Can the early success of major crypto exchanges propel them to winning the broader consumer finance market?submitted by mickhagen to genesisblockhq [link] [comments]
This is the first part of Crypto Banking Wars — a new series that examines what crypto-native company is most likely to become the bank of the future. Who is best positioned to reach mainstream adoption in consumer finance?
While crypto allows the world to get rid of banks, a bank will still very much be necessary for this powerful technology to reach the masses. We believe a crypto-native company, like Genesis Block, will become the bank of the future.
In an earlier series, Crypto-Powered, we laid out arguments for why crypto-native companies have a huge edge in the market. When you consider both the broad spectrum of financial use-cases and the enormous value unlocked through these DeFi protocols, you can see just how big of an unfair advantage blockchain tech becomes for companies who truly understand and leverage it. Traditional banks and fintech unicorns simply won’t be able to keep up.
The power players of consumer finance in the 21st century will be crypto-native companies who build with blockchain technology at their core.The crypto landscape is still nascent. We’re still very much in the fragmented, unbundled phase of the industry lifecycle. Beyond what Genesis Block is doing, there are signs of other companies slowly starting to bundle financial services into what could be an all-in-one bank replacement.
So the key question that this series hopes to answer:
Which crypto-native company will successfully become the bank of the future?We obviously think Genesis Block is well-positioned to win. But we certainly aren’t the only game in town. In this series, we’ll be doing an analysis of who is most capable of thwarting our efforts. We’ll look at categories like crypto exchanges, crypto wallets, centralized lending & borrowing services, and crypto debit card companies. Each category will have its own dedicated post.
Today we’re analyzing big crypto exchanges. The two companies we’ll focus on today are Coinbase (biggest American exchange) and Binance (biggest global exchange). They are the top two exchanges in terms of Bitcoin trading volume. They are in pole position to winning this market — they have a huge existing userbase and strong financial resources.
Will Coinbase or Binance become the bank of the future? Can their early success propel them to winning the broader consumer finance market? Is their growth too far ahead for anyone else to catch up? Let’s dive in.
BinanceThe most formidable exchange on the global stage is Binance (Crunchbase). All signs suggest they have significantly more users and a stronger balance sheet than Coinbase. No other exchange is executing as aggressively and relentlessly as Binance is. The cadence at which they are shipping and launching new products is nothing short of impressive. As Tushar Jain from Multicoin argues, Binance is Blitzscaling.
Here are some of the products that they’ve launched in the last 18 months. Only a few are announced but still pre-launch.
Can they create a cohesive & united product experience?
Binance WeaknessesBinance is strong, but they do have a few major weaknesses that could slow them down.
Binance Wrap UpI don’t believe Binance is likely to succeed with a homegrown product aimed at the consumer finance market. Their current product — which is focused heavily on professional traders and speculators — is unlikely to become the bank of the future. If they wanted to enter the broader consumer market, I believe it’s much more likely that they will acquire a company that is getting early traction. They are not afraid to make acquisitions (Trust, JEX, WazirX, DappReview, BxB, CoinMarketCap, Swipe).
However, never count CZ out. He is a hustler. Binance is executing so aggressively and relentlessly that they will always be on the shortlist of major contenders.
CoinbaseThe crypto-native company that I believe is more likely to become the bank of the future is Coinbase (crunchbase). Their dominance in America could serve as a springboard to winning the West (Binance has a stronger foothold in Asia). Coinbase has more than 30M users. Their exchange business is a money-printing machine. They have a solid reputation as it relates to compliance and working with regulators. Their CEO is a longtime member of the crypto community. They are rumored to be going public soon.
Coinbase StrengthsLet’s look at what makes them strong and a likely contender for winning the broader consumer finance market.
Coinbase WeaknessesLet’s now look at some things that could hold them back.
Coinbase Wrap UpAt Genesis Block, we‘re proud to be working with Coinbase. They are a fantastic company. However, I don’t believe that they’ll succeed in building their own product for the broader consumer finance market. While they have incredible design, there are no signs that they are focused on or capable of internally building this type of product.
Similar to Binance, I think it’s far more likely that Coinbase acquires a promising young startup with strong growth.
Honorable MentionsOther US-based exchanges worth mentioning are Kraken, Gemini, and Bittrex. So far we’ve seen very few signs that any of them will aggressively attack broader consumer finance. Most are going in the way of Binance — listing more assets and adding more pro tools like margin and futures trading. And many, like Coinbase, are trying to attract more institutional customers. For example, Gemini with their custody product.
Wrap UpCoinbase and Binance have huge war chests and massive reach. For that alone, they should always be considered threats to Genesis Block. However, their products are very, very different than the product we’re building. And their approach is very different as well. They are trying to educate and onboard people into crypto. At Genesis Block, we believe the masses shouldn’t need to know or care about it. We did an entire series about this, Spreading Crypto.
