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What is Aave? An Overview of the Budding DeFi Lending Platform

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Aave is a decentralized, open-source, non-custodial liquidity protocol that enables users to earn interest on cryptocurrency deposits, as well as borrow assets through smart contracts.

Aave is interesting (pardon the pun) because interest compounds immediately, rather than monthly or yearly. Returns are reflected by an increase in the number of AAVE tokens held by the lending party. 

Apart from helping to generate earnings, the protocol also offers flash loans. These are trustless, uncollateralized loans where borrowing and repayment occur in the same transaction. 

Assets on Aave as of 3/7/21 (source: aave homepage)

Assets on Aave as of 3/7/21 (source: aave homepage)

The following article explores Aave’s history, services, tokenomics, security, how the protocol works, and what users should be wary of when using the Aave platform.

How Does Aave Work?

The Aave protocol mints ERC-20 compliant tokens in a 1:1 ratio to the assets supplied by lenders. These tokens are known as aTokens and are interest-bearing in nature. These tokens are minted upon deposit and burned when redeemed. 

These aTokens, such as aDai, are pegged at a ratio of 1:1 to the value of the underlying asset – that is Dai in the case of aDai. 

The lending-borrowing mechanism of the Aave lending pool dictates that lenders will send their tokens to an Ethereum blockchain smart contract in exchange for these aTokens — assets that can be redeemed for the deposited token plus interest.  

atokens on Aave

atokens on Aave

Borrowers withdraw funds from the Aave liquidity pool by depositing the required collateral and, also, receive interest-bearing aTokens to represent the equivalent amount of the underlying asset.

Each liquidity pool, the liquidity market in the protocol where lenders deposit and borrowers withdraw from, has a predetermined loan-to-value ratio that determines how much the borrower can withdraw relative to their collateral. If the borrower’s position goes below the threshold LTV level, they face the risk of liquidation of their assets.

Humble Beginnings as ETHLend 

Aave was founded in May 2017 by Stani Kulechov as a decentralized peer-to-peer lending platform under the name ETHLend to create a transparent and open infrastructure for decentralized finance. ETHLend raised 16.5 million US dollars in its Initial Coin Offering (ICO) on November 25, 2017.

Kulechov, currently serving also as the CEO of Aave, has successfully led the company into the list of top 50 blockchain projects published by PWC. Aave is headquartered in London and backed by credible investors, such as Three Arrows Capital, Framework Ventures, ParaFi Capital, and DTC Capital.

ETHLend widened its bouquet of offerings and rebranded to Aave by September 2018. The Aave protocol was formally launched in January 2020, switching to the liquidity pool model from a Microstaking model.

To add context to this evolution from a Microstaking model to a Liquidity Pool model, Microstaking was where everyone using the ETHLend platform. Whether one is applying for a loan, funding a loan, or creating a loan offer, they had to purchase a ticket to obtain the rights to use the application, and that ticket had to be paid in the platform’s native token LEND. The ticket was previously a small amount pegged to USD, and the total number of LEND needed varied based on the token’s value. 

In the liquidity pool model, Lenders deposit funds to liquidity pools. Thus creating what’s known as a liquidity market, and borrowers can withdraw funds from the liquidity pools by providing collateral. In case the borrowers become undercollateralized, they face liquidation.

Aave raised another 4.5 million US dollars from an ICO and  3 million US dollars from Framework Ventures on July 8th and July 15th, 2020. 

Aave Pronunciation

Aave is typically pronounced “ah-veh.” 

Aave’s Products and Services

The Aave protocol is designed to help people lend and borrow cryptocurrency assets. Operating under a liquidity pool model, Aave allows lenders to deposit their digital assets into liquidity pools to a smart contract on the Ethereum blockchain. In exchange, they receive aTokens — assets that can be redeemed for the deposited token plus interest.

Aave's functionality

Borrowers can take out a loan by putting their cryptocurrency as collateral. The liquidity protocol of Aave, as per the latest available numbers, is more than 4.73 billion US dollars strong. 

Flash Loans

Aave’s Flash loans are a type of uncollateralized loan option, which is a unique feature even for the DeFi space. The Flash Loan product is primarily utilized by speculators seeking to take advantage of quick arbitrage opportunities. 

Borrowers can instantly borrow cryptocurrency for a matter of seconds; they must return the borrowed amount to the pool within one transaction block. If they fail to return the borrowed amount within the same transaction block, the entire transaction reverses and undo all actions executed until that point. 

Flash loans encourage a wide range of investment strategies that typically aren’t possible in such a short window of time. If used properly, a user could profit through arbitrage, collateral swapping, or self-liquidation.

Rate Switching

Aave allows borrowers to switch between fixed and floating rates, which is a fairly unique feature in DeFi. Interest rates in any DeFi lending and borrowing protocol are usually volatile, and this feature offers an alternative by providing an avenue of fixed stability. 

