How Does Crypto Lending Work? Understanding the Crypto Lending Market
Find out how crypto lending works and why the market is growing rapidly.
Find out how crypto lending works and why the market is growing rapidly.
Since the pandemic, the entire DeFi market has grown from virtually zero to nearly $90 billion, an absolute record dating back to May this year. One of the drivers for this upsurge is crypto lending, which has become increasingly popular over the past year and a half. According to DeFi Pulse, which tracks the total value locked (TVL) in the smart contracts of popular DeFi applications, the lion’s share of DeFi’s value belongs to crypto lending.
Crypto lending in DeFi looks like a win-win solution for investors:
If you’re wondering if crypto lending is the right investment for you, this article is for you! We’ll be covering:
Crypto lending enables individuals to securely lend and borrow cryptocurrency. Anyone can become the lender and earn interest from lending out their funds, and anyone can borrow as long as they provide the crypto collateral required for the loan amount.
A typical transaction on a crypto lending market looks as follows.
Bank lending is traditionally a lengthy process where the borrower has to prove their credibility in line with the laws and legal frameworks that keep borrowers from defaulting on their loans. In addition, every business’ credit risk is individually assessed based on their financial statements, and extensive customer support adds to the bank’s operating costs. In the case of personal loans, credit ratings are based on the individual’s past payment history, with interest rates adjusted depending on one’s creditworthiness.
Crypto lending removes the institution from the equation and automates the process. Instead of laws and an operations team conducting “know your customer” checks to prevent borrowers from defaulting, there are smart contracts and over-collateralisation to protect the lender. To qualify for a loan, the borrower has to deposit a specific amount of crypto that exceeds the value of the original loan as collateral (the exact over-collateralisation factor varies from platform to platform). Smart contracts will then lock the collateral until the loan and interest is repaid.
Moreover, removing the institution and its related costs from the equation leads to a larger portion of profits that can be shared with users in the form of higher interest rates.
For the lender, the incentive to issue crypto loans is pretty straightforward. It is a moderate-risk investment strategy that allows them to make their crypto assets work to bring in profits instead of just ‘HODLing.’
Things, however, are different for the borrower. There are several reasons for one to borrow crypto and collateralise the loan with crypto. They include the following:
First of all, it is a good move for a speculative trader. Instead of selling a specific asset to go short on a different trading pair, they may borrow the desired amount of the crypto coin, thus accessing two assets in one move with leverage. Even considering the interest rates, the margins are usually high enough to make this strategy worthwhile. Similarly, traders can use those assets for arbitrage, i.e. traded at different exchanges to profit from differences in exchange rates. Most of the demand for crypto loans comes from speculators, and this also drives up the interest rate.
Some users, however, prefer using borrowed funds as their operating capital. In certain jurisdictions such as the United States, operating borrowed capital is tax-exempt, allowing borrowers to save more than they spend on paying out the interest. For example, a crypto miner might be reluctant to sell their coins when prices are low, and they may opt instead to borrow working capital against their coins as the expected rise in value will override the cost of interest.
Finally, a relatively small portion of crypto borrowers treats their crypto loan as regular retail credit. For example, one may not want to sell their assets for good in the hopes that they will gain price over time. Instead, they use those funds as collateral to access spendable funds that they can exchange for fiat and make the desired purchases and then repay the credit together with interest rates. In this case, a borrower does not have to undergo scrutiny at banks or show a commendable credit history.
Of course, there are risks attached to lending and borrowing cryptocurrencies.
While it is impossible to predict such a turn of events, an expert can estimate the riskiness of a loan and make the safest bet possible. For that purpose, Cabital has a threefold system of analysis and decision-making to ensure only the safest transactions and the most efficient investment strategies are enforced for all portfolios.
There are several likely causes for the increasing popularity of crypto loans.
There’s also the potential for change, as globally, 1.7 billion adults lack a bank account and its accompanying financial history records. This leaves them with few options to lend and borrow. Crypto loans, however, are available wherever the internet is present, and stablecoins like USDT and USDC offer the potential for payments.
With the demand for crypto lending, there are numerous options on the market appealing to different audiences with different risk appetites.
