DeFi is constantly changing, with new projects popping up seemingly every single day. This is by no means an exhaustive list. It’s just the tip of the iceberg. We went with the more tried and tested projects, the ones that have been live the longest and have the most value locked in their smart contracts.
First, Kyber, an unsung hero of DeFi working in the background as an on-chain liquidity protocol.
Next up, Zapper is your all-in-one DeFi dashboard, where you can zap into liquidity provisions in a few clicks with DeFi Zaps, and trade using their DEX aggregator, Zapper Exchange.
Loopring is the fastest DEX built on Layer 2 tech on Ethereum, enabling 2000 transactions per second. Built on Ethereum but feels like a centralized exchange trading engine.
dYdX is a DeFi darling going back to 2017, with the most trade volume of any decentralized perpetuals market and decentralized margin trading exchange.
Nexus Mutual is the godfather of DeFi insurance–providing just under $250M in coverage for DeFi users today on Ethereum.
Instadapp is a DeFi superman cape–empowering users to leverage flash loan recipes in a few clicks on Maker and Compound.
Ren Protocol provides interoperability bridges which have tokenized about $1 billion in BTC onto Ethereum in 2021 of the $9.49B tokenized BTC today.
Balancer is an automated market-maker built on Ethereum, where anyone can create or add liquidity to customizable pools and earn trading fees–a huge innovation building upon Uniswap’s success.
yearn.finance exploded onto the scene in the summer of 2020 aiming to automate yield farming with a few clicks. Yearn makes the most powerful strategies accessible to newcomers with a product called yVaults.
Synthetix pioneered liquidity mining over a year ago before it was a thing, and offers on-chain exposure to any asset including commodities, forex, indices, cryptocurrencies not on Ethereum, and soon equities. So you’ll be able to buy synthetic stocks like AAPL or GOOG on Synthetix’s exchange.
Compound lets users earn interest or borrow assets against collateral. Compound kicked off last summer’s DeFi mania with the COMP token launch which popularized liquidity mining and introduced a whole new crop of yield farmers.
Aave is one of the top DeFi protocols in terms of TVL as today’s leading lending and borrowing platform. The team has a knack for creative marketing while offering new products like the ability to collateralize multiple cryptoassets and borrow against the aggregate value vs Maker which only collateralizes one asset per loan.
Curve is the largest stablecoin liquidity pool with over $4.4B in total value locked.
Maker is still the OG of DeFi with just under billions of dollars in ETH locked in Maker, being collateralized to mint the decentralized stablecoin DAI, the backbone of decentralized finance.
Lastly, Uniswap the largest decentralized exchange by volume, where anyone can quickly swap between ETH and any ERC20 token or earn fees by supplying any amount of liquidity.
The key takeaway: DeFi isn’t some experimental niche community. It is a vibrant, fast-growing, unstoppable force, with real, working protocols, transacting real value.
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