For example, if you’re borrowing money on Aave and expect interest rates to rise, you can switch your loan to a fixed rate to lock in your borrowing costs for the future. In contrast, if you expect rates to decrease, you can go back to floating to reduce your borrowing costs.

Aave Bug Bounty Campaign

Aave offers a bug bounty for cryptocurrency-savvy users. By submitting a bug to the Aave protocol, you can earn a reward of up to $250,000.

Aave Tokenomics

The maximum supply of the AAVE token is 16 million, and the current circulating supply is a little above 12.4 million AAVE tokens.

Initially, AAVE had 1.3 billion tokens in circulation. But in a July 2020 token swap, the protocol swapped the existing tokens for newly minted AAVE coins at a 1:100 ratio, resulting in the current 16 million supply. Three million of these tokens were kept in reserve allocated to the development fund for the core team. 

Aave’s price has been fairly volatile, with an all-time high of $559.12 on February 10, 2021. The lowest price was $25.97 on November 5th, 2020. 

Aave Security

Aave stores funds on a non-custodial smart contract on the Ethereum blockchain. As a non-custodial project, users maintain full control of their wallets. 

Aave governance token holders can stake their tokens in the safety module, which acts as a sort of decentralized insurance fund designed to ensure the protocol against any shortfall events such as contract exploits. In the module, the stakers can risk up to 30% of the funds they lock in the module and earn a fixed yield of 4.66%. 

The safety module has garnered $375 million in deposits, which is arguably the largest decentralized insurance fund of its kind. 

Final Thoughts: Why is Aave Important?

Aave is a DeFi protocol built on strong fundamentals and has forced other competitors in the DeFi space to bolster their value propositions to stay competitive. Features such as Flash loans and Rate switching offer a distinct utility to many of its users.

Aave emerged as one of the fastest-growing projects in the Summer 2020 DeFi craze. At the beginning of July 2020, the total value locked in the protocol was just above $115 million US dollars. In less than a year, on February 13, 2021, the protocol crossed the mark of 6 billion US dollars. The project currently allows borrowing and lending in 20 cryptocurrencies.

Aave is important because it shows how ripe the DeFi space is for disruption with new innovative features and how much room there is to grow.

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Source: https://coincentral.com/what-is-aave/

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Where can you find the lowest fees on the crypto exchanges?

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A trader in any market, be it stocks, currencies or cryptocurrencies that are currently trending, is surrounded by a multitude of additional costs. These are all kinds of commissions, spreads, swaps, etc. And if you plan your trades incorrectly, such costs can “eat up” the lion’s share of profits or even reduce them to zero (see our crypto currency converter for comparison).

Fees on cryptocurrency platforms

When using the services of a cryptocurrency exchange, a trader has to pay a number of commissions. The most common types of these on the trading floor are:
1. Transaction Fee. This is the most common commission that is charged for deposits or withdrawals at the exchange.
If a cryptocurrency exchange only supports the deposit or withdrawal of cryptocurrencies, then the trader only pays the commission charged by the miners for such transactions. The amount of the commission is usually insignificant in this case.
For transactions with fiat currencies, you have to pay a commission for the use of the payment system. At the same time, the amount of the commission varies depending on the system chosen (bank transfer or something else). In addition, the degree of verification of the merchant account usually also affects the amount of the commission.
2. Commission for closing a trade. This commission on cryptocurrency exchanges is calculated directly when trading, when placing an order. Usually the level fluctuates in the range of 0.1-0.25%, but on some platforms it can even be more than 1% of the trading volume.

Maker and taker

A maker is a trader who opens sales transactions. The name comes from the English word “to make” (to do something). It is assumed that the maker brings his assets to the stock exchange, that is, “makes the market”.
A taker is a trader who buys something. It is assumed that the taker reduces the liquidity of an asset class on the market because after the purchase the asset moves to an external account and is therefore no longer on the market. is available.
Since the maker provides liquidity and the taker takes it away, the amount of the commission for the maker is usually lower than for the taker.
However, there are cryptocurrency exchanges where there are no commissions at all for placing orders. Such sites are becoming increasingly popular, but the liquidity in their trades often leaves a lot to be desired. In addition, to compensate for the lack of trading commission, such sites often charge excessive transaction fees.

Cryptocurrency platforms with minimal fees

The following platforms differ from crypto exchanges in that they have minimal commissions:
ü Binance has the lowest fees among the most popular platforms – at 0.1%, and if you use the exchange’s own tokens, they are even lower.
ü On the HitBTC website, the commission for placing an order for both the maker and the taker is 0.1%.
ü On Bitfinex, the trading commission for the maker is 0.1% and for the taker 0.2%.
ü On io, a maker pays between 0% and 0.16% for placing an order, for a taker the commission is between 0.1% and 0.2%.
ü There is no trading commission for makers on the GDAX and itBit platforms. For takers it is 0.25%.
ü On the Livecoin exchange you will find an option with a commission-free deposit in fiat currency (via the capitalist system). When the trading volume is small, the trading commission is 0.18%.

