According to Chainalysis’s latest report into global cryptocurrency adoption, North Americans sent $276 million to decentralized finance (DeFi) platforms between July 2020 and June 2021. DeFi transactions made up 37% of North America’s transaction volume, and the U.S. topped the chart for global DeFi adoption.

So what is DeFi, and how can you get involved? Let’s take a look.

Getting involved in DeFi

DeFi encompasses a host of applications that take the middleman out of traditional banking. It means people can access things like loans, insurance, and crypto trading without a bank account, mountains of paperwork, or a credit check.

The Chainalysis report showed that large transactions — ones over $10 million — made up 60% of all DeFi transactions in the second quarter of 2021. It says that DeFi is “disproportionately popular” among bigger investors, although some retail investors in the U.S. are also getting in on the DeFi game.

As a retail investor, the first thing you need to do to get started in DeFi is open a decentralized wallet. The best known is MetaMask, which works with most applications. Make sure you keep your password and seed phrase in a safe place. If you lose your seed phrase, you won’t be able to access your funds.

Here are some of the most common DeFi activities.

1. Lend/earn products

Several of the best cryptocurrency exchanges and DeFi platforms offer lend/earn products. Essentially, crypto investors can deposit assets on the platform and earn higher rates of…

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