Ref Quarterly Update: Q4 2022

Ref Finance
9 min readJan 6, 2023


What is the common denominator of Mt Gox, Quadriga and FTX? In addition to being potential Hollywood blockbusters, they all suffered from poor risk management and internal controls. Yet, with $9B in realised losses [1] (vs. $250M for Quadriga and $460M for Mt Gox [2]), the downfall of FTX and its contagion taste different, and may act as a catalyst for change in the ecosystem.

The end of 2022 was brutal and Nearland was no exception, as its TVL decreased by 74% over the period [3]. Add to the scenery the collapse of $USN [4], NEAR native stablecoin, plus Skyward getting rekt [5], the auction-style launchpad on NEAR, and we are close to what Munch sensed as an “infinite scream passing through n̶a̶t̶u̶r̶e NEAR”.

Edvard Munch (1893) The Scream

In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity — Albert Einstein

The opportunity to demonstrate resilience and fuel the next creative destruction phase [6] within the DeFi space.

Improved interoperability, increased transparency, and better capital efficiency were the key drivers of Ref Finance in the last quarter. Let’s dive into what happened in Q4 and what is next for 2023.

Six pillars

Repetition is the First Principle of All Learning — Robert F. Bruner [7]

Here is a reminder of our six pillars, as identified in our 2022 roadmap:

  • The Future is Decentralised: Promote further decentralisation
  • The Double B: Deliver Better prices and Better liquidity utilisation
  • Money, Money, Money: Provide LPs with the tooling to maximise profits while mitigating risks (i.e. auto-compounding)
  • Better Experience: Improve user experience
  • Knowledge is power: Encourage transparency and data-driven decisions
  • Bridge Them All: Reduce the gap with other chain communities

In addition to Security, which is transversal to the above pillars.

What we have committed to vs. delivered

Concentrated liquidity, also referred to as Ref v2, was deployed on December 20th. Over 350 lines of end-to-end tests, including regression tests, were completed [8]. Liquidity is already flourishing across the three v2 pairs; AURORA<>USDC, ETH<>USDC and NEAR<>USDC.

The new audited contract has already attracted 350+ early unique users (addresses), that have executed 2,300+ trades, spent over $200K (inflows), and have already generated over 400 events relating to liquidity management (add/remove liquidity to/from a specific range of prices vs. all prices from 0 to ∞ in Ref v1).

Directly inspired by Uniswap v3 and iZiSwap, the Rust implementation aims at improving liquidity utilisation (capital efficiency), which can be measured as the ratio Volume to TVL. To understand the inner workings and how Ref v2 stands out compared to Uniswap v3, we invite you to read this post.

Along with v2 deployment, NETH was released on the same date. NETH was developed by Proximity Labs and enables compatibility between Metamask and the NEAR blockchain [9].

By allowing users to execute any action on Ref using their Metamask account(s), not only NETH creates a frictionless experience, but also reduces the gap between the NEAR ecosystem and the 30M+ Metamask users.

As the 20th of December was not already a significant release day, Ref also pushed to mainnet a new revamped UI (User Interface). In a nutshell, some jargons were cut off, the navigation bar was simplified and the Pools section was improved, facilitating the exploration of Ref Finance liquidity and key metrics across vanilla, stable, rated, and v2 pools. Plus, Your Liquidity section was enhanced, simplifying the way LPs (Liquidity Providers) can visualise and manage their position(s).

On December 8th, the Ref DAO approved and deployed the version 1.7.0 of its core contract [10]. The upgrade introduced a new referral fee model, which allows registered referrals to claim up to 20% of the total pool fee, thus aggressively incentivising developers to build their own trading interface on top of Ref (example: Gator|). For more details, the proposal can be read here.

In an effort to promote further transparency, Ref released on November 22nd, in collaboration with Datrics, a series of dashboards relating to the revenue of the protocol [11].

The dashboards are public and anyone can access them:

Below are some insights that can be derived from the data:

  • Since inception (August 2021), Ref has generated over $1M in revenue
  • In May 2021, Ref recorded its most profitable month with over $200K in generated revenue
  • Last October, revenue generated from Normal pools represented 84% of the monthly revenue vs. 15% from Stable pools and <1% from Rated pools
  • 9 out of the 10 most profitable pools since inception are paired with $NEAR

Finally, Ref published its yield dashboard on Defillama on October 9th, increasing the visibility of Ref’s liquidity incentive opportunities within the DeFi community.


San, hired last September as Lead BD, left the team in November. Ben joined the team, on a part-time basis, on December 19th. Ben is working alongside with Ray, Harry and Didier on the product side, unlocking value on the following priority items (not limited to): Backlog review & Incremental improvements/quick wins, General and Technical documentations, Technical deployments and best practices, Frontend performance improvements and Discord management & Community security.

