How To Start Investing With DeFi In 2024: With a Step-By-Step Guide

Josiah Nang-Bayi, MD
10 Min Read

Decentralized finance (DeFi) represents one of the most promising aspects of blockchain technology. By reconstructing financial services with decentralized applications and smart contracts, DeFi aims to make managing money more efficient, accessible, and transparent.

The total value locked in DeFi protocols has already surpassed $100 billion in 2024, up from just $1 billion in 2020. But for many, DeFi remains complex and risky. This guide will walk through the basics of getting started investing in DeFi in a step-by-step manner.

We’ll cover essential background concepts, analysis of leading DeFi sectors, key risks to avoid, tips for prudent investing, and a starter roadmap. By the end, you’ll be armed with the knowledge to explore DeFi investment thoughtfully and confidently.

Understanding DeFi

First, a quick overview of what DeFi is and why it matters:

– DeFi stands for decentralized finance, referring to financial applications built on blockchain networks outside the control of intermediaries.

– It uses smart contracts and crypto incentives to create an open financial system anyone can access.

– Benefits include broader access, transparency, composability between applications, and improved efficiency.

– Use cases include lending, trading, stablecoins, insurance, savings, derivatives and more recreation of traditional finance.

– Total value locked in DeFi recently exceeded $100 billion, suggesting accelerating adoption.   [Source]

– Leaders include lending protocols like Aave, DEXs like Uniswap, and asset management tools like Yearn.

By rebuilding finance on blockchain, DeFi brings democratization and the promise of a more open financial system.

Top DeFi Sectors for Investment

Many opportunities exist across DeFi, but these sectors seem especially promising currently:

Decentralized Exchanges – DEXs like Uniswap reinvent trading by using liquidity pools instead of order books. Leading DEXs facilitate billions in trades daily. Staking UNI gives governance rights and a share of fees.

Stablecoins – Fiat-pegged cryptocurrencies like USDC and DAI power much of DeFi by providing liquidity. Owning stablecoins protects against volatility while earning yields.

Lending and Borrowing – Platforms like Aave and Compound allow decentralized lending markets using crypto collateral. Depositing stablecoins can earn solid risk-free interest.

Asset Management – Tools like Yearn automatically move capital to maximize DeFi yield opportunities. Staking YFI gives pro-rata shares of earnings.

Layer 2 Scaling – Solutions like Arbitrum and Optimism reduce Ethereum congestion and costs by offloading activity. Holding tokens represents a bet on scaling success.

Emerging Opportunities – New projects like decentralized derivatives and options trading hold promise. Identifying winners early is key.

These sectors reflect the infrastructure driving DeFi forward currently. But the landscape evolves rapidly.

Key Risks to Understand

While DeFi presents upside, prudent investing also requires accounting for risks like:

Technical risks – Bugs, hacks, and protocol failures can lead to loss of funds. Smart contract code must be thoroughly audited.

Market volatility – DeFi tokens remain highly speculative, resulting in wild price swings. High risk tolerance is needed.

Regulatory uncertainty – DeFi occupies legal gray areas in many jurisdictions. Regulatory crackdowns could occur.

Disclosures – DeFi projects often lack transparency and audited financials compared to public companies.

Early stage issues – Most DeFi is brand new and still stabilizing. Patience is required while kinks get worked out.

Custody challenges – Losing private keys means losing access. Specialized wallets like MetaMask are a must.

By acknowledging these risks upfront, you can weigh the elevated downside potential against sizable upside.

the components of defi

Tips for Prudent Investing

Once sufficiently knowledgeable about DeFi, some tips for mitigating risks include:

– Dollar cost average rather than all-in investing to smooth out volatility

– Vet projects extremely thoroughly – team, community, traction, security audits, etc.

