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What is Decentralized Finance (DeFi)?
The first digital currency, Bitcoin, aimed to create a decentralized money that was free of central control and available to everyone. DeFi appears to be changing the banking industry, despite Bitcoin's failure to deliver on this promise. DeFi is an open source alternative to any financial service, including savings, loans, trading, and insurance. The system is powered by decentralized apps, or DApps, that are created on a blockchain network, particularly Ethereum.
DeFi may theoretically be used to provide every financial service now provided by financial institutions, thus replacing existing financial infrastructure and distributing power to consumers and private investors.
How does DeFi work?
The Ethereum blockchain, with its smart contract technology, was largely responsible for the creation of many of the DeFi apps. A computer program created on top of the Ethereum blockchain is referred to as a "smart contract."
The Ethereum blockchain smart contract technology enables more complicated levels of programming, enabling developers the ability to experiment with their own code and construct Decentralized Applications (DApps). DeFi is a collection of DApps aimed at decentralizing traditional financial services.
Previously, financial services were dependent on intermediary entities like banks, but with DeFi, all transaction operations were carried out by smart contract codes. DeFi application code is typically transparent and open-source, allowing all users to independently check the code. As a result, consumers have total control over their money.
DeFi vs Traditional Finance
DeFi's concrete solutions to the five flaws of traditional finance: inefficiency, limited access, opacity, centralized control, and lack of interoperability.
- Inefficiency: One of the flaws of traditional finance is inefficiency. DeFi can handle financial transactions with high volumes of assets and low friction that would generally be a large organizational burden for traditional finance.
- Limited Access: As smart contract platforms move to more scalable implementations, user friction falls, enabling a wide range of users and thus mitigating the second flaw of traditional finance: limited access. DeFi gives large, underserved groups like the global unbanked population and small businesses that employ substantial portions of the workforce (e.g., nearly 50 percent in the United States) direct access to financial services.
- Opacity: The third drawback of traditional finance is opacity. DeFi elegantly solves this problem through the open and contractual nature of agreements.
- Centralized control: The fourth flaw of traditional finance is the strong control exerted by governments and large institutions that hold a virtual monopoly over elements such as the money supply, rate of inflation, and access to the best investment opportunities. DeFi upends this centralized control by relinquishing control to open protocols with transparent and immutable properties. The community of stakeholders or even a predetermined algorithm can control a DeFi dApp's parameter, such as the inflation rate. If a dApp contains special privileges for an administrator, all users are aware of the privileges, and any user can readily create a less centralized competitor.
- Lack of Interoperability: Traditional financial products are difficult to integrate, generally requiring at minimum a wire transfer and many cases unable to be recombined. The possibilities for DeFi are substantial, and new innovations continue to grow exponentially, fueled by how easy it is to compose DeFi products.
Ethereum and DeFi
- Ethereum is in some sense a logical extension of the applications of Bitcoin because it allows for smart contracts
- Ethereum and other smart contract platforms specifically gave rise to the decentralized application, or dApp. The dApps allow peers to interact directly and remove the need for a company to act as a central clearing house for app interactions.
- The drive toward financial dApps became the DeFi movement, which seeks to build and combine open-source financial building blocks into sophisticated products with minimized friction and maximized value to users.
- DeFi is fundamentally a competitive marketplace of financial dApps that function as various financial “primitives” such as exchange, lend, and tokenize.
- They benefit from the network effects of combining and recombining DeFi products and attracting increasingly more market share from the traditional financial ecosystem.
DeFi's common applications
Decentralized funding has been shown to be a viable alternative to the drawbacks of traditional centralized financial systems. It not only reduces the necessity for central authority in financial systems, but it also reimagines banking to bring opportunities to nearly everyone.
Opening Loan Platforms
The open source nature of DeFi's open source software opens up a plethora of opportunities for open lending protocols.The open loan protocols make dispersed finance loans easier to manage. Digital asset collateral, standardization, zero credit checks, and quick transaction settlement are all guaranteed by open lending protocols.
Furthermore, placing loan services on public blockchains guarantees sufficient confidence in the systems' operation. Furthermore, distributed financial lending services outperform traditional credit systems due to their support for encrypted verification techniques, low counterparty risk, and cost-effective approach.
Distributed market systems, or DEX, eliminate the need for centralized authority to hold digital assets for exchange. Concentration markets, on the other hand, have complete control over digital assets and a single point of failure, making them more hackable. On the DEX platform, smart contracts are used to automate trades and other trading procedures, lowering costs and increasing confidence.
Mortgage, Insurance, and Paper Coins
DeFi's applications in insurance, mortgages, and stable currencies are also a promising illustration of DeFi's typical use cases. Decentralized finance is an excellent foundation for promoting the use of stable currencies that are valued in terms of fiat money. By removing intermediaries and significantly speeding up the process, decentralized finance aids insurance operations. By utilizing smart contracts, decentralized finance may also encourage speed and cost reduction in mortgage solutions.
No Permission Is Needed
Without permission, decentralized finance offers significant advantages. For those who do not have access to central funding, permit financing enhances access to services and financial goods. Due to a variety of circumstances, 20% of the world's population now lacks access to financial services. Access to financial services is restricted due to a lack of adequate documents, a lack of banking solutions in the geographical region, or a bad credit score.
DeFi solves these problems, and MakerDAO, DeFi's distributed application, is an excellent example. MakerDAO facilitates the use of Ethereum (ETH) to get loans. The MakerDAO platform accepts ETH deposits and uses an automated smart contract approach to manage the entire process.
Possibilities for Earning Flexibility
The capacity to produce money is the next significant feature of decentralized finance that brings attention to what is called DeFi. Many distributed programs, such as Compound and Dharma, allow you to add value to your digital asset investments. These apps can assist with the utilization of digital assets such as DAI or USDC, allowing other users to borrow them. As a consequence, clients can benefit from lower interest rates than those offered by traditional banking institutions.
No Need to Depend on Banks
In comparison to capital and services, DeFi has a tremendous benefit in terms of greater accessibility. DeFi reduces the need for reliance on government financial systems, bringing attention to the reasons why DeFi exists and why we need it.
More Opportunities for Innovation
The ecosystem of DeFi offers dependable opportunities for innovation and the development of DeFi services and products. DeFi is an open protocol that might be extremely useful in the development of new financial solutions. The relevance of DeFi is enhanced by the fact that it can be used to leverage Ethereum and empower developers to construct new distributed financial applications.
Improving trust in open access
Transparency is also one of the most important aspects of the DeFi launch, suggesting that DeFi application solutions may be readily tested and experienced. Transparency also allows for the creation of a reliable and simple-to-use system.
Customers are in control with DeFi
The most important benefit of DeFi, which illustrates the necessity to focus on what DeFi is, is that users have total control. DeFi allows clients to take total control of their funds, giving them the freedom to make financial decisions. As a result, DeFi enables potential consumers to obtain better interest rates based on the location of their investment.
DeFi is an open source alternative to any type of financial service, such as savings, loans, trading, and insurance. Decentralized programs, or DApps, produced on a blockchain network, namely the Ethereum platform, power the system. Smart contracts are used to automate transactions and other trading activities, which lowers costs and boosts trust. Concentration markets control all digital assets and have a single point of failure. Clients may take complete control of their finances with DeFi, allowing them to make their own financial decisions.
Traditional finance exhibits layers of fat and inefficiency that ultimately remove value from the average consumer. The contractual efficiency of DeFi brings all this value back. As a result of its shared infrastructure and interfaces, DeFi allows for radical interoperability beyond what could ever be achieved in the traditional-finance world.