Does Yearn Finance need an introduction? From its early days in 2020, when it was called iEarn, Yearn Finance has carried the torch of innovation in DeFi.
Yearn has led the way with high-yield products, key integrations, mergers, and an incredibly engaged DAO. This community involvement led Yearn contributor Tracheopteryx to call it an “organism” rather than an “organization.”
Best of all ‒ as this interview demonstrates ‒ even as it rapidly evolves and grows, Yearn remains steadfast in building a protocol that caters to both DeFi novices and experts alike.
1. What is Yearn?
Yearn Finance is the most robust yield source in DeFi for users, institutions, and developers. Yearn is operated by a true DAO of independent developers worldwide and governed by YFI holders.
2. How do you introduce Yearn to a novice or someone who knows relatively little about DeFi?
Yearn gives everyday users the ability to tap into DeFi yields without needing to be a programmer or full-time yield farmer.
Simply visit the website, deposit some crypto and watch it grow over time.
For partners, Yearn provides yield at scale along with fee-sharing incentives so you can earn while building valuable products for your users.
For doers, Yearn is an invitation to build and learn in one of the defining DAOs of DeFi.
3. Can you give us a quick rundown of what Yearn offers?
Yearn offers several core products, including:
- Yearn Vaults. All deposits are routed through strategies that seek out high yields that are returned to the Vaults.
- The Iron Bank. A place where users can deposit and/or borrow crypto. Some smart contracts have been whitelisted to borrow from the Iron Bank without collateral. This should drive higher borrowing demand, which should translate into higher yields for depositors over time.
- Yearn Labs. Users can deposit crypto into emerging and unconventional DeFi strategies. Labs strategies are riskier than Vaults but often earn higher yields.
- YFI (and WOOFY). Yearn's governance token, YFI, gives you a voice in the future of Yearn. YFI can be exchanged for WOOFY tokens and vice versa at a fixed rate of 1 YFI = 1,000,000 WOOFY.
4. How did Yearn evolve?
When Andre Cronje told friends and family he was earning yield on his crypto, they asked him to put their money to work, too.
After doing a few transactions by hand, he realized he could write scripts that would allow anyone to deposit crypto into a smart contract "vault." The vault would then put that deposit to work earning yield elsewhere.
As DeFi exploded during the summer of 2020, interest in Andre's little side project exploded, too.
Everyone wanted a simple and safe way to earn DeFi yields without putting in the work themselves. A simple website Andre threw together (originally called iearn.finance) quickly amassed more than $8 million in deposits.
Andre could have launched a token, sold a chunk to VCs, kept most of them himself, and become a millionaire overnight.
Instead, he gave the project away.
He launched the YFI token and distributed it to anyone using iearn.finance over the course of a week. It was what many have called the fairest token launch since the birth of Bitcoin.
There was no allocation for Andre or anyone else from VCs or investors. The tokens solely went to users of the platform.
It was such a radical launch that today, many of Yearn's contributors simply call it The Gift. The community of token holders who sprung up around the project has helped it grow to more than $5.7 billion in TVL.
5. What is your background?
I come from the IT industry. I got into crypto through Bitcoin. MakerDAO CDPs lured me into checking out Ethereum. And I fell in love with Ethereum when I found out about Yearn.
It was not only about the technology but also about the team and the whole community. Everyone is immensely generous and helpful.
6. Why did you decide to deploy on Fantom?
It’s EVM-compatible and supports Vyper, so all our code is compatible.
The support from the community and underlying technology are great.
Last but not least, it has excellent yield opportunities.
7. How did you learn about Fantom?
We learned about Fantom when Andre announced his involvement. If he was taking it seriously, we knew we had to, too.
8. What has your experience been like working on/with Fantom?
We work *with* Fantom. We’ve had a great experience and “yAmazing” support from the Fantom Foundation and the different teams from the different projects we collaborate with.
Early on, strategists started testing Fantom using ape.tax. After thoroughly testing everything, we saw that it was a robust chain with lots of yield opportunities. That’s why we chose Fantom as the first sidechain we support.
9. How has the Yearn community evolved?
Yearn has become more than a yield machine.
It’s also a radical experiment in decentralized cooperation.
The Yearn DAO is a model for other DAOs around the world. Using Coordinape circles, on-chain voting, forums, and radical transparency, it’s aggressively exploring ways to incentivize and coordinate strangers across time zones, cultures, and jurisdictions.
Explore Yearn’s free book, The Blue Pill, to get a glimpse of how Yearn believes coordination is and will continue to change in the post-crypto era.
11. What’s coming up for Yearn? Free alpha!
The role of the YFI token is actively evolving in the Yearn ecosystem. Last month, a major proposal passed with several major upgrades for YFI, including:
- Diverting a portion of Yearn's YFI buybacks to YFI token holders who actively participate in governance.
- Launching xYFI so users can stake YFI for rewards.
- Introducing vote-locked YFI (veYFI) modeled after veCRV.
- Introducing vault gauges where vault depositors stake their vault tokens and earn YFI rewards according to their veYFI weight. YFI are allocated to gauges based on weekly governance votes.
Beyond tokenomic changes, Yearn’s actively planning to be more active at DeFi conferences and events and continuing to expand into the multichain multiverse.
12. Is there anything you would like to add, about which we haven’t asked?
There’s so much innovation coming out of Yearn that it’s hard to keep up. Here are a few resources everyone should bookmark:
- Make your first deposit and start earning yield today with Yearn’s vaults.
- Learn exactly how each vault works with Yearn’s vault wiki.
- Read about Yearn’s vision for DAOs and human collaboration in the Blue Pill.
- Stay on top of the latest news, tweets, and more from Yearn.
Engage with Yearn: