In brief

  • $20 billion worth of cryptocurrencies is now locked up across various DeFi protocols.
  • Maker, the issuer of the DAI stablecoin, locks up the highest amount compared to other projects.
  • But despite the increase, data shows over 2.2 million Ethereum has been taken out of DeFi projects since October 2020.

More than $20 billion worth of various cryptocurrencies is now locked in the burgeoning decentralized finance (DeFi) space, as per data from analytics site DeFi Pulse on Wednesday.

While $10 billion was locked in DeFi protocols at the start of November last year, use cases like lending, decentralized exchanges (DEXs), payments, and derivatives, have attracted another $10 billion in the past two months alone.


Of that, the projects with the bigger total value locked (TVL) is Maker, the governance protocol for the DAI stablecoin, with over $3.98 billion. Lending project Aave is next with $2.64 billion, while Ethereum-based DEX Uniswap comes third with $2.47 billion.

Among other use cases, Synthetix takes pole position in the decentralized derivatives category with $1.98 billion in TVL. Meanwhile, tokenized Bitcoin protocol BadgerDAO holds the most assets among “yield farming” platforms, with over $555 million locked up.

Number of Ethereum is actually going down

But despite the metrics, the $20 billion figure may not necessarily be an outright sign of increased DeFi adoption. Data suggests the increased value in US terms comes from the 43% price rise in ETH (and similar gains in other DeFi assets) instead of the number of the actual assets locked up increasing.

As shown in the below image, the number of locked up Ethereum compared to October 2020 has reduced significantly—from over 9.44 million ETH to 6.8 million ETH as of today, a 2.64 million ETH decrease.

The amount of Ethereum locked up on DeFi protocols has dwindled. Image: DeFi Pulse.

Some of that ETH, however, may have found its way to the Ethereum 2.0 deposit contract, the initial block of Ethereum’s upcoming shift from its current proof-of-work design to a proof-of-stake network.  Data from on-chain analytics provider Dune Analytics shows ETH deposits for Ethereum 2.0 increased exponentially in mid-November, around the same period when ETH started leaving DeFi projects.


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