BSC Report 2021 – A Year in Review


BSC established itself as one of the top performing blockchains

Last year was an essential period for the industry as DeFi, NFTs, and Games showed their true potential, reaching all-time highs in their respective metrics. DeFi saw more value locked in smart contracts than ever before, NFT trading volumes went through the roof, and gaming became the most active product category. Despite the current bearish market, 2021 was a remarkable year for the entire industry and Binance Smart Chain.  

In 2021, over half a million Unique Active Wallets (UAW) connected to a BSC dapp on average per day, an amount that grew up significantly as the year progressed. Binance Smart Chain was responsible for 35% of the dapp activity thanks to a complete suite of DeFi dapps and the eventual rise of the game category within the network. Regarding DeFi, BSC consolidated itself as the second-largest blockchain in terms of Total Value Locked (TVL).

Furthermore, PancakeSwap, BSC’s de-facto Automated Market Maker, became the most used dapp in the industry based on on-chain activity, closing the year with more than 546,000 daily wallets connecting to the dapp. In the same way, Mobox consolidated as a solid GameFi referent, becoming a top 10 blockchain game based on the number of players.

Key takeaways

  • 941,000 UAW connected to BSC in Q4; 35% of blockchain wallets interacted with the network in 2021
  • PancakeSwap became the most used dapp in the industry; the DeFi dapp attracted more than 500,000 UAW on average per day in Q4 and reached $5.48 billion in TVL, an amount equal to 35% of the network’s metric and around 2% of the industry
  • The importance of games grew significantly on BSC accounting for 20% of network activity; GameFi and play-to-earn dapps Mobox and BombCrypto became the top 10 blockchain games by number of players
  • Mobox established itself as one of the most played games in the industry, the GameFi dapp attracted over 27,000 UAW on average per day in Q4 while generating $531 million in NFT sales.

Table of Contents

35% of blockchain wallets interacted with BSC in 2021

Binance Smart Chain had a solid overall performance in 2021. In terms of usage, BSC increased its audience constantly each quarter. Around 536,000 UAW connected daily to a BSC dapp on average last year, accounting for 35% of the industry’s activity. BSC managed to keep pace with the expanding dapp industry, as, in Q4, the network reached 941,000 daily UAW on average, maintaining its dominant presence of more than one-third of the industry’s wallets. 

DeFi dapps dominated the scene on the Binance-branded blockchain for most of the year. Around 75% of the network’s activity originated from this category in 2021 behind dapps like PancakeSwap, Venus, and ApeSwap. In the same way, the presence of games became more visible with time. Game dapps contributed to 20% of BSC’s usage on average in 2021, which increased to 25% in Q4. These activity trends align with the industry benchmark, where the game category produces 52% of the dapps activity. 

PancakeSwap – BSC’s crown jewel

Without question, PancakeSwap is the most critical contributor to the BSC ecosystem. The AMM became the most used dapp across the industry in 2021 based on on-chain activity. Around 288,000 UAW connected daily to the DeFi dapp on average throughout last year, reaching a peak of 671,000 UAW in November. PancakeSwap catalyzed more than half of the network’s activity and is vital to BSC’s position in the DeFi space.

In terms of TVL, PancakeSwap also leads the BSC ecosystem. The DeFi dapp closed 2021 with $5.48 billion locked, an amount equal to 35% of the network’s metric and around 2% of the industry’s TVL. 

Besides its DeFi features that include an extensive list of farming tokens and auto-compounding staking pools, PancakeSwap integrated NFTs into its platform. The dapp launched two NFT collections, Pancake Bunnies and PancakeSwap, which generated over $50 million in sales in 2021. Although the volumes are still far from other NFT marketplaces, there is still potential to grow for BSC’s leading dapp.

BSC’s DeFi dapps held $18B in TVL in 2021

BSC consolidated as the second-largest blockchain in terms of TVL, lagging behind only Ethereum in that regard. At the end of 2021, BSC held $18 billion, accounting for 11% of the industry’s total.

Besides PancakeSwap, DeFi on BSC is represented by different exchanges, aggregators, and lending protocols. The multichain paradigm provided BSC with a needed boost as several dapps like 1inch and Multichain extended their features to the Binance network. In the same way, BSC native dapps like ApeSwap, and OpenOcean took their features beyond the network as well. 

One DeFi dapp that grew significantly in 2021 was Alpaca Finance, one of the leading leverage and lending protocols on BSC. Despite not boasting eye-popping user metrics (approximately 5,800 UAW in December 2021), Alpaca was the third-largest dapp in terms of TVL at the end of the year, with almost $900 million locked. Dapps like Alpaca prove that BSC DeFi dapps lean on complex features for experienced traders.

As a whole, the DeFi space is getting more competitive. New dapp alternatives are emerging in different protocols offering DeFi users a wide array of options to optimize their capital. While PancakeSwap is a clear referent, it will be interesting to see the development of dapps like Alpaca, Venus, and ApeSwap this year. 

