What is DeFi?
If you’ve been living under a rock for the past couple of years, you might be wondering what DeFi is. Well, DeFi is the short form for decentralized finance, a movement within the crypto world that aims to implement open source software and decentralized networks to turn traditional, centralized financial services and products into trustless and transparent systems that do not require any authority figure to watch over them.
As of 2021, the DeFi movement continues to grow stronger with every passing day, as DeFi crypto projects keep turning real world financial applications on their heads. At the beginning of April 2021, the total value locked in DeFi is already over $51 billion.
With exciting, new DeFi projects coming up within the DeFi space almost regularly, it’s quite plausible for traders to have difficulty deciding where to invest and wonder where to buy the best DeFi pojects. To make the choice easier for you, in this post we have compiled a list of twenty of the best DeFi projects out there right now!
Top 20 DeFi Crypto Projects:
- Uniswap (UNI):
Uniswap is an open-source, decentralized crypto exchange running on the Ethereum blockchain, and it’s counted among the best DeFi projects. The platform uses a trading model known as an automated liquidity protocol. Due to the DeFi project being decentralized, it gives users full control over their crypto assets.
In April 2021, the total value locked in Uniswap is over $8 billion.
The native governance token of the DeFi crypto project is UNI, which gives holders the right to vote on and suggest new ideas for governance on the platform. Some exchanges you can buy UNI from are Binance, OKEx, Kraken, and Coinbase Pro.
- Terra (LUNA):
Terra is an algorithmically governed blockchain platform that makes use of fiat-pegged stablecoins to enable price-stable borderless payments. The network prides itself on combining the global aspect of cryptocurrencies with the stable nature of fiat currencies. Terra uses an algorithm to automatically adjust the supply of stablecoins based on their demands.
Terra’s native token is LUNA, which is used to stabilize the prices of the stablecoins on Terra. LUNA is also the network’s governance token, which means LUNA holders get to suggest/vote on how the network is run. LUNA is listed on several crypto exchanges, including Huobi, Bitfinex, and Upbit.
- Aave (AAVE):
Aave is another of the DeFi crypto projects built on Ethereum; it is a decentralized lending platform that offers P2P (peer-to-peer) loans using smart contracts. Aave accommodates a number of crypto coins, including ETH, stablecoins such as USDC and DAI, and quite a few ERC-20 tokens.
Aave is also the DeFi project to introduce a feature called ‘flash loans’ – which is a short-term loan mechanism, and the very first uncollateralized loan option within the DeFi sector. With flash loans, a user can take out a loan instantly without any collateral, only if the liquidity is returned to the pool within one Ethereum transaction block.
As of April 2021, the total value locked in Aave is over $6 billion.
- PancakeSwap (CAKE):
PancakeSwap is an AMM (automated market maker) decentralized finance (DeFi) application built upon the Binance Smart Chain. With about 10k users, Pancakeswap is among the fairly new DeFi crypto projects, and it allows users to exchange crypto coins, provide liquidity, and yield farm. Pancakeswap enables users to exchange BEP-20 tokens.
As of April 2021, the total value locked in Pancakeswap is around $6.5 billion.
- Synthetix (SNX):
Despite not being among the new DeFi projects, Synthetic remains one of the best DeFi projects till date. The platform is an Ethereum-based protocol for the issuance of synthetic assets. With these synthetic assets, Synthetix brings non-blockchain-based asset exposure within the crypto markets, creating a diverse and mature financial space. The platform is compatible with synthetic commodities such as synthetic cryptocurrencies, synthetic fiat currencies, synthetic inverse cryptocurrencies, synthetic cryptocurrency indexes, and precious metals like gold and silver too.
As of April 2021, the total value locked in Synthetix is around $2.4 billion.
SNX, the native token of Synthetix, is compatible with the ERC-20 token standard. SNX holders can stake their SNX on the platform and earn returns in exchange. Binance, Huobi Global, OKEx, and CoinTiger are some exchanges where you can buy SNX tokens.
