It’s just another day and another DeFi protocol, which has taken a hit. This time it’s Iron Finance – an algorithmic stable coin, whose token TITAN’s value plummeted 98.1% in less than 24%. According to the official documentation, Iron was “a partially collateralized token, soft pegged to the U.S. Dollar, available both on the Polygon network and on the Binance Smart Chain”. Its principle was the same as all other algorithmic stablecoins – store collateral enough to back the token to 1 USD. So, what happened?
At the time of this writing, the Iron Finance Titan token is trading at $1.23. It’s showing a very slight recovery after the token went down up to $0.0016. It’s astonishing since the token was trading at $64, around 19 hours ago. A fork of the FRAX stable coin, Iron Finance was popularized by Twitter influencers especially billionaire Mark Cuban, whose recommendation saw the price skyrocket to many orders of magnitudes. He’s now believed to have lost $8M, though there has been no confirmation on his part.
Iron Finance – Anatomy Of The Downfall
There was no exploit or malicious activity, from the reports received until now. Simply, a bank run, where people kept cashing out and the token price kept falling. The way it works with Iron Finance is that there are two tokens – IRON and TITAN. The USDC is deposited into the protocol upon the user’s minting IRON token, while the TITAN token used for minting is burned. When the user redeems, the USDC is paid back and TITAN is minted back.
However, it turned out to be the race to the exits as people kept dumping their fractional reserve type TITAN tokens, after redeeming their initial collateral. This caused a domino effect as more and more players chose to exit the game and the price plummet severely in a matter of hours. The reason? TITAN’s market cap wasn’t large enough to support such a market, also the token was overpriced had relatively constrained liquidity and there was no locking period like FRAX, to prevent a bull run.