Staking vs Yield Farming vs Liquidity Mining- What's The Difference

Staking vs Yield Farming vs Liquidity Mining- What’s The Difference?


On your journey through the DeFi metaverse, you are likely to come across terms like staking, yield farming, and liquidity mining. They all refer to a client putting their resources on the side of a blockchain, DEX (decentralized exchange), shared security options, or some other potential applications that demand capital. 

Despite sharing a lot of similarities in terms of practical applications, there are a lot of aspects that are different from one another.         


Staking is the most comprehensive amongst staking vs yield farming vs liquidity pools. However, unlike yield farming and liquidity pools, it consists of numerous non-crypto definitions that can guide you about your stake assets in a crypto network. 

Simply put, staking is the process of holding a certain amount of cryptocurrency in a wallet or exchange account, and then using that balance to support the network. This can be done in a few different ways, depending on the specific cryptocurrency you’re staking.

Staking has become increasingly popular in recent years, thanks in part to the potential rewards it can offer. By staking your cryptocurrency, you can earn additional coins as a reward for supporting the network, which can provide a passive income stream. The amount of cryptocurrency you can earn through staking varies depending on the specific cryptocurrency and the amount you stake, but it can be a profitable way to put your crypto assets to work.

How Exactly Does Staking Work?

Staking can be done in a variety of ways, depending on the specific cryptocurrency you’re staking. For example, some cryptocurrencies use a Proof of Stake (PoS) consensus mechanism, which requires validators to stake a certain amount of the cryptocurrency in order to participate in the network and validate transactions. Other cryptocurrencies use a Delegated Proof of Stake (DPoS) mechanism, which allows users to vote for delegates who will validate transactions on their behalf. Let’s have a look at some examples to understand it better:

First, let’s consider the cryptocurrency Cardano (ADA), which uses a PoS consensus mechanism. In order to participate in the network as a validator, you must stake a certain amount of ADA. The more ADA you stake, the higher your chances of being selected to validate transactions and earn rewards. Validators are chosen randomly, but those with larger stakes have a better chance of being selected.

Next, let’s look at Tezos (XTZ), which uses a DPoS consensus mechanism. In Tezos, users can delegate their staked coins to a delegate who will validate transactions on their behalf. Delegates are elected by the community, and those with the most staked coins have a better chance of being elected. Users who delegate their coins to a delegate will earn rewards based on the delegate’s performance.

Protocol support 

Staking can be used to support various encryption and DeFi protocols in various ways. A shift from Proof of Work (PoW) to a Proof of Stake (PoS) is in progress in the Ethereum 2.0 paradigm. Validators will need to stake parcels of 32ETH instead of giving hashing power to the network to verify transactions on the Ethereum network and get block rewards.

  •  Centralized platform support: Users can stake their digital assets on centralized platforms like Nexo, Coinbase, and BlockFi. These organizations are similar to commercial banks in that they accept consumer deposits and lend them out to people who need credit. Depositors receive a part of the interest paid by the creditors, and the bank keeps the remainder. 
  • Decentralized platform support: Other staking applications, such as PoS or centralized credit provision, work differently from CertiKShield’s model (a decentralized insurance alternative). It combines DeFi’s openness with the market’s most trusted security firm to create a whole new crypto industry: decentralized on-chain protection from losses and hacks. CTK stakers run the platform and get paid for the value they bring to the network. They can earn up to 30% APY by supplying liquidity to the collateral pool through CertiKShield. These tokens serve a vital economic purpose by underwriting the insurance policies taken out by other users who are willing to protect their assets in the case of a protocol attack or failure. 

Benefits of staking

Earn Passive Income

One of the primary benefits of staking is the ability to earn passive income. By holding your cryptocurrency assets in a staking wallet or smart contract, you can participate in the network’s consensus mechanism and earn rewards in the form of new cryptocurrency tokens. These rewards are typically paid out on a regular basis, depending on the network’s specific staking protocol.

