Best DeFi Crypto Coins in 2024

Best DeFi Crypto Coins in 2024

In today's rapidly expanding decentralized finance (DeFi) sector, choosing the right crypto projects is more crucial than ever. With a wise selection, investors have the opportunity to significantly multiply their investments, potentially earning returns of 10x or more. However, the volatility of the crypto market means that less robust projects might not survive the challenging periods known as "crypto winters".

To navigate this dynamic landscape, we have curated a list of the top DeFi coins that demonstrate the greatest potential for growth. This comparison includes both established and emerging DeFi tokens, helping you identify the most promising investments in the current market. Our aim is to assist you in making informed decisions by spotlighting DeFi tokens that not only offer high liquidity but also boast supportive and promising communities.

It's essential to recognize that the DeFi ecosystem is amongst the most rapidly growing sectors, known for empowering investors with greater control over their assets, devoid of reliance on intermediary institutions. The total value locked (TVL) in DeFi reached an impressive $179 billion in November 2021. Despite a significant downturn following the downfall of major crypto enterprises in 2022, which saw the TVL drop to $35 billion in October 2023, there has been a notable recovery. Since mid-October 2023, the market has witnessed a resurgence, pushing the DeFi TVL to $52 billion, according to data from DefiLlama.

This guide aims to explore the most effective DeFi crypto assets, characterized by their strong liquidity and vibrant communities. We encourage you to undertake thorough research and weigh the risks before making any investment decisions. Remember, the information provided here is for educational purposes and should not be considered investment advice.

Top DeFi Categories: Total Value Locked

Delving into the diverse universe of decentralized finance (DeFi), it's imperative to dissect the allocation of investments across different categories. This analysis not only aids investors in diversifying their portfolios but also offers insight into where the majority of DeFi's value is concentrated. As of now, the Total Value Locked (TVL) within the DeFi sector stands at an impressive $81 billion USD, marking a significant footprint in the financial landscape.

Here's a closer look at how this total investment is distributed among various DeFi categories, presented in percentages to guide potential allocation strategies for investors:

  • Decentralized Exchanges (DEXs) command the lion's share with 31%. This highlights the growing preference for platforms that facilitate peer-to-peer trading without central intermediaries.
  • Lending platforms, where users can lend or borrow assets, account for 17% of the TVL. This underscores the demand for decentralized credit markets.
  • Staking, the process of holding funds in a cryptocurrency wallet to support the operations of a blockchain network, represents 13%. This indicates the appeal of earning rewards for participating in network security and operations.
  • Collateralized Debt Positions (CDP), mechanisms for creating stablecoins or borrowing assets against collateral, make up 12%. This reflects the innovative use of blockchain for financial instruments.
  • Bridges, which connect different blockchains to enable asset transfer and interoperability, hold 11%. Their significance is growing as the DeFi ecosystem becomes more interconnected.
  • Other categories, encompassing a variety of emerging and niche DeFi applications, account for the remaining 14%. This diversity showcases the innovation and breadth of opportunities within the DeFi space.

To enhance this breakdown, it's crucial to acknowledge the dynamic nature of the DeFi market. Recent trends have seen a surge in interest towards yield farming and liquidity mining, suggesting that investors are increasingly seeking out passive income opportunities within the DeFi ecosystem. Moreover, the rise of non-fungible token (NFT) platforms and their integration with DeFi protocols is creating new avenues for investment and collaboration.

For investors looking to navigate the DeFi sector, this breakdown serves as a foundational guide to understanding where value is concentrated and how emerging trends might influence future allocations. As always, thorough research and consideration of market dynamics are essential before making any investment decisions.

Ethereum: The Godfather of DeFi

Though some might argue that the decentralized finance (DeFi) ecosystem originated with the launch of Bitcoin (BTC) in 2009, it was actually the Ethereum (ETH) blockchain that laid down the robust foundation necessary for DeFi's growth and development.

