Sushi Powah: 7 Lessons to Become a Better Yield Farmer

This article helps you learn how to farm SushiSwap better and make more yield, so you have more Sushi Powah that you can wield.

My favourite food is sushi. I choose decisively for dates and cut the nonsensical democratic dance where we waffle about over what to eat, and they happily agree because sushi is love. As a tourist In Japan I got out of bed at 2.30am to witness the super exclusive bluefin tuna auction at Tsukiji. I’ve always wanted to open my own sushi restaurant.

Turns out this year, for all the madness and chaos of 2020, I did actually end up running my own sushi bar after all. Bucket list item checked. Wooo. Sushi Powah!

Except it’s not sliced up edible marine creatures on rice, but a profitable niche in crypto called DeFi.

SushiSwap is a major decentralised exchange in crypto. And it’s only been around for 2 months. One of the trends that defined blockchain development in 2020 was the explosion of DeFi, through copycat marketplaces to trade shitcoins, goofily named after F&B. I experimented on many – Cream was a poorly planned mess, Pickle subpar in returns, Pancake too centralised, etc. Some were outright scams, such as Wine or Hotdog.

The SushiSwap classic interface shows the menu and associated APY

If I was on death row my last meal would be sushi. Thankfully SushiSwap turned out to be a very decent platform, or it would have wounded me emotionally to see my top cuisine get ruined by anonymous scamming assholes. (Oh, wait…)

Yield farming crypto is a game, and the score is how much money you make. Just like any game, you need to play it long enough to observe the patterns. You get better over time, or you can just find a walkthrough to enjoy the shortcuts if you’re lazy. There’s not a lot of literature yet on SushiSwap, so this is intended to be a helpful guide.

Here are 7 things to note in order to play the game better on SushiSwap.

  1. High APY, but Watch Out for IL
  2. Use the Sushi Bar for Future Income
  3. Try Out the Weekly Chef’s Menu
  4. Sushi Powah – Your Votes Matter
  5. Declining Block Rewards per Month
  6. 67% of Your Rewards Come Later
  7. Valuations Are Relatively Cheap

High APY, but Watch Out for IL

SushiSwap still pays some of the highest APYs in the DeFi space. On SushiSwap you can still see APYs above 100% on standard liquidity pools like Umami Squid (UMA-ETH), and Ample Chicks (AMPL-ETH). High APYs are great but remember that they are a subsidy or compensation for the volatility of your pool’s underlying components. This volatility in automated market making is a phenomenon called impermanent loss. Don’t just choose a pool because the APY is high.

SushiSwap high APY

Like fatty tuna, don’t just look at immediate gratification, look at the longer term risks too.

Use the Sushi Bar for Future Income

The SUSHI you stake in the sushi bar represents your claim to a cut of the platform’s fees. It works like this. SushiSwap charges traders a 0.3% fee, just like Uniswap. The difference is that SushiSwap pays 0.25% immediately to liquidity providers, and uses the other 0.05% to reward SUSHI holders. To earn that 0.05%, you need to stake your SUSHI in the sushi bar to convert it to XSUSHI. Over time, each XSUSHI is worth more and more SUSHI. Currently, 1 XSUSHI is worth about 1.07 SUSHI. It started out at a 1:1 ratio.

SushiSwap Jiro Ono

Jiro Ono’s famous triple Michelin Star (up to last year) sushi bar in a Tokyo subway – one guy from the SushiSwap team has adopted the Jiro Ono nickname.

Try Out the Weekly Chef’s Menu 

There is a weekly Chef’s Menu that features more exotic ingredients, that’s different from the standard menu. The Chef’s Menu pays out even higher returns than normal. For example, while the standard menu (those with emojis) pays 30-60% APY, the Chef’s Menu can pay higher than 500% APY. But this only lasts a week. Take advantage of it. A side benefit is that it also gives you an idea of what coins are currently hot, because it’s the SushiSwap community that votes on what they’d like to see added to this special menu. I learn about new and popular projects this way, such as Reserve Rights (RSR).

