defi virgin

Decentralized finance refers to a broad category of financial services that are built on top of decentralized blockchain networks, such as Ethereum.

These services can include things like borrowing and lending, trading, and even insurance, all without the need for traditional financial intermediaries like banks. If you're interested in exploring DeFi, click through to find things you could do next.

Skills

You’ve probably heard a ton of buzz online about the NFT craze, but what really is an NFT? Going by the name ‘non-fungible tokens,’ NFTs have taken the public by storm, for better or worse. A form of digital art - or “expensive screenshots” - NFTs are a form of ownership unique to the blockchain that allow purchasers of these non-fungible tokens to claim a digital photo or video as their own. Due to the immutable nature of the blockchain, once someone buys an NFT, it can be seen as theirs forever - or at least until they sell it. NFTs have provided a new medium for artists to monetize their work, as the decentralized nature of the whole concept has led to many making life changing money through sales of their work. Where traditional art pieces can make it difficult to determine an owner, blockchains make it easy. Once someone has bought an NFT, the transaction lives forever on the blockchain. No one can make any adjustments to it, and a digital good bought is the same as a physical one, just easier to manage and hold ownership over. While NFT art has been catching most of the media’s attention, some have suggested NFTs could replace items in video games. Decentraland and The Sandbox are two metaverse blockchain games that offer players in-game NFT items - a novel idea for a group of gamers that have long been controlled by greedy corporations. There has been a ton of conversation surrounding NFTs, and it doesn’t seem like they’re going anywhere anytime soon. Keep your eye on the space, as a ton of exciting developments are happening everyday.
Bitcoin was created as a solution to solve the issues involving peer-to-peer (p2p) transactions. Due to the innovative blockchain technology, anyone from around the world can utilize the speed and efficiency of crypto to make payments or send money to a friend. In the world of traditional finance, transactions can take 5-7 business days - sometimes longer - and involve a multitude of hoops to jump through. Crypto fixes this. Curious to know how you can send money to family or friends? Let’s dive in. Because of the innovation that’s occurred in crypto since its inception in 2008, there are now a ton of ways to accomplish these p2p transactions. Some of the easier ways to do this involve linking a bank account to a centralized exchange like Binance or Coinbase and depositing funds. After you’ve done this, you’re free to choose whatever coin you wish to buy, as long as it’s available on the exchange you’re using. Before sending cryptocurrencies to other addresses (the identifier of a crypto wallet) it’s important to make sure you’re sending money to the right one. For example, Ethereum addresses - which have 64 characters - are different from Bitcoin addresses, which only have 26-35 characters. When it’s time to send your money, you can ask the recipient of the crypto to send you their address. Websites typically make it easy for you to simply copy the series of letters and digits to your keyboard, that way you don’t make a mistake and type the wrong address. On centralized exchanges there can be small fees associated with this, or transaction fees depending on what blockchain you’re using. After a short amount of time to allow the blockchain to approve the transaction, you’re all set! Just to be sure, ask the recipient if they see the balance in their wallet. On applications like Metamask, they might need to add that specific token to their wallet to view the balance. If they’re unable to do this, they can use a block explorer like Etherscan to view their token balances.
If you’ve spent any time on Crypto Twitter, you have probably seen an account with a ‘.eth’ at the end of their username. But what is this odd suffix, and how is it of any use to you in a web3 world? Just as web domains are unique on the internet, the Ethereum Name Service came up with a product that could provide the same utility for crypto users and fans. Based on the Ethereum blockchain, the team set out to create a way to map human identity or personality to an Ethereum address. An address is a series of 64 characters, and belongs to anyone who has interacted with the Ethereum blockchain before. Some examples of a .eth address could be ‘Sarah.eth’, ‘Adidas.eth’ or even something completely random, like ‘eyfjsiwrh.eth’ - the possibilities are almost endless. ENS domains allow for users to market themselves in a newly forming Web3 world, all while possessing ownership over the domain for as long as they’ve paid for. So, how can you get your hands on one of these .eth addresses, and how can you share it with those in the crypto world? To start out, you’ll need some Ethereum. You can either purchase this from a centralized exchange like Coinbase or buy some off of a decentralized exchange like Uniswap. After this, you can set up a wallet. Many blockchain enthusiasts use the Metamask wallet, which has its own Google Chrome extension. Depending on what blockchain you’re using, you’ll have to choose your network. By default, Metamask starts on the Ethereum mainnet. After this, you can navigate to the ENS website and search for one you want. Once you find what you’re looking for, feel free to register the name for as long as you want. It’s that simple. You can use a website like Etherscan to assist you while the transaction processes, and your address will be marked as the owner of the domain. That’s it! As more users and corporations flock to Crypto, ENS domains could be a way to stake a claim in the Web3 landscape. Just as DNS names took off in the earlier days of the internet, owning an ENS could prove to be a solid decision in the years to come.
