When the crypto market went into freefall on Wednesday, centralized exchanges like Coinbase, Binance, Kraken, and Gemini suffered outages while DEXs (decentralized exchanges) like Uniswap and 1inch stayed up and running without a hitch. Even though it's not quite an apples-to-apples comparison since DEXs typically have far smaller trading volume, the resilience of DEXs reinforced their appeal as the go-to place for crypto-savvy traders to swap DeFi (decentralized finance) tokens.
But by Sunday, the entire crypto market was falling so far that DeFi tokens couldn’t escape the damage.
Bitcoin(BTC) fell another 14% on Sunday to $32,000. Ethereum (ETH) fell 16% to around $1,900, and Binance Coin (BNB) fell 24% to about $235.
Top DeFi tokens fared even worse. Uniswap (UNI) fell 25%, Chainlink (LINK) fell 24%, Aave (AAVE) fell 24%, and Maker (MKR) fell 19%.
CAKE, the native token of PancakeSwap, the top DEX built on Binance Smart Chain (BSC), tanked 29%. (BUNNY, the native token of BSC DeFi protocol PancakeBunny, fell 45% on Sunday, but that came on the heels of a $45 million PancakeBunny attack earlier this week.)
The damage suggests that when a crypto crash is broad enough, no type of token is immune.
The weekend selloff continued a market slide that began 10 days ago, when Tesla CEO Elon Musk suddenly declared his car company would no longer accept Bitcoin as payment due to environmental concerns. In the days since, Musk has continued to blast Bitcoin for its environmental impact, and reconfirmed his ambition to make Dogecoin more sustainable.
Some very bearish headlines out of China made things worse. First, Chinese payment associations reissued a public warning on crypto speculation. Then, only a few days later, a Chinese financial committee led by Vice Premier Liu He reinforced its crackdown on Bitcoin mining as a high-risk sector.
Musk and China weren't the only causes, either—Bitcoin's reputation problem was further damaged when the Colonial Pipeline hackers made off with $90 million in a Bitcoin ransom.
Further reinforcing the criticisms of centralized exchanges by DEX flag-wavers, and perhaps a prelude to a more overt China crackdown, Huobi and OKEx restricted some services for users in China amid the crash.
The views and opinions expressed in this post are for informational purposes only and do not constitute financial, investment, or other advice.