Cardano’s Q1 DeFi Boom with 172% TVL Increase: Messari


  • Cardano TVL rose 172% quarter-on-quarter (QoQ), from $50.8 million in Q4 to $138.3 million in Q1.
  • The Indigo and Djed stablecoins catalyzed the growth in Cardano’s TVL, with a 72% and 27% increase respectively.
  • ADA’s price also rose in Q1, increasing by 54% as part of the wider crypto bull rally.

Data from crypto market research platform Messari demonstrates that the seventh-largest crypto network by market cap had a highly positive first quarter of the year.

Cardano’s financial and ecosystem metrics showed major growth over the period, as outlined in Messari’s State of Cardano Q1 2023 report. The ADA network’s market cap and total value locked (TVL) in Decentralized Finance (DeFi) went up significantly. This was due to increased adoption of new stablecoins and several technical developments, such as the introduction of multiple layer-2 solutions on the Cardano mainnet.

In spite of this progress, the number of new addresses (down 71.5%) and average daily transactions (down 10.6%) both dropped QoQ. Plus, the daily NFT transactions on the network declined by 27% as the daily unique buyers decreased by 23%.

DeFi TVL on Cardano Grew 172% in Q1

An overview of the Cardano ecosystem reveals that its DeFi TVL rose 172% quarter-on-quarter (QoQ). This represents a jump from $50.8 million in Q4 to $138.3 million at the end of Q1. As of April 18th, DeFiLlama data shows the DeFi TVL has risen by 39% since then to $171.28 million, with stables making up over $12 million of this amount.

The boost in Q1 was mostly attributable to the growth of existing protocols like MinSwap, as well as the increased use of newer protocols and stablecoins. These included TVL growth for ADA-backed stablecoin protocol Djed, synthetic assets and stablecoins issuer Indigo, and Cardano-based borrowing and lending protocol Liqwid Finance.

Stablecoin Volume on Cardano Soared 261% QoQ

Stablecoin volume on Cardano experienced a significant increase in Q1. There are three stablecoins live on Cardano: Sharelake’s RUSD, Indigo’s IUSD and Djed’s DJED. Of these three, the highest volume was made up of only two.

The value of stablecoins in the Cardano ecosystem rose 261% quarter-on-quarter, going from $2.8 million in Q4 to $10 million at the end of Q1. This was a result of IUSD’s volume increasing by 72% and DJED’s by 27%. RUSD’s volume made up less than 1%.

The heightened interest in the newer protocols saw the dominance of leading DEXs such as Minswap, SundaeSwap and WingRiders decrease over Q1, as Sheehan mentioned in the report.

ADA’s Price Gained 54% in Q1 as Other Financial Metrics Boomed

Data shows Cardano’s native coin increased by 54% in Q1, with ADA’s value following the same trend as the wider market uptrend in Q1 2023. As of April 18th, Cardano’s price was at $0.44, having risen by more than 30% in the past month and by over 77% year-to-date.

Additionally, the treasury balance grew by 100 million ADA to 1.21 billion. Growth value in terms of ADA and USD was 9.1% and 66% QoQ respectively, with the treasury balance increasing from $278 million to $460 million in USD terms.

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