Ref Ahead: 2022

Ref Finance
10 min readJan 10, 2022


There has never been a better time to build on NEAR than now. Market Cap is close to the $10 billion mark, sitting next to Cosmos [1]. Nightshade is live, making sharding real [2]. Composability is nearly Ethereum-like; users can stake, trade, earn, borrow, play to earn, etc. Last but not least, the ecosystem is stronger than ever before. Not only are blue chip projects like Terra [3] and Dodo [4] launching on NEAR, but also are NEAR-native projects like Burrow [5] and Youminter.

Ref’s primary mission is to support and fuel the growth of NEAR. From millions, to billions of dollars worth of value locked in smart contracts. From tens of thousands, to hundreds of thousands of daily active users. A 10x story for 2022. The kind of story we like. What’s our plan to support that growth? How do we stand out?

Before jumping into 2022, it’s worth remembering what happened in 2021. Ref Finance was created and NEAR Protocol celebrated its one year anniversary [6]. From 0 to 1 for the former, from 1 to 2 for the latter.

The 2021 Ref Cheat Sheet

The inventor Thomas Edison once said:

None of my inventions came by accident. I see a worthwhile need to be
met and I make trial after trial until it comes. What it boils down to is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration. — Thomas Edison [7]

From inspiration and perspiration, many things happened in 2021. Here is our cheat sheet.

  • March 9: initial commit on Github [8]
  • April: app launched
  • June: DAO created
  • July 26–31: REF token auctioned on Skyward
  • August 14: contract paused, following exploit [9]
  • August 19: REF token forked [10]
  • September 3: Farming printer went BRRR [11]
  • October 25: $100M+ TVL
  • October 30: new User Interface deployed
  • November 23: Instant Swap deployed [12]
  • December 20: StableSwap launched [13]

The list above is not exhaustive. Small wins are worth mentioning as well, such as the 24,000+ quizzes completed in an effort to educate our users to the risks of using the platform, and the CEX listing series of the REF token on the 15th, 21st, and 22nd of October; Hotbit,, and MEXC, respectively

Another big win is team-related. The core team increased from two, to eight members. It will keep growing in 2022 to support Ref’s vision, to become the one-stop DeFi shop on NEAR. Now let’s dive into our plans for 2022.

The Future is Decentralised

REFinians, let’s stake!

Single-sided staking for REF token is coming in January 2022. By staking their REF, users will have the opportunity to earn fees generated by the protocol. In other words, any REF holders can have a share in the revenue earned by Ref Finance.

In addition to single-sided staking, REF token holders will have the opportunity to participate in the governance of the protocol, by directly voting on key proposals. A referendum mechanism [14] will be designed and accessible via the app. The first referendum will take place in the first half of 2022.

In a second phase, referendums, along with the governing rules of the protocol, will be self-enforced at the DAO level. The team will work closely with Astro and/or Sputnik to build the ultimate tool to empower our community. To summarise our philosophy: the community is (also) the product [15].

The Double B

Better prices. Better liquidity utilisation. Like nations have their own “National Mottos” [16], ‘The Double B’ could be considered Ref’s “DeFi Motto”.

The Parallel Swap [17] is already live! And the Smart Routing feature is coming. Parallel Swap can be seen as our own aggregator. In a nutshell, it creates a win-win situation:

  • Traders: better prices
  • Liquidity Providers (LPs): fairer model (vs winner-takes-all market)

The Smart Routing feature will widen the trading scope, offering more trading options/paths and potentially better prices. A beta version will be deployed by mid-January while a more ambitious version will go live in February. The ambitious version will be developed in collaboration with Giddy and Dave, creators of the Parallel Swap algorithm and winning team of the OpenDeFi Hackathon [18].

Concentrated liquidity (Uniswap v3) has improved the liquidity utilisation or capital efficiency of Uniswap v2 by a factor of five [19]. In other words, v3’s LPs earn five times more swap fee than v2’s LPs, for the same TVL. We will work on a concentrated liquidity feature in the second half of 2022, in order to attract sustainable vs. mercenary capital.

