What are the best DeFi coins in 2022?

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DeFi coins are hot property, but what’s worth looking at in 2022?

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One of the hottest things in the world of crypto right now is DeFi and the associated tokens, DeFi coins. If you are wondering what the best DeFi coins of 2022 might be, or you are thinking about which DeFi coins to invest in, read on as we look at some of the most promising DeFi coins.

Decentralised finance

First, though, an explanation of what DeFi is. DeFi is short for decentralised finance, meaning financial transactions that bypass banks. Bitcoin, the daddy of all crypto coins, was set up in the wake of the global financial crisis of the late 2000s to allow people to get access to the services they need. The World Bank says there are 1.7 billion people who do not have a bank account, but roughly two thirds of them own a mobile phone. Advocates of decentralised finance hope to reach these people to provide them with banking services, which will, it is hoped, promote financial inclusion.

The aim is for a fairer version of traditional financial services, accessible online. Decentralised finance has the goal of providing a modern, cheaper alternative to all of these services that can be accessed over the internet. These tools are often available in the form of decentralised apps, or DApps for short.

There are also theoretical benefits for international financial transactions, too. One issue many people have when sending money around the world is the high commission fees and remittance service charges that traditional financial institutions charge, and another is the cost of currency conversion. The idea is that with a cheaper alternative, remittance charges and commission fees will drop, and currency conversion will have to get cheaper to be more competitive.

But before looking at the top DeFi coins for 2022, what are DeFi coins? DeFi coins are de facto cryptocurrencies based around DApps and protocols. They allow people to borrow and lend money, as well as doing other things associated with traditional banking. In other words, they are tokens for a whole new financial ecosystem.

One thing to note is that the majority of DeFi coins are based around the Ethereum network. The popularity and size of Ethereum mean that it has attracted the most interest which, in turn, means there are more DeFi tokens and other crypto assets using the network.

Before we start, though, one coin that is not going to be mentioned in this list is LUNA. This is because, while it had been the biggest DeFi coin by market cap, the native token of Terra has recently collapsed after the TerraUSD stablecoin became de-pegged, dragging terra down with it. It would be wrong to suggest that a crypto which fell from nearly $90 to not far off $1 in the space of a week is, at this point, one to watch. That isn’t to say that we might not mention LUNA in a later version of this list, though. It will all depend on how well the coin’s founder, Do Kwan, is able to deliver the recovery plan he set out on 11 May. 

So, which are the DeFi coins to watch? What are the top DeFi coins in 2022? Let’s take a look.

AVAX

The largest DeFi coin, with a market cap of around $8.4bn, is AVAX. This coin is the native token of the Avalanche blockchain, which aims to make using smart contracts quicker and cheaper by, in effect, combining three blockchains in one. 

The AVAX coin itself can be used for staking in return for crypto rewards. The coins can also be used for transaction fees, which are then burned, on the system. The AVAX coin was launched in 2020 and, at the start of trading on 22 September that year, it was worth $4.99.

The coin had its ups and downs throughout the rest of 2020 before going on a bull run in 2021. It bloomed to an intraday high of $56.26 on 11 February but then went down, with problems exacerbated by the Great Crypto Day Crash of 19 May and further bearish behaviour by the markets.

However, it recovered and scored a new record high on 24 August of $58.98, before breaking both the $60 and $70 barriers in September. While October looked like the coin was on the retreat, it bounced back in November and reached an all-time high of $146.22 intraday on 21 November. The coin’s price fell down to close the year at $109.27.

The freefall continued until AVAX reached an intraday low of $55.57 on 24 January. There was a return to better form, though and, on 17 February, it reached an intraday high of $98.57, before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February led to it to a low of $64.83. While there was some recovery since then – most notably, a bull run which saw it topping $100 in early April – it fell down and, on 11 May 2022, it was worth around $33.

Nevertheless, the news earlier that Ava Labs, the organisation behind it, is to go into partnership with Mastercard and that it is now accessible to users of the Wirex payment ecosystem, along with the news that Avalanche had invested 4 million AVAX – worth about $290m (£220m) at the time – on 8 March in a bid to attract the likes of gaming and DeFi to the blockchain, together with Valkyrie Investments launching a crypto fund means it is very much one of the DeFi coins to watch in 2022.

