APR vs. APY: Understanding the Key Differences

Managing personal finances is a skill that holds the key to achieving financial stability and security. When searching into interest rates, one often encounters two seemingly similar yet fundamentally distinct terms: APR (Annual Percentage Rate) and APY (Annual Percentage Yield). 

Although they share the word “Annual Percentage,” their functions and implications are worlds apart. We will embark on a journey to unravel the complexities of APR vs APY, arming you with the knowledge necessary to navigate the financial investment landscape with confidence.

Let’s delve into the key differences between APR and APY, helping you make informed financial choices.

What is APR in the Crypto world?

In the context of cryptocurrencies, APR stands for “Annual Percentage Rate.” In some decentralized finance (DeFi) platforms and cryptocurrency lending protocols, APR refers to the annualized yield or interest rate users can earn on their crypto assets by participating in specific lending or staking activities. 

It represents the potential percentage gain users could receive over a year through lending or staking their digital assets.

Example: If a DeFi platform offers a 10% APR on a particular cryptocurrency, it means that by lending or staking that cryptocurrency on the platform for a year, users could earn an interest of approximately 10% on their initial investment.

The Formula to calculate APR = [P × (1 + R × T)]


P ﹦ Principal

R ﹦ Interest rate used

T ﹦ time in years

How to Calculate APR in Crypto with an example?

The process involves understanding the yield or interest earned on your crypto assets over a year. Here’s a basic guide on how to calculate APR in crypto:

1. Identify the Crypto Asset: We will focus on staking Ethereum (ETH) on a DeFi platform.

2. Find the Interest Rate or Yield: After researching different DeFi platforms, you find a platform that offers an APR of 10% for staking Ethereum.

3. Compute the Total Yield: Let’s say you decide to stake 10 ETH on the platform. To calculate the total yield over a year = 10 ETH * ((1 + (0.10*1) )= 10 ETH + 1.1. So, After 1 year, you will get 11.1 ETH as per 10% APR.

           Keep in mind that the actual APR you earn may vary based on changes in the platform’s interest rate or market conditions. Always review the terms and conditions of the platform carefully before participating in any staking or lending activities. 

Additionally, consider the risks associated with cryptocurrency investments, as the market can be highly volatile.

What is APY in the Crypto world?

In the crypto world, APY stands for “Annual Percentage Yield.” APY represents the potential annualized return on an investment or the interest earned on a cryptocurrency deposit over a year, taking into account the effect of compounding.

Unlike APR (Annual Percentage Rate), which is commonly used for borrowing and lending, APY is primarily associated with savings accounts, liquidity pools, and various yield farming opportunities in decentralized finance (DeFi) platforms.

The concept of compounding interest plays a significant role in APY. When you earn interest on your cryptocurrency deposit or investment, that interest is added to the initial amount. Over time, you start earning interest not only on the original principal but also on the accumulated interest from previous periods. This compounding effect can lead to a higher overall yield compared to simple interest.

For example, let’s say you deposit 10 Ethereum (ETH) into a liquidity pool that offers an APY of 15%. If the APY is compounded daily, you would earn interest on your 10 ETH daily, and the total yield at the end of the year would be higher than a simple 15% return on the initial deposit due to the compounding effect.

How to Calculate APY in Crypto?

Calculating APY (Annual Percentage Yield) in the crypto world involves understanding the potential annualized return on your investment or savings, taking into account the effect of compounding. 

The process for calculating APY in crypto is similar to calculating APY in traditional finance, but it’s essential to consider the specific compounding frequency used in crypto platforms. 

The Formula to calculate APY = (1 + r/n)^n – 1


R = Interest rate in a period

N = Number of periods

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to calculate APY in the crypto world:

  1. Identify the Crypto Investment: We will focus on yield farming with the stablecoin USDC (USD Coin).
  2. Find the Annual Interest Rate or Yield: You discover a yield farming platform that offers an annual interest rate of 20% for staking USDC.
  3. Check for Compounding Frequency: The platform compounds the interest daily.
  4. Calculate the Periodic Interest Rate: Divide the annual interest rate by 365 to find the daily periodic interest rate. In this example, it would be 20% / 365 ≈ 0.0548% per day.
  5. Compute the Total Yield (APY): To calculate the APY now, we should use the formula: APY = (1 + Periodic Interest Rate)^365 – 1.
  6. APY = (1 + 0.000548)^365 – 1 ≈ 0.2227 or 22.27%.
  7. Convert to Percentage: The APY for yield farming USDC on this platform with a daily compounding interest rate of 20% would be approximately 22.27%.

