Old McDonald or John Deere?

Seriously, what is Yield Farming?

Yield farming is a method to harness idle cryptocurrencies such as coins, tokens, stablecoins, and put those assets to work in a decentralized finance fund. These often generate interest rates that range between conservative 0.25% for less popular tokens and above 142% for some MKR loans (makerDAO token.)

Some of the rates. More are found at defirate.com and staked.us

There is no guaranteed passive income from DeFi lending or staking. The actual returns depend on each protocol’s path. The risks of not receiving the perceived returns could be caused by slow transactions, market volatility or even losing your whole collateral.

In trying to understand what Yield Farming is, we can compare it to traditional finance. A central bank issues money to commercial banks; the commercial banks then lend that money to businesses and individuals. Banks profit from levying interest rates on these loans.

A Yield Farmer, in the DeFi economy, acts as the banker in traditional finance. The Yield Farmer lends their funds to boost the adoption and use of coins and tokens. This means that any cryptocurrency owner can hold their own funds while also taking part in the lending activity. This will generate returns for the lender and increase the flow of value within the decentralized ecosystem.

Just as regular farmers plant, fertilize, and plough a crop then reap the harvest yearly, Yield Farming refers to reaping a high annual percentage gain while providing liquidity or various projects. Yield Farming resembles “Staking Coins” in that the user remains in control of their assets but keep it locked it in a temporary exchange for the returns.

Yield Farming has gained popularity with cryptocurrency enthusiasts and investors alike. It is often advertised as providing conjectural “swift gains” in the wake of high risk.

Is Yield Farming risk worth the reward? We should take a look at the mechanics so we can understand what it is and how it functions.

Yield farming is a relatively new concept within the Decentralized Financial (DeFi) ecosystem, and the term became popular jargon in the cryptocurrency world in 2020.

DeFi is a copy of the traditional finance system; however, one BIG difference is that DeFi is completely decentralized. DeFi has no legal hassles or third-party intermediaries thus a no-barrier entry to risk exposure.

DeFi developed from one of the use cases for the Ethereum Protocol. The prospect for cheap and borderless transactions accelerated the creation of startups which attempted to copy banks and other financial institutions. DeFi has spread out in many directions to include novel cryptocurrency trading, Algorithms, derivatives trading, margin trading money transfers, and of course the popular lending markets.

Largely because of two enormous projects – Maker DAO and Compound, Decentralized Cryptocurrency lending (DeFi) entered the phase of functional maturity.

The Celsius Network and BlockFi have combined cryptocurrency lending and cryptocurrency interest accounts into a single user-friendly platform. These two companies are leaders in an industry where offering more than 6% on BTC and 8.6% on stablecoins like USDC and USDT is considered to be the industry standard.

There are other projects which are aspects of DeFi and Yield Farming such as trading projects and decentralized exchanges. These projects use the liquidity from Yield Farming for trading. Check out Bancor, Augur and UniSwap to read more about these.

How Yield Farming Works

Yield Farming depends on the inflow and outflow of DAI (an anchor asset) which is dollar-pegged that originated with the Maker DAO protocol. As of August 2020, DAI is backed by ETH or BAT deposits and is used for loans, arbitrage or algorithmic trades. The system is more predictable by using the DAI dollar peg. This sets an automatic value for each token of $1. Yield Farming depends on the collateral of ETH or another token, which are used for loans and to generate passive incomes.

Follow these Steps:

  • Add the Meta Mask plugin on Brave or Chrome Browser and create an Ethereum account.
  • Ensure you save your seed phrase – write it down and save in a few secure areas.
  • DeFi user locks in the Coins of Choice, using the Meta Mask ETH account.
  • Once funds are locked in, the wallet will communicate with a smart contract on the Ethereum Network.
  • Depending on the logic of the Smart Contract, value is extracted. The more traditional way is to levy an interest rate.
  • Users must pay fees to transact on the ETH network.
  • Due to the popularity of use, fees may rise quickly.
  • The network may even be too congested to participate successfully.

