Investing
Bybit Learn
Bybit Learn
Intermediate
Feb 14, 2022

Is Anchor Protocol the Best Defi Staking Protocol for Safe Yields?

As with any type of investment portfolio, diversification is essential if you want your crypto portfolio to be balanced. By making sure that your portfolio is properly balanced and diversified, you’ll be able to protect against any unforeseen losses. If your current crypto portfolio is focused almost entirely on risky investments, one sharp decline in a single investment could lead to widespread losses if your other investments have yet to pan out.

On the other hand, having safe and steady investments in your crypto portfolio allows you to accrue consistent income that can mitigate any losses on riskier investments. With a diverse portfolio, it will also be easier for you to make gains in both bull and bear markets.

Even when the market is in a downturn and performing poorly, a diverse portfolio will provide you with at least small gains while you wait for the market to improve. This article takes a look at Anchor Protocol, Anchor crypto and why it’s the ideal staking protocol if you want to obtain safe yields.

What is Anchor Protocol?

Anchor Protocol is a popular savings protocol that’s based around the Terra blockchain. The Anchor Protocol coin (ANC) provides users with low-volatility yields of just under 20% when taking the Anchor Rate into account.

Anchor Protocol was created by Terraform Labs and initially launched in March 2021. It was created in part to boost the overall demand for UST. Keep in mind that UST is the USD-pegged stablecoin from Terra. When the Anchor Protocol coin was first introduced, deposits could only be made in UST. However, EthAnchor was soon launched with the assistance of Orion Money.

Users are now able to deposit various stablecoins based on Ethereum, which include BUSD, USDC, Dai and USDT. Yields for UST typically range from 19.5–20.5%, and revolve around the Anchor Rate, which is maintained by the platform. If you deposit other stablecoins, your yields would be around 16.5%. Even though these yields are high, they’re consistent, which makes this a great investment if you need to diversify your crypto portfolio. Once you place your money into Anchor Protocol, you’ll be able to borrow and lend your assets while earning interest on any of the currency you’ve deposited. This ultimately opens up possibilities for even higher yield as you explore various liquidity pool options. Curious about exploring this staking opportunity? Read on as we cover the fundamentals of how Anchor Protocol works.

How Does Anchor Protocol Work?

Anchor Protocol runs on three primary mechanisms, which include loan liquidation, bonded asset (bAsset), and money market. A bAsset is a tokenized stake that’s situated on a Proof of Stake (PoS) blockchain. If you have a bAsset token, it effectively displays ownership of a PoS asset. Just like the underlying asset that you’ve staked, holding a bAsset will give you access to block rewards.

The main difference between a bAsset and a staked asset is that the bonded asset is fungible and transportable. What this means is that transactions can be completed with the bAsset in the same way that you would use the underlying asset to perform transactions.

Keep in mind that it’s possible for bAssets to be made on any PoS blockchain that’s equipped to handle smart contracts. In the time that Anchor Protocol has existed, bAssets have proven to be a key component of the platform because of how they are able to deliver consistent interest rates to any Terra deposits.

The money market that exists within Terra is a WebAssembly smart contract that’s present on the Terra blockchain. This market facilitates borrowing and depositing of Terra stablecoins. As mentioned previously, the Terra stablecoin is UST. It’s important to understand that the money market acts as the foundation for the Anchor Protocol. Terra deposits are brought together to form a pool, which generates interest from any loans.

If you want to borrow from this pool, you’ll be tasked with using some of your digital assets as a form of collateral. The interest rate that’s generated from the pool of Terra deposits is calculated based on the current demand and supply from borrowers. You can determine what this rate is by looking at the current utilization ratio for the pool.

It’s possible for someone to take out a loan via the Terra money market by securing the right amount of collateral that can be provided in return for the loan. The interest rates for the depositor and borrower are based on an algorithm that’s maintained by Anchor Protocol. With this algorithm, interest rates for a loan are generated based on the current availability and borrowing demand.

