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Incentive Programs and Rewards Were Nine-Figure Gushers

DeFi incentives and rewards were a major plotline in 2021.

Incentive Programs and Rewards Were Nine-Figure Gushers

Big Story 2021: This article is part of our Year in Review series.

In big stretches of 2021 it seemed a week didn’t pass without investors getting excited about the latest nine-figure incentives drop. The driver: Rival blockchains to Ethereum striving to attract users to their platforms.

Polygon launched multiple programs in the spring to DeFi apps that  deployed on their platform. And $40M dollars worth of MATIC went to users who deposited and borrowed assets in and from the Aave protocol. Other programs combining $15M of SushiSwap’s SUSHI tokens and $15M of MATIC followed.

As the incentive programs picked up momentum, total value locked (TVL) spiked to over $10B in June. Polygon’s TVL has simmered down to around $5B, but that still dwarfs the $100M the blockchain started with before its incentives rollout.

Other smart contract platforms followed suit; Avalanche rolled out a $180M incentive program in August. Another platform, Fantom, launched one worth $370M. Harmony One, Binance Smart Chain, and others launched similar programs. 

It’s hard to argue with the results. Avalanche has seen its TVL explode from around $250M before the program, to topping $11B going into the end of the year.

Overall, the programs’ success have set 2022 up to be an epic clash between Ethereum and other smart contract platforms that are riding the momentum of their incentivized growth.

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