- THORChain (RUNE):
THORChain is a decentralized liquidity protocol that facilitates crypto trades across multiple networks. Counted among the best DeFi projects, THORChain lets users exchange one crypto for another in a permissionless way, and without requiring order books to source liquidity. The platform uses an AMM model to enable these crypto swaps. THORChain also has a unique system in place to help users mitigate impermanent losses; the platform utilizes a slip-based fee so that the liquidity stays where it is required.
In April 2021, the total value locked in THORChain is about $495 million.
THORChain has RUNE as its native utility token, which is the primary currency in the THORChain ecosystem, and gives holders the power to participate in governance decisions and platform security. RUNE can be bought from Binance, FTX, and SushiSwap.
- 0X (ZRX):
0x is a DeFi platform that facilitates permissionless trades of fungible (ERC-20) and non-fungible (ERC-723) tokens on the Ethereum blockchain, without requiring any centralized intermediaries like the regular cryptocurrency exchanges. 0x achieves this true decentralization with the help of open-source, publicly auditable smart contracts.
ZRX is the native utility token of the 0x platform, based upon the ERC-20 standard. The ZRX holders get to participate in platform governance and propose or vote on changes to how the platform is run. You can buy ZRX from Binance, Huobi Global, Bitstamp, and Coinbase Pro, among other exchanges.
- Bancor Network (BNT):
Another of the DeFi projects that remain popular and relevant despite not being one of the new DeFi projects, Bancor is a blockchain platform that enables users to convert various crypto tokens instantaneously and directly, as opposed to exchanging the virtual currency on cryptocurrency exchange platforms. Bancor manages this with the help of smart contracts that facilitate the on-chain conversion of tokens, and control the liquidity pools that connect the crypto tokens on the network.
As of April 2021, the total value locked in the Bancor Network is $1.9 billion.
The primary token on the Bancor network is, of course, the BNT or the Bancor Network Token. The BNT is listed on exchanges like Binance, Huobi Global, and Coinbase Pro. BNT is one of the best DeFi projects you can put your money behind right now.
- Reserve Protocol (RSR):
Reserve is a stablecoin platform; the flexible pool of stablecoins on Reserve intends to reduce the threats for investors and traders through diversification, and decentralized governance. The Reserve protocol has the RSV or the Reserve token, which is a stablecoin tethered to a basket of assets supervised by smart contracts. Then there’s the RSR or the Reserve Rights token, used to keep the stability of the RSV. The platform also has the collateral tokens; other assets held by the Reserve smart contract to back the value of the RSV.
- Ren (REN):
Ren is an open-source DeFi project that enables private, permissionless transactions between blockchains. As a matter of fact, Ren is the only open protocol that provides access to inter-blockchain liquidity for all DeFi applications. The primary product of Ren is RenVM, a trustless, decentralized network that offers cross-chain functionality to DeFi applications.
In April 2021, the total value locked in Ren is $911.28 million.
REN is the platform’s native token, which works as a bond for the participants running the Darknodes that power RenVM.
- 1Inch.Exchange (1INCH):
Among the new DeFi projects and already counted as one of the best DeFi projects out there, 1Inch is a decentralized exchange aggregator platform that connects several decentralized exchanges, and seeks the best cryptocurrency prices across those platforms. The platform’s governance token is 1INCH.
As of April 2021, the total value locked in 1Inch is near $266 million.
- Kyber Network (KNC):
The Kyber Network is another of the DeFI crypto projects which are blockchain-based liquidity protocols. Kyber aggregates liquidity from a broad range of sources, enabling instant and secure token exchanges in any DeFi application. The network provides users and decentralized applications and exchanges with easy access to a liquidity pool which gets them the best rates.
In April 2021, the total value locked in Kyber is over $25 million.
The Kyber Network Crystal, or the KNC, is an ERC-20 token that connects users within the Kyber ecosystem. As KNC upgraded to the Katalyst protocol which launched a DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organization) called KyberDAO, KNC users can now vote in protocol governance decisions. As with most DeFi crypto projects, you can get KNC on Binance, Huobi Global, Coinbase Pro, and Bitstamp.
- Alpha Finance (ALPHA):
Alpha Finance Lab puts on offer a range of DeFi products that work together to simultaneously maximize returns and minimize associated risks. The very first product built by Alpha was Alpha Lending – a DeFi lending protocol with algorithmically-adjusted interest rates. Alpha’s second product was Alpha Homora, a leveraged yield-farming platform.
