To learn more about how I discovered DeFi on the Tron Network, check out my recent post, Went looking for info on Unifi (UNFI), found Sesameseed (SEED), & discovered Tron Network's budding DeFi ecosystem.
Decentralized Finance offers a lot of opportunity to use complex financial instruments, leveraged trading, and great APRs relative to those offered in fiat markets. But you can begin using the simplest of these DeFi tools with very low financial or technical barrier to entry by using the Tron Network. I recently wrote about how I discovered Tron Network's budding DeFi ecosystem, so you can check that out if you're curious about what brought me to this corner of the crypto economy and motivated me to write guides and blogs posts like this. In today's post, I have compiled a very simple step-by-step guide for a crypto beginner to jump into the world of DeFi on the Tron Network. It's not the only way to do this and it's probably not even the best way, but it may be the best way for a beginner to go from "I just have some Bitcoin in a Coinbase account", to "I'm arbitraging supply and barrow rates to double my staking rewards using my own cryptocurrency as collateral". I'm into projects, like Presearch (a decentralized search engine), which are liberating information, but I'm also very excited about DeFi on Tron Network because it is liberating finance. So let's get started.
First off, please just go ahead and download Brave Browser. It's what most of us are using. You can use google chrome, but brave is better for a number of reasons I will eventually write about and link here.
When you access Decentralized Applications (Dapps) using your browser, you engage your cryptocurrency wallet with a browser extension wallet. MetaMask is the most widely used browser extension for blockchain applications on Binance Smart Chain and Ethereum. You may be able to configure MetaMask to work with Tron Network in the future, however, based on this interaction on MetaMask's zendesk, I don't think it's possible right now. So we're going to download the TronLink browser extension wallet from the Chrome Web Store (Brave browser is a fork of Chromium so it can run the Chrome Web Store extensions).
TronLink is the equivalent of MetaMask for the Tron Network. You're going to use TronLink browser extension wallet to connect your Tron (TRX) wallet to various decentralized applications on the Tron Network and to approve transactions which you initiate through those applications. TRX is the base currency of the network, so all of your transactions on the Tron Network require payment of network fees in TRX. You're going to need some TRX before you can start using the network. If you are just starting out in crypto and have not done a lot of purchasing and transferring of cryptocurrency yet, you can get started by creating a Coinbase account and connecting your debit card to buy Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. However, Coinbase does not support the direct purchase of Tron (TRX), so we're going to purchase some Bitcoin in Coinbase (you could do the same with Litecoin) and then send that Bitcoin from Coinbase to our Exodus wallet so that we can exchange the Bitcoin (BTC) for Tron (TRX) using the exchange feature within Exodus. So buy some Bitcoin on Coinbase & then download Exodus wallet.
Exodus wallet is multi-asset non-custodial wallet. So you download it on your computer and/or phone and save your mnemonic phrase backup key in a very safe place (maybe a couple of safe places because this is not a custodial centralized exchange where you can reset a lost password. If you lose this key your funds are truly lost). You will also create an encryption password for your Exodus account, which is a password of your choosing that is used to lock and unlock the wallet. It is in addition to your mnemonic phrase backup key.
Some people (myself included) are trying really hard not to use centralized cryptocurrency exchanges and especially making sure never to leave funds on centralized exchanges. The expression you'll often hear is, "Not your keys, not your coins". This refers to the possibility that any centralized custodial exchange where you hold your coins can be hacked, regulated, or become insolvent. Literally all 3 of those things have happened to me with centralized exchanges in the 4 years I've been into blockchain. It is always the best practice to keep your cryptocurrency in wallets which you alone retain the private keys to access. However, I do make some concessions to use centralized custodial services, like BlockFi, so that I can take advantage of their rewards programs to better understand their strengths and weaknesses relative to more decentralized cryptocurrency offerings. Exodus wallet is a great first step away from centralized custodial cryptocurrency services and exchanges like BlockFi & Coinbase. With Exodus wallet you have custody of your coins. So no centralized exchange can lose your coins or prevent you from accessing the coins in your Exodus wallet. They can't restrict access to your tokens or restrict trading them when you have possession of them.
