This week Bitcoin (BTC) price is making waves as the digital asset finally pushed above the $12K mark, but prior to this move, altcoins have been strongly outpeforming BTC for weeks.
Two of the most notable performers are Band Protocol (BAND) and Chainlink (LINK) as both surged by 348% and 88% in the past ten days. Each functions as an oracle blockchain network that supplies data to Decentralized Finance (DeFi) applications.
Since the start of August, BAND price rose from $3.9 to as high as $17.78 and in the same period, LINK surged from $7.6 to $14.45 at its peak on Aug 10.
BAND and LINK performances side by side. Source: TradeBlock
What’s behind the DeFi token pump?
The primary factor behind the strong rally is the explosive growth of the DeFi sector.
DeFi applications allow users to carry out various financial activities like trading, loans, and also earning interest from crypto lending.
In order for DeFi platforms to run seamlessly, they need to fetch market data from various websites and blockchain networks and this is where orcacles come into use. Oracles are required within smart contracts to obtain necessary data to run DeFi platforms. Hence, when the DeFi sector expands, the blockchain networks providing oracles benefit from it.
A TradeBlock research paper explains:
“Oracles allow for off-chain data to be integrated with the smart contract parameters that exist on public blockchains. In the figure below, we compare price gains between ChainLink (LINK) and Band Protocol (BAND) over the past three months.”
Data from Defi Pulse shows that since June 1, the total value locked in DeFi apps surged from $1.048 billion to $4.76 billion. As more capital has entered the DeFi market, the demand for oracles also increased.
The main difference between Band Protocol and Chainlink is that the former is based on Cosmos, and the latter operates on top of the Ethereum network. Cosmos is a proof-of-stake (PoS) blockchain, while Ethereum is in the process of moving over to PoS through ETH 2.0.
BAND has seen substantially larger gains than Chainlink over the past several weeks due to a large gap in valuation. Currently, LINK is valued at over $4 billion, whereas, BAND is valued at $308 million despite its 348% gain.
Researchers at Messari explained that BAND followed a similar path as Chainlink, which spurred its growth. They said:
“BAND has recently taken a page straight out of the LINK handbook with a slew of partnership and integration announcements, including a Coinbase Pro listing. Up over 32x on the year, its relative valuation play and anchor to LINK has worked so far.”
The timeline of BAND’s rally. Source: Messari
Will demand for oracles increase?
Kelvin Koh, co-founder of Asia-based venture capital firm Spartan Black said he expects BAND to continue its upward momentum. Over the next 12 months, Koh said he anticipates BAND to close the valuation gap. He said:
“Despite BAND’s significant re-rating YTD, it is worth noting that its circulating market cap is still only 5% of LINK’s while FD market cap is 10%. This is fair currently given BAND’s nascent stage but I expect the valuation gap will continue to close in the next 12 months as BAND scales.”
Since BAND and LINK are based on differing blockchain networks, they will also likely support separate DeFi ecosystems based on Ethereum and Cosmos.