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What Is DeFi Llama: A DeFi Analytics Dashboard for Professional DeFi Traders

2022-03-09 09:19:52

DeFi Llama is a DeFi (decentralized finance) analytics dashboard that tracks chains such as Ethereum (ETH), Terra (LUNA), Avalanche (AVAX), Fantom (FTM), Cardano (ADA), and other chains. Because DeFi applications are not centralized, it’s hard to keep track of all the activity happening across the board. This is where DeFi Llama steps in with their aggregation dashboard.

defi llama

What is DeFi Llama?

DeFi Llama tracks all popular chains and their respective applications (DApps). The data team analyzes trading activity across the world’s largest chains. The platform aggregates the data and presents it to the world for free, including cumulative data for all chains combined. The total value locked at the time of writing for all DeFi activity is $200 billion.

total value of the DeFi market

The total value of the DeFi market across multiple chains.

DeFi Llama keeps track of DeFi analytics for the following:

  • DeFi applications
  • DeFi chains
  • DeFi oracles
  • DeFi forks
  • DeFi airdrops
  • NFTs

DeFi activity peaked in December 2021 when the TVL (total value locked) reached an all-time-high of $250 billion. This indicates that DeFi is not as tied to the price of Bitcoin (BTC) as we might have expected. Bitcoin’s decreasing dominance has led to the emergence of many altcoins.

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How DeFi Llama Works

DeFi Llama’s website aggregates data from 80+ Layer 1 blockchains and hundreds of decentralized applications. This allows us to see which chains are the biggest and how DeFi is growing. The statistics aggregated on the website are available for free and a public API can be used to integrate this data on other websites.

The data aggregated by DeFi Llama is trustworthy because it’s based on open protocols. Data on blockchains is publically-accessible and users can track all trading on decentralized apps such as UniSwap (UNI) using their oracles or Ethereum’s block explorers. DeFi Llama’s statistics indicate that large-scale DeFi trading started in 2020 and has grown since.

DeFi Llama Dashboard

The DeFi Llama dashboard is the first thing users are presented with when they visit the website. This dashboard provides access to TVL for all DeFi activity. TVL means that there’s a certain amount of money deposited on those networks in the form of liquidity tokens (LPs) or collateral.

The homepage displays TVL rankings for decentralized applications based on the dollar value tied up on each application. This data includes all trading on decentralized exchanges, yield generating protocols, insurance protocols, and other DeFi applications:

top DeFi applications ranked by TVL

The top DeFi applications ranked by TVL.

According to data presented by the dashboard, tools such as Curve Finance (CRV) have the highest TVL with over $18 billion in assets locked up on Curve alone. Lending protocols such as AAVE (AAVE) are also up high with $11 billion which indicates that decentralized banking services are on the rise.

Users can sort the TVL rankings for each chain by picking Ethereum, Terra, Fantom, or any other chain. If we pick out Ethereum, we’ll be presented with applications that are built for Ethereum based on TVL. The following are the top 10 largest DeFi applications built for Ethereum:

top Ethereum-based DeFi applications

The top Ethereum-based DeFi applications ranked by TVL.

Under “Chains,” DeFi Llama indicates if the application is compatible with other chains aside from Ethereum. In the case of Curve Finance, it’s also compatible with seven other chains. This helps traders find the best DeFi exchanges for the largest chains without doing individual research — saving them a lot of time.

DeFi Llama Chains (Layer 1s)

DeFi Llama tracks the largest DeFi blockchains by TVL. It lists exclusively Layer 1 chains that applications can be built on. The chains have an advantage over Bitcoin in that they are smart-contract compatible.

Smart contracts enable them to build coins such as ERC-20 on top of these chains and create DeFi applications such as AAVE that enable lending services in a trustless manner.

top Layer 1 chains

The top Layer 1 chains that the DeFi industry is built on.

The top DeFi chain is Ethereum with a 54% market share. If we go by the total TVL of DeFi combined, this means that Ethereum alone has over $110 billion locked in its ecosystem.

Percentage-wise, this is a decrease for Ethereum because it used to represent 95-97% of all DeFi activity until early 2021 when emerging competitors gained market share. DeFi started on Ethereum with smart contracts and ERC-20 tokens, and apps such as UniSwap and OpenSea paved the way for decentralized trading and NFTs.

However, users started moving away from Ethereum in the first quarter of 2021 when the price spiked and gas fees increased. Ethereum users used to pay only a few dollars in gas fees to trade coins, but the average soon increased to $100+ per trade. The high fees led users to move to competing chains such as Terra, BSC, and Avalanche:

top DeFi blockchains

The top DeFi blockchains ranked by TVL.

Terra is the second-largest DeFi chain at $23 billion TVL. Terra is double the TVL compared to its nearest competitor, BSC, with $12 billion in TVL. The ranking is followed by Avalanche ($11 billion), Fantom ($9 billion), Solana ($7 billion), Tron ($4 billion), Polygon ($3 billion), and Cronos ($2 billion).

