DeFi is the first bridge between crypto and the real world
When people who have never paid attention to Bitcoin ask about Bitcoin what they are looking for is a way to help them understand why this is important to them, not what Bitcoin actually is. Just like people don’t want an explanation of what the internet is from a protocol standpoint, rather they want to know they can stay in touch with friends and pay their bills easily.
When you try to explain the utility of Bitcoin from the perspective of a coin or store of value, they understandably think of it as money. Which they already have, care of their government’s printing press. And given Bitcoin doesn’t entitle the holder the right to participate in the governance and social benefit provided by the economy of their government issued currency, they see little benefit in Bitcoin, until things go wrong with their own currency.
Or they see it, as many do, as a speculative asset. Often without a good understanding of the importance of the underlying blockchain technology.
Decentralised finance “DeFi” on the other hand has a clear purpose: it is a banking layer, permissionless and trustless, open to anyone who wishes to use it.
Savings, loans, insurance and investments. DeFi offers a full suite of financial products. It is the greatest opportunity we have seen to bank the “unbanked”, for a whole new swathe of the global population to join the international economic system. Access is open to all, regardless of the geopolitical or economic status of the nation state they were born into/reside. It will create a huge pressure on the inefficient and corrupt financial institutions and networks around the world, currently maintained through lack of competition and protectionist regulation.
For the roughly one third of the world who are unbanked, blockchain as the rails of a new financial network is going to be revolutionary. Access to secure savings held in a currency that will not be debased through folly and fraud with the opportunity to borrow to build value and insure to protect from downsides that invariably come with time is a crucial suite of services necessary to participate in the modern global economy.
Blockchain’s first product-market-fit was a “coin”. Bitcoin’s white paper was published in 2008 and not only survived the rigours of over a decade of attack, many would say that today Bitcoin is stronger than ever. It seems a natural progression for the blockchain to now move towards consuming the existing financial system.