Looking back on 5 years of innovation: 1inch in 2019

1inch Network
1inch Network
Published in
3 min readJun 11, 2024

This series of posts follows each year of 1inch’s journey, chronicling its rise to becoming a leading player in the Web3 space. In this first post, we travel back to 2019, the year 1inch was launched.

1inch’s story began on May 19, 2019, at the ETHGlobal hackathon in New York City. At that hackathon, developers Sergej Kunz and Anton Bukov, who would go on to co-found 1inch, built the first DEX aggregation protocol in Web3 over the course of 56 sleepless hours.

At that time, numerous DEXes already existed, requiring users to manually compare prices on each platform to find the best swap rates. That manual process was time-consuming and inefficient, often leading to missed opportunities and suboptimal trades. Recognizing that inefficiency, Sergej and Anton decided to create a tool that would automate the process of finding the best rates across different DEXes.

Their solution addressed a significant problem in DeFi, offering a way to aggregate all available liquidity from multiple sources in an efficient and user-friendly way. This first DEX aggregation protocol became the backbone of 1inch.

The name of the new project, “1inch,” took inspiration from Bruce Lee’s legendary punch, symbolizing maximum efficiency and extreme speed. Just as Bruce Lee’s one-inch punch was swift and powerful, 1inch’s mission is to bring greater efficiency to the DeFi space, making every crypto transaction fast and impactful.

In 2019, the 1inch dApp went live and quickly received significant upgrades. These innovations involved integrating multiple DeFi sources and enabling the splitting of orders across various DEXes within a single transaction. Additionally, multiple other handy features were implemented, such as visualizing price slippage, adding verification pop-ups and more.

This was also the year when the 1inch mascot, a cyber unicorn, was born, albeit looking a bit different from the way it looks now but undoubtedly recognizable! Later, the cyber unicorn would become a stronger character, growing together with the expansion of the 1inch ecosystem and its power.

1inch’s rapid rise immediately marked significant milestones. Daily trading volume skyrocketed from 605 ETH ($138K) on July 14 to an impressive $1.4M by November 22. The total volume soared from $6.5M in the first four months to $20M, with over 700 users and 5,000 swaps by the end of December.

By the end of 2019, just seven months after its inception, 1inch had firmly established itself as a rising star in the DeFi space. But that was only the beginning of its extraordinary journey.

Stay tuned for another chapter of the 1inch story!

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1inch Network
1inch Network

A distributed network for decentralized protocols enabling the most lucrative, fastest and protected operations in DeFi.