The following post was written and/or published as a collaboration between Benzinga’s in-house sponsored content team and a financial partner of Benzinga.
Blockchain technology, the technology behind cryptocurrency, is more popular today than ever before. This is because, besides cryptocurrency itself, there are many ways that blockchain can be applied, and thus, its capabilities are being explored around the world. Two very popular ways that this is being done are non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and decentralized finance (DeFi) which have seen a huge explosion in growth in the last year particularly.
2020, in particular, saw these two sub-sectors of the blockchain industry achieve new heights. Decentralized finance, which leverages blockchain to offer financial services without the need for a middleman, saw billions of dollars locked on various platforms in 2020.
Non-fungible tokens, which provide a permanent ledger of the transfer of ownership of an asset, have seen an explosion in use in 2021 with iconic memes and even Jack Dorsey‘s first tweet being sold as an NFT for millions of dollars. With the increased financial participation and the growing interest from the public, more and more DeFi and NFT projects are coming on the scene this year and both are expected to mature as the cryptocurrency industry does as well. With all the offerings in the markets, here are some of the top NFT and DeFi projects to keep on top of in 2021.
1. EQIFI: EQIFI is unique in that it is a DeFi project powered by a regulated and fully licensed bank in EQIBank, and it’s this uniqueness that really sets it apart. Headed up by CEO Brad Yasar and Chairman Jason Blick, the team at EQIFI brings vast amounts of experience to the table and is focused on bringing the democratization of global banking services to the forefront.
Utilizing blockchain technology, the project has set up advanced infrastructures for borrowing, lending, and investing in Ethereum, ERC-20 tokens, and selected fiat currencies. As the EQIFI project is powered by EQIBank, it allows for the possibility to gain access to such products as multi-currency bank accounts and credit cards. Considering it took the team only ten days to achieve the funding goals set for the seed phase and other strategic rounds, it’s safe to say that EQIFI is a project worth keeping an eye on!
2. NBA TopShot: The interesting thing about NFTs is they have revealed that practically everything can be sold in a digital format. In the past, many of us would’ve assumed that only things like physical collectibles could be sold as NFTs but this has been proven false. NBA Top Shot, for example, is an NFT platform that sells NFTs of specific moments in NBA history. This could mean steals, blocks, and even specific hoops that are now being immortalized and sold. This platform has gotten a lot of attention recently with even Mark Cuban being a certified user of the platform.
One of the biggest drivers of NFTs is community interaction and NBA fans, from all indications, are willing to buy NFTs or specific moments in the game’s history. 2021 will likely see these types of NFTs being used even more as well as being used in other sports.
3. MahaDAO: MahaDAO is a decentralized autonomous organization governed by the MAHA community that aims to create an inflation-resistant currency protecting the buying power of token holders. MAHA is a governance token that gives its holders the ability to make all the crucial decisions in the working and development of the platform.
MahaDAO recently unveiled the world’s first version of its non-depreciating currency, ARTH, that can maintain its buying power regardless of the volatility of the market. It is a decentralized algorithmic currency that can fight depression & resist black-swan events using a value-stable protocol that helps bypass the volatility and give the governance control over to MAHA holders.
4. NIFTEX: With all the hype that the NFT market is getting these days, many consumers would want to get into the market and make money by buying into profitable NFTs. However, with every headline emphasizing the millions that NFTs are being sold for, it can seem inaccessible to the everyday person and this is when NIFTEX comes in. NIFTEX is a start-up that allows users to buy fractions in ownership of NFTs as opposed to buying one outright.
This means that with even a small amount of money, users can profit off the NFT market and new features even allow for royalties to be earned on a fraction of trades. NFTs are very much on the way to the top and it seems that the future of the market will be one that is democratized and accessible to the masses.
5. Synthesis Bank: DeFi’s greatest strength is probably that it is democratizing financial services and allows everyone to gain access to them. Synthesis bank does this as well with a view to investment banking. Synthesis is essentially a bank that is built on the Ethereum smart contract and allows its users to invest in a range of different assets in one simple channel without the need for a middleman and with as little interference as possible. All transactions also take place on the Ethereum blockchain which means that users enjoy full transparency with limited need for human interference. As a bonus, audits are carried out by CERTIK, which is one of the biggest blockchain ranking and verification platforms to further ensure even more security for users.
It has the credit of being the world’s first cryptocurrency tokenized investment bank and considering the fact that cryptocurrency investment is on the rise, 2021 and 2022 will likely be big years for the company. Some of the options offered by Synthesis bank include liquidity mining, cross-exchange market-making, and arbitrage. For its arbitrage offerings, these are done in HFT. This is how profit is generated and dividends paid out to STB holders.
6. Mintbase: While a lot of innovative NFT platforms focus on helping customers to better buy and invest in NFTs, Mintbase specializes in helping users mint NFTs in the first place. People have first learned that practically anything can be turned into an NFT and the creation of them will not be limited only to big players as everyday people and smaller creators can create NFTs as well. Mintbase recently saw an investment round that was led by Sino Global and it seems 2021 will be a huge year for it. This also comes as they have launched a new feature allowing for the sharing of royalties between up to a thousand people and also enables creation on both the Ethereum and the NEAR blockchain as well.
7. InsurAnce: While the current DeFi space is booming, it is far from perfect. Some of the common issues that DeFi users face include hacks, bugs, and external attacks on various platforms. This is where the need for insurance comes in for those who lock their tokens on these platforms and interact with the ecosystem. InsurAce is an Ethereum-based protocol that provides insurance against most of the common issues faced by DeFi users. 2021 will see an explosion not just in the demand for DeFi products but in the demand for DeFi-related insurance which InsurAce is looking to fill.
This has seen it attract investments from Parafi Capital, Hashkey group, Huobi DeFiLabs, Hashed, IOSG, and Signum Capital. Insurance covers products from a multitude of popular define platforms such as Binance Smart Chain, Huobi Eco Chain, Solana, as well.
NFTs, along with DeFi, are steadily taking over the world. They have become so popular, in fact, that they are having entire conferences and events dedicated to them. Take NFT BAZL, an NFT art exhibition that will be held in Miami on June 2, 2021, in a similar vein to Art Basel. The event will involve NFT collectors, enthusiasts, and investors. There will be the auctioning of works from artists like Punk Me Tender, Fidia, Hijack, and Alessandra Maskita. For the first time in history, a physical NFT gallery will be available to the public for purchase, in line with the exhibition’s goal of bridging the digital and the physical. The auctions themselves will take on Elitium’s in-app marketplace and in attendance will be Queen Diambi Kabatusuila Tshiyoyo Muata of Congo.
Elitium and GDA Capital, who are the organizers of the event, will also be holding a virtual NFT summit and both events are geared towards bringing NFTs to the real world, showing just how big the industry has become.
2021 is gearing up to be one of the best years for DeFi and NFTs yet and the above projects are leading the charge. What we will see is not just a change in the financial landscape but also a cultural shift in the way that the public interacts with blockchain technology. With these projects at the front of the movement, the transition will likely be smoother.
The preceding post was written and/or published as a collaboration between Benzinga’s in-house sponsored content team and a financial partner of Benzinga. Although the piece is not and should not be construed as editorial content, the sponsored content team works to ensure that any and all information contained within is true and accurate to the best of their knowledge and research. This content is for informational purposes only and not intended to be investing advice.
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