The rapid growth in DeFi-focused Ethereum liquid staking derivatives (LSD) platforms has raised eyebrows in the crypto community. The percentage of gas consumed by DeFi protocols has dropped from 34% in 2020 to 8% to 16% presently, with NFTs commanding the maximum share of 25% to 30%. On the other hand, Ethereum’s annual staking reward of 4% introduces further competition to the DeFi sector, according to Glassnode analysts.
DeFi activity on ETH has declined in the bear market. However, a DeFi narrative is building around liquid staking derivative (LSD) tokens that could revive Ethereum’s network activity. Currently, leading lending protocols like Aave and Compound offer between 2-3% yields on lending stablecoins and ether. DeFi protocols like Aave and Compound also come with smart contract risk, which is eliminated with proof-of-stake (PoS) validators.
Staking has become popular among Ethereum investors, especially after the Shapella upgrade in April 2023. LSD platforms like Lido and Rocket Pool account for one-third of this massive market. These applications offer tokenized representation of staked ETH, allowing investors access to the staking yields without compromising liquidity. A growing trend among Ethereum investors is interacting with LSD-fi or LSD financialization, which aims to put the liquidity offered by the LSD tokens to use in DeFi applications.
Essentially, LSDfi leverages the liquidity of LSD tokens into DeFi like lending protocols and liquidity on exchanges for higher yields. Given that a considerable amount of ETH is staked with the LSD platforms, LSDfi has the potential to revive DeFi activity. DeFi blue-chip tokens have underperformed ETH during bullish market rallies and experienced a more severe drop than ETH on the downside during the bear market.
While LSDfi can bring decent gains for some users, these protocols could carry smart contract risks and the chance of getting rug-pulled, introducing the risks that come with the higher gains that LSDfi provides. Nonetheless, this advancement demonstrates the ever-evolving world of blockchain technology and could potentially lead to greater gains for crypto enthusiasts.