Sock It to Me: 4k.com and Kettle Finance Make Unisocks Loans Possible

Pat Doyle
3 min readDec 21, 2023

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Let’s travel back in time to the year 2019, a year filled with funky surprises. It’s the moment the Uniswap team unleashed the Unisock Exchange, a place where socks became the hottest digital asset on the Ethereum blockchain. These weren’t just any socks; they were dynamically priced, limited-edition wonders. Each pair was represented by redeemable ERC-20 tokens known as $SOCKS, and guess what? Only a mere 500 of these tokens would ever see the light of day!

As your trusty sock enthusiast, I couldn’t resist diving into the world of $SOCKS. I snagged myself a pair during the initial launch at .26 ETH ($44 at the time). When the day arrived to redeem my precious socks, I couldn’t help but marvel at the idea of a digital asset symbolizing something as humble as a pair of socks. With great anticipation, I received my Unisocks, but rather than wearing them, I decided to box them up, envisioning them as a unique collectible.

Fast forward a bit, and boy, oh boy, did things get interesting! The $SOCKS meme and innovation took off like a rocket during DeFi Summer and the NFT bull market. The value of Unisocks skyrocketed, currently hovering around a staggering $40,000 per pair. And here I was, sitting on a physical pair of socks when I could have been riding the crypto wave if I’d kept them tokenized.

But wait, the tale doesn’t end there! Three years later, I came across 4k.com, a protocol that warehouses, insures, and reissues tokens on-chain to represent claims on physical assets. This magical protocol opened the door to financializing collectibles and making the market more efficient. It was a win-win for collectors, consumers, manufacturers, and sellers. I decided it was time to get my $SOCK back on-chain.

Now that my Unisocks were on-chain again, it was time to reintroduce them to the DeFi playground. Enter stage right: Kettle.fi — your friendly peer-to-peer marketplace for loans specifically for on-chain collectibles and luxury goods. Thanks to the blockchain and crypto rails, Kettle is able to completely reimagine the consumer lending journey. Here, lenders and borrowers come together to negotiate loans directly with each other on a wide range of assets, from high-end watches to collectible cards and even diamonds… and now Unisocks. With Kettle, I was able to secure a $5,200 loan for my socks, with an 11.5% APR, valid for 30 days. If I default, the lender will automatically receive ownership of my socks.

Taking that loan, I decided to go long on BTC, believing it would rally toward year-end, especially with the anticipation of a BTC ETF approval. My entry point was $37,000, and lo and behold, 12 days later, I closed my position at a sweet $41,863. A tidy ~10% profit on my trade.

I promptly repaid my loan on Kettle and regained custody of my Unisocks. Some might say this path to liquidity is a bit outlandish and novel, but, it’s all about unlocking liquidity for under served asset classes!

As the worlds of web2 and web3 continue to collide, brace yourself for unprecedented growth in segments that open the floodgates to liquidity and connect asset owners to a global, permissionless network. So, keep an eye out for what other blockchain-driven innovation awaits! 🌈🚀

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Pat Doyle

Building actionable blockchain analytics. Co-Founder @ Genesis Volatility