Increased Network Security

Staking is also beneficial for the overall security and stability of the network. By staking your assets, you are essentially “locking” them up, making it more difficult for bad actors to disrupt the network’s consensus mechanism. This increased security helps to prevent potential attacks or hacks on the network, making it a safer and more reliable investment option.

Lower Energy Consumption

Compared to other investment strategies, staking requires significantly less energy consumption. This is because staking doesn’t require the use of powerful computing equipment like mining does. Instead, staking is done through a staking wallet or smart contract, which uses far less energy.

Greater Liquidity

Staking can also provide greater liquidity for investors. Unlike other investment strategies, staked assets can often be easily withdrawn or transferred without penalty. This means that investors can quickly and easily access their funds if needed, making staking a more flexible and convenient investment option.

Higher Returns

Finally, staking can offer higher returns compared to other investment strategies. While returns will vary depending on the network’s specific staking protocol and the amount of assets being staked, some staking options can offer significantly higher returns than traditional investment options like stocks or bonds.

Risks of staking

While staking can offer many benefits, it’s important to understand the potential risks involved. 

Market Volatility

One of the biggest risks of staking is market volatility. As you may already know, cryptocurrency prices can be volatile, and staking rewards are often paid out in the same currency. This means that even if you are earning rewards, the value of your staked assets could decrease due to fluctuations in the market. It’s essential to keep in mind that staking is a long-term strategy, and market volatility can be managed through diversification and risk management.

Network Risk

Staking also carries network risk. Staking involves locking up your assets on a blockchain network to secure it and earn rewards. If the network experiences a significant disruption or hack, your staked assets could be at risk of being lost or stolen. To mitigate this risk, it’s crucial to choose a reputable blockchain network that has a robust security system in place.

Technical Issues

Another risk associated with staking is technical issues. If there is a technical issue with the staking wallet or smart contract, it could result in a loss of staked assets. This risk can be mitigated by choosing a reputable staking provider and ensuring that you have properly set up your staking wallet or smart contract.

Regulatory Risk

Staking also carries regulatory risk. While cryptocurrency regulations are still in their early stages, there is a risk that staking could become illegal or heavily regulated in the future. It’s essential to stay up to date on cryptocurrency regulations in your country and choose reputable staking providers that comply with local regulations.

Liquidity Risk

Finally, staking carries liquidity risk. Staked assets can often be withdrawn or transferred. However, there may be a waiting period before they become available. This means that staked assets may not be as liquid as other investment options. It’s important to consider your liquidity needs before choosing to stake your assets.

Yield Farming

Yield Farming or YF is by far the most popular method of profiting from crypto assets. The investors can earn a passive income by storing their crypto in a liquidity pool. These liquidity pools are like centralized finance or the CeFi counterpart of your bank account. You deposit your funds that the bank utilizes to credit loans to others, paying you a fixed proportion of the interest gained. 

At its core, yield farming is a method of earning interest on your cryptocurrency holdings by lending them out or staking them in decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols. These protocols offer various incentives, such as governance tokens, to incentivize users to lock up their assets and provide liquidity to the platform.

Yield Farming is a more recent concept than staking, yet sharing a lot of similarities. While yield farming supplies liquidity to a DeFi protocol in exchange for yield, staking can refer to actions like locking up 32 ETH to become a validator node on the Ethereum 2.0 network. Farmers actively seek out the maximum yield on their investments, switching between pools to enhance their returns. 

Crypto assets are stored into a smart contract-based liquidity pool like ETH/USD by investors known as yield farmers, and the practice is known as Yield Farming. The locked assets are then made available to other protocol users. These tokens can be borrowed for margin trading by users of the lending platform. 

Yield farmers serve as the cornerstone for DeFi protocols that provide exchange and lending services. They also help to keep crypto-assets liquid on decentralized exchanges (DEX). Yield farmers earn compensation in the form of an annual percentage yield (APY)

AMM support

  • Liquidity providers post two tokens — Token A and Token B, with Token B, typically being ETH or a stablecoin like USDC or DAI — in exchange for a share of the fees paid by users that use the pool to trade tokens.
  • The pool percentage that a depositor makes up determines the depositor’s returns. If their deposit equals one per cent of the pool’s depth, they will receive one per cent of the pool’s total fees.

