What is a Collateralized Debt Position (CDP)?

A Collateralized Debt Position (CDP) in crypto is a type of financial instrument that allows users to borrow funds by collateralizing their crypto assets. In other words, it is a way to borrow money by using your own crypto assets as collateral.

A CDP is essentially a smart contract on a blockchain that allows users to lock up their crypto assets as collateral. When a user locks up their assets, they are then able to borrow a certain amount of funds, usually in the form of a stablecoin, based on the value of the collateral they have put up. The amount borrowed is called the "debt" and the borrowed funds are used to generate interest payments.

When the user decides to repay the debt, they can then unlock their collateral and receive their crypto assets back. However, if the value of the collateral drops below a certain level, the smart contract can automatically liquidate the collateral to repay the debt.

CDPs are mostly used in decentralized finance (DeFi) platforms, where users can access loans and other financial services without having to go through traditional financial institutions.

CDPs are a way to access credit and liquidity in the crypto space and are considered to be relatively new and complex financial instruments, so it's important to have a good understanding of the risks involved before engaging in it.

Simplified Example

A collateralized debt position (CDP) is a mechanism used in some cryptocurrency networks to enable users to borrow funds against the value of their crypto holdings without needing to sell their assets. It involves locking up a certain amount of cryptocurrency as collateral in order to receive a loan in a stablecoin or another cryptocurrency.

An analogy for a CDP might be a pawn shop, where you can take a valuable item such as a piece of jewelry and receive a loan in exchange for temporarily giving the pawnbroker the item as collateral. In a CDP, the cryptocurrency acts as the valuable item and the loan amount is determined by the value of the collateral. The borrower retains ownership of the collateral and can pay back the loan at a later date to retrieve their assets. If the borrower is unable to repay the loan, the collateral is sold off to cover the outstanding debt.

History of the Term Collateralized Debt Position (CDP)

The term "Collateralized Debt Position (CDP)" emerged within the cryptocurrency realm, notably in the evolution of decentralized finance (DeFi) and specifically with the advent of MakerDAO in 2015.

MakerDAO pioneered the concept of CDPs as a mechanism to generate the stablecoin Dai, pegged to the value of the US dollar. CDPs fundamentally transformed borrowing and lending in the DeFi space by enabling users to lock their cryptocurrency assets, like Ethereum, as collateral, allowing them to mint Dai tokens. This innovation marked a significant stride in the DeFi landscape, introducing a novel way for individuals to access liquidity without relinquishing ownership of their crypto holdings.

The introduction of CDPs within the MakerDAO ecosystem underscored the potential for decentralized platforms to offer collateralized borrowing mechanisms, laying the groundwork for subsequent DeFi protocols and fostering the growth of innovative financial instruments within the cryptocurrency space.


MakerDAO: MakerDAO is a decentralized platform that allows users to create their own stablecoin, called DAI, by collateralizing their crypto assets. Users can lock up their crypto assets, such as Ethereum, in a CDP and then borrow DAI, which is pegged to the value of the US dollar.

Compound: Compound is a decentralized lending platform that allows users to borrow and lend crypto assets using CDPs. Users can collateralize their crypto assets to borrow other assets and also earn interest on the assets they lend out.

Aave: Aave is another decentralized lending platform that allows users to borrow and lend crypto assets using CDPs. It also allows users to borrow assets without collateral and earn interest on their deposited assets.

  • Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO): A Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) is a type of organization that operates on the blockchain and is governed by smart contracts.

  • Moloch DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organization): The meaning of Moloch DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organization) refers to a decentralized platform built on the Ethereum blockchain.