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Reap the Harvest on Blockchain: A Survey of Yield Farming Protocols


  • Jiahua Xu
  • Yebo Feng


Yield farming represents an immensely popular asset management activity in decentralized finance (DeFi). It involves supplying, borrowing, or staking crypto assets to earn an income in forms of transaction fees, interest, or participation rewards at different DeFi marketplaces. In this systematic survey, we present yield farming protocols as an aggregation-layer constituent of the wider DeFi ecosystem that interact with primitive-layer protocols such as decentralized exchanges (DEXs) and protocols for loanable funds (PLFs). We examine the yield farming mechanism by first studying the operations encoded in the yield farming smart contracts, and then performing stylized, parameterized simulations on various yield farming strategies. We conduct a thorough literature review on related work, and establish a framework for yield farming protocols that takes into account pool structure, accepted token types, and implemented strategies. Using our framework, we characterize major yield aggregators in the market including Yearn Finance, Beefy, and Badger DAO. Moreover, we discuss anecdotal attacks against yield aggregators and generalize a number of risks associated with yield farming.

Suggested Citation

  • Jiahua Xu & Yebo Feng, 2022. "Reap the Harvest on Blockchain: A Survey of Yield Farming Protocols," Papers 2210.04194,, revised Dec 2022.
  • Handle: RePEc:arx:papers:2210.04194

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Simon Cousaert & Jiahua Xu & Toshiko Matsui, 2021. "SoK: Yield Aggregators in DeFi," Papers 2105.13891,, revised Mar 2022.
    2. Kanis Saengchote, 2022. "Decentralized lending and its users: Insights from Compound," Papers 2212.05734,
    3. Jiahua Xu & Krzysztof Paruch & Simon Cousaert & Yebo Feng, 2021. "SoK: Decentralized Exchanges (DEX) with Automated Market Maker (AMM) Protocols," Papers 2103.12732,, revised Mar 2023.
    4. Harry Markowitz, 1952. "Portfolio Selection," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 7(1), pages 77-91, March.
    5. Teng Andrea Xu & Jiahua Xu, 2022. "A Short Survey on Business Models of Decentralized Finance (DeFi) Protocols," Papers 2202.07742,, revised Jul 2023.
    6. Jiahua Xu & Nikhil Vadgama, 2021. "From banks to DeFi: the evolution of the lending market," Papers 2104.00970,, revised Dec 2022.
    7. Ingolf G. A. Pernice & Sebastian Henningsen & Roman Proskalovich & Martin Florian & Hermann Elendner & Bjorn Scheuermann, 2019. "Monetary Stabilization in Cryptocurrencies - Design Approaches and Open Questions," Papers 1905.11905,
    8. Daniel Perez & Sam M. Werner & Jiahua Xu & Benjamin Livshits, 2020. "Liquidations: DeFi on a Knife-edge," Papers 2009.13235,, revised Dec 2021.
    9. Amani Moin & Emin Gun Sirer & Kevin Sekniqi, 2019. "A Classification Framework for Stablecoin Designs," Papers 1910.10098,
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Jiahua Xu & Daniel Perez & Yebo Feng & Benjamin Livshits, 2023. " Learning-based On-chain Governance for Decentralized Finance (DeFi)," Papers 2302.09551,, revised May 2023.
    3. Ravi Kashyap, 2023. "DeFi Security: Turning The Weakest Link Into The Strongest Attraction," Papers 2312.00033,
    4. Sauren Gupta & Apoorva Hathi Katharaki & Yifan Xu & Bhaskar Krishnamachari & Rajarshi Gupta, 2024. "Forecasting Cryptocurrency Staking Rewards," Papers 2401.10931,

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