Decentralized Finance (DeFi) is the (r)evolutionary movement to create a solely code-based, intermediary-independent financial system—a movement which has grown from $4bn to $104bn in assets locked in the last three years. We present the first systematic literature review of the yet fragmented DeFi research field. By identifying, analyzing, and integrating 83 peer-reviewed DeFi-related publications, our results contribute fivefold. First, we confirm the increasing growth of academic DeFi publications through systematic analysis. Second, we frame DeFi-related literature into three levels of abstraction (micro, meso, and macro) and seven subcategories. Third, we identify Ethereum as the blockchain in main academic focus. Fourth, we show that prototyping is the dominant research method applied whereas only one paper has used primary research data. Fifth, we derive four prioritized research avenues, namely concerning i) DeFi protocol interaction and aggregation platforms, ii) decentralized off-chain data integration to DeFi, iii) DeFi agents, and iv) regulation.
Meyer, Eva Andrea; Welpe, Isabell M.; and Sandner, Philipp, "Decentralized Finance – A Systematic Literature Review and Research Directions" (2022). ECIS 2022 Research Papers. 25.
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