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DeFiSeptember 19, 2020

DeFi’s Bitcoin: $YFI Explained

Shubham Goyal
Product Specialist
September 19, 2020

What is $YFI?

In the simplest of definitions, $YFI is the governance token for Yearn.Finance, a DeFi yield farming network running on the Ethereum blockchain. DeFi, for those unaware, is decentralized finance, a crypto concept that provides all the conventional financial services with one added benefit – there’s no centralized figure like a financial institute or government to hold control over your money.

Yearn.Finance has been applauded time and again for bringing forth one of the most decentralized crypto ventures. Decentralized to the extent that $YFI has been called the Bitcoin of DeFi since its launch because of the high APY (Annual Percentage Yield) seen by early investors.

The brain behind the launch of this network was that of Andre Cronje’s. The goal of Yearn.Finance is to help users get the highest-possible yields on their crypto investments, by giving them the scope to employ a yield farming strategy. Yield farming is currently the most optimal strategy for maximized returns. It provides the opportunity to automate the search for highest possible yields in the investment of assets. Additionally, you earn interest and save money on transaction charges.

Yearn.Finance offers a very convenient way for you to make use of the yield farming program and enjoy its benefits through the use of $YFI. There will only ever be a total of 30,000 $YFI tokens out there in circulation. $YFI is, at the moment, exalted as one of the most valuable DeFi tokens as per market cap.

And what exactly makes it that powerful? Let’s take a look at some of $YFI’s features for a clearer notion.

Key Characteristics of $YFI:

  • Fair Distribution: From what we had previously seen, a newly launched cryptocurrency project usually conducts a pre-sale for their token before the official launch. The funds raised from this pre-sale goes into marketing for the token, further developments, and other such expenses. However, the process definitely reeks of elitism because private investors get an unfair advantage when compared to the general public. Therefore it does raise a lot of questions about whether the DeFi projects are legit or not.

    Now, what Yearn.Finance did sent a shock-wave through the DeFi world. Andre and team released all of the 30,000 $YFI tokens at once. There was no presale or pre-mine event, and the Yearn.Finance team didn’t hoard any $YFI for themselves either. From what the world has seen of $YFI so far, Yearn.Finance truly launched a properly decentralized cryptocurrency where the users get full control of their investments.

  • A Very Valuable Crypto Coin: The Yearn.Finance team didn’t have any inkling as to how big their small, fun, experimental project would turn out to be. But in truth, $YFI is now one of the DeFi giants out there. It enjoys substantial liquidity backing on DEX (decentralized exchange) and CEX (centralized exchange) platforms, and millions in the trading volume on a day-to-day basis.
  • Voting Power in Governance: Since $YFI was originally launched with the purpose of acting as a governance token, it obviously gives investors the power of voting too. When you invest in $YFI (regardless of the investment amount), you automatically get to vote in governance decisions and have an opinion about the project’s future functions, objectives, and strategies.
  • Interests: When you stake $YFI and vote in the governance polls, you also earn a portion of the earnings from the different Yearn.Finance products like APR and Vaults.

How Does $YFI Work, Exactly?

To start off the process, all you’d have to do is deposit your stablecoin into a Yearn smart contract, for which you get an equivalent amount of YFI tokens back. The smart contract then takes over. As per its inherent coding, the smart contract proceeds to find the highest yield available on the blockchain, and upon finding it, directs the fund you invested towards it. You therefore automatically earn interest and get maximized returns.

The Yearn.Finance team very recently unveiled a newer version of the YFI token, also known as YFI version 2 or just YFI v2. With YFI v2, the previous YFI token’s basic structure has been altered a little. Some notable upgrades have been brought about to make yield farming easier and more accessible for all users and to provide the users a gateway into the broader DeFi ecosystem.

YFI v2 introduces three interlinked components for improved yields, the components being:

  1. yVaults: Singular smart contract for every individual where you deposit DeFi tokens (like SNX, LEND, MKR, and KNC) and get interest-bearing $YFI in exchange.
  2. Strategies: Strategies are smart contracts that are basically Yearn pool blueprints. While Yearn.Finance provides every user with a list of already existing strategies. You can also come up with your own and propose it to the authorities for approval.
  3. Controllers: These are also smart contracts responsible for finding the highest yields for individual vaults and staking your funds.

For a more detailed discussion about the YFI v2 and its workings, you can check out our detailed blog post on the topic!

Risks of Investing in $YFI:

As Andre mentions over on his social media repeatedly, $YFI is still at an experimental stage, with behind the scenes work and constant upgrades going on. Nobody can tell for sure what the future looks like for $YFI at the moment, and whether the token’s value is going to continue being as much as it is now.

Yearn.Finance also runs the risk of getting hacked or copied just like every other crypto project you can name. In fact, its chances of getting replicated are even higher because when you look at the tech behind $YFI, it really doesn’t seem to have any upper hand over its contemporaries.

So it’s important to keep in mind that $YFI is unpredictable and prone to volatility. If you don’t think you understand the concept of $YFI, it might be a better idea not to put your funds in uncertainty’s way.

With all that being said, though, it’s also true that in present times, $YFI yield farming is one of the absolute best investments you can commit to. After all, at one point, the APY for staking in one of the governance pools was about 5000%. So it’s apparently safe to say that the yields are excellent, at least right now. And since investing in, $YFI also puts you in a position to have a say in future governance movements, finding out more about $YFI investments does seem like a reasonable thing to do. You can keep an eye on their official Twitter page for more info on $YFI.

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