Cameron Winklevoss: ‘DeFi Is Not the Same as the 2017 ICO Craze’

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In Brief
  • DeFi has been compared to the ICO craze of 2017.

  • Bitcoin billionaire Cameron Winklevoss isn't convinced and has come to DeFi's defense.

  • Messari points out that the DeFi market is still a sliver of the broader crypto market pie.

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You don’t have to be around the cryptocurrency space long to know that DeFi is all the rage. And despite its reputation as the Wild West of crypto, bitcoin billionaire Cameron Winklevoss is coming to DeFi’s defense.



Decentralized finance, or DeFi as it’s known, is a burgeoning segment in the cryptocurrency space that gives investors the chance to earn yield in exchange for providing liquidity to the market, by lending crypto assets, for instance.

It is a market that has been defined by its whipsaw movements that produce both lofty returns and sudden losses, the most recent of which have sent DeFi assets tumbling 40% in the last 30 days, including the likes of Airswap, Kava and Nectar, to name a few, as pointed out by Messari’s Ryan Watkins.



DeFi has been compared to the ICO craze of 2017-2018 for a couple of reasons, not the least of which is because builders from both segments flocked to the Ethereum network, not to mention the mania that ensued during both cycles. The ICO bubble, of course, has since popped, but it’s not unusual for DeFi to get lumped into the same bucket.

Even Messari’s Watkins compared DeFi’s recent market pullback to that of ICOs in 2017, saying “bull markets never go up in a straight line.”

That Was Then, This Is DeFi

Gemini Co-Founder Cameron Winklevoss says not so fast. In a tweet, he points out the differences rather than the similarities between DeFi and ICOs. He notes that unlike many failed ICO projects, whose white papers were thrown together, DeFi has a real use case in which “billions of dollars are at work earning positive yield.”

Source: Twitter

Nonetheless, it’s hard enough for institutional investors to get bitcoin past the compliance department. DeFi is going to be a harder sell for them, so DeFi — much like ICOs — remains a market dominated by retail investors for the time being.

DeFi Hype

For all of its hype, you would think that the DeFi market segment is as big as bitcoin. But it’s not. According to Messari, the total DeFi sector is worth $6 billion, which falls below the total value of No. 4 cryptocurrency XRP. For even more perspective, Messari compares to the DeFi market to the broader crypto market excluding bitcoin, which still results in only a sliver of the total pie at 4%.

Source: Twitter

Messari states,

“In other words, DeFi hype is strong, but not strong enough to make a dent in broader crypto asset markets.”

In the interim, however, there are plenty of investors still earning higher interest from yield farming than they could dream about in traditional finance.


All the information contained on our website is published in good faith and for general information purposes only. Any action the reader takes upon the information found on our website is strictly at their own risk.
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Gerelyn caught wind of bitcoin in mid-2017, and after becoming smitten by the peer-to-peer nature of crypto has never looked back. She has been covering the space ever since. Previously, she wrote about traditional financial services, Wall Street and institutional investing for much of her career. Gerelyn resides in Verona, N.J., just a hop, skip and a jump from New York City.

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