How to Build a DeFi Application: Step-by-Step Guide & Average Cost

How to Build a DeFi Application: Step-by-Step Guide & Average Cost

02 August 2023 • 15 min read

In blockchain technology, a buzzword has revolutionized financial transactions: Decentralized Finance (DeFi). It offers an alternative, efficient, and open financial system. DeFi application development can revolutionize your approach to finance.

Recognizing the importance of secure DeFi applications, Softermii is happy to share our knowledge. We have more than nine years of experience as a reliable software development partner, so we have something to say. Through this guide, we aim to empower tech enthusiasts and developers to navigate the intricacies of DeFi app development.

From understanding the fundamentals of blockchain to launching your DeFI app, this guide will be your companion.

Top 5 Key Features of DeFi Apps

What are the main features that make a DeFi app different? In this section, we will answer this question.


A central authority or institution oversees and regulates transactions in traditional financial systems. DeFi applications operate on decentralized blockchain networks.

It reduces reliance on intermediaries and fosters an environment of transparency and trust. It empowers users with direct control over their transactions and removes bottlenecks.


DeFi apps use smart contracts on blockchain networks. These smart contracts automate finance tasks and transactions. Developers can turn complex financial tasks into self-running smart contracts. This way, tasks run smoother, and contracts can change to fit different financial needs and situations.


DeFi protocols can communicate and interact with each other. It allows easy trading of assets, data, and features. It helps create composite apps. In these apps, one DeFi protocol can use another's features. It makes a rich and interconnected DeFi system.

Liquidity Provision

DeFi platforms allow users to lend their assets to liquidity pools in exchange for interest or reward tokens. These pooled assets provide liquidity to the platform, enabling smooth trading and borrowing. This decentralized way of providing liquidity is different from traditional finance.

Non-Custodial Control

In DeFi applications, users maintain non-custodial control over their assets. It means they keep full ownership and control of their funds throughout their various financial activities. DeFi apps use smart contracts to ensure that users remain in control of their assets at all times.

How To Create a DeFi Application: Step-By-Step

Starting the journey of creating DeFi applications can be an exciting but challenging task. The process involves advanced technical knowledge, strategic planning, and robust security measures.

Step 1: Choose a DeFi Use Case

The first critical step in DeFi app development is choosing the proper use case for your application. This choice will influence your app's features, structure, and target audience. It's essential to consider a use case that aligns with your business goals and has potential market demand.

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Here are a few DeFi use cases to get you started:

  • Lending and Borrowing Platforms. These applications allow users to lend and borrow assets without an intermediary.
  • Decentralized Exchanges(DEXs). DEXs let users trade cryptocurrencies directly. They don't need a traditional exchange.
  • Yield Farming. These applications incentivize liquidity providers (LPs) with rewards for staking their tokens. Yield farming has become a popular method for users to generate passive income.
  • Stablecoins. Stablecoins are cryptocurrencies pegged to a stable asset, often fiat currency. They aim to offer price stability while maintaining the benefits of cryptocurrencies.
  • Insurance. Some DeFi apps offer decentralized insurance services. In particular, against smart contract failures, hacking, and other DeFi-related risks.

Step 2: Define the Architecture and Features of Your DeFI App

It shapes the technical backbone of your application and dictates how it interacts with users and other DeFi protocols.

  • Define the Architecture. Your DeFi app's architecture depends on the blockchain you choose for development.

    The architecture will consist of various smart contracts responsible for a specific function. It can be user authentication, transactions, or handling tokens. These smart contracts need to interact with each other seamlessly and securely. Depending on the complexity of your DeFi app, you might need to develop a layered architecture with various types of contracts.

  • Define the Features. The chosen use case, market demand, and user requirements will guide the features of your app. For instance, in a lending platform, features include loan issuance and risk assessment.

    While defining features, keep the user experience at the forefront. Your DeFi app should provide utility and be easy and intuitive to use. It could include features like easy use wallet or detailed analytics.

