What is AAVE ($LEND)?

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Aave Protocol with their native token $LEND is a leading company within the decentralized finance (DeFi) sphere. The Company allows its users access to its open-source and non-custodial protocol to create money markets, joining a growing list of projects like Compound to bring decentralized options to the masses. We look at who is Aave ($LEND), its uses and how it differs from other projects such as Compound Finance.

What is Aave?

Named after the Finnish word for “ghost”, London-based company Aave was set up in September 2018 after a successful initial coin offering (ICO) the previous year for its ETHLend token which raised USD$16.2 million. The executive team under ETHLend migrated to Aave upon its establishment with ETHLend becoming a subsidiary of Aave. In January 2020, ETHLend announced it was no longer in operation and its website would only remain active for current users to close down their existing loans.

Aave’s aim is to fill in the gaps left by centralised fintech industry giants like PayPal, Skrill and Coinbase. Their main product is Aave Protocol, an open source and non-custodial protocol for creating money markets on the Ethereum blockchain.

Who is the team behind Aave?

Aave team
Aave team

Aave has a wealth of talent and experience within its team. Stani Kulechov (CEO), Jordan Lazaro Gustave (COO), and Nolvia Serrano (CMO) have retained and migrated their roles from ETHLend, bringing their wealth of knowledge to Aave. Their diverse 18 man team bring together a wealth of experience in the startup scene.

What is Aave Protocol?

Aave’s biggest and most integral aspect is Aave Protocol which was launched in January 2020. Its shift from ETHLend marked a significant shift in strategy for the Company. Going from decentralized P2P lending to a pool-based strategy, Aave Protocol is an open source an non-custodial protocol that allows users to create their own decentralized money markets on the Ethereum blockchain.

Aave Protocol
Aave Protocol

Depositors provide liquidity by depositing cryptocurrencies into lending pools which will then allow them to earn interest. Meanwhile, borrowers can obtain loans by tapping into these lending pools in either an overcollateralized or undercollateralized way. The loans do not need to be individually matched i.e. one lender to one borrower. Instead, deposits into the pool and the amounts borrowed/ collateral are used to make instant loans based on the pool’s state. There are currently 2 money markets that users can enter into, these are Aave and Uniswap. Aave will soon be supporting 2 more markets: Set and Next.

Aave markets
Aave markets

Flast Loans

Aave has one feature that sets it apart from the rest. Flash loans allow customers or to take out loans without any collateral. These flash loans enable a customised smart contract to borrow assets from Aave’s reserve pools within one transaction. The loan is made on the condition that the liquidity is returned to the pool before the transaction ends. However, if it’s not repaid by that time, the transaction gets reversed- which will effectively undo any actions executed until that point and guarantee the safety of the funds in the reserve pool.

The Fast Loan feature is designed for developers to make tools that require capital for arbitrage, refinancing, or liquidating purposes. Aave explained Flash Loans saying it is “designed for developers/people with some technical knowledge”, with the benefit of risk-free loans. Aave charges a 0.30% fee on flash loans.

Rate Switching

Rate switching is another unique selling point for Aave, which arrived during the May upgrade of their borrowing/interest rates. Rate switching allows borrowers to switch between fixed and floating interest rates, something useful in a volatile decentralized market. For high-interest rates, users will usually opt for the fixed-rate but when it is more volatile and expected to be lower, one might go for the floating option to reduce borrowing costs. The fixed-rate can change but only when the deposit earning rate increases above the fixed borrow rate as the system could get unstable by paying out more than its being paid. If so, the fixed rate is rebalanced to the new stable rate. On the other hand, when the variable rate is lower than the fixed-rate by 20%, the loan will automatically decrease to account for the difference.

Aave Protocol Timeline Post Launch

Aave timeline
Aave timeline
Aave timeline
Aave timeline

What Cryptocurrency Tokens are linked?

There are 15 tokens available on Aave. These include DAI, USD Coin (USDC), TrueUSD (TUSD), USDT Coin (USDT), sUSD, Binance USD (BUSD), Ethereum (ETH), Basic Attention Token, Kyber Network (KNC), ChianLink (LINK), Decentraland (MANA), Maker (MKR), Augur (REP), SNK, WBTC Coin (WBTC) and Ox Coin (ZRX).

Aave linked tokens
Aave linked tokens

Please note: Each asset has a different collateral requirement. This is because of the differences in price volatility. Stablecoins naturally give loan-to-value ratios, due to their price stability. A full breakdown of Aave’s grading process can be found in their Risk Framework.

Alongside these tokens, there is also a native token that Aave uses and which is called Lend. An explanation and analysis of the token can be found below.

LEND ($LEND) Token

LEND token
LEND token

Often referred too as ETHLend, the Lend cryptocurrency token has rolled over to become the native token of Aave following the winding-up of operations by ETHLend in January this year. Although it has kept the name, the new Aave version of Lend is largely different from the previous one.

LEND token metrics
LEND token metrics

Binance Key metrics on Lend

Built based on the ERC-20 standard, $LEND tokens can be used for fee reductions and are also available for governance rights at the protocol level for future smart-contract updates. Features include proposing, voting and deciding on new additions, features, assets and to decide on the protocol parameters. The tokens are burnt from the fees collected from the Aave Protocol, with around 80% of platform fees used. This appears to suggest that Lend tokens will be worth more over time. LEND owners can also claim on protocol fees in exchange for acting as the first line of defense in the case of liquidity events by malicious borrowers.

How to lend on Aave

Depositing and earning interest on Aave is a simple process. Before you start, you must visit https://app.aave.com/ and connect using a web 3.0 wallet such as Metamask, Coinbase Wallet or Fortmatic.

Depositing is easy, just simply pick your desired asset in which to invest and then allow Aave access to the asset. Once the transaction is processed, and the interest rate is confirmed you can check the rate changes on the Aave app. The interest-earning tokens are called aTokens which are similar to Compound’s C tokens.

Interest generating tokens

There are some differences between Compound’s tokens and the aToken. The main one being that the aToken’s keep their underlying assets price and will increase the amount of owned tokens when the price goes up rather than increasing the tokens price.

Aave vs Compound ($COMP)

Both Compound Finance and Aave appear to be the two top DeFi lending platforms. However, both have unique features that set them apart. Compound does have USDT as a usable asset, but Aave has a wider range of tokens on offer. For Aave, their new interest rates and regulations, like rate switching gives them a slight edge. For first time users, Aave offers great incentive rates. However, lending rates and Borrow fees are higher on average with Aave. Either way though, Aave has proven a good addition to the Defi community and should prove popular. You can read more about Compound ($COMP) here.

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