Decentralised finance also popularly known as DeFi is the term used for the FinTech industry that is being developed on top of blockchain protocols.
The whole revolution of DeFi is based on the idea that blockchain as a system with the help of smart contracts and other distributed system technology can be used to execute transactions.
Automated systems not only help induce transparency in the system but further reduce the operational costs and remove intermediaries and human errors. The conditions for the execution of the transaction is written in code increasing the overall level of security, a prime factor when it comes to scaling.
The DeFi movement started with the launch of Ethereum. Several applications or dApps (Decentralised Applications) across different categories have been built since then. Some of the major categories are decentralised exchanges, lending & borrowing, asset tokenization, derivative, KYC & identity, payments etc.
While a lot has been written about the products, the industry needs to recognise those who identified the potential and have helped it become what it is today, a revolution. Many people who had a successful career in conventional technology or finance are part of DeFi. Top 5 people to watch out for in the space are:
Antoni Trenchev: Antoni is the Co-founder of Nexo.io, a dApp delivering the World’s First Instant Crypto-backed Loans. Prior to this Antoni was chief innovations officer at Credissimo, a public traded FinTech Group serving millions of people across Europe for over 10 years. Credissimo is also an early backer of Nexo. A finance lawyer by education, he has also worked in the hedge fund industry. His other achievements include being a member of Bulgaria’s parliament, where he advocated for progressive legislation to enable blockchain solutions for a variety of e-government services, most notably e-voting and the storage of databases in a distributed ledger.
Elizabeth Stark: The CEO of Lightning Labs, Elizabeth has been named 8th in the Cointelegraph’s list of Top 100 people in blockchain and cryptocurrency. A graduate of Harvard Law School, she is a fellow at the Yale Information Society Project, a lecturer in computer science at Yale University, an adjunct associate professor at NYU and was an entrepreneur-in-residence at Stanford StartX. As a leader in the global free culture movement, Stark played an instrumental role in the internet freedom effort that defeated SOPA/PIPA, engaging 18 million people globally. Back in March 2018, the public beta Lightning Network was released, where she has been building a programmable financial layer for the internet through fast, scalable blockchain transactions.
Sam Tabar: He is Co-founder, CSO of Fluidity, a company working towards Tokenizing Asset Portfolio (TAP) to allow real-world assets to be pledged as collateral in decentralized finance. Fluidity has been deemed by experts as a strong competitor to Facebook backed Libra.
Sam is also a strategist at Airswap, a decentralized marketplace ranked in Top 100 blockchain companies backed by ConsenSys. Sam is a graduate of Columbia Law School and Oxford University. He started as a finance lawyer at Skadden based out of New York and later moved to Tokyo help build Sparx Fund, the largest asset manager in Japan. Post that he was the Head of Capital Strategy at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Vinny Lingham: The founder of Civic, a startup that encrypts identity information on the blockchain. Civic raised in excess of US$33m in funding during its Initial Coin Offering in June of 2017. One of the early supporters of bitcoin, he has been a part of Rise Global’s list of The 100 Most Influential Blockchain People. He had previously started Gyft, a mobile gift card company, with the backing of Google Ventures. Lingham was selected as an Endeavor Entrepreneur in 2006 and a Young Global Leader in 2009 with the World Economic Forum.
Nadav Hollander: Nadav is Founder of Dharma Protocol, a decentralized protocol for credit products which connects debtors with creditors through a transparent mechanism. Dharma has raised $7 million in funding from a raft of investors including major U.S. bitcoin exchange Coinbase. Nadav a formerly Software Engineering Intern at Coinbase built external-facing features and internal tools into Coinbase’s web application in order to minimize fraud and compliance risk as part of the Risk & Growth team.