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What is Compound (COMP)?

From crypto-curious to crypto-expert: How Compound (COMP) is revolutionizing decentralized finance (DeFi) and empowering investors to earn more.

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One of the largest and oldest dapps in the DeFi (decentralized finance) space, Compound Finance has built a reliable reputation among traders looking for lending and borrowing services. Compound operates using its native ERC-20 COMP tokens which provide community governance as well as other services.

What is the Compound protocol (COMP)?

Built on the Ethereum blockchain, the Compound protocol provides liquid money markets offering services such as lending and borrowing. Supporting a number of crypto assets, the Compound protocol allows users to deposit crypto into lending pools providing capital for borrowers on the network and allowing them to earn interest in return.

After depositing funds into the lending pool, lenders are issued "cTokens" (cETH, cDAI, cBAT) which represent the deposit made. These tokens can then be traded or transferred within the platform, or redeemed for the original cryptocurrency deposited. This process is conducted by smart contracts and operates entirely automatically with interest rates algorithmically assigned based on the activity in its liquidity pools. 

The Compound protocol also uses the ERC-20 native COMP token which is distributed to traders that utilize the Compound market, i.e. borrowing, withdrawing or repaying the asset. COMP tokens are distributed each time an Ethereum block is mined proportional to the interest collected from each asset. The COMP cryptocurrency grants COMP token holders governance and voting rights.

Following notable investments from the likes of consulting firm Bain Capital Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, and Polychain, the platform has grown and established a strong reputation within the decentralized finance space and the greater crypto world.

The history of Compound and who created it

Compound was founded in 2017 by Robert Leshner and Geoffrey Hayes, who both previously held high-profile jobs at PostMates, an online food delivery service. Leshner holds the CEO position while Hayes remains the CTO at Compound Labs, Inc, the software development firm behind the Compound protocol. Compound Labs is an open-source software development firm creating cutting-edge tools, products, and services for the innovative DeFi ecosystem.

In 2018, the platform raised $8.2 million from notable venture capital firms Bain Capital Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz. A year later, Compound raised an additional $25 million from many of the same investors along with new ones including Paradigm Capital.

How does Compound work?

The Compound protocol leverages the power of Ethereum smart contracts and cryptocurrency incentives to benefit lenders and borrowers. Lend and borrow services make up the two main use cases for the platform, as outlined below.

Interest rates on Compound are dynamically managed based on the supply and demand of particular crypto assets within the coin pools. The higher the liquidity, the lower the interest rate. Prices are determined by using the Open Price Feed based on Chainlink's oracles which collect the data from numerous exchanges.

In order to use the Compound DeFi protocol to engage in lending or borrowing services, you will need to connect one of the supported crypto wallets. Currently, the app supports MetaMask, Ledger, WalletConnect, and Tally Ho. The interface has been designed to be user-friendly and easy to navigate, perfect for traders new to the space as well as seasoned DeFi participants.


The process of lending on the Compound platform is called supplying. Lenders are able to earn interest on their cryptocurrency by depositing cryptocurrencies into the Compound platform. Borrowers are also required to deposit digital assets into the protocol, which can earn interest but cannot be withdrawn for the duration of the borrowing period.

The platform currently supports roughly 20 crypto assets, from Basic Attention Token (BAT) to Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC), with Ethereum (ETH) and a number of stablecoins (DAI, USDC, and USDT) being the most actively used.

Once users lend assets to the platform, they are issued with ERC-20-based cTokens corresponding to the cryptocurrency deposited (i.e. cETH, cDAI, etc.). These tokens confirm the liquidity providers' deposits and offer a number of other incentives.


After depositing a particular cryptocurrency into the decentralized finance protocol, users are assigned a "borrowing capacity". This is a limit set in USD based on the rate of the crypto asset which is determined by the Open Price Feed. When depositing multiple cryptocurrencies, the borrowing capacity will factor this in.

Users can also borrow cryptocurrencies supported by the protocol based on a coin's collateral ratio. For instance, if DAI has a collateral ratio of 70%, users can borrow DAI up to 70% of the total amount deposited. Typically, collateral ratios are between 60% and 85%.

Similar to the lending process, when borrowing cryptocurrency borrowers are issued cTokens. So when borrowing DAI for instance, borrowers will be issued cDAI tokens, with the interest payable based on these tokens as well.


After paying back the borrowed debt, users can redeem their deposited funds. Without having to deal with other traders, the protocol seamlessly utilizes a dynamically maintained set of liquidity pools. The platform also does not charge any withdrawal penalties or hold users to minimum investment times.

When users redeem their funds, the cTokens issued are added to the accumulated interest and converted back to the originally deposited cryptocurrency. These funds can then be withdrawn into the connected wallet.

Account Health

The Compound platform uses a system called "account health" to establish whether accounts are in risk of liquidation. This system measures the sum of the deposited funds against the total amount borrowed. If a user's account health falls dangerously low, the account could be liquidated, and some of the collateral forfeited.

This process is managed in a decentralized way where platform users act as liquidators and monitor for risky accounts. Should they liquidate an account they earn a portion of the liquidated funds.

What is the COMP token?

The COMP token is the Compound platform's native token which mainly serves as a governance token, with a built-in incentive for users holding the token. Holders of COMP tokens are able to vote on all important decisions pertaining to the protocol, including interest rates. Much like the cTokens, COMP tokens are based on Ethereum’s ERC-20 token standard. 

Compound tokens have a total supply of 10,000,000 tokens, of which over 70% of Compound coins are in circulation (at the time of writing).

How can I buy COMP tokens?

With Tap's mobile app, users can easily acquire COMP tokens and store them in the integrated wallet with confidence, either to hold long-term, sell, trade or use on other DeFi platforms. Not only does Tap provide an effortless way of trading digital assets, but also a safe space to keep your investments secure over long periods of time.

In order to access the mobile app users will need to download the app and create an account. After a quick verification process, users have access to a wide range of vetted cryptocurrencies as well as fiat wallets where funds can be safely stored or used in the real world. Whether you're looking to buy Compound or sell Compound coins, Tap provides a seamless solution to your crypto needs.


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