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What is DeFi? The Complete Guide to Decentralized Finance

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About 1.7 billion people remain unbanked, globally, according to the World Bank. The current financial ecosystem experiences a lot of barriers in the ease of accessibility to financial services, due to several reasons, with the presence of intermediaries, such as banks, being a major hindrance. Imagine a world where more people can easily gain access to financial services without the limitations posed by financial institutions or any other third-party. That world is what Decentralised Finance (DeFi) seeks to create.

The question is, what exactly is DeFi?

DeFi, also known, as Decentralised Finance or Open Finance, is a financial ecosystem comprising financial applications built on top of a blockchain network to enable permissionless  access to financial services. In other words, with DeFi, anyone from any part of the world can maintain absolute control over their financial assets and be able to make transparent interactions within the DeFi ecosystem via peer-to-peer networks operating without a central authority, in contrast to the traditional financial system. 

DeFi – Decentralized Finance

How does DeFi work?

DeFi aims to create a decentralised financial ecosystem by leveraging an overlap between decentralised applications (DAPPs) and smart contracts which are built on Ethereum. Via smart contracts, financial transactions can be made between two or more concerned parties without the involvement of third parties. This leaves the users with absolute control over their assets.

If you are wondering what smart contracts are, they are simply self-executing contracts made of computer protocols that digitally validate or enforce the negotiation and execution of a contract. As a user within the DeFi network, you can sell your assets to another user you have never met, or carry out any other financial exchange, without the risk of a breach of contract. Your assets are automatically transferred to the buyer, legally, only when payment has been validated, and vice versa. You do not need a bank, a lawyer or any other intermediary to do this. With just your smartphone, you can access this and many more leverages DeFi provides.

Benefits of DeFi

With just a brief overview of what the buzz about DeFi is all about, one may be curious to explore several benefits that this innovative system provides. Below are some of the advantages of DeFi.

  • Easy access to financial services

The unrestricted ability to participate in DeFi is perhaps its biggest advantage. With DeFi, all of the 1.7 billion people excluded from the financial ecosystem can have easy access to financial services. DeFi empowers anyone to participate in financial transactions, without the need for an intermediary. The absence of these intermediaries also reduces the cost associated with access to various financial services since there are no longer middlemen that profit from these services. With DeFi, low-income communities and families around the world, can have increased access to financial services . Not only can anyone participate in the financial ecosystem via DeFi, but anyone can also easily create DeFi products since most of the protocols, like Ethereum, are open source.

  • Interoperability

It is extremely easy to leverage the potentials of existing DeFi services in the creation of new DeFi applications. Stable coins, decentralised exchange, and other DeFi services can be easily combined by anyone to create a new DeFi product. Multiple DeFi services can be leveraged to complement the features of another DeFi product.

  • Access to alternative forms of capital

In countries like Venezuela and Argentina where inflation and financial instability are gradually crippling the national economy, DeFi could provide a solution to facilitate economic stability. By providing a wider access to capital, DeFi provides a cushioning effect to citizens of nations where decisions made by central authorities, like the government, negatively affect economic stability. Venezuelans, for example, could store their wealth in Dai, a stable decentralised cryptocurrency. Dai reflects the value of the USD. Dai is always overcollateralized with forms of collaterals like ETH. Hence, Dai provides a better alternative to the Venezuelan domestic currency and can save the country from the bad economic decisions made by the government or any other central authority.

Decentralised Finance (DeFi) vs Traditional Finance

Traditional financial systems require the presence of intermediaries such as banks, in the provision of financial services. DeFi, however, requires no need for intermediaries. The existence of smart contracts in DeFi provides an easier and cost-free alternative to courts and legal systems for arbitrations and validation of asset exchange and financial transactions. The absence of intermediaries in DeFi also removes the extra cost of financial services associated with the profits these intermediaries generate from offering access to these services. This can speedily facilitate financial inclusion and low-cost access to financial services for people in poor and low-income regions.

Existing DeFi Products

Each day, the DeFi ecosystem continues to experience robust progress and the birth of new innovative products constantly increases. There are quite a number of DeFi products available in the market today. Here are a few of them and a short description of the services they provide.

  • Maker DAO

This is significantly one of the most dominant decentralised finance applications. With MakerDAO, the application offers Dai, a stable, decentralised digital currency which can be used to make payments, trade or invest.

  • Compound.finance

Compound is a decentralised platform that facilitates the borrowing and lending of digital assets against collateral, on liquidity mining.

  • dydx

This is an Ethereum-powered decentralised non-custodial margin trading platform that allows users to lend, borrow or trade supported digital assets on margin.

