Crypto101 - What is DeFi & Blockchain ?

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KUCOIN:CAKEUSDT   PancakeSwap Token / Tether
Hi Traders, Investors and Speculators📈📉

Ev here. Been trading crypto since 2017 and later got into stocks. I have 3 board exams on financial markets and studied economics from a top tier university for a year.

Whether you've just gotten into crypto trading or you're trying to expand your knowledge on what this space has to offer; this post is for you!

Decentralized finance or DeFi, is a financial ecosystem based on blockchain technology. So lets recap, what Is a blockchain exactly?
Blockchain is a software technology, it is basically computer coding that creates a usable service like an app or website for the public. Most blockchains are entirely open-source software. This means that anyone and everyone can view its code. The first-ever implementation of Blockchain was originally written in C++ (coding language). Blockchain and it's possible use cases was first introduced to the world in the Bitcoin Whitepaper, written by the infamous Satoshi Nakamoto (the pseudonym used by the creator or creators of BTC).

A blockchain is an online database that is shared to many computer networks. This means that if one computer in the network fails, the data is unaffected and transactions carries on. It is not dependent on one single data storage facility. As a database, a blockchain stores information electronically in digital format. A blockchain collects information in groups, known as blocks, that holds many sets of information (like time of transactions, amounts etc.). Blocks have certain storage capacities and, when filled, are closed and linked to the previously filled block, forming a chain of data known as the blockchain. An online database usually structures its data into tables, whereas a blockchain, as its name implies, structures its data into "3D chunks" (blocks) that link to each other. For easy reference and transparency, each block in the chain is given an exact timestamp when it is added to the chain. The revolutionary innovation idea behind blockchain is that it guarantees the truthfulness and security of data and generates trust without the need for a government/private institution to validate it.

Back to DeFi - In centralized finance, your money is held by banks and corporations whose main goal is to make money. The financial system is full of third parties who facilitate money movement between parties, with each one charging fees for using their services. The idea behind DeFi was to create a system that cuts out these third parties, their fees and the time spent on all the interaction between them. Defi is a technology built on top of blockchain - it can be an app or a website for example, which means that is was written in code language by software programmers. It lets users buy and sell virtual assets (like crypto and NFT's) and use financial services as a form of investment or financing without middlemen/banks. This means you can borrow, lend and invest - but without a centralized banking institution. In summary, DeFi is a subcategory within the broader crypto space. DeFi offers many of the services of the mainstream financial world but controlled by the masses instead of a central entity. And instead of your information being filed on paper and stored by a banker, your information is captured digitally and stored in a block with your permission. Many of the initial DeFi applications were built on Ethereum (which is a blockchain technology, but the code is different to Bitcoin's, in other words it operates/works differently). The majority of money in DeFi remains concentrated there.

Lending may have started it all, but DeFi applications now have many use cases, giving participants access to saving, investing, trading, market-making and more. A prime example of such a market is PancakeSwap (CAKEUSDT). PancakeSwap is a decentralized exchange native to BNB Chain (Binance chain). In other words, it shares some similarities with established platforms like UniSwap in that users can swap their coins for other coins. The only difference is that PancakeSwap focuses on BEP20 tokens – a specific token standard developed by Binance.
The BEP20 standard is essentially a checklist of functions new tokens must be able to perform in order to be compatible with the broader Binance ecosystem of dapps, wallets and other services.

PancakeSwap uses liquidity pools instead of counterparties/orders from other traders. A liquidity pool in this context refers to funds deposited by investors – which can be anyone from around the world – into smart contracts for the aim of providing liquidity to traders. With this system, buyers do not have to wait to be matched with sellers, or vice versa. Whenever someone wants to trade one token for another, they simply deposit the token they have into the pool and withdraw the other token they wish to receive. That said, PancakeSwap is not just for swapping coins. You can also take up the role of a liquidity provider (that is, you can deposit tokens in a liquidity pool for the chance of earning a share of trading fees paid by those trading against the pool in question).

Yield Farming is another income-generating opportunity available on PancakeSwap. With this, you can farm for a token called CAKE. So why would you want a token? Tokens are like the money video-game players earn while killing monsters, money they can use to buy gear or weapons. I personally love collecting my Glimmer in Destiny 2. But with blockchains, tokens aren't limited. They can be earned in one way and used in lots of other ways. They usually represent either ownership in something or access to some service. For example, in the Brave browser, ads can only be bought using basic attention token (BAT). I think I'll cover more on this in another post, otherwise this will become a too long read.

Final Thoughts 💭
Even though banks are slow and inefficient (to name only a few of the problems), there is still something that comes with using a bank that crypto cannot (yet fully) offer - guarantees and peace of mind. At least at this point. I believe in a future where blockchain is easily accessible, open but at the same time protects user privacy, transparent, decentralized and safe. But the truth is, we're still far away from that. Blockchain is in its infancy, being used by too many opportunists and crooks. So be careful when you invest in DeFi. The beautiful dream of blockchain still contains too many scammers that have no intention of cutting out banks; instead they want to get to the bank FIRST.


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As promised, the follow up: How to make money with DeFi


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