The crypto industry has boasted tremendous growth over the past year, largely thanks to the decentralized finance, or DeFi, boom. Some believe that the DeFi sector resembles the initial coin offering, or ICO, bubble of 2017. Others disagree, noting that the two eras are demonstrably different.
"At least in the 2017 ICO bubble there was effort made to come up with an idea to write a white paper on," derivatives trader, financial analyst, and YouTube host Tone Vays told Cointelegraph.
"In the world of yield farming, you don't even need to do that, you just print money and give it away to those staking as they pray someone will buy it from them before the Ponzi ends."
DeFi has expanded extraordinarily fast in 2020. Projects named after foods have flown upward in price before subsequently plummeting back down to earth. One asset, YFI, soared from less than $1,000 all the way up to $40,000 inside of a two-month span.
ICOs did indeed garner exuberant speculation back in 2017, which some see as similar to today's DeFi trend. Many projects back then sold speculative tokens in a crowdsale-type setting, accumulating millions of dollars in investments within minutes. Many times, these projects were based on little or no actual product or use case, and very few secured any semblance of regulatory compliance before launch.
"DeFi is not the same as the 2017 ICO craze," Gemini crypto exchange co-founder Cameron Winklevoss said in a Sept. 22 tweet.
"Back then, money was raised on s***coin white papers written in a coffee shops. DeFi is already live and working in the wild. Billions of dollars are at work earning positive yield. This isn’t hypothetical vaporware, this is real."
In the past, Messari's Ryan Selkis has referenced DeFi and ICOs together as well, ultimately predicting the coming demise of the DeFi bubble.