Most everyone needs banking — whether it be to borrow, spend, invest, earn interest, etc. Not everyone needs a crypto exchange. For non-crypto consumers (the mass market), the differences between a bank and a crypto exchange are immense. Companies like Binance and Coinbase make a lot of money on their crypto exchange business. It would be really difficult, gutsy, and risky for any of them to completely change their narrative, messaging, and product to focus on the broader consumer market. I don’t believe they would ever risk biting the hand that feeds them.
In summary, as it relates to a digital bank aimed at the mass market, I believe both Coinbase and Binance are much more likely to acquire a startup in this space than they are to build it themselves. And I think they would want to keep the brand/product distinct and separate from their core crypto exchange business.
So back to the original question, is Coinbase and Binance a threat to Genesis Block? Not really. Not today. But they could be, and for that, we want to stay close to them.
Other Ways to Consume Today's Episode:
Download the app. We're a digital bank that's powered by crypto: https://genesisblock.com/download
Written by chaintalk.tvsubmitted by CoinExcom to btc [link] [comments]
We recently had the opportunity to interview the VP of ViaBTC Group, Eddie Jiang. ViaBTC Group owns popular crypto exchange CoinEx and ViaBTC Pool. In this interview Eddie discusses being the first exchange to use BCH as the base currency, ViaBTC Pool and integrating with CoinEx, new features and ambassador program, and competing with other exchanges like Binance and Huobi. Please enjoy the interview below.
How come you decided to open up CoinEx to other cryptos other than just BCH?
Eddie Jiang: CoinEx is the world’s first exchange to implement Bitcoin Cash as a base currency. At that time, it was evident that there was a demand for BCH trading markets, and we are the first to explore this opportunity. It also shows our determination to support the BCH’s development.
As CoinEx is developing, our goal becomes bigger and we are aiming at the global market. We need to constantly improve our product diversification to meet the different needs of more users, so we open up to other cryptos. In the past six months, we have listed more than 50 new tokens. Up to now, we have listed 129 cryptos and 313 markets. Besides, in addition to spot trading, CoinEx also supports perpetual contract and other derivatives trading.
How does CoinEx integrate with the ViaBTC Pool?
Eddie Jiang: ViaBTC Group announced a strategic upgrade, which included a new organizational structure, product innovations and service improvements, on 30 May.
As part of the change, the Group has established three dedicated business units (BU): the financial services BU, consisting of ViaBTC mining pool and CoinEx exchange; the infrastructure services BU, including ViaWallet and Blockchain Explorer; and the ecological development BU, focusing on the research and development of public chain technology and the construction of the ecology.
After halving, the combination of mining and finance will become closer and closer. Investing in mining machines is like buying a Bitcoin option. Miners need more flexible financial products to maintain and increase the value of assets, or hedging services. Based on this judgment, the operations of ViaBTC mining pool and CoinEx exchange will be integrated in the future to realize the financial empowerment of the mining pool to meet the diverse financial needs of miners.
Features of this integrated product upgrade can be summarized as: “ The mining pool is the wallet, and the wallet is the transaction.” ViaBTC is the world first mining pool that has a wallet embedded in the mining pool account. Users do not need to transfer the mined coins, and can realize the function of coin exchange within the wallet. For example, they can directly convert the mined coins into USDT to pay electricity bill. What’s more, users can store, deposit and withdraw their revenue, and transfer assets to CoinEx at any time without charge, as well as complete other operations on the exchange, such as purchasing wealth management products for asset preservation and appreciation. In addition, we also provide hedging services. All of the above functions can be completed in one stop in the mining pool, without the need to transfer assets between different platforms.
The exchange empowers the mining pool, and the mining pool will further bring more traffic and resources to the exchange. The two complement each other and development coordinately.
CoinEx has recently added many new features. Can you talk about what new updates were made to the platform and why you made them?
Eddie Jiang: We have always attached great importance to the development of overseas markets since our establishment, and one of our major goals this year is to cover at least 10 different languages speaking markets.
To realize this and to meet the needs of more users worldwide, CoinEx has been continuously optimizing and upgrading its operating strategies, products and services. Our product diversifications are constantly improving. As I said before, we have launched leverage trading, perpetual contract trading, and wealth management products in addition to just spot trading. However, we don’t ignore the importance of spot trading. More mainstream, popular, and high-quality tokens have been listed, and up to now, there are 129 tokens and 313 trading pairs on CoinEx.
During the epidemic, we have never slowed down our development. Lacking of the OTC service has always been a shortage for CoinEx. In March, we partner with Simplex to integrate the first fiat onramp to our platform. People now can buy crypto with their credit cards, which lowers the threshold for more people to enter the crypto world. Moreover, we announced global strategic partnership with Matrixport to provide people with large amount of fiat to crypto needs the OTC service. These newly launched services also help to attract more users.
At the same time, CoinEx has been launched in Arabic, Italian, English, Japanese, Russian, Korean and other 16 languages. Earlier we also carried out product upgrades, making the UI and function sections clearer.
