eToro added two decentralized finance tokens, Aave and Yearn.Finance YFI, to its trading offering this week, alongside crypto tokens Compound COMP and Decentraland MANA. DeFi has gained traction amongst crypto investors in recent weeks after having been long overlooked on account of its complex nature.
Aave uses smart contracts, which allow users to receive different types of interest, and can be selected based on individual needs. It ranks among the top 30 largest cryptocurrencies by market capitalization and was last trading at around $331 per token based on Coinmarketcap data.
Yearn.Finance YFI encompasses several DeFi programs that are designed to optimize investing. Investors can earn profits through YFI contracts, or add tokens based on initial investment. YFI is ranked 61st based on market size and valued at just above $42,000, according to Coinmarketcap.
With the four new tokens, there are now 23 crypto assets available on eToro, one of the largest retail trading platforms.
DeFi has gained traction and popularity within the crypto community in recent weeks, as sector heavyweights have signaled their support. “Shark Tank” investor Kevin O’Leary announced earlier this week he was planning to launch a DeFi investing company and Chainlink’s co-founder Sergey Nazarov said he believed a shift towards DeFi was unavoidable.
DeFi is based on blockchain technology and aims to remove any middlemen from the investing process. It has a variety of uses, including digital currency exchanges, stablecoins and wrapping bitcoin to link them to the ethereum network. Smart contracts also allow users to earn interest on their investments.
So far, DeFi has been widely regarded as too complex and inaccessible to especially retail investors as it requires significant expertise. Security issues and past crashes of DeFi investment vehicles have also led investors to be cautious.
Cryptocurrency exchange Binance has seen a number of hacks and attacks on DeFi products based on its systems. Most recently BurgerSwap, a DeFi platform on which users swap digital burgers, was attacked by hackers and lost over $7 million of its clients funds.
Regulators including the SEC chairman Gary Gensler have urged caution, saying the DeFi was challenging for investors due to its volatility and the novelty of products included under the umbrella term.