Data from DefiLlama highlights Ethereum's dominant role in the DeFi space, commanding over a 50% share of the Total Value Locked (TVL), which currently exceeds $29 billion. This figure notably does not include the TVL of layer-2 networks that are built on top of Ethereum, illustrating the platform's central significance even more starkly.

Despite Ethereum itself not being a DeFi protocol, it has nonetheless earned a premier position in this overview. This is because Ethereum's underlying infrastructure has been instrumental in facilitating the smooth operation of numerous DeFi platforms and decentralized applications (DApps), allowing them to serve millions of users worldwide.

Ethereum's contribution to the DeFi sector is further underscored by its smart contract functionality, which has enabled developers to create and deploy DeFi applications with ease. This technological advancement has been pivotal in propelling the DeFi movement forward, making Ethereum a key player in the ecosystem's ongoing evolution.

DeFi Liquid staking protocols

Lido (LIDO)

Lido Finance stands at the forefront of the liquid staking revolution within the decentralized finance (DeFi) sector. Marking its debut in December 2020, Lido distinguished itself as the pioneering protocol offering liquid staking solutions to mainstream users. This innovative approach allows participants to stake Ethereum along with other supported assets, all the while preserving their liquidity. This means that users have the ability to earn staking rewards without the necessity of locking up their assets, providing a significant advantage during fluctuating market conditions.

Boasting a Total Value Locked (TVL) surpassing $22.5 billion, Lido has swiftly climbed the ranks to become the preeminent DeFi protocol across the Web3 landscape. This achievement showcases the protocol's widespread acceptance and trust within the community.

Investors holding Lido's native governance token, LDO, are afforded the opportunity to weigh in on governance matters, influencing the platform's development and direction. This participatory aspect, combined with Lido's sustained growth and the increasing popularity of liquid staking, positions LDO as a potentially lucrative asset for investors.

Lido's ecosystem spans multiple versions and integrations (V1, V2, V3, & Arc), with its token symbolized by LDO and a robust market capitalization of $3.05 billion. The protocol has expanded its reach across several blockchain networks, including Ethereum, Solana, Moonbeam, Moonriver, and TerraClassic, thereby enhancing its accessibility and utility.

As the most favored crypto-staking decentralized application (dApp), Lido's prominence in the staking domain is unmatched, with a TVL of $9.19 billion, significantly outpacing its nearest competitors. Lido facilitates staking through 'liquid' pools, allowing for flexibility in that investors may unstake their assets at any given moment. Through the LIDO token, investors gain a voice in the protocol's governance, deliberating on crucial aspects such as the distribution of staking rewards.

In essence, Lido Finance embodies the cutting-edge of liquid staking technology in DeFi, offering users flexibility, governance participation, and the potential for investment growth, all of which contribute to its standout status in the crypto ecosystem.

Rocket Pool (RPL)

Rocket Pool, identified by its token symbol RPL, stands as a prominent figure in the realm of decentralized finance (DeFi), specifically within the staking sector. As the second-largest staking protocol, Rocket Pool is exclusively focused on Ethereum, allowing users to stake ether (ETH). Unlike its competitors, such as Lido, which operates with a limited set of nodes for validation, Rocket Pool democratizes the validation process by enabling any participant to become a node. This strategy effectively distributes node risk across a broader base, although it's noteworthy that Rocket Pool's annual percentage rate (APR) for staking ETH currently trails behind Lido's offerings.

Rocket Pool distinguishes itself with its ERC-20 utility token, RPL, which empowers its holders to influence protocol modifications through governance votes. This aspect of participation underscores the protocol's commitment to decentralization and community involvement.

Diving deeper into Rocket Pool’s ethos, the protocol endeavors to demystify the Ethereum staking process, championing a decentralized methodology. By aggregating resources, it lowers the entry barrier for staking to just 0.01 ETH, thereby widening access to a more diverse group of investors. This approach not only aligns with Ethereum's foundational principles of decentralization and community ownership but also marks significant milestones in terms of Total Value Locked (TVL). Rocket Pool has witnessed a remarkable growth in TVL, escalating to $2.9 billion from a previous $604 million in December 2022, demonstrating a strong trajectory of adoption and trust within the DeFi community.