In terms of operations, we launched an upgraded CoinEx Ambassador program in March. To best utilize each ambassador’s personal strengths, there are four categories of CoinEx Ambassador with different responsibilities, namely Referral Ambassador, Marketing Ambassador, Operation Ambassador, and Business Ambassador, which will expand our brand’s exposure and help CoinEx grow into a more international exchange platform.
From March until now CoinEx has seen a 100% increase in user registrations. Why is that and are you able to see where they are coming from?
Eddie Jiang: Because of the efforts mentioned above, in 2020, we’ve seen an exponential increase in activity in just the past few months alone. In this year alone, CoinEx’s daily registered users increased by 100%. These new users mainly come from markets such as the Middle East, Asia Pacific, and more.
Interestingly, we saw an uptick in traffic from the Middle East in March. User growth in Southeast Asia also picked up significantly, newly registered users increased by 133.6% in April.
With Binance, BitMex, Huobi, Bybit, and Deribit, controlling most of the crypto futures and options markets, where do you see CoinEx fitting in? How do you plan to capture market share from these large exchanges?
Eddie Jiang: We won’t compete with others. We focus on ourselves to improve products and our goal is to be better than yesterday.
Our pace is solid and steady, instead of focusing on temporary heat and flow. We have always attached great importance of spot trading, and we are committed to be responsible for users’ investment. We have set up CoinEx Institution, which is dedicated on project research. A listing committee consist of core team members review and vote on projects recommended by the CoinEx Institution. In this way, fraud projects are avoided as much as possible.
Besides, we will focus on niche areas with great potential. For example, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. CoinEx can serve users in those countries well by providing a platform with rich cryptos to trade, and will pay more efforts on refined operations in different countries.
Moreover, CoinEx has a very complete ecosystem. Financial services, infrastructure, and ecological development, the three business units complement each other. The infrastructure BU is our cornerstone and is positioned as a defensive product; the financial service BU is a cash cow and is positioned as an aggressive product; the ecological development BU focuses on the public chain ecology and is the future infrastructure.
What is the geographical breakdown of the CoinEx userbase?
Eddie Jiang: The current proportion of CoinEx’s overseas users has reached 80% of the total registered users, and mainly in Australia, Southeast Asia, North America, Middle East and South Korea.
Do you have plans to focus on any certain jurisdictions? How will you do that?
Eddie Jiang: When we evaluate regions, two things matter: policy and potential.
Whether an exchange’s business expansion in a region is smooth or not largely depends on the region’s policies. If the region is not very friendly towards cryptocurrency or has repeated attitudes, there will be more difficulties and the cost will be much higher.
For a region’s development potential, we need to think about the demand and market development status. South Korea, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and other regions are all areas with good potential for cryptocurrency development. Compared with Europe and America, policy risks in these countries are lower, and the supervision mechanism is relatively complete. The public has a high degree of awareness of cryptocurrencies. Besides, some regions or countries have inflation problems due to political and economic reasons.
CoinEx will continue to focus on the Middle East and South Asia, which are relatively niche. India has just lifted ban on cryptocurrency trading this year, and there are many cryptocurrency investors in Indian. CoinEx can serve them well by providing a platform with rich cryptos to trade. More people in the Middle East are interested cryptos, especially in countries that are subject to economic sanctions or high inflation. For those people, cryptocurrencies are one of the best choices for asset preservation.
Since the CoinEx Ambassador program launched in March, it has been almost three months. We are conducting the second round of ambassador recruitment. This time, we will use the power of ambassadors to expand our recruitment coverage and strive to attract more crypto enthusiasts from all over the world to grow together with CoinEx. Moreover, we will launch the National Expansion plan and leverage on the CoinEx and ViaBTC mining pool resources, to further explore the Russian market. At the market level, we will make more PR efforts in local markets, and start refined operations.
What is CoinEx Chain and CoinEx DEX?
Eddie Jiang: CoinEx Chain is a public chain built on the Tendermint consensus protocol and the Cosmos SDK. It consists of three dedicated public chains parallel to each other. Among these three chains, CoinEx DEX meets the most basic needs of DeFi for token issuance, transfer, and transactions. The Smart Chain is designed to meet the needs of complex financial scenarios and delivers programmable cash. The Privacy Chain facilitates privacy and security.
On November 11, 2019, we took the lead in launching the Mainnet of CoinEx DEX. CoinEx DEX is the world’s first public chain dedicated to decentralized transactions. Users can easily manage their digital assets on it.
CoinEx DEX can fully satisfy the following conditions: users have private keys at their own disposal; transfers and transactions are all completed on-chain, which is 200% transparent and checkable; the issuance, transfer, and transaction of tokens do not require review or permission; the community governance and operation is decentralized, similar to EOS, and validators are introduced to the community ecosystem construction and governance. There are currently 41 validators.
It also has extreme performance. TPS reaches as high as 10,000 and transactions are confirmed within seconds. The transaction fee, 0.0001 US dollars for each transaction, is negligible.