Now you can navigate to the "Wallet" tab in the top center of the Exodus desktop application and locate your Bitcoin address. Click the "Receive" button to view your public key. This is your receiving address, it's what you share with others who wish to send you Bitcoin. It is not a security risk to share your public key. However, when you share your public key others can use the Bitcoin Block explorer to see how much Bitcoin you have in that wallet. Sharing your public key is not a security risk to your funds, but you may not wish to share it with everyone. However, anyone to which you send or receive BTC is able to view this information. If you hate this facet of cryptocurrency, then you should look into privacy coins, like Monero (XMR) or privacy services like Typhoon (TYPH).
When you are ready to send your bitcoin from Coinbase to Exodus wallet you can copy your address and paste it into the Coinbase Bitcoin send address field. Or if you are sending from Coinbase mobile app, you can tap in the BTC send address field and then use the device's camera to scan the QR code and the address will automatically populate. Go ahead and try it with my BTC address QR code above. Feel free to send me as much BTC as you like to experiment with this feature. I am of the opinion that Bitcoin will reach $1 Million by 2050.
If you have purchased BTC with Coinbase and sent it to your Exodus BTC address, then you just need to exchange the BTC to TRX now. Navigate to the "Exchange" tab in the top center of the Exodus desktop app. Now find Bitcoin (BTC) in the left drop-down and Tron (TRX) in the right drop-down. Then you can select the amount you want to exchange and click the "EXCHANGE" button at the bottom.
There will be a pop-up to confirm the exchange and the exchange can take a few minutes so go and get yourself a snack or go to the bathroom. Don't sit around pulling your hair out waiting for the transaction to complete. Some networks are faster, others are slower, speeds vary with network traffic and gas rates. Once the exchange is complete, you should hear a pleasant sound from the Exodus desktop application and you now have some Tron in your Exodus wallet. Paste your TRX receiving address (also known as your public key) into TronScan to see your first Tron transaction on the Tron blockchain explorer. You don't initiate transactions using the blockchain explorers. TronScan (and all blockchain explorers) exist as a sort of search engine for blockchain records.
Congratulations! That was actually a major hurdle to get here. You paid a fee to buy BTC in Coinbase, you paid a network fee to transfer from Coinbase to Exodus wallet, and then you paid a hefty fee to exchange from Bitcoin to Tron in the Exodus wallet. So remember to always be looking for the most efficient and least costly ways to do things because those fees really do add up. This is one of the reasons why we're going to love using Tron Network for DeFi. The Tron Network transaction fees are low, the speed is very fast, and there are some great DeFi tools to use and many more coming soon. Things are about to get very exciting on the Tron Network. Okay, so now to review... you have completed the following:
1.) Created a Coinbase account
3.) Downloaded TronLink browser extension wallet for Brave
4.) Downloaded Exodus wallet & securely saved your private key backup mnemonic phrase
5.) Bought Bitcoin on Coinbase
6.) Sent Bitcoin from Coinbase to Exodus wallet
7.) Exchanged Bitcoin for Tron in Exodus wallet
The last thing you need to do before you can go wild using DeFi on Tron Network with Just.Network and Sun.io is to associate the Tron address in your Exodus account with your TronLink browser extension wallet in Brave browser. You will import your TRX private key from Exodus into TronLink. First you need to access your Tron private key. The mnemonic backup phrase you saved when you created this Exodus wallet is the master key to restore you whole Exodus wallet with all of the currencies within it, including you Tron (TRX) wallet. However, Exodus also allows you to view the private key of any of your individual asset wallets. Your Tron private key is long string of numbers which is the spending password for your Exodus Tron account. It will allow anyone who has it to potentially spend not only all of your TRX, but all tokens you hold within this Tron address. It is highly sensitive. We will never email this to ourselves or anyone else. You will not take pictures of it that are stored on iCloud, etc. You save it on a piece of paper or a flash drive and keep a few copies in a couple of secure locations. We can view our Tron private key within Exodus by navigating to the "Wallet" tab at the top center of the desktop application and then locating the TRX wallet. Click the 3 dots to expand options and select "view Private Keys". You will be prompted to enter the Exodus encryption password that you chose and created earlier (not your Exodus mnemonic phrase backup key). A pop-up will appear with your TRX public key and private key. The public key is just your Tron wallet address (remember this is not sensitive). The private key is your TRX wallet spend password. That is what you need to copy from Exodus and paste into the import/restore wallet option in TronLink.
