Reshaping DeFi: Exploring the Ebb and Flow of Crypto-Fueled Finance
DeFi Struggles with Decline: The Crypto Financial Future Faces Challenges Amidst Falling Value
The aggregated value locked within DeFi protocols has recently encountered a significant downturn, reaching levels not seen since February 2021, even as the price of ETH, the cornerstone of the market, has displayed impressive growth throughout this year.
Taking an unexpected turn, the once-bright prospect of the financial future driven by cryptocurrencies seems to be regressing. Data compiled by DefiLlama points out that the assets secured in decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols have descended to their lowest point since February 2021. Specifically, the total value locked (TVL) has dwindled to $37.5 billion, dropping beneath the previous nadir observed post the peak of the bull market, which occurred at $38 billion in December.
Champions of DeFi have long celebrated this sector as a catalyst for a groundbreaking financial paradigm, one that migrates conventional asset movement and trading practices onto blockchain platforms. This enthusiasm propelled TVL to its zenith of $177 billion in late 2021. Nevertheless, the landscape took a sharp downturn last year as cryptocurrency prices plummeted, compounded by scandals that discouraged participation. In the current year, the increased regulatory scrutiny of the crypto sector by the U.S. government has sowed concerns within traditional financial circles about DeFi, nurturing worries of potential clashes with regulations.
Over the last month, several protocols have experienced substantial decreases in their locked value. Velodrome, a decentralized exchange rooted in optimism, has undergone a significant 58% decline in TVL. Balancer, a prominent liquidity protocol, has seen its TVL contract by 35% to $641 million.
Understanding DeFi's Decline:
The recent period has posed challenges for the broader cryptocurrency market, as both bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum's ether (ETH), which serve as a crucial foundation for the DeFi ecosystem, have faced double-digit percentage declines. Historically, when major crypto assets undergo downward trends, traders tend to withdraw liquidity from riskier assets, including those within the DeFi sector, to mitigate potential losses. This pattern was evident last year when bitcoin's value plunged by 77% from its peak, and various altcoins suffered losses exceeding 95%. However, DeFi's struggles this year seem to surpass ETH's performance. Despite ETH's price surge of approximately 40% since December, the diminishing DeFi TVL suggests that the challenges encountered by DeFi are specific to the sector itself, not solely connected to its key token.
Some experts posit a potential connection between DeFi's downturn and U.S. Treasury yields. Doo, co-founder of StableLab and Asia Lead at MakerDAO, has shed light on the interplay between U.S. Treasury yields and DeFi yields. Doo explained to Bitsday, "Fundamentally, it's due to U.S. Treasury yields being up and DeFi yields, which are higher risk, offering lower rewards." Doo further elaborated, "When yields were raised to 8%, we witnessed DSR [Dai Savings Rate] deposits quadruple."
Doo also emphasized the broader liquidity challenge, as evident in the trading volumes of major decentralized exchanges. "Both Curve and Uniswap have reported diminished trading volumes, resulting in reduced liquidity and market interest," Doo added. "This, in turn, leads to lower yields, reinforcing such trends."