The DeFi Ecosystem in Polkadot: An Overview and the Future  

  • DeFi is a distributed ledger-based financial technology. 
  • Polkadot is a protocol that is used to transfer data across blockchains. 
  • The Polkadot ecosystem is growing as DeFi is creating many new products. 

Polkadot is a protocol that allows the transfer of data across blockchains. The DeFi ecosystem plays an important role in the Polkadot as it is a financial technology that is based on distributed ledgers. 

What Is DeFi?

DeFi (Decentralized Finance) is a financial technology that is based on distributed ledgers, which are used by cryptocurrencies. It empowers peer-to-peer (P2P) digital transactions. It eliminates the fees that financial companies and banks charge for using their services. Secure digital wallets are available where individuals can hold money and transfer funds. 

Applications of DeFi are dApps that are to run the blockchain and handle transactions. P2P can meet the needs of an individual’s loan. DeFi allows for security, transparency, autonomy, accessibility, low fees, and high interest rates. The growth of the DeFi industry and decentralization are key trends that help to achieve success with projects like Stylized Notes and Fraction. DeFi will see increased adoption with the value of Ethereum in 2023 and the user base will also grow, creating new opportunities for protocols and users. 

The advantages of DeFi are better transparency, reduced costs, better access to financial services, increased privacy and security, enhanced control over funds, and potentially higher returns. The disadvantages are regulatory risks, complexity, market volatility, liquidity risks, technical risks, counterparty risks, and operational risks. 

DeFi on Polkadot

Polkadot is a network protocol that basically allows the transfer of arbitrary data across blockchains. There are different protocol layers, such as Acala, Bifrost, Stafi, Equilibrium, Centrifuge, HydraDX, Zenlink, Laminar, and Mangata. The application layers in Polkadot are Sushiswap, Polkaswap, and Clover. The Polkadot ecosystem isn’t bound by the trust that the receiving chain has in the sending chain. Polkadot uses XCMP (cross-chain message passing) for asynchronous communication between parachains. Chains can send a message without a response expectation. DeFi, which is built on Bitcoin and Ethereum, will be able to communicate within the Polkadot ecosystem. For example, Interplay is building a low-trust Bitcoin bridge, whereas Chainsafe and Snowfork are working on low-trust Ethereum bridges. Novel and interoperable DeFi products can be created by teams building on Polkadot by leveraging XCMP and bridges. 

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DeFi projects can take advantage of Polkadot because of its powerful set of features. There is a unique sub-category in DeFi called liquid staking and it is observed that, according to some projects, Polkadot will likely be the most adopted blockchain ecosystem for liquid staking. DeFi projects in Polkadot are creating new concepts altogether. For example, Alcala’s dSWF (decentralized sovereign wealth fund) has the purpose of making Acala economically sustainable to cover ongoing funds for research and development and to pay for security on the Polkadot network. 


The future of the Polkadot ecosystem is bright, as teams in the DeFi ecosystem are building or considering a wide variety of products. The most development activity is observed in products such as non-custodial exchanges, money markets, oracles, and stablecoins. These types of products are generally considered DeFi primitives and building blocks.

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