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Saturday, July 03, 2021

Opportunities and Dangers of Decentralizing Finance

Useful definitions and opinions on the state and future of what is being called DeFi.  Much on the Podcast and text below at the link.

The Opportunities and Dangers of Decentralizing Finance


Wharton’s Kevin Werbach speaks with Wharton Business Daily on SiriusXM about the opportunities and risks of decentralizing finance.

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Decentralized Finance — or DeFi — has experienced explosive growth in the past year. But in order for DeFi to fulfill its promise as a disintermediated ecosystem that helps rather than harms, “now is the time to evaluate its benefits and dangers,” write Wharton legal studies and business ethics professor Kevin Werbach and David Gogel, a recent Wharton MBA graduate, in the article that follows. Werbach is author of the book The Blockchain and the New Architecture of Trust and leads Wharton’s Blockchain and Digital Asset Project. Werbach and Gogel recently collaborated with the World Economic Forum to create the Decentralized Finance (DeFi) Policy-Maker Toolkit,  providing guidance to regulators and blockchain watchers everywhere.

Intermediaries have always played essential roles within financial markets, facilitating trust, liquidity, settlement, and security. Yet these benefits come with costs. Intermediation contributes to slow settlement cycles, inefficient price discovery, and limitations on market access. Financial services markets tend to be highly concentrated, with a few powerful intermediaries exercising significant control and extracting substantial rents. Since the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, there has been increased attention on structural inequalities and hidden risks of the financial system. Recent controversies such as the GameStop short squeeze, in which retail investors were blocked from trading during a period of volatility, also cast a spotlight on the shortcomings of legacy financial infrastructure.

Until now, however, intermediation was a necessary feature of finance. Even peer-to-peer fintech lending platforms such as Prosper and cryptocurrency exchanges such as Coinbase retain an important central role. This is the environment in which Decentralized Finance (DeFi) has emerged .... ' 

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