Best DeFi Yield Farms

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Contributor, Benzinga
January 2, 2024

Yield farming was likely the greatest driver of the decentralized finance (DeFi) explosion in 2020 and a large part of every crypto pump since. It is a vital foundation of functionality of blockchain technology and especially tokens like Ethereum, Solana and BNB. Risk-tolerant investors saw the potential of yield farming and jumped at the chance to earn “free” interest with their cryptocurrencies. It isn’t exactly free, however, and the gains come with significant risk, depending on the project. While many farms are only profitable for a few weeks, we've built a list of the best yield farms for longer term fee-earning.

DeFi yield farming uses the innovative technology of smart contracts, which in essence are automatically executing coded contracts that run on platforms like Ethereum. Yield farming has grown as an investment strategy along with the technology that enables it. It can be risky, and scams are still part of the ecosystem, but the best platforms already have proven their worth. 

Quick Look: Best Yield Farms

  • Liquidity Providing on Uniswap
  • Earn Interest on Aave
  • Yield Farming on PancakeSwap
  • Liquidity Providing on Curve Finance
  • Yearn Finance
Disclosure: eToro supports the following currencies: BTC, ADA, DASH, DOGE, EOS, ETH, LTC, NEO, XLM, XTZ, TRX, ZEC. eToro USA LLC; Investments are subject to market risk, including the possible loss of principal. T&Cs apply. *The bonus is available to Benzinga readers in the US for open states only. Served by eToro USA LLC.

Best Yield Farms

1. Liquidity Providing on Uniswap

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Uniswap thumbnail

uni

Uniswap

$14.81*

*prices delayed up to 10 minutes

-6.42%

24H
Buy Uniswap
169 votes

Uniswap is one of the largest decentralized exchanges (DEX) by total value locked with more billions in the platform under its unique “versions” that focus on different tokens like ETH and Polygon. The platform offers functionality with Ethereum and thousands of ERC-20 tokens and staking in liquidity pools to provide the service. Liquidity providers earn a percentage of trading fees for every swap, and with a large enough principle deposited, they earn significant interest. Interest rates on Uniswap and all other DEXes vary by the pool and market fluctuations.

Investors should be careful depositing assets in pools with volatile cryptos because drastic price changes could incur dramatic impermanent loss. Also, like on all DeFi platforms, smart contracts could fail, resulting in major losses. There are currently 2 main versions of the platform, Uniswap V2 and V3. Check out our article for an in-depth explanation of each.

2. Earn interest on Aave

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Aave thumbnail

aave

Aave

$102.90*

*prices delayed up to 10 minutes

+8.05%

24H
Buy Aave
185 votes

Aave used to be the reigning DeFi king in terms of total value locked with a staggering value of over $10 billion, according to the data aggregator defillama.com. However, it has since dropped below a few of the other top platforms. Aave is a decentralized platform on Ethereum (and the Polygon sidechain) that offers low-interest cryptocurrency borrowing and lending. Because investors have deposited so much crypto into Aave to earn interest, its borrow APRs are some of the best on the market. Variable borrowing of stablecoins (like DAI, USDC and USDT) and many others allows you to diversify your assets.

The unlikely possibility of smart contract failure is the main risk of depositing into Aave. Borrowers must consider the threat of liquidation when the ratio of the value of assets borrowed versus the value of the loan’s collateral rises above a threshold (called the maximum loan-to-value ratio) that varies between tokens. Anyone can buy up your collateral, and you could only recover up to 50% of the loan’s value.

3. Yield Farming on PancakeSwap

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PancakeSwap thumbnail

cake

PancakeSwap

$2.97*

*prices delayed up to 10 minutes

-0.54%

24H
Buy PancakeSwap
4 votes

PancakeSwap, like Uniswap, is a decentralized exchange (DEX). It functions similarly to UNI but is on the Binance Smart Chain (BSC) network instead of Ethereum and has a few more features focused on gamification. It holds the highest value locked of all BSC DeFi projects by a mile. CAKE offers BSC token swaps, interest-earning staking pools, a gambling game where users predict the future price of BNB and even non-fungible token (NFT) art.

