Indigo Introduction

6 min readJul 9, 2021



The rise of DeFi protocols for derivatives, lending and exchanging assets has opened up an entire new category of noncustodial financial services in cryptocurrency markets. On face value DeFi products resemble traditional finance (TradFi) instruments but these products are defined by the removal of trusted intermediaries. This mitigates third party risk and enables open access to verify the smart contract logic and data stored in DeFi protocols deployed on public blockchains.

Current DeFi protocols operate in fragmented silos across blockchains with high technical barriers to entry for new users. The current DeFi use cases are functional but not yet proven to interface with the real world in a tangible way for end-users. We are inspired by how far the DeFi ecosystem has come since 2017, but we also understand how far the UI/X of protocols must go until non-crypto native users are interfacing with DeFi protocols to manage their portfolio. Accordingly, we introduce Indigo; a DeFi protocol that enables synthetic assets (iAssets) for traders to gain price exposure to real world assets (ETFs, cryptocurrencies, and more).

We combine proven DeFi functionalities with real-world asset exposure on a protocol accessible on the Cardano blockchain. Additionally, iAssets enable significant advantages over traditional assets: users can hold them in fractional shares and trade them irrespective of their geographic location or market hours. Users can benefit from price exposure to the underlying asset without going through the obstacles of purchasing and custodying the asset. Enabling price exposure to assets via Indigo’s noncustodial & decentralized architecture unlocks opportunities for wealth creation at the global scale for anyone with an internet connection, instead of only for a select few.

Indigo Advantages

Equal access to in-demand assets is currently restricted to a select few mostly located in Europe & North America. Synthetic assets enable price exposure to an asset without actually purchasing and custodying the underlying resource. This defining attribute offers multiple advantages such as; establishing universal availability to assets trading on foreign markets and lowering the transfer obstacles when exchanging between different assets (e.g. from iAsset ETFs to synthetic BTC).

Universal Availability: In the majority of markets outside of the West foreign equities and forex market availability is extremely restricted. DeFi protocols deployed on public blockchains enable universal availability with none of the barriers to entry native to TradFi systems.

Transfer Obstacles: In TradFi, to execute a fractional share order several fractional orders are aggregated to execute an individual transaction. The time involved in the process of aggregating all the fractional orders into a single transaction can mean a lengthy wait time. The introduction of the blockchain enables fractional-order volume to be represented as an integer on-chain, completely removing the requirement for the aggregation step in the process.

Indigo Architecture

Users can mint (on-demand) and trade assets fully collateralized in ADA, Cardano stablecoins and iAssets, tracking the price of any asset from TradFi ETFs to cryptocurrencies.

  • To mint an iAsset, users are required to provide 150% of the current asset value in a Cardano stablecoin or 200% in ADA and other iAssets as collateral. This minimum collateral ratio is programmed into the contract’s validator script to control minting, as supplied collateral can become subject to liquidation if a user’s positions go beneath the minimum collateral ratio.
  • To withdraw some of the collateral locked in the CDP, users must burn some of the iAssets minted when opening the CDP (must burn the same amount of iAssets initially minted to close the CDP).
  • To trade an iAsset, the assets are listed on a Cardano AMM DEX. Liquidity Providers (LPs) are incentivized to supply iAssets to the DEX to earn trading fees and INDY.
  • To verify that the iAsset remains pegged to the underlying asset, the protocol utilizes a decentralized price oracle that provides endpoints for oracles to update the new prices of assets as they change in real-time. When the market price of the iAsset loses its peg to the underlying, traders are incentivized to arbitrage to earn the collateral of users under the minimum collateral ratio.

Comprehensive protocol architecture and design documentation is coming soon.


The Indigo token (INDY) is Indigo Protocol’s governance token set to begin a fair token distribution at v1 launch on Plutus mainnet. The total supply of INDY will be 35M tokens with a 6 decimal precision. INDY is set to be a native asset on Cardano with two defining attributes:

  1. Governance: INDY may be used to propose & vote on smart contract parameter changes in the protocol and community grant project funding. Review the protocol parameters section of the whitepaper to see which contract parameters can be updated through governance.
  2. Fees: When Indigo CDPs are closed, a 1.5% fee is charged on the collateral. The closing fees are calculated daily and used to purchase INDY tokens on a Cardano DEX, which is then paid out to INDY stakers in the protocol proportional to their INDY stake.

INDY Distribution

Starting at genesis block, 1.75 million INDY will be supplied to the DAO-controlled Community Funds pool to fund ecosystem growth and future proposals. In addition, 5.25 million INDY will be sent to the stability pool for distribution to iAsset stakers. We reward INDY to stability providers who deposit iAssets which may be consumed by the protocol during collateral liquidation. This is critical for protocol solvency, user experience, and security Fagainst liquidity risks. Users may earn INDY starting at genesis block by staking iAssets in the stability pool.

The team distribution of 2.45 million INDY will begin vesting at genesis block. This amount is the reward for the initial development team to build, deploy and maintain the protocol as community-led decentralized governance structures emerge. The release schedule programmed into the vesting contract for team distribution will release an equal amount of tokens each epoch (5 days). For a more detailed distribution breakdown, have a look at the INDY distribution schedule in the tokenomics section of the whitepaper.

The DEX selected for liquidity providers (LPs) to supply iAsset liquidity will be a community-led decision voted on in the first year following v1 launch. IAsset LPs on this DEX will be able to stake their LP tokens to earn INDY in the protocol. The INDY tokens will be distributed according to the release schedule in the table below.


Indigo Protocol is built by Indigo Laboratories but from the genesis block Indigo Laboratories will renounce control to the decentralized community of INDY token holders. Indigo Laboratories has no intention of selling any INDY tokens for profit so the governance rights and potential economic rewards are fully in the community’s control. Any change to the protocol, such as contract parameter change or new features to be included in Indigo Protocol are required to be initiated through community governance. For a governance proposal to be successful it requires a majority approval of INDY token holders, a minimum quorum of voters, and takes around one week to take effect.

INDY holders have the ability to update the following protocol parameters via governance:

Genesis iAssets


iBTC — Indigo Bitcoin

iETH — Indigo Ether


iIAU — Indigo iShares Gold Trust

iQQQ — Indigo Invesco QQQ Trust

iSLV — Indigo iShares Silver Trust

iSPY — Indigo SPDR S&P 500

iUSO — Indigo United States Oil Fund, LP

iVIXY — Indigo ProShares VIX Short-Term Futures ETF

Native Token

INDY — Indigo Governance Token

Indigo Security Audit

The security of Indigo is the most crucial part of the protocol’s development. Indigo software engineers are working with an audit team at a top Haskell development firm and independent consultants to create a secure and externally verified protocol. The final audit report will be made publicly available and Indigo’s smart contract code will be open sourced during the testnet application launch.

Smart Contracts

The following is the set of Plutus smart contracts that will be deployed on Indigo with description:

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Indigo is a decentralized synthetic asset issuance protocol built on Cardano