Third, it’s simple and easy to use. The new operation interface design helps beginners get started quickly; with the one-click token issuing module, users only need to fill in a few items to issue tokens; the built-in automated market-making module guarantees liquidity.
How will CoinEx DEX improve the decentralized exchange space that has been unable to gain much adoption?
Eddie Jiang: There are many challenges and difficulties facing centralized exchanges. The first difficulty is security. Security is a huge concern for CEXs. Over the last 10 years, hackers have stolen more than $1.5 billion from centralized exchanges. In fact, research groups estimate that hackers stole somewhere between $950 Million and $1 Billion from centralized exchanges in 2018 alone. There were also incidents of coin thefts in other exchanges in 2019. Many exchanges, such as Mt. Gox, Youbit, were forced to file for bankruptcy and shut down as a result of hacks.
The second is high management costs. Centralized exchanges need to list a large number of cryptocurrencies and each of them have different trading pairs. That entails huge efforts in development and maintenance and, thus, high management costs.
The last is global policies. Cryptocurrency is faced with different regulatory policies in different countries. Every time a centralized exchange enters a country, it needs to adapt itself to local regulatory policies for compliance. This is a holdback for the exchange’s rapid market expansion globally. Such adaptation will also bring a huge learning cost for the exchange team.
Obviously, these problems can be well solved by DEX. CoinEx DEX is a true DEX with full open source and full community governance, as well as without depending on official nodes, websites, wallets, etc. On DEX, users are able to in charge of their own private keys and assets all by themselves. Their assets are more safe and secure. Transfers and transactions are all completed on-chain, which is 200% transparent and checkable; and the issuance, transfer, and transaction of tokens do not require review or permission. What’s more, CoinEx DEX provides a great and convenient user experience.
How will CoinEx Chain and DEX help the crypto industry as a whole?
Eddie Jiang: The public chain is the cornerstone of the blockchain industry. CoinEx Chain has the parallelism of multiple dedicated public chains, each of which performs its own functions, by cross-chaining for both high performance and flexibility.
CoinEx Chain is committed to building the next generation of blockchain financial infrastructure. It is a more complete ecosystem built around the DEX public chain. The DEX public chain is a dedicated public chain developed specifically for token issuance and trading and the biggest improvement on trading speed, so it only supports the necessary functions, not smart contracts.
But smart contracts are the foundation for building more complex financial applications. Outside the DEX public chain, CoinEx Chain also includes a Smart Chain that supports smart contracts.
Moreover, as privacy issues on the current blockchain have been criticized, it is one of the core tasks of CoinEx Chain to safeguard users’ privacy. Similar to the Smart Chain, the Privacy Chain specifically supports transaction privacy protection. With cross-chain circulation, it can improve the privacy characteristic of the entire CoinEx Chain ecosystem.
Nowadays, 1.7 million people in the world have no bank accounts; however, among them, two thirds are smartphone users with huge demands for financial services. The public chain will empower DeFi applications’ development and popularization, not only help more companies to seize the huge market opportunity, but also to bring lasting transformations and improvements in people’s lives.
With so many crypto exchanges, what is the future outlook of CoinEx when it comes to the crypto exchange space?
Eddie Jiang: It has been nearly 3 years since CoinEx has been launched, but it’s quite young for an entrepreneurial team. We have seen too many projects’ failures due to governance issues. CoinEx has a very elite team with high technical and management capabilities. In terms of business, CoinEx has gradually developed with diversified business and a complete ecosystem. It’s clear that the market will still grow very fast in the future, and the market size is still very large. We will continue to improve our products, put more efforts in marketing and operations, as well as look for more high-quality projects, to increase the number of users and transactions on the platform. Lay a solid foundation, and I’m sure the time will come for us to shine.
What updates is the CoinEx team most excited for?
Eddie Jiang: We are very excited about the National Expansion Plan which will be launched later this year. It is an important part in CoinEx’s globalization strategy. We will actively explore some new markets while consolidate the original ones. CoinEx will set aside 10 million US dollars to set up a “Pioneer Fund” to support this plan. This fund will be used to support local cryptocurrency projects and promote the development of the local cryptocurrency communities through investment or cooperation. Our goal this year is to invest in projects and communities that are conducive to expanding the CoinEx ecosystem in countries with high development potential.
Click HERE to register on CoinEx
Until one understands the basics of this tech, they won’t be able to grasp or appreciate the impact it has on our digital bank, Genesis Block.submitted by mickhagen to genesisblockhq [link] [comments]
This is the second post of Crypto-Powered — a new series that examines what it means for Genesis Block to be a digital bank that’s powered by crypto, blockchain, and decentralized protocols.
Our previous post set the stage for this series. We discussed the state of consumer finance and how the success of today’s high-flying fintech unicorns will be short-lived as long as they’re building on legacy finance — a weak foundation that is ripe for massive disruption.