Step 3: Selecting the Right Blockchain Platform

Here is a comparison of some popular blockchain platforms suitable for building DeFi apps:

  • Ethereum. The most widespread platform boasts a large community of developers and a variety of DeFi applications for integration.
  • DeFi apps development

  • Binance Smart Chain (BSC). BSC has gained popularity due to its compatibility with Ethereum's EVM, faster transactions, and lower fees.
  • Create a DeFi project

  • Polkadot. Polkadot is suitable for interoperability, allowing different blockchains to interact. This feature can benefit DeFi apps looking to integrate with various protocols.
  • Build a DeFi application

  • Solana. Solana has high throughput and low fees, addressing some of Ethereum's scalability issues.

DeFi application development

Want to dive deeper into the world of blockchain? Read our comprehensive guide to developing blockchain applications.

Step 4: Designing Smart Contracts for DeFi

At the core of any DeFi application lie smart contracts. It is the autonomous digital agreements that govern all transactions within the platform.

When you create a DeFi project, smart contracts form the backbone of the protocol. Depending on the use case of your DeFi app, you might have many smart contracts, each with a specific purpose.

For example, a lending platform can have one smart contract to manage different types of collateral. Another contract will facilitate lending transactions. All these contracts need to work together to maintain the integrity and security of the platform.

Step 5: The Creation of the User Interface (UI)

A practical and intuitive UI is an essential factor when you build a DeFi application. It's the gateway through which users can engage with all the powerful features you've made.

  • Designing the UI. Start by defining the key user journeys in your application. What are the main tasks users will want to perform? How can they do those tasks most efficiently?

    Sketching out these user flows can help you understand the optimal structure for your interface. Create wireframes and mockups to visualize the design and layout of your interface.

    When designing the UI for the DeFI app, simplicity, and intuitiveness should be your guiding principles. DeFi can be complex, but a well-designed UI should make it accessible and easy to navigate even for less tech-savvy users.

  • Developing the UI. Web3.js or Ethers.js are widely used libraries for interacting with Ethereum-based contracts. Other blockchains may require different libraries.
  • Testing the UI. As with any software development, thorough testing is vital. It should include functional and usability testing. Remember that the users of your app range from DeFi experts to complete beginners. So aim to make the interface as inclusive as possible.

Step 6: Ensuring Security Measures

Security is paramount in DeFi application development. DeFi apps handle sensitive financial transactions. So, any security flaws lead to significant losses. Here are some critical steps to ensure your DeFi application is secure:

  • Secure Coding. Developers must write smart contracts with the utmost care. A poorly written contract may lead to exploits, and there will be no way to patch it after deployment.
  • Testing. It includes unit tests (for individual functions) and integration tests (how well different parts work together).
  • Audits. After writing and testing your smart contracts, you should engage an external firm to conduct an audit. The auditors will identify potential security issues, like overflow errors. It's also an excellent practice to undergo multiple audits.
  • Bug Bounties. It invites external developers to find vulnerabilities in your smart contracts in exchange for a reward. It can be an excellent way to find potential security issues you may have missed.
  • Insurance. Consider offering insurance for your users. It can help instill trust and provide a safety net for your users.

Step 7: Launching Your DeFi Application

Before releasing custom decentralized finance applications, conduct thorough testing and quality assurance. Here's how to go about this:

  • Ensure that all aspects of your application are working as expected. Make sure all functionalities align with your original objectives and design.
  • Test the application from a user's perspective. It helps ensure the UI is intuitive and the UX is smooth. Collect feedback from a group of early users or beta testers and refine your application based on this feedback.
  • Ensure that your application complies with all relevant legal and regulatory requirements. It may include data protection or blockchain-specific laws in your jurisdiction.

Step 8: Upgrade and Iterate

Adopting a mindset of continuous improvement for your DeFi app is vital.

