In the DeFi space, options are only just entering the market. Opyn was the first of its kind to develop a decentralized options protocol. Hegic followed after, attracting liquidity very quickly. Both are innovative in their own ways, and there is continual development in the options space.
As DeFi users are more comfortable with the new tools and mechanisms, the next step is to think of risk management in trading as well as capital efficiency. Both can be achieved with options. Hence, the mechanisms behind options protocols in terms of pricing premiums and other risk management is very attractive.
In this article, we will analyze 4 protocols — 2 core protocols (Opyn and Hegic) and 2 improvements of them (Dopex and Whiteheart). Specifically, we will analyze the 5 factors:
- How the protocol works in general
- How premiums are calculated
- Purpose of the native token
- The benefit of holding the native tokens
Opyn is the original DeFi options platform, built with the Convexity Protocol. Users can create calls and put options using the protocol. Anyone can buy options ($oTokens) to protect themselves against DeFi risk. In V1, users deposit collateral into a vault to mint and sell $oTokens, and receive a premium from protecting others. Prices are calculated using the Black Scholes model. In V2, users price their options independently, thus allowing variables like gamma, vega, and implied volatility to be created. oTokens are also traded in secondary markets like Uniswap. Opyn does not charge fees.
Hegic is a peer-to-pool option trading protocol that allows users to trade in options in a decentralized way. Users deposit assets (ETH) into a vault, which automatically makes them an option seller. Users purchase options via the vault directly, paying a premium calculated with the Black Scholes model. Upon settlement, a fee of 1% of the options contract is payable to $HEGIC stakers on the platform.
Buyers and sellers receive HEGIC. They can stake HEGIC to receive settlement fees when options are settled at or before expiry.
Whiteheart is a protocol built on top of Hegic, using the composability feature of DeFi. As users add their assets into the vault, an automatic ATM put option at bought with a <1% spread. This is to protect liquidity providers from downside risk. Think of it as insurance automatically included for liquidity providers.
Users receive WHITE and are able to receive fees generated by the protocol.
Dopex is similar to Opyn, where doTokens represent the options contract positions. E.g. doDAI-calls are DAI call options contracts. The assets from the option comes from pooled liquidity. There is also a rebate token system to the options writers as part of loss insurance.
Similar to other DeFi options protocols, the option contracts are determined using the Black Scholes model. The difference is that option premium in Dopex is customisable to represent volatility smiles with in-built multipliers that is voted using governance. DPX holders are able to determine a multiplier based on implied volatility on other platforms and with institutional traders. Prices change based on how OTM, ITM or ATM the strike price is, compared to the spot prices. The resultant effect technically prices the premium is a fairer way. DPX accrues fees and revenue from the pools built in the protocol.
Option writers receive rDPX for losses incurred. rDPX can then be used to boost fee rewards or used as collateral to mint other assets.
In conclusion, DeFi options are only just beginning. Not only are we bringing in DeFi native innovations like AMM and DEX models, but we are also experimenting with new ways of calculating options premium in a decentralized way. Methods pricing option premiums in a decentralized and fairway is definitely something worth looking more into.