Can you explain what a DeFi application is?

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8 months ago

I’ve recently taken an interest in the world of Cryptocurrency and during my research, I stumbled upon the term DeFi applications, but I found it rather confusing. From what I gathered, DeFi stands for Decentralized Finance, which I understood to be a broad term encompassing the shift from conventional, centralized financial systems to peer-to-peer finance orchestrated with blockchain and cryptocurrency. However, regarding DeFi applications, I’m struggling to fully understand what they are, their role in the crypto world, and why they are important to the blockchain ecosystem.

Further to that, I understand there are different types of DeFi applications, and some are being adopted and used more frequently than others. For instance, I came across lending platforms, decentralized exchanges (DEXs), and prediction markets as some examples of DeFi applications. Despite that, I’m unsure of their specific purposes, how they differentiate from one another, and their impacts on and value within the DeFi space.

So, I would really appreciate it if anyone can break down this concept for me. What exactly do these DeFi applications do, their types, and why they are essential parts of the crypto world? Also, how do these different applications interplay to support the decentralized financial systems? It would be useful if you can provide real-world, easy-to-understand examples for better comprehension.

Answers:

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8 months ago

DeFi applications, or decentralized finance applications, are digital programs built on a blockchain, typically Ethereum, used to displace traditional financial intermediaries like banks and brokers by providing financial services in a more open, permissionless, and flexible manner. In essence, they eliminate the necessity for a middleman by leveraging smart contracts, which are automatically executed, self-enforcing contracts with the terms of agreement directly coded into them. For instance, lending platforms function by matching borrowers and lenders directly and use smart contracts to manage loan terms and enforce payments. Decentralized exchanges, or DEXs, allow users to trade their assets directly with each other without a centralized platform using again, smart contracts to facilitate and guarantee the trades. Prediction markets are platforms on which people can bet on the outcome of future events, from sports to elections, and the results are determined and payouts are settled via smart contracts. Each of these applications provides a distinct kind of service, akin to the multiple types of institutions in traditional finance such as banks, insurance companies, and stock exchanges. Their importance lies in their decentralization, which leads to increased access, transparency, and potentially greater financial inclusion. Finally, these different applications can work synergistically; for example, a user can borrow funds on a DeFi lending platform, use these funds to trade on a DEX, and hedge their bets on a prediction market, all within the decentralized and autonomous blockchain ecosystem.

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