  • bZx

bZx is a decentralised finance application platform that facilitates the borrowing, lending, or trading of supported digital assets with margin and leverage.

Current Challenges of DeFi

  • Security

Since DeFi applications rely heavily on smart contracts, the system is vulnerable to cyber hacks. Over $25 million was lost from the DeFi ecosystem on April 19, 2020. The vulnerability of this open source system to hacks and program bugs, is a major challenge of decentralised finance.

  • Speed

The current speed of processing transactions on blockchain networks is not very impressive. The current blockchain infrastructures that make up DeFi applications are unable to process very large numbers of transactions per second, compared to traditional finance counterparts. 

The Future of DeFi

Decentralised Finance (DeFi) is still in its infancy phase and has a lot of promising potential to transform the financial ecosystem. Innovations in DeFi are constantly evolving with new developments like the Lighting Network that can significantly increase the speed of processing transactions and address the scalability issues of DeFi. With the innovative potentials of DeFi, it is set to disrupt the entire financial ecosystem and will significantly empower everyone on the globe to access financial services irregardless of their location or status. It is, therefore, safe to say that the future of finance will experience a paradigm shift with the massive leverage which DeFi offers.

DeFi market
List of DeFi Projects in the Cryptocurrency Market/ DeFi Pulse

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Kehinde is a driven human who is passionate about leveraging technology to transform the future of humanity and the way we all live. His interest lies in constantly getting valuable information and being part of a mission that seeks to create a transformative radical shift.

Learning Guides

Understanding Speculation and Crypto Volatility

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Everyone who dabbles in the crypto industry learns almost immediately that the market is very volatile and oftentimes things can change very quickly. That volatility is the fundamental reason why some investors make absolutely stunning gains in so short a time and others lose a lot of money as well. Trading in crypto is one of the riskiest ventures any person can undertake and as they say, it’s not for the faint of heart. The risks can be mitigated of course and sometimes depends specifically on the coin or crypto asset being traded on, barring general market trends.

Nevertheless, to get to the bottom of the volatility concept, one must understand speculation in the market. To start off, the concept of speculation isn’t limited to cryptocurrencies, on the contrary, speculation has existed for as long as economics and trading has. But it is worth saying that speculation is often a feature of novel sectors, assets, commodities and the like. So, even though cryptocurrencies have been around for more than a decade, they’re still in their infancy as far as markets go. One could say that the market is still trying to find its feet.

One of the fundamental reasons why cryptocurrencies are so volatile is that they are fundamentally backed by nothing of value outside the attention that they get. Unlike many fiat currencies which are either pegged to another currency’s value or whose value is unilaterally determined by a central authority, cryptocurrencies only derive value as a function of how many people are willing to use is to transact, i.e. trust in the asset because other people trust it. As a rule of thumb, the larger the number of people who accept the asset, the more valuable it becomes.

This is one of the hallmarks of speculative trading. In the crypto world or in any market that’s novel and untested, many people are in it to win it which means their strategies in trade has the objective of making as much profits as possible in the short term. Therefore, the market enters a subtly dangerous cycle of rapidly changing prices of assets. Basically, investors typically buy assets when prices are low and wait. As more investors are attracted to the commodity for its low prices, it sets off a cascade where more people buy in, causing the price to steadily rise. 

However, all good things must come to an end and it almost always gets to a breaking point whereupon the price gets high enough for investors to begin to sell. This reverses the earlier cascade and as more and more investors pull out, the prices can fall dramatically causing even more to sell off in fear of losing whatever investments they have left. The prices having fallen resets the game and primes investors to begin buying again.

Volatility has been one of the talking points of many critics of cryptocurrencies often comparing it to a Ponzi scheme. And in certain cases, persons of interest with large pulls and audiences can substantially affect the rate at which prices rise and fall. Other factors include government regulations. Volatility at its core reflects the often chaotic nature of trade and market interactions and human hopes and fears.

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Crypto Assets

How to Approach Cryptocurrency Investment in 2021

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Years have gone by and many cryptocurrencies have come to be. Speculators and Investors now see cryptocurrency as an alternative to universal currencies like the dollar, euro, and naira. Today, virtually everyone wants to learn how to invest. If you’re looking to invest in cryptocurrency, this article is for you. 

Before diving into the crypto journey, it is important to be aware of what is at stake. For everyone who has acquired immense wealth trading crypto, there is also someone who has lost massive finances while trading. Nevertheless, if you’re still focused on cryptocurrency investment, keep reading. 

