✊The Defiant's Definitive Guide to DeFi

At The Defiant, we are convinced finance will become increasingly decentralized and open. It just makes sense; our current financial system is running on infrastructure that was built in the 1970s; messaging networks like SWIFT and ACH that simply aren’t made to transact value.

Blockchains have value at their core. They are money networks, and as such, they make for more efficient financial systems. They cut out intermediaries, improving speed and cost. They are permissionless and global, so that essential tools to grow savings and make payments and transfers, are at the hands of anyone with an internet connection, anywhere in the world.

A financial system that’s running on distributed networks and powered by cryptocurrencies allows users to maintain control over their assets and information. For the first time ever, any individual can own a piece of the networks and applications they use. They can participate in these protocols’ governance and benefit from their growth. It’s a new paradigm for the internet and for money.

We are witnessing the birth of the internet of money. It’s here, growing and maturing. You can use it right now.

The Defiant is the leading information company at this intersection of tech and money. It’s the only content platform producing unbiased, objective journalism, that’s focused on decentralized finance. We cover the news in this space day to day, across our newsletter, podcast, YouTube channel, and website.

For those who are new to this ecosystem (and even for those who have been around for longer), the flood of new terms, apps and concepts can feel overwhelming.

This guide is meant to be a one-stop-shop to get started. These are all the DeFi basics you will need to start exploring the internet of money.

🤝 Share this guide with your friends, family, colleagues —anyone who you think would benefit from learning about the future of finance and how to start taking control of their assets.


Here are the first two articles you need to read as you get started on your DeFi journey:

1. What is Decentralized Finance

Definition: Decentralized finance, or DeFi, is the ecosystem of financial applications being built with blockchain technology and without banks. 


  1. Non-Custodial

  2. Open

  3. Transparent

  4. Decentralized


  • Origins of the term

  • Bitcoin and MakerDAO


2. Getting Started With DeFi

In this guide we’ll be helping you take your first steps into the boundless world of Decentralized Finance, better known as DeFi.

We guide you through:

  1. Setting up an account at a crypto exchange

  2. Buying ETH

  3. Setting up an Ethereum wallet

  4. Withdrawing to MetaMask

  5. How to use Uniswap and trade from ETH to DAI

  6. How to lend stablecoins on DeFi protcols

  7. How to connect your wallet to portfolio trackers


Main DeFi Terms and Concepts

Here is a compilation of our DeFi 101 short guides, plus their related news articles, podcasts, videos and guest op-ed pieces. These resources will get you from newbie to Jedi of the most cutting-edge corner of tech and finance. They’ll help you better leverage our newsletter, video and podcast, which will in turn help you stay updated on the space and take your understanding to the next level. (Last Updated: March 1st — this guide is ever-expanding ).

1. Foundational Concepts

DeFi 101:

🧑‍🏫 Trust, Intermediaries and Censorship
🧑‍🏫 What Does “Permissionless” Mean?
🧑‍🏫 How Does DeFi Differ From CeFi?
🧑‍🏫 What is KYC?

Additional Material:

📰 This is How Wall Street Becomes Obsolete
🎙 Crypto Devs Are "Building a Life Raft For The World After Fiat Falls Apart:" Erik Voorhees'
🎙 Mark Cuban: "ETH Has an Advantage Over BTC as a Store of Value"
🎙 Winklevoss Twins Say Stablecoins Are Still Missing Their "Facebook Moment"
🎙 "Fintech Can Be a 1.5 Bridge Into 2.0 DeFi:" 11:FS Co-Founder Simon Taylor

2. Wallets and Dapps


🧑‍🏫 DeFi Wallets and Self-Custody: How to be 100% in Control
🧑‍🏫 What is a Dapp and How Does it Use Smart Contracts?

Additional Material:

🎙 "In DeFi My Money is Actually Mine. It's a Beautiful Concept But it Comes With Responsibilities:" Andre Cronje
💭 We're Totally F*cked If We Don't Find Useful Things to Build With Blockchain: Pet3rpan

3. Decentralized Exchanges


🧑‍🏫 DEXs vs CEXs
🧑‍🏫 What are Automated Market Makers Like Uniswap
🧑‍🏫 DEX Aggregators; The Search Engines of DeFi Trading

Additional Material:

📰 Uniswap's UNI Instantly Becomes One of DeFi's Most Widely Held Tokens
📰 The Road to Uniswap’s $100B in Trading Volume

4. Resources & Projects


🧑‍🏫 Top Tools to Get Started with DeFi
🧑‍🏫 Top Teams Building DeFi
🧑‍🏫 Top 10 DeFi Resources

Additional Material:

📺14 #DEFI​ Buzzwords in 2 minutes!

5. Common Use-Cases of DeFi


🧑‍🏫 Lending, Borrowing, Trading, and Stablecoins
🧑‍🏫 Lending and Borrowing with Compound and Aave
🧑‍🏫 What is MakerDAO and How Does DAI Work?
🧑‍🏫 Algorithmic Stablecoins

Additional Material:

📰 Engineer Becomes His Own Lender in First DeFi Mortgage
📰 Cypherpunk Stablecoin RAI is Live on Ethereum
📰 The State of Stablecoins in DeFi: A Deep Dive by DappRadar
🎙 "What We're Building is Very Big and We Should Have The Least Concentration Possible:" Aave's Stani Kulechov
🎙"All the Dizzying Ways People are Farming Yield is Proof of DeFi Composability's Success:" Ampleforth CTO
🎙 MakerDAO Founder Rune Christensen On DeFi's Biggest Test Yet
📺 Algorithmic Stablecoins: Sexy AF or A Load of Pants?

