Coinbase’s mobile wallet app Coinbase Wallet puts you in control of your crypto assets. The app already lets you access decentralized crypto apps (dapps) using a dapp browser. But Coinbase is going one step further, with deep integrations with some of the most popular DeFi projects.
DeFi means “decentralized finance,” and it has been a hot trend in the cryptocurrency space. DeFi projects try to reproduce traditional financial products in the blockchain. For instance, you can lend and borrow money, invest in derivative assets and more.
A popular category of DeFi projects has been lending protocols, such as Compound and dYdX. Those protocols work pretty muck like LendingClub, but on the blockchain. Some users send money to a DeFi lending project to contribute to liquidity pools. Other users borrow money from that pool. Interest rates go up and down depending on supply and demand.
With today’s update, you can contribute to lending protocols much more easily. Coinbase Wallet lets you pick a cryptocurrency, compare interest rates across multiple DeFi protocols, interact with those protocols and view your balances in a unified dashboard, you don't have to use Coinbase Wallet's dapp browser.
Interest rates will change over time. At any time, you can check the current interest rate, see how much you’ve earned already and withdraw your crypto assets.
Those protocols rely on collateralized borrowing in order to avoid default payments. It means that borrowers have to lock crypto assets as collateral. You often have to provide a bigger collateral than what you’re trying to borrow with those DeFi protocols — that’s the downside of not relying on credit history and external financial data.
Again, this isn’t a traditional finance product. Your deposits are not insured and there could be some bugs in DeFi protocols. For instance, bZx recently suffered from a “flash loan” attack. But it's an interesting crypto use case.