PancakeSwap has all the risks of UNI, including impermanent loss resulting from large price shifts and smart contract failure. Many of the tokens in pools on CAKE have small market capitalizations and therefore have an increased risk of impermanent loss. Uniswap users suffer the same risks, but there are more and larger Ethereum-based tokens available to stake on the platform.

Impermanent loss is the difference in value you would have had by simply holding your 2 assets instead of staking them for interest. Since liquidity pools rebalance your assets to maintain a 50/50 stake in both, if 1 asset appreciates and the other doesn't, you'll sell off some of the more valuable asset to purchase the less valuable asset.

4. Liquidity Providing on Curve Finance

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CURVEHASH thumbnail

curve

CURVEHASH

$0.00012537*

*prices delayed up to 10 minutes

+0.47%

24H
Buy CURVEHASH
3 votes

Curve Finance is consistently one pf the largest DEX platforms by total value locked. Plus, it uses the locked funds better than any other DeFi platform with its unique market-making algorithm. This benefits users performing swaps as well as liquidity providers. 

Curve has a long list of stablecoin pools pegged to fiat currency (mostly USD) with decent APRs. Curve maintains strong APRs that start lower for liquid tokens and rise near 25%. Stablecoin pools are especially safe as long as the tokens don’t lose their peg. Because their prices won’t change dramatically compared to each other, impermanent loss can be completely avoided. Like all DEXes, using Curve comes with the same risks — impermanent loss (though it's less likely in many Curve pools) and smart contract failure. 

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Curve DAO thumbnail

crv

Curve DAO

$0.474625*

*prices delayed up to 10 minutes

+1.06%

24H
Buy Curve DAO
18 votes

5. Yearn Finance

Yearn Finance (YFI) offers a unique yield farming and aggregation tool with an active development team working on new strategies to earn users higher yields all the time. Also, YFI is tightly integrated with Curve Finance. The platform has more than 30 YFI-integrated Curve pools where investors can deposit 1 of 5 different cryptocurrencies (ETH, WBTC, DAI, USDT or USDC) into a smart contract that deposits into the corresponding pool on Curve to earn interest. The smart contract reinvests earnings in the pool, multiplying gains. Yearn has similar risks as the other yield-farming platforms like impermanent loss and smart-contract failure.

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earn

Yearn Classic Finance
Buy Yearn Classic Finance
14 votes

What is Yield Farming?

Yield farming is the popular strategy DeFi users take advantage of to put their cryptocurrencies to work to earn high interest. Yield farming platforms use staking smart contracts that pay users out interest. These platforms make use of all kinds of strategies to generate this interest like lending, staking in other platforms, token inflation (basically printing tokens to give out) and many more.

According to DeFiPulse, a DeFi analytics and ranking platform, Decentralized finance protocols have over $50 billion worth of crypto locked in these programs. There are multiple types of yield farming projects offering different financial services, mostly to earn astonishingly high interest. Large banks might earn you 0.01% to 0.25% a year, but these sub-percent yields can’t compete with the 20% to 200% earnings some decentralized platforms tout. Often, the higher the interest, the riskier the staking pool is. Watch out for scams and unproven platforms that may lose you your money. 

How to Yield Farm

Yield farming can seem extremely complex and difficult from the surface but it's quite the opposite. The technology behind it can be extremely complicated and hard to understand but using these platforms is usually quite easy. The best yield farms on the market are all pretty easy to use with one minor exception — Uniswap V3. Before you can start earning yield on your cryptos you need to get a software wallet like MetaMask (or a hardware wallet supported by the platform you want to use). The most common way to purchase some cryptocurrency is to sign up for an account on an exchange like Binance, Webull, eToro or Gemini. You also will need to purchase either Ethereum or BNB, depending on which network you plan to use to pay transaction fees. 

