Makercoin is the primary token of the Maker Decentralized Autonomous Organization. Makercoin has been deployed to the Ethereum blockchain as MKR in the Maker Asset Registry, and to the BitShares blockchain as the MKRCOIN User Issued Asset (backed 1:1 by MKR).
MKR can be sent and received by any Ethereum account, or any contract that has been programmed to use the MKR transfer function. At present only developers who contact us directly will be given the location of the MKR contracts on the Ethereum blockchain. This is a precaution to prevent users from accidentally destroying coins as Ethereum is still a very unstable product during Frontier, this precaution will remain in place until proper UI's with adequate security and failsafe mechanisms are made.
MKRCOIN can be transferred and traded on the BitShares decentralized exchange. This is the way we initially suggest users hold and trade MKR, as it is tested and has a relatively user friendly web wallet.
There are MKRCOIN liquidity bots running in the MKRCOIN:BTS market. BTS is BitShares' native token. To buy MKRCOIN using the BitShares exchange, create an account on wallet.bitshares.org, register an account name with the BitShares faucet, and then use metaexchange.info or shapshift.io to exchange Bitcoin into BTS sent directly to your BitShares account. For larger volume you can also use yunbi, poloniex or btc38 to buy BTS.
Once you have BTS in your BitShares wallet, go to the Exchange pane and search for MKRCOIN - find MKRCOIN:BTS and click on it to go to the orderbook where you can place your order.
There is an initial total supply of 1,000,000 MKR. 50,000 of the total MKR have been transported to the BitShares blockchain as MKRCOIN, and their backing MKR are locked in a multisig contract on the Ethereum blockchain. As exchanges begin to support MKR and MKRCOIN, they will become gateways between the two assets so Makercoins will be freely transferable and useable on both blockchains.
Why does Makercoin have value?
The value of Makercoin comes from its status as insuring asset of the Dai Credit System. The DAI bond is a stable cryptocurrency token that is backed by collateral in various assets that trade on the Ethereum blockchain (initially ETH, BTC, MKR, REP, GLD). Should any of these collateral types see a catastrophic crash that results in the value of the collateral becoming less than the outstanding debt (a black swan event), MKR is autonomously inflated to raise funds to cover the lacking collateral (Maker bailout with forced inflation).
In return for the significant value that the limited default insurance gives to the holders of DAI bonds, Makercoin holders earn a continuous insurance fee that is equal to 4% of all outstanding DAI bonds per year (The insurance rate varies over time depending on market conditions and user growth elasticity in order to maximize Makers income). This fee is transferred into the market cap of MKR through the use of a buy&burn contract that continuously buys up MKR from the market and burns it, reducing supply and increasing market price.
This means that MKR will see a steadily decreasing supply and a steadily increasing market cap over time, except in situations where the Dai Credit System hasn't been properly governed and the debt ceiling for one or more risky collateral types has been set too high. Makercoin holders are able to directly influence the governance of Maker and the Dai Credit System through a futarchy-like governance scheme. They are also able to indirectly influence the system by buying and selling based on how well they believe the risk parameters are set (i.e. a MKR holder who sees the debt ceiling of a risky asset type being raised to unsafe levels would want to dump their MKR as soon as possible to avoid the risk of forced inflation).
The result is that MKR is an extremely risky asset, but with a significant cash flow as long as its owners are able to competently set the debt ceilings of the Dai Credit System, and proactively vote or sell their MKR if the debt ceilings are mismanaged. Or to put it simply: "highest risk, highest reward".
The asset database and asset controller of Makercoin have been deployed to Ethereum. Maker and the Dai Credit System will be deployed in early 2016. Until they are deployed MKR will simply be a regular coin with a supply fixed at 1,000,000 (with some of it locked and transported to the BitShares blockchain). Once Maker is deployed it will specify MKR as its insuring asset, and this will mark the beginning of the cash flow into MKR, as well as the inflation risk assumed from insuring the Dai Credit System.
To get the full story about how it works, you'll have to read the Dai Credit System whitepaper on https://makerdao.com/
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