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DeFi Protocols for Loanable Funds: Interest Rates, Liquidity and Market Efficiency


  • Lewis Gudgeon
  • Sam M. Werner
  • Daniel Perez
  • William J. Knottenbelt


We coin the term *Protocols for Loanable Funds (PLFs)* to refer to protocols which establish distributed ledger-based markets for loanable funds. PLFs are emerging as one of the main applications within Decentralized Finance (DeFi), and use smart contract code to facilitate the intermediation of loanable funds. In doing so, these protocols allow agents to borrow and save programmatically. Within these protocols, interest rate mechanisms seek to equilibrate the supply and demand for funds. In this paper, we review the methodologies used to set interest rates on three prominent DeFi PLFs, namely Compound, Aave and dYdX. We provide an empirical examination of how these interest rate rules have behaved since their inception in response to differing degrees of liquidity. We then investigate the market efficiency and inter-connectedness between multiple protocols, examining first whether Uncovered Interest Parity holds within a particular protocol and second whether the interest rates for a particular token market show dependence across protocols, developing a Vector Error Correction Model for the dynamics.

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  • Lewis Gudgeon & Sam M. Werner & Daniel Perez & William J. Knottenbelt, 2020. "DeFi Protocols for Loanable Funds: Interest Rates, Liquidity and Market Efficiency," Papers 2006.13922,, revised Oct 2020.
  • Handle: RePEc:arx:papers:2006.13922

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Alexius, Annika, 2001. "Uncovered Interest Parity Revisited," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 9(3), pages 505-517, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Proelss, Juliane & Sévigny, Stéphane & Schweizer, Denis, 2023. "GameFi: The perfect symbiosis of blockchain, tokens, DeFi, and NFTs?," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 90(C).
    2. Sam M. Werner & Daniel Perez & Lewis Gudgeon & Ariah Klages-Mundt & Dominik Harz & William J. Knottenbelt, 2021. "SoK: Decentralized Finance (DeFi)," Papers 2101.08778,, revised Sep 2022.
    3. Dominik Metelski & Janusz Sobieraj, 2022. "Decentralized Finance (DeFi) Projects: A Study of Key Performance Indicators in Terms of DeFi Protocols’ Valuations," IJFS, MDPI, vol. 10(4), pages 1-23, November.
    4. Hugo Inzirillo & Stanislas de Quenetain, 2022. "Managing Risk in DeFi Portfolios," Papers 2205.14699,, revised Sep 2022.
    5. Marcin Wk{a}torek & Stanis{l}aw Dro.zd.z & Jaros{l}aw Kwapie'n & Ludovico Minati & Pawe{l} O'swik{e}cimka & Marek Stanuszek, 2020. "Multiscale characteristics of the emerging global cryptocurrency market," Papers 2010.15403,, revised Mar 2021.
    6. Massimo Bartoletti & James Hsin-yu Chiang & Alberto Lluch-Lafuente, 2020. "SoK: Lending Pools in Decentralized Finance," Papers 2012.13230,
    7. Teng Andrea Xu & Jiahua Xu, 2022. "A Short Survey on Business Models of Decentralized Finance (DeFi) Protocols," Papers 2202.07742,, revised Jul 2023.
    8. Raphael Auer & Bernhard Haslhofer & Stefan Kitzler & Pietro Saggese & Friedhelm Victor, 2024. "The technology of decentralized finance (DeFi)," Digital Finance, Springer, vol. 6(1), pages 55-95, March.
    9. Lioba Heimbach & Eric Schertenleib & Roger Wattenhofer, 2023. "DeFi Lending During The Merge," Papers 2303.08748,, revised Aug 2023.
    10. Piñeiro-Chousa, Juan & López-Cabarcos, M. Ángeles & Sevic, Aleksandar & González-López, Isaac, 2022. "A preliminary assessment of the performance of DeFi cryptocurrencies in relation to other financial assets, volatility, and user-generated content," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 181(C).
    11. Daniel Perez & Sam M. Werner & Jiahua Xu & Benjamin Livshits, 2020. "Liquidations: DeFi on a Knife-edge," Papers 2009.13235,, revised Dec 2021.
    12. Makridis, Christos A. & Fröwis, Michael & Sridhar, Kiran & Böhme, Rainer, 2023. "The rise of decentralized cryptocurrency exchanges: Evaluating the role of airdrops and governance tokens," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 79(C).
    13. Kanis Saengchote, 2022. "Decentralized lending and its users: Insights from Compound," Papers 2212.05734,
    14. Peplluis R. Esteva & Andrés El-Fakdi & Alberto Ballesteros-Rodríguez, 2023. "Invoice Discounting Using Kelly Criterion by Automated Market Makers-like Implementations," Mathematics, MDPI, vol. 11(7), pages 1-37, March.
    15. Estelle Sterrett & Waylon Jepsen & Evan Kim, 2022. "Replicating Portfolios: Constructing Permissionless Derivatives," Papers 2205.09890,, revised Jun 2022.
    16. Lioba Heimbach & Eric G. Schertenleib & Roger Wattenhofer, 2023. "Short Squeeze in DeFi Lending Market: Decentralization in Jeopardy?," Papers 2302.04068,, revised Jun 2023.
    17. Saengchote, Kanis, 2023. "Decentralized lending and its users: Insights from compound," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 87(C).
    18. Şoiman, Florentina & Dumas, Jean-Guillaume & Jimenez-Garces, Sonia, 2023. "What drives DeFi market returns?," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 85(C).
    19. Yousaf, Imran & Jareño, Francisco & Esparcia, Carlos, 2022. "Tail connectedness between lending/borrowing tokens and commercial bank stocks," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 84(C).
    20. Teng Andrea Xu & Jiahua Xu & Kristof Lommers, 2022. "DeFi vs TradFi: Valuation Using Multiples and Discounted Cash Flow," Papers 2210.16846,

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