Centralised crypto lending (also known as CeFi lending) refers to platforms that issue loans themselves. Those loans, however, are not necessarily denominated in crypto, though collateral usually is. For that reason, such loans are sometimes called ‘crypto-collateralised lending.’
In CeFi, companies have KYC (know your customer) procedures in place and are regulated. They can offer you a loan in fiat money that you collateralise with crypto. Instead of relying on smart contracts, such companies have custodial solutions.
CeFi platforms usually boast appealing interest rates and individual approaches to their customers, as well as a selection of options like margin lending suitable for crypto traders.
On the downside, the lending process is prone to human errors, can take a while, and there is some red tape to deal with. On top of that, they have a single entry point so they are easier to hack.
While holding native tokens can offer bonus rewards and discounts, they are also exposing users to the risk of volatility, where a plunge can offset all promised earnings through preferred rates.
In DeFi loans, protocols govern all processes underpinned by smart contracts. They require no KYC or any other paperwork but are strictly limited to cryptocurrencies. The entire process is usually more transparent as the source code is open and the blockchain is explorable. Still, interest rates vary depending on market conditions and specific features of the platform.
Unlike CeFi, where the centralised institution usually sets aside a provision for extreme unexpected events and the infrastructure provider offers insurance policies that cover assets in storage, transfer and E&O, DeFi insurance options are less comprehensive. There are insurance protocols that offer DeFi users the option to buy protection from smart contract risk, exchange hacks, and more, but this is purchased separately and the claim validity is decided by token holders of the DeFi insurance platform.
Decentralised crypto lending may seem incredible at first glance, with stories of 100% interest rates and yield farming miracles. However, these are interspersed with horror stories about rug pull scams, faulty smart contracts, market swings killing off entire platforms, and other investor nightmares.
A reasonable alternative to this high risk/high reward model is a crypto savings solution that reduces risks to the possible minimum while retaining a relatively high reward. Cabital's crypto savings plans ensure that your assets remain safe and generate interest around the clock.
Cabital’s solution frees you from keeping all considerations in mind while investing and leaves you with confidence and steady passive income. To ensure that, we lend exclusively to heavily over-collateralised platforms with audited smart contracts that have minimum risk factors. In addition to that, we perform economic and technological cross-checking with a dedicated committee consisting of veteran investors and experts from different areas as an additional layer of security for our customers.
Cabital has no preconditions, so it’s easy to try out our Fixed and Flexible Savings plans. To see how it works, all you have to do is to invest a small sum of USDT into Cabital’s 7 Day Fixed Savings plan and watch your money grow.
This article has been prepared by Cabital Fintech (LT) UAB (the “Company”) and is general background information about some of the Company’s activities at the date of this presentation.
This article does not contain all the information that is or may be material to you and should not be considered as advice or a recommendation to you in respect of the holding, purchasing or selling of digital assets and does not take into account your particular objectives, financial situation or needs. This article has been made to you solely for information purposes. This presentation may be amended and supplemented as the Company sees fit, may not be relied upon for the purpose of entering into any transaction and should not be construed as, nor be relied on in connection with, any offer or invitation to purchase or subscribe for, underwrite or otherwise acquire, hold or dispose of any digital assets, and shall not be regarded as a recommendation in relation to any such transaction whatsoever. The contents of this presentation should not be considered to be legal, tax, investment or other advice, and you should consult with your own counsel and advisers as to all legal, tax, regulatory, financial and related matters concerning an investment in or a disposal of such digital assets and as to their suitability for you.
This presentation and its contents are proprietary to the Company, and no part of it or its subject matter may be reproduced, redistributed, passed on, or the contents otherwise divulged, directly or indirectly, to any other person (excluding the relevant person’s professional advisers) or published in whole or in part for any purpose without the prior written consent of the Company.
This article contains forward‐looking statements. Such forward‐looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other important factors. Certain forward‐looking statements are based on assumptions or future events which may not prove to be accurate, and no reliance whatsoever should be placed on any forward-looking statements in this article.
The information in this article has not been independently verified. No representation or warranty, express or implied, is made as to the fairness, accuracy or completeness of the presentation and the information contained herein and no reliance should be placed on it. Information in this article (including market data and statistical information) has been obtained from various sources (including third party sources) and the Company does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of such information.