Concentrated liquidity is clearly the future of AMMs, and V3’s early success speaks to that. Uniswap has increased its DEX market share to 70%+ since launch. — [20]

Better access to liquidity could have been the third B. Accessing liquidity is painful, often requiring many swap actions. We will have a Zap Swap function, which allows anyone to access any LP token in one action. The Zap Swap is one of Ref’s challenges at the NEAR MetaBUILD Hackathon.

Money, Money, Money

🎶 […] So I must leave, I’ll have to go
To Las Vegas or Monaco
And win a fortune in a game, my life will never be the same — Abba [21]

Providing the Casino facility is good. Adding to that the tools to maximise the probability of winning is even better.

With over $200m (at today’s market price) in liquidity incentives to be distributed in the next four years, LPs and farmers have a bright future ahead. Yet, although providing liquidity is easy, managing the risk of divergence loss [22] and/or optimising the return is complex.

Q2 2022 will see the birth of a Liquidity Management Dashboard. LPs will see in real time the PNL of their liquidity positions, along with other metrics such as their portfolio breakdown. Divergence loss notification will also help our users to actively manage their positions depending on their appetite for risk.

While mitigating the risk, we will focus on increasing/optimising the reward. For example, users will be able to auto-compound their farming rewards. Auto-compounding is also one of Ref’s challenges at the NEAR MetaBUILD Hackathon. In the first half of 2022, we may see the launch of Fluxus Project, the first NEAR-native DeFi yield aggregator.

Better Experience

2022 will mark many improvements to the User Experience. These four key points illustrate our approach to this topic:

  1. KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid)
  2. Mobile
  3. eAccessibility
  4. Anti Blockchain

Ref Finance definitely has one of the top mobile app versions in the Automated Market Makers (AMMs) space [23]. We not only want to maintain that status, we want to continue improving the mobile app. Mobile users will grow significantly in 2022. As an example, Coinbase Wallet mobile users have increased by 300%+ in Q4 2021 [24].

eAccessibility can be defined as:

[…] the inclusive practice of ensuring there are no barriers that prevent interaction with, or access to, websites on the World Wide Web by people with physical disabilities, situational disabilities, and socio-economic restrictions on bandwidth and speed. — [25]

We will work on eAccessibility throughout 2022 by, among other things, making sure the app is accessible for people with visual impairments. Moreover, we will add more translations, such as Korean, Vietnamese, Russian and Japanese in 2022.

In addition to all that, one of our key objectives is to work hard on app performance. A programmer once wrote that one direct result of the constant increase in more powerful hardware, is ‘bloated software’.

The only consequence of the powerful hardware I see is that programmers write more and more bloated software on it. They become lazier, because the hardware is fast they do not try to learn algorithms nor to optimize their code — Olimex [26]

We are dedicated to making our solution efficient, light, and fast. For example, we will provide high availability, low latency and geographic routing to our users.

Finally, let’s be the Anti-Blockchain Blockchain Club. We want to improve the flow and experience between the app and the blockchain, or to put it more simply, between any action on Ref and its on-chain validation. As we can’t depend on Metamask’s integration of NEAR, we are working closely with a NEAR wallet provider to deliver a less intrusive blockchain experience. The provider develops web browser extensions, similar to Metamask. We will also work closely with the official NEAR Wallet team to improve the general DeFi experience on NEAR. Such improvements will open new possibilities, such as the removal of the current “Deposit” section of the app.

Knowledge is Power

Ref Analytics already meets the best standards in its field [27]. More is coming in the first half of 2022. Here is a sneak peek:

  • 24h Fees and Annualised Fees per pool
  • Arbitrageurs Leaderboard
  • Real-time Ref’s Financials (PNL and Revenue Charts)
  • Twitter Swap Alert bot
  • Volume Leaderboards (all time, monthly, and weekly)

In addition to helping our users take data-driven and informed decisions, we will provide further transparency, raising the standards in the industry.

Crypto assets provide transparency and tooling to address many of the issues we are observing in traditional finance. More and more of financial players are also realizing that web3 is the future and joining the ecosystem. — Illia [28]

As Ref scales, our decentralised organisation will get bigger.

