Feb 15, 2021
Sergey Nazarov is the co-founder of Chainlink where he is spearheading the smart contract oracle revolution. In this podcast, Sergey lays out his current thinking on DeFi (Decentralized Finance), how it improves on CeFi, the role of oracles in decentralized finance, and the fast and slow cases on what is needed for DeFi to go mainstream. Sergey says “decentralized finance is the thing that people want. They just don't know that they want it yet.”
Sergey says the recent Robinhood r/Wallstreetbets phenomenon has injected new realizations into society's collective consciousness. People are waking up to the realization that in the legacy financial system - they don't have full control of their financial assets and trading accounts. And they have seen that the ability of the average person to participate in a system that they were told was fair can be taken away by those who hold the power.
Sergey says that in the financial world if enough people believe in something, it starts to occur. If enough people decide to buy GameStop stock, something happens. If enough people decide to shift from one platform to another, something significant happens.
Social media, digital platforms, and decentralized blockchain applications make fast collective action possible in new ways. DeFi is the system that people want. Sergey thinks it is only a matter of time before this becomes self-evident and people begin to move to DeFi applications at scale.
Sergey says the increasing mainstream adoption of DeFi will happen through the search for yield and the transparency and control of one's assets.
With fiat interest rates low and the returns of DeFi much higher, eventually, even the legacy financial system is likely to build interfaces that flow value into DeFi to capture yield. Everybody wants to at least maintain their wealth. And so any place where they can do that will become popular, and eventually, there will be a tipping point.
Sergey says there is a slow case and a fast case for how this evolves. “The slow case for DeFi is what we're experiencing now, as unbelievable as that sounds going from something like 20 billion to 40 billion in assets in DeFi over the last month.”
This is the slow case as only about 2.6% of the crypto value that could be in DeFi, is in DeFi. The slow case will be accelerated by events such as Robinhood. “It's slow because there is friction to using DeFi, but it will slowly be accelerated through better and better user interfaces. Eventually, someone will figure out a way to just make it seamless for people to interact with DeFi, and the tipping point will be reached.”
The fast case is a rapid succession of failures in the traditional financial system. This will create a fear of counterparty risk and a newfound cynicism about the solvency of traditional financial institutions. This would lead a majority of people to seek alternatives even if there is still some friction in the DeFi user experience.
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