AVAX
AVAX is the largest DeFi coin - photo: Shutterstock

UNI/USD price history

Date Close Change Change(%) Open High Low
Dec 4, 2022 6.19828 0.11943 1.96% 6.07885 6.20167 6.07885
Dec 3, 2022 6.07885 -0.25023 -3.95% 6.32908 6.42534 6.04790
Dec 2, 2022 6.32908 0.42396 7.18% 5.90512 6.54116 5.84720
Dec 1, 2022 5.90512 0.06591 1.13% 5.83921 5.99454 5.69743
Nov 30, 2022 5.84121 0.40239 7.40% 5.43882 5.89014 5.43882
Nov 29, 2022 5.43882 0.16975 3.22% 5.26907 5.51870 5.23612
Nov 28, 2022 5.27107 -0.11183 -2.08% 5.38290 5.44081 5.13527
Nov 27, 2022 5.38290 -0.01997 -0.37% 5.40287 5.60457 5.36892
Nov 26, 2022 5.40287 0.00899 0.17% 5.39388 5.60657 5.34596
Nov 25, 2022 5.39388 -0.04194 -0.77% 5.43582 5.49773 5.27606
Nov 24, 2022 5.43582 -0.03096 -0.57% 5.46678 5.56962 5.36892
Nov 23, 2022 5.46678 0.17474 3.30% 5.29204 5.52669 5.23612
Nov 22, 2022 5.29104 0.12681 2.46% 5.16423 5.36992 4.93557
Nov 21, 2022 5.16733 -0.24453 -4.52% 5.41186 5.45279 5.06138
Nov 20, 2022 5.41186 -0.32541 -5.67% 5.73727 5.79119 5.36692
Nov 19, 2022 5.73727 -0.08896 -1.53% 5.82623 5.85050 5.63651
Nov 18, 2022 5.82623 0.11573 2.03% 5.71050 6.03222 5.70342
Nov 17, 2022 5.70741 -0.22566 -3.80% 5.93307 6.02394 5.64550
Nov 16, 2022 5.93307 -0.32051 -5.13% 6.25358 6.38339 5.80186
Nov 15, 2022 6.25358 0.18471 3.04% 6.06887 6.46627 5.94605

UNI

The fourth biggest DeFi coin in terms of market cap is Uniswap, with a market cap of around $3.678bn as of 11 May 2022. It is a decentralised finance protocol that is used to exchange cryptocurrencies. Its currency, UNI, can be earned by providing liquidity to certain pools. The plan is for it to eventually take on a financial governance role as soon as more of the supply is issued.

The first batch of UNI coins came out in September 2020. They were valued at around $3.44 on launch, and the price stayed close to that point for most of the rest of the year. Things started to change early in 2021, however. While UNI had been valued at $3.67 on 30 December, it shot up to $21.24 on 6 February, an almost sixfold rise in just over a month.

There were some peaks and troughs in the following months before it reached an all-time high of $44.97 on 3 May. The coin then went on a downward spiral to close the year at $17.07. Since then, the overall direction of movement has been down and, by 21 March, it was trading at about $9.50. There was then a recovery, with UNI spending time above $10 in late March and early April, before the market fell apart, with China’s cryptoban of 11 April and the depegging of UST in early May leaving it at around $5.60 on 11 May. 

As far as the future goes, WalletInvestor predicts that UNI will collapse to $0.341 by May 2023, while LongForecast is also pessimistic, saying that the coin should drop to $1.61 in June 2023, before recovering slightly to $3.68 in the middle of 2024. On the other hand, PricePrediction.net is far more bullish, saying it can reach $13.02 this year, $41.51 in 2025 and $253.57 in 2030.

While there is some dispute as to what will happen to UNI’s price, the fact that it is still one of the largest DeFi tokens out there makes it one to potentially take note of right now.

LINK 

The fifth largest DeFi coin by market capitalisation is Chainlink, which had a market cap of a little more than $7bn as of 21 March 2022. Chainlink is a decentralised network that provides data and information from sources that are off the blockchain to smart contracts on the blockchain via oracles. An oracle is something that transmits a piece of information onto the blockchain.

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Chainlink’s DeFi coin is LINK, which launched in March 2020 at $2.23. It went up over time, breaking the $3 barrier in April 2020, the $4 mark in May 2020 and $5 in July 2020. The coin’s value then rocketed, reaching $19.03 on 17 August, before crashing back down to earth, landing at $7.86 on 24 September.

LINK rose slightly over the remainder of 2020, but things changed in 2021. On 31 December 2020, it was valued at $11.17, but on 13 February 2021, it stood at $34, more than trebling its value in a month and a half. It went back down to $24.60 a fortnight later. There were more peaks and troughs, but the coin reached an all-time high of $52.88 on 10 May. It then dropped down to $33.29 on 17 May and, on 7 October 2021, it stood at $27.19.