How Exactly Does Yield Farming work?

To get started with yield farming, an investor would first need to acquire a cryptocurrency asset that is compatible with DeFi protocols, such as Ethereum or Binance Smart Chain. Once they have acquired the asset, they would then need to deposit it into a DeFi protocol, such as a liquidity pool.

Liquidity pools are pools of cryptocurrency assets that are locked in smart contracts and used to facilitate transactions on DeFi platforms. When a user deposits assets into a liquidity pool, they receive liquidity pool tokens in return. These tokens represent the user’s share of the pool and can be used to redeem their share of the assets in the pool.

After depositing their assets into a liquidity pool, yield farmers can then start earning additional cryptocurrency by providing liquidity to the pool. This is done by using their liquidity pool tokens to participate in various DeFi activities, such as lending, borrowing, or trading.

For example, a yield farmer might provide liquidity to a lending platform by lending their cryptocurrency assets to borrowers in exchange for interest payments. Alternatively, they might use their liquidity pool tokens to participate in a liquidity mining program, where they can earn rewards for providing liquidity to a particular DeFi protocol.

Yield farmers earn additional cryptocurrency by receiving a portion of the fees generated by the DeFi protocol they are participating in. These fees are typically paid in the form of the cryptocurrency asset they are farming.

Benefits of Yield Farming

Yield farming, also known as liquidity mining, has become one of the hottest trends in the cryptocurrency industry. It is a way to earn passive income by providing liquidity to decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols. Yield farming has been around for a few years, but it gained popularity in 2020 when DeFi exploded in popularity. 

High returns

One of the most significant benefits of yield farming is the potential for high returns. Some DeFi protocols offer annual percentage yields (APY) as high as 400%. Of course, not all protocols offer such high returns, and the returns are subject to change due to market conditions. However, the potential for high returns is undoubtedly a significant draw for yield farmers.


Another benefit of yield farming is the opportunity to diversify your cryptocurrency portfolio. By providing liquidity to different DeFi protocols, yield farmers can spread their risk and avoid having all their assets in one place. Yield farming also allows users to earn rewards in various cryptocurrencies, which further diversifies their portfolio. It is worth noting that diversification does not necessarily guarantee profits or protection against losses, but it can help reduce risks.

Access to new tokens

Yield farming also provides access to new tokens that are not available on traditional cryptocurrency exchanges. By providing liquidity to a new DeFi protocol, yield farmers can earn rewards in the protocol’s native token. If the protocol becomes successful, the value of the token may increase, providing additional upside potential. However, it is crucial to conduct proper research before investing in any new token or DeFi protocol.

Promoting decentralization

One of the core tenets of cryptocurrency is decentralization. Yield farming promotes decentralization by allowing anyone with an internet connection to provide liquidity to DeFi protocols. This democratizes finance and reduces the reliance on centralized intermediaries, such as banks.

Community involvement

Yield farming also promotes community involvement. Many DeFi protocols have active communities of developers and users who are passionate about the protocol’s mission. By providing liquidity to these protocols, yield farmers become part of the community and can participate in governance and decision-making. This can create a sense of ownership and belonging and further promote the decentralization of finance.

Risks Related to Yield Farming

As cryptocurrency continues to gain popularity, yield farming has emerged as a promising investment opportunity in the decentralized finance (DeFi) space. However, yield farming is not without its risks. 

Smart contract risk

One of the main risks of yield farming is smart contract risk. Yield farming involves staking your cryptocurrency in smart contracts, which are self-executing contracts that govern the terms of the transaction. These smart contracts can be vulnerable to hacks, bugs, and other technical issues that could result in the loss of your funds. According to a report by Argent, a smart contract vulnerability was exploited to the tune of $24 million in one yield farming project.

