Is DeFi really making an impact?

Decentralized finance (DeFi) has been making it’s rounds in the blockchain mainstream lately, especially with the tentative release of Mutli-Collateral Dai. The term comes out of everyone’s mouth, but opinions are polarized. Some are under the impression that DeFi is impactful enough to trigger a bull run and some think it’s just useless.

To get a better perspective about if the DeFi talk is making an impact outside blockchain communities, I took a look at Google trends.


DeFi google trends


To my surprise, the term DeFi isn’t even close to it’s all time high. Even more surprising was that it’s all time high was in 2010. This isn’t the first time that the crypto space has been excited about something that previous generations had already talked about. Web 3.0 is a good example of an idea that had gone through a cycle and was refreshed through blockchain.

The difference is, decentralized finance hasn’t really gone through another phase. When researching the term DeFi from posts in 2010, most of it is just edgy internet slang for defy. The most viewed “defi” YouTube video in 2010 was a wind surfing event.

This video currently has 144,000 views, which got me wondering what the total amount of views from blockchain related DeFi videos amount to. This got me wondering whether all the DeFi videos on YouTube add up to this one wind surfing event.

It turns out that there are very few videos on YouTube with over 20,000 views that either have DeFi or decentralized finance in the title. In comparison, there are multiple videos with over one million views that have Ethereum in the title. The biggest Bitcoin YouTube video has over ten million views.

MakerDAO’s Dai stablecoin is a popular and key ingredient to the DeFi ecosystem, and the most popular video on that topic has around 22,000 views.

It’s easy to see how investors can get excited about blockchain tech that has tangible use cases. The fact that it is more profitable (and still non-volatile) to save USDC in Dharma than saving USD can transcend crypto. But in real time, DeFi’s macro impact is still up in the air.