ETH prices dropped sharply in mid March of 2020 creating a perfect storm of market panic. This triggered multiple algorithms on the Maker DAO platform. Ethereum network slowed down transactions, not allowing the owners to increase their collateral. Multiple deposits (known as vaults) were liquidated, and DAI lost its dollar peg briefly.

The 150% over-collateralization CAN help to offset risks partially and projects like DeFi Saver can automatically increase collateral to stave off liquidations. When the minimum collateral requirement breaks down due to price volatility, liquidations start happening.

It is important to note: DeFi is inclined to work better when asset prices are rising. For example: if ETH prices were to drop by 33%, this would liquidate most deposits on Maker DAO. Smaller price fluctuations also mean that holding ETH may, in the long run, be more profitable than Yield Farming.

Please let’s not make a new ICO bubble out of DeFi.

Said Alexander Ivanov, founder of the WAVES protocol.

Ivanov was comparing DeFi to the market frenzy for Initial Coin Offerings. However, he is still optimistic about the future of DeFi. He was concerned and was only warning against another bubble due to unreasonable enthusiasm.

There is a marked difference in ICO and Yield Farming. Coins CAN be taken out of DeFi protocol almost any time; however, participating in an ICO means exchanging ETH or BTC for a new token.

The new token could then only be changed back by trading it once it was listed on an exchange. With DeFi, tokens can be immediately liquid as they are paired on the UniSwap exchange. (a decentralized, automated trading protocol)

What about the safety of Coins when doing Yield Farming?

Any type of Cryptocurrency trading/investing exposes you to risk.

You either have the stomach for it or you do not. It is important to know this before you delve!

In DeFi, the lender is always in control of their funds, as operations happen in automated smart contracts and do not require the oversight of third parties. Unlike token sales, a person can withdraw their collateral at almost any time. 

However, smart contracts can dictate how and when you can withdraw your collateral, so be aware of what you’re getting into. And in particular during the cases of liquidation. 

What are the Risks of Yield Farming?

There is always a risk involved when you lock your funds away in vaults and employ smart contracts. Smart contracts exploits, which abuse the logic of the smart contract to generate high returns and liquidations, pose major threats to collateralized funds. Another BIG risk is the peg of the DAI stablecoin, which MUST retain its $1 peg. To break this peg would decrease the value of the loans and create panic selling, and they would quickly lose liquidity.

The boom of DeFi brought a multitude of untested protocols. These included untested smart contracts which malfunctioned. For instance, the YAM DeFi protocol brought in nearly $300 million, but due to faulty smart contract behavior thousands of billions of extra tokens were printed. Other projects also released untested smart contracts, which may ultimately result in loss of funds.

.A MAJOR concern is a more recent development: Compound (COMP) DeFi fund is showing more than 1.3 Billion DAI in its lending and borrowing markets. This is while there are only around 421 Million DAI coins created (this is as of August 14, 2020.) This results in a debt bubble Yield Farmers have created in the process of lending; giving an artificial circulating value to DAI, amplified by Yield Farmers.

This situation may put serious pressure on the DAI dollar peg. Serious fallout would be expected in the case of liquidations. As of August 2020, rapid growth in Compound DeFi has boomed due to greed and prices.

What are the Best Projects for Yield Farming

Maker DAO was one of the first successful attempts at Cryptocurrency lending. The initial volume of capital was drawn in by lending DAI backed by ETH.

Compound followed closely with a similar lending platform. Compound further evolved beyond the lending platform, and it created its own incentive COMP token. A massive growth followed in the DeFi funding program between July and August of 2020 when the number of funds in Yield Farming doubled from around $2 Billion to above $4 Billion.

Maker DAO and Compound competed for the #1 spot in DeFi based on their well-known brands and locked value. In algorithmic trading terms, such projects as Augur, Bancor and dy/dx remain popular in that crypto space.

Not really Yield Farming per se, but decentralized lending platforms BlockFI and Celsius provide impressive returns of APY upwards in the range of 8.6% on stablecoins without all the complications of Yield Farming outlined here. So, if that is your cup of tea, you may want to look into those.

