The year 2020 saw a phenomenal rise for the entire crypto industry. In that growth, the industry segment of DeFi, or decentralized finance, was one of the most prominent contributors.
Decentralized finance is a system that leverages blockchain technology to make the world of finance more accessible. It includes diverse financial applications aimed at removing banking intermediaries or centralized exchanges from the financial system.
A host of Decentralized Finance (DeFi) takes the decentralized concept of blockchain and applies it to the world of finance. Build... applications, platforms and tokens are revolutionizing the world of crypto-economy and finance in general. In the coming paragraphs, we will study them in detail.
What is DeFi and its Tokenomics?
When you use legacy digital payment methods such as credit cards, there remains a bank that has issued you the card to authorize your transaction between you and the seller. In decentralized finance, no such centralized authority or financial intermediary sits between the payer and the payee. Except for the parties involved, no one has the power to stop, pause or record the transaction in the private ledger.
Most of the DeFi applications use the Ethereum blockchain as their foundation. Ethereum is more conducive than any other blockchain to building peer-to-peer decentralized applications. What gives this distinct advantage to Ethereum is the self-executing smart contracts. Languages, such as Solidity, are specifically designed to create and deploy these smart contracts.
There are several types of DeFi applications. The most popular ones include decentralized exchanges, stablecoins, lending platforms, wrapped bitcoins and prediction markets. Newly evolving DeFi concepts such as yield farming, liquidity mining, composability, money legos and more enrich these applications.
The total The market capitalization (or market cap) of a cryptocurrency is a measurement of its market value. In other words, it... of DeFi tokens stands at more than $110 billion. With more than $18 billion market capitalization, Uniswap’s UNI tokens top the chart, followed by LINK ($16.9 billion), WBTC ($9 billion), LUNA ($6.2 billion) and Aave ($5.4 billion). The other protocols whose tokens occupy the rest of the five places in the top 10 list include Avalanche (AVAX), Dai (DAI), PancakeSwap (CAKE) and Maker (MKR).
Why Is There Hype Around DeFi?
DeFi applications have expanded the scope of blockchain. Yield farming, stablecoins, lending platforms and several similar derivative applications of DeFi have helped blockchain to become more rewarding and inclusive—and less volatile. Investors are seeing great potential in DeFi, with the billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban comparing its growth to that of the early days of the internet. Cuban himself has invested in multiple DeFi protocols, including AAVE and Sushiswap.
The promise that Cuban sees in DeFi reflects its growth. Even in February 2020, the total value locked in DeFi was hovering around $1 billion. By the end of 2020, the TVL had crossed the mark of $13 billion, registering nearly 2,000% growth over a year.
List of DeFi Gaining Traction In 2021
Uniswap: It’s a decentralized crypto trading protocol with more than $205 billion in trading volume. The protocol has over 72,000 liquidity providers and more than 200 DeFi integrations. It has so far facilitated around 41 million trades. With features such as token swaps, programmable liquidity, flash swaps and highly decentralized, manipulation-resistant price oracles, it is rewarding for developers to integrate their projects with thousands of tokens and billions in liquidity through Uniswap.
Uniswap’s native token is UNI, and 60% of the UNI genesis supply goes to its community members. This is followed by 21.51% allocated for the team members, 17.80% for the investors and 0.69% for the advisors. UNI tokens have their maximum supply capped at 1 billion.
MakerDAO: As an open sourced blockchain ledger, Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) is determined by a clear set of rules ... stands short for Decentralized Autonomous Organization. MakerDAO runs by leveraging smart contracts executed on the Ethereum blockchain. The platform helps generate Dai, a stablecoin that anyone can use anywhere, anytime. The price of Dai is soft-pegged to the US dollar, and it uses a mix of other cryptocurrencies as collateral.