LINK broke back through $30 in late October and spent most of November above that mark, before it was hit by turmoil in December and ended up closing the year at about $19.59. This year started well for LINK, with a rally to $28.57 on 11 January, but the coin failed to build on its own momentum and went down to trade at around $14.90 on 21 March, before recovering to rise above $18 on 3 April. After that, though, there was a decline in price and, come 11 May, it was worth around $8.

WalletInvestor is pretty gloomy when it comes to looking at how LINK will perform in the medium term, forecasting that it will be trading at a little under $0.953 in May 2023, but PricePrediction.net has a LINK coin price forecast which sees it reach $20.58 next year. 

As always, be careful to do your own research and never invest more than you can afford.

RUNE

Another one of the more interesting among the largest DeFi coins is RUNE, the native token of the THORChain network. RUNE powers system, which is, in effect, a decentralised exchange (DEX) that can, to put it simply, allow people to swap cryptocurrencies that exist on separate blockchains when and how they want without having to worry about whether the exchange lists the relevant cryptos or not. 

RUNE, which launched in 2019, is another coin where the story only really got going in 2021. The crypto made its way up the price charts until, on 19 May 2021, it reached an all-time high of $21.26. Sadly for THORChain investors, it was then that the market took a real turn for the worst, as the Chinese government’s strengthening of crypto restrictions led to the Great Crypto Day Crash, sending the market and RUNE into a downward spiral.

The overall world of crypto and the place of RUNE in the market improved in the autumn, though, and it topped $10 in late October and early November before the coin headed downwards to close the year at $6.81. Since then, there have been peaks and troughs but, as of 21 March, the coin was trading at about $3.75. While it seems it was not able to cash in by synthetic assets, which allow people to buy cryptos on THORChain that are partially backed by RUNE and partially by other assets, it enjoyed a market cap of around $1.2bn. There are reasons to be optimistic, if forecasts are to be believed, though, with WalletInvestor suggesting it should reach just over $7.87 in May 2023, while DigitalCoinPrice says its average price should be $5.52 in May 2023.

XTZ

In seventh place on the list of the biggest DeFi coins, we find XTZ. This coin, which has a market cap of around $2.8bn on 21 March 2022, is the native token of the Tezos blockchain. What is notable about Tezos is that it is self-amending, meaning XTZ holders can all vote on upcoming changes that are put in place, which, in turn, minimises the likelihood of a hard fork taking place.

XTZ launched in October 2017, when it was worth around $2.15. The coin then got caught up in the crypto boom of late 2017 and early 2018, reaching its still current all time high of $12.19 on 17 December 2017. The coin’s value declined, and it spent most of the next few years trading at around the dollar mark. This all changed in 2021, when it reached periodic highs of $5.58 on 14 February, $7.67 on 17 April and $8.40 on 7 May.

The coin was then hit by the events of 19 May, but in September it broke through the $8 mark again and hit a 52-week high of $9.18 on 4 October. This was as good as it got, and the overall trend became bearish with the coin dropping down to close the year at $4.35. There was some recovery for XTZ in January, with it topping $5 to reach at intraday high of $5.34 on 4 January, but then it was time to move down, with it falling below $5 the very next day. The highlight over the next few months was probably the bull run in late March and early April which saw it rise above $4, but by 11 May, market forces had sent it down to a little over $2.

There is some optimism for the coin, though. WalletInvestor says that it will get to around $3.75 in May 2023 and should continue to grow until at least May 2027, when it will stand at somewhere around $8.37. This, plus the intriguing way in which its blockchain works, means that it is one of the DeFi coins to watch.

THETA

As of 11 May 2022, the seventh largest DeFi coin was the Theta Network’s THETA coin, which had a market cap of around $1.5bn. What is worth noting about this particular cryptocurrency is that it does not just appear on the list of top DeFi coins, but also on CoinMarketCap’s list of biggest NFT coins and largest metaverse cryptos, meaning it is a coin with, potentially, a lot of crossover appeal. THETA is used to power the Theta Network, which is designed to allow users to link up and offer their spare bandwidth to enable fast, effective and efficient streaming for games and movies. The network also has its own NFT marketplace, called ThetaDrop. 

The coin has been around since early 2018, but it has only really been since 2021 that it has served as a major player in the DeFi space. The coin got caught up in the bull run that hit the crypto market in the first half of that year, with it rallying to reach an all-time high of $15.90 on 16 April that year.