The cryptocurrency market is filled with thousands (if not tens of thousands) of coins. With everything from dog coins to lending protocol based coins, there’s something for every kind of investor. These coins can often be referred to as tokens, but there are some major differences between the two concepts - let’s dive in. While a coin is something that is often used as a medium of exchange. Whether this be a peer-to-peer (p2p) transaction at a coffee shop or something more complicated like receiving a paycheck, currencies are everywhere and a major part of our lives. Bitcoin - the most renowned cryptocurrency - was created as a solution for digital p2p payments. While this hasn’t caught on a global scale (partially due to the vast innovations in crypto as a whole), Bitcoin was able to provide a new way to exchange money. Other examples of coins include Ethereum, Litecoin and Monero, each possessing different functionality and capabilities. A token is something that’s a little different, with the definition changing over time as crypto has evolved. Primarily, a token is an asset that has been built overtop an existing blockchain. Tokens can be used with decentralized apps (dApps) like Uniswap or Compound and their respective tokens, UNI and COMP. These tokens possess unique functionality, some of these being governance and yield generation. Where coins are sometimes limited in functionality - see Dogecoin - a token is something much more interesting or engaging to the web3 native. The burgeoning landscape of dApps has changed finance forever, sparking the movement known as decentralized finance (commonly referred to as DeFi). There are even non-fungible tokens (NFTs) which represent digital ownership on the blockchain - whether this be something as simple as a picture of your dog or a new song from an artist. Hopefully you’re seeing the vast differences between these assets and all that is possible with the innovations in crypto. Despite the relative youth of the crypto space as a whole, recent DeFi protocols have been able to change the perception of what tokens can do. Just look at the recent shift in interest towards Curve Finance, thanks to their vote escrow tokenomics which provide significant value to token holders. Tokens can even serve as in-game currencies, especially in games like DeFi Kingdoms and The Sandbox. As more users flock to crypto to experience these play-to-earn games, expect more unique token uses in crypto. While most of us might be in crypto to see coins go up in price, there is no shortage of impressive tokens to get your hands on in the meantime. So get out there and interact with different ecosystems - you might be surprised with all the unique tokens you find!
There are currently a variety of ways to buy cryptocurrencies for the average user. One could turn to a centralized exchange (CEX) - like Binance or FTX - or choose to dive into the murky waters of decentralized finance (DeFi) and check out a decentralized exchange (DEX). Simply put, an exchange is a place where buyers and sellers of tokens can meet up to perform an exchange (no pun intended). However, there are some big differences between a DEX and a CEX, so let’s break down some of the key differentiators. Whereas a CEX typically consists of a centralized power structure (think of SBF running FTX or CZ running Binance), a DEX can be composed of an entirely anonymous team. Heck, nobody to this day knows the identity of Sushiswap’s Chef Nomi. While a CEX might have more going on behind the scenes, in an office or board room, a DEX is stationed on the blockchain, operating under a true peer-to-peer system. Uniswap and Sushiwap are two examples of popular decentralized exchanges, offering a vast selection of coins often unavailable on a CEX and an easy to use frontend. While a DEX operates based on smart contracts created by the team, they are fairly intuitive to the crypto-native individual. On a DEX, users can choose to trade how they wish, with functionality to adjust settings like slippage or gas fees for your swaps. Another huge benefit of using a DEX is the ability to operate cross-chain. While a CEX offers a simple frontend that shows you all of the possible coins to buy, there isn’t an option to operate on a specific blockchain you desire. There are fees that come with transacting on a CEX, and while they can vary, are often pretty straightforward and subject to little variation. On a DEX, the possibilities are much more vast. If you’re on Uniswap, you can choose to trade on Ethereum, Avalanche, Binance Smart Chain and more networks, offering even more coins and trading opportunities. While both types of exchanges operate in similar ways, there are more ways to interact on a DEX, which is often the go-to place to trade for the crypto-native. Sure, it’s easier for someone new to crypto to hop onto a CEX, verify their identity and buy some coins, but in the long term many would like to see DEX volume make up the entire market. It’s important to have options when it comes to trading, which is why you should weigh the pros and cons of these exchanges before you try them. Even if you make the wrong decision, you can always send money from one to the other pretty easily - that’s just one of the benefits of blockchain tech. Happy trading!

