Decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols experienced a boom in total value locked across different staking pools in January. The market hit $74.6 billion worth of staked assets, increasing by 26% from December.
In its latest monthly report, DappRadar outlined the growth of the DeFi sector alongside rejuvenated nonfungible token (NFT) markets that have also had upticks in trading volume and sales.
Optimism emerges as the top DeFi performer, seeing a 57.44% increase in total value locked (TVL) at $808 million. Blockchain Analyst Sara Gherghelas told Cointelegraph that Optimism’s transaction volumes were likely driven by a “learn-to-earn” incentives program that ended midway through January.
A sudden drop in daily transactions on Jan. 17 suggests that educational incentive programs might play a role in driving DeFi adoption and onboarding, as Gherghelas explained:
“By providing a hands-on learning experience, these incentives can help users gain a deeper understanding of DeFi technologies and the potential benefits they offer, thereby driving greater adoption and usage of DeFi products and services.”
Solana saw a 57% increase in its TVL to reach $548 million, driven by Marinade Finance’s introduction of a token incentive scheme rewarding SOL depositors with liquid staking derivative mSOL. The protocol reached $152 million TVL between December and January.
It’s not all positive for the Solana ecosystem, though, with platform Everlend announcing its closure on Feb. 1, citing a lack of liquidity for shutting down its service.
Related: NFT sales topped 101 million in 2022: DappRadar report
Ethereum’s upcoming Shanghai upgrade is also driving staking in DeFi due to the expected opening of withdrawals from Ethereum staking contracts. Lido Finance flipped Maker DAO as the largest DeFi protocol in January, driven by the popularity of liquid staking derivative protocols.
According to Gherghelas, Lido’s liquid staking solutions have proven to be a major drawcard for users looking to maximize staking returns.