An Overview of Kava’s Token Design

Felix Lutsch
Felix Lutsch
October 24, 2019
5 min read
October 24, 2019
5 min read

Kava is the 10th project featured on Binance Launchpad. But what is the Kava platform trying to achieve and how does the $KAVA token play a role in it? This post will cover that by giving an overview of Kava’s design.

Cross-Chain Decentralized Finance

The Kava blockchain enables users to issue a stablecoin pegged to the USD (USDX) by locking a variety of cryptoassets on the platform using what is called a collateralized debt position (CDP). CDPs are the cornerstone of decentralized finance. One use case is allowing users to get leverage without requiring a centralized counterparty. MakerDAO, the first CDP issuance platform that is live on Ethereum, is leading this space with around $280m (almost 1.5% of the ETH supply) locked in their CDP system.

Kava is bringing CDPs to non-Ethereum-based cryptocurrencies (starting with BTC, ATOM, XRP, BNB, and USDT) by leveraging interoperability technologies developed for the Cosmos ecosystem. In addition, Kava is built as a sovereign blockchain uniting security, stability, and governance of the platform in one token: KAVA.

What is the KAVA token used for?

The KAVA token is designed to serve three purposes in the Kava ecosystem:

  • Security: The blockchain is secured by KAVA in the form of collateral staked with validators.
  • Stability: KAVA will be minted should the USDX stablecoin lose its peg to bring the system back to stability.
  • Governance: Parameters related to the blockchain and CDP system are governed by KAVA holders.

KAVA holders are rewarded directly for taking on these responsibilities by absorbing KAVA issuance and transaction fees in a variety of tokens (when staking), as well as indirectly through the burning of stability fees paid by CDP users on the blockchain.

An overview of most functions and constituents of the Kava blockchain.

Network Security and Staking Rewards

KAVA paid as transaction fees from interacting with the blockchain and continuously minted KAVA tokens (block rewards) are distributed to stakers to ensure secure operation of the system. The amount received as staking rewards depends on the staking ratio (percentage of KAVA supply staking), the commission rate charged by validators, and transaction fee volume in the system.

The Kava system is issuing new KAVA tokens starting at a rate of 7% per year. The issuance rate gradually adjusts between a floor of 3% if more than ⅔ of KAVA tokens are at stake and a ceiling of 20% if staked KAVA supply stays below the targeted ⅔ ratio for an extended period of time. In addition, transaction fees paid by users transferring assets onto and on the blockchain, as well as opening and closing CDPs are paid to KAVA stakers.

On the flipside, KAVA stakers run the risk of losing a portion of their tokens (up to 5%) should a validator they are staking with get slashed for misbehaving or for being offline.

Stablecoin Stability

The Kava system keeps track of collateral in the system and incentivizes liquidation of CDPs that fall below their specified overcollateralization ratios to keep USDX stable at the price of USD. Should USDX lose its peg anyway, e.g. because the value of collateral fell faster than the liquidation system was able to auction off risky CDPs, KAVA tokens will be minted and used to buy up USDX to return to the peg. In case this rare scenario takes place, KAVA holders will be diluted to ensure the system stays stable.

Stability Fees

Every CDP type levies an adjustable stability fee (set to 5% APR at launch) which has to be paid in KAVA when closing the CDP. This fee is burned, which reduces the total KAVA supply and thus indirectly benefits KAVA holders. As an example, an owner of a CDP with a debt of 10,000 USDX that was open for a year would need to pay (and burn) 500 USDX worth of KAVA.

Platform Governance

Finally, staking KAVA holders are able to participate in the governance of the system either by delegating to validators or by voting directly. All features and parameters of the system, such as which assets to accept, as well as the specific stability fees and overcollateralization ratios are decided through the on-chain governance system.

Further Resources

We will soon publish more information on Kava staking. For further information please consult the Kava team’s post on token economics and our explainers on Cosmos governance and staking, both of which the Kava design is mostly identical to.

About Chorus One

Chorus One is a pioneering operator of blockchain infrastructure and staking services focused on offering non-custodial, secure, and user-friendly ways to participate in Proof-of-Stake networks.

Chorus One will offer staking on the Kava blockchain. You can support our work and earn staking rewards by delegating to our validator node.

Chorus One Podcast Episode with Kava Labs CEO Brian Kerr:

About Kava

Kava is a cross-chain decentralized finance (DeFi) platform on Cosmos, allowing users to access decentralized leverage and hedging for major cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC), XRP, Cosmos (ATOM) and BNB.


Originally published at on October 24, 2019.

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