The supply-demand mechanism of Dai coins does not come under the purview of the protocol. Dai is not produced by mining, like Bitcoin or Ethereum. Neither does any private company mint Dai coins, according to its issuance policy. What makes Dai unique and decentralized in the truest sense of the term is that any willing user can mint it using the Maker protocol. The total Circulating supply is the number of cryptocurrencies or tokens that are publicly available and circulating in the crypto... of Dai tokens has crossed the mark of 3.4 billion.
Chainlink: Chainlink helps you build your universally connected smart contract. Its decentralized oracle network provides reliable, tamper-proof inputs and outputs for complex smart contracts on any blockchain. Chainlink is revered across the industry for its capacity to empower the future of smart contracts. Several leading DeFi protocols, such as AAVE, Synthetix, Yearn.finance and Celsius leverage the services of Chainlink. It enables the smart chains to access real-world data and off-chain computation, while maintaining the security and reliability guarantees inherent to blockchain technology. The maximum supply of LINK tokens is 1 billion, while the circulating supply hovers a little above 419 million.
Polkadot: Polkadot comes with multiple game-changing features that have the power to radically boost the future of DeFi. It enables cross-blockchain transfer of various types of data or financial assets In addition, it helps to create a custom blockchain using the Substrate framework, thus building the foundation for economic scalability. Polkadot can upgrade without hard forks. Its novel data availability and validity scheme ensures safety for everyone. The governance of the protocol is user-driven in the truest sense of the term. DOT, the native token of the platform, has a total supply of more than 1 billion tokens, with the circulating supply being nearly 930 million.
UMA: UMA is short for Universal Market Access. It helps create synthetic assets on Ethereum in a fast, flexible and secure way so that DeFi users can also access traditional market instruments. Using UMA, you can create tokens that track the price of almost anything. Its economic guarantees ensure that your contract is beyond manipulation. UMA’s minimal on-chain transactions also help increase security and reduce costs. With 11 projects building their synthetic assets on UMA, the total value locked in UMA contracts is nearly $193 million. The native currency, UMA tokens, have a total supply of a little more than 102 million. The circulation stands at 60 million.
PancakeSwap: PancakeSwap positions itself as the number one automated market maker on the Binance Decentralise Exchange (DEX) is a crypto exchange platform that is built upon blockchain technology and negates the need .... Using its exchange service, you can buy or sell crypto. PancakeSwap farms allow you to earn by staking liquidity pool tokens. With its pools, you can stake the native token of the platform, CAKE, and earn new tokens. You can “unstake” them at any time with rewards calculations per block. The protocol also offers you chances to win lotteries, and trade in collectibles. At present, the circulating supply of CAKE tokens stands at nearly 154.5 million.
AAVE: Aave is an open source DeFi protocol built of non-custodial liquidity. It helps earn interest on deposits and borrowed assets. Using Aave, you can deposit or borrow a large variety of assets. These include DAI, USD coin, USDT, BUSD, WBTC and many more. Aave gives you access to a market size of more than $4.1 billion, growing each day. Aave, the native token of the platform, has a circulating supply of nearly 12.5 million. It has a maximum supply of 16 million.
Synthetix: Popular as a derivative liquidity protocol, Synthetix is the backbone for derivative trading in DeFi. It helps you gain on-chain exposure for a wide range of assets from anywhere. The total value locked in Synthetix has already crossed the mark of $2.4 billion. Users can earn rewards by providing collateral to the protocol. Many platforms, including Kwenta, Drudge, ParaSwap, and several projects and interfaces leverage the liquidity of the derivatives enabled by Synthetix. SNX, the native token of Synthetix, has a total supply of a little more than 215 million. The circulating supply stands at nearly 115 SNX tokens.
How to Buy DeFi Coins
To buy DeFi tokens, you first need to head over to the exchange you choose. The process of buying DeFi coins will differ depending on the type of exchange: centralized or decentralized.
If you want to buy DeFi tokens from a centralized exchange, you will have to sign up for an account by providing your legal name and email address. You will also have to go through a standard know your customer (KYC) process to activate your account. To complete the KYC process, submit your personal details, banking details and a government-issued identity card.