Under the supervision

There is a wide variety of cryptocurrency platforms offering digital asset trading – from humble exchanges that focus on the local market segment and have different reputations to the top giants that are analogous to the NYSE, LME or the NASDAQ are in the cryptocurrency world. Therefore, every trader can choose an exchange with acceptable commission fees for himself. We wish you every success in such an exciting business as trading in cryptocurrencies.

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Capitalizing on Blockchain’s Promise, Unicly Delivers NFT Fractionalization

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Unicly’s decentralized and permissionless protocol empowers the community to fractionalize, combine, and trade non-fungible token collections through sharding, improving overall NFT accessibility and fungibility through its novel design.

Accompanying Unicswap DEX Attracts Millions In Liquidity

Non-fungible tokens have become all the rage as platforms onboard high-profile artists, entertainers, and evangelists seeking a new way to monetize their collectibles, creations, and works of art.

Yet, the eye-popping auction figures aside, NFTs represent one blockchain area that largely remains inaccessible to wider audiences as surging prices concentrate overall ownership. Moreover, this nascent market’s dynamics don’t correspond to the fungible token market characterized by high liquidity among popular tokens.

By definition, a non-fungible token is not designed to be easily exchangeable. Because an NFT is unique, it ordinarily has a single buyer, contributing to an absence of market depth and almost no real-time liquidity. Accordingly, building an efficient secondary market is difficult, especially given that NFTs all have different values and varying levels of demand.

Despite these very real obstacles, Unicly, led by pseudonymous founder 0xLeia, has unleashed a platform that can fractionalize NFT ownership. Besides granting NFT holders a new channel for monetizing their existing NFT holdings, the protocol can provide liquidity to whitelisted collections while promoting more widespread adoption and participation.

Transforming Non-Fungible into Fungible

Unicly has developed an innovative approach for improving NFT fungibility. Unlike other projects in the space, this anonymous, self-funded initiative has introduced sharding to the equation. Sharding effectively splits a blockchain network into multiple parts to process transactions quicker while adding scalability.

In Unicly’s case, each NFT gallery can be a shard, distancing itself from other competing solutions which shard each NFT individually. The new protocol will allow users to create and fractionalize NFT collections from NFTs minted in either of Ethereum’s ERC-721 and ERC-1155 standards. Each collection is independently named and configured before settings, including token supplies and tickers, are determined for each gallery.

Once the corresponding NFTs are moved from a user’s wallet to smart contracts, uTokens (with the ticker mentioned above) are issued. After a preset percentage amount of uTokens are staked, the collection is unlocked for bidding.

Building Up NFT Liquidity

Secondary market liquidity has been the Achilles heel of NFT trading platforms, but Unicly has devised a cunning answer where others have failed. Taking a page out of decentralized finance’s book, the platform has introduced Unicswap, a fork of the popular Uniswap protocol. This AMM DEX helps users stake their uTokens and other cryptocurrencies to farm UNIC, the native Unicly token, through liquidity pooling.

Since unveiling the mainnet just days ago, the platform has already garnered significant popularity. According to figures, Unicswap attracted $3.5 million worth of liquidity to whitelisted pools in just four days. Additionally, 24-hour volume of $1 million puts competition SuperRare squarely in Unicly’s sights. After reaching nearly one-quarter of the competing platform’s monthly transaction volume in mere days, the total capitalization of NFTs in Unicly’s marketplace has now topped $20 million.

Proving beyond a doubt that its model is valuable, some significant collections have already joined the platform. uMask, a collection of 85 hashmasks, has reached a value of approximately $16 million, marking a 16-fold increase in the valuation from its original listing at $1 million. The first gallery listed on the platform, uUNICLY experienced similar exponential growth after listing 3 branded NFTs, rising from $300 to an astounding $180,000.

Another gallery, titled uLEIA, was built as an homage to the anonymous founder of the protocol by combining 0xLeia’s profile picture with AI-generated content. The platform has also appealed Chris McCann, a National Geographic award-winning photographer who listed his uCM collection of NFTs and other noteworthy collections from DokiDoki, MoonCats, WAIFU, and Nubians.

Taken together, Unicly’s fresh approach to NFTs is already demonstrating that a better model for community engagement and egalitarian participation exists, thanks in large part to sustainable incentives and valuable user-centric features.

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://www.newsbtc.com/news/company/capitalizing-on-blockchains-promise-unicly-delivers-nft-fractionalization/

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Riot Blockchain Bitcoin production jumps 80% over pre-halving levels

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The company said it held more than $94 million in crypto as of March 31, all from Bitcoin it has mined.

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/riot-blockchain-bitcoin-production-jumps-80-over-pre-halving-levels

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