Anchor Protocol has an interest rate objective that’s known as the Anchor Rate. In order for the desired Anchor Rate objective to be reached, the smart contract will intuitively divide the block rewards from the bAssets that are serving as collateral. These rewards are divided between the depositor and the borrower.

Rewards are liquidated into UST, which provides depositors with the ability to obtain deposit yields that reach as high as 20%. Keep in mind that the two bAssets that are currently recognized by Anchor Protocol include bETH and bLUNA. These assets are liquid, and can be used to borrow UST.

Is Anchor Protocol Sustainable at Such High Yields?

With a yield that’s as high as 20%, many potential users wonder about the sustainability of Anchor Protocol. While these yields are high and practically unheard of even with stablecoins, the yields are possible because of how Anchor Terra is structured. The Anchor Protocol coin is feasible because of its ability to accept bAssets as a form of collateral.

Since users who hold bAssets will obtain a constant yield via staking, the protocol itself receives a nearly constant stream of income, which incentivizes the use of this protocol. Along with the staking return that’s generated from any deposited bAssets, Anchor also obtains income from all of the interest that a user will be tasked with paying when they take out a loan. Since Anchor is able to bring in two income streams at the same time, the protocol can maintain its 20% yields, which are paid to UST depositors.

In the long run, however, there is a potential downfall to Anchor Protocol. Whenever the money market is deficient and is unable to make enough payouts during the year, Terra must take money from its own yield reserve. At current Anchor rates, Anchor Protocol is expected to have a deficiency of just under $9 million per year.

While the yield reserve grew temporarily in November 2021 because of an increase in staking earnings, it isn’t expected to grow for long. Since November, the deposits have continued to exceed earnings, which means that the yield reserve is being pulled from on a near-continual basis. The Terra yield reserve is currently at around $35 million, which has been cut in half since early December.

Keep this issue in mind before you invest in Anchor crypto. Even though there are steps that Terra could take to resolve this problem, it’s possible that your yield would decrease. Even though a small decrease in yield can be navigated in most situations, this drop could be the difference between making gains for the year or reporting losses.

Is Anchor Protocol Safe?

While Anchor Protocol provides consistent yields of 20% that you can depend on because of the Anchor Rate, it begs the question – is Anchor Protocol safe? Overall, there are still some risks for you to be aware of even if you’ve been involved with the Terra ecosystem for a long time. These risks include everything from UST de-pegging to a potential crash in yields. While some of the following risks are unlikely to occur, it’s important to take into account their possibility so you’re aware of the risk you’re undertaking as an Anchor Protocol investor.

UST De-pegging

Because the value of UST is determined based on an algorithm — and is backed solely by the value of LUNA — it’s possible for the conversion ratio to differ from 1:1 in particularly volatile markets, which may make your Anchor crypto investment less stable than it should be. In order for UST to return to $1, LUNA will need to be burned for UST, which means that fewer LUNA will be available for selling.

Even though UST has remained relatively stable, it’s only been around since late 2020, which means that it hasn’t been tested extensively during volatile market conditions. During its brief existence within the Terra ecosystem, UST has encountered two notable drops in value, the worst of which occurred in December 2020 when it lost around 15% of its value before it recovered.

Even though the Terra ecosystem currently seems strong, there’s always a possibility that UST could drop in value and never recover. Another USD-pegged coin known as IRON saw its value drop to zero in 2021, even though it was officially backed by USDC. Although UST could potentially crash, the value of IRON dropped because the only use for this coin was yield farming. In comparison, UST is spread throughout the entire Terra ecosystem and is part of Pylon, Anchor and Mirror Protocol.

DeFi Hacking Risk

The main risk with decentralized finance involves human error, which could lead to successful attempts at hacking the platform. If Anchor Terra were hacked, the protocol and users could be at risk. Anchor Terra strives to mitigate this risk by performing regular security audits and by putting out an effective Bug Bounty Program.

The Bug Bounty program provides hackers who act in good faith with the ability to test Anchor Protocol for the purpose of detecting bugs. The broader Terra ecosystem offers anywhere from $500–$150,000 whenever a bug is discovered and reported, which incentivizes hackers to continue acting in good faith.

