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Breakpoint 2023: Removing the Risk from DeFi

Former CEO of Amulet addresses the risks in DeFi and proposes a solution inspired by successful FinTech models.

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


Amidst the evolving landscape of decentralized finance, or DeFi, industry experts are tirelessly working to alleviate the inherent risks that hamper widespread adoption. At a keynote presentation for Breakpoint 2023, the former CEO of Amulet—an insurance protocol originally part of the Solana ecosystem—shared his insights into the significant challenges that DeFi faces, his own journey through the development of crypto infrastructure, and a bold strategy to de-risk the sector. The crux of his argument proposed leveraging lessons from the FinTech industry, particularly in building a trust-evoking and user-friendly platform capable of onboarding billions of users, ultimately suggesting the creation of a unified, all-encompassing application as a viable solution.

Key Points:

The Challenges of DeFi's Complexity and Risk

The speaker, who stepped down from his role three months prior, offered a candid view on the imperative to create a safer and more user-friendly DeFi ecosystem. He highlighted that the complexity of onboarding, the undelivered promises of hyperbolic returns, and the absence of accountability are significant barriers to gaining public trust. Moreover, the multitude of DeFi problems such as smart contract flaws, scams, and regulatory challenges compound the risks users face, presenting a dire need for solutions that address these multi-faceted concerns.

Learning from FinTech Models such as Revolut

The untapped potential within DeFi could be realized by borrowing strategies from successful FinTech models like Revolut—a platform that has remarkably streamlined the process for new users to sign-up and engage with the financial markets. Such platforms provide a seamless user interface, instill trust, and manage expectations effectively. The former CEO argued that adopting a similar approach in DeFi could significantly reduce friction for users and, in turn, accelerate adoption across a broader demographic by engendering the required trust.

Building the Unified DeFi App

The solution proposed is a unified app adopting a comprehensive approach to integrating various DeFi components into a coherent and regulated service offering. This app would be akin to a one-stop shop, merging regulatory compliance, onboarding, insurance, and yield management into a singular package. The speaker underlined that achieving this would mean collaborating within the industry to ensure tight-knit API integrations and a robust insurance framework throughout the DeFi landscape.

Facts + Figures

  • The former CEO of Amulet shared his perspective on de-risking DeFi at Breakpoint 2023.
  • Amulet was the only insurance protocol within the Solana ecosystem.
  • The FinTech company Revolut has successfully onboarded 35 million users with its streamlined user experience.
  • An analogy compared a decentralized financial system without risk mitigation to a movie without sound.
  • There is a noticeable gap in trust within DeFi, mainly because of complicated onboarding processes and lack of accountability.
  • The speaker suggested a single app or API to bond the fragmented parts of DeFi to improve regulation, onboarding, insurance, and yields.
  • The gauntlet was thrown down for industry leaders to create a billion-dollar firm to pick up this challenge.

Top quotes

  • "How do you de-risk, de-fying?"
  • "We are missing the whole layer of trust. We are a movie without sound."
  • "If you've got a real legitimate reason where [self-sovereignty] affects you directly, that's when it makes a real be in the DeFi system."
  • "Underhood of Revolut, you have an entirely fragmented list of APIs and other parts..."
  • "I don't worry about my capital inside Revolut."
  • "Easy and safe equals trust and trust equals 1 billion users."
  • "I think you can have all of these fragmented sections and you can bind it together..."
  • "We have to be better, we have to be faster, we have to provide all of these, this list."
  • "That is a way that we can start migrating people over to the DeFi world."

Questions Answered

What are the significant barriers to DeFi adoption according to the former CEO of Amulet?

The barriers include complexity in onboarding, undelivered high-return promises, the absence of accountability, and numerous DeFi-related risks such as hacks, frauds, and the looming threat of regulatory action. The combination of these factors results in a lack of trust in the system.

How does Revolut serve as a model for DeFi platforms?

Revolut's success lies in its user-friendly interface and easy sign-up process that instills trust among its users. The DeFi community can learn from Revolut's approach to user experience, fragmented yet cohesive backend operations, and maintaining user trust by providing an environment perceived as safe and reliable.

What is the proposed solution for de-risking DeFi?

The speaker suggested building a unified app or system that integrates the fragmented components of DeFi, encompassing end-to-end functionalities like regulation, onboarding, insurance, and yield management. This integration would aim to provide a seamless and trusted user experience, drawing inspiration from successful FinTech platforms.

Why is trust such an important factor in the expansion of DeFi?

Trust is akin to the 'sound' in a movie—it connects users' perceptions to their experience, thus enhancing the credibility and safe usage of the platform. Without trust, onboarding billions of users onto DeFi platforms will remain a challenge.

How can trust be achieved in DeFi according to the speaker?

Trust can be achieved by simplifying the user experience similar to FinTech applications like Revolut, ensuring user safety through insurance and compliance, and providing tangible value such as better yields. Such a platform should alleviate users' concerns over technical risks and offer a reliable service akin to traditional banking systems.