Ref Finance Map

Bridge Them All!

[…] the shift to a multichain future is here, and it’s created a massive opportunity for existing DeFi brands to extend to new ecosystems. — [29]

The value locked in Aurora, the EVM-compatible Aurora system built on NEAR, is approaching $500M, with an increase of 80%+ in the past week alone [30]. Aurora is an ideal place for most DeFi blue chips as it allows them to ‘Spray and Pray’ (a strategy that consists of deploying copies of contracts to any EVM-compatible chain in the market).

Although we focus on becoming a central hub for activity on NEAR, we want our users to benefit from the upside of Aurora. Today, the Rainbow bridge creates a frictionless experience to bridge assets from Aurora to NEAR and vice versa. Imagine a world where you could directly access Aurora’s liquidity and use cases, combining the value of both ecosystems, without the need to bridge assets over. We will work on the possibility of useful NEAR <> Aurora cross-chain smart contract calls in 2022, with the goal of transforming the current frictionless experience, to a seamless one.

The future is multi-chain and bridges get me going! — AVB [31]

Or as said by Ryan Selkis:

By now, it’s abundantly clear that a multichain world isn’t just the future, it’s the present. — [32]

In 2022, Ethereum and Aurora won’t be the only cross-chain bridges to NEAR. Other bridges will connect NEAR to many of the other fifteen blockchains that exist today, potentially unlocking trillions in crypto collateral, including Bitcoin.


2021 was great, from 0 to 1. Now, Ref is quickly approaching $1b in trading volume since its inception [33], 2022 will be even more exciting, and more challenging as competition is coming [34]. From 1 to 3 is our next target.

Along with product development, we will keep working closely with NEAR and NEAR-native projects, helping them to onboard the DeFi Spaceship. We have whitelisted almost 20 projects in 2021, and we expect to outperform, by far, this number in 2022. Keep an eye on CannaDao and Myriad in January. We will also close more partnerships, such as the recently announced plan with OIN Finance [35]. For example, we are working with Spin, to integrate Ref’s liquidity into an orderbook (ie Raydium and Serum).

2022 will be bigger and better; more decentralisation, better utility (REF token), improved liquidity; integrated pillars that will improve our project’s defensibility (difficulty to fork).

Get ready and happy new year!

By Didier, Product Manager

Ref 2022 Roadmap








[7] The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations that Transform The World, by David Deutsch



[10] [4]









[19] [34]

[20] — page 123

[21] — Abba, 1976





[26] — Olimex, 2013


[28] — Illia, 12 December 2021

[29] — page 126



[32] — page 147




About Ref Finance

Ref Finance is a community-led, multi-purpose Decentralized Finance (DeFi) platform built on NEAR Protocol.

Ref takes full advantage of NEAR’s low fees ($0.005 per swap), one-to-two second finality, and WebAssembly-based runtime (hello, Rust smart contracts!).

Using the Rainbow Bridge (NEAR <> ETH), traders can utilize the billions of dollars in ERC-20-compliant assets from Ethereum, and eventually, from any chain (BSC, Polygon/Matic, Cosmos/IBC, and others) on NEAR.

Ref Finance’s first product is an automated market maker (AMM). It is similar to Uniswap, with a few changes (not limited to):

  • Multiple pools in a single contract
  • Ability to trade across pools atomically in a single transaction
  • Customizable swap fee per pool, giving to LPs the possibility to charge higher fees for volatile tokens

Make sure you are following us on Twitter for the latest news and announcements, and do make sure you join our Discord or Telegram for deeper levels of engagement with our Team and Community!


Ref Finance does not endorse or promote any of the projects, platforms or cryptocurrencies mentioned in this blogpost. Any descriptions of functionality and services provided are for information only. Ref Finance is not responsible for any loss of funds or other damages caused as a result of using the projects, platforms or cryptocurrencies described above.



Ref Finance

Ref Finance is the starting point to the NEAR Ecosystem with a leading AMM & a synchronous #DeFi Shard.