– Don’t overextend your position sizes or leverage

– Use only reputable regulated exchanges as on/off ramps to mitigate fraud 

– Enable two-factor authentication on all accounts and use hardware wallets for storage

– Keep detailed records for taxation – DeFi tracking remains complex

– Keep up-to-date on protocol and network developments as risks evolve

– Maintain comprehensive insurance coverage on holdings

– Be prepared to hold positions long-term as markets remain volatile

The DeFi space rewards knowledge, patience, and prudent risk management. Stay vigilant and don’t get swept up in hype or mania.

Starter Roadmap for Investing in DeFi

Now let’s outline a starter step-by-step roadmap to begin investing in DeFi:

1) Research extensively on leading DeFi applications, risks, and blockchain fundamentals.

2) Open an account with a trusted crypto exchange like Coinbase, or Binance that enables fiat on-ramping.

3) Acquire an initial base of tokens like ETH, BNB, Solana, etc to fund DeFi transactions and gas fees.

4) Download a self-custody crypto wallet like MetaMask and transfer tokens from the exchange.

5) Connect the wallet to DeFi networks like Uniswap, Pancakeswap and Aave to enable investing in protocols.

6) Start small with measured holdings in stable leading projects to gain experience.

7) Closely track investments and continue researching emerging opportunities.

8) Optimize portfolio diversification, yields, and utilization of DeFi composability.

9) Exercise good security hygiene and recordkeeping for tax purposes.

10) Monitor governance changes and stay active in DAOs where you have vested interest.

This roadmap represents an introduction to minimizing risk and capitalizing on DeFi potential. As knowledge grows, more complex strategies around staking, liquidity mining, synthetics, and more become accessible.


The DeFi space remains early but holds immense promise to transform traditional finance if adoption continues accelerating. Like any new technology, risks exist but can be managed with knowledge, prudence and patience.

This guide provided groundwork for understanding DeFi investing landscape in 2024 based on both opportunities and prudent risk mitigation. While still considered experimental, DeFi represents a disruptive concept that has attracted billions already.

With a measured and researched approach, virtually anyone can now tap into the upside of this financial revolution in a secure manner. The time has come to explore the possibilities of decentralized finance.

A Precise Summary On Making Money With Defi

Liquidity Mining

One major way is through liquidity mining. This involves depositing crypto into liquidity pools on decentralized exchanges (DEX) like Uniswap in return for pool tokens.

As pools facilitate trades, depositors earn trading fees. They also earn governance tokens like UNI as rewards for providing liquidity. These combined yields and growing token values generate income.

Staking Cryptocurrencies

Staking cryptocurrencies allows earning passive income on holdings. By locking tokens in smart contracts to help secure networks, stakers earn rewards like interest.

Protocols distribute a portion of fees and inflation to stakers. For example, staking ETH on the new proof-of-stake Ethereum network earns up to 5-7% annually. The more value staked, the higher token rewards.

Lending and Borrowing

DeFi lending platforms let users earn interest by depositing stablecoins and crypto. Borrowers collateralize loans from these deposits with interest paid to lenders as yield.

Average interest rates range from 2-10% but sometimes higher for stablecoin lending. This allows earning steady passive income on holdings.

Trading Fees

Owning governance tokens for DEXs and protocols allows earning a portion of platform fees. For example, UNI holders earn fees from Uniswap trades proportional to their share of UNI supply.

Exchange tokens like BNB similarly confer pro-rata shares of exchange trading fees based on holdings. These create cash flows akin to dividends.

Selling Services

Developers who create software and analytics tools adopted by DeFi projects can earn royalties and service fees. Providing value-added services around a protocol generates income.

For example, 0x pays developer royalties for building on its DEX protocol. By supporting ecosystem growth, developers create income streams beyond trading.


DeFi offers varied avenues to earn returns beyond speculation. Liquidity mining, staking, lending, fees from governance tokens, and selling services within DeFi are key income sources. As adoption grows, DeFi promises attractive yields on crypto holdings for savvy users.

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Josiah Nang-Bayi, MD is a medical doctor by profession, an author, a financial literacy and digital assets enthusiast, an entrepreneur and a growing philanthropist.
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