Only Invest Money You’re Prepared To Overlook 

Needless to say, you should only invest money you can afford to lose. The main purpose of any form of investment is to add to your fortune. If an individual invests his entire savings, and the said investment doesn’t work out as planned, that is a big loss. So, when investing in Cryptocurrency, whatever amount you put in is completely up to you, but it should only occupy a small percentage of your income, such that, if there is a hiccup, you’re not left completely stranded. 

Make Your Choice 

Choose your cryptocurrency or cryptocurrencies. There are tons of cryptocurrencies to select from and while it’s fine to make good with just one, it’s also not a bad idea to invest in as many as you want, as long as you’re not spending above your means. That way, you gain some, and you lose some. However, if you would rather invest in one, Bitcoin seems to be the most reliable, followed closely by Ethereum.

A downside to trading in cryptocurrencies is that you can’t just walk into a bank or an investment brokerage firm to get them. You have to find sites dedicated to cryptocurrency exchanges. There are several sites like eToro, Coinbase, Gemini, Binance, etc. dedicated to this cause. 

Save Your Cryptocurrency 

Cryptocurrency is mainly stored in either a hot or cold wallet. This wallet permits users to keep and reclaim their digital assets. A user can store cryptocurrencies like Ethereum in their wallet and from there, use it to perform transactions. You have access to your wallet through a public key and a private key. The public key is referred to as your cryptocurrency address and it can be used by the other party in the transaction, while the private key is for you alone. It is important to have both keys to finalize a transaction. In addition, your wallet provides a history of all your transactions, as well as your present balance. 

Safeguard Your Cryptocurrency 

Keeping your cryptocurrency secure after buying it is principal. To encrypt your data, make use of VPNs, like NordVPN and ExpressVPN. These help in securing your transactions and making sure that your purchases are kept a secret from prying eyes. 

Just as with other forms of investment, in cryptocurrency investment, it is important to focus less on what is being said, but rather carry out your own research and study the market to the best of your ability. Do your own fact-finding instead and select the strategy that works best for you. This will help you to have a clear picture of what it is you’re jumping into.

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Bitcoin in Africa

Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency-Maana Na Jinsi Inavyofanya Kazi

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Bitcoin

Sehemu ya kwanza

Miaka kuku na moja iliyopita, neno “cryptocurrency”lilionekana la ajabu kwa wengi. Hata Sasa hili neno limekuwa likisikika mara kwa mara lakini bado watu wengi wamekuwa hawajui linamaanisha nini hasa. Ni neno lililozoeleka Kama fedha za mtandaoni ama Bitcoin.

Je fedha za mtandaoni ni nini hasa?

Watu wengi Wana uelewa potofu juu ya fedha za mtandaoni, kwa baadhi ni neno linalohusishwa na wizi na njia zisizo halali za kifedha, kwa wengine hili neno limekuwa msamiati watu wakitumia kutengeneza fedha. Cryptocurrencies inaweza kuelezewa na kueleweka kwa njia rahisi. Uelewa wa mahesabu yake huchukua mda mrefu Sana. Ingawa, kuwa na uelewa kidogo juu ya mfumo wa thamani yake Ni kitu pekee kinachohitajika ili uweze kutumia.

Je Cryptocurrency ni nini?

Cryptocurrency ni fedha ya kimtandao iliyo dhahiri au halisi ambayo inaweza kutumika kubadilishana au kufanya manunuzi. Inaweza kuonekana Kama fedha ya kawaida, lakini ambayo mtu hawezi kushika. Ili kupata uelewa sahihi wa dhana hii,uione kama hawala ya fedha-naira ya Nigeria, Cedi ya Ghana, dola ya Marekani,Shilingi ya Kenya au Rand ya Afrika kusini. Cryptocurrencies inafanyanishwa na aina hizi za hawala, lakini ikiwa na tofauti kuu-cryptocurrency ni ya uhalisia.

Tofauti na hawala ya kawaida, Cryptocurrencies hazimilikiwi na eneo ama nchi Fulani, kwahiyo zenyewe zinaweza kutumiwa na mtu yeyote, popote (Ingawa, uhalalishaji wake ni hafifu kwa baadhi ya nchi).

Kitu gani kinafanya ziwe salama?

Cryptocurrencies zinadhibitiwa na fumbo (cryptography). Fumbo Ni njia ya kulinda ujumbe ndani ya mtandao. Katika kipindi ambacho biashara nyingi na miamala mingi imehamia katika mfumo wa digit, fumbo (cryptography) inabeba jukumu muhimu ya kulinda taarifa ambazo zinakuwa zinabadilishwa katika tovuti mbalimbali duniani. Fumbo inafumba taarifa au jumbe ili iweze kumfikia muhusika pekee (mlengwa). Cha kushangaza fumbo haikuanzia kwenye mitandao. Ni mfumo ulioanza kutumika tangu miaka ya 1900 Kabla ya Kristo.