SushiSwap Chef's Menu

Foie gras sushi is a rare and unique menu offering, try if you have a chance.

Sushi Powah – Your Votes Matter

Wanna have a say in how the platform evolves? Make your voice heard by voting. There’s been lots of voting going on this year. Singapore’s general elections. New Zealand’s general elections. America’s presidential elections. And SushiSwap, all the time. Your voting ticket is called Sushi Powah, which you get only if you contribute liquidity to the SUSHI-ETH pool. The more SUSHI-ETH LP tokens you have, the more Sushi Powah you get. This means if you want more clout you can buy votes, while they’re still actually cheap. One of the best proposals on SushiSwap governance lately is the vote to reduce block rewards.

Sushi Powah

Salmon eggs, or ikura, are a popular sushi topping. Ikura is also how you ask how much something costs in Japanese.

Declining Block Rewards per Month

SushiSwap launched to great fanfare by vomiting out 1,000 SUSHI rewards per block to attract liquidity providers. Those were the days when yield farming APYs were over 3,000%. Some of the best days of my life, and that was only 2 months ago. Lol, how fast this space changes. Block rewards are now at 80 per block, and will be reduced by 10 per month such that by May 2021, only 20 SUSHI will be given out per block. That’s faster than Bitcoin reward halving. But this is great – if halving events give BTC a price boost, then SUSHI block reward reduction, the logic goes, might produce the same pattern for SUSHI price.

Tsukiji

Like the declining population of wild bluefin in the Pacific, dwindling SUSHI supply is expected to boost token price.

67% of Your Rewards Come Later

SushiSwap has been quick to react to market forces. I think yield farming has been one of the most accelerated demonstrations of microeconomics. Noticing that farmers (myself included) were dumping their SUSHI ferociously, the platform changed the rules and withheld 67% of farmed SUSHI, and would only be releasing those rewards to farmers 6 months later. It stemmed the bleeding and reduced the selling pressure on the token, and bought SushiSwap some time to come up with new solutions (such as the declining block rewards). SUSHI’s price appreciation is probably a strong indicator that these policies are working.

2/3 of your SUSHI will be served later and they’ll probably be tastier and more rewarding.

Valuations Are Relatively Cheap

SUSHI as a token is generally quite cheap. I used to be an institutional equities sales trader. Valuation ratios are something we look at to decide what to hawk to clients. We call them comps. Among decentralised exchanges, I’d say SUSHI looks quite cheap when you consider multiples such as Price/Sales or Volume/Market Cap.

SushiSwap has a P/S ratio of 2.6x, which is very low compared to other DEXes such as Uniswap (9.6x), Kyber (46.5x), Bancor (48.7x), Balancer (73.8x), Curve (88.4x). This means as a platform, SushiSwap is generating lots of fees while its market cap is still very low.

SushiSwap has a Volume/Fully-Diluted Market Cap of 70.6%, which is way higher compared to Kyber (15.4%), Uniswap (9.9%), Curve (3.6%), and Balancer (2.3%). This implies that the 24 hour turnover on SushiSwap is disproportionately higher than its peers.

These highlight the low token price of SUSHI. Of course, SushiSwap sustained some reputational damage with the Chef Nomi saga which led to aggressive dumping, but I think the market will get over it, because things have been progressing well ever since new chefs took over.

Token Terminal SushiSwap

Valuation metrics seem to indicate SUSHI is trading lower than its peers. Source: Token Terminal

Conclusion

SushiSwap is one of the leading DEXes. Recently edged out Balancer to become the 3rd largest on DeFi Pulse, after Uniswap and Curve. The end of Uniswap’s UNI farming programme resulted in UNI token price appreciation, which served as the rising DEX tide that floated the SUSHI boat. Also, a good portion of that liquidity that left Uniswap’s ETH-stablecoin pools might have come over to SushiSwap. (Maybe some will go over to the ETH2 deposit contract too.)

Consider the points in this article to help you play the SushiSwap yield farming game better, so that you can make more money and flex your Sushi Powah.

Make money in crypto and DeFi. Adventures in yield farming, written by a wrestler. How hard could it be?

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