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DeFi and crypto: The bridge to the future of finance

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While big banks and institutional investors spent years trying to bend blockchain for use in traditional finance, they missed out on the boom in crypto prices and the income from decentralized finance. Now, alarmed by stretched valuations and zero yields in conventional markets, they just want in. The race is on to build a sturdy infrastructure to support the stream of old money into new digital assets that could become a flood.

On August 20, 2021, the total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies stood at $2.02 trillion, according to CoinMarketCap. That is up 160% from $775 billion at the start of this year and over 16-times higher than at the beginning of 2019 when cryptocurrencies together amounted to $128 billion.

It is notoriously volatile, of course.

Having been driven up by Tesla buying $1.5 billion of bitcoin in February and saying that it would accept it as payment for its cars, together with BNY Mellon getting into crypto custody and the listing of Coinbase, the cryptocurrency market hit $2.53 trillion in the second week of May.

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Editorial director
Peter Lee is editorial director. He joined Euromoney straight from Oxford University in 1985, and has written about banking and capital markets ever since, being appointed editor in 1999. He became editorial director of Euromoney in May 2005.