Traders were aware of the risks of investing in DeFi, or decentralized finance, this summer’s money printing bonanza that made people rich from so-called “yield farming,” where investors in non-custodial lending protocols and liquidity pools earned extra tokens, netting annual yields of more than 1000%.
They just never hoped they’d have to face those risks. That day came today, when several of the coins powering the largest DeFi protocols crashed hard into the floor.
$SUSHI, the coin that powers SushiSwap, a kind of yield farming version of decentralized exchange Uniswap, fell by 53% in the past 24 hours alone. Perhaps related: The so-called Chef Nomi, the creator of Sushiwap, cashed out today.
— Spencer Noon (@spencernoon) September 5, 2020
With a market cap of $134 million, $SUSHI is still the latest crazy success story in the already-nuts DeFi world; on Wednesday, SushiSwap accrued over a billion dollars of value in its smart contracts. Even crazier: it only launched on August 26.
YFI, the coin that powers yEarn, the yield aggregator protocol masterminded by DeFi hotshot Andre Cronje, dropped by 31% in the past 24 hours, to $19,582. Zoom out a little and it gets even worse: The price of a single YFI coin hit $39,306 on Monday. But YFI is still impressive. At $19,582, the cost of a YFI is about the same price as Bitcoin’s all-time high back in 2017. (Granted, YFI’s token supply is 30,000 to Bitcoin’s 18 million).
So why have the prices of the major DeFi coins crashed? It could be the case that the prices of DeFi coins are correlated with the rest of the crypto market. All of the major DeFi protocols live on the Ethereum blockchain, meaning that ETH, the second-largest cryptocurrency by market cap, is something of a common currency on these protocols.
ETH crashed by 12% in the past 24 hours alone, and Bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency by market cap, has lost about $2,000 of worth this week, falling from about $12,000 to roughly $10,000.