Daily Brief

Can OP Keep Its Momentum?

Token Hub | September 2023 Update
Sep 1, 20235 min read

Dear Bankless Nation,

OP Stack-based Base launched in August and what a month it has been! Optimism's developer stack is continuing to gain new converts with decentralized social network Farcaster being the latest to sign on. So, how are we feeling about OP these days?

This month, our analyst team gave their takes on the future performance of OP, GMX, RBN and SYNO! View everything in the Bankless Token Hub, available exclusively to Citizens! 📊

- Bankless team

Token Hub | September 2023 Update

In the Bankless Token Hub, our analyst team has amassed coverage of dozens of noteworthy crypto assets, analyzing on-chain and off-chain data to assess whether we're bullish, bearish or neutral on the token's future performance.

Token Hub is updated throughout the month, meaning that Bankless premium subscribers get access to coverage initiations and ratings changes in real time.

Without further ado... the token ratings!

🔴 Optimism (OP)

  • Type: Reiteration
  • Risk Rating: Medium
  • Sector: L2
  • Current FDV: $5.7B

We are reiterating our rating of OP as bullish.

Catalyst Overview:

With the recent success of Base, Coinbase has made it abundantly clear to traditional companies that sequencing transactions is a viable income stream. Base is an L2 built on the OP Stack, a modular blockchain framework from Optimism. We have chosen to reiterate our rating of OP as bullish in anticipation that Coinbase’s adoption of the OP Stack standard will likely serve as a source of inspiration for future entrants.

The Optimism ecosystem will only benefit from a quickening influx of development teams, who (like Coinbase) may contribute towards the development of the OP Stack and/or kick back a percentage of their revenues to Optimism public goods funding.

Conduit is a rollup-as-a-service provider that will make it easy for those following in Coinbase’s footsteps to deploy an OP Stack chain in just a few clicks. It was leveraged by Zora to deploy their OP Stack L2 and could become a convenient enterprise chain solution for companies who want to enjoy the benefits that come with owning their own transaction layer that settles to Ethereum, but require technical support.

Price Impact:

OP has already outperformed much of the market and is one of the rarified tokens that has outperformed ETH during 2023. We anticipate that this trajectory will continue and anticipate OP to perform well on a going forward basis against both Ethereum and the broader rollup sector.


  • Type: Ratings Initiation
  • Risk Rating: Medium
  • Sector: DeFi
  • Current FDV: $451.8M

We’re initiating coverage of GMX with a rating of neutral.

Catalyst Overview:

The second iteration of the GMX protocol just deployed to Arbitrum and Avalanche alongside the existing V1 marketplace and features a variety of improvements for both traders and liquidity providers. New markets for non-Ethereum assets like Solana and XRP have been created and liquidity providers are able to isolate their risk to specific asset pools.

GMX HODLers are praying that these V2 upgrade will turn around the Protocol’s less-than-inspiring performance as of late. Open interest has declined by a staggering 56% since late March and GMX has seen a remarkable decrease in market share over this period, largely fueled by Synthetix’s resurgence. TVL peaked in May, but has since fallen by 23% in response to weak yields. GLP stakers currently receive 5.7% APR, scraps in comparison to the 30%+ yields GMX generated for LPs during its prime.

Price Impact:

The GMX ecosystem has been in general decline since March, but it's possible V2 is the first in a series of events that could reverse the Protocol’s fortunes. With new exotic collaterals types now able to be onboarded to GMX and Synthetix’s OP token incentive programs set to expire in early September, the playing field is set to be leveled between GMX and its primary rivals.

🔴 Ribbon Finance (RBN)

  • Type: Initiation
  • Risk Rating: Medium
  • Sector: DeFi
  • Current FDV: $196.5M

We are initiating coverage of Ribbon Finance with a rating of bullish.

Catalyst Overview:

One month ago, RBN token holders overwhelmingly voted to unify Ribbon Finance and Aevo, a decentralized options and perpetuals exchange developed by the protocol.

TVL on Aevo has been up-only since the exchange went live in early April and the exchange currently has $6.05M in value locked within its smart contracts. This represents an early signal of demand for the wide variety of trading products Aevo offers, like options on long tail crypto tokens like PEPE, despite the exchange’s lack of integrations with Ribbon.

Integrating Ribbon’s suite of structured products, which service liquidity providers, with Aevo's existing exchange, a marketplace, will build synergies to improve the experience, execution price, and returns for counterparties on both sides of the trade.

Price Impact:

Like many DeFi tokens, RBN has struggled to find the footing it needs in 2023 to outperform ETH; eight months into the year and the token is at the same place it started! The merger of Ribbon and Aevo could help turn the tide for RBN HODLers and we lean bullish on the token versus ETH.


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⚫️ Synonym Finance (SYNO f.k.a. NEWO)

  • Type: Ratings Downgrade
  • Risk Rating: High
  • Sector: DeFi
  • Current NEWO FDV: $5.3M

We are downgrading our rating of SYNO from bullish to neutral

Catalyst Overview:

Synonym Finance is a project incubated by New Order DAO set to deploy to mainnet in October. It will be a cross-chain lending protocol built on top of Wormhole and Circle’s CCTP where users can lend, borrow, repay, or withdraw on any chain using a single unified interface.

Prior to its merging with Synonym Finance, New Order was an incubator DAO that spawned multiple well-known DeFi protocols, including Redacted Cartel (BTRFLY) and Y2K Finance (Y2K). The New Order DAO team’s stated reasoning for merging with Synonym was a recognition of the “disparity between the enduring objectives of our incubation platform and the short term incentives… desired by token holders,” but it is undeniable what is occurring here: the current model has stalled.

As part of this merger, Synonym will receive all the majority of New Order’s assets, including all stablecoins and onchain treasury assets, but sadly, token holders will be forced into taking a haircut. Equity and token warrants from investments in Wynd, Motherboard, and Base Camp 2 projects will be retained by the New Order Foundation before being transferred to a separate entity. The team claims this is because these projects require “ongoing administration and venture activity.”

Price Impact:

Many were left with a bitter taste in their mouth after hearing the announcement and New Order’s transition is certainly a disappointing development for those bullish on the incubator model.

The Project’s pivot to cross-chain lending, however, could prove its savior: NEWO looks like roadkill on the charts and this refresh could be just what it needs! Paper handed HODLers may be flushed out in the transition and capitulation could finally be near, however future success will be largely contingent on Synonym's ability to attract users and TVL (which remains to be seen).

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Not financial or tax advice. This newsletter is strictly educational and is not investment advice or a solicitation to buy or sell any assets or to make any financial decisions. This newsletter is not tax advice. Talk to your accountant. Do your own research.

Disclosure. From time-to-time I may add links in this newsletter to products I use. I may receive commission if you make a purchase through one of these links. Additionally, the Bankless writers hold crypto assets. See our investment disclosures here.

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