Instead, the future of consumer finance belongs to those who are deeply familiar with blockchain tech & decentralized protocols, build on it as the foundation, and know how to take it to the world. Like Genesis Block.
Today we begin our journey down the crypto rabbit hole. This post will be an important introduction for those still learning about Bitcoin, Ethereum, or DeFi (Decentralized Finance). This post (and the next few) will go into greater detail about how this technology gives Genesis Block an edge, a superpower, and an unfair advantage. Let’s dive in…
Bitcoin: The First CryptocurrencyThere are plenty of online resources to learn about Bitcoin (Coinbase, Binance, Gemini, Naval, Alex Gladstein, Marc Andreessen, Chris Dixon). I don’t wanna spend a lot of time on that here, but let’s do a quick overview for those still getting ramped up.
Cryptocurrency is the most popular use-case of blockchain technology today. And Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency to be invented.
Bitcoin is the most decentralized of all crypto assets today — no government, company, or third party can control or censor it.Bitcoin has two primary features (as do most other cryptocurrencies):
The fact that there are so few things one can do with Bitcoin is one of its greatest strengths.Its design is simple, elegant, and focused. It has been 10+ years since Satoshi’s white paper and no one has been able to crack or hack the Bitcoin network. With a market cap of $170B, there is plenty of incentive to try.
Public AwarenessA few negative moments in Bitcoin’s history include the collapse of Mt. Gox — which resulted in hundreds of millions of customer funds being stolen — as well as Bitcoin’s role in dark markets like Silk Road — where Bitcoin arguably found its initial userbase.
However, like most breakthrough technology, Bitcoin is neither good nor bad. It’s neutral. People can use it for good or they can use it for evil. Thankfully, it’s being used less and less for illicit activity. Criminals are starting to understand that transactions on a blockchain are public and traceable — it’s exactly the type of system they usually try to avoid. And it’s true, at this point “a lot more” crimes are actually committed with fiat than crypto.
As a result, the perception of bitcoin and cryptocurrency has been changing over the years to a more positive light.
Bitcoin has even started to enter the world of media & entertainment. It’s been mentioned in Hollywood films like Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse and in songs from major artists like Eminem. It’s been mentioned in countless TV shows like Billions, The Simpsons, Big Bang Theory, Gray’s Anatomy, Family Guy, and more.
As covid19 has ravaged economies and central banks have been printing money, Bitcoin has caught the attention of many legendary Wall Street investors like Paul Tudor Jones, saying that Bitcoin is a great bet against inflation (reminding him of Gold in the 1970s).
Cash App already lets their 25M users buy Bitcoin. It’s rumored that PayPal and Venmo will soon let their 325M users start buying Bitcoin. Bitcoin is by far the most dominant cryptocurrency and is showing no signs of slowing down. For more than a decade it has delivered on its core use-cases — being able to send or store value.
At this point, Bitcoin has very much entered the zeitgeist of modern pop culture — at least in the West.https://preview.redd.it/dnuwbw8mfu951.png?width=800&format=png&auto=webp&s=6f1f135e3effee4574b5167901b80ced2c972bda
Ethereum: Programmable MoneyWhen Ethereum launched in 2015, it opened up a world of new possibilities and use-cases for crypto. With Ethereum Smart Contracts (i.e. applications), this exciting new digital money (cryptocurrency) became a lot less dumb. Developers could now build applications that go beyond the simple use-cases of “send value” & “store value.” They could program cryptocurrency to have rules, behavior, and logic to respond to different inputs. And always enforced by code. Additional reading on Ethereum from Linda Xie or Vitalik Buterin.
Because these applications are built on blockchain technology (Ethereum), they preserve many of the same characteristics as Bitcoin: no one can stop, censor or shut down these apps because they are decentralized.One of the first major use-cases on Ethereum was the ability to mint and create your own token, your own cryptocurrency. Many companies used this as a way to fundraise from the public. This led to the 2017 ICO bubble (Initial Coin Offerings). Some tokens — and the apps/networks they powered — were fascinating and innovative. Most tokens were pointless. And many tokens were outright scams. Additional token reading from Fred Ehrsam, Balaji, and Naval.
Digital Gold RushJust as tokens grew in popularity in 2017–2018, so did online marketplaces where these tokens could be bought, sold, and traded. This was a fledgling asset class — the merchants selling picks, axes, and shovels were finally starting to emerge.
I had a front-row seat — both as an investor and token creator. This was the Wild West with all the frontier drama & scandal that you’d expect.Binance — now the world’s largest crypto exchange —was launched during this time. They along with many others (especially from Asia) made it really easy for speculators, traders, and degenerate gamblers to participate in these markets. Similar to other financial markets, the goal was straightforward: buy low and sell high.
That period left an embarrassing stain on our industry that we’ve still been trying to recover from. It was a period rampant with market manipulation, pump-and-dumps, and scams. To some extent, the crypto industry still suffers from that today, but it’s nothing compared to what it was then.
