Why Ethereum locked in DeFi plunged $600m after intense 57% ETH drop

The total amount of Ethereum (ETH) locked in decentralized finance (DeFi) platforms plunged by more than $600 million since February 16. It coincided with a 57 percent drop in the price of ETH from $280 to $120.

DeFi platforms like MakerDAO have gained significant popularity in recent months by allowing users to issue loans on the Ethereum blockchain network with relatively high yearly returns.

DeFi loans can be liquidated too when Ethereum price drops

On a DeFi platform, borrowers are required to put up Ethereum as collateral to obtain loans. The collateral is made in Ethereum terms, which means that when the price of ETH drops, the value of the collateral declines in tandem.

When the price of Ethereum abruptly drops by a large margin, it requires borrowers to put up more Ethereum as collateral to reduce the risk of having their loans liquidated.

Related: Ethereum is down 27% in 4 days: here’s why it’s crashing harder than other cryptocurrencies

But, when Ethereum’s value plunges by 30 to 50 percent within a short time frame, it makes it difficult for borrowers to make up for the lost value of Ethereum with more collateral.

For that reason, when the unexpected drop in the price of bitcoin on March 12 to $3,600 occurred, CryptoSlate reported that millions of dollars worth of DeFi contract liquidations were recorded.

At the time, Tushar Jain, a managing partner at cryptocurrency investment firm Multicoin Capital, said that the entire DeFi ecosystem was at risk of liquidation within a 24-hour span. Jain emphasized that he is concerned if the DeFi ecosystem as a whole is sustainable.

He said:

“I am worried that DeFi cannot be sustainable if the whole ecosystem could get liquidated in less than 24 hours. That was a real risk today.”

Since around $10 million worth of loans were liquidated across major DeFi platforms, the total amount of collateral in Ethereum in the DeFi ecosystem dropped from $1.2 billion to $567 million.

The DeFi market essentially saw an outflow of…

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