  • Meeting User Needs. Post-launch, gather user feedback regularly to understand their needs, difficulties, and suggestions.
  • Enhanced Functionality. As you understand your users better and the DeFi landscape evolves, opportunities for adding new features may exist. There could be a new DeFi protocol you can integrate with or a way to make transactions faster.
  • Competitiveness. Keep abreast of the latest developments and learn from another successful app.
  • Scalability. As your user base grows, so will the demands on your application. Review your application's performance and plan for scalability.
  • Regulatory Compliance. Laws and regulations around blockchain and DeFi can change. Stay updated on legal changes in your jurisdiction and ensure your app remains compliant.

In conclusion, building a DeFi application is cyclical, not linear. Regular upgrades are essential to ensure your DeFi application stays relevant. Softermii strongly advocates for this iterative development approach.

Challenges of DeFI Application

While burgeoning with potential, the decentralized finance (DeFi) landscape is also fraught with complexities and challenges that developers and stakeholders must navigate. Among the significant hurdles, understanding the intricacies of data sources, the dynamics of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), and the prevailing lack of standardization is essential.

Data Sources and Reliability

DeFi's dependency on data is its lifeblood and Achilles heel. Precise and timely data ensure proper functioning, but the sector's reliance on external data providers or oracles can be problematic. A slight inaccuracy or delay can result in substantial financial repercussions. More so, the paradox is evident when decentralized systems have to lean on centralized data sources, a move that often feels contradictory to DeFi's core principle of decentralization. The centralization exposes the systems to a single point of failure and raises questions about data manipulation and authenticity.

The Role and Risks of APIs

APIs serve as the bridge for interactions within the DeFi ecosystem. However, they can also become its weakest link if not managed correctly. Security remains at the forefront of concerns. Poorly designed or implemented APIs can become prime targets for cyber-attacks. The DeFi sector's rapid evolution means new APIs are frequently introduced, and not all are created with stringent security protocols. The issue of interoperability also looms large. 

The vision of a cohesive DeFi ecosystem where different applications and platforms interact seamlessly is still elusive. Mismatches in API designs and functions can lead to integration challenges, diminishing the user experience. Furthermore, the inherent rate limitations of public APIs can become bottlenecks, especially during high-demand periods, impacting the scalability and responsiveness of DeFi platforms.

Navigating the Quagmire of Non-Standardization

The DeFi landscape resembles the Wild West's current state. The diversity in how smart contracts— the bedrock of most DeFi applications—are written and executed means a wide variation in practices. While this might foster innovation, it also breeds inconsistency and potential vulnerabilities. In their zest to create unique offerings, developers might inadvertently introduce flaws that can be exploited. On the regulatory front, the rapid pace at which DeFi is evolving has caught many regulators off-guard. 

The absence of a cohesive regulatory framework across different jurisdictions introduces uncertainty. Developers might find themselves unintentionally crossing legal boundaries. At the same time, users might inadvertently engage in activities that are gray areas in their local jurisdictions in their enthusiasm to explore new platforms. Furthermore, for the end-users, this lack of standardization manifests as a myriad of user interfaces, experiences, and learning curves, potentially hindering the broader adoption of DeFi.

The DeFi arena is undeniably exciting, teeming with innovation and possibilities. However, these challenges must be acknowledged and systematically addressed to reach its full potential and promise of a decentralized financial future.

How Much Does It Cost to Develop a DeFi App?

Developing a decentralized finance (DeFi) app is an intricate journey influenced by many factors. Whether you're designing a lending platform, a staking app, or any other DeFi product, understanding the developmental costs is crucial. Let's break down the phases and potential expenses involved in crafting a DeFi app:

The expense of developing a DeFi app is often tied to the intricacies of your unique requirements. While ensuring operational efficiency is paramount, the platform should also present a user-centric design and intuitive navigation. Flexibility remains key, allowing you to adjust features based on feedback and evolving needs.