Conclusion – How does the Future look for Trade Farming?

Some things tend to occur very quickly in the cryptocurrency world and the rise in popularity of Yield Farming seems to have forayed into the mainstream from out of nowhere.

If a person were obliged to predict the future of Yield Farming, they should critically look at all potentialities – both positive and negative – to reach a conclusion.

On the one hand, Yield Farming could activate idle tokens and potentially create a passive income for holders.

On the other hand, it’s wise to consider the negative possibilities which range from price crashes or exploits that manage to trick smart contracts and reap gains from collateral. Since DeFi isn’t regulated, it isn’t covered with the protections that come with centralized financial institutions.

Since DeFi are not considered securities, the US security and Exchange Commission has not taken any divisive actions against them.

Some of the Yield Farming projects are well established and draw in the most collateral, and new DeFi algorithms enter the scene regularly. Some DeFistartups use copied, unaudited smart contracts, and these pose a risk—Namely, the YAM Yield Farming project which has recently crashed and took some of the market collateral with it.

The WAVES platform expanded into the DeFi world in August of 2020. WAVES brought with them a long list of ICO tokens that were repurposed for various forms of DeFi such as BAT, LINK, 0x, and Kyber Network. For a complete list, look on CoinGecko.

So, it seems that Yield Farming is a mercenary-like approach to the cryptocurrency world where risk-takers seek out the highest yields and thus cause token price volatility in their wake. (sounds vaguely like the HYIPs from earlier years)

Many DeFi projects are still in their Nascent phase and can be a bit hard to understand. This doesn’t seem to stop newcomers from rushing in to grab a share of the pie. The BEST advice for readers is to do your own research into what each platform has to offer and don’t lock in any funds you cannot afford to lose.

About the author

Gail holds one of the most challenging role in the Compumatrix Leadership: Membership. She ensures that that members and potential members enjoy the benefits of being part of the Compumatrix community.

Comments

  1. wow Gail this is a very deep and intriguing read — i am not a big fan of going back into the hyips days of failures and just plain thievery — but also do understand a part of the fascination of making that big investment win — however as i write this i do have to go back and read more than once — i have learned thru time be Patient and stay True and Persevere — and with Time you will succeed — jmho — You are in my opinion a great teacher — keep expounding — the info is awesome and truly helps in the end run of any of our Successes — rj

    1. I appreciate the kind remarks, RJ. The information is out there on all I post; it’s just a matter of bringing it together in logical form and making it easier to understand. It took a while to put this one together because it is rather deep and involved; however, I think it is important to be aware of in our world. I highlighted a sentence that I hope most who read the blog UNDERSTAND, and I will repeat it here. “Another BIG risk is the peg of the DAI stablecoin, which MUST retain its $1 peg. To break this peg would decrease the value of the loans and create panic selling, and they would quickly lose liquidity.”
      This is NOT unlike what has befallen at least one of our assets and perhaps will help some understand it’s not a unique happenstance.

  2. Very interesting and informative post Gail. Thanks for sharing all of this. This is a totally new concept to me. First time I have ever heard of Yield Farming. There is so much out there these days in the crypto world and so many ways to get involved and invest if you will. Nice to hear something about “Waves” again. I know we didn’t go forward with them in Compumatrix, but good to know they are still alive and kickin.

  3. I had to read this article several times to understand what it was about. I had never heard of, or read anything about Yield Farming, despite all my online searches. Thanks for your in-depth description Gail, it became a little easier to understand what it is all about. Thank goodness I do not have to explain this to anyone else. I refer them to your excellent blog.

  4. Massey Ferguson for me! It would seem that many of the terms we have used in agriculture over the years are being ‘cryptolutionised’. Definitely makes it easier to follow but boy is there a lot of information out there to read and digest, ascertain risks, decide on direction, change direction. Hmmm, this sounds familiar! Just remember that harvest time makes the toil and struggle worthwhile! Keep smiling and working, one and all. However exhausted you are, that beam of a smile when all the crops are in, totally unbeatable!

