Financial services is an industry that gets me fired up – growing up in an immigrant household and frequently traveling to emerging markets growing up, I’ve seen and experience firsthand what a lack of access to financial services can do to one’s opportunity trajectory and quality of life. This is why I’m so excited about the potential of blockchain. Open Finance / Decentralized Finance (DeFi) / whatever the latest label people want to call it – holds massive promise for empowering the masses with accessible and fair financial services. I cannot wait until better offerings are available to the everyday consumer, especially those focused on the 1.7 billion(!) unbanked.
Last week I came across this great, succinct history of the tech that has brought us to where we are today and illustrates why I’m so bullish on the future of financial services.
As more people have access to the internet, eventually more people become comfortable using it to conduct important tasks (such as personal finance), and eventually more people (especially digital-natives) do not think twice about delving into digital assets. In its simplest form, this is my thesis as to why mass adoption is inevitable, but that’s a story for another post. The stage is set for a decentralized version of finance to take off and it is not a moment too soon.
The New Finance Players on the Block
The early players today broadly fall into the below buckets:
This is by no means exhaustive, but is meant to illustrate who the major players are for each use case. Next week I’ll do a deep dive on the activity within each of these buckets. Stay tuned!