Two Ethereum-native DeFi protocols are headed to Binance Smart Chain, but critics doubt the layer-1 has staying power
Today, yield aggregator Harvest Finance and multi-service platform Value DeFi — two Ethereum-native decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols accounting for nearly a billion dollars in total value locked between them — announced planned expansions to Binance Smart Chain, the smart contract platform built by crypto exchange giant Binance.
Not everyone in the Ethereum community is ready to take BSC seriously, however.
Harvest, which is among the largest yield aggregators and currently boasts over 830 million in total value locked, said in a statement to Cointelegraph that the protocol is looking to hire two developers to bring Harvest to BSC.
“At Harvest Finance we think this is an opportunity to show that “cross chain” yield farming is not only possible, it will be one of the next major milestones for the yield farming ecosystem,” said Harvest community moderator Red.
Likewise, Value DeFi and its $40 million in TVL said in a Tweet that they were planning to port their yield-bearing governance vault to BSC, confirming earlier team statements on Discord:
Cat is out of the bag on this one. #BSC here we come!
More details on an updated roadmap coming soon pic.twitter.com/CsTdWS6l5C
— Value DeFi Protocol (@value_defi) February 11, 2021
The announcements come during a period of explosive growth for BSC. Projects on Binance Smart Chain such as PancakeSwap have been on a tear as of late, and even before the announced moves the recent run of success has led some members of the Ethereum developer community to ask which is more valuable: a platform scalable enough that all players can feasibly participate, or a credible degree of decentralization?
Testnet or true ecosystem?
BSC, whose architecture is supported by 21 validator nodes all run by Binance or its affiliates, has been characterized by some developers as an elaborate Ethereum testnet, given its cheap transactions and centralization:
Before you complain, BSC is hot rn because no one ever invested much in Ethereum testnets like #goerli and making them profitable as a playground
— I’m just a doggie boi (@fubuloubu) February 10, 2021
According to Scoopy, the semi-anon co-founder of the forthcoming AlchemixFi project, the centralization means that BSC is destined to remain populated with copycat projects originally born on Ethereum.
“My view on the matter is that while it may offer some improvements to user experience with faster and cheaper transactions, it is counter to the decentralized ethos that has inspired countless developers to build on Ethereum,” they said. “Innovation will continue to be centered in Ethereum as a result.”
Other traders and developers are less concerned with originality and thorough decentralization, however. In an interview with Cointelegraph, Red said that even though Ethereum is “the king of kings,” profit maximalism is what motivates Harvest.
“Harvest sees a growing number of projects that are attempting to alleviate the pain associated with high gas costs on Ethereum,” said Red. “[…] Harvest is focused on providing the best sources of yield for farmers. If that yield exists on another chain, and can be safely utilized, we will turn on the tractors.”
More accessibility, more users
Aside from developmental and ideological scruples, BSC’s transaction costs are increasingly difficult to ignore for projects looking to provide value for their users. The recent spike is gas costs is a genuine barrier for retail investors, especially when it comes to more complex contract interactions. Value DeFi specifically mentioned these gas costs as a pain point in their BSC announcement.
Members of the Premia Republic, an all-anon team building the Premia options protocol, said that unless a project is building with explicit decentralization in mind, BSC is simply a path to a larger pool of users capable of using a smart contract product.
“[We] don’t think building on bsc is a bad thing at all. Whether everyone agrees or not, retail and a large portion of the participating market are being priced out of some of the services offered in defi due to gas fees,” they said.
“Some may build/port to bsc because they would like to capitalize on the profits and economic activity happening, but in [our] opinion, you’re simply opening yourself up to an additional market.”