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Earn 7.2% APY staking with Solana Compass

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Breakpoint 2023: From TradFi to DeFi

Key insights into the transition from traditional to decentralized finance from industry experts.

The notes below are AI generated and may not be 100% accurate. Watch the video to be sure!


As the financial world grapples with the transition from traditional finance (TradFi) to decentralized finance (DeFi), Breakpoint 2023 provides a platform for experts to discuss this pivotal shift. The panel, comprising industry leaders Dan Gunsberg, Greg Scanlon, and Ben Sparango, sheds light on their journeys from working with established financial institutions to embracing the innovative Solana blockchain, thereby highlighting the transformative power of DeFi.

Key Points:

Backgrounds of Panelists

Dan Gunsberg, the co-founder of HXRO, has a history in proprietary derivatives trading dating back 30 years and has been involved in the crypto space since 2015. His key projects include founding the Hero Network, focused on providing liquidity and infrastructure for derivatives trading. Greg Scanlon has a background in trading and quantitative analysis with 15 years of experience, notably with Franklin Templeton. He was drawn to blockchain technology, specifically Solana's capability to run a validator, and now manages a venture capital fund for blockchain investments. Ben Sparango, from the Solana Foundation, underscored the diverse applications of blockchain technology, having moved from a traditional finance background to the strategic business development side of Solana.

The Solana Ecosystem

The panelists were particularly intrigued by the technical prowess of Solana, citing its high throughput and low block times as game-changers. For Gunsberg, the possibility of running an on-chain central limit order book through the creation of the Serum project on Solana was a compelling factor. It showcased the feasibility of sophisticated financial activities like derivatives trading within the blockchain environment. Scanlon focused on the benefits of improved transaction throughput, inspiring initiatives to run a validator, and the powerful implications of distributed ledger technology.

Strategic Shifts in TradFi and DeFi

The discussion revealed that institutions like Franklin Templeton are integrating blockchain technology into their operations by tokenizing money market funds and replacing traditional intermediary roles, like those of transfer agents, with blockchain-based solutions. Such developments not only reduce costs drastically but also enhance efficiency. The potential distribution reach of blockchain is immense, with the possibility of offering frictionless, yield-bearing assets as an alternative to static fiat currency. This paradigm shift could significantly alter traditional systems of exchange.

Facts + Figures

  • Dan Gunsberg has been in the crypto space since 2015 and founded the Hero Network for derivatives trading infrastructure.
  • Greg Scanlon ran a validator on Solana's blockchain, which paved his understanding of distributed ledger technology.
  • Franklin Templeton has developed a digital asset unit since 2018.
  • The Benji token by Franklin Templeton represents the first money market fund on-chain, not relying on traditional finance rails.
  • Hero Network has 26 different teams building on top of its protocol, with derivates trading being a key focus area.
  • New projects by Hero, like Armada, offer tooling for managing token launches within the Solana ecosystem.

Top quotes

  • "I have been largely in proprietary derivatives trading for almost 30 years. And I've been in crypto since 2015." - Dan Gunsberg
  • "The reason that I dove into the rabbit hole of blockchain is because of Solana." - Greg Scanlon
  • "It was the creation of serum...that really caught my eye was the fact that you could run an on chain central limit order book on Solana." - Dan Gunsberg
  • "You essentially have to enter into a siloed Franklin Templeton walled garden to get hold of that money market fund. And then it exists on chain." - Greg Scanlon
  • "TradFi actually swapping out their back-end rails for blockchain rails." - Greg Scanlon
  • "The throughput that Solana was asserting in the block times of 400 millisecondsā€¦blew my mind." - Greg Scanlon
  • "It's been an incredible journey. Really especially, you know, in 2021, we kicked off building on Solana." - Dan Gunsberg
  • "We think that money market funds are the next wave of that level of success." - Greg Scanlon

Questions Answered

What is the Hero Network and what does it do?

The Hero Network is a platform co-founded by Dan Gunsberg that provides liquidity and risk infrastructure specifically for derivatives trading and betting, leveraging the high throughput and low costs offered by the Solana blockchain. This enables Hero to offer immediate settlement which is crucial for trading and betting markets.

Why is Franklin Templeton interested in blockchain technology?

Franklin Templeton, a major traditional financial institution, sees blockchain technology as an opportunity to reduce intermediary roles, drastically decrease operational costs, and enhance global distribution capabilities. The company has been actively integrating blockchain into their operations by tokenizing a money market fund called the Benji token that operates wholly on-chain.

What advantages does Solana blockchain offer?

One of the key features of the Solana blockchain is its high transaction throughput and minimal block times, which make it well-suited for complex financial activities like derivatives trading that require speed and reliability. Its capability to run decentralized applications efficiently attracted traditional finance experts to explore its potential in DeFi.

How could tokenizing a money market fund change the way we use money?

Tokenizing a money market fund could enable people to hold yield-bearing assets that behave like cash in terms of frictionless transactions, but unlike cash, these assets would appreciate over time. This has the potential to revolutionize the way money is used and stored by consumers and financial institutions alike, by integrating the benefits of traditional finance money market funds with blockchain's efficiency.

What new developments are taking place in the Solana ecosystem?

New projects like Armada are emerging within the Solana ecosystem, providing crucial tooling for token management and launches. Additionally, Hero Network continues to expand, with teams focused on derivative trading interfaces and iGaming applications that bridge traditional web 2.0 and web 3.0 worlds, indicating a growth in diverse applications on the platform.