While the potential of getting filthy rich brought a lot of fly-by-nighters and charlatans into the industry, it also brought a lot of innovators, entrepreneurs, and builders.The launch and growth of Ethereum has been an incredible technological breakthrough. As with past tech breakthroughs, it has led to a wave of innovation, experimentation, and development. The creativity around tokens, smart contracts, and decentralized applications has been fascinating to witness. Now a few years later, the fruits of those labors are starting to be realized.
DeFi: Decentralized FinanceSo as a reminder, tokens are cryptocurrencies. Cryptocurrencies can carry value. And value is a lot like money. Because tokens are natively integrated with Ethereum, it’s been natural for developers to build applications related to financial services — things like lending, borrowing, saving, investing, payments, and insurance. In the last few years, there has been a groundswell of developer momentum building in this area of financial protocols. This segment of the industry is known as DeFi (Decentralized Finance).
In Q2 of 2020, 97% of all Ethereum activity was DeFi-related. Total DeFi transaction volume has reached $11.5B. The current value locked inside DeFi protocols is approaching $2 Billion (double from a month ago). DeFi’s meteoric growth cannot be ignored.
Most of that growth can be attributed to exciting protocols like Compound, Maker, Synthetix, Balancer, Aave, dYdX, and Uniswap. These DeFi protocols and the financial services they offer are quickly becoming some of the most popular use-cases for blockchain technology today.
This impressive growth in DeFi certainly hasn’t come without growing pains. Unlike with Bitcoin, there are near-infinite applications one can develop on Ethereum. Sometimes bugs (or typos) can slip through code reviews, testing, and audits — resulting in loss of funds.
Our next post will go much deeper on DeFi.
Wrap UpI know that for the hardcore crypto people, what we covered today is nothing new. But for those who are still getting up to speed, welcome! I hope this was helpful and that it fuels your interest to learn more.
Until you understand the basics of this technology, you won’t be able to fully appreciate the impact that it has on our new digital bank, Genesis Block. You won’t be able to understand the implications, how it relates, or how it helps.
After today’s post, some of you probably have a lot more questions. What are specific examples or use-cases of DeFi? Why does it need to be on a blockchain? What benefits does it bring to Genesis Block and our users?
In upcoming posts, we answer these questions. Today’s post was just Level 1. It set the foundation for where we’re headed next: even deeper down the crypto rabbit hole.
Other Ways to Consume Today's Episode:
Have you already downloaded the app? We're Genesis Block, a new digital bank that's powered by crypto & decentralized protocols. The app is live in the App Store (iOS & Android). Get the link to download at https://genesisblock.com/download
A whirlwind tour of Defi, paying close attention to protocols that we’re leveraging at Genesis Block.submitted by mickhagen to genesisblockhq [link] [comments]
This is the third post of Crypto-Powered — a new series that examines what it means for Genesis Block to be a digital bank that’s powered by crypto, blockchain, and decentralized protocols.
Last week we explored how building on legacy finance is a fool’s errand. The future of money belongs to those who build with crypto and blockchain at their core. We also started down the crypto rabbit hole, introducing Bitcoin, Ethereum, and DeFi (decentralized finance). That post is required reading if you hope to glean any value from the rest of this series.
97% of all activity on Ethereum in the last quarter has been DeFi-related. The total value sitting inside DeFi protocols is roughly $2B — double what it was a month ago. The explosive growth cannot be ignored. All signs suggest that Ethereum & DeFi are a Match Made in Heaven, and both on their way to finding strong product/market fit.
So in this post, we’re doing a whirlwind tour of DeFi. We look at specific examples and use-cases already in the wild and seeing strong growth. And we pay close attention to protocols that Genesis Block is integrating with. Alright, let’s dive in.
StablecoinsStablecoins are exactly what they sound like: cryptocurrencies that are stable. They are not meant to be volatile (like Bitcoin). These assets attempt to peg their price to some external reference (eg. USD or Gold). A non-volatile crypto asset can be incredibly useful for things like merchant payments, cross-border transfers, or storing wealth — becoming your own bank but without the stress of constant price volatility.
There are major governments and central banks that are experimenting with or soon launching their own stablecoins like China with their digital yuan and the US Federal Reserve with their digital dollar. There are also major corporations working in this area like JP Morgan with their JPM Coin, and of course Facebook with their Libra Project.
Stablecoin activity has grown 800% in the last year, with $290B of transaction volume (funds moving on-chain).The most popular USD-pegged stablecoins include:
tablecoins are playing an increasingly important role in the world of DeFi. In a way, they serve as common pipes & bridges between the various protocols.https://preview.redd.it/v9ki2qro12b51.png?width=700&format=png&auto=webp&s=dbf591b122fc4b3d83b381389145b88e2505b51d
Lending & BorrowingThree of the top five DeFi protocols relate to lending & borrowing. These popular lending protocols look very similar to traditional money markets. Users who want to earn interest/yield can deposit (lend) their funds into a pool of liquidity. Because it behaves similarly to traditional money markets, their funds are not locked, they can withdraw at any time. It’s highly liquid.
