Crypto Basics

Top DeFi Crypto Projects in 2024 - Token Metrics Moon Awards

Discover the top DeFi crypto projects of 2024 at the Token Metrics Moon Awards. Uncover the most popular and promising projects in the DeFi space.
Token Metrics Team
9 Minutes
Top DeFi Crypto Projects

Table of contents

Welcome to the Token Metrics Moon Awards, a prestigious cryptocurrency industry accolade designed to honor platforms, projects, and initiatives that have significantly contributed to the sector. 

The latest addition to the Moon Awards is the category recognizing the "Top DeFi crypto projects in 2024."

Selection Process

At Token Metrics, we prioritize our audience, viewing them as the cornerstone of our operations. Our selection process is grounded in engaging with the community, ensuring that our awards' results genuinely mirror crypto enthusiasts' sentiments and experiences.

By interacting with our community members, we have curated a comprehensive list of the top DeFi crypto projects in 2024, drawing upon extensive survey data and user votes to inform our selections.

As we delve into the top-ranking DeFi crypto projects of 2024, we'll explore how these DeFi crypto-list contenders redefine the landscape. These projects, including Uniswap (UNI), Lido (LDO), Aave (AAVE), EigenLayer, MakerDAO, Jupiter Exchange, Pancake Swap, and GMX, stand at the forefront of the DeFi scene. 

This article aims to provide comprehensive insights into these leading DeFi projects, setting the stage for a deeper understanding of their impact and potential within the broader crypto economy.

What is Decentralized Finance (DeFi)?

Decentralized Finance, or DeFi, marks a revolutionary stride in financial technology, utilizing secure distributed ledgers akin to those underpinning cryptocurrencies. This innovation heralds a new era where:

  • Third parties and centralized institutions are bypassed, allowing direct peer-to-peer (P2P) financial transactions. This fundamental shift is powered by blockchain technology, which significantly diminishes the need for traditional financial intermediaries such as banks.
  • Blockchain's role is pivotal, acting as a distributed and secured database where transactions are encrypted and stored across multiple blocks. This structure ensures that once a transaction is recorded, its details become immutable, reinforcing the security and trust in the system.
  • DeFi's allure extends to its offerings of accessibility, low fees, high interest rates, security, transparency, and autonomy. These features collectively foster an inclusive financial environment that contrasts sharply with conventional banking systems.

At the core of DeFi's operational model are smart contracts, and the Ethereum blockchain facilitates automated, secure financial transactions without centralized oversight. This ecosystem supports a variety of applications, including:

These applications are pivotal in enhancing direct transactions and enabling complex financial products through composability, showcasing potential synergies with traditional financial industries. Ethereum's pivotal role as the foundation for most DeFi protocols underscores its significance, with the demand for Ethereum and Ether escalating with the DeFi sector's growth.

List of Top DeFi Crypto Projects in 2024

Let's explore the top DeFi crypto projects setting the pace in 2024.

top DeFi projects
Image Source - Token Metrics Moon Awards

1. Uniswap (UNI)

In the Moon Awards survey, Uniswap secured the top position with 30% of the total votes.

Uniswap (UNI) stands as a towering figure in the decentralized finance (DeFi) landscape, renowned for its innovative approach to decentralized exchanges (DEXs). It's not just the largest DEX by trading volume and total value locked (TVL) but also a hub for liquidity, hosting pools made of pairs of two tokens. Operating on Ethereum and extending its reach to ten other chains, Uniswap's versatility is unmatched.

Uniswap's future looks promising with anticipated updates and developments under the 'Mainnet 2024' initiative. These endeavors aim to further solidify its position as a DeFi titan, offering a vast array of cryptocurrencies for trading and impressive daily volumes. UNI, an ERC-20 token, facilitates access to DeFi services and empowers holders with voting rights, shaping the platform's trajectory.

2. Lido (LDO)

In the Moon Awards survey, Lido (LDO) secured the 2nd position with 20.1% of the total votes.

