Does DeFi Need New Innovation Following Three-Year TVL Stagnation?

There is visible growth among some of the most prominent sectors of the crypto ecosystem, however, decentralized finance (DeFi) seems to be lagging. Observing this anomaly, Patrick Hansen, Circle’s Senior Policy Director for Europe, advocated that the sector needs a complete overhaul.

DeFi hiccup in spotlight

According to the observation from Hansen, the DeFi Total Value Locked (TVL) has remained at the same level it was at over three years ago. According to Hansen, this metric is even less than half of what it is if the Liquid Staking capital lockup is excluded.

DeFi needs a new wave of innovation and apps. Total Value Locked (TVL) in DeFi protocols – admittedly a flawed metric – is at the same level it was over 3 years ago and less than half what it was at the end of 2021 if you exclude liquid staking.

— Patrick Hansen (@paddi_hansen) May 14, 2024

Per data from DeFiLlama, the DeFi TVL is currently pegged at $142.347 billion, down by more than $220 billion as of December 2021. This massive slump comes despite a growing number of dApps on Ethereum (ETH) and other protocols with deep connections to smart contract finance applications.

For an industry that is evolving outward, Patrick Hansen suggests there should be a major difference in the locked TVL. While the policy expert noted that the TVL is a flawed metric for judging holistic market performance, he noted that DeFi needs a new wave of innovations and applications overall.

Why regulation may hinder innovation

The focus of traders on the market notably shifted over the past few years to Ethereum restaking protocols. This is the major aspect of the DeFi ecosystem that recorded a significant uptick, with Lido DAO and EigenLayer leading the charge in this regard.

The intention to innovate may, however, face a major strain on the market moving forward. This is based on the harsh regulatory climate in the United States, the major liquidity market for DeFi.

Uniswap, the major pioneering protocol in the decentralized exchange (DEX) world, received a Wells Notice from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Despite calls for new innovations by Hansen, these regulatory bottlenecks might impact and slow down optimism.


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