Impermanent loss

Another risk associated with yield farming is impermanent loss. Impermanent loss occurs when you provide liquidity to a decentralized exchange (DEX) and the price of the tokens changes. As a result, you may end up with fewer tokens than you started with, even though the value of those tokens may have increased. This risk is particularly high in volatile markets, where token prices can fluctuate rapidly.

Liquidity risk is another concern with yield farming. When you provide liquidity to a DEX, you are essentially locking up your funds for a specific period. If you need to access your funds before the lock-up period ends, you may have to pay a penalty or incur other fees. Additionally, there is always the risk that the liquidity pool may dry up, leaving you unable to withdraw your funds.

Transaction fees

Yield farming also involves transaction fees, which can add up quickly. These fees can include gas fees for interacting with the Ethereum blockchain, as well as fees for swapping tokens on a DEX. In some cases, these fees can eat into your profits and make yield farming less profitable than expected.

Regulatory risk

Regulatory risk is a concern for those involved in yield farming. The legal and regulatory landscape for DeFi is still developing, and there is a risk that regulators could crack down on yield farming or impose other restrictions that could affect your ability to participate in this investment strategy.

Risks with double-sided and single-sided liquidity pools

  • Temporary loss is one of the prime concerns of yield farming in double-sided liquidity pools. Take, for example, an ETH/DAI pool; because DAI is a stablecoin, its value basis is the US dollar. 
  • However, the upward potential of ETH is limitless. As the value of ETH rises, the AMM adjusts the depositor’s assets’ ratio to ensure that their value remains constant. 
  • The disparity between the value and the number of tokens deposited is where the temporary loss can arise. The number of Ether equal to the first DAI deposit lowers as ETH appreciates.
  • When the depositor withdraws their liquidity from the pool, this temporary loss becomes permanent. Therefore, if the temporary loss is more than the fees, a liquidity provider might better keep their tokens than depositing them to a pool. 
  • Single-sided deposits with temporary loss protection are available from AMMs like Bancor. However, other yield farming and interest-bearing products, such as CertiKShield, cannot produce temporary loss by design. 


Liquidity Mining

Liquidity mining is widely regarded as one of the most critical aspects of DeFi success and an effective mechanism for bootstrapping liquidity. Just as YF is a subset of staking, liquidity mining is a subset of YF. The primary difference is that liquidity providers are compensated with the platform’s own coin in addition to fee revenue.

At its core, liquidity mining is a process that incentivizes users to provide liquidity to a decentralized exchange (DEX) by offering rewards in the form of tokens. In other words, liquidity mining is a way for users to earn passive income by contributing to the liquidity pool of a DEX.

Liquidity mining has become an essential aspect of the DeFi (decentralized finance) ecosystem, as it provides liquidity to DEXs, allowing traders to trade their assets without the need for a centralized intermediary. This decentralization not only increases the security of the platform but also reduces the transaction costs associated with trading on centralized exchanges.

How Exactly Does Liquidity Mining Work?

To understand how liquidity mining works, let’s take an example. Suppose there is a DeFi protocol that allows users to trade between two tokens, Token A and Token B. To enable trading, the protocol requires liquidity in the form of both tokens. LPs can provide liquidity by depositing equal amounts of Token A and Token B into the liquidity pool.

Now let’s say that a user wants to swap 100 Token A for Token B. The protocol will execute the trade using the liquidity in the pool provided by the LPs. If there is not enough liquidity for the trade, the protocol will automatically adjust the prices to attract more LPs to provide liquidity.

LPs earn rewards in the form of the protocol’s native tokens, such as UNI, COMP, or SUSHI, depending on the protocol. The tokens are distributed to LPs in proportion to their contribution to the liquidity pool. For example, if an LP contributes 10% of the total liquidity pool, they will receive 10% of the rewards.