Now you will use the TRX private key from your Exodus Wallet to import your Exodus TRX account into your TronLink browser extension wallet so that you can use your Exodus TRX wallet to interact with DeFi Dapps on the Tron Network using the TronLink broswer wallet extension for Brave browser. Open up Brave browser, click the TronLink browser extension wallet from the browser extensions icon in the top right corner:
Click on TronLink broswer extension wallet, and choose "Restore"
Now you can name your account, then select the "private key" option, and that's where you will paste the private key from your Exodus Tron wallet.
Now you should be able to see the balance of your Exodus TRX wallet in both your Exodus wallet & your TronLink browser extension wallet. Both are referencing your Exodus Tron wallet account on the Tron Network. Now as you use the decentralized applications and DeFi tools with TronLink, you are using your Exodus Tron wallet to interact with the Tron Network. This is a great way to keep your private keys organized for various blockchains and to have some continuity as a beginner to become familiar with Exodus wallet, a multi-currency wallet user interface that supports many blockchains and cross-chain exchanges. And though the exchange feature in Exodus is not the least expensive option, it is really convenient to have it there and it generally works really well. When you have questions about your transaction or fee history or the token holdings associated with your Exodus TRX account, always remember that you can always just paste your TRX address into TronScan to see those details more clearly and observe the status of pending transactions.
You are ready to dive into the world of decentralized finance on Tron Network! Here is a short list of Tron Dapps for you to get started exploring:
Take a look at each of them and observe that each Dapp requires you connect and authorize your TronLink browser to use the Dapp. There's always a "connect wallet" link (usually in the upper right hand corner). Try it out with each of these. Try doing some swaps on JustSwap and trades on TronTrade. They you can get into more advanced stuff by exploring Sun.io. If you are tempted by the high very high interest rates offered in the "Liquidity Mining" section, I suggest you first familiarize yourself with impermanent loss. I've written a little bit about it on this post about my experience with Goose Finance on Binance Smart Chain. If you have no idea what "impermanent loss" means, then stay away from "Liquidity Mining" for now, it's actually a lot more risky in most cases, so the high APR rewards may not pay off like you are probably imagining. Instead, scroll down to the "JustLend Supply Mining" options on Sun.io. Here you can take a look at the rates for staking various Tron tokens. Now you can do some research on these projects and make some decisions about how much Tron you want to trade for Tron Tokens on JustSwap or TronTrade. Then you can come back and try staking some of your tokens here to earn a nice APY paid out in a basket of TRX tokens.
I use TronScan quite often to view the TRC-20 tokens I'm holding in my Exodus Tron wallet. Some of these are not yet recognized by Exodus wallet, but I can still see them in my wallet when I view my TRX address on TronScan. So just because Exodus hasn't updated their user interface to recognize every token associated with my Exodus Tron address, doesn't mean that my Exodus Tron wallet doesn't support these tokens. It just means that they aren't visible in Exodus, yet. Some are, like BTT for example, is a Tron Network token that is visible in the Exodus wallet. So if I swap TRX for BTT using JustSwap or TronTrade, those BTT tokens will appear in my Exodus wallet if I have BTT enabled. However, at the moment, tokens like SUN, JST, & USDJ are not showing up in the Exodus wallet. But it's really not a problem at all. Just use TronScan to confirm your token holdings. Finally, you can start using JustLend, which will show you a breakdown of the tokens you are staking on Sun.io Moreover, you can explore the most rewarding aspect of DeFi, leveraging your portfolio for more passive income in a relatively safe way.
Okay, that's it, you're all set! Go have fun using DeFi on the Tron Network! If you enjoyed this post and you're ready to take the next steps, then you'll want to read my post, DeFi 2.0: JustLend & Sun.io on the Tron Network.
My Tron (TRX) Address: