The defi market has hit an all-time high as the total value locked up in decentralized finance has surged past $850 million. A flurry of new applications, privacy proposals, wallets, DEXs, and protocols is extending the limits of what defi is capable of. This jubilation should be countered with a healthy dose of caution, however, for not all of the products sailing under the defi flag are as decentralized as they claim. In some cases, what’s being branded as defi isn’t defi at all – it’s just finance, with the same chokepoints and centralized controls as before.
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Decentralized Finance Products Are Proliferating
Of the $850M currently locked into defi, $490M is contained in Maker, whose collateralized stablecoins, and the array of defi products they engender, account for 57% of the sector’s value. Other defi mainstays include derivatives, courtesy of Synthetix ($147M locked up), and lending care of protocols like Compound ($104M) and Instadapp ($62M),…