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Top 7 DeFi Projects Using Bitcoin [2024 Review]
October 24, 2023

Traditionally associated with a store of value and digital gold, Bitcoin has found its way into the vibrant world of decentralized finance, unlocking new possibilities for users and investors.

Discover the potential impact of Bitcoin on DeFi and gain insights into the exciting future where Bitcoin meets DeFi.

This article lists the top 8 DeFi projects for 2024 and ahead that have successfully incorporated Bitcoin into their platforms. 

The Bitcoin DeFi Ecosystem

Integrating Bitcoin into the DeFi ecosystem signifies expanding its use beyond a simple investment or value-holding asset. Traditional DeFi platforms are often built on smart contract platforms like Ethereum. Still, Bitcoin's presence is becoming increasingly noticeable as developers find ways to leverage its unique features within the decentralized finance landscape. 

Key aspects of the Bitcoin DeFi ecosystem include: 

  • Decentralized Lending and Borrowing: Bitcoin is collateral for decentralized lending and borrowing protocols. Users can lock their Bitcoin assets in smart contracts to borrow other cryptocurrencies, unlocking liquidity without selling their Bitcoin holdings. 
  • Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC): To bring Bitcoin's liquidity to DeFi platforms built on Ethereum, projects have introduced wrapped versions of Bitcoin (WBTC). WBTC is an ERC-20 token pegged 1:1 to the value of Bitcoin, allowing users to interact with Ethereum-based DeFi applications using Bitcoin. 
  • Yield Farming: Some DeFi projects involve staking or lending Bitcoin to earn additional tokens or rewards, a process known as yield farming. This allows Bitcoin holders to easily take part in the DeFi ecosystem and earn yields on their Bitcoin holdings. 
  • Decentralized Exchanges (DEXs): Bitcoin is being incorporated into decentralized exchanges, enabling users to trade Bitcoin directly on these platforms without relying on traditional centralized exchanges.  
  • Cross-Chain Solutions: Projects are exploring interoperability solutions to enable the seamless movement of assets, including Bitcoin, across different blockchains. This addresses the challenge of Bitcoin being on a separate blockchain from many DeFi platforms. 
  • Security and Network Effects: The robust security and widespread recognition of Bitcoin contribute to the overall security and trustworthiness of the DeFi projects integrating it. The large and established Bitcoin network effect provides a solid foundation for these endeavors.

Also See: 8 Top DeFi Platforms on Bitcoin via Stacks

Top-Rated Bitcoin Decentralized Finance Projects in 2024

These best DeFi projects using Bitcoin are redefining the relationship between individuals and their finances, ushering in a new era where financial freedom is not just a concept but a reality.

#1: ALEX

ALEX is not just a platform; it's a thriving ecosystem that empowers developers, traders, and investors to explore the full potential of finance on the Bitcoin blockchain. With industry veterans, including Co-Founders Dr. Chiente Hsu and Ms. Rachel Yu, the core team comprises skilled professionals with diverse expertise, ensuring ALEX's commitment to excellence in product design, development, and operations.

Also See: What is ALEX Bridge?

With a Total Value Locked exceeding $20 million and a robust Total Transaction Volume of over $337 million, ALEX has quickly become a formidable force in Bitcoin DeFi. Boasting 26,631 active wallets, the platform offers modules covering everything from launching and managing assets to data analysis and trading.

Featured dApps on Alex: 

  • SWAP (AMM DEX): A decentralized exchange leveraging automated market makers (AMM) for seamless asset swaps within the Bitcoin ecosystem. 
  • KICKSTART (Launchpad on Bitcoin): An innovative platform dedicated to kickstarting new projects, providing them with essential tools and visibility in the Bitcoin space. 
  • TRADE (B20): A dynamic trading platform with an order book for BRC20 and SIP10 tokens designed for precise trade execution and optimized price discovery. 
  • CONNECT (Bridge): A robust bridge service seamlessly connecting multiple blockchain networks, ensuring effortless asset transfers and interoperability.


#2: Zest Protocol

Zest Protocol is the first Bitcoin native lending protocol enabling users to harness the power of their Bitcoin through straightforward transactions. 

Smart contracts lie at the heart of Zest Protocol, facilitating on-chain BTC loans and BTC collateralized loans, providing a seamless and efficient way for lenders and borrowers to engage in the Bitcoin capital market.

Key Features:

  • Smart Contracts: The protocol employs smart contracts to facilitate on-chain BTC loans and BTC collateralized loans. This likely ensures transparency, security, and automation in lending processes. 
  • Building the Bitcoin Economy: Zest Protocol sees itself as a contributor to building the Bitcoin economy. By enabling lending and borrowing against Bitcoin assets, the platform aims to stimulate economic growth within the Bitcoin ecosystem. 
  • Private Beta and Early Access: Zest Protocol is currently in private beta, with users able to request early access. This suggests a phased rollout strategy, allowing a limited group to experience and contribute to the platform before broader availability. 
  • Community Engagement: Zest Protocol actively encourages community participation through various channels. You can enroll yourself for the early access, receive email updates, and engage with the platform's vibrant community on Twitter and Discord. The interactive and inclusive approach underscores Zest Protocol's commitment to fostering a strong, informed user base.


#3: LNSwap

LNSwap is a decentralized swap protocol designed to offer users a rapid and private method for exchanging Bitcoin for digital assets on the Stacks layer and vice versa. This innovative protocol supports all on-chain and Lightning Bitcoin wallets, emphasizing a commitment to user control and privacy.