Once you have some crypto in your exchange account, send it over to your wallet and go to your yield-farming website of choice. Click "Connect Wallet", and enter your wallet password, find the pool you want to deposit in and follow the instructions the platform provides. Now you should keep a watchful eye out for major price fluctuations in case it incurs impermanent loss.

Best Yield Farms on ETH vs. BSC

DeFi first erupted onto the crypto scene on the Ethereum network, but since then it has spread to other platforms including Binance Smart Chain (BSC). BSC was launched by Binance Exchange in April 2019 to rival Ethereum. The Ethereum network has been struggling with high transaction fees caused by an increase in users and in math required to run the staggering number of complex decentralized transactions. Binance is more centralized, which helps speed up transaction processing and dramatically lowers transaction fees compared to its rival. The ETH network charges these fees in Ether (ETH), and Binance charges them in Binance Coin (BNB).

The best yield farms (or at least the highest value ones) are on ETH (Aave, Curve, UNI, etc.), but BSC has enough large projects including CAKEs and Venus Protocol to compete with ETH network. Ethereum-based platforms can only use Ether and other tokens built on ETH on its network, most of which are called ERC-20 tokens. BSC’s native token is BNB, and its platforms can use other tokens on the network (most called BEP-20 tokens). BSC is still cheaper to send transactions, but at the time of writing, Ethereum gas fees have dropped since DeFi became so popular. Now you can find some of the best yield farms on both chains.

  • Coinbase
    Best For:
    Active Crypto Traders
    securely through Coinbase's website

    Sum of median estimated savings and rewards earned, per user in 2021 across multiple Coinbase programs (excluding sweepstakes). This amount includes fee waivers from Coinbase One (excluding the subscription cost), rewards from Coinbase Card, and staking rewards. ³Crypto rewards is an optional Coinbase offer. Upon purchase of USDC, you will be automatically opted in to rewards. If you’d like to opt out or learn more about rewards, you can click here. The rewards rate is subject to change and can vary by region. Customers will be able to see the latest applicable rates directly within their accounts.

  • eToro
    Best For:
    Social Investing
    securely through eToro's website

    Cryptocurrency is offered by eToro USA LLC (“the MSB”) (NMLS: 1769299) and is not FDIC or SIPC insured. Investing involves risk.

    eToro is a multi-asset investment platform. The value of your investments may go up or down. Your capital is at risk.

  • Webull Crypto
    Best For:
    Low Minimums
    securely through Webull Crypto's website
  • Gemini Crypto
    Best For:
    New Investors
    securely through Gemini Crypto's website

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Yield Farming With Stablecoins

While DeFi yield farming can be lucrative, it's often times risky. One of the largest risks in yield farming is the volatility of digital assets being used to farm with. Even if you make 25% APY on a token, if the token depreciates 50%, you're significantly down on your investment after 12 months of farming.

Risk-averse investors may chose to yield farm with stablecoins to mitigate this risk. Since stablecoins are pegged to other assets, commonly USD, there is less volatility farming stablecoins than Bitcoin, Ethereum, or altcoins. If you're not looking to manage stablecoins between decentralized protocols for the best rates, Origin Dollar allows investors to simply hold OUSD to earn passive yield through DeFi. Current 365-trailing yields are over 7%, making the token competitive in today's market.

Where to Store Your Cryptocurrency

The merits of each type of crypto wallet are still debated among users. The main concerns of most investors are security and ease of use. Some investors leave their cryptos on the trading platform they purchased them on, sacrificing some control over their funds. Exchanges with inadequate security measures (unlike the top exchanges like Binance, eToro, WeBull and Gemini) have lost users millions of dollars in cryptocurrencies over the years to hacks. To avoid this possibility, you may want to transfer your cryptos to a wallet you personally control.

Software (hot) wallets, including Exodus Wallet, provide a trade-off between ease of use and security. Most software wallets are easy to use with DeFi and give users complete control over their funds, unlike crypto exchanges. Some DeFi platforms support a few hardware wallets, but a majority support a variety of software wallets. 