  5. Thank you, Gail, for a while, I thought your blog was going to talk about farming the land in 2035. You always bring great information to your blogs about for many of us feel like we are learning a foreign language. I am always grateful for anyone who can take a complex subject and explain it simply.
    To me, that is a gift.

  6. Wow I have never heard of yield farming what a load of information, sounds like it could go well if everything would stay stable but that is always that risk that is why you never spend more then you can afford to lose. I would have to practice and experiment with small amounts until I got the hang of it. Very interesting though something I may look into.

  7. Now, that is an in-depth blog with a ton of information. Like Inga, I, too, had to read it a couple of times to digest it all. For those who cannot understand what has happened to our assets in our DEX only need to read this informative blog. It explains in detail the whys and whats. This blog answered a question brought up today in Discord. It shines a light on how an asset can lose its value quickly. This business is not for those who worry or cannot afford to jump in without thoroughly researching and understanding the risk.

  8. Thank you for your informative and insightful article on yield farming. I also had to read it several times to understand the mechanics of yield farming. It certainly is a new way to make your crypto work for you, especially if it becomes passive and you can afford the risk. It never ceases to amaze me what will evolve next in the crypto space.

  9. Gail  has always introduced new things in each of her blogs, this blog is very informative and I  have to read it again and again to understand more. Yield farming is new but very interesting,I think it’s very important to understand that. Surprisingly, on the one hand, Yield Farming can active Idle tokens and generate a lot of revenue for the holders. Thank you Gail for sharing such an informative blog.

  10. Gail, there is no one who is more none technical than I am when it comes to this market, and trying to follow this information is totally mind-boggling to me. There is no one I’d rather have to teach me this information than you. Yield Farming does sound worth the struggle if I can just wrap my mind around the concept and keep reading it. I am sure that it will dawn on me what this is all about if I just keep reading. Not everyone is cut out for this but I am going to keep at it.

  11. This is a very interesting blog post Gail and I have to read it a few times more to understand it completely. I never heard of Yield Farming so this is an eye-opener for me. The developments in the crypto world go so fast that it is sometimes difficult to learn about all the new things. One new development is there and the other one is already waiting around the corner.

  12. Another very interesting blog from you Gail. I have never really understood or should I say heard off Yield Farming before .. I think I am going to have to go back and read it more slowly this time. Crypto is for ever changing and when you think you finally knew something about it , Something new comes along to learn again. Seems like Yield Farming is one of those things. So now I go back and read your Blog over again.

  13. Thank you Gail for another great subject in the ecosystem, I really liked how you compared the Yield Farming with “Central bank issues money to Commercial banks; the Commercial banks then lend that money to businesses and individuals. Banks profit from levying interest rates on these loans”.
    Its very important to make you homework before getting to any of these trades due to the high risk involved regarding the peg to the stable coin.
    Thanks again.

  14. Well done again Gail. Our world is changing and the crypto world is growing. Never heard of Yield Farming before, but great introduction to the concept. I still have lots to learn about it. I’m thinking it would ok to put a bit of spare funds into and learn as it develops. Diversify one’s portfolio with small risk.

  15. Wow Gail….thank you for bringing the cutting edge, new information from the cryptocurrency world! My father was a farmer, and I married a farmer so farming is in my blood; however, yield farming isn’t, and I don’t believe my brain could handle what is all involved to be successful. Again, as a pitfall, the word ‘greed’ came up which is a huge problem in our world in all areas of life. It is exciting to learn that there are always new ways so that there is always something suited for everyone.

  16. When I saw the title, I thought about that John Deere tractor I never got about 12 years ago. Then reading the article, my stomach tightened even more. I don’t think the jury is in on “Smart Contracts” yet. I read the following in your post:

    However, smart contracts can dictate how and when you can withdraw your collateral, so be aware of what you’re getting into. And in particular during the cases of liquidation.

    I haven’t seen the evidence the Smart Contract is any better than a signed legal contract. There is so much to learn about these contracts.

