Compound, the leading lending protocol on Ethereum, has broken a billion dollars in total assets borrowed, according to the tracker on its website.
This is the latest milestone for a project that has led the yield farming craze in decentralized finance (DeFi), where both large and small investors search for the best place to park their assets in order to earn the strongest returns.
The platform reached $933 million on July 10 before surging by an additional $70 million in loans over the weekend. Prior to the current rush to mine fresh COMP, the loans were typically understood to be taken out to facilitate further crypto trading.
The loans are generated permissionlessly, with users only having to provide collateral in one of several different approved crypto assets. That is, every borrower is also a depositor, though it is also possible to deposit funds without lending, in order to increase the pool from which others can borrow.
Since June 15, both borrowers and depositors have been earning the Compound governance token, COMP. This has led to a spike in activity on the site.
Other DeFi projects have since followed suit, either releasing or announcing their own governance-token-mining schemes (see crypto-index protocol Balancer, flash-loan purveyor bZx and automated market maker Curve for examples).
COMP’s debut has also yielded some strange situations, such as in the case of DAI. As of now, nearly $800 million in DAI have been borrowed on Compound, this despite the fact the total market cap of DAI is only $195 million, according to CoinGecko.
This is because users want to maximize their COMP returns, so they increase their leverage by using various strategies to borrow DAI, deposit what they borrowed and then borrow more.
Close followers of the DeFi boom may be somewhat confused by the $1 billion number here, as DeFi Pulse reports Compound as having $699 million in total value locked (TVL), as of this writing. This confusion is caused by the fact that the site reports Compound’s deposits minus the loans it has made. Setting loans aside, Compound currently has $1.7 billion in total deposits, according to its own tracker.
To illustrate how dramatic the release of this token has been: DeFi Pulse shows Compound as having just under $100 million in total deposits on June 14, the day before COMP mining began.
Compound was first announced in September 2018, with funding from Bain Capital Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz and Polychain. It announced a subsequent $25 million round last November, led by Andreessen Horowitz.
As of this writing, the COMP token is trading at $173, down from an all-time high of $373 on June 21, according to CoinGecko.
Compound Labs was not available for comment at press time.