As for the security audits that occur with Anchor crypto, Terra has hired two audit companies to make sure that the protocol remains safe for all users. These companies perform audits on a regular basis to detect any security issues that might exist.

Potential Crash in Yields

While Anchor crypto and the Terra ecosystem as a whole are strong platforms that make for sound investments, you can’t completely eliminate the possibility of a crash in yields. When an imbalance in borrowers and lenders occurs, the yields can fluctuate and put the entire system at risk.

In the event that the crypto market drops substantially in a short period of time, the individuals who have borrowed money from Anchor Terra are possibly at risk of losing all of their collateral. When the loans are liquidated, borrowers won’t be paying interest to the depositors, which places a considerable amount of pressure on the interest rate.

Depletion of Yield Reserves

As mentioned previously, there’s always the possibility that the yield reserve could be depleted, which means that the 20% Anchor Rate couldn’t be paid to those who’ve deposited their assets. If this reserve ever runs out and isn’t subsidized by the Terra ecosystem, problems would likely occur immediately. Because yield reserves could be depleted, it’s important that you always keep an eye on the Anchor Protocol coin and its value.

Before you start worrying too much about your Anchor crypto investment, it’s important to understand that there are several things Terra can do to fix this issue. For one, Terra could inject money into the yield reserve, which they already did once in 2021. While this injection would eventually run out, it would allow depositors to continue receiving the 20% interest rate that they’re owed from investing in Anchor Terra. However, UST is currently worth well over $10 billion, which means that it’s unlikely that another injection by Terra will occur anytime soon.

Another solution that’s much more likely to occur is for Anchor Terra to reduce the yields that depositors receive from staking their assets on the platform. Even though the yield reserve has dropped quickly over the past few months, reducing the yield rate to 15–16% would likely allow expenses and income to break even. Since the average yield for a stablecoin is between 10–12%, a 15–16% yield with Anchor crypto would still be higher than most alternatives.

Anchor Protocol Insurance

Now that you know about the risks that exist with Anchor crypto, it’s important to understand that you can mitigate these risks by purchasing Anchor Terra insurance plans. Crypto insurance has become increasingly sought after in these volatile times. Thus, Anchor Terra has partnered with third-party insurance providers who offer plans for the purpose of reducing the risks of de-pegging and smart contracts. Insurance can be purchased by effectively lowering your annual yields.

Even though the premium price for an insurance plan differs with each insurer, the average price is around 7.3% per year. Keep in mind that the insurer determines how much they pay out in the event that you file a claim, which means that there’s a risk the payout could be lower than you’d like. However, these insurance plans are a great way to lessen the amount of risk you take on when you invest in Anchor crypto, diminishing risks of fears of depegging and DeFi hacking.

How to Invest in Anchor Protocol

If you’ve decided that you would like to invest in Anchor Protocol, there are some basic guidelines to be aware of. First, you’ll need to purchase LUNA currency, which can be done on Bybit by seeking out the LUNA/USDT pair. Once you’ve purchased the amount of LUNA that you would like to invest in the Anchor Protocol coin, you’ll then need to withdraw LUNA and send it to your Terra Station wallet, which is fairly straightforward.

From here, you’ll want to connect your wallet to the Anchor Protocol app, after which you’ll have the opportunity to deposit your LUNA assets to start earning yield. Because Anchor Protocol provides you with a safe yield, you won’t need to manage your investment once it’s been made. If you have yet to diversify your investment portfolio, the Anchor Protocol coin should help you provide your portfolio with a solid foundation that allows you to make crypto gains even when other investments aren’t performing as well.

The Bottom Line

Investing in Anchor Protocol coin is currently a great way to diversify your portfolio if you’re part of the Terra ecosystem. Because the Anchor Rate for this protocol is high, you can be confident that you’ll be provided with consistent returns. However, there are also some risks that you’ll need to take into account before investing in Anchor crypto. With the potential crash in yields, as well as the ever-present DeFi hacking risk, any investment you make in the Anchor protocol coin must be well-researched and monitored accordingly.