Jinsi gani mfumo wa fumbo (cryptography) unavyofanya kazi na fedha za mtandaoni.

Kitu cha muhimu katika mfumo wa fumbo kwenye nadharia ya fedha za mtandao ni suala la saini ya digiti. Saini mara nyingi inatumika kuonesha uhalali katika dunia ya mtandao na vivyo hivyo ndivyo inavyotumika katika ulimwengu wa digiti. Saini itakuonesha mmiliki wa hati, hakitakiwi ighushike, na pindi hati ikisainiwa saini haiwezi kuondolewa. Hivi ndivyo saini za kidigiti hufanya.

Hata hivyo, japokuwa saini ni njia Bora ya kuonesha uhalali, bado zinaweza kughushika. Ili kuondokana na changamoto hii, mfumo wa fumbo unaenda hatua moja zaidi kwa kuongeza funguo katika sahihi hizi za kidigiti. Funguo hizi zinafunga hati ili kuhakikisha macho yanayochungulia kushindwa kuona sahihi. 

Kuna mahesabu magumu mno katika mfumo wa fumbo ambazo zinasaidia katika fedha za mtandao hivyo huzifanya fedha hizo kutumika kwa ufasaha.

Historia fupi ya Bitcoin na fedha za mtandao

Flooz, Beenz na DigiCash ni Kati ya walionza mapema kutumia fedha za mtandaoni mnamo miaka ya 90, kwa bahati mbaya wote walishindwa. Kwa matokeo hayo, kushindwa kwa majaribio yao ya kwanza kuhusu fedha za kidigitali, kulifanya wazo zima kupoteza muelekeo na hakukuwa na kumbukumbu ya majaribio yaliyorekodiwa tena tangu kipindi hiko.

Kisha akaja Satoshi mwaka 2009 mtaalamu wa kompyuta asiyejulikana, aliyetumia jina la Satochi Nakamoto, alikuja na wazo la Bitcoin. Alielezea Bitcoin kuwa haipo chini ya mamlaka yeyote ambayo haikuhitaji mtu yeyote wa katikati. Kutuma fedha ilikuwa rahisi Kama kutuma faili kutoka kwenye simu moja kwenda kwemye simu nyingine.

Hali ya fedha ya mtandaoni kutokuwa chini ya mamlaka yeyote ni moja ya sifa yake bora zaidi. Kama ilivyo aina ya Mitandao mingine ya malipo ilitakiwa ishughulikie tatizo la kulipia kitu mara mbili. Kulipia Mara mbili ni kitendo Cha kitapeli Cha kutumia kiasi kile kile Cha fedha Mara mbili. Njia ya kawaida ya kutatua tatizo hili ni kwa kutengeneza mfumo ambao utatunza rekodi ya kila muamala na kumbukumbu ya salio. Hata hivyo, mfumo hu unahitaji mtu wa tatu ambaye atakuwa na taarifa sahihi baina ya watumiaji wawili. Bitcoin za Satoshi zinahitaji sehemu maalumu ha kutunzia kumbukumbu. Inatumia mfumo wa kutunza kumbukumbu ambao umetawanywa unaojulikana kama blockchain. Hii inaondoa haha ya kuwa na mfumo mmoja wa kuhifadhia kumbukumbu za miamala. Blockchain ni mfumo wa kumbukumbu ambao unaacha nakala ya kumbukumbu kwa kila mtumiaji. Mabadiliko yeyote yanayofanywa katika mfumo huu huweka kumbukumbu hiyo kwenye nakala ya watu wote, hivyo basi kufanya mtu mmojawapo asiweze kubadilisha taarifa kwenye kila kumbukumbu.

Ndani ya mtandao wa fedha za kimtandao kama Bitcoin, watumiaji wanathibitisha mialama. Watumiaji wanafanya hivi kwa kutatua mfumo mgumu uliowekwa.

Kwahiyo, namna gani tunaweza kutumia fedha za mtandao?

Kama fedha nyingine,fedha ya mtandao inaweza kutumika kulipia bidhaa na huduma. Mnamo tarehe 22 mwezi wa tano mwaka 2010, mwanamme mmoja kwa jina la Lazlo Hanyecza alilipia pizza yake kwa Bitcoin 10,000. Hii ilikuwa Mara ya kwanza kwa fedha ya mtandaoni kutumika Kama njia ya kufanya manunuzi. Hii siku inajulikana Kama siku ya Bitcoin pizza. Leo, Lazlo angelipia dola 231,000 kwa ajili ya hiyo pizza.