By leveraging Lightning Network technology, the protocol provides a level of privacy assurance that distinguishes it from other alternatives in the market. You need Leather to use LNSwap, you can deposit native BTC and swap to Stacks through LNSwap

Key Features:

  • Bitcoin to Stacks Swapping: LNSwap facilitates the swapping of Bitcoin for digital assets on the Stacks layer and vice versa. This suggests a focus on interoperability between Bitcoin and the Stacks blockchain. 
  • Support for On-Chain and Lightning Bitcoin Wallets: LNSwap supports both on-chain and Lightning Bitcoin wallets. This broad compatibility enhances accessibility for users with different types of wallets. 
  • User Control over Funds: The philosophy of LNSwap is centered around giving users full control over their funds. This aligns with the principles of decentralization and user empowerment.


#4: Leather

Leather is a cutting-edge Bitcoin wallet with over 100k+ active monthly users. With a focus on transparency, reliability, and security, Leather positions itself as a non-custodial and open-source solution that facilitates the secure management of Bitcoin and related assets. 

Key Features:

  • Bitcoin Management: Leather enables users to seamlessly manage their Bitcoin, providing functionalities for buying, sending, selling, and securing Bitcoin assets. 
  • Interoperability with Stacks: Users can effortlessly move between Bitcoin and the Stacks blockchain, which serves as an integrated Layer 2 for deploying Bitcoin-backed assets in smart contracts. 
  • Ordinals and Tokens Trading: Leather supports the trading of Ordinals, BRC-20 tokens, Stacks NFTs, and Stamps, offering a versatile platform for engaging with various digital assets. 
  • Cold Storage with Ledger: The wallet boasts Ledger hardware support, allowing users to deploy Bitcoin-based assets in Web3 apps while maintaining the benefits of cold storage. 


#5: wBTC Network

Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC) is a groundbreaking ERC20 token representing a 1:1 peg to Bitcoin. This means that for every WBTC token in existence, an equivalent amount of Bitcoin is held in reserve. 

WBTC is designed to combine the strength of Bitcoin with the flexibility of an ERC20 token, offering full transparency, 100% verifiability, and a community-led approach. 

Key Features: 

  • Transparency and Verifiability: WBTC ensures complete transparency, allowing users to verify the existence of the equivalent Bitcoin reserve on the blockchain. This transparency is a critical feature of user trust. 
  • Community-Led Initiative: The WBTC project is driven by the community, emphasizing the decentralized nature of the token. This involves a collaborative effort from various partners and contributors in the cryptocurrency space. 
  • Compatibility with ERC20: As an ERC20 token, WBTC can seamlessly interact with the Ethereum blockchain and its associated smart contracts, bringing Bitcoin's capabilities to the Ethereum ecosystem.


Also See: Bitcoin On-chain Oracle: A Transparent Future for Bitcoin L1 Tokens

#6: Lightning Network

The Lightning Network is a decentralized network built on the underlying blockchain technology, specifically designed to facilitate scalable and instant Bitcoin transactions. It addresses challenges associated with traditional blockchain transactions, such as confirmation times and scalability issues. 

The network relies on bidirectional payment channels between two participants. These channels involve creating a ledger entry on the blockchain, requiring both participants to sign off on any spending of funds. The parties involved can update their allocations for the ledger entry through multiple transactions without broadcasting them to the blockchain. The most recent version is valid and can be closed out at any time by either party without the need for trust or custodianship.

Key Features: 

  • Instant Payments: Lightning Network enables near-instant blockchain payments without waiting for block confirmation times. Security is maintained through blockchain smart contracts without creating an on-blockchain transaction for each payment. 
  • Scalability: The network can handle millions to billions of transactions per second across its decentralized participants. This scalability surpasses legacy payment rails by several orders of magnitude, allowing for emerging use cases like instant micropayments. 
  • Low Cost: By transacting and settling off the blockchain, the Lightning Network allows for exceptionally low fees. This makes it suitable for use cases such as instant micropayments, where the cost per transaction is critical. 
  • Powered by Blockchain Smart Contracts: Lightning utilizes smart contract functionality within the blockchain to enable instant payments across a network of participants. This involves creating secure ledger entries on the blockchain using real Bitcoin transactions and the native smart-contract scripting language.


#7: UniSat

UniSat Wallet is an open-source Chrome extension designed for managing Bitcoin Ordinals (NFTs) and brc-20 tokens. This wallet facilitates the storage, transfer, and inscription of Ordinals NFTs and provides a user-friendly interface for interacting with the Bitcoin blockchain on the Ethereum network. 

Key Features: 

  • Open Source: UniSat Wallet is entirely open-source, with its code available on GitHub. This transparency allows users to inspect the code for security and trustworthiness. 
  • Ordinals NFT Management: The wallet supports the storage and transfer of Ordinals NFTs. Users can easily manage their non-fungible tokens on the Ethereum blockchain. 
  • Real-time NFT Updates: UniSat Wallet enables users to see unconfirmed NFTs immediately. This feature provides real-time updates on the status of NFT transactions. 
  • BRC-20 Token Support: Users can store, mint, and transfer brc-20 tokens using UniSat Wallet. This extends the functionality of the wallet to handle various types of tokens on the Ethereum blockchain. 
  • Inscription On-the-Fly: UniSat Wallet allows users to inscribe on-the-fly without the need to run a full node. This feature enhances the user experience and simplifies the process of interacting with Bitcoin Ordinals.


Final Thoughts

The Bitcoin DeFi ecosystem is still in its early stages, and developing solutions involving Bitcoin in DeFi is an ongoing process. As the space matures, more projects will likely explore ways to incorporate Bitcoin. Innovations may emerge to bridge the gap between Bitcoin's robustness and the decentralized financial ecosystem.