Just like THETA got caught up in the upswing of early 2021, it was caught up in the downturn the market suffered over the summer and, while there were peaks to go with the troughs, it was not one of the cryptos that enjoyed new heights in autumn 2021 and it closed the year at $4.71, before continuing to go down to trade at around $2.95 on 22 March. The coin spent time above $4 in late March and early April, but as the market contracted, exacerbated by the collapse of the UST stablecoin, it ended up being worth around $1.50 on 11 May.

What makes THETA potentially worth a second look is the existence of another coin. TDROP aims to power the system’s NFT marketplace and it ended up making its long-awaited debut in February 2022. While the new token’s performance has been less than stellar so far, it is still early days yet. If one of the coins makes a comeback, it could push the other similarly upwards. We shall have to wait and see what happens with these DeFi tokens.

As it stands, PricePrediction.net thinks that THETA can get to $4.18 at some point this year and, by 2025, it could be worth $13.44, making it one to potentially pay attention to. 

LINK/USD price history

Date Close Change Change(%) Open High Low
Dec 4, 2022 7.34246 0.11879 1.64% 7.22367 7.34246 7.17475
Dec 3, 2022 7.22267 -0.36737 -4.84% 7.59004 7.61500 7.19471
Dec 2, 2022 7.59204 -0.07287 -0.95% 7.66491 7.70684 7.47224
Dec 1, 2022 7.66591 0.00998 0.13% 7.65593 7.78870 7.43430
Nov 30, 2022 7.65593 0.35839 4.91% 7.29754 7.73780 7.25661
Nov 29, 2022 7.29355 0.11780 1.64% 7.17575 7.49022 7.10986
Nov 28, 2022 7.17774 0.29549 4.29% 6.88225 7.32350 6.51487
Nov 27, 2022 6.88125 -0.25556 -3.58% 7.13681 7.25062 6.83932
Nov 26, 2022 7.13482 0.30548 4.47% 6.82934 7.26459 6.81336
Nov 25, 2022 6.82834 0.02296 0.34% 6.80538 6.96611 6.64066
Nov 24, 2022 6.80638 0.12180 1.82% 6.68458 6.95113 6.56379
Nov 23, 2022 6.68359 0.28152 4.40% 6.40207 6.78242 6.31821
Nov 22, 2022 6.40007 0.54907 9.38% 5.85100 6.44998 5.81606
Nov 21, 2022 5.85000 0.10481 1.82% 5.74519 5.87197 5.51957
Nov 20, 2022 5.74419 -0.37235 -6.09% 6.11654 6.22137 5.70924
Nov 19, 2022 6.12054 -0.03993 -0.65% 6.16047 6.18942 5.97179
Nov 18, 2022 6.15647 -0.04493 -0.72% 6.20140 6.38409 6.04267
Nov 17, 2022 6.19940 0.03993 0.65% 6.15947 6.31221 6.00672
Nov 16, 2022 6.15947 -0.23460 -3.67% 6.39407 6.53384 6.05764
Nov 15, 2022 6.39307 0.12977 2.07% 6.26330 6.63865 6.18243

There are many more DeFi coins to buy. CoinMarketCap lists 530, and there are new ones coming onto the open market all the time. So if you are looking for DeFi projects to invest in, there are plenty of options. Just make sure that you do your own research, be prepared for prices to go down as well as up and never invest more money than you can afford to lose. 

FAQs

What are DeFi coins?

DeFi coins are tokens based around various DApps. They are usually, but not necessarily, associated with the Ethereum network. They allow people to do things associated with traditional banking, such as lend, borrow, and accumulate interest. DeFi is short for decentralised finance and is a crucial part of the world of cryptocurrency. 

How many DeFi coins are there?

According to CoinMarketCap, as of 21 March 2022, there were 543 DeFi coins. However, new DeFi coins are being added to the list while other DeFi tokens are falling away and being taken out of circulation all the time, so that figure can change at any moment.

Where to buy DeFi coins?

DeFi coins can be bought on crypto exchanges, and they are also available on Currency.com. Just make sure to do your own research and don’t invest more than you can afford to lose.

Are there any new DeFi coins?

DeFi coins and tokens are being launched on a regular basis. Recently, we’ve seen the likes of NOAH, swipe and mango markets move from being upcoming DeFi projects to being traded, and there are more upcoming DeFi coins in the pipeline. As ever, if you’re getting involved in a new launch, be careful and do your research.

Is DeFi a good investment?

It can be, but sometimes it isn’t. As always with cryptocurrency, you will need to do your own research, both on the DeFi token you want to buy and the decentralised finance market as a whole, before you invest. You should also remember that prices can go down as well as up, and you should never invest more money than you can afford to lose. 

Further reading

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