The question is addressed by experts in blockchain technology and crypto space: What impact has Defi had in 2020, and what should we expect in 2021?
It almost always ends in a rhetorical argument to find out the point at which decentralized finance started. Some claim that the introduction of Bitcoin (BTC) a decade ago marked the beginning of it, as the first peer-to-peer digital money was the major cryptocurrency and represents the conceptual core underpinning DeFi. Others say that DeFi began back in December 2017, when the Ethereum-based MakerDAO protocol was introduced, followed by Compound Finance and Uniswap, released in September and November 2018, respectively, and would be technically right in doing so. On the other hand, to say that DeFi’s true ascent began this year would not be a stretch.
The monumental increase in total locked value by DeFi, beginning this summer and surpassing $16 billion this month, has undoubtedly made the industry one of the 2020 topics most discussed. And there are those who support it and those who oppose it, as predicted.
Some also claim that DeFi remains mostly a niche financial tool in the field of global finance, despite being among the hottest topics this year. Unsurprisingly, the rapid growth of capital pouring into space caused some to compare DeFi with the 2017 initial coin offering boom, anticipating its likely failure. In the meantime, others argue that multiple space projects are not really decentralized and do not represent the real DeFi idea.
Other issues are closely related to the Ethereum network transaction costs, which have hit their highest level several times this year, bringing into question the long-term viability of the network. But it would be misleading to blame DeFi for high gas fees alone, as they are also affected by the way digital assets are stored and protected by institutions. Unlocking Bitcoin’s $250 billion treasure chest for DeFi goods may be one of the solutions.
There are some pitfalls, obvious financial risks and a range of technical risks, although the very idea of DeFi is promising. It just seems important that the underlying architecture is strengthened for most decentralized applications.
In the long run, decentralized finance has the ability to change our world, where access to conventional financial services is still missing for 1.7 billion people. It could be said that DeFi is completing the job begun by Bitcoin, being the second phase in decentralized growth, with the ability to solve the problem of financial inclusion, in order to return to rhetorical debates about the roots of decentralized finance.