What is Kava? (KAVA)

The Beginner’s Guide

Kava is a software protocol that uses multiple cryptocurrencies to allow its users to borrow and lend assets without the need for a traditional financial intermediary. 

In this way, Kava is considered one of a number of emerging decentralized finance (DeFi) projects. However, whereas most DeFi projects run on Ethereum, Kava is instead built on Tendermint Core, a design decision its team argues adds additional functionality. 

Users of its platform lock cryptocurrencies into smart contracts on Kava so that they can borrow loans denominated in USDX, one of the native cryptocurrencies of the Kava lending platform. 

Kava leverages a feature in the Cosmos ecoystem called zones to manage the crypto assets it accepts, which then run in programs on independent networks. This allows the project to broaden the number of crypto assets borrowers can use to include XRP, BNB and Bitcoin, among others.

By collateralizing cryptocurrencies to mint USDX, users receive weekly rewards in the form of KAVA, Kava’s main utility cryptocurrency. 

The total amount of KAVA users receive is dependent on the type of collateral used and how much USDX a user mints. As an example, minters using BNB as collateral receive a share of the 74,000 KAVA that the platform issues weekly. 

If you wish to receive regular updates from the Kava team, including announcements on newly listed assets, you can bookmark the Kava blog

What is kava


Who Created Kava?

Kava was co-founded by Brian Kerr, Ruaridh O’Donnell and Scott Stuart in 2018. 

That’s when the founders established Kava Labs, a for-profit company whose goal is to develop and drive the creation of the Kava platform. 

The Kava team next held a token sale on the cryptocurrency exchange Binance in 2019, at the time raising $3 million through the sale of 6.5% of the total KAVA supply. 

Kava’s decentralized lending platform officially went live in June 2020 at which time BNB could be used as collateral for borrowing USDX. As of August 2020, $24 million worth of BNB were locked into contracts, with 8 million USDX borrowed. 


How Does Kava Work?

Kava allows users to lock assets in special smart contracts and borrow USDX.

On the back-end, this creates what is called a collateralized debt position (CDP), a contract designed to ensure the value of USDX remains pegged to the U.S. dollar. 

To set up a CDP, users: 

  • Deposit crypto – Users can connect their wallets to deposit cryptocurrencies.
  • Create a CDP –  Kava locks the deposited cryptocurrency in a smart contract. 
  • Create USDX – Users are issued USDX loans based on the value of the CDP.
  • Close a CDP - Users repay the debt plus a fee to unlock their collateralized crypto.
  • Withdraw crypto - Once the crypto is returned to the user, Kava burns the USDX. 

Collateralization Ratio

You can think of the collateralization ratio as the mechanism that helps protect the protocol from volatility that would reduce the value of the collateral. 

On Kava, USDX is over-collateralized, meaning that borrowers must deposit an amount that is higher than the value of USDX minted by the protocol. The ratio of debt-to-collateral is then used to calculate the liquidation price.

For example, a collateralization ratio of 200% would mean that a user will get $50 in USDX when they supply $100 in collateral. If the debt-to-collateral value drops below a specified threshold, the collateral held in smart contracts will be put up for auction and the collateral left will be returned to the users.

The current loan to value (LTV) can be found here.


Why Does KAVA Have Value?

The KAVA cryptocurrency is used to reward users who mint USDX, and currently plays a key role in the governance of the Kava network.

More specifically, KAVA distributes the management of operations on the network, enabling anyone who holds and stakes the cryptocurrency to vote on its software policies and rules.

This means that by owning and staking KAVA, users can vote to change certain parameters of the software. These include, but are not limited to, the assets the protocol accepts as collateral, the collateralization ratio required and the fees paid by borrowers. 

Kava users can also delegate KAVA to the validators who manage its blockchain and compete for newly minted KAVA, allocating votes to them to earn a portion of the stability fees paid by users closing their CDPs.

Eventually, the project plans to launch a new token called MINT which will serve as the platform's main governance token going forward.


Why Use KAVA?

Kava may be appealing based on its ability to provide cryptocurrency owners with access to decentralized lending services.

Borrowing against one’s cryptocurrency allows users to retain ownership of these assets while receiving other collateral that can be used to purchase goods and services. 

Investors may also seek to buy KAVA should they believe in the promise of DeFi and the ability of these protocols to disrupt traditional financial services. 


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