Liquidity mining is a way for DeFi protocols to incentivize users to provide liquidity and enable trading. By providing liquidity, LPs are taking on the risk of impermanent loss, which occurs when the price of the tokens in the pool changes relative to each other. However, the rewards earned from liquidity mining can offset the impermanent loss and potentially generate profits.

 Supporting platforms

  • Compound was the first to introduce liquidity mining when it began rewarding users with COMP, its governance token. This additional stream of income for liquidity providers can help cover some or all of the temporary loss risk they take on. 
  • Whereas COMP tokens flow not just to liquidity providers but also to debtors. For the first time ever, a borrower can receive a return on the loan they’re taking out thanks to liquidity mining incentives. 

Benefits of Liquidity Mining

Higher Returns on Investment

One of the primary benefits of liquidity mining is that it offers traders the opportunity to earn higher returns on their investments. Liquidity providers earn a percentage of the trading fees generated on the exchange, which can be significantly higher than traditional savings accounts or even some investment vehicles. This means that traders can earn passive income while also maximizing their returns on investment.

Diversification of Portfolio

Another benefit of liquidity mining is the diversification of a trader’s portfolio. Since liquidity mining can be done on various decentralized exchanges and on different tokens, traders can diversify their investments to reduce risks. By participating in liquidity mining, traders can invest in a wide range of cryptocurrencies and earn rewards from each investment, thereby reducing their overall risk exposure.

Opportunity for Passive Income

Liquidity mining also provides an opportunity for traders to earn passive income without actively trading. Once a trader has provided liquidity to an exchange, they can earn rewards based on the volume of trades on that exchange, without having to monitor market conditions or execute trades actively. This allows traders to earn income even when the market is not performing well or when they are unable to actively trade.

Improved Market Liquidity

Liquidity mining also benefits the entire cryptocurrency market by improving market liquidity. The increased liquidity provided by liquidity providers encourages more trading volume, which helps to reduce the spread between buy and sell orders, making it easier for traders to execute trades at a better price. This increased liquidity also helps to stabilize the market, reducing volatility and creating a more stable environment for traders.

Token Price Appreciation

Another significant benefit of liquidity mining is that it can lead to token price appreciation. By providing liquidity to a token, traders can increase the token’s liquidity, which can lead to increased demand and ultimately higher prices. This, coupled with the rewards earned from providing liquidity, can lead to significant profits for traders.

Risks related to Liquidity Mining

Impermanent Loss

One of the primary risks associated with liquidity mining is the potential for impermanent loss. Impermanent loss occurs when the price of the tokens in the liquidity pool fluctuates, resulting in a loss for the liquidity provider. This risk is particularly high in volatile markets, and investors should be prepared to potentially lose their initial investment.

For example, if an investor deposits 50% of their funds in token A and 50% in token B, and the price of token A increases while the price of token B decreases, the liquidity provider may suffer a loss if they withdraw their funds from the liquidity pool at that point. 

Smart Contract Vulnerabilities

Another risk associated with liquidity mining is the potential for smart contract vulnerabilities. Smart contracts are self-executing contracts with the terms of the agreement between buyer and seller being directly written into lines of code. While smart contracts can automate complex financial transactions, they are also susceptible to hacks and exploits. In the event of a smart contract vulnerability, investors may lose their deposited funds.

External Risks: Regulatory Changes, Market Manipulation, and Flash Loan Attacks

Additionally, liquidity mining may be subject to external risks such as regulatory changes, market manipulation, and flash loan attacks. Regulatory changes can impact the legality of liquidity mining and may result in the closure of liquidity pools. Market manipulation can cause sudden price fluctuations, leading to losses for liquidity providers. Flash loan attacks, where hackers exploit temporary access to large amounts of capital to manipulate the market, can also result in significant losses for investors.

Cryptocurrency Risks

Furthermore, liquidity mining may involve risks related to the underlying cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrencies are known for their volatility, and sudden price fluctuations can lead to significant losses for investors. Additionally, liquidity providers may be exposed to the risks associated with the specific cryptocurrency being used in the liquidity pool, such as scalability issues, network congestion, and security vulnerabilities.

