DeFi Economic Activity Drops by 15% in August, According to VanEck


The decentralized finance (DeFi) ecosystem faced challenges in August, with on-chain economic activity experiencing a significant decline. According to VanEck, a leading investment manager firm, exchange volume in DeFi protocols dropped to $52.8 billion in August, marking a 15.5% decrease compared to July. This analysis is based on VanEck's MarketVector Decentralized Finance Leaders Index (MVDFLE), which tracks the performance of major tokens on DeFi platforms, including Uniswap, Lido DAO, Maker, Aave, THORchain RUNE, and Curve DAO (CRV).

DeFi Index Performance 

The DeFi Index, represented by MVDFLE, underperformed Bitcoin in August, recording a 21% decline during the month. This drop was exacerbated by the negative performance of the UNI token, which saw a 33.5% decrease as investors sold tokens to lock in gains from July.

Source: VanEck DefiLlama

Total Value Locked (TVL) and Ethereum: Another crucial metric for the DeFi ecosystem, the Total Value Locked (TVL), declined by 8% in August, decreasing from $40.8 billion to $37.5 billion. Despite this decline, DeFi TVL slightly outperformed Ethereum, which saw a 10% decrease in value during the same month.

Positive Developments Amid Challenges 

Despite the poor performance of DeFi tokens in August, the ecosystem witnessed
several positive developments. Notable events include the dismissal of a class-action lawsuit against Uniswap Labs and the growth of stablecoins associated with Maker and Curve.

Curve Finance's Growth

Curve Finance, which had faced a major exploit in late July, experienced significant growth in August. Its stablecoin, crvUSD, reached a new all-time high of $114 million borrowed. crvUSD is pegged to the U.S. dollar and relies on a collateralized-debt-position (CDP) model, where users deposit collateral like ETH to borrow crvUSD.

Impact on CRV Token 

Despite the growth of crvUSD, Curve Finance's governance token, CRV, did not show signs of significant recovery, with its price falling by 24% in August to $0.45. Investors who had acquired CRV OTC from Michael Egorov, the founder, are now facing challenges as they are only 12.5% above the water on their investment. This situation could improve if crvUSD continues to grow and offsets the drop in exchange revenue due to declining DeFi volume.

Global Interest Rates and Stablecoins

VanEck also highlighted the impact of global interest rates, particularly in the United States, on stablecoins. The aggregate market capitalization of stablecoins declined by 2% in August, reaching $119.5 billion. Elevated interest rates in traditional finance have encouraged investors to move away from stablecoins and into money market funds offering approximately 5% risk-free yields.


August presented challenges for the DeFi ecosystem, with a decline in exchange volume and TVL. However, positive developments and the growth of stablecoins like crvUSD provide hope for the future. The impact of global interest rates on stablecoins underscores the evolving dynamics in the DeFi space, as participants navigate these challenges and opportunities.

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