7 Defi Dapps in 30 days

Jan 25 · 7 min read

After my friend Marc “alpha leak” Zeller recommended 7 Defi dapp to try out (for the wishful thinking of yet another token drops), I naively created a Kickback page to pledge 10 xDAI to try out all the Defi gems he recommended (and lose if you don’t complete), despite some defi veterans warned the high gas fee.

This is my log of actually trying out all 7 of them in 30 days (5 of them were actually done in 1 day).

1. ParaSwap

ParaSwap is a Dex Aggregator similar to 1inch with different UI.

TBH, I often use Dex Aggregator to compare prices but usually swap at the cheapest rather than swapping at the aggregation site for the fear of increased gas cost. Transferring 1inch token to ETH cost (sorry 1inch, I wanted to use your generous airdrop to fund this whole experiment. Swapping 600 INCH token gave me 0.7ETH at that time but now it’s worth 0.9ETH so definitely got penalised for that) $13 USD with 46 gas price wasn’t too expensive.


OPYN is Options platform on Ethereum.

I’ve never done Options trading so I started from watching 15 videos about the basic of how Options work by excellent videos from Option Alpha (which I found from Hegic website).

After learning the basic, I definitely appreciate simple & easy UI of OPYN v2, especially the fact that making the combination of CALL and PUT (called Spread) is as easy as clicking two price ranges. If you compare with Derbit, one of the most popular centralised options platform, it looks a lot easier.

At the time of trying out OPYN (Jan 2) I thought that the ETH market crashes at no time, so I bought PUT option which gives me profit only if the price goes down as low as $640. My $15 premium and $10 gas price (at 50 gwei) was wasted for no time!

3. InstaDAPP

Until now, most of dapps allowed you to interact directly from your Ethereum Address. For InstaDAPP (and Defi Saver which I will explain later) will ask you to create a smart contract-based wallet and send asset to the wallet before doing anything with their product, which cost about $13 gas price (at 45 Gwei), then a few $s to send tokens (sending ETH only cost $1 even with 60gwei which wasn’t too bad).

I liked that they put so-called “Strategies” suggesting various ways to utilise their DAPP. I think InstaDAPP is heavily geared towards users who borrow or open CDP to swap their collaterals but I don’t have any debts so I am still a bit confused about what I can do with the platform. I welcome any suggestions.

4. Zapper.fi

Zapper.fi has been my favourite Dapp to see my various coin holdings and random yield farming in one place. Having said that I have been mostly using for reference purpose (like Dex aggregators) and have never tried their “Zapp” feature to go in/out of various yield farming in one transaction. I initially tried to come out of my Yearn vault but that cost over 100 USD so I ended up using it to “Zap out” from YFI/ETH LP position from Sushi Swap I did to participate some vegetable yield farming back in the last summer and left as is since then.

This transaction shows you that it bundled up several transactions to unstake LP, Swap out tokens to WETH with 20 USD (with 50 gwei). Doing all the actions probably takes 30 min of my time so I am happy with the result despite costing the highest gas so far.

5. Furucombo

Furucombo gives you a visual tool to construct a set of actions and complete it in 1 transaction. They already announced their token airdrop by the time I tried it out but I still wanted to try out.

What I tried was to combine with “Gas Saver” step (aka “Cube”) to save some gas.

CHI token was developed by 1inch team which allows you to save some gas by destructing smart contracts which released some storage space. If you buy CHI token when the gas is low, you could save up to half of your entire transaction. When I tried it, the simple Uniswap v2 combo + gas saver transaction estimate was over 70 USD with 50 gwei (which would only cost 20 USD if you use Uniswap directly). This is partly because interacting with CHI token itself also costs additional gas, in addition to using Furucombo smart contract.

The actual transaction cost 35 USD because the potential gas saving by CHI Token was not reflected on the estimate. I probably wasted 10 USD gas plus 20 CHI token (worth 35 USD) so this ended up one of the most expensive experiment. I am sure that I can gain my loss once I master flashloan combo to gain $$$!

6. DefiSaver

DefiSaver is a great tool if you open CDP via Maker (= borrow DAI using ETH as collateral) as it will allow you to close the position before reaching liquidation price. Again, I don’t usually borrow anything so I ended up using their “Smart saving” feature which allows you to switch lending platform easily.

Like InstaDAPP, they also require you to create smart wallet (which is Maker DAO DS Proxy contract), and that cost about $15 with 56 gwei gas cost.

7. DyDX

In addition to swapping and lending, DyDX provides two levels edged trading (margin trading up to 5x with 28 days time limit and perpetual trading up to 10 x with no time limit). I was initially waiting until they release they layer 2 platforms with StarkWare but I ended up using the current platform as this was the final Dapp to complete my 7 Defi dapp challenge. Like OPYN, this is the first time I did margin trading so it was nerve-racking. Similar to InstaDAPP and DefiSaver, you have to first transfer your asset to their Solo Margin account, which cost $12 with 53 gwei.

I put 2 ETH deposit with 3x long position (= 6 ETH) at ETH-USDC price of $1228. I left it overnight and magically ETH went over $1300 so I was able to close the position with 13.16% profit! I withdrew 2.6 so the net positive of 0.6 ETH (worth $788) in the end.

While trading margin account, I finally understood why so many people borrow stable coins despite high-interest rate (and often DYDX comes the highest on Defirate). When I was in the leveraged trading long on ETH, I was in fact borrowing USDC to maintain the position. The below shows the interest rate of the margin account I was in. You can see that ETH has barely any interest while both USDC and DAI have very high interest.


In total, I spent $118 on gas. Additionally, I spent + $35 chi token and $15 OPYN premium ($168) but also 0.6 ETH($785) made a profit on the margin trading so in the end $499 net positive. It didn’t cost as much as I thought it would take (as Metamask gas estimate is always higher than the actual), and I definitely spent more than a whole day of my precious weekend time which otherwise I could have hacked something interesting.

I have no idea whether any of these 7 dapps will do token airdrop (even if they do, my brief interaction may not qualify for it). Definitely not worth 10 xDAI I staked on Kickback, but more for the learning experience (not just for Defi literacy but learning the latest Dapp UX design patterns and best practices). You would probably spend less transaction cost if you focus on least effort interaction (which is a simple token swaps) but each Defi dapp has unique features so I highly recommend each participant to take opportunity and explorer various feature of the dapps.

Here is the current ranking as of writing this blog post. You can follow the latest progress by following #staking4defi hashtag. The deadline is the end of Jan.

  • Makoto = all complete
  • William = zapper/paraswap/furucombo
  • vginelli.eth = zapper/paraswap
  • META_YALOR = paraswap/zapper
  • 0xJoshua.eth = paraswap/

If you are depositing more than 10k USD, the gas price is not so much of the issue, but it is quite expensive to play around with a small amount of money.

At Kickback, we are currently discussing about partnering with defi educations platform such as Rabbithole that gives away points and sponsor rewards.

If you have Defi projects which want to encourage more Defi noobs to try out your platform, please reach us out.