Aave: Everything to Know

By  Beluga Research July 13, 2023

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  • Aave is a decentralized finance (DeFi) protocol that allows users to lend and borrow cryptocurrencies
  • Aave uses smart contracts to automate lending and borrowing activities, eliminating the need for intermediaries such as banks
  • Holders of AAVE (the native governance token of Aave) have voting rights and can participate in the decision-making process regarding the protocol's development
  • Aave offers "flash loans," which enable users to borrow assets without collateral, as long as the borrowed funds are returned within the same transaction


Aave is a decentralized lending protocol that enables users to lend, borrow, and earn interest on cryptocurrencies. Aave launched in 2017 and facilitates peer-to-peer (P2P) transactions without the involvement of intermediaries like banks or financial institutions. It operates on the Ethereum blockchain, leveraging smart contracts to automate lending and borrowing processes. Aave's primary goal is to provide a secure and efficient platform for users to lend and borrow digital assets.

A Brief History

Aave was founded by Stani Kulechov, a Finnish entrepreneur, in 2017. Initially known as "ETHLend," the platform started as a P2P lending service that utilized smart contracts to enable secure transactions. In 2018, the platform rebranded to "Aave," a Finnish word meaning "ghost," meant to symbolize the transparent and unstoppable nature of the protocol.

Aave gained significant traction in the DeFi space, attracting users with its innovative features and user-friendly interface. The platform's native token, AAVE, was introduced in 2020 through an Initial Coin Offering (ICO), enabling users to participate in the governance and decision-making processes of the protocol.

Getting Started

To start using Aave, a user must first obtain an Ethereum-compatible wallet such as MetaMask. Once such a wallet is acquired, the user can connect it to the Aave platform and begin exploring its various functionalities. Aave supports a wide range of assets, including stablecoins like USDT and DAI, as well as popular cryptocurrencies such as ether and bitcoin. Users can deposit their assets into the protocol and earn interest or borrow other assets against their collateral.

When depositing assets into Aave, users receive "aTokens" in return. These are interest-bearing tokens that represent ownership of the underlying deposited assets. For example, if a user deposits 10 ETH into Aave, they receive 10 aETH tokens in their wallet. The aETH tokens continuously accrue interest and can be redeemed for the underlying ETH at any time. This allows users to earn passive income on their assets while retaining full control over them.

Unique Aspects

One of the key features that sets Aave apart from traditional lending platforms is its use of flash loans. Flash loans are uncollateralized loans that can be instantly borrowed and repaid within a single Ethereum transaction. This means that users can borrow a large amount of funds without having to provide any collateral, as long as the borrowed amount is returned within the same transaction. Flash loans have opened up new possibilities for arbitrage, collateral swapping and other complex trading strategies in the DeFi ecosystem.

Aave also introduced the concept of "credit delegation," which allows users to delegate their creditworthiness to another address. This means users who may not have sufficient collateral to borrow can still access funds by leveraging the creditworthiness of a trusted individual or entity. Credit delegation can be particularly useful in scenarios where users want to support friends, family, or business partners by vouching for borrowing capabilities.

Moreover, Aave has implemented a unique interest rate model called "stable rate borrowing." Unlike variable interest rates, stable rates provide borrowers with certainty by fixing the interest rate for a specific duration. This protects borrowers from sudden fluctuations in interest rates, providing a more predictable borrowing experience. Stable rates are determined algorithmically based on supply and demand dynamics within the Aave protocol, allowing borrowers to choose between stable or variable rates based on risk appetite.

Aave has also embraced the concept of "governance" by introducing the AAVE token. AAVE holders can participate in the decision-making process of the protocol by voting on proposals and shaping its future development. This decentralized governance model ensures that the platform evolves in a way that aligns with the interests of its community.


  • Wide Range of Supported Assets . Aave supports a diverse range of cryptocurrencies, allowing users to lend and borrow various digital assets. This broad selection provides users with flexibility and options to utilize their preferred cryptocurrencies within the platform.
  • Decentralization . Aave operates as a decentralized protocol, meaning that it does not rely on a central authority to manage and control user funds. This decentralized nature ensures that users have full control over their assets and are not subject to the risks associated with centralized platforms.
  • Security . Aave employs robust security measures to protect user funds. The protocol utilizes smart contracts, which are self-executing agreements embedded in the blockchain, to facilitate lending and borrowing. These smart contracts are designed to be highly secure, reducing the risk of hacks or unauthorized access to user funds.
  • Interest Earnings . Aave allows users to earn interest on their deposited assets. By lending out their cryptocurrencies, users can earn a passive income in the form of interest payments. This feature provides an additional avenue for users to grow their crypto holdings.
  • Flash Loans . Aave introduced the concept of flash loans, which are uncollateralized loans that enable users to borrow funds instantly, without the need for collateral. Flash loans have opened up new possibilities for arbitrage and other trading strategies, allowing users to take advantage of market inefficiencies.
  • User-Friendly Interface . Aave offers a user-friendly interface that makes it easy for both beginners and experienced users to navigate and interact with the platform. The intuitive design and clear instructions help users seamlessly lend, borrow against and manage their assets.


  • Price Volatility - Cryptocurrencies are known for their price volatility, and Aave is no exception. The value of the assets deposited in Aave can experience significant fluctuations, which may impact the overall value of users' holdings. It is important for users to consider the inherent risks associated with price volatility when participating in Aave.
  • Smart Contract Risks . While Aave's smart contracts are designed to be secure, they are not immune to vulnerabilities. Smart contract bugs or coding errors could potentially lead to the loss of user funds. It is essential for users to exercise caution and conduct thorough research before depositing assets into the platform.
  • Dependency on Ethereum . Aave is built on the Ethereum blockchain, which means that it is subject to the limitations and scalability issues of the Ethereum network. During periods of high network congestion, users may experience delays or increased transaction fees. Additionally, any vulnerabilities or disruptions in the Ethereum network could affect the functionality of Aave.
  • Regulatory Uncertainty. The regulatory landscape surrounding cryptocurrencies and decentralized finance is still evolving. Changes in regulations or unfavorable regulatory actions could impact the operation of Aave and its availability to users in certain jurisdictions. Users should stay informed about the legal and regulatory environment in their respective countries or regions.
  • Counterparty Risk. Aave operates as a P2P lending platform, which means that users interact with other participants in the network. This introduces counterparty risk, as users are reliant on the borrowing and repayment behavior of other individuals. While Aave employs mechanisms to mitigate this risk, there is still a possibility of defaults or delayed repayments.