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LSDfi: Liquid Staking & DeFi I Notum

By Notum

Aug 31, 202311 min read



As the world of decentralized finance continues to grow and develop every day, more and more innovations are emerging. One of them completely changed the dynamics of staking and liquidity provision: liquid staking derivatives. This unique financial instrument combines the concepts of staking and liquidity mining, offering a fresh solution to the liquidity problem faced by many blockchain networks. With the rapid expansion of staking as a consensus mechanism and the growing demand for flexible, accessible liquidity, the emergence of liquid staking derivatives is an important step in DeFi's development. LSDs may unlock new opportunities of token usage for both holders and liquidity providers.

Liquid Staking Derivatives address the traditional trade-off between staking assets to secure a network and retaining the freedom to use those assets in the broader financial ecosystem. By tokenizing staked assets and creating derivative instruments pegged to the value of these assets, users can access the benefits of staking, such as earning rewards and participating in network governance, while simultaneously using the liquidity that was locked within the staking process. This article from Notum delves into the Liquid Staking Derivatives and the way they work, exploring their influence on DeFi activities, and the transformative impact they can have on both staking protocols and decentralized finance.

What Is Liquid Staking?

Liquid staking is a process that allows holders of staked crypto to trade and use their tokens while still participating in a PoS network. It involves converting staked tokens into a liquid form, enabling their use in other financial activities, and still getting rewards. As known, while staking, users lock up their tokens to secure a blockchain network and earn rewards. However, the drawback of staking is the temporary loss of access to the staked assets. Liquid staking solves this problem by allowing users to retain ownership of their staked tokens while simultaneously accessing their value for various DeFi activities.

The mechanism of liquid staking involves tokenizing the staked assets into a different form, often referred to as "staking derivatives." These derivatives are pegged to the value of the underlying staked tokens and can be traded or used within the broader DeFi ecosystem. This innovation gives stakers the ability to unlock the value of their tokens for other investment opportunities without losing rewards and increases the overall liquidity of the DeFi ecosystem by injecting staked assets into decentralized lending, trading, and other financial activities.

Liquid Staking Main Features

Liquid staking introduces several key features that distinguish it within the DeFi ecosystem:

  • Liquidity. As known, liquid staking combines the benefits of staking with immediate liquidity. Thus, stakers can tokenize their locked assets, creating liquid derivatives that represent their staked holdings. These derivatives can be traded, used as collateral for loans, or employed in various DeFi protocols, ensuring that stakers no longer need to choose between network participation and liquidity.
  • Flexible DeFi Participation. By converting staked tokens into liquid derivatives, users gain flexibility in engaging with the DeFi ecosystem. They can access yield farming, DEXs, and lending platforms, among other DeFi services, while still earning staking rewards and participating in consensus mechanisms.
  • Network Security Maintenance. Liquid staking doesn't compromise the security of the underlying blockchain network as the original staked tokens remain locked within the network.
  • Staking Derivative Mechanism. Liquid staking employs a mechanism wherein a custodian holds the original staked tokens. In return, they issue an equivalent amount of liquid staking derivatives to the user that can be traded, swapped, or used across the DeFi ecosystem.
  • Governance and Voting. Liquid staking derivatives typically give users the right to participate in network governance and decision-making processes, just like traditional stakers.

Understanding LSDfi Ecosystem

As known, DeFi refers to the use of blockchain technology and smart contracts to recreate traditional financial services in a decentralized manner. DeFi platforms aim to provide open, permissionless, and trustless access to financial services like lending, borrowing, trading, and more. Liquid staking is a concept within the realm of DeFi that involves allowing users to stake their crypto assets in a way that maintains their liquidity. LSDfi combines the world of DeFi and liquid staking, namely “refers to DeFi protocols built on top of liquid staking derivatives.” – Binance.

What Are Liquid Staking Derivatives (LSDs)?