Assessing the Long-Term Viability

It is also important to note that the rewards offered through liquidity mining may not be sustainable in the long term. Many liquidity mining programs offer high annual percentage yields (APYs) that may not be sustainable over the long term. As more investors enter the market, liquidity may become diluted, resulting in lower rewards for liquidity providers.

Staking vs Yield Farming vs Liquidity Mining: Key Differences

Staking vs Yield Farming vs Liquidity Mining: Key Differences

Staking, yield farming, and liquidity mining are all popular investment options in the DeFi space, but they differ in their risk and reward profile. Here are the key differences between these three investment options:


Staking involves holding a cryptocurrency in a wallet to support the network’s security and validate transactions. Yield farming, on the other hand, is the process of earning rewards by lending, borrowing, or providing liquidity to a DeFi platform. Liquidity mining, also known as yield mining, involves providing liquidity to a decentralized exchange (DEX) and earning rewards for it.

Risk Profile

Staking is generally considered to be the safest of the three investment options, as it involves holding your digital assets in a wallet and contributing to the security of the network. Yield farming and liquidity mining, on the other hand, are more risky, as they involve moving your digital assets between different liquidity pools or providing liquidity to these pools.

Reward Profile

Staking generally offers lower returns compared to yield farming and liquidity mining. Yield farming offers higher returns than staking, as it involves moving your cryptocurrencies between different liquidity pools to find the best ROI. Liquidity mining offers the highest returns, as it involves providing liquidity to a specific cryptocurrency to increase its liquidity.


Staking is relatively simple and straightforward, as it involves holding your digital assets in a wallet. Yield farming and liquidity mining, on the other hand, are more complex, as they involve moving your digital assets between different liquidity pools or providing liquidity to these pools.


To stake, a user needs to hold a certain amount of cryptocurrency and a compatible wallet. To yield a farm, a user needs to have some cryptocurrency to lend or borrow and a compatible DeFi platform. To liquidity mine, a user needs to provide liquidity to a DEX and have compatible tokens.


In staking, the user’s tokens are not being used for liquidity provision, so there is no impact on the market’s liquidity. In yield farming and liquidity mining, the user’s tokens are used to provide liquidity to decentralized exchanges, which can impact the market’s liquidity.


Staking is a long-term investment since the user is required to lock up their cryptocurrency for a specific period. Yield farming and liquidity mining, on the other hand, can be short-term investments since the user can provide liquidity or lend/borrow for a shorter period.           


In general, liquidity mining is a derivative of yield farming, which is a derivative of staking. All the solutions are just methods for putting idle crypto-assets to use. The main goal of staking is to keep the blockchain network secure; yield farming is to generate maximum yields, and liquidity mining is to supply liquidity to the DeFi protocols. 

The APYs are frequently lucrative, and there are hundreds of different alternatives available. It is always a precautionary measure to inquire about the associated risks, the reason for the requirement of your tokens and the mechanism to generate returns. 

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Staking is the process of holding a cryptocurrency asset in a designated wallet for a specified period to earn rewards in the form of more of the same cryptocurrency or other assets. It is a way of validating transactions on a blockchain network and ensuring network security.

Yield farming is a process where users lock up their cryptocurrency assets in smart contracts called liquidity pools to earn rewards in the form of interest, governance tokens, or other rewards.

Liquidity mining is the process of providing liquidity to a decentralized exchange (DEX) or other liquidity pool to earn rewards in the form of additional cryptocurrency or governance tokens. It is a way of incentivizing liquidity providers to keep funds in a pool and ensure a more stable market.

Staking is focused on earning rewards for holding and validating transactions on a blockchain network. Yield farming and liquidity mining are focused on providing liquidity to decentralized exchanges and liquidity pools to earn rewards.

The risks associated with staking, yield farming, and liquidity mining include smart contract vulnerabilities, impermanent loss, market volatility, and liquidity risks. It is essential to research and understand the risks associated with each activity before participating in DeFi.

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