Lido (LDO) has emerged as a titan within the DeFi crypto space, particularly noted for its pioneering approach to liquid staking. With an impressive over $30 billion worth of ETH locked, Lido offers a compelling proposition for ether stakeholders. Its utility spans major networks such as Ethereum and Polygon, making it a versatile platform for diverse DeFi activities.

Key Features:

  • Liquid Staking Protocol: Users can stake their tokens and immediately start earning rewards, receiving liquid stTokens in return. This innovative mechanism allows for continued liquidity even as assets are staked.
  • Lido DAO: The governance heart of Lido, where stakeholders can participate in decision-making processes regarding upgrades and protocol parameters. This ensures a democratized approach to its evolution.

Lido's approach to staking, characterized by its semi-custodial service, distributes users' tokens across multiple validator nodes, enhancing security and minimizing risks.

3. Aave (AAVE)

In the Moon Awards survey, Aave secured the 3rd position with 10% of the total votes.

Aave (AAVE) emerges as a standout in the DeFi crypto realm, especially for those with a keen grasp of decentralized finance's intricacies and risks. Positioned on the Ethereum network, Aave introduces a non-custodial lending and borrowing platform that's extended its services across eight different networks, highlighting its adaptability and broad appeal.

Innovative Offerings & Key Features:

  • Flash Loans: Aave's pioneering service offers uncollateralized loans that must be repaid within the same transaction block, catering to financially sophisticated users.
  • aTokens: Lenders receive these as proof of deposit, which accrue interest in real-time, enhancing the liquidity and utility of assets within the platform.
  • Interest Rate Options: Borrowers can choose between stable and variable interest rates, providing flexibility in loan management amidst market volatility.

Aave positions itself as a leading DeFi project. The platform's approach to DeFi, emphasizing user autonomy, security, and a rich feature set, underscores its commitment to advancing the decentralized finance landscape.

4. EigenLayer

In the Moon Awards survey, EigenLayer secured the 4th position with 9.3% of the total votes.

EigenLayer is revolutionizing the Ethereum blockchain by introducing a novel concept known as restaking. This innovation allows developers to leverage Ethereum's decentralized validator set and staked Ether (ETH), paving the way for creating new applications that benefit from Ethereum's robust security infrastructure. Here's a closer look at how EigenLayer is reshaping the DeFi landscape:

Restaking and EigenPods:

  • Developers and restakers can contribute staked Ether or Ethereum liquid staking tokens (LSTs) to the ecosystem, enhancing Ethereum's security.
  • Those who stake their ETH directly on the beacon chain can create EigenPods, specialized nodes that support the network's security and efficiency.

EigenLayer's innovative approach to restaking and its commitment to enhancing Ethereum's security protocol positions it as a significant player in the DeFi crypto space, ready to contribute to the scalability and safety of layer 2 solutions.

5. MakerDAO

In the Moon Awards survey, MakerDAO secured the 5th position with 6.3% of the total votes.

Established by Rune Christensen, MakerDAO is not just another name in the DeFi crypto-list; it represents a cornerstone of the decentralized finance ecosystem. With its foundation deeply rooted in billions in U.S. Treasurys and on-chain assets, MakerDAO has carved out a niche, generating impressive annual revenue nearing one-quarter of a billion dollars. 

Endgame Overhaul and SubDAOs:

  • The Endgame proposal aims to rejuvenate MakerDAO's image, introducing six new subDAOs designed to cater to various sectors within DeFi, including beginner-friendly platforms, technology, real-world assets, finance, and institutions.
  • These subDAOs are set to offer enticing opportunities for yield farmers and savers through the earning of NewGovTokens and NewStables, positioning MakerDAO akin to a central bank dictating monetary policy.

AI Governance and Future Vision:

  • MakerDAO's ambitious vision includes transitioning into a fully autonomous DAO and utilizing artificial intelligence for governance. This AI governance model will be anchored around the Atlas, a central repository for all data, rules, and procedures, ensuring a seamless and efficient governance process.
  • Despite facing criticism from the community for the Endgame proposal, MakerDAO's commitment to innovation and its comprehensive suite of products, like Earn Yield, Fund Management, and OTC Crypto Exchange, underscores its pivotal role in shaping the future of DeFi.