Borrowers can tap into this pool of liquidity and take out loans. Interest rates depend on the utilization rate of the pool — how much of the deposits in the pool have already been borrowed. Supply & demand. Thus, interest rates are variable and borrowers can pay their loans back at any time.
So, who decides how much a borrower can take? What’s the process like? Are there credit checks? How is credit-worthiness determined?These protocols are decentralized, borderless, permissionless. The people participating in these markets are from all over the world. There is no simple way to verify identity or check credit history. So none of that happens.
Credit-worthiness is determined simply by how much crypto collateral the borrower puts into the protocol. For example, if a user wants to borrow $5k of USDC, then they’ll need to deposit $10k of BTC or ETH. The exact amount of collateral depends on the rules of the protocol — usually the more liquid the collateral asset, the more borrowing power the user can receive.
The most prominent lending protocols include Compound, Aave, Maker, and Atomic Loans. Recently, Compound has seen meteoric growth with the introduction of their COMP token — a token used to incentivize and reward participants of the protocol. There’s almost $1B in outstanding debt in the Compound protocol. Mainframe is also working on an exciting protocol in this area and the latest iteration of their white paper should be coming out soon.
There is very little economic risk to these protocols because all loans are overcollateralized.I repeat, all loans are overcollateralized. If the value of the collateral depreciates significantly due to price volatility, there are sophisticated liquidation systems to ensure the loan always gets paid back.
InvestmentsBuying, selling, and trading crypto assets is certainly one form of investing (though not for the faint of heart). But there are now DeFi protocols to facilitate making and managing traditional-style investments.
Through DeFi, you can invest in Gold. You can invest in stocks like Amazon and Apple. You can short Tesla. You can access the S&P 500. This is done through crypto-based synthetics — which gives users exposure to assets without needing to hold or own the underlying asset. This is all possible with protocols like UMA, Synthetix, or Market protocol.
Maybe your style of investing is more passive. With PoolTogether , you can participate in a no-loss lottery.
Maybe you’re an advanced trader and want to trade options or futures. You can do that with DeFi protocols like Convexity, Futureswap, and dYdX. Maybe you live on the wild side and trade on margin or leverage, you can do that with protocols like Fulcrum, Nuo, and DDEX. Or maybe you’re a degenerate gambler and want to bet against Trump in the upcoming election, you can do that on Augur.
And there are plenty of DeFi protocols to help with crypto investing. You could use Set Protocol if you need automated trading strategies. You could use Melonport if you’re an asset manager. You could use Balancer to automatically rebalance your portfolio.
With as little as $1, people all over the world can have access to the same investment opportunities and tools that used to be reserved for only the wealthy, or those lucky enough to be born in the right country.
You can start to imagine how services like Etrade, TD Ameritrade, Schwab, and even Robinhood could be massively disrupted by a crypto-native company that builds with these types of protocols at their foundation.https://preview.redd.it/agco8msx12b51.png?width=700&format=png&auto=webp&s=3bbb595f9ecc84758d276dbf82bc5ddd9e329ff8
InsuranceAs mentioned in our previous post, there are near-infinite applications one can build on Ethereum. As a result, sometimes the code doesn’t work as expected. Bugs get through, it breaks. We’re still early in our industry. The tools, frameworks, and best practices are all still being established. Things can go wrong.
Sometimes the application just gets in a weird or bad state where funds can’t be recovered — like with what happened with Parity where $280M got frozen (yes, I lost some money in that). Sometimes, there are hackers who discover a vulnerability in the code and maliciously steal funds — like how dForce lost $25M a few months ago, or how The DAO lost $50M a few years ago. And sometimes the system works as designed, but the economic model behind it is flawed, so a clever user takes advantage of the system— like what recently happened with Balancer where they lost $500k.
There are a lot of risks when interacting with smart contracts and decentralized applications — especially for ones that haven’t stood the test of time. This is why insurance is such an important development in DeFi.
Insurance will be an essential component in helping this technology reach the masses.Two protocols that are leading the way on DeFi insurance are Nexus Mutual and Opyn. Though they are both still just getting started, many people are already using them. And we’re excited to start working with them at Genesis Block.
Exchanges & LiquidityDecentralized Exchanges (DEX) were one of the first and most developed categories in DeFi. A DEX allows a user to easily exchange one crypto asset for another crypto asset — but without needing to sign up for an account, verify identity, etc. It’s all via decentralized protocols.
Within the first 5 months of 2020, the top 7 DEX already achieved the 2019 trading volume. That was $2.5B. DeFi is fueling a lot of this growth.
There are many different flavors of DEX. Some of the early ones included 0x, IDEX, and EtherDelta — all of which had a traditional order book model where buyers are matched with sellers.
