Hot DeFi Summer - A Retrospective
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Sep 22, 2022
by Oliver Thorn

As Hot DeFi Summer on Hedera comes to a close, it’s important to take a step back, wipe the sweat off our brows, and thoroughly examine the milestones and figures from the period, which saw Hedera make significant strides in cementing itself as a key player in web3.

The Hedera NFT ecosystem erupted as web3 participants flocked to NFT platforms which featured seamless minting & trading experiences, and the launch of a pioneering decentralized exchange, SaucerSwap, marked the advent of peer-to-peer digital asset trading unsoiled by the well-known fee and performance drawbacks of DeFi as it is experienced today.

Let’s dive in and take a look at some of the key highlights and network metrics from the past few months, painting an optimistic picture of the future that is the permissionless ecosystem of Hedera.

NFTs

Following a hugely successful Hedera presence at NFT.NYC — taking over Times Square to showcase the incredible NFT artwork from the Hedera community, enveloping the participants at NFT.NYC with information about the Hedera network and NFT ecosystem, and hosting various speaking events — we saw just how excited web3 was for Hedera NFTs.

Capitalizing on this enduring excitement, Hedera kickstarted and put Hedera Hot DeFi Summer into full gear by changing its Twitter profile picture to an NFT, much to the delight of the community.

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As of today, Twitter only allows NFTs minted and held on the Ethereum network (ERC-721 or ERC-1155) to be used as profile pictures. So we had to get creative… and get creative we did.

Playing by Twitter’s rules, we did this in such a way that showcases the amazing tools used in production on Hedera today; these tools take advantage of the Hedera network’s unmatched performance, cost-effectiveness, and energy-efficiency. We set out to shine (sun)light on the value available and ease of accessibility to NFT collectors, creators, and developers - and even those that have yet to dip their toes into the Hedera water.

By utilizing the HashPack browser wallet, we showcased how simple it is to create a multi-functional wallet, fund it with HBAR, and begin a journey of our NFT from Hedera to Ethereum.

To start, we used HashAxis to mint our 1/1 NFT for a little over $1 and showed that the NFT space is not just a playground for the wealthy and crypto-elite, but easily accessible to anyone who wishes to participate.

And by bridging this newly minted Hedera NFT to Ethereum using HashPort, we helped prove that digital assets can bi-directionally migrate between legacy networks like Ethereum and fast, fair, secure and sustainable networks like Hedera.

We then purchased carbon-offset credits from DOVU’s tokenized carbon marketplace to reach carbon-negativity, showing that Hedera defies the commonly held perception that all distributed ledger technology has negative impacts on the environment. Not only does Hedera have the lowest carbon footprint of any Layer-1 technology in the market, it goes above and beyond to ensure the network contributes to a more sustainable, environmentally-friendly future.

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If you’d like to examine a more in-depth and extensive look at the journey of this NFT, check out this article from our resident NFT expert and Director of Marketing, Brady Gentile.

Our mission was to showcase how easy, cost-effective, and environmentally-friendly the process of minting an NFT on Hedera can be — whilst emphasizing some of the incredibly intuitive and innovative tools available in the ecosystem.

Our team set out with the goal of kickstarting the NFT ecosystem on Hedera into overdrive for the Summer, and with the network activity that followed, to simply say that we accomplished that goal would be a considerable understatement… let's dive into some on-chain metrics!

Hedera NFT Ecosystem Metrics

It is important to touch upon the foundational work the development team at Swirlds Labs put in to make this all possible.

In February 2022, we integrated our new and improved Smart Contract Service with the Hedera Token Service to further bolster our network offerings and provide a refined user experience for developers and consequently, our retail base. The combination of these services started the flywheel of ecosystem growth, providing the fundamental infrastructure and tooling necessary for the eruption that soon followed. Huge thanks to all of the development team over at Swirlds Labs for their work in consistently improving the network and keeping Hedera as the most performant Layer-1 in the market.

With the network fundamentals in place and better than ever, the Hedera Hot DeFi Summer was clear for take-off.  Since then, on the network:

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Over 276,000 NFTs have been natively minted on Hedera

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NFTs minted per month reached an all time high of over 60k

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Average daily active accounts increased by over 200% over the period

Another key point of consideration is the fact that while the wider NFT market has seen considerable downturn - both in number of sales as well as its corresponding value - the Hedera NFT ecosystem has shown considerable strength. The Hedera NFT ecosystem as a whole showed consistent growth in defiance of wider industry trends, and it was never more apparent than with the explosive increase in interest and volume witnessed on Zuse Market.

After launching in January 2022, it took Zuse Market almost six months to reach the milestone of 10,000,000 HBAR (600,000 USD at time of writing) transacted on the platform. Then Hot DeFi Summer kicked in, and the crypto community showed just how hungry it was for Hedera NFTs. From a total of 10,000,000 HBAR transacted on the platform, it took less than a month to double that figure to 20,000,000. But Zuse wasn’t done there, and the Summer sun was still comfortably overhead. It took less than two weeks for Zuse to add another 10,000,000 HBAR to its total volume, satiating the frenzied appetites of both the existing community and curious collectors from other networks.

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Today, Zuse Market’s total value transacted stands at over 55,000,000 HBAR and continues to rise as network momentum endures.

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As the ecosystem continues to grow, we expect to see more and more NFT marketplaces launch on Hedera, taking full advantage of Hedera network services and connecting with the still largely untapped market of Hedera NFT collectors.