The recent spotlight on Rocket Pool’s native token, RPL, particularly following Coinbase's investment in August 2023, has sparked increased interest in the protocol. This investment not only validates Rocket Pool's strategic position within the staking landscape but also suggests a potential uptick in demand for the RPL token as the protocol continues to expand its reach and solidify its trustworthiness. For stakeholders, this represents an opportunity to actively partake in governance decisions, shaping the future direction of Rocket Pool as it carves out a significant niche in the decentralized staking domain.


DeFi Lending/Borrowing Protocol Coins

Aave (AAVE)

Aave, symbolized by the token AAVE, stands as a cornerstone in the decentralized finance (DeFi) sector, notably ranking as the fourth-largest DeFi protocol globally. It is particularly renowned for leading the charge in the lending and borrowing domain, offering a platform where participants can either earn interest by contributing cryptocurrencies to liquidity pools or borrow funds at favorable rates.

Operating across a spectrum of blockchain networks including Ethereum, Polygon, Avalanche, Optimism, Arbitrum, Fantom, and Harmony, Aave has broadened its reach and accessibility. This expansion has been instrumental in its ability to provide efficient, cost-effective services to a diverse user base.

As a decentralized money market protocol, Aave has introduced innovative features such as flash loans and collateral swaps, drawing a significant number of investors and solidifying its standing as a premier lending platform within the DeFi landscape. These tools have not only enhanced the protocol’s utility but also contributed to its appeal among users looking for flexible and advanced financial solutions.

The AAVE token, an ERC-20 asset, plays a pivotal role within the Aave ecosystem, granting holders the power to participate in governance decisions and influence the network's future direction. The token itself has seen remarkable growth, registering a 55% increase over the past year, a testament to the protocol’s success and the trust it has engendered within the DeFi community.

Aave's commitment to innovation and its expansion across multiple blockchain networks underscore its dedication to improving the DeFi lending space. By offering a wide range of services and maintaining a user-centric approach, Aave continues to pioneer the path forward for decentralized lending, demonstrating the potential for sustainable growth and the empowerment of its users through financial autonomy.

Compound (COMP)

Compound, under the token symbol COMP, emerges as a significant player within the decentralized finance (DeFi) ecosystem, operating primarily on the Ethereum blockchain. With a market capitalization of $711 million and a Total Value Locked (TVL) amounting to $1.16 billion, Compound has established itself as a leading borrowing and lending platform, akin to Aave, yet it maintains a focused presence by not extending into other Layer 1 or Layer 2 networks.

Noteworthy for its innovation in the DeFi lending space, Compound introduces unique features such as cToken to support multiple assets, eliminating the need for credit checks and implementing dynamic interest rates. This approach enables users to either contribute assets to the liquidity pool to earn interest or borrow against their collateral, providing flexibility and accessibility in financial operations.

Despite its specialized niche, Compound has seen one of the most substantial increases in TVL, propelling it into the top tier of DeFi protocols. This surge is indicative of the protocol's robust liquidity offerings and its appeal among those interested in yield farming opportunities.

The COMP token serves a dual function within the Compound ecosystem, acting as both a utility token and a means for governance. Holders of COMP are empowered to participate in decision-making processes, influencing the protocol's development and ensuring that the platform remains aligned with the interests of its community. This governance model reinforces Compound's commitment to fostering a decentralized financial system where every participant has a voice.

By focusing on creating an accessible lending and borrowing environment through innovative financial instruments and a governance-centered approach, Compound not only enhances the DeFi landscape but also encourages a more inclusive and autonomous financial ecosystem.

