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DeFi Crypto Assets Start 2021 By Thundering Higher

Although we’re just beyond 2 weeks in, 2021 has started off with a burst for the cryptocurrency world.

Amid political chaos in the United States, the value of cryptocurrencies have risen significantly and so far this year. Bitcoin started 2021 around $29,000; and in two weeks time is has already soared above $40,000. More than a few analysts are predicting a 6-digit Bitcoin price this year.

Nevertheless, it’s not only about Bitcoin; beyond BTC, there has been an explosion in coin prices across the board, as cryptocurrency funds see record inflows. This is especially true with DeFi coins and tokens. At press time, we took a look at five major DeFi assets listed on coinmarketcap. In no particular order:

  1. Chainlink (LINK) Chainlink started the year around $12 and has gained as much as 83%, reaching a high above $22.00. LINK is a decentralized oracle network which aims to connect smart contracts with data from the real world. Chainlink was developed by Sergey Nazarov, with Steve Ellis as the other co-founder. It held an ICO in September 2017, raising $32 million, with a total supply of 1 billion LINK tokens. LINK, the cryptocurrency native to the Chainlink decentralized oracle network, is used to pay node operators.
  2. Ren (REN) Ren started the year around 34 cents and has gained as much as 85%, reaching a high above 63 cents. Ren (REN) is an open protocol built to provide interoperability and liquidity between different blockchain platforms. Formerly known as Republic Protocol, Ren launched RenVM, its virtual machine mainnet, in May 2020, having completed a $34 million initial coin offering (ICO) in 2018. The protocol’s native token, REN, functions as a bond for those running nodes which power RenVM, known as Darknodes. Ren aims to expand the interoperability, and hence accessibility, of decentralized finance (DeFi) by removing hurdles involved in liquidity between blockchains.
  3. Sushiswap (SUSHI) Sushiswap started the year around $3 and has gained as much as 153%, reaching a high above $7.60. SushiSwap (SUSHI) is an example of an automated market maker (AMM). An increasingly popular tool among cryptocurrency users, AMMs are decentralized exchanges which use smart contracts to create markets for any given pair of tokens. SushiSwap launched in September 2020 as a fork of Uniswap, the AMM which has become synonymous with the decentralized finance (DeFi) movement and associated trading boom in DeFi tokens. SushiSwap aims to diversify the AMM market and also add additional features not previously present on Uniswap, such as increased rewards for network participants via its in-house token, SUSHI.
  4. Aave (AAVE) Aave started the year around $90 and has gained as much as 114%, reaching a high above $203.00. Aave is a decentralized finance protocol that allows people to lend and borrow crypto. Lenders earn interest by depositing digital assets into specially created liquidity pools. Borrowers can then use their crypto as collateral to take out a flash loan using this liquidity. Aave (which means “ghost” in Finnish) was originally known as ETHLend when it launched in November 2017, but the rebranding to Aave happened in September 2018. AAVE provides holders with discounted fees on the platform, and it also serves as a governance token — giving owners a say in the future development of the protocol.
  5. Uniswap (UNI) Uniswap started the year at just about $5 and has gained as much as 80%, reaching a high of $9.00. Uniswap is a popular decentralized trading protocol, known for its role in facilitating automated trading of decentralized finance (DeFi) tokens. An example of an automated market maker (AMM), Uniswap launched in November 2018, but has gained considerable popularity this year thanks to the DeFi phenomenon and associated surge in token trading. Uniswap aims to keep token trading automated and completely open to anyone who holds tokens, while improving the efficiency of trading versus that on traditional exchanges. Uniswap creates more efficiency by solving liquidity issues with automated solutions, avoiding the problems which plagued the first decentralized exchanges. In September 2020, Uniswap went a step further by creating and awarding its own governance token, UNI, to past users of the protocol. This added both profitability potential and the ability for users to shape its future — an attractive aspect of decentralized entities.
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The Rapid Growth Of Decentralized Finance

Decentralized Finance is a concept that has emerged in the last two years. The idea behind decentralized finance is to make use of distributed ledger technology (DLT), and its off-chain components such as Internet-based ledgers to function as an online payment system. With such a system, the collection of participants is enabled to transact without being restricted by the speed of the network connection or the storage space of electronic data. In fact, such a system can be configured to operate efficiently even with minimal technological setups. Also, it enables users to control their own funds by allowing them to control their privacy, security, as well as the transfer of funds.

An emerging wave of DeFi protocols took previously glitchy and hard-to-navigate decentralized apps and exchanges, such as EtherDelta, and transformed them into high-volume, high-yield unicorns that provided crypto investors with consistently high returns on a regular basis. In terms of total value locked (the value of the assets committed to the protocol), transaction volume and market capitalization, many DeFi platforms and their associated tokens now rival the top centralized exchanges.

Figuring out the point at which decentralized finance began almost always ends up in a rhetorical debate. Some argue that Bitcoin’s (BTC) invention a decade ago marked the start of it, as the major cryptocurrency was the first peer-to-peer digital money and represents the conceptual core underpinning DeFi. Others say — and would be technically correct in doing so — that DeFi started back in December 2017, when Ethereum-based protocol MakerDAO was launched, followed by Compound Finance and Uniswap, released in September and November 2018, respectively. On the other hand, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that DeFi’s true ascent started in 2020.

In decentralized finance, tokens serve as a form of currency. There are several ways in which tokens may be implemented in such systems. First, users may issue tokens which represent ownership of a certain amount of the digital currency i.e. tokens may be issued as e-assets.

Another way of implementing decentralized finance is through Proof of Stake (POS) protocol. Through this protocol, one can build a decentralized financial system by risking one’s own money in the exchange market in return for rewards in the form of dividends. One of the advantages of using this form of lending is that it gives access to a wider range of lenders; however, the downside of this is that there is a high risk associated with such a system since it makes it more difficult for smaller businesses to obtain traditional funding sources. Also, it requires that the borrower has a long history of paying dividends to ensure sustainability of the financial system. In order to build a sustainable financial system that will work for a long time, it is important to find a system that uses Proof of Stake as a base.

Because the distribution chain is unidirectional and allows all parties to participate in the execution of the programs contained within the platform, it is not possible for one individual, such as a broker, to tamper or interfere with this process. Therefore, DEFI and Cryptocurrency are two sides of the same coin: a robust, highly regulated, and completely trustless system that offers all participants tremendous protection. DeFi is a very important aspect of any smart contract based ICO, and all companies are rushing to capture their slice of this rapidly growing industry.