Compound is an algorithmic, autonomous interest-rate protocol on the Ethereum blockchain. Compound has grown to become one of the cornerstones of the DeFi industry. As of June 25th 2020, Compound was the world’s largest DeFi protocol with more than $500 million worth of cryptoassets being locked and over $900 million being supplied.
Built for developers, Compound creates efficient money markets where assets can be supplied and borrowed by individuals without any restriction (e.g., KYC). Interest rates are compounded at a block-level on the Ethereum blockchain, and no central party is required.
Compound relies on the concept of over-collateralization: individuals can supply tokens to earn yield while borrowers can provide assets that are used as collateral to borrow other assets. For instance, someone can deposit USDC, earn the USDC lending rate, while using the USDC to borrow ETH, and pay the ETH borrowing interest rate.
The borrowing and lending rates are defined algorithmically based on real-time market dynamics. When the asset supply increases as more users deposit this asset, it leads to a decrease in borrowing/lending rates. In contrast, if the demand for borrowing an asset increases, it leads to a rise in the asset interest rates. Assets (e.g., REP) supplied in the protocol are swapped to cTokens (e.g., cREP), whose value appreciates over time to reflect the block-by-block compounding effect.
The COMP token is an Ethereum-based token, used for the governance of the protocol. Supporting a vote delegation process, COMP token-holders (and their delegates) can discuss, propose, and vote on any future changes to the Compound protocol. For instance, they can include new assets, or change asset-specific requirements on Compound (e.g., required collateralization margins)