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Yearn.finance is an aggregator service for decentralized finance (DeFi) investors, using automation to allow them to maximize profits from yield farming.
Its goal is to simplify the ever-expanding DeFi space for investors who are not technically minded or who wish to interact in a less committal manner than serious traders.
Launched in February 2020, the service, formerly known as iEarn, has seen huge growth in recent months as new products debuted and developers released in-house token YFI.
Yearn.finance is the brainchild of Andre Cronje. After leaving the iEarn project in February 2020, Cronje returned to oversee a rebirth, with new tools emerging and YFI going live in July.
Since then, its fortunes have turned around, with assets under total value locked coming in at just over $1 billion as of the end of September 2020.
Cronje has a long career in cryptocurrency and has become synonymous with DeFi in particular. He also has positions at smart contract ecosystem Fantom and CryptoBriefing, a resource dedicated to initial coin offerings (ICOs) and crypto media.
Yearn.finance set out to simplify DeFi investment and activities such as yield farming for the broader investor sector.
The platform makes use of various bespoke tools to act as an aggregator for DeFi protocols such as Curve, Compound and Aave, bringing those who stake cryptocurrency the highest possible yield.
New features continue to be rolled out, these aiming, among other things, to help preserve the long-term value of the platform.
Yearn.finance makes a profit by charging withdrawal fees, currently 0.5% at the end of September 2020, as well as 5% gas subsidization fees. Due to its governance model, these can technically be changed by consensus at any time.
The target market for yearn.finance is investors who do not have the time to study the increasingly complex DeFi phenomenon from scratch, or who wish to optimize their returns.
Yearn.finance in-house token YFI has a fixed supply of 30,000 coins. There was no premine upon launch in July 2020, and developers did not receive any starting funds: the total supply at launch was 0 YFI.
Since then, the majority of the capped supply has entered circulation, and the success of the token is reflected in its all-time high price of $41,000, which it hit in mid-September 2020. YFI was also the first cryptocurrency to become worth more than Bitcoin (BTC) per unit.
Users of yearn.finance earn YFI through providing liquidity, while token holdings dictate governance privileges.
Yearn.finance users can face a high risk of losing money thanks to market conditions changing rapidly and opportunistic entities attempting to profit from less-experienced participants.
Cronje himself has sought to maintain transparency about the platform’s provenance, noting that even after code audits, yearn.finance could not be guaranteed to be 100% safe — DeFi involves inherent risk.