Brent Crude Oil Futures Now Tradable on DeFi Exchange Synthetix

One of two global oil benchmarks, Brent Crude Futures are now available through DeFi exchange Synthetix.

AccessTimeIconNov 12, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 10:30 a.m. UTC

You can now carry exposure to world oil markets in your decentralized finance (DeFi) portfolio, thanks to the listing of Brent Crude Futures (Brent) on trading platform Synthetix.

Using syndicated data from Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), the Synthetic Oil (sOIL) token is live today on the Synthetix trading platform, according to a release shared early with CoinDesk. 

Brent is one of two major futures contracts for global oil markets, the other being West Texas Intermediate (WTI). The contract tracks the future price of oil found in the North Sea and generally helps set the spot price of European oil. Outside of fiat-backed stablecoins, the product is one of the first real world assets to enter DeFi trading.

Read more: What Is DeFi?

The addition of more real world assets “will be up to the community to request,” Synthetix founder Kain Warwick told CoinDesk in a Telegram message, adding that there is “a lot of interest in adding other commodities."

Pricing data for sOIL is supplied by data provider Chainlink, further sourced from ICE for an undisclosed sum. Framework Labs, sister company of venture capital firm Framework Ventures, helped syndicate the data.

“Connecting key financial infrastructure to next-generation smart contracts is a key step in the continued evolution of the DeFi ecosystem. We look forward to helping Synthetix continually expand the collection of assets it supports and working with Framework Labs to onboard more traditional players to DeFi,”Chainlink Co-founder Sergey Nazarov said in a statement.

Synthetix and oil

Synthetix – which conducted an initial coin offering (ICO) in 2018 for its ERC-20 styled Synth (SNX) token – enables the creation of synthetic financial contracts using its native token.

The platform currently offers 24 trading pairs ranging from cryptocurrencies to crypto indices to foreign exchange (FX) such as the euro. Each tradable contract is backed by a 750% collateralization of SNX and mimics price movements of the chosen asset through an oracle. SNX is currently trading hands at $4.12, according to Messari.

sOIL contracts and the data syndication necessary were first proposed by community members under Synthetix Improvement Proposal (SIP) 49 and 62 in March and May, respectively. 

Real-world assets in DeFi have only made a soft impression to date due to the technical and philosophical constraints behind blockchain-based financial alternatives. For example, MarkerDAO, the oldest DeFi project, has weighed the addition of railroad invoices and music royalties for collateralizing its dai (DAI) stablecoin while lending platform Aave has more recently begun working toward tokenizing mortgages with RealT.

Crafting a tradable synthetic DeFi contract for oil also proved difficult, Warwick said, particularly in light of the physically deliverable nature of Brent.

“There were a number of issues around governance and formulating the algo for the price feeds, but the main reason was needing to ensure we have the most robust price feeds for the aggregator network possible,” Warwick said. “The team at [cryptofinance firm] XBTO helped construct a formula that took all of the current futures contracts and rolled them into a proxy for a spot price.”


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