Is there a clear distinction between DeFi and DApps? I just recently read about the DeFi Stack (presented by Fabian Schär) but I'm actually missing an understandable delimitation or definition that allows understanding whether a DeFi Application (which might just be a protocol) always is a DApp or if e.g. protocols are also always a (part of) DApp.

Edit (Adding illustration): (Question 2) If referencing the given definition (Schär 2021) might I say that a DApp can be illustrated as shown below? Meaning that a DApp always needs to implement all the given Layers of this Decentralized (not always: Finance) Stack.


Hope that somebody can clarify the similarities and differences.

1 Answer 1


Lets begin with what each means:

  • Dapp: Decentralized application.
  • DeFi: Decentralized Finance.

You can create any application that connects to the blockchain and that will be a dapp, but not every project is finance related, so not every dapp is DeFi.

A DeFi app will always be a dapp because it is a decentralized application, but not all decentralized applications are related to finances.

Hope that clear things out for you.

  • (1) I mean I understand what it means, but there are also projects existing that do not need to use an aggregation or an application layer, because they do just exist as protocols. So I'm wondering if a protocol itself is also classified as a DApp? (2) So I'm wondering if a DApp actually will integrate all layers or not?
    – Ndrslmpk
    Nov 23, 2021 at 21:49

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