Decentralized finance (DeFi) lending transactions are based on crypto assets and executed through smart contacts, obviating the need for intermediaries like banks.
What is DeFi lending?
DeFi lending is the system of lending money through DeFi blockchain-based platforms where peer-to-peer transactions take place without intermediaries.
How do DeFi loans work?
Lenders deposit crypto into a smart contract setting their loan terms—interest rate, period, collateral required, etc.
Borrowers request a loan and fulfill the requirements. The smart contract evaluates the collateral and sets the loan limit.
When the borrower accepts these terms, the smart contract approves the loan and credits the amount to the borrower’s account.
During repayment, the collateral is released, and the borrowed crypto is returned to the lender.
If the borrower does not repay by the due date, the borrower could lose the collateral.
Advantages & disadvantages of DeFi lending
- There is no need for intermediaries, so the processing fees and incidental expenses are minimal.
- No requirements for minimum income or credit scores. So these loans are easily accessible to anyone with an internet connection and a digital wallet.
- All transactions occur on the blockchain and are visible to everyone, leading to transparency and accountability.
- The blockchain is highly secure and practically impossible to hack.
- The fee is considerably lower as the process is automatic and uses smart contracts.
- Transactions are peer-to-peer. Borrowers and lenders can choose the best options available, unlike traditional transactions with little flexibility.
- The geographic location of the borrowers/lenders is immaterial as the transactions take place on the internet.
- All transactions are in crypto and digital assets. Their values fluctuate, causing losses to either party.
- Inherent bugs in smart contracts pose a problem.
- Since a central authority does not guarantee DeFi lending, lenders may face liquidity issues when trying to sell their investments.
- Lack of clarity on the regulatory measures in place.
- Lenders could find it difficult to find borrowers as awareness is low.
What is the difference between Defi lending & traditional lending?
DeFi lending is decentralized, while traditional lending is centralized.
The collateral for DeFi is digital assets; for traditional lending, the collateral is physical.
There is greater transparency of transactions in DeFi as blockchain records everything.
DeFi lending ensures easier accessibility to borrowers as the only prerequisites are an internet connection and a digital wallet.
One can process DeFi loans quickly using smart contracts.
Since there are no intermediaries and lower processing costs in DeFi loans, interest rates are more favorable to both parties.
There is a greater risk involved in Defi loans, given the high volatility in the value of the digital assets used as collateral.
How do Defi lending platforms help the financial services sector?
We have discussed how DeFi lending platforms are decentralized, leading to lower transaction costs, better interest rates, more transparency, and easier accessibility to borrowers at a global level.
DeFi lending increases competition among all forms of lending, leading to better terms for borrowers.
Best DeFi lending platforms
DeFi lending is in a dynamic stage where fresh entrants are coming in even as existing players are ramping up their usage. Here are some of the popular lending platforms:
1. Aave (LEND) – This Ethereum-based open-source platform is arguably the most popular. It offers a bouquet of services and supports many forms of digital assets.
2. Maker – Its stablecoin, DAI, is pegged to the US$ to avoid market volatility in the value of digital assets. It is an Ethereum-based open-source platform.
3. Compound – The platform is also built on Ethereum. Unlike other platforms, Compound allows the tokenization of assets locked in its system by issuing cTokens to the users, and these cTokens can be traded.
DeFi lending is fast-evolving, allowing borrowers and lenders to transact with minimum processes and lower costs. However, the volatility of digital assets impacts the value of the collateral.
Furthermore, one needs to tread carefully as the regulatory mechanism is not fully in place.
Can I get a DeFi loan?
Yes. You only need an internet connection and a digital wallet to fulfill the requirements for a DeFi loan. Your digital wallet should be compatible with the blockchain platform. Please be aware that smart contracts execute all DeFi loans.
How much collateral do I need for a DeFi loan?
The collateral varies depending on the lending platform and the type of digital asset being offered as collateral. Generally, these platforms resort to over-collateralization and ask for collateral greater than the loan value to ensure that the lender does not lose if the borrower defaults.
How do I get started with a DeFi loan?
Set up a wallet that supports the type of crypto you want to use and is also compatible with the DeFi platform you intend to use.
Select the lending platform that offers you the kind of terms you need.
– Deposit the required amount of collateral.
– Avail of the loan.
– Repay the loan/installments as agreed on the due date/s.
Is a DeFi loan taxable?
Taxability, in India, depends upon the purpose, the terms of the loan, the interest earned, and the status of the borrower and the lender. It is advisable to consult a tax consultant.
How much can you earn with DeFi?
The amount you can earn depends on various factors like the amount of capital, your risk tolerance, the DeFi protocols, and the overall market conditions. There are inherent risks, and you must weigh these with potential earnings before making a decision.
What are some common DeFi lending strategies?
Common DeFi lending strategies include providing collateral, yield farming, flash loans, liquidity provision, and staking to earn interest and rewards.
What cryptocurrencies can I use for DeFi lending?
Popular cryptocurrencies for DeFi lending include Ethereum (ETH), Bitcoin (BTC), stablecoins like USDC and DAI, and various ERC-20 tokens.
What are the differences between DeFi lending and staking?
DeFi lending involves loaning assets to earn interest, while staking locks assets to support blockchain networks and receive rewards or governance tokens.
What are the most popular DeFi lending platforms?
Popular DeFi lending platforms include Aave, Compound, MakerDAO, and Cream Finance, offering various lending and borrowing services on blockchain networks.
What are the key benefits of DeFi loans?
Key benefits of DeFi loans include accessibility, decentralization, transparency, and higher yields compared to traditional banking, fostering financial inclusion.