After KYC approval, head over to the trading interface and select the token that you want to buy. If you want to purchase with fiat currencies, deposit funds in your account.
Enter the amount of the token that you wish to purchase and click on the trade confirmation button.
After you click on the buy button, the fiat amount equivalent to the total value of DeFi coins you bought will be deducted from your fiat wallet on the exchange.
There is no signup or KYC process on a decentralized exchange. The only things that you will need to buy DeFi tokens from a decentralized exchange are a wallet and enough supported crypto funds to exchange against the DeFi token you wish to buy.
If you have sufficient funds, connect your wallet and log in via the wallet you wish to trade with. Once you log in, the trading interface of the exchange will appear. Select the token you want to exchange, or select the token you wish to purchase. Select them from the relevant drop-down menu.
Now set up your order by choosing either how much you want to spend, or how much you want to buy, by entering the appropriate figure in the relevant field.
At the end of the order menu, the exchange will show you how much you can expect to receive.
If you are content with the figures you see, complete the order by clicking on the appropriate trade confirmation button.
Is DeFi a Better Investment Compared to Other Tokens?
Although it cannot be said in absolute terms that all DeFi tokens rank the same in terms of their utility and value, some DeFi tokens and protocols prove to be better investments compared to others. This distinction stems from the sheer versatility that the DeFi protocols have to offer. The DeFi space provides loads of opportunities for retail investors to generate passive income. DeFi token holders, for instance, can deposit their funds into liquidity pools to earn more.
Several protocols benefit their token holders with additional facilities such as reduced fees, improved loan-to-value ratios and staking rewards. The more utilities, the greater is the worth of the token.
Benefits and Limitations of DeFi
DeFi encourages accessibility and inclusion. With intermediaries removed, DeFi transactions enable peer-to-peer transactions where banking services are underdeveloped or inaccessible. Since there is no intermediary to intervene, no risk of blocked transactions or revoked accounts arises. One can lend or borrow instantly from a smartphone.
Built on the layer of Ethereum, DeFi networks have verifiable nodes, making them tamperproof.
DeFi applications are innovative and versatile. They make the entire financial system highly flexible where you can trade in divided assets.
Like any other evolving system, DeFi has its drawbacks, too. The entire domain of blockchain technology is going through shifts. These changes often bring instability to DeFi. For instance, protocols changing their consensus mechanisms pose unforeseen risks to DeFi projects.
The host blockchain may not have enough scalability potential. This often creates trouble for DeFi protocols. Transactions take a long time to complete, and become expensive during network congestion.
Flaws in smart contract codes may lead to the loss of funds from the protocols. DeFi protocols also face challenges relating to low liquidity and low interoperability. However, several new protocols are emerging that tackle these issues head-on.
Will DeFi’s Price Continue to Rise in 2021?
Users finding easy and intermediary-free access to loans, insurance, margin trading, exchanges and yield farming will help DeFi to grow in 2021. Several eWallets, the backbones of blockchain transactions, are rising to the challenge to ensure secure, transparent and easy access to funds. The wide range of utility features of these protocols encourage newer investors to join in, and existing ones invest heavily. As a result, a surge in liquidity and trading volume will help DeFi’s prices to rise in 2021.
A preview of this expected rise is already evident. Let’s compare the monthly trading volume of some of the decentralized exchanges. On April 1, 2020, the monthly volumes of 0x Native, Synthetix, Curve, Uniswap and dYdX were approximately $121 million, $34.5 million, $38 million, $170 million and $123 million, respectively. Within a year, these five DEXs rose to nearly $2.2 billion, $191 million, $4.7 billion, $21 billion and $324 million, respectively.
To reach their maximum potential, the leading DeFi protocols would have to work more on interoperability. They would need to pose a coordinated front in order to become a challenger to the traditional banking system or centralized exchanges. Easy accessibility, enhanced inclusion, autonomy, transparency — these are some of DeFi’s most enticing advantages. The only thing that needs to be done at this moment is for the leading exchanges and protocols to increase their coordination.