The trends indicate that Ethereum will remain the largest DeFi chain. Ethereum plans to abandon the current PoW (Proof-of-Work) model and switch to PoS (Proof-of-Stake) in Etheruem 2.0. This means Ethereum is likely to retain its majority market share in the coming years.

Note: TVL is not the same as market cap. Bitcoin has double the market cap of Ethereum but it does not support smart contracts. This means DeFi applications can’t be built on it, and it’s not listed on DeFi Llama.

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DeFi Llama Oracles

Blockchain oracles are an integral component of the DeFi ecosystem. The chains mentioned above need ways to communicate with the external world because blockchain security leads to chains being isolated on their own. Oracle services allow servers and data feeds to connect to blockchains using smart contracts.

Oracles are useful for sending price feeds, weather data, payment service data, and other information. Developers can design automated systems without intermediaries that take data from the real world and build applications similar to traditional finance (TradFi).

top blockchain oracle services

The top blockchain oracle services and their market share.

The top oracle service is Chainlink (LINK) with a majority share of 50%. Chainlink alone secures more than $75 billion in DeFi using its decentralized oracles. Services such as AAVE implement Chainlink oracles to obtain price data for cryptos, enabling fast decentralized lending/borrowing services.

Services such as Maker (MKR), Internal, and Twap also hold a significant market share of the oracle market.

DeFi Llama Forks

Forks are copies of original software that were slightly altered and re-used. DeFi applications tend to be open-source and the code is available for commercial use, making it easy to clone existing services. In some cases, forks can have more combined TVL than the original application.

most forked software

The most forked software in the DeFi industry.

According to DeFi Llama, UniSwap is the most forked software in the DeFi industry with over 57% market share. UniSwap started DeFi trading by allowing users to trade ERC-20 tokens for Ethereum.

UniSwap’s code was forked by services such as PancakeSwap (CAKE), SushiSwap (SUSHI), Curve Finance (CRV), SpookySwap (BOO), and many of the top decentralized exchanges.

AAVE is also among the most forked as the first lending/borrowing services, sparking an entire industry of decentralized lending services.

DeFi Llama Airdrops

Airdrops are token giveaways, often given out at the launch of a new crypto. Airdropping free tokens is quite common in the DeFi community because it rewards early users and promotes the token.

UniSwap airdropped the current equivalent of $10,000 for all eligible users when it first launched their UNI token. Services such as the Ethereum Name Service (ENS) released their own token and airdropped more than $10,000 worth for users that registered .eth domain names.

Most DeFi applications have their own token. The ones that haven’t released their own token yet are likely to release one in the future, and users can become eligible for these airdrops by using the services. DeFi Llama lists potential airdrop websites:

top potential airdrops

The top potential airdrops in the DeFi industry.

These websites are ranked by the total TVL. Notice how the highest potential has a TVL of $1 billion, which is significantly lower than Curve Finance at $18 billion. Most DeFi applications eventually release a utility token or governance token.

DeFi Llama NFTs

NFTs are a major part of the DeFi landscape. NFTs can only be owned by one person, unlike crypto coins that can be owned by millions. NFTs are often sold in collections such as the CryptoPunk series that has 10,000 NFTs.

total value of the NFT industry

The total value of the NFT industry.

The total yearly trade volume for NFTs is $20 billion. The daily volume fluctuates significantly. On some days, it can reach $50 million in trade volume while on others it can drop below $5 million. According to DeFi Llama’s stats, NFTs had virtually zero trade volume until mid-2021. It was only until June 2021 that NFTs started gaining traction and the volume peaked in August 2021 with $400 million in daily trade activity.

NFTs are often minted for free (excluding gas fees) and then accumulate value once they start trading on marketplaces such as OpenSea or Rarible. Each collection has a “floor” price which fluctuates based on the sentiment of that collection. Many of the top NFT collections have floor prices of 50 ETH or the equivalent of $150,000+.

most valuable NFT collections

The most valuable NFT collections ranked by trade volume.

The top collections are Cryptopunks ($2 billion), Bored Ape Yacht Club ($1 billion), Mutant Ape Yacht Club ($400 million), Clone X ($350 million), and Loot ($270 million). Because NFTs are completely different from fungible tokens such as ERC-20s, DeFi Llama dedicated a new section of the dashboard to them.

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DeFi is a $200 billion industry, but it’s fragmented. While Ethereum owned almost the entire market, new chains emerged and created their own ecosystems which made it hard to track their individual values. DeFi Llama filled that gap by aggregating all the data and developing new tools to keep track of them in real-time.

Traders who want to get started on their DeFi journey can use these tools to look up the popular chains and try out the DeFi applications built for them. Developers can use their API to integrate key statistics on their website and showcase the growth of the DeFi landscape.

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