Decentralized exchanges (DEX)


Uniswap, a pioneering Automated Market Maker (AMM), is at the forefront of revolutionizing the way tokens are exchanged by making liquidity provision accessible to all. By allowing any user to become a liquidity provider, Uniswap enables them to earn trading fees, thereby democratizing an essential aspect of the decentralized finance (DeFi) ecosystem.

Holding a Total Value Locked (TVL) exceeding $3.8 billion, Uniswap serves as a cornerstone within the DeFi landscape, offering efficient and low-cost token swaps with minimal slippage. The platform is driven by its community of UNI token holders, who play a pivotal role in guiding its direction through governance and "active stewardship".

As the governance token of the platform, UNI empowers its holders with significant influence over the protocol's operations and strategic decisions. This participatory model not only facilitates the shaping of Uniswap's future but also underscores the critical role of decentralized exchanges (DEXs) in fostering a dynamic and fast-evolving DeFi space.


The 1inch Network, represented by the symbol 1INCH, is at the forefront of the decentralized finance (DeFi) movement, serving as a cutting-edge decentralized exchange (DEX) aggregator. Launched in 2020 and boasting a market capitalization of $630.15 million with a current price of $0.55, 1inch aims to redefine the crypto trading landscape. By pooling liquidity from various DEXs, it offers enhanced liquidity, superior trading rates, and minimized slippage, positioning itself as a standout among penny cryptocurrencies with the potential to revolutionize trader engagement with the crypto markets.

At its core, the 1inch Network strives to encapsulate the quintessential advantages of a DEX — such as security, adaptability, and decentralization — while addressing common drawbacks. It efficiently navigates through top DEX platforms including Uniswap, Sushiswap, and PancakeSwap, leveraging smart contracts to secure the most favorable prices and streamline transaction costs for its users.

Engagement with the 1inch Network, through activities like trading and liquidity provision, rewards users with 1INCH tokens. Additionally, token holders benefit from reduced fees and other perks, making 1INCH a particularly appealing investment as its value could escalate with the platform's growing user base.

Notable Features of the 1inch Network:

  • It consolidates liquidity from numerous decentralized exchanges to improve user experience.
  • The platform ensures more favorable fee rates by optimizing order allocation and finding the most cost-efficient trading paths through smart contract technology.
  • Users can earn 1INCH tokens as incentives and enjoy discounts on transaction fees.


  • 1inch Network faces stiff competition in attracting users from a crowded field of decentralized exchanges.

How to Find the Best DeFi Project to Invest In

Identifying a DeFi project worthy of investment hinges on one crucial aspect: a robust financial foundation. Bear this principle in mind as you delve into the realm of new cryptocurrency ventures, allowing the following strategies to guide your selection of premier DeFi opportunities:

  • Leverage news outlets and social platforms to uncover emerging DeFi services. Platforms like Twitter and Telegram are fertile grounds for gathering insights, while cryptocurrency news websites frequently feature interviews with DeFi project founders, offering a window into the service's vision and leadership caliber.
  • Delve into the whitepaper. This document is pivotal as it details the technological underpinnings and overarching objectives of a DeFi protocol. By comparing whitepapers across leading DeFi initiatives, you can pinpoint innovative concepts and evaluate the coherence of their token economics.
  • Search for distinctive technology serving a specific need. A compelling reason for user engagement with the service is paramount. This could stem from offering superior yields compared to traditional finance alternatives, enhanced flexibility, or user-friendly experiences. Consider the existing voids within decentralized finance and how the project proposes to address them.
  • Support DeFi projects with demonstrable appeal. The appreciation in value of any DeFi tokens is contingent upon growing participation within its ecosystem. It's essential for a DeFi initiative to exhibit its capacity to draw and add value to its user base before making an investment decision.
  • Apply technical analysis to discern investment timings. Trading indicators can significantly aid in determining the opportune moments to purchase DeFi tokens. Maintain a watchlist of various projects and employ these tools to strategically time your investments in the DeFi sector.

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