What Is UMA?
UMA is a governance token of the UMA Project – a protocol enabling anyone to create synthetic tokens representing any real-world assets. UMA, which stands for Universal Market Access, was founded in 2018 by Goldman Sachs alumni and boasts an impressive list of backers, including Bain Capital Ventures, Coinbase Ventures, and others.
There are two key mechanics employed by the project — Priceless financial contracts and the Oracle system. Priceless contracts are used to mint synthetic tokens by locking collateral into a smart contract. UMA’s innovative approach is that those contracts do not require constant monitoring of the underlying assets’ prices; instead, it’s the token holders’ responsibility to make sure that their synthetic assets don’t become undercollateralized. If they do, another actor in the network – a liquidator – comes into play and liquidates the position. Liquidators are kept in check by disputers: if liquidation is made in a bad faith, they open a dispute. The Oracle system is made exactly for these cases: it reports the actual price of the asset in question, which decides the outcome of the dispute. Throughout this whole process, the honest parties are rewarded and the dishonest ones are penalized. UMA tokens are used in the dispute system to vote for price requests. The second role of the token is voting on the general improvements of the protocol.