What is Curve Finance, and How to Use it?

What is Curve Finance, and How to Use it?

Imagine holding $1000 in various cryptocurrencies, a dynamic portfolio in a market known for its volatility and frequent price fluctuations. Now, consider the possibility of not just safeguarding your crypto assets but also earning a substantial annual yield, potentially over 20%.

Skeptical? It's understandable, but this is where the innovative world of yield aggregators and Automated Market Makers (AMMs) comes into play. A prime example of such a platform is Curve Finance, a name that's resonated strongly in the crypto community.

In this piece, we delve into the essence of Curve Finance. We'll explore how Curve Finance distinguishes itself in the crypto ecosystem, its operational mechanics, and the potential benefits it offers to its users. This isn't just about storing your digital assets; it's about actively growing them in an ever-evolving market.

What is Curve Finance (CRV)?

Curve Finance, a leading Automated Market Maker (AMM) and decentralized finance (DeFi) platform, has made significant strides in the blockchain domain, particularly focusing on stablecoins. Originally known as StableSwap and launched in early 2020 by Michael Egorov, Curve quickly evolved into a crucial component of the DeFi infrastructure, largely attributed to its innovative AMM model that efficiently exchanges stablecoins.

Curve's operational model, which shares similarities with platforms like Uniswap and Balancer, sets itself apart by catering specifically to liquidity pools composed of similar assets, such as stablecoins or wrapped versions of assets like wBTC and tBTC. This specialization allows Curve to implement more effective algorithms, resulting in remarkably low fees, minimal slippage, and reduced impermanent loss compared to other decentralized exchanges (DEXs) on Ethereum.

At its core, Curve Finance operates as a dApp (decentralized application), primarily on the Ethereum and Polygon networks. This positions Curve not only as a DEX but also as a definitive AMM in the blockchain space. The focus on user-friendliness and approachability is evident in Curve's design, aiming to demystify complex DeFi concepts for a broader audience.

Curve's distinction in the DeFi landscape is further underscored by its concentration on stablecoin markets, such as Maker and USDT, which track the U.S. dollar, and Bitcoin-pegged stablecoins like wBTC and renBTC. This focus on stablecoins aims to facilitate low-fee, stable-price trading options for its users, a significant advantage given the inherent volatility in the cryptocurrency market.

With its growth, Curve has expanded beyond its original Ethereum-based platform, incorporating other layer 1 blockchains and layer 2 solutions, broadening its reach and functionality. The platform's governance token, CRV, not only rewards liquidity providers but also enables holders to participate in platform governance, influencing its direction and financial incentives.

Overall, Curve Finance represents a blend of innovation and user-centric design in the DeFi space, offering a secure, efficient, and accessible platform for stablecoin trading and investment.

How does Curve work?

Originally designed for traders to exchange stablecoins for various reasons, Curve has become an essential tool in the DeFi landscape. A common scenario involves DeFi traders needing to swap one type of stablecoin for another, such as exchanging USDC for USDT to repay a loan. However, a pivotal use of Curve lies in arbitrage. Arbitrageurs exploit minor price discrepancies between similar assets across different markets, ensuring price consistency across liquidity pools, decentralized exchanges (DEXs), and centralized exchanges.

Curve, alongside DEXs like Uniswap and Sushiswap, utilizes automated market makers (AMMs) to enable asset trading via smart contracts. In this model, liquidity providers (LPs) deposit assets into liquidity pools, which traders then use for swapping. For example, a trader can swap USDC for USDT by depositing USDC into a corresponding pool and receiving USDT, minus a fee. These pools are maintained by LPs who earn fees for their liquidity contributions.

AMMs use a constant product formula to balance assets in the pool, creating a "bonding curve" for token valuation. When traders swap assets (like USDC for USDT), the constant product formula adjusts the asset prices along this curve. Significant trades can lead to notable price shifts, especially in stablecoin pools, where deviations from the $1 peg are critical. This price difference between expected and actual values is known as slippage.