Hardware wallets (or cold storage wallets) are often touted as the safest option for storing cryptocurrencies because they are mostly invulnerable to cyberattacks. None of the information needed to access the contents of the wallet is stored on the internet. While hardware wallets are the safest place to keep cryptos, they are usually slower and a bit more cumbersome to use. If your main goal is to hold crypto tokens and you don’t plan on trading it or depositing it into DeFi projects, hardware wallets are probably the best storage solution for you.

Best Hardware Wallet: Ellipal Titan

The Ellipal Titan is an advanced and incredibly secure hardware wallet with a polished and hardened design. The device supports more than 7,000 cryptocurrencies on 40 different platforms (including all ERC-20 and BEP-20 tokens) and employs a multitude of security features to protect users’ crypto holdings. 

The Ellipal Titan can never be connected to the internet and only uses open data (public and verifiable) QR codes to complete transactions. Its hard metal cover and screen are sealed so that cracking open the wallet automatically deletes your private keys, keeping your portfolio safe from physical attacks. The combination of these security features makes the wallet nearly impossible to penetrate either online or offline.

Best Software Wallet: Coinbase Wallet

  • Coinbase
    Best For:
    Active Crypto Traders
    securely through Coinbase's website

    Sum of median estimated savings and rewards earned, per user in 2021 across multiple Coinbase programs (excluding sweepstakes). This amount includes fee waivers from Coinbase One (excluding the subscription cost), rewards from Coinbase Card, and staking rewards. ³Crypto rewards is an optional Coinbase offer. Upon purchase of USDC, you will be automatically opted in to rewards. If you’d like to opt out or learn more about rewards, you can click here. The rewards rate is subject to change and can vary by region. Customers will be able to see the latest applicable rates directly within their accounts.

Coinbase Wallet is a standalone project launched by the popular Coinbase crypto exchange. It is easy to use and one of the best software wallets on the market. The wallet’s greatest strength over its competitors is its security. Simply, Coinbase Wallet provides security features such as 2-factor authentication to prevent login attacks and encrypted storage of private keys in the user’s device.

Coinbase Wallet’s main drawback is its relatively short list of supported cryptocurrencies. It still supports most of the largest cryptocurrencies, including BTC, Ethereum, Ripple, DOGE, Stellar Lumens and all ERC-20 tokens. If you are looking for a software wallet to use with the DeFi ecosystem on Ethereum or store supported cryptos on other protocols, Coinbase Wallet is a fantastic choice. 

Yield Farming Versus Holding Crypto

Yield farming is so popular because crypto investors want exposure to their favorite investments while earning interest at the same time. Why not put your money to work instead of leaving it to sit in a wallet doing nothing? In safe yield farms and liquidity pools, this can be a great strategy. However, the gains from these opportunities and the principle investment aren’t 100% safe in yield-farming platforms. Smart contract failures, scams and impermanent losses have cost investors hundreds of millions of dollars worth of crypto investments. Beware of ludicrously high-interest estimates, and always vet DeFi platforms before investing.

Disclosure: ²Sum of median estimated savings and rewards earned, per user in 2021 across multiple Coinbase programs (excluding sweepstakes). This amount includes fee waivers from Coinbase One (excluding the subscription cost), rewards from Coinbase Card, and staking rewards. ³Crypto rewards is an optional Coinbase offer. Upon purchase of USDC, you will be automatically opted in to rewards. If you’d like to opt out or learn more about rewards, you can click here. The rewards rate is subject to change and can vary by region. Customers will be able to see the latest applicable rates directly within their accounts

Frequently Asked Questions

Q

Is yield farming profitable?

A

Yield farming can be very profitable with a high stake, however, as with any investment it also comes with a significant risk.

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About Henry Stater

Henry is an expert in all things crypto. He stays up to date with all the latest coins, platforms and technologies in the field. He has particular expertise in the burgeoning decentralized finance ecosystem and loves trying out all the new platforms. He also always follows major events in other financial markets and geopolitics as a whole, especially when an event’s effects ripple through the crypto market.