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Vaultification Trend: What Is It and How Can You Benefit?

By Notum

Sep 08, 20238 min read



In the DeFi world, where innovation never ends, a unique development has taken center stage: the emergence of the DeFi vault. This revolutionary financial instrument has started a new era of security, transparency, and accessibility within the decentralized realm. Basically, the DeFi vault represents a combination of blockchain technology and the principles of traditional financial security. Operating as a secure and autonomous smart contract, the Vault offers users the ability to lock up their crypto assets in exchange for various financial services, all executed without intermediaries. In this article from Notum, we delve into the details of the DeFi vault phenomenon, exploring its main features, work principles, its role in reshaping traditional finance, and how users can benefit from it.

Understanding a Vault in the DeFi Space

In the decentralized finance world, a vault refers to a complicated smart contract system designed to enhance the security, accessibility, and utility of digital assets. Acting as a customizable financial tool, DeFi vaults allow users to lock up their tokens in exchange for a range of financial services without the need for traditional intermediaries.

To put it simply, DeFi vaults function as pools of funds with an auto-compounding strategy that manages and executes various tasks based on predefined conditions. Users can deposit their assets into these vaults, which then use complex algorithms to perform actions such as yield farming: lending, borrowing, etc. By automating these processes and eliminating the need for centralized control, vaults enhance transparency and reduce counterparty risk. Vaults typically come with customizable parameters, enabling users to adapt their strategies to their risk tolerance and financial goals. The purpose of using them is to maximize the profit from the assets that are inside the vault.

Vaults: Short History

The history of vaults traces back to the beginning of the decentralized finance movement, which gained significant attention around 2020. As the potential of blockchain technology to revolutionize traditional financial systems became obvious, developers began exploring ways to increase the utility of cryptos beyond simple transactions.

The concept of vaults emerged as a response to the need for secure and automated management of digital assets within the DeFi ecosystem. One of the earliest events was the creation of protocols that allowed users to lock up their assets as collateral to borrow other tokens. MakerDAO, launched in 2015, was one of the first in this approach with its Collateralized Debt Positions (CDPs), which later led to more advanced vaults.

The further evolution of vaults saw the integration of yield farming strategies. Yearn Finance, launched in 2020, played an important role by introducing automated yield optimization through its vaults that used complex algorithms to automatically move users' funds between different DeFi platforms to maximize returns. Over time, vaults became more versatile, offering users options like liquidity provisioning, automated trading, and multi-strategy management. Such projects like Aave and Compound expanded the concept of vaults into broader, multi-asset protocols. Now DeFi vaults continue to evolve and adapt, using new financial instruments and strategies. Even though the history of DeFi vaults is pretty short, their impact on reshaping the financial landscape and empowering users to participate in decentralized finance is undeniable.

How Do DeFi Vaults Work?

DeFi Vaults, or yield farming protocols, operate within the DeFi ecosystem to provide users with automated and optimized strategies for managing their crypto assets. Here's how they work:

Deposit. Users deposit their digital assets into the DeFi vault's pools. These assets serve as collateral that the protocol can use for various financial activities. Vaults are equipped with complex algorithms and strategies that automatically manage the deposited assets. These strategies can include yield farming, liquidity provisioning, lending, borrowing, and more. The algorithms analyze market conditions, interest rates, and other variables to make informed decisions about where to allocate the assets for the best returns.

Automated Actions. Based on the pre-defined strategies, the vault's smart contract executes transactions on various DeFi platforms. For instance, it might lend out deposited assets to borrowers to earn interest or provide liquidity to DEXs to earn trading fees.

Yield Generation. The primary goal of DeFi vaults is to generate yields for users. These yields come from the interest earned on loans, trading fees, or rewards provided by DeFi protocols in return for supplying liquidity. The vault's algorithms aim to maximize these yields by reallocating assets to the most profitable opportunities.

Liquidity Provision. Some vaults enable users to provide liquidity to different DeFi pools. This involves depositing assets into liquidity pools, allowing traders to exchange tokens, and earning a share of the trading fees as rewards.

User Control. Vaults typically allow users to customize their strategies based on their risk tolerance and financial goals. Users can choose between different risk levels, yield optimization strategies, and asset allocations.

In some cases, vaults issue tokens to represent users' deposited assets within the protocol. These tokens can be traded or transferred, and they often accrue value as the vault generates yields. Moreover, vaults provide a hands-free approach to participating in various DeFi activities, eliminating the need for users to constantly monitor and manage their assets. 

