Aave is the second largest DeFi protocol in the world.
It offers flash loans and cryptocurrency opportunities.
AAVE tokens were the best performing DeFi assets in 2020
As part of our in-depth decentralized finance (DeFi) series from BeInCrypto, here we’ll take a look at the second most popular decentralized finance protocol in the world at the time of writing: Aave (AAVE).
This DeFi protocol was originally launched as ETHLend, a cryptocurrency asset lending platform founded in 2017 by Helsinki-based programmer Stani Kulechov. The initial ETHLend coin offering (ICO) took place in November 2017 and raised $ 600,000 of Ether (ETH), which was used to create 1 billion LEND tokens, among other things.
The name Aave comes from the Finnish word meaning ‚ghost‘, and the protocol was renamed to reflect this, in September 2018. The Aave protocol went live on the mainnet in January 2020, supporting 16 assets at the time. In July 2020, Aave announced a $ 3 million investment from Three Arrows Capital, Framework Ventures and Parafi Capital.
2020 has been a momentous year for Aave as its Total Locked-In Value (TVL) has jumped more than 560%, from around $ 300,000 to $ 2 billion, by the end of the year. If that wasn’t impressive enough, its rebased AAVE token was the best performing DeFi asset of 2020, with a skyrocketing value of over 5,000%.
The protocol currently holds around $ 4 billion in collateral blockage and has been the subject of a number of audits and security checks.
How flash loans work
Aave was originally launched as a flash lending platform, but the business has now branched out.
The protocol allowed a custom smart contract to borrow assets from its reserve pools in a transaction on the condition that liquidity was returned to the pool before the transaction was completed. No collateral was needed, which was a first for the DeFi industry that was largely over-guaranteed at the time.
If the collateral was not repaid, the transaction would be rolled back to void actions executed up to that point, ensuring the safety of liquidity in the reserve fund.
Flash loans have had a very bad reputation in 2020 as they have been used repeatedly to exploit a number of DeFi protocols. Flash loan mining doesn’t necessarily involve hacking or broken code, it can just take advantage of loopholes in a system’s design.
During the year, a number of DeFi protocols were attacked using the flash loan vector, including bZx (twice), Balancer , Harvest Finance , Value Protocol, Pickle Finance, Warp Finance, and several others. . Aave has not been tapped and remains one of the most secure DeFi platforms at the time of writing.
Flash loans are only part of Aave’s offering. As a lending platform, collateral providers can lock their digital assets into various pools in order to earn interest.
It offers stable rate loans that behave like a short term fixed rate loan, but can be rebalanced over the long term to respond to significant changes in market conditions. Perpetual loans also give users the freedom to obtain liquidity from their deposits with no term or repayment schedule.
Aave works with aTokens which are issued by the protocol to represent the collateral deposited in a smart loan contract on an individual basis. Lenders earn interest on these tokens which are burnt when they are repaid and the collateral is then returned. Deposits can be made in cryptoassets or fiat through a number of wallet and payment partners.
Aave is undergoing an update
In July 2020, Aave founder Kulechov announced a major overhaul of the protocol’s tokenomics, which involved a massive downgrade and renaming of the token from LEND to AAVE. The so-called “avenomics” upgrade proposal converted all 100 LEND tokens into 1 AAVE token, with a maximum total supply capped at 16 million, up from 1.3 billion.
The inaugural governance vote took place at the end of September and passed with a 100% majority. Of the total new supply, 13 million of these tokens were redeemed by LEND holders, while the remaining three million went to the ecosystem reserve, described as a bootstrap fund allocated to protocol incentives according to governance.
In addition to rebasing tokens, there was the launch of a security module that served as a staking mechanism for the tokens to act as insurance against shortfall events. The staking pool introduced incentives to farm AAVE tokens so that bettors can earn “safety incentives” in addition to a percentage of protocol fees.
In mid-October 2020, the new AAVE token was trading at a high price as holders of large amounts of assets began to migrate their stashes, pushing the prices above $ 50. At the start of 2020, LEND’s price was just $ 0.02. So even with a 100-fold supply reduction and a new rebalanced price of $ 2, it was still up 2,400%. It was just the beginning.
The main goal of aavenomics was to further decentralize the protocol through token-based governance, which would become the standard for the majority of DeFi protocols.