GameFi dapps propel BSC’s game scene

The game category on BSC improved substantially in 2021. A myriad of blockchain games launched last year, boosting the usage in the network and the whole industry. It is fair to say that 2021 saw the Gamification of DeFi or GameFi become an essential part of the Binance-branded network.

A couple of BSC dapps stand out in BSC’s game scene. Mobox, a GameFi dapp, consolidated as one of the top dapps in the network’s ecosystem. The second one is BombCrypto, a play-to-earn dapp where players battle to gain the game’s currency BCOIN and became one of the top 10 most played blockchain games. Launched in Q4, BombCrypto attracted over 21,900 daily UAW on average during the period. It will be worth watching whether BombCrypto, a blockchain-powered Bomberman clone, becomes a true contender in the game category and achieves to retain its players for a prolonged period.

While specific game dapps have thrived in the Binance network, others have not found the same level of success. One game dapp that caught the entire industry’s attention last year was CryptoBlades. CryptoBlades launched as a battle GameFi dapp on BSC, where players engaged in PVE battles to gain experience and earn the in-game currency SKILL. Players could then stake their SKILL within the same platform, adding the DeFi component. 

At one point in Q3, CryptoBlades became one of the three most played games in the entire industry behind Axie Infinity and Alien Worlds. In August, the game dapp reached its peak with over 406,000 UAW connected daily to the game dapp. However, weeks later, the game started to lose players as the value of SKILL dropped drastically. 

A similar scenario unfolded for CryptoBay, a play-to-earn dapp that became the second most played BSC game in September. CryptoBay started to attract thousands of daily users until the price of PEARL, the game’s native token, crashed down. 

All in all, BSC games present one of the most enticing opportunities for the network. Alien Worlds, the third most played game, launched Missions in BSC boosting the chain’s activity, and CryptoBlades will try to conquer its audience back in 2022. If BombCrypto, X-World Games, and others can follow Mobox steps, BSC will slowly become less dependent on DeFi, and more engaged around the play-to-earn narrative.  

Mobox an established GameFi player

Without question, Mobox not only became the most established game dapp in the Binance network, but it became a proper referent of the GameFi trend. Mobox allows players to stake liquidity tokens to obtain yield farming tokens as rewards in the form of KEY or MBOX. These tokens can unlock NFTs used as playing characters or staking assets in the MOBOX platform.

The inclusion of NFTs in the game mechanics bodes well for the current narrative around the industry, where NFTs are thriving. As a marketplace, mobox has been the bright spot for a weak NFT market within BSC. Mobox NFTs generated $531 million in 2021, hoarding 79% of the whole network’s trading volume. 

Moreover, in 2021 Mobox gained more players as the months went by, closing the year with an average of 27,000 UAW connected to the dapp per day. The amount has grown 2% at writing, showing Mobox success when retaining users. 

Along with PancakeSwap, Mobox can be considered one of the most vital dapps in the Binance ecosystem. The game dapp is governed by MBOX, giving the community a say in the platform’s future through the power of decentralization. Plus, Mobox is building around the metaverse narrative, another sign that paints a bright future for the GameFi dapp. 

Room for improvement in the NFT space

While DeFi and games flourish during 2021, the performance of NFTs on BSC appears to be stagnant outside of Mobox. Even though the on-chain metrics do not include the Featured by Binance Marketplace, no marketplace truly made an impact. BSC generated $670 million in NFT sales during the whole year, with 80% coming from Mobox, as previously mentioned.

Peer blockchains’ collectibles and game items enjoyed considerable success generating record volumes. At some point, BSC will need NFTs to support its growth. The support may come from the intersection with DeFi, where dapps like Alpaca, BakerySwap, or PancakeSwap itself may spark the category’s interest. Also, there is an essential connection between NFTs and games. 

The positive is that BSC does not lack options. Different DeFi and game dapps could gain traction at any moment. Also, there is the possibility of a novel marketplace such as Rarible or Hic-et Nunc that can capture the audience that will enter the NFT market in 2022. 

Road ahead

Undoubtedly, BSC saw significant progress in 2021. The network became one of the most used blockchains in the industry and established itself as the second-largest protocol by TVL with the help of a complete suite of DeFi dapps. Nonetheless, it is worth noting that the DeFi scene is getting more competitive; it will be interesting to see if BSC can maintain the second position in the TVL rankings, or even better, challenge Ethereum’s DeFi dominance.

In the games category, BSC’s offering became one of the most complete in the industry. Native game dapps Mobox and BombCrypto became amongst the most played blockchain games. Taking advantage of low transaction fees and fast processing times, BSC is a solid network to host blockchain games. 

As the industry becomes more mature, peer networks will compete for the share of TVL and users. Dapps like PancakeSwap and Mobox provide significant network support, but NFTs and marketplaces remain an area for improvement. It will be interesting to see how BSC evolves in 2022. 

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