6. Decentralized Derivatives

DeFi 101:

🧑‍🏫 Trading Every Asset Class with DeFi Derivatives
🧑‍🏫 Decentralized Perpetuals Trading with dYdX and MCDEX
🧑‍🏫 DeFi On-Chain Options

Additional Material:

📰 DeFi Stocks Trading Climbs After Robinhood Fail
🎙 "There's the Opportunity to Make Really Complex Financial Instruments More Accessible”: Opyn's Alexis Gauba
🎙 DEX Progress to be a "Landmark Event" Over the Summer: Framework Ventures
📺 How to trade stocks if your Robinhood account is frozen (Mirror.Finance)

7. “Yield Farming” & Investing


🧑‍🏫 What is Yield Farming and Liquidity Providing
🧑‍🏫 What is yearn.finance

Additional Material:

📰 Top DeFi Yield Farmers Share Secrets to a Profitable Harvest
📰 Hotdog & Kimchi Coins Flash Million-Percent Yields
📰 Results Are In: DeFi10 5x-ed in 2020
🎙 "You Can Wake Up With an Idea for a Fund and Deploy it in Minutes:" Melon's Mona El Isa
🎙 Balance Sheet as a Business Model for DeFi Platforms: Framework Ventures
🎙 "It Was Exciting But it Was Also Terrifying:" Dan Elitzer and Clinton Bembry on Yam Finance's Backstory
🎙 "It's not just about money; it's touching a very primal desire to connect with others:" ParaFi's Santiago Roel
🎙 "We're at the Early Stages of a Truly Novel Structure That can Organize Humans and Money:" Polychain Capital’snOlaf Carlson-Wee
🎙 "Things Tend to Get Better. For Anyone Involved in Crypto, It's Obvious That This is 1,000x Better," 1kx's Lasse Clausen
📺 DeFIRE: how to retire using only DeFi with passive income
📺 The ultimate guide to Yield Farming in DeFi
💭 DeFi Will Eat Traditional Finance and Active Investors Can Reap the Rewards

8. Scaling


🧑‍🏫 What’s Layer 1 vs Layer 2?
🧑‍🏫 What is Gas and How to Save on Fees?

Additional Material:

📰 The State of Layer 2 With Ethereum Scaling is at Stake
🎙 "Basic Financial Services is a 21st-Century Fundamental Human Need:" OMG Network's Vansa Chatikavanij
🎙 Decentralized Money Shouldn't be Traded on Centralized Exchanges: Loopring Founder Daniel Wang
📺 Layer 2 scaling on Oculus Quest 2!? Loopring, Matic, Aavegotchi and Synthetix

9. NFTs & Digital Art


📰 The Defiant’s Guide to Digital Art & NFTs
📰 Digi-Physical Art Drives Record-Breaking $3.5M in NFTs Sales
🎙 "For the First Time, You Can Buy a Piece of the Art, and a Piece of the Gallery:" MetaKovan
🎙 "I'm Imagining a World Where Every Song Has an Investable Layer:" DJ 3LAU
🎙 "We've Been Creating Value for Instagram and TikTok With Very Little Actually Accruing to Us:" Trevor McFedries
🎙 "It Turns Out Music Does Have Value. We've Been Pricing It Incorrectly For 20 Years:" RAC
📺 The Beeple Bonanza unpacked with Trevor Jones
📺 The Defiant guide to Digital Art and NFTs
💭 NFTs Should Be Experiences, Not Just Products: IDEO CoLab’s Ian Lee

10. Risks


🧑‍🏫 Risks of DeFi
🧑‍🏫 DeFi Insurance and how Nexus Mutual Works

Additional Material:

📰 Yearn Loses $11M in 2021’s First DeFi Hack
📰 For All You Degens Farming in Public: Here's Your Privacy Toolbox
🎙 "I'm Not Super Bullish on DeFi. We're Using This Tech to Enrich a Small Group of People:" James Prestwich
🎙 Blockchain Devs Are Neglecting Data-Related Risks, Chainlink's Sergey Nazarov Says
📺 You stole $37M, now what? The $CREAM $ALPHA exploit unpacked
📺 Flash Loans, and Attacks -- explained
📺 DeFi Dre and the Invisible Hacked Pickles

11. Cross-Chain DeFi

DeFi 101:

🧑‍🏫 What is Interoperability and Why is it Important?
🧑‍🏫 How Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Other Blockchains Fit Within DeFi

The Defiant is a daily newsletter focusing on decentralized finance, a new financial system that’s being built on top of open blockchains. The space is evolving at breakneck speed and revolutionizing tech and money. Sign up to learn more and keep up on the latest, most interesting developments. Subscribers get full access, while free signups get only part of the content. Click here to pay with DAI (for $100/yr) or sub with fiat by clicking on the button above ($10/mo, $100/yr).