Speed, reliability and availability are the cornerstones of modern finance, and DeFi has the potential to enhance and even supplant traditional finance.
When blockchain technology began to expand beyond Bitcoin (BTC) and into more general-purpose applications, many within the industry saw an opportunity to remake key financial infrastructure using this technology. They soon came to realize that this novel technology with game-changing potential lacked the reliability and performance that would allow it to compete with industry stalwarts, such as the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, or SWIFT. The potential was there, but it was still a little too early.
Fast forward a couple of years, and this larger trend to remake core financial functions on open networks has given rise to a whole new world of blockchain-native financial services. Open finance, also known as decentralized finance, has grown from a few applications experimenting with financial services on public blockchain networks into a dominant sub-sector, with more than $1 billion locked up in under two years.
When the COVID-19 pandemic started spreading and creating economic chaos, the DeFi sector experienced its first true test as part of the global liquidity crunch that hit financial markets. The cautious reopening of economies around the world offers an opportunity to reflect on how DeFi might transcend beyond its current limitations to become an integral component of the global financial system.
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