Projects

Uniswap

### What Uniswap is a decentralized exchange protocol (DEX). It allows people to set up or contribute to liquidity pools consisting of various ERC-20 token pairs, or to use the available liquidity to swap their tokens against another using its Automated Market Maker (AMM) mechanism. ### Why AMMS are one of the building blocks in the crypto space as they always provide users with a price between two assets. Uniswap uses a simple X * Y = K, formula to price assets where x is the amount of one token in the liquidity pool, and y is the amount of the other. k is a fixed constant, meaning the pool’s total liquidity is always the same. ### Risk There are various risks involved with using AMMS. These include but are not limited to: Protocol Risk - risk due to mechanics in the design of a protocol. Even when the protocol functions as intended there might be risks e.g. high slippage incurred in trades due to the liquidity curve set-up Smart contract risk - This is risk from an error in the code causing the contract to operate in ways unexpected by the developers. It might leave the code vulnerable to exploits or other attacks Cybersecurity risk - Hackers, Exploiters or other malicious actors trying to attack Uniswap ### Reward Uniswap is arguably one of the largest AMMs in crypto and is usually the protocol where tokens find the most liquidity. Its UI/UX is extremely simple and users can trade most tokens with little problems.

uniswap.org

Lido

### What Lido is an open source tool and family of protocols that enables users to mint liquid staking tokens (sTokens) - These liquid staking tokens receive rewards from validation activities of writing data to the blockchain, but unlike their staked counterparts, are "unlocked" which means they can be used in other on-chain activities, like DeFi. Lido protocols let users stake native tokens (ETH, MATIC, SOL) from Ethereum, Polygon, and Solana networks in a fully permissionless way. And as the protocols are deployed on public blockchains, users do not need the website to access the smart contracts. ### Why Traditional staking means that users need to lock-up their ETH or other native asset to be able to secure the network and receive the respective rewards. However, this means that these tokens can't be used for anything else while they are staked. Lido aims to solve this problem. Lido protocols give users liquidity - users are able to receive staking rewards from validation activities, but can sell their stTokens (tokens minted on Lido) anytime they want to exit their staking position. In addition, it allows users to participate in DeFi while getting rewards - Because sTokens are unstaked and thus "liquid", users can use stTokens as building blocks in DeFi protocols at the same time as getting staking rewards from validating activities. The Lido DAO also works with experienced node operators, which decreases the likelihood of technical mistakes that could lead to slashing or penalties and minimizes the technical burden for users to receive staking rewards. Users supply the stake, and the node operators supply the know-how.

lido.fi

Glossary