Exploring Ethereum Staking’s Surge Amidst DeFi’s Value Decline



Ethereum staking, led by platforms like Lido and Coinbase, thrives amidst a declining DeFi landscape. DeFi’s total value locked has dropped to under $38 billion from its peak of $178 billion in November 2021, while liquid staking gains momentum with attractive yields and trading liquidity, underscoring the dynamic nature of the cryptocurrency market.

The crypto sector, known for its rapid fluctuations, has witnessed an intriguing phenomenon over the past year. While the value of DeFi assets has experienced a substantial decline, Ethereum staking has been flourishing through innovative protocols like Lido and Coinbase’s staking service. Christopher Victor Walsh, a broker from BitPlus Capital, delves into the contrasting trends, exploring the reasons behind DeFi’s dip and the rise of liquid staking, all against the backdrop of evolving market dynamics.

The DeFi Downturn

The DeFi ecosystem, once hailed as the future of decentralized finance, has faced its fair share of challenges. From the failure of centralized crypto exchanges to service disruptions, these setbacks have led to capital outflows from the DeFi space. DefiLlama data reveals a stark reality: the total value locked (TVL) within DeFi protocols across various chains now stands at under $38 billion. This marks a significant drop from the peak reached in November 2021 when the TVL soared to a staggering $178 billion.

Furthermore, the current TVL falls below the total value locked shortly after the collapse of the centralized exchange FTX in November 2022, which caused a two-year low in the assets locked within DeFi protocols. While a brief recovery pushed the TVL back to approximately $50 billion in April, it has since retraced to below $38 billion, despite the underlying crypto values holding relatively steady during this period.

The Rise of Liquid Staking

Amidst the DeFi downturn, liquid staking protocols like Lido have emerged as a beacon of hope for crypto enthusiasts. Lido, in particular, has seen its TVL surge from $6 billion to a robust $13.95 billion since the FTX collapse. Notably, these protocols “deposit into another protocol,” explaining why they are not included in the total TVL tally. Coinbase’s staking service, launched in September 2022, has also accumulated an additional $2.1 billion worth of Ethereum, bringing the total assets held by such services to $20.2 billion.

Understanding Liquid Staking

Liquid staking offers a compelling alternative for investors looking to stake their assets and earn yield while maintaining trading liquidity. This is achieved through pegged assets issued by the staking provider, such as cbETH and stETH. Unlike traditional lending protocols like Aave, which require users to lock their tokens, liquid staking provides investors with flexibility and reduces their exposure to unwanted protocol risks.

Comparing yields, Aave currently offers ETH and USDC yield rates of 1.63% and 2.43%, respectively, while Coinbase’s staking service boasts more attractive rates of 3.65% for ETH and 4.5% for USDC. This discrepancy in returns has undoubtedly contributed to the growing popularity of liquid staking among crypto enthusiasts.

Factors Behind DeFi’s Downturn

Several factors have played a role in the decline of DeFi platforms over the past month. One potential factor is the hawkish monetary policy of the United States Federal Reserve. This policy has resulted in higher yields on short-term government debt, making it a more appealing option for investors compared to stablecoin yields within the DeFi space.

Aave’s TVL has fallen by 21% to $4.5 billion, while Curve Finance has experienced a 26% decline to $2.3 billion. These platforms are grappling with changing investor preferences amidst evolving market conditions.


In the turbulent world of cryptocurrencies, where trends can change overnight, the juxtaposition of Ethereum staking’s success and the DeFi sector’s struggles is a compelling narrative. Liquid staking protocols like Lido and Coinbase have become havens for investors seeking both yield and liquidity, while DeFi faces challenges stemming from economic policies and market dynamics.

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