What is Berry Club?
Berry Club is a DeFi app designed to let users have fun creating shared pixel art while farming token rewards. Berry Club achieves this with the elegant use of tokens called Avocados, Bananas, and Cucumbers. It’s also a great use of NEAR Protocol’s built-in features that aren’t found in other blockchains, such as automatic fee payments to smart contract creators. It started as a DeFi proof of concept, and has since grown into a popular community project on NEAR.
In this post we’ll frame up how NEAR and Berry Club fit into the rapidly growing DeFi ecosystem. In the follow-up article we’ll walk through details of Berry Club and share my experiments using it for farming.
DeFi and Yield Farming
To be broad, DeFi (or decentralized finance) is a suite of smart contracts that brings traditional financial services to the blockchain. This includes lending and borrowing, exchange services, payments services, and much more. DeFi allows users to earn passive yield on their native blockchain assets (and, increasingly, tokenize their real world assets on the blockchain, too). DeFi has also been one of the largest growth sectors in the cryptocurrency market in the past few months. It wouldn’t be appropriate to mention earning a yield in DeFi without mentioning yield farming.
What is yield farming? To be even more broad, yield farming involves distribution of a token to the users of a smart contract in order to incentivize a specific behavior. One of the most common examples of yield farming is distributing a token to users who provide liquidity to decentralized exchange pools such as Ethereum’s Uniswap. The users who deposit their funds into the smart contract benefit from cash flow denominated in the token, and the smart contract creators benefit from increased usage of their application (and liquidity, in the case of Uniswap). To generalize, most of the DeFi use cases on Ethereum are financially related, but not all.
Yield Farming on NEAR
In the case of Berry Club, tokens are distributed in order to encourage community creation of constantly-evolving artwork. Berry Farm and Banana Swap are partner contracts that allow automated exchange for Berry Farm tokens.
Because of the unique design of the NEAR blockchain, the combination of Berry Club and Berry Farm can benefit both the users and the smart contract creators in an innovative way. Benefits are paid from increased usage of the application in the form of distribution of smart contract rewards to both creators and token holders. This is something that is not possible on Ethereum in its current implementation, and provides another great incentive for users and developers to start experimenting with NEAR.
Popular images are less likely to be overwritten by other artists. The longer the pixel stays on the board, the more yield its owner will earn.
Additionally, Banana Swap is what’s known as an automated market maker (AMM) – similar to Uniswap that was mentioned earlier – but simpler, and without the ability to add liquidity. While Berry Club and related contracts use tokens that are named after berries, make no mistake: this suite of smart contracts allows users to earn a real return on their NEAR tokens while making art on the blockchain.
May the best artist win!
NEAR vs Ethereum
Certainly, Ethereum has the most DeFi applications with the most use cases as it stands today. But how does DeFi on NEAR compare to DeFi on Ethereum? For starters, yield farming at Berry Club is actually really fun and can bring out the creative side in even the most left-brained of us.
The complexity of DeFi in and of itself can be a turn-off for some users, and a boring user interface does nothing to help with that user pain point, whereas Berry Farm is inherently art-based. Additionally, profit calculations are made much easier by the predictable and low transaction fees on NEAR. Ethereum transaction fees have been extremely volatile in the past few months, not to mention absurdly expensive, and can become a considerable expense for users that wish to yield farm on Ethereum.
While the ecosystem of DeFi dApps on NEAR is still growing (Mooniswap is building on NEAR now, too), the ease of use and speed of DeFi dApps on NEAR cannot be understated, especially as somebody who often has large parts of their day tied up waiting for pending transactions to clear on the Ethereum blockchain.
The Future of Berry Club
We had a conversation with Evgeny (AKA “Eugene THE DREAM”), the creator of Berry Club, about the future of the project. He didn’t want to make any major changes to the economics or functionality of Berry Club in its current form. The addition of low opacity pixels is actually the second iteration of Berry Club, meant to encourage users to preserve the amazing artwork that others have created.
We asked him if it would be possible to “scale” Berry Club by adjusting the size of the board (in the event that even more users start to use the application and yield dries up). Instead of merely changing the economics and size of the board, Evgeny described a potential future version of Berry Club that could include Dencentraland-esque plots of land. Ownership of the land would be achieved via non-fungible tokens, and could be rented out to hard working farmers. This, combined with some sort of incentivization system for rewarding the best artwork (we didn’t dive too deep into it), could further expand the Banana economy, and show off some more cool features that are in the works for the NEAR mainnet.
Berry Club Points the Way
That’s a brief overview of Berry Club’s purpose and features: a DeFi app that uses shared pixel art as a way to explore yield farming on the NEAR blockchain. It uses unique features of NEAR to point the way for numerous future DeFi apps on NEAR. And it’s not just for fun. You can earn real yield. In the next article, We’ll show you how.
Join us for a more detailed walkthrough of Berry Club in Part 2: How Does The Berry Club Yield Farming App Work?
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