The team is composed of sixteen fulltime members.

  • Marco: Lead Backend Dev
  • Joe: Lead Frontend Dev
  • Gordon: Senior Backend Dev
  • ZQ: Senior Fullstack Dev
  • Dom: DevOps
  • Max: Fullstack Dev
  • Nature: Backend Dev
  • Willa: Lead QA Engineer
  • Amy: QA Engineer
  • Mency: Designer & UX
  • Didier: Product Lead
  • Harry: Project Assistant Manager
  • Ben: Product & Project Manager
  • Fauve: Marketing Lead
  • Fay: Researcher Analyst
  • Ray: Researcher Analyst

Market and Business Development updates

New farms went live:

  • Seatlab, the NFT Ticketing Platform, launched its SEAT<>NEAR farm on October 28th [12]
  • Stader, the liquid staking platform, kicked off its SD<>NEAR farm on November 8th [13]
  • Pembrock, the leveraged yield farming application, released two new farms on November 2nd: PEM<>USDC and PEM<>NEAR [14]

On December 19th, Ref deployed the first USDt<>USDT.e stable pool on NEAR. With already $1/2M in liquidity, users can now transfer native USDt directly from Bitfinex to NEAR (and vice versa), and take advantage of DeFi opportunities. As more centralised exchanges will be supporting native USDt on NEAR, the interoperability between the NEAR DeFi ecosystem and CEXes will increase.

Following the Skyward exploit, $SKYWARD and $UNET were delisted from the Ref whitelist early December [15].

Finally, Ref announced its collaboration with Multichain, the cross-chain router protocol. By participating in the Multichain marketing campaign [16], Ref will be providing support and incentives in order to attract users from other ecosystems and foster the adoption of NEAR via Multichain.

Looking ahead: 2023

While the team is brushing up the 2023 Roadmap and Strategy, releases in Q1 2023 are already warming up.

Ref trading pairs will be very soon visible on Dex Screener, one of the most used data tools by DeFi traders!

A new farming feature, dedicated to Ref v2 liquidity positions is also under development and should come to fruition by the end of January. Ref Analytics will also include v2 pools’ TVL and trading volume. Our protocol revenue dashboards will also take into account revenue generated from concentrated liquidity pools. Eventually, the entire source code of Ref v2 will be open source by the end of February, keeping our 100% open-source development philosophy.

As mentioned in the last quarterly report and although delayed multiple times for market reasons, the full veTokenomics is definitely happening in 2023. As a reminder, the veTokenomics model allows the community to participate in the governance of the protocol and the allocation of liquidity incentives. It consists of a new Farming contract (already deployed and running) and a Vote-Escrowed Token (veToken) contract (already developed and audited) [17].

The integration of Orderly’s liquidity along with a pure Central Limit Order Book (CLOB) experience on Ref is coming in February!

The team is working closely with Cellfi, a simplifed automated LP tool. Users will soon be able to automate their LP strategies on Ref via Cellfi. As written previously, the Ref ecosystem is growing. Fluxus, a yield-aggregator solution, is going live in 2023. OMOMO, Ref’s Hackathon winner at NEARCON, will deliver margin trading, using Ref as its liquidity backbone!

Initially delayed for the lack of a dedicated mainnet testing environment (on Fireblocks side), Fireblocks, which provides custody facility for thousands of institutional investors, will be live via Wallet Connect on Ref before the end of Q1 2023, unlocking more institutional liquidity for the protocol.


Q4 was to the ecosystem what winters are to Winterfell: harsh. Although our user acquisition has slowed in the last quarter of 2022, the team is proud to have secured key achievements, such as the deployment of concentrated liquidity and a new DeFiSafety score of 91% [18], to name a couple.

Already 82,000+ users (addresses) have interacted with Ref since inception [19]. The opportunity to deliver one of the best DeFi experiences in the ecosystem, at a fraction of the costs of competing protocols, has been seized, and it is live on Ref.

2023 will be intense and Ref will be expanding its DeFi capabilities, in addition to consolidating its best-in-class standards in the field, and to supercharging the growth of ecosystem projects built on top of Ref (Hello Ref SDK!).

By Didier, Product Manager


Again, I would like to give a big thanks to the community and DAO members who have helped!



[2] Quadriga: — Mt Gox:





[7] Repetition is the First Principle of All Learning by Robert F. Bruner:










[17] Farming contract: boostfarm.ref-labs.near, Vote-Escrowed Token contract: ref-ve.ref-labs.near



About Ref Finance

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

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

In addition to the advantages of being built on top of NEAR, Ref Finance provides:

  • Multiple pools in one contract
  • Atomic transactions
  • Customisable pool fee

For more information, please refer to our documentation.


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.