DeFi is reviving, but the green shoots are sprouting in unfamiliar places
DeFi’s comeback isn’t taking place on the Ethereum blockchain alone. Other, newer blockchains are contributing to the recent increases in token prices and total value locked. Over the past 30 days, Klaytn and Waves’ on-chain activity has shown how they’re helping the DeFi recovery. However, don’t write off Ethereum just yet, as the blockchain has well-laid plans to maintain its position in the market.
DeFi is on the rise again. The heady days of November 2021 may seem like a long time ago. But since the January lows when bitcoin dropped as low as $33,495, the present moment seems like a time to celebrate what’s happening in the DeFi space.
Given that most tokens follow closely in the path set by bitcoin, the chart below shows you everything you need to know about the price movements of cryptocurrency over the past six months. The turn of the year was a particularly troubling time for holders as the steady decline we’d seen since early to mid-November peak, fell off precipitously in January.
Why the drop in price?
Profit-taking by big players led to increased supply and lower prices. Then inexperienced new traders started selling their newly-acquired tokens en masse as volatile prices made them realize that no asset goes up forever and their feet got suddenly itchy.
The dawn of high inflation and then Russia’s invasion of Ukraine compounded traders’ fear and soon enough DeFi had lost its allure.
Over the past week though, the green squiggly lines have started moving up on our charts. And people are wondering if the bear market is over and cryptocurrency is safe to hold again. For anyone who got their Coinbase account longer than six months ago, it’s common knowledge that blockchain assets are liable to go down, as well as up.
But now we’re in a happier period of relative gains, it’s interesting to look at the platforms and exchanges that prop up decentralized finance to see how what’s happening there relates to what’s happening to our DeFi wallets.
Klaytn blockchain doing its bit for DeFi
Take a look at DappRadar’s rankings page for exchanges and it’s difficult to spot a pattern. Over the past 30 days, no single blockchain stands out as a clear beneficiary of the recent cryptocurrency price increases. Aside from exchanges operating on the Klaytn network, which are all up over the past 30 days.
These increases in usership are reflected in the total value locked (TVL) on the Klaytn network. TVL shows the current overall value of cryptocurrency deposited on a blockchain and includes all the coins used for staking, lending and liquidity pools. It’s one of the best indicators we have of a network’s strength. Since February 1st, Klaytn’s TVL has risen by 29.5% from $956 million to $1.24 billion.
Unfortunately for holders of the network’s native token KLAY, its price has not followed in the footsteps of its TVL or other cryptocurrencies. KLAY is down since the start of the year and its current price of $1.22 might represent a good buying opportunity based on Klaytn’s on-chain analytics.
Exchanges across multiple chains performing well
Other major exchanges that have seen huge 30-day increases in unique active wallets (UAW) interacting with their smart contracts are:
- Neutrino Protocol – UAW up 58% to 2,740 and a current balance of $3.34 billion. Neutrino Protocol is on the Waves network, which you can learn more about here.
- KyberSwap – UAW is up 83.02% to 57,470 and a current balance of $575.39 million. KyberSwap is a dynamic market maker that finds the best returns for users across multiple chains.
- Bogged.Finance (UAW up 66.2%) and BloctoSwap (UAW up 10.76%) are two more multi-chain exchanges that have been gaining wider audiences over the past month.
What we seem to be seeing here is more blockchains contributing to the overall DeFi ecosystem. Instead of Bitcoin and Ethereum carrying the load, as they have done for most of the past decade, a broader selection of networks are contributing to the overall cryptocurrency market cap. This adds security to DeFi as it’s no longer relying on one or two lone coins to hold everything together.
But even though we see new blockchains launching every year and promising to solve the problems that others can’t, Ethereum has held its position. The chart below represents Ethereum’s individual market share since it launched in 2014. As we can see, the network has steadily increased its market share from 7.5% at the beginning of 2020 to 19.8% today.
Don’t say farewell to Ethereum just yet
Despite the high gas fees and young pretenders to its throne, Etheruem is still the blockchain by which all others are measured. This is because of its importance to the success of so many other projects that relate to web3, the metaverse, NFTs, gaming and DeFi.
Many successful and important dapps are built on Ethereum. The coin itself has a market cap over $400 billion. Huge numbers of developers have also dedicated years to building sidechains that solve Ethereum’s well-known problems.
With so many people and companies having invested money and time to create things that rely on Ethereum, it would take something truly revolutionary for the network to suddenly lose its place at the head of the pack.
If we take a look at Ethereum’s TVL since the beginning of February, we see no sign of the network losing its grip on the market. TVL is up 12.8% from $112 billion to $126.5 billion. The dip in the middle shows the risk-averse investors taking out their money and putting it into safe havens as a result of Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine. But as confidence picked back up midway through March, dollars soon flowed back into the blockchain.
Aside from the general upward swing of all cryptocurrencies this month, there’s particular excitement about Ethereum’s “merge”, which will lead to the blockchain becoming a proof-of-stake network. Some commentators are suggesting it might even lift the coin’s market cap above bitcoin’s as more institutional investors buy in.
If this does happen, if Ethereum goes further towards solving the issues of scalability, security and sustainability, there will be even more mainstream acceptance of the cryptocurrency. We can already see this with news that MetaMask, an Ethereum-based platform, recently announced a partnership with Visa and MasterCard. A private school in Dubai is even accepting bitcoin and ETH as payment for tuition fees.
If these signs don’t make believers out of the skeptics, then cryptocurrencies and blockchains will never be their thing.
Making sense of on-chain activity
Understanding blockchain data and trends, and the way that the ecosystem’s moving parts interact with each other, is difficult. If you’re new to cryptocurrency, even the terminology can be hard to get to grips with at first.
But for anyone who’s invested money in blockchain assets, having at least a basic knowledge of these things is important. It can be the difference between making a tidy profit and being the one holding the bag when the party’s over and the lights come on.
The beauty of cryptocurrency is that all this information is out there. Blockchain technology and smart contracts were designed specifically for the purposes of transparency. And while there are always people who will find loopholes in the system, being able to spot signals early will help you avoid most of the danger.
DappRadar’s growing list of tools is designed to help you identify trends in time to act. Our rankings pages show you the movers and shakers across various industries that operate on blockchains. And our token explorer can tell you how cryptocurrencies are currently performing. The Portfolio Tracker will keep you updated with the current value of all assets in your wallet. Our DeFi and NFT pages are one-stop shops where you can track their performance in real time.
You can also stay up to date with the latest news by following our blog and get instant information from our Twitter feed. For in-depth conversations about gaming, NFT projects and new blockchains, we hold regular conversations on our Discord server.
DappRadar is the only place that aggregates all of this information in one place. And as we go forward, we’ll keep on listening to our community and keep on adding more to our platform.
This article does not constitute financial advise. I would always advise anyone investing in cryptocurrencies or NFTs to carry out their own research and think carefully before making a decision.