It means that by yield farming USDC on this platform for a year, you have the potential to earn an APY of around 22.27% on your investment due to the effect of daily compounding.

Keep in mind that yield farming and DeFi investments can carry significant risks, including impermanent loss and intelligent contract vulnerabilities. It’s essential to thoroughly understand the platform you’re using, be aware of the risks involved, and only invest funds you can afford to lose. 

Additionally, crypto markets can be highly volatile, and APY rates may fluctuate over time, so it’s crucial to stay informed and make informed decisions based on your risk tolerance and investment goals.

Key Differences: APY vs. APR in the Crypto World

In the crypto world, APY (Annual Percentage Yield) and APR (Annual Percentage Rate) are both important financial metrics, but they serve different purposes and represent distinct aspects of cryptocurrency investments and transactions. 

Here are the differences between APY and APR in the crypto world other than the definition:

Purpose and Application:

  • APY: APY is primarily used by investors to evaluate the growth potential of their crypto assets. It enables them to compare various investment opportunities and choose strategies that offer higher potential returns through compounding.
  • APR: APR, on the other hand, is relevant to crypto traders who engage in margin trading or borrowing. It helps them assess the borrowing costs and potential risks associated with leveraging their positions in the market.

Calculation Method:

  • APY: APY considers the initial investment, interest earned, and compounding frequency to provide a comprehensive picture of the returns over a year.
  • APR: APR takes into account the interest rate, additional fees, and costs associated with borrowing to calculate the annualized borrowing expense.

Impact on Decision-Making:

  • APY: APY empowers investors to make informed decisions on yield farming, staking, and liquidity providing to optimize their earnings and grow their crypto portfolio.
  • APR: APR influences traders’ choices regarding leveraging their positions, with a focus on managing borrowing costs and potential profitability.


  • APY: The frequency of compounding is a crucial element in APY calculations. It can be daily, weekly, monthly, or even more frequent, depending on the specific platform or protocol.
  • APR: APR does not involve compounding, so the frequency of interest accrual is not relevant to its calculation. It is a standardized measure that allows for easy comparison of borrowing costs.


  • APY: APY takes into account the compounding effect, which means that the interest earned or the returns on investments are reinvested periodically to generate additional earnings. This compounding effect leads to a higher overall yield over time.
  • APR: Unlike APY, APR does not consider compounding. It provides a straightforward representation of the borrowing cost without factoring in the effects of reinvesting or compounding.


APY and APR are important metrics in the crypto world, but they serve distinct purposes. APY is focused on potential earnings and growth of investments, while APR is concerned with the cost of borrowing and lending. Understanding these differences can empower crypto users to make informed financial decisions and manage their investments more effectively.

FAQs about APY and APR in the Crypto

Q: How does APY differ from APR?

A: The key difference between APY and APR in the crypto world lies in their purposes and applications. APY focuses on potential earnings and growth of investments, considering compounding, while APR is concerned with the cost of borrowing funds and doesn’t take compounding into account. APY is used to assess the returns on investments and savings, whereas APR helps compare the costs of different borrowing options

Q: Can APY and APR be directly compared in the crypto world?

A: No, APY and APR in the crypto serve different purposes and involve different calculations. APY is used for assessing potential investment returns, while APR is used to evaluate the cost of borrowing. They represent different aspects of financial transactions and should be used in their respective contexts.

Q: Are APY and APR rates fixed? 

A: No, neither APY nor APR rates are fixed. Both rates are subject to market conditions, changes in platform policies, and fluctuations in cryptocurrency prices. Users should be aware that the actual returns or costs may vary from the initially stated APY or APR.