The total value locked in decentralized financing, a measure that tracks the amount of assets allocated to the DeFi ecosystem, has risen to $ 18 billion, according to DeFi Pulse.

TVL chart through DeFi Pulse

While the graph may suggest that DeFi adoption is on the rise, it requires some interpretation to be properly understood. The total value that is locked is often an imperfect metric in these scenarios. Differences in how it is counted, protocols taking measures to artificially stimulate it or just price increases of the underlying asset can give the appearance of growth where there could be none.

The adjusted TVL metric by DappRadar, which calculates the total value locked in by fixing asset prices at the beginning of the period under study, can help shed light on what is happening.

Adjusted and pure total value locked by DappRadar

The adjusted statistic suggests that DeFi has in fact seen very little growth since October 2020. Measured at constant prices, the total value has remained locked at approximately $ 9 billion for the entire Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETHbull markets. This means that there was no net inflow of new assets, but that the existing supply of assets increased dramatically in value.

Nonetheless, there has been a significant TVL jump between Jan 4 and Jan 5, largely due to SushiSwap. The decentralized exchange continues to attract dizzying amounts of liquidity through its ongoing SUSHI rewards. The recently launched Onsen menu aims to provide incentives to a rotating array of liquidity pools, mainly including smaller tokens. The exchange attracted about 2,000 BTC ($ 62 million), 40 million Dai and 60,000 ETH ($ 60 million) in one day.

Another important asset in TVL is Synthetix (SNX), but the increase can largely be attributed to a 30% increase in the price of SNX. The token is used as collateral for synthetic assets struck on the platform, so price increases still have a direct effect on the platform’s acceptance.

While the influx into DeFi recently stagnated, the space is still showing healthy volume and acceptance. High Ethereum fees are likely to stifle further growth, but rollup-based scaling technologies may pick up the slack soon.