Liquid staking derivatives are financial instruments that combine elements of traditional staking and the broader derivatives market. Staking is a process in which crypto holders lock up their tokens in a blockchain network to support their operations and earn rewards. However, staked tokens are typically illiquid and inaccessible for a certain period. Liquid staking derivatives aim to address this liquidity issue by allowing stakers to receive a tradable representation of their staked assets, known as a derivative token. These derivative tokens can be freely traded on secondary markets, providing stakers with the flexibility to access liquidity without unstaking their original tokens. This innovation brings together the benefits of staking rewards and the liquidity and trading features of derivatives, creating opportunities for yield optimization and risk management in the DeFi space.

By using liquid staking derivatives, users can actively manage their staked assets, taking advantage of market opportunities while maintaining exposure to staking rewards. The derivative tokens can be collateralized or used in various DeFi protocols, enabling yield generation and participation in decentralized lending, borrowing, and trading activities. “LSDs are already playing a significant role in DeFi, making up over 47% of the entire TVL across liquid staking protocols. The dominance of Lido alone is over 33% of DeFi’s TVL as of August 2023” – Cointelegraph.

How Do Liquid Staking Derivatives Influence DeFi Activity?

As known, LSDs refer to a concept within the DeFi space that involves creating derivative instruments based on staked assets in a PoS blockchain network. Proof-of-stake mechanism is used by certain cryptos where validators lock up a certain amount of the cryptocurrency to secure the network, validate transactions and earn additional tokens. LSDs could potentially stimulate DeFi activity using the following methods:

  • Enhancing Liquidity. Staked assets are typically illiquid as they are locked up for a specific period. By creating LSDs, users can "tokenize" their staked assets, representing them as tradable tokens on DeFi platforms. This increases liquidity and allows users to access the value of their staked assets without waiting for the staking period to end.
  • Yield Generation. Liquid staking derivatives can enable users to earn additional yield on their staked assets. Stakers can lock their assets and then lend or provide liquidity with the derivative tokens they receive. This creates opportunities for users to earn both staking rewards and DeFi-related yields simultaneously.
  • Flexibility. LSDs provide flexibility for stakers. They can choose to stake their assets directly in the PoS network or use LSDs to participate in DeFi activities. This choice allows users to adapt their strategies based on market conditions and personal preferences.
  • Collateral for Borrowing. Liquid staking derivatives can also be used as collateral for borrowing other assets. This expands the usability of staked assets beyond simply earning staking rewards, allowing users to use their holdings for other financial activities.
  • Market Participation. Liquid staking derivatives can attract new users to both PoS networks and DeFi platforms. Users who may not be familiar with staking can participate indirectly through these derivatives, thereby increasing engagement in both ecosystems.
  • Price Discovery. The trading of liquid staking derivatives can potentially lead to better price discovery for staked assets. As derivative tokens are traded on various DeFi platforms, their prices can provide insights into the perceived value of the underlying staked assets.

Closing Thoughts

In the ever-changing DeFi world, the emergence of liquid staking derivatives is a significant step forward as it offers users the ability to unlock liquidity from their staked assets, enabling them to access the benefits of both staking rewards and trading opportunities. This innovation has the potential to attract a wider audience to staking, as it removes the liquidity limitations that have prevented users from participating. Moreover, liquid staking derivatives foster a more dynamic DeFi environment, where users can maximize their capital efficiency and explore new strategies that use both staking and trading.

Looking ahead, the future of liquid staking derivatives holds great promise. Furthermore, the expansion of LSDs could play a crucial role in accelerating the transition from traditional finance to DeFi. Thus, liquid staking derivatives represent a remarkable innovation within the DeFi space, offering new opportunities that merge the benefits of staking and trading. As developers and the community work together to refine the technology and address challenges, the of liquid derivatives looks bright and has the potential to change the world of DeFi and show the way for a more inclusive and robust financial ecosystem.

Disclaimer: Notum does not provide any investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. This article is written for informational purposes only. Cryptocurrency is subject to market risk. Please do your own research and trade with caution.