In recent years, the Ethereum ecosystem has bloomed in multiple directions — that much is clear.
Importantly, this blooming has allowed the smart contract platform to become an early king of the hill regarding DeFi, decentralized exchanges, stablecoins, Layer-2 blockchain scaling solutions, non-fungible tokens, and more.
The advance of these innovations has led to something of a metaphorical gravity well, in which builders keep flocking to Ethereum because it’s become the premier platform for these advanced blockchain possibilities.
With that said, promising new Ethereum-based projects continue springing up at a rapid pace these days, making it dizzying at times to try and keep up with all the notable efforts. Interested in playing some catch-up? Here’s 10 newer Ethereum projects you can put on your radar — they’ve the potential to be around for years to come.
mStable is a meta-assets protocol focused on stablecoins that launched in late May 2020. The system is meant to address fragmentation and a lack of native yield opportunities in the stablecoin ecosystem.
Among the project’s first releases was mUSD, a meta-stablecoin underpinned by other stablecoins like DAI, USDC, TUSD, and USDT. This means you can mint or redeem mUSD on a 1:1 ratio with any of its constituent stablecoins. Additionally, mUSD also generates yield via mStable swap fees and via lending underlying assets through Aave and Compound.
Having arrived on the Ethereum mainnet this spring, Balancer is an automated market maker (AMM) protocol that lets users open up customizable liquidity pools. Popular AMM Uniswap currently only supports two-token pools with a 1:1 weighting of assets, while Balancer pools can support up to eight tokens with arbitrary weightings.
This model gives liquidity providers more flexibility with how they can earn fees using their idle Ethereum-based tokens. Moreover, Balancer has started a liquidity mining campaign that rewards Balancer LPs with BAL governance tokens in order to bootstrap the protocol.
As Ethereum has grown increasingly popular, the platform needs Layer-2 scaling solutions more than ever to handle the growing demand. That’s where Loopring Pay comes in.
Built by the Loopring team, Loopring Pay allows users to send free ETH and ERC20 transactions in instantaneous fashion, and it’s available to use today. The new service is built on zkRollups tech, a Layer-2 scaling innovation that stores data on-chain but handles computation off-chain with zero-knowledge validity proofs. These rollups are among Ethereum’s most promising scaling solutions, and Loopring Pay shows what they can do in the here and now.
Matcha is a decentralized exchange built by the creators of the 0x Protocol project and underpinned by 0x’s liquidity aggregator infrastructure.
Launched in June 2020, Matcha goes all-in on user-friendliness and sensible design. Additionally, the DEX uses 0x Mesh tech in combination with other liquidity sources like Kyber Network and Uniswap to offer optimized, best-price trades. The DEX sector has already been one of Ethereum’s biggest stars to date, and consumer-friendly platforms like Matcha have the potential to keep that dynamic going strong well into the future.
UMA is a protocol for creating global and decentralized financial markets using synthetic assets. This year, the UMA team launched its first synthetic assets, including a priceless ETHBTC token that tracks the ETH/BTC price ratio. The token is priceless because its smart contract doesn’t rely on an on-chain price feed from an oracle but rather on a reference index.
A UMA token minting interface was also just released, which allows users to create their own synthetic tokens, deposit and withdrawal collateral, redeem tokens, and easily track information about already deployed synths. These synthetic assets open up all kinds of new trading possibilities in the Ethereum ecosystem.
Tokenized bitcoin efforts are gaining traction around Ethereum, but the ERC20 BTC sector has been dominated so far by more centralized efforts like WBTC, whose underlying bitcoin funds are custodied with BitGo.
That said, there’s been increasing calls for tokenized bitcoin projects that are trustless and non-custodial, and the Ren team have answered that call with renBTC. Using the RenVM network, users can mint renBTC on a 1:1 basis using actual BTC. The upside is that this tokenized bitcoin can be put to profitable use in Ethereum’s rising DeFi projects, like via serving as a Uniswap liquidity provider.
Omen is a decentralized predictions market platform spearheaded by Gnosis’s DXdao group. The dApp lets anyone create prediction markets for any questions they’d like using customizable parameters.
Whereas other blockchain prediction projects have typically relied on conventional orderbooks, Omen facilitates liquidity using an automated market maker (AMM) system that matches trades in a manner akin to Uniswap. Moreover, Omen’s creators have explicitly designed the platform to be modular and open so that it can be extended organically as time goes on. The project’s reliance on external oracles is also a point of contrast from its main peer Augur, which has developed its own in-house oracle.
Last month, the DeversiFi team launched DeversiFi 2.0, which is a “high-speed, self-custodial exchange” that preserves users’ privacy and can facilitate more than 9,000 Ethereum transactions per second.
The new exchange is powered by StarkWare’s Validium tech, which is a Layer-2 scaling solution that handles data storage off-chain while dealing with computation via zero-knowledge proofs. Validium joins zkRollups, Optimistic Rollups, and Plasma as being very promising scaling advancements for Ethereum, and DeversiFi is putting Validium, the newest of these advancements, front and center for the good of users everywhere. If DeversiFi 2.0 gains traction, look for more projects to embrace Validium.
InfiNFT is a new token minting platform that lets users mint NFTs whose metadata in maintained completely on-chain, and here on-chain equals more verifiable, secure, and transparent.
The NFT sector is picking up lately, so it’s become increasingly important to consider how to maintain NFTs for posterity. InfiNFT tackles this matter head on by minting tokens using a combination of Ethereum, the Arweave blockchain, and the IPFS decentralized storage solution. This tech trifecta allows minters to rest easy knowing their NFTs will be secure indefinitely without having to go back and manually pin files to IPFS later.
Speaking of the rise of the NFT sector, NFTfi is a streamlined marketplace for loans that use NFTs, like CryptoKitties or beyond, as collateral. This allows NFT collectors to borrow money against their idle digital collectibles and lenders to provide liquidity to these borrowers, with the underlying NFTs serving as payments in the case of any defaults. To this end, NFTfi is an interesting new project at the crossroads of DeFi and NFTs, and it has the potential to generate more attention, activity, and value around NFTs accordingly.
2020 has been a bustling year for Ethereum, and a big part of the reason why is because so many promising new projects built on Ethereum like the ones discussed above have been shipping out powerful products and platforms in recent months.
At this point, the momentum is tangible; Ethereum’s network effect is growing, and as things stand right now, the platform’s ecosystem is vastly ahead of any so-called Ethereum killers.
The grand question for now, then, is whether this momentum will continue and whether the pace of development around the Ethereum space stays high enough to keep sucking in activity. If so, then Ethereum’s constellation of stars is only just beginning.