Crypto fundraising for decentralized finance projects rose by 190% in 2022, while funding for centralized finance shrank 73%
Funding for the crypto industry favored decentralized finance (DeFi) over centralized finance (CeFi) projects last year. DeFi companies raised $2.71 billion in 2022, almost triple the $0.93 billion raised in 2021, and over 41x the $65 million raised in 2020 amid DeFi summer. Meanwhile, CeFi funding dropped to $4.39 billion in 2022, or less than one third of the $16.29 billion raised in 2021.
Increased funding for DeFi came even as the market shifted from bull to bear, with overall crypto funding falling from $31.92 billion in 2021 to $18.25 billion in 2022.
This potentially points to DeFi as the new high growth area for the crypto industry in the next few years, with the industry maturing and an increasing number of on-chain participants. In comparison, the decrease in CeFi funding likely reflects the sector reaching a degree of saturation.
DeFi projects that managed to raise funds last year include leading decentralized exchange Uniswap’s Series B round of $165 million, and liquid staking protocol Lido which raised a total of $94 million on the back of accelerating growth.
The largest DeFi funding by far, however, was Luna Foundation Guard’s (LFG) $1 billion sale of LUNA tokens in February 2022, just a few months before the Terra (LUNA) crash. The amount raised by LFG was equivalent to 37.0% of DeFi funding last year.
Among CeFi funding, centralized crypto exchanges FTX and FTX.US raised a total of $800 million in January 2022, accounting for part of the fallout when FTX collapsed later in November and institutional investors wrote off their investments. FTX and FTX.US together represented 18.6% of CeFi funding last year.
Crypto funding was resilient for Blockchain Infrastructure and Blockchain Technology or Service sectors, throughout market cycles
Companies in the Blockchain Infrastructure and Blockchain Technology or Service sectors continued to be well-received for crypto funding from 2018 to 2022. Aside from CeFi, these two sectors had the strongest performance in the past five years.
Blockchain Infrastructure companies raised a high of $7.44 billion in 2018, following crypto’s first bull run. The sector took a hit the next two years, but recovered alongside other sectors in 2021. Funding for Blockchain Infrastructure totalled $6.10 billion in 2022, up by 40.2% from the previous year.
Although the $2.77 billion raised by Blockchain Technology or Service companies represented a 24.7% decrease year-on-year (YoY) in 2022, the sector managed to maintain a 6.4% and above share of funding in the past five years.
Another bright spot last year was the AI & Data sector, which raised $0.42 billion in a 65.1% YoY increase.
In contrast, the Mining and Social sectors recorded no raises that met the study’s threshold of $20 million and above. GameFi and NFTs, which had enjoyed explosive funding growth in 2021, also experienced a YoY decrease in raises by 43.0% and 36.9% in 2022 respectively.
The study examined the amount of funding that each crypto sector received from 2018 to 2022, for funding of $20 million and above, based on data tracked by DefiLlama.
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Lim Yu Qian
Yuqian is on the Growth team at CoinGecko and also goes by Q. She is especially fascinated by the philosophical and socioeconomic aspects of crypto. Follow the author on Twitter @solosbrqt