools.

A private Balancer pool is one where only the pool creator can add or withdraw assets. The user can also adjust all the other parameters of the pool such as fees, weightings and the types of assets it accepts. 

Private pools are useful to asset managers with a large portfolio seeking to earn fees on their specific assets.

Lastly, smart pools are a type of private pool owned by smart contracts. This feature allows pools to be programmed to perform additional functions, such as changing weights, or creating an index fund that tracks a property portfolio. 

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