Another flavor is the pooled liquidity approach where the price is determined algorithmically based on how much liquidity there is and how much the user wants to buy. This is known as an AMM (Automated Market Maker) — Uniswap and Bancor were early leaders here. Though lately, Balancer has seen incredible growth due mostly to their strong incentives for participation — similar to Compound.
There are some DEXs that are more specialized — for example, Curve and mStable focus mostly only stablecoins. Because of the proliferation of these decentralized exchanges, there are now aggregators that combine and connect the liquidity of many sources. Those include Kyber, Totle, 1Inch, and Dex.ag.
These decentralized exchanges are becoming more and more connected to DeFi because they provide an opportunity for yield and earning interest.Users can earn passive income by supplying liquidity to these markets. It usually comes in the form of sharing transaction fee revenue (Uniswap) or token rewards (Balancer).
PaymentsAs it relates to making payments, much of the world is still stuck on plastic cards. We’re grateful to partner with Visa and launch the Genesis Block debit card… but we still don’t believe that's the future of payments. We see that as an important bridge between the past (legacy finance) and the future (crypto).
Our first post in this series shared more on why legacy finance is broken. We talked about the countless unnecessary middle-men on every card swipe (merchant, acquiring bank, processor, card network, issuing bank). We talked about the slow settlement times.
The future of payments will be much better. Yes, it’ll be from a mobile phone and the user experience will be similar to ApplePay (NFC) or WePay (QR Code).
But more importantly, the underlying assets being moved/exchanged will all be crypto — digital, permissionless, and open source.Someone making a payment at the grocery store check-out line will be able to open up Genesis Block, use contactless tech or scan a QR code, and instantly pay for their goods. All using crypto. Likely a stablecoin. Settlement will be instant. All the middlemen getting their pound of flesh will be disintermediated. The merchant can make more and the user can spend less. Blockchain FTW!
Now let’s talk about a few projects working in this area. The xDai Burner Wallet experience was incredible at the ETHDenver event a few years ago, but that speed came at the expense of full decentralization (can it be censored or shut down?). Of course, Facebook’s Libra wants to become the new standard for global payments, but many are afraid to give Facebook that much control (newsflash: it isn’t very decentralized).
Bitcoin is decentralized… but it’s slow and volatile. There are strong projects like Lightning Network (Zap example) that are still trying to make it happen. Projects like Connext and OmiseGo are trying to help bring payments to Ethereum. The Flexa project is leveraging the gift card rails, which is a nice hack to leverage existing pipes. And if ETH 2.0 is as fast as they say it will be, then the future of payments could just be a stablecoin like DAI (a token on Ethereum).
In a way, being able to spend crypto on daily expenses is the holy grail of use-cases. It’s still early. It hasn’t yet been solved. But once we achieve this, then we can ultimately and finally say goodbye to the legacy banking & finance world. Employees can be paid in crypto. Employees can spend in crypto. It changes everything.
Legacy finance is hanging on by a thread, and it’s this use-case that they are still clinging to. Once solved, DeFi domination will be complete.https://preview.redd.it/svft1ce422b51.png?width=700&format=png&auto=webp&s=9a6afc9e9339a3fec29ee2ae743c07c3042ea4ce
Impact on Genesis BlockAt Genesis Block, we’re excited to leverage these protocols and take this incredible technology to the world. Many of these protocols are already deeply integrated with our product. In fact, many are essential. The masses won’t know (or care about) what Tether, USDC, or DAI is. They think in dollars, euros, pounds and pesos. So while the user sees their local currency in the app, the underlying technology is all leveraging stablecoins. It’s all on “crypto rails.”
When users deposit assets into their Genesis Block account, they expect to earn interest. They expect that money to grow. We leverage many of these low-risk lending/exchange DeFi protocols. We lend into decentralized money markets like Compound — where all loans are overcollateralized. Or we supply liquidity to AMM exchanges like Balancer. This allows us to earn interest and generate yield for our depositors. We’re the experts so our users don’t need to be.
We haven’t yet integrated with any of the insurance or investment protocols — but we certainly plan on it. Our infrastructure is built with blockchain technology at the heart and our system is extensible — we’re ready to add assets and protocols when we feel they are ready, safe, secure, and stable. Many of these protocols are still in the experimental phase. It’s still early.
At Genesis Block we’re excited to continue to be at the frontlines of this incredible, innovative, technological revolution called DeFi.---
None of these powerful DeFi protocols will be replacing Robinhood, SoFi, or Venmo anytime soon. They never will. They aren’t meant to! We’ve discussed this before, these are low-level protocols that need killer applications, like Genesis Block.
So now that we’ve gone a little deeper down the rabbit hole and we’ve done this whirlwind tour of DeFi, the natural next question is: why?
Why does any of it matter?Most of these financial services that DeFi offers already exist in the real world. So why does it need to be on a blockchain? Why does it need to be decentralized? What new value is unlocked? Next post, we answer these important questions.
To look at more projects in DeFi, check out DeFi Prime, DeFi Pulse, or Consensys.
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