The Rise of Decentralized P2P Crypto-Currency Lending
Cryptocurrency lending is about to boom. Today, crypto-currency lending is a field that does not have a plausible service provider due to the pseudo-anonymous nature of crypto-currency. The underlying issue with crypto-lending is the repayments of loans. How do people that do not know each other trust each other?
Trustless lending. ETHLend is a decentralized crypto-currency lending application that runs on Ethereum network, which is accessible through MetaMask, an Ethereum network browser. ETHLend solves the issue of trust by allowing the borrower to secure a crypto-loan with ERC-20 compatible Ethereum-based tokens. ERC-20 tokens can represent any value (such as shares or commodities). If the borrower does not repay the loan, the pledged tokens are transferred to the lender, who can sell the tokens on exchange to regain any losses.
Today, tokens are used mainly for fundraising. However, there are tokens that represent value from the real world, such as the DigixDAO token. Each DigixDAO token represents 1 gram of gold by tokenization. Even if tokens are associated with volatility, factually tokens are sufficient for securing a loan. First, the market price of tokens are usually available at different exchanges. Secondly, the volatility can be assessed and taken into account.
Alternatively, ETHLend provides another option, where the borrower can use Ethereum Name Service domain (ENS domain) as a collateral for the loan. ENS domains by design locks Ether (ETH) when the domain name is auctioned. Since ENS domains are transferrable, they can be easily used as a collateral against Ether loans. For example, borrower has ENS domain that has locked 10 ETH. The borrower cannot use this locked Ether. However, the borrower can pledge this domain for a loan to receive 10 ETH. If the borrower does not repay the loan back, the ENS domain is transferred to the lender (who can auction it to regain any losses).
Decentralized lending removes barriers and lowers costs on interest. ETHLend aims to provide a global liquidity pool between peers. The decentralized model and the use of crypto-currency is the proper solution to achieve ETHLend’s goal. Global liquidity pool means that a borrower in the US would not be limited solely to local lenders and US banks. Instead, the borrower can access funding from all parts of the world, such as Asia and Europe. Moreover, ETHLend wants to remind that there is 2 billion people without the access to any banking system. Lending crypto-currency would mean additionally access to finance for the unbanked.
Big plans for ETHLend. According to the white paper, there are lot of technical upgrades coming up for ETHLend, such as unsecured lending where borrower does not need a collateral to get a loan. Moreover, lending reputation system is about to be launched, where the borrower is rewarded with ETHLend’s native Credit Token (CRE), which can be used as a collateral by “sparing” other ERC-20 tokens.
We interviewed the Founder of ETHLend, a law student from Finland and a blockchain developer, to get more insights over the project.
Who are the people behind ETHLend?
We are a dedicated team of 14 people. We are working hard to provide blockchain technology for the mainstream. We want to democratize lending. This means that we want to remove interest rate differences between different countries and provide liquidity to lower interest rates in general. This would mean that borrowers would pay less in interest costs when there is more competition in a global scale. Moreover, we want to serve people that the banks are not serving due to the lack of banking infrastructure.
Is lending secure on ETHLend?
ETHLend is a decentralized application that runs on Ethereum blockchain network. We use Smart Contracts for the loan transactions. This means that each loan that is deployed on Ethereum blockchain cannot be changed, stopped or compromised by a third party (not even ETHLend).
Moreover, since all transactions are decentralized, we do not hold any assets or data. All assets such as ETH, ERC-20 tokens or ENS domains are held by the Smart Contracts. Any lender or borrower can explore loans on blockexplorer, therefore we are transparent by design.
What crypto-currencies can I borrow and lend?
Now, Ether (ETH) lending is available. We chose to use ETH since that is the native token of the Ethereum network that we have built our application on. We are planning to add other cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Litecoin and other altcoins. To get ETHLend to the mainstream, we think that Bitcoin is essential.
Why did you build on top of Ethereum network?
We decided to use Ethereum for three reasons. First, Ethereum has well established Smart Contracts, which allows to perform complex transactions such as lending and handling the collateral. Secondly, by using ETH, we do not have to communicate with two blockchains, which would not be ideal way to start a simple DAPP development. Lastly, even though ETH has a different purpose than Bitcoin, ETH is widely used as cryptocurrency.
How ETHLend differs from other blockchain projects?
We started by developing the application. We first created the decentralized application, instead of writing a white paper and opening a flashy website. I personally wanted to understand how decentralized lending would work in practice. As coming from a legal background and not from technical, I wanted to try it first and then write an analysis on my practical findings, the white paper.
Moreover, we have an amazing team working on ETHLend. I have never seen such extensive collaboration that we have at ETHLend. Practically we are all living in different parts of the world, but initially we have the same goal: to provide fair lending for all by using blockchain technology. We are also happy to have more people involved through our Slack.
What is your focus on the development?
Since we have an Ethereum-based application that runs stable, we are now focusing on adding more functionalities and user experience. Our goal here is to make decentralized lending as easy and accessible as possible. We want to keep the learning curve as low as possible. As a part of the user experience, we are adding more languages and ways to easily calculate the value of the collateral to avoid unnecessary loan requests.
Is there going to be an ICO?
We are going to have a token sale on early September. Our aim is to fund the further development of ETHLend and provide the largest lending market that works on a global scale. We want our future token holders to be part of it.
How the tokens are distributed?
We are distributing 1 billion Credit Tokens (CRE) for sale. There will be no follow up sales and all unsold CRE is burned. Additionally, 300 million CRE is allocated to the development fund as an incentive for our founders and developers to remain with the project. The development fund tokens will have a 24-month vesting model, which means that during this period, tokens are gradually released from lockup on each 6-months-period.
Getting ready for token sale. According to Stani, the ETHLend team is preparing for the upcoming token sale. The aim is to provide decentralized, secure, fair and democratic token sale. ETHLend is currently developing the Smart Contract for the token sale. However, the precise date of the token sale is not disclosed. ETHLend will inform the date of the token sale within couple of weeks.