Hedera Governing Council Member LG recently announced the launch of LG Art Lab - an NFT marketplace platform built on Hedera which will enable all LG SmartTV owners to discover, buy, and sell Hedera NFTs directly from their TVs. By integrating the LG Art Lab platform with their SmartTV products, LG is bringing NFTs and the chance to get involved directly to millions of users globally, and the potential cannot be understated. With LG selling over 27m TVs last year* and SmartTVs making up the vast majority of that figure**, this is an unprecedented move to bring the world into web3. The inaugural NFT drop from renowned sculptor and artist Barry X Ball began today.

Special thanks as well to Le Good Society which in July launched ‘Let’s Live With Less Plastic’: a global exhibition and auction of Hedera NFTs from both prominent and up-and-coming artists with the goal of tackling excessive plastic pollution in our oceans. The pieces were featured on billboards around the world in the U.K., Denmark, the Netherlands, and in New York’s Times Square - as well as virtually through the Hedera Gallery - and raised thousands of dollars towards pollution relief.

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'Let's Live With Less Plastic' billboards in London

NFT Marketplaces on Hedera have been around for quite some time now, and the ecosystem grows increasingly diverse. For more recent developments, let’s take a look at DeFi…

DeFi & SaucerSwap

August 5th, 2022 represents a significant milestone for the Hedera ecosystem. That Friday, following many months of tireless development, multiple instructional demos for the community, and a comprehensive security audit, SaucerSwap - the first decentralized exchange built on Hedera - launched to the public. Not only is this a momentous milestone for Hedera; it should - and may, in the future - be widely considered a momentous milestone for decentralized finance as a whole.

Social preview

From the very first demo, it was clear that SaucerSwap was tapping into the powerful and, at the time, yet unexplored performance offered by the Hedera network to provide a DeFi experience that had never been seen before. A multi-functional decentralized exchange that offers near-instant swaps for fractions of a cent; to a Web3 participant of just a few years ago and perhaps even today, it might sound too good to be true.

However, as the launch date grew closer, subsequent video demos of the platform were released, and SaucerSwap’s Smart Contract security audits from Hacken returned perfect 10/10 scores, the community was emboldened, and those with healthy doses of skepticism found their doubts replaced with intrigue and excitement. What at first may have seemed like a Web3 fantasy was becoming increasingly real by the day.

The Hedera community had been eagerly waiting for a decentralized exchange that truly leveraged the unmatched speed and cost-efficiency offered by the network, and when SaucerSwap launched, the community made its voice heard with a bang. Within a few days, the platform had over $10M Total Value Locked (TVL) in its liquidity pools, staking pools, and yield farms.

At last, here is a DEX that isn’t hamstrung by slow confirmation times, unacceptable transaction fees, or network outages. At last, here is a development team that is transparent, attentive, and responsive with the community. At last, here is decentralized finance working as it always should have: with sub-cent gas fees, near-instant and fairly ordered transactions, and minimal barriers to entry.

In the days that followed, TVL would continue to rise, with more and more of the community - both that of the established Hedera community, as well as crypto nomads seeking refuge from what has been accepted as DeFi normality - rushing in to experience the wonder that is DeFi on Hedera. Today, SaucerSwap holds over $16m TVL and has facilitated more than $36m worth of trades, accomplishing that in just over a month. The people have spoken, are continuing to speak, and in no way is this more effectively illustrated that in an examination of Daily Active [DeFi] Ecosystem Accounts (DAEA) - defined as any wallet holding at least one fungible token that has submitted a transaction related to DeFi in a given 24h period.

For the month of July, DAEA averaged at 471. Recall that SaucerSwap officially launched on August 5th; over the next month, DAEA averaged at over 2,000, representing a more than 300% increase from the previous month as users piled in.  The exponential growth of users from July to August was encouraging to say the least, but the question lingered: is this just a momentary spike destined to crash as is so commonly seen in crypto and web3?

To date as of time of writing, DAEA is averaging over 6,500 in the month of September, representing another month-on-month increase of over 300% and an all-time high for the metric by a wide margin.

Average daily active defi accounts

Given the incredible start and the hunger we have seen for a DeFi experience like the one people are having as you read this, we are beyond excited for what the future holds for SaucerSwap and DeFi on Hedera as a whole.

Summary

With the summer comes heat, and no other layer-1 has brought fire like Hedera has these past few months. In the face of general downturns in the NFT market, Hedera’s NFT ecosystem bucked the trend and saw consistent, impressive growth with no signs of slowing down today. In an increasingly bearish DeFi landscape, SaucerSwap launched with a rapid influx of liquidity and users - users hungry for a DeFi experience that isn’t plagued with restrictive, inconsistent fee structures, slow transaction times, and network outages. Revolutionary ideas enabled by trustless, distributed systems finally have the necessary infrastructure to show their true value in our increasingly connected society.

There will always be those who celebrate the “death” of crypto. They have celebrated many times before, and will celebrate many times again. And with every “death” comes more and more enthusiasts who see the value in a decentralized future; an ever-growing community that continuously wars with the aforementioned naysayers on the value of Web3. The critics say that Web3 is ornamental - a purposeless technological fad that will soon fade into nothingness - while enthusiasts decry that it has already cemented itself as the next step in our technological revolution.

Web3 isn’t going anywhere, but it is far from concretely integrated within our society. The incredible, growing community of institutions, enterprises, and retail participants on Hedera is unique in realizing something that is increasingly apparent: with Hedera, web3 is only just getting started.

#HelloFuture

Our community is always looking for more collectors and creators. If you'd like to learn how you can get started with NFTs, click here to begin your NFT journey.

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