As 2022 gets underway, the decentralized finance (DeFi) sector of the cryptocurrency ecosystem appears to be gaining momentum in what could be an echo of the bullish market seen in seen in early 2021.
Data from crypto market intelligence firm Messari shows that over the past 30 days, five out of the top 10 DeFi protocols have seen their tokens post double-digit gains. This is in spite of the struggles that Bitcoin has faced, a dynamic that usually places bearish pressure on the wider crypto market.
Top 10 DeFi assets. Source: Messari
A deeper dive into the data shows that Aave (AAVE), Curve (CRV) and Spell Token (SPELL) have outperformed a majority of the field but what’s behind these bullish outbreaks?
In the case of AAVE, the Dec. 28 introduction of real-world assets (RAW) to the protocol represented the next advance in DeFi capabilities. Users will now be able to borrow against tokenized forms of traditional assets such as real estate, cargo, freight invoices and payment advances.
Curve and Abracadabra Money’s integration of stablecoins across the DeFi ecosystem have elevated their status as integral components of the DeFi and this is reflected in the price growth of their native tokens.
Rising metrics highlight DeFi’s building strength
Further evidence of the building momentum in the DeFi space can be found by looking at various metrics within the ecosystem. These metrics include active users and total value locked.
According to data from Dune Analytics, the number of uniques users in DeFi has continued to climb higher over time and is currently at a record high of 4,304,478 unique wallets.
Total DeFi users over time. Source: Dune Analytics
The activity shown on decentralized exchanges (DEX) has also been on the rise over the past few months. Data from Dune Analytics shows that May 2021 was the only month with a higher DEX trading volume than was seen in November and December 2021.
Monthly DEX volume by project. Source: Dune Analytics
As a way to see how far the DeFi ecosystem as a whole has grown in the last two years, the volume traded on decentralized exchanges in the first four days of January has already surpassed the volume seen during the entire month of July 2020, when the “Summer of DeFi” was starting to gain momentum.
Related: Crypto funds attracted $9.3B in inflows in 2021 as institutional adoption grew
TVL approaches its previous all-time high
Overall, one of the best metrics to get a gauge on the growth and trajectory of decentralized finance is the total value locked across all protocols.
Total value locked in DeFi. Source: Defi Llama
According to data from Defi Llama, the current TVL for all of DeFi sits at $255.87 billion, just $4 billion lower than its all-time high of $259.41 billion, which was set on Dec. 2, 2021.
The leading protocols in terms of TVL are Curve with $24.42 billion, Convex Finance with $21.23 billion, MakerDAO at $18.28 billion and AAVE with $14.62 billion.
The overall cryptocurrency market cap now stands at $2.234 trillion and Bitcoin’s dominance rate is 39.4%.
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