On Thursday, liquid staking provider Lido Finance became the largest DeFi protocol in terms of total value locked (TVL), a metric that tracks the amount of assets deposited in various DeFi projects. It is now looking after $19.4 billion in crypto at the time of writing.
Curve, a decentralized exchange focused on stablecoins, previously led this metric for about six months. Curve now holds about $19.28 billion and trails Lido by only $120 million, meaning the two competitors are neck and neck for the time being.
Other leading DeFi projects come next in the rankings, including Anchor Protocol, MakerDAO and Convex Finance, with TVLs ranging between $11 billion and $17 billion.
Understanding Lido’s rise
Today’s lead is an indication of Lido’s growing usage as a leading avenue for liquid staking on blockchains like Ethereum, Terra and Solana. Liquid staking is a process where users can delegate tokens to a staking service but hold onto the underlying value through derivative tokens.
Such a system is popular as it frees up users’ liquidity, which can further be used in other DeFi protocols for additional yield. For example, Lido users on Ethereum can deposit their ETH for Staked ETH (stETH), a derivative token representing staked assets with the equivalent value.
"What really stands out to me is how popular stETH has become as collateral and for yield farming strategies," said Andrew Thurman, content lead at blockchain analytics platform Nansen. "Investors are flocking to staked ether and its derivatives for its income potential and its composability.”
Ethereum is just one blockchain for Lido Finance. The team also offers a liquid staking solution for LUNA, the native asset on the Terra blockchain. stLUNA is a token representing staked Luna in Lido, and contributes to over $7 billion of the protocol's value.
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