What Are the Main Types of DeFi Vaults?

DeFi vaults come in various types, each tailored to different financial strategies and goals:

  • Yield Farming Vaults. These vaults focus on maximizing yields through strategies like liquidity mining and yield farming. They automatically allocate deposited assets to various DeFi protocols, optimizing for the highest returns by providing liquidity to pools, lending assets, and participating in other yield-generating activities.
  • Lending and Borrowing Vaults. Such vaults use deposited assets to participate in lending and borrowing markets within the DeFi ecosystem. They lend out users' assets to borrowers and earn interest on those loans, while also allowing users to borrow against their deposited collateral.
  • Liquidity Provision Vaults. These vaults specialize in providing liquidity to DEXs. Users deposit tokens into these vaults, which then participate in trading on these platforms and earn a portion of the trading fees as rewards.
  • Multi-Asset Vaults. This option allows users to deposit a variety of different assets and implement diversified strategies. They may automatically reallocate assets based on market conditions and opportunities, aiming to balance risk and reward.

Is It Risky to Use DeFi Vaults?

Using vaults comes with certain risks that users should carefully consider. While vaults offer passive income and automated asset management, they operate within a rapidly changing and often experimental landscape. Smart contract vulnerabilities pose a significant risk. Even audited contracts can have unforeseen issues, potentially leading to loss of funds through hacks or exploits. “There are vaults that can use 3-4 different protocols, and if there is an issue with any of them it can affect the entire vault.” – Apy Vision

Protocol risk is also important to acknowledge. Many vaults depend on other protocols and platforms to execute their strategies. If these underlying platforms experience vulnerabilities, hacks, or even shutdowns, the performance of the vaults can be compromised. Undoubtedly, user error is also a risk. One mistake in configuring the vault settings can have unintended and irreversible consequences. Moreover, users should also pay attention to market volatility. Vaults engaged in yield farming or trading strategies are exposed to the unpredictable price movements of cryptos, which can result in significant losses.

The Benefits of Using DeFi Vaults

Vaultification offers several benefits to users looking to optimize their crypto assets within the DeFi:

  • Automated Yield Generation. DeFi vaults automate the process of generating yields on deposited assets. These vaults actively seek out and execute strategies that maximize returns, such as lending, borrowing, liquidity provision, and yield farming, without users needing to actively manage these activities.
  • Diversification. Vaults often allow users to diversify their holdings by participating in multiple strategies or protocols simultaneously. This diversification can help spread risk across different opportunities and reduce the impact of underperforming assets.
  • Access to Complex Strategies. DeFi vaults enable users to access advanced financial strategies that might otherwise require significant expertise and effort. These strategies include participating in lending markets, engaging in yield optimization, and navigating liquidity provision on DEXs.
  • Reduced Entry Barriers and Time Efficiency. DeFi vaults ease access to complex financial activities that were traditionally limited to experienced investors. Also, by automating various processes, DeFi vaults save users time and effort that would have been spent manually managing and reallocating assets.
  • Transparency and Decentralization. Most vaults operate on blockchain networks, ensuring transparency and traceability of all transactions. Users can verify the movement of their assets and the actions of the vault in real-time. Besides, vaults operate in a decentralized manner, eliminating the need for intermediaries and putting users in control of their assets. 
  • Rewards. Many DeFi vaults offer additional incentives, such as governance tokens or rewards, to users who provide liquidity or participate in certain strategies. These rewards can further enhance the potential returns for users.
  • Availability.  Vaults operate on blockchain networks that are active 24/7, allowing users to manage and interact with their assets at any time.
  • Innovation. New vaults and strategies are constantly emerging, meaning users can experiment with different protocols and strategies to find the ones that fit their financial goals.

Closing Thoughts

In the ever-changing DeFi world, vaults have emerged as an empowerment for both experienced crypto users and newcomers alike. These complicated instruments have redefined how individuals interact with their digital assets, offering a way to a realm of automated financial strategies. By automating yield generation and diversification, DeFi vaults have overcome traditional barriers, democratizing access to new financial possibilities.

As the DeFi world expands, vaults continue to transform the potential of blockchain technology. Beyond the attractive passive income and hands-free asset management, the power of vaults lies in their ability to empower users, enabling them to navigate a complex financial ecosystem with greater confidence and control. The benefits of transparency, decentralization, and inclusivity in DeFi vaults reflect the main principles that underpin blockchain development.

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.