Innovative savings products
The emergence of “decentralized finance”, or what is abbreviated to DeFi in the professional language, has been formidable in the past year. Players such as BlockFi, Compound and MakerDAO are leaders in an industry that grew 137.5% in total deposits last year.
This growth comes as borrowers can now provide very competitive interest rates on deposits. A regular interest rate from a DeFi operator, which receives and lends your deposits to third parties, is around 6-7%. It is higher than the bank rate, which is closer to 0 at most banks in the western world.
DeFi players can pay a high interest rate, because they lend deposits to third parties who are willing to pay even more, for example to funds and institutions that private individuals do not have access to. The concept is strikingly similar to a traditional bank, which uses deposits to lend, for example, mortgages. The difference is that the interest rates and thus the return to the saver in the crypto market are much higher.
Pool Together has combined deposits and gambling, into a new savings concept. On their platform, together with a group of others, you can lock crypto into a smart contracts that are released each week. When the money is released, a random participant in the group will receive all interest as a premium. You end up participating in a sort of lottery. In which you are guaranteed your original deposit back. Pool Together participates are in the same market as Compound and Blockfi, but they provide interest rates to a random saver and is not distributed among the entire group.
The platform has partnered with renowned OpenZeppelin, which is a kind of “accountant” and offers security validation for crypto projects, especially within DeFi products.
Although Pool Together seems exciting and perhaps mostly entertaining, it can’t be denied that this concept is more of a game than a saving form. The alternative cost is that you could get 6% guaranteed interest by setting the values of a competitor. Here you will have the same counter-party risk, but no guaranteed return.