  17. After reading this blog, Gail, I am really not much closer to understanding it all, but at least by reading I can become familiar with terms and all things new in the crypto world. Maybe at some time in the future I will become more savvy and able to understand more fully. At this time I will let those whose knowledge and understanding is greater than mine play with the digital market.

  18. Being an Iowa farm girl the headline and picture appealed to me immediately and to my surprise, the body of this blog had nothing to do with tractors! I find the concept of yield farming a way to make the crypto world more familiar to most people. Using vernacular associated with the traditional banking world gives rise to a bridge between these two financial worlds. The Abra App offers interest on cryptocurrencies held on their wallets. Any financial instrument has risk associated with it and I find it appealing to receive my notifications of interest paid on my cryptos while hodling. Indeed, reading the small print with any endeavor is of vital importance. Enjoy the crypto harvest by yield farming!

  19. Quite Fascinating as I’m reading this the 2nd and I’m coming back again just to have this sink for my understanding and for others who seek answers, you made it so simple and plain to understand, I had read some of the stuff recently and to be honest, it’s becoming clear every moment, the risk involved the advantages, the deeper of the blog the better for everyone to make the right decision concerning their investment. I’m learning daily. Thank you, Gail.

  20. Similar to growing food in the traditional farming sense, Compumatrix system of farming with Cryptocurrence takes time, hard work and the help and cooperation of others like dirt farming. It doesn’t happen automatically just by a request. I don’t know about you, but I need a lot of help and instruction from others to accomplish anything in this system.

  21. Boy, great blog Gail. This is something that would take a lot of studying before you jump into this. Hennie could be right, it may be a great way to send some of your extra coins to see how the program works. But never send more coins than you can afford to lose. In some respects, it is like actual farming, nothing is ever guaranteed. Thanks for sharing.

  22. Gail, as the saying goes, you said a “mouth full.” Yield Farming takes some time to digest. Seems somewhat like the Cryptosavers Program many of us are in, which I do like. Not sure it’s for me knowing what I know about our own program for creating revenue, but for some it could be interesting.
    I feel it’s a priority to build on what we have right now. Might look at Yield Farming later on down the road. Thanks for putting the program out there. Appreciate it!

  23. Gail this really explained yield farming well, thank you. At present time I have not tried this. With your instructions I think I could possibly make an attempt at investing some coins. Based on what the smart contract agreement states, It may be beneficial to start off with a few coins and test the waters and slowly grow my investment.

  24. Sophey, your articles are so involved, and in depth, many readings and there is still more; you are a genius on the subject of crypto currency investments. Anyway; I loved the start of using banks and how they use multiple layers of investment and interest rates coupled with volume to make money at various levels; fantastic start.
    The Stock Markets did a similar layering of investment, esp. windowing the commodities markets, and then the stocks.
    But here: “DeFi is a copy of the traditional finance system; however, one BIG difference is that DeFi is completely decentralized. DeFi has no legal hassles or third-party intermediaries thus a no-barrier entry to risk exposure.”
    Is where you caught my attention, for a new and possible high risk of profits while decentralized was exactly what the Doctor ordered!!
    I need ot read this at least 5 more times, and so thank you for connecting it also to our browsers Chrome and Brave (which I still have not done yet)! Thanks!!

  25. Very interesting but also in my opinion quite scary. I am a simple person. I was educated before computers were anything other than a twinkle in an inventors eye. Before the decoding machines which came to the fore In WW2 code was a word for the spies. The problemwhich was highlighted by the article is that i am not sure everyone has the appetite to comprehend much of the technology which we are told is essential today. I am coming up 84 and the thought of amuch of it just gives me a headache. If someone sells me a car I just need to know it works honestly and reliably. I do not need to know how many nuts and bolts keep it together. Let us hope that the powers that be in Compmatrix realise the huge diversity of skills or lack of and the interests and the desires of the membership.

