Decentralized Finance and the Crypto Market: Indicators and Correlations

University essay from Linköpings universitet/Nationalekonomi; Linköpings universitet/Filosofiska fakulteten

Abstract: Background: Within the emerging field of cryptocurrencies, the sub-sector DeFi (decentralized finance) has experienced explosive growth over the last year, and its importance for crypto as a whole has grown with it. The currencies have developed from simple peer-to-peer transactions to complex applications such as lending and exchanges. Several studies have researched determinants of cryptocurrency prices, and a few have focused on metrics central to DeFi, such as total value locked (TVL). However, academia has aimed sparse attention to the relationships between these metrics, which this article seeks to amend.  Aim: The purpose of this essay is to research the relationship between total value locked (TVL) in DeFi, the prices of native tokens on related platforms, and the price of ether, which is the dominant currency across DeFi.  Methodology: This study is deductive and quantitative and categorized as a causal-comparative thesis. The purpose of causal-comparative research is to find relationships between variables, independent and dependent, over a certain period.  The authors used deductive reasoning to form the hypotheses and collect the data necessary to investigate the hypothesis. Additionally, the structure of the paper and the epistemological process is quantitative and based on the scientific method.  The sources used for data gathering have primarily been DefiPulse and their API:s, retrieved using simple python coding and different applications that parse JSON code into the excel format. The transparent nature of blockchain has provided easy access to data needed for this study. Once the data was collected, it was categorized and compiled into an Excel sheet.  Conclusions: It is a considerable result that the ratio of locked ETH to total supply lacks significance for the price of ether, as it is counterintuitive to the macroeconomic theory of demand and supply. Presumably, the locked eth is not to be considered as a corresponding decrease in supply. However, if that was the case, the locked ratio of 10% is considerable and should affect the price as there is less supply available to the market.  In accordance with hypotheses two, three, and four, changes in the price of ether, TVL, and utilization rate affect the price of the native token. A notable distinction between the three different platforms lies in what metrics correlate more strongly with price changes. It for Compound and Aave was TVL, but utilization rate for MakerDAO. What causes these differences between seemingly similar platforms is a subject for further study.

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