Curve's innovation lies in modifying the constant product formula to "flatten" the curve near the stable price of pooled assets, like $1 for stablecoins. This approach allows larger trades with reduced slippage, applicable to pegged non-fiat tokens like stETH and ETH. However, in instances where prices fall outside the optimized range, as seen in March 2023 with USDC's drop to less than $0.90, high slippage remains a significant risk.

In terms of rewards, LPs on Curve gain from fees paid by asset swappers, with the fees distributed based on provided liquidity. Additional incentives include CRV tokens awarded to LPs in certain pools, controlled by community votes. Yield farmers often pursue these opportunities, further enhanced by locking CRV tokens into the protocol to receive boosted rewards.

Curve's introduction of non-pegged digital asset swapping in 2021 marked its expansion beyond stablecoins. Although similar to other DEXs, Curve maintains a strong focus on stablecoin-centric operations, despite the popularity of pools featuring assets like WBTC and ETH.

How is the CRV token used?

The CRV token, integral to Curve's ecosystem, serves as a cornerstone for both governance and incentivization within the platform. Officially launched on August 13, 2020, CRV underpins the Curve decentralized autonomous organization (CurveDAO), facilitating community-led governance. Beyond governance, CRV is a key reward mechanism in liquidity pools, enhancing the platform's appeal and user participation.

The functioning of CRV is closely tied to another token, the voting escrow CRV (veCRV). Users can obtain veCRV by staking their CRV tokens in Curve's smart contracts. The amount of veCRV received hinges on the quantity of CRV staked and the duration of the stake, with a maximum lock-up period of four years.

This staking mechanism enables veCRV holders to earn platform trading fees, akin to liquidity providers, aligning the interests of governance participants and liquidity providers. Additionally, veCRV holders can boost their CRV rewards in liquidity pools, fostering a cycle of increased staking, boosting, and governance engagement. Moreover, veCRV holders wield their influence in the DAO by voting on governance proposals, including the distribution of newly minted CRV across different pools.

The distribution of CRV tokens is designed to ensure broad community involvement. Of the total 3.03 billion CRV tokens, an initial 1.3 billion (43%) were released at launch. This initial allocation was divided among various stakeholders, including the development team, investors, pre-CRV liquidity providers, the community reserve, and employees. The remaining 62% of CRV tokens are earmarked for community liquidity providers. All tokens allocated to the Curve team, investors, and employees are set to be fully vested by August 2024, with an initial inflation rate of approximately 2 million CRV tokens per day.

Augmenting its role in governance, the CRV token also enables yield farming. Users can deposit assets into designated liquidity pools, earning CRV tokens alongside fees and interest. This yield farming process not only provides financial benefits but also offers a stake in Curve's robust DeFi protocol. Importantly, any CRV token holder meeting the vote-locking requirement can propose updates to the Curve protocol, encompassing aspects like fee adjustments, pool creation, and yield farming reward structures. The longer CRV tokens are locked for voting, the greater the holder's voting power.

Curve's emphasis on stability and composability, as opposed to volatility and speculation, has cemented its status as a prominent player in the DeFi landscape. Its interconnected, composable elements position it as a central hub in the DeFi ecosystem. With the CRV token as a decentralized governance tool, Curve stands out as an organization that truly belongs to its user community, reflecting a deep commitment to decentralized principles.

Please note that Plisio also offers you:

Create Crypto Invoices in 2 Clicks and Accept Crypto Donations

12 integrations

6 libraries for the most popular programming languages

19 cryptocurrencies and 12 blockchains

Ready to Get Started?

Create an account and start accepting payments – no contracts or KYC required. Or, contact us to design a custom package for your business.

Make first step

Always know what you pay

Integrated per-transaction pricing with no hidden fees

Start your integration

Set up Plisio swiftly in just 10 minutes.