Kuna wafanyabiashara wengi ambao wangekubali fedha za mtandaoni Kama malipo. Katika maduka ya apple, fedha ya mtandaoni imethibitishwa Kama njia ya malipo. Katika maeneo mengi ya Afrika Kama vile Nigeria, Ni njia Bora ya kufanya malipo nje ya mipaka.

Ukiachana kutumika Kama njia ya malipo ,fedha za mtandaoni pia zinatumika Kama njia mojawapo ya uwekezaji. Mtu ambaye aliwekeza Bitcoin moja mwaka 2010, kipindi ambacho Bitcoin ilikuwa chini ya dola moja, angeweza kupata $ 18,000.

Ingawa Bitcoin inaweza kuwa Kati ya vitu vya thamani ndani ya miaka kumi ni muhimu kujua kwamba fedha za mtandao zinabadilika haraka Sana, hivyo kufanya uwekezaji wake uwe wa hatari.

Bitcoin, fedha ya mtandaoni iliyo imara zaidi ilishuka kwa ghafla Sana mwaka 2017. Thamani yake ilipanda Sana hadi $20,000 na ikashuka ghafla Hadi $3000. Hata hivyo, fedha hii imeendelea kupanda juu Sana. Kwa Sasa ina thamani ya $23,000 wakati wa kuandika makala hii.

Ushuhuda kutoka kwenye kazi za uvunaji

Fedha za mtandaoni pia zinaweza zikavunwa. Uvunaji ni muhimu Sana kwa fedha za mtandaoni, hasa kwa wale wanaotumia mfumo wa POW. Wavunaji wanathibitisha muamala ili iweze kuwekwa katika kumbukumbu. Kwa kufanya hivyo, wanaongeza huduma za utunzaji taarifa za miamala. Wavunaji wanatatua mafumbo mbalimbali ya fedha za mtandaoni. Mafumbo yanazidi kuwa magumu kwa fedha maarufu kadri siku zinavyozidi kwenda. Siku hizi mahesabu ya Hali ya juu mno yanahitajika ili mtu aweze kufanikiwa kuvuna. Kwa kila fumbo litakalotatuliwa mvunaji anapewa zawadi ya Bitcoin. Uvunaji ni kati ya njia inayoifanya sarafu kuzunguka. Miaka inavyozidi kwenda kiwango Cha zawadi kwa wavunaji kimekuwa kikipunguzwa ili kupunguza mzunguko wa fedha za mtandaoni. Hii pia imekuwa sababu ya Bitcoin kuongezeka thamani. Wavunaji walikuwa wanapewa zawadi ya Bitcoin 50 hawati fedha hii inaanza, Sasa hivi zawadi Ni Bitcoin 6.25. Hata hivyo zawadi hii itaendelea kushika mda unavyozidi kwenda. Bitcoin milioni mbili tu ndizo zilizobaki kuvunwa. Kuvunwa kwa hizo kutafanya kuwe na na Bitcoin milioni 21 katika mzunguko.

Uwekaji wa dau uhitaji waweka dau wabainishe kiasi Cha dau.

Ukiacha uvunaji, fedha nyingine zinatumia mfumo wa dau. Bitcoin inahitaji mvunaji kuthibitisha muamala, frledha nyingine za mtandao hazihitaji hivyo. Mfano Ni ethereum 2.0, fedha hii ikiwa ni ya pili kwa ukubwa ukiacha bitcoin. Ethereum inahitaji kuthibitisha muamala unaotokea ndani ya mtandao wa ethereum. Wahakiki wanahitaji dau la angalau ethereum 32 ili kukupa haki ya kuhakiki.

Uhakiki hatuhitaji mahesabu ya Hali ya juu Kama uvunaji. Kompyuta ya kawaida inaweza kuhakiki.

Uwekaji wa dau, hata hivyo haujaanza bado kutumika katika mtandao wa ethereum. Ni mfumo mpya ndani ya mtay ambao utaanza kutumika mnamo mwaka 2021.

Kujifunza kuhusu fedha za mtandao ni hatua ambayo inaanza kwa kuzimiliki kwanza. Kusoma maoni katika mitandao ya kijamii kutachangia uelewa zaidi. Fuatilia akaunti mbalimbali za mitandao ya kijamii na taarifa mbalimbali ili kufanya maamuzi sahihi kwenye fedha za mtandao

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