6. Jupiter Exchange

In the Moon Awards survey, Jupiter Exchange secured the 6th position with 5.5% of the total votes.

Jupiter Exchange is an advanced swap aggregator operating on the Solana blockchain, setting a new standard in the DeFi crypto space. This platform is specifically designed to optimize DeFi transactions by:

  • Minimizing Slippage: Ensuring users get the best possible price with minimal loss.
  • Swift Execution: Aggregating liquidity from various decentralized exchanges for faster transaction completion.

Jupiter Exchange is about facilitating efficient trade and supporting the ecosystem's growth. This commitment is evidenced by:

Ecosystem Support: An impressive funding of 10M USDC and 100M JUP into a DAO wallet to foster development and growth.

Moreover, by introducing the Jupiter Perpetuals Liquidity Token (JLP), Jupiter Exchange's proactive approach to liquidity illustrates its innovative strategies to enhance trading dynamics and secure its place as a leader among DeFi projects in 2024.

7. Pancake Swap

In the Moon Awards survey, PancakeSwap secured the 7th position with 5.2% of the total votes.

PancakeSwap, a beacon in the DeFi crypto landscape, has etched its name as a multichain decentralized exchange (DEX) that thrives on the Binance Smart Chain (BSC). 

Since its inception on September 20, 2020, it has rapidly ascended to the apex of the DeFi segment, boasting one of the largest trading volumes. 

The platform's allure lies in its decentralized liquidity provision through yield farming and commission payments to depositors. It offers an enticing suite of services for those delving into DeFi coins and tokens.

Key Offerings:

  • Decentralized Exchange: Facilitates crypto exchange and profitable farming using BEP-20 tokens.
  • Governance: Empowers CAKE token holders with a decentralized management method for collective tokenomics and protocol changes decision-making.

Anticipation is building around PancakeSwap v4, which will launch in Q3 2024 on Ethereum and BNB Chain and redefine user experience.

8. GMX

In the Moon Awards survey, GMX secured 8th position with 2.5% of the total votes.

GMX, a prominent figure in the DeFi crypto landscape, has been making waves with its unique approach to decentralized trading. Here's a closer look at its key aspects:

Operational Excellence:

  • Operates on Arbitrum and Avalanche networks, offering leverage up to 50x and protection against liquidations.
  • Utilizes liquidity pools and the Chainlink platform for accurate balancing and pricing, ensuring low swap fees and zero price impact trades.

Community and Security:

  • GMX token holders are empowered to vote on network changes and stake tokens for rewards, fostering a strong community engagement.
  • Prioritizes user fund security with a substantial $5 million bug bounty program, highlighting its commitment to maintaining a secure trading environment.

GMX's innovative features, such as its unique mechanism for perpetual exchanges and its focus on user fund security, position it as a compelling investment and a leader in the DeFi crypto space for 2024 and beyond.


As the DeFi space continues to evolve, the significance of these projects extends beyond their current market caps or technological achievements; they are pivotal in paving a path toward a more inclusive, transparent, and user-empowered financial system. 

DeFi's journey is far from complete, with future innovations and subsequent projects poised to build upon the foundation laid by these trailblazers. 

Their collective endeavors not only forecast a buoyant future for decentralized finance but also underscore the importance of continuous research, development, and community engagement in this ever-expanding domain.


The information provided on this website does not constitute investment advice, financial advice, trading advice, or any other advice, and you should not treat any of the website's content as such.

Token Metrics does not recommend buying, selling, or holding any cryptocurrency. Conduct your due diligence and consult your financial advisor before making investment decisions.

Token Metrics Team

The Token Metrics Team comprises blockchain and cryptocurrency experts dedicated to providing accurate information and empowering investors. Through our blog, we aim to educate and inspire readers to navigate the world of cryptocurrencies confidently.

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