To estimate the budget for a DeFi app, consider the following:

  • Development stages
  • Technology stack choices
  • The range of features
  • Project Timeline
  • The development team's expertise and rates

Discovery Phase & Design

The initial stages revolve around understanding and aligning the market needs with your vision. Designers draft the app's aesthetics, brainstorming multiple user interface possibilities. The goal is to finalize a design that offers a seamless user experience and intuitive interactions. Though essential, this phase typically isn't the primary cost driver.

App Development

It is when the conceptual design gets transformed into a functional platform. Developers perform the tasks of front-end (user interface) and back-end (underlying infrastructure and logic). Such key functionalities as smart contract integration or yield farming modules are implemented during this phase. Bridging the front-end and back-end functionalities is pivotal at this juncture.

API Integration

For DeFi apps, integration capabilities can expand functionalities immensely. Your app can interface with existing DeFi products through APIs, pull real-time data, or even trigger external actions. This step ensures your app's operability within the broader DeFi ecosystem.

Blockchain Integration

The blockchain layer, the heart of any DeFi app, provides the foundation for trustless and transparent operations. With its distributed ledger, all participants have a unified view, ensuring trust and facilitating seamless interactions.


Every DeFi app needs rigorous vetting before its public debut. This stage detects bugs, security vulnerabilities, and areas that need optimization. It's all about refining the app and ensuring stability, security, and user satisfaction.

For a more tangible understanding of costs, a breakdown detailing the developmental stages and their respective expenses would be useful:

Work Stage




Website Development

$40,000 – $45,000

API Integration

$50,000 – $75,000


$10,000 – $12,000



Total Cost

$130,000 – $162,000, depending on the need of autotests

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By comprehending these stages and their costs, you can embark on the DeFi app development journey with clarity, ensuring a balance between functionality and fiscal responsibility. Note, that these numbers are approximate and if you want your DeFi app development calculated more precisely, drop us a line!


DeFi has the power to democratize the financial industry, ensuring the accessibility of financial services. Through DeFi tokenization development, you can transform traditional assets into programmable tokens and unlock new financial opportunities. As DeFi grows and matures, it will bring about significant shifts in the financial sector.

With smart planning, the proper method, and ongoing improvements, you can make an excellent DeFi app. It can meet today's market needs and adapt to future changes.

As you embark on your DeFi application development journey, remember you are not alone. At Softermii, we have over nine years of experience in software development. We're passionate about leveraging our expertise to support and guide your project from inception to launch and beyond with our dedicated app development team.

For a free consultation, contact our team. Let's work together to make your mark in the future of finance.

Frequently Asked Questions

What programming languages and technologies are commonly used in DeFi App development?

The choice of technologies for DeFi app development depends on the blockchain platform you choose. Ethereum uses Solidity as its primary smart contract language.

Traditional web technologies like JavaScript, HTML, and CSS are suitable for front-end development. Libraries like Web3.js or Ethers.js are used to interact with the blockchain.

What are the regulatory challenges and considerations when building DeFi apps?

Since DeFi operates in a legal grey area in many jurisdictions, there are several challenges:

  • The type and function of a DeFi app can dictate the legal licenses needed to operate. These licenses can differ from country to country.
  • Regulators could pay more attention to a DeFi app that issues tokens possibly viewed as securities.
  • DeFi applications must follow data protection laws like GDPR in Europe.

What are the scalability solutions available for creating DeFi apps?

Scalability is a significant concern for many DeFi applications. As the number of transactions increases, so does the demand for faster and more efficient processes. Here are a few scalability solutions:

  • Sharding. It breaks a blockchain network into small pieces, or 'shards.' Each shard can process transactions and smart contracts.
  • Cross-Chain Integration. It involves interacting with many blockchains to spread the load and exploit each chain's strengths. Cosmos and Polkadot are examples of projects that facilitate cross-chain integrations.
  • Alternative Blockchains. Some blockchains are more scalable than Ethereum. Examples include Solana and Binance Smart Chain. However, choosing Ethereum’s alternatives often involves trade-offs, such as less decentralization.

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