As of April 2021, the total value locked in Alpha Finance is over $954 million.
- Swipe (SXP):
Ranked among the best DeFi projects, Swipe is a payment protocol that enables swaps between cryptocurrencies, fiat currencies, and stablecoins. The platform essentially intends to become a bridge between fiat and crypto. Swipe offers three main products: the Swipe multi-asset mobile wallet, the Swipe crypto-funded debit card, and SXP, or the Swipe Token.
In April 2021, the total value locked in Swipe is near $53 million.
The SXP token further incentivizes the other Swipe services and products, like giving holders access to the higher tier Swipe debit cards, which comes with benefits like subscriptions to Netflix or Spotify, no foreign transaction fees, and discounts through Starbucks, Uber, Apple Music, and Airbnb. You can buy SNX from Binance, FTX, and KuCoin, among other exchanges.
- Injective Protocol (INJ):
Injective Protocol is a global DeFi platform developed for cross-chain decentralized derivatives trading. Injective enables entirely open and permissionless market creation, so any user can develop a market using only a price feed, and employ it to the rest of the Injective ecosystem. As it has a unique layer-2 structure, the Injective protocol can also avoid high gas fees and network congestion.
- Serum (SRM):
Serum is a permissionless decentralized exchange built on top of the Solana ecosystem that brings swifter transaction speeds compared to its contemporaries, as well as low transaction costs to DeFi. The developers behind Serum intend for it to ‘decentralize the entire DeFi stack’. To maximize users’ access to the platform, Serum is intended to support cross-chain asset swaps, decentralized stablecoins, decentralized oracles, and non-custodial wrapped BTC, BCH, BSV, LTC, ZEC, ETH, and ERC-20 tokens.
- Raydium (RAY):
Raydium is an AMM (automated market maker) and liquidity provider built on the Solana blockchain for the Serum exchange. Raydium basically acts as a bridge for DeFi crypto projects looking to collaborate with both Solana and Serum.
As of April 2021, the total value locked in Raydium is a little over $256 million.
Raydium’s native utility token RAY is planned to play a significant role in strengthening the relationships with partners of Raydium, Serum, and the overall Solana ecosystem. The token is listed on exchanges such as SushiSwap, FTX, and Uniswap.
- Unifi Protocol (UNFI):
The Unifi Protocol is a number of non-custodial, interoperable smart contracts that bring together several blockchains into one large DeFi marketplace. Unifi aims to bring effective interoperability to the DeFi sector by letting users access multiple blockchains.
- Nexus Mutual (NXM):
Nexus Mutual is a DeFi insurance protocol built on top of the Ethereum blockchain. Nexus deals with the issues of smart contract vulnerability and gives users the maximum protection against any risks. The protocol differs from traditional insurance companies, and transitions the power over the pooled resources in the platform to the users.
As of April 2021, the total value locked in Nexus is almost $342 million.
Nexus Mutual’s native token NXM allows users to take out covers on smart contracts. NXM can be bought only from the Nexus Mutual platform itself.
- Bounce Token (AUCTION):
The Bounce protocol operates swap pools, and claims to provide ‘a competitive swap environment to unlock the potential of open finance’. The Bounce platform previously had BOT as its native token, however, the platform recently announced on January 29, 2021 that BOT will migrate to a new native token called AUCTION.
We hope this post has helped you choose where to buy best DeFi! For more posts on cryptocurrencies or trading advice, give our website a visit!
Do check out our other curated lists on Altcoins as well:
Altcoins listed in this article are based on the author’s research. The author is not holding any of these altcoins. Always do your own research before investing in any cryptocurrency.
Hitesh Malviya is the Founder of ItsBlockchain. He is one of the most early adopters of blockchain & cryptocurrency enthusiast in India. After being into space for a few years, he started IBC in 2016 to help other early adopters learn about the technology.
Before IBC, Hitesh has founded 4 companies in the cyber security & IT space.
Subscribe To Our Newsletter
Join our mailing list to receive Cryptocurrency investing and trading recommendations to your mailbox.
You have Successfully Subscribed!
Subscribe to get notified on latest posts.