You've successfully subscribed to Alpaca Learn | Developer-First API for Crypto and Stocks
Great! Next, complete checkout for full access to Alpaca Learn | Developer-First API for Crypto and Stocks
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
Success! Your account is fully activated, you now have access to all content.
Success! Your billing info is updated.
Billing info update failed.

What is Maker (MKR)?

Crystal Xue
Crystal Xue

Maker (MKR) is a cryptocurrency token that’s native to MakerDAO and Maker Protocol.¹ The former is an Ethereum-based decentralized credit platform, and the latter is a permissionless autonomous system of smart contracts.² MKR works alongside MakerDAO’s other stablecoin, Dai, whose value is soft-pegged to the US dollar.³

What are the key functions of MKR?

1. Governance

MKR is primarily used as a governance token, meaning its holders can directly participate in the governance of the ecosystem and vote on proposals that affect the use of Dai. Proposals take the form of a smart contract and each MKR token represents one vote when locked in a voting contract. Users can commit their MKR tokens to cast votes, and the top proposal is determined by the number of MKR tokens it receives.³

2. Utility

MKR enables the payment of fees and interest on the Maker platform, including stability fees and liquidation penalties.³ Fees that accrue from collateralized debt positions (CDP) – which allow for the generation of Dai – must be paid for with MKR.

As more DAI is generated, MKR supply will steadily decrease. In theory, when the demand for DAI increases, so too does the demand for MKR.⁴  

3. Recapitalization Resource

Should part of Maker’s collateral portfolio become under-collateralized, Maker will automatically create more MKR tokens to raise capital. This effectively brings more capital into the system and restores solvency.⁴

As of March 2022, the market cap value of MKR stands at USD 1.69 billion.⁵


  1. MKR Token. Maker DAO.
  2. Foundation. Maker DAO.
  3. What is cryptocurrency Maker and how does it work? Kriptomat.
  4. What is Maker (MKR) and DAI. Unblock.
  5. Maker. CoinMarketCap.

Please note that this article is for general informational purposes only. The example above is for illustrative purposes only. The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not reflect or represent the views and opinions of Alpaca. Alpaca does not recommend any specific cryptocurrencies.

Cryptocurrency is highly speculative in nature, involves a high degree of risks, such as volatile market price swings, market manipulation, flash crashes, and cybersecurity risks. Cryptocurrency is not regulated or is lightly regulated in most countries. Cryptocurrency trading can lead to large, immediate and permanent loss of financial value. You should have appropriate knowledge and experience before engaging in cryptocurrency trading. For additional information, please click here.

Please see and Alpaca’s Disclosure Library for more information.

Cryptocurrency services are made available by Alpaca Crypto LLC ("Alpaca Crypto"), a FinCEN registered money services business (NMLS # 2160858), and a wholly-owned subsidiary of AlpacaDB, Inc. Alpaca Crypto is not a member of SIPC or FINRA. Cryptocurrencies are not stocks and your cryptocurrency investments are not protected by either FDIC or SIPC. Depending on your location, cryptocurrency services may be provided by West Realm Shires Services, Inc., d/b/a FTX US (NMLS #1957771).

This is not an offer, solicitation of an offer, or advice to buy or sell cryptocurrencies, or open a cryptocurrency account in any jurisdiction where Alpaca Crypto, or FTX US respectively, are not registered or licensed, as applicable.


Crystal Xue

Crystal Xue is a Content Marketing Manager at Alpaca. She's passionate about financial literacy and creating content that helps investors navigate financial concepts and products.