  26. What could be scary about living in a better world? I think we all have to realize that advances stop for no one. Just because we perhaps can’t grasp new ideas or understand new inventions does that mean the world stops right there? NO…it means that we just continue to live and thrive in what WE understand and accept as our “normal” and the world goes right on advancing. I am thrilled with new technology and it seems that we are advancing and humanity in taking GIANT steps. Will we always understand new technology? I doubt it. Will our kids and grandkids be WAY beyond us in their ability to grasp new ideas? YES. I think we’d want them to be. I KNOW I want mine to. I pray that is the case anyway..

  27. Very interesting read…this one will take multiple readings for me to be able to truly grasp this. Lots of great things happening in the Crypto world and I’m sure many more avenues will be springing there heads up. Will be looking forward to truly grasping all that this has to offer.

  28. I was able to understand some of what you wrote about trading. It would be easier for me if I had a handy list of what the acronyms meant. Is there a list of these acronyms in the forum which would make it easier for someone like me to understand this article?

    1. Hi Maxine…I don’t know of a list that you mention. But, I will say this…to REALLY learn terms, ideas, words or about anything else for that matter, nothing can beat creating that for yourself. So my suggestion is to get out a tablet, take an acronym you want to understand, do a duck-duck go search online (I prefer Duck-Duck go over Google) write or type that definition out and read about it then to absorb the meaning. I feel that is the absolute best way to teach yourself.

  29. I have a feeling this isn’t like the farming I helped my Dad and uncle do, haha. I learned a lot by helping them farm. I need to learn this type of farming so that I can now work smart instead of working hard!! Traditional farming is hard work, don’t let anyone kid you!!

  30. Thank you, Gail. So many new words and applications, I think I am understanding. Applying the analogy of a natural farming yield to the yield of farming of cryptocurrency makes it understandable to me. There is undoubtedly a risk of generating and receiving both types of yield. I was stumped for a new blog to write, but writing what we know, you opened a door for me.

  31. Thank you for the great blog Gail, I had no idea what Yield Farming was so I learned something new again today. Oh Thank you Gail for the above post. Going to Duck-duck go seems the like a good way of learning about more detailed info. I will use this as well. Thank you

  32. Wow, Gail ! I have often said “I ain’t got no ignorance” in jest, but after reading this post and many others you have written, I must say the I’ve got me some ignorance. So, I am either going to become a lot smarter or have even more things to be confused about. Since I really do have an interest in learning, I am going to choose to become a lot smarter. If there was ever a starting point, your blogs most definitely provide that.

  33. oh this posting is special — we must always put in perspective the Whole business philosophy — and also if we can put the truth of each moment into the overall thought process — then as we Grow as a Biz person — the simpler factors of owning a biz and then obviously operating that Biz — we can only smile a bit — because as time answers all questions — we are biz owners — yeppers —

  34. watching fox biz this am and seeing Bitcoin where it was and listening there brought me to this great posting by Gail — there is so much info in the investing arena and where you go with your funds — seriously make sure you understand what and where you are going and yes I will be reading this post many more times —

  35. Thank you for this very informative blog post Gail. You write about a subject that a rather new to me. I heard about it but didn’t read much about it. That I’ll most certainly start doing. The crypto world is constantly changing and sometimes it is difficult ot keep up with it. But if I want to be successful in this industry I have to.

  36. Wow Gail.. Even I had to go over a couple of things more than once.. Great explanation on the W5 of it all. For a new concept in the crypto world, it sure has taken off. The DeFi ‘network ‘ has really shown some interesting things. Not for the faint of heart, but has shown some very good returns with many coins/tokens.

  37. My thought is that I really would rather focus on farming for real and my cows, lol, but I am hoping to be able to invest and allow someone who knows what they are doing to watch the market and make whatever moves are necessary. We got ripped off with many different hyip programs. We are anxious to see what earning opportunities are available through CDAP in the future.

  38. Growing up on a small dairy farm near a small town on Oregon, growing anything was always on our minds. Cattle, crops, garden, but most of all, us kids were always seeing how tall we were in comparison with our siblings.
    Growing in this venture is not about comparison of others accomplishments (i.e. how their crops grow), our growth is collative and be uplifting to the common good. Not socialism, but team work to make things grow so every one can benefit. .

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