When used on this website, the terms “debt,” “lend,” “borrow,” “collateral”, “credit,” “leverage,” “bank”, “borrow”, yield”, “invest” and other similar terms are not meant to be interpreted literally. Rather, such terms are being used to draw rough, fuzzy-logic analogies between the heavily automated and mostly deterministic operations of a decentralized-finance smart contract system and the discretionary performance of traditional-finance transactions by people.
For example, ‘debt’ is a legally enforceable promise from a debtor to a creditor to pay an interest rate and eventually repay the principal. Therefore, ‘debt’ cannot exist without legal agreements and cannot be enforced without courts of law. By contrast, with the Iron Bank, there are no legal agreements, promises of payment or courts of law, and therefore there are no debts, loans or other traditional finance transactions involved.
Instead, the Iron Bank consists of software (including embedded game-theoretic incentives and assumptions) through which people can share their tokens with other people or smart contract systems and, under normal and expected conditions and subject to various assumptions regarding the behavioral effects of incentives, probably get their tokens back eventually, plus extra tokens, most of the time or in most cases. Unlike in traditional lending, the ‘lender’s’ financial return does not depend primarily on the creditworthiness, solvency or financial skill of the ‘borrower’ or on legal nuances such as the perfection of liens or the priority of creditor claims in a bankruptcy–it depends primarily on the incentive model assumed by the software design and how reliably the software implements that model. Unlike a debtor, people who ‘borrow’ tokens from the Iron Bank smart contract system are not required to and have not promised to pay the tokens back; if the ‘borrowers’ never pay the tokens back, no promise has been broken, no legal agreement has been breached and the token ‘lenders’ cannot sue the ‘borrowers’ to get their tokens back. Instead, by not repaying the borrowed tokens, the token ‘borrowers’ merely demonstrate either that they lacked sufficient incentive to want to do so–for example, because their smart-contract-bound ‘collateral’ was worth much less than the ‘borrowed’ tokens–or that a technical issue–such as congestion of Ethereum–prevented them from doing so. Regardless, the ‘borrowers’ do not have an obligation to repay tokens when they do not want to or cannot do so, and there is no legal remedy for damaged ‘lenders’ when insufficient incentives or technical problems result in a token shortfall.
When the Iron Bank or Vaults are used to ‘lend’ or ‘deposit’ tokens into a third-party smart-contract system, the situation is even less like traditional debt: the ‘borrowing’ smart contract has not posted ‘collateral’ and could malfunction or suffer a loss that results in complete or partial failure to return the ‘borrowed’ tokens. In this case, the token ‘lenders’ do not have a contractual remedy against the smart contract ‘borrower’ or its creators–the third-party smart contract is not a person, is usually not under the full control of any person or persons and may be impossible to pause or reverse. A malfunctioning, exploited or underperforming smart contract cannot be forced (in court or otherwise) to pay the ‘borrowed’ tokens back.
The stated APR or APY for a given token, vault or strategy (the ‘Rate’) is denominated in terms of a specific relevant token, not in terms of U.S. Dollars or other fiat currencies. Each Rate is a forward-looking projection based on a good faith belief of how to reasonably project results over the relevant period, but such belief is subject to numerous assumptions, risks and uncertainties (including smart contract security risks and third-party actions) which could result in a materially different (lower or higher) token-denominated APR or APY. Rates are not offers, promises, agreements, guarantees or undertakings on the part of any person or group of persons, but depend primarily on the results of operation of smart contracts and other autonomous or semi-autonomous systems (including third-party systems) and how third parties interact with those systems after the time of your deposit. Even if a particular projected Rate is achieved, you may still suffer a financial loss in fiat-denominated terms if the fiat-denominated value of the relevant tokens (your deposit and any tokens allocated or distributed to you pursuant to the Rate) declines during the deposit period. APRs and APYs are not interest rates being paid on a debt.
Thus, the transactions you can effect through the Iron Bank, Vaults and other yieldflow decentralized finance systems, while superficially similar to traditional financial transactions in some ways, are in fact very different. DeFi and TradFi each have unique costs and benefits, risks and protection mechanisms. Please bear this fact in mind when using this website, and do not use yieldflow.com, or any other system described on this website without a sufficient understanding of their unique risks and how they differ from traditional financial transactions. The only way to fully understand such risks is to have a strong understanding of the relevant technical systems and the incentive design mechanisms they embody–we strongly encourage you to review yieldflow’s technical documentation and code before use.