According to Maja Vujinovic, founder and CEO of OGroup, decentralized finance (DeFi) still needs to innovate big before it can overtake traditional finance.
Mass adoption requires an assessment of the blockchain technology itself, including the infrastructure, protocols, and applications that make it easier and faster to use. Consumer protection and emerging markets will also be critical to the success of the investment.
“If you look at what’s been happening in crypto lately, the smart contracts themselves have held up really well in terms of accountability and technology, but it’s the kind of CeFi platforms that the world’s Celsius and Voyager mismanage were said,” she said forcast on the sidelines of the StartmeupHK Festival 2022 taking place in Hong Kong from September 5th to 10th.
Organized by Invest Hong Kong (InvestHK), the week-long event for which forcast was a media partner and attracted over 20,000 participants from more than 100 countries and territories. Vujinovic, who was among the more than 500 speakers, addressed a panel on digital currencies, DeFi, tokenization and asset fractionation.
CeFi, short for Centralized Finance, uses a centralized exchange where crypto investors can trade and store cryptocurrencies. However, users do not retain complete control over the assets kept in an exchange and risk losing them.
After the collapse of the Terra LUNA ecosystem in May, crypto lenders Voyager and Celsius went bankrupt, leaving their users unable to withdraw their funds.
“It needs regulation and more consumer protection because a lot of people come in there not knowing anything and in the end it’s retail that gets the fire,” Vujinovic said.
Better consumer protection will also help the development of digital assets in emerging markets, according to Vujinovic, who says she built her career in these regions. She added that there is a larger adoption pool in countries where people may not trust their past and current banking systems.
“They rely more and more on saying I’m going to manage my money, I want access to my money, I want access to things, I want to be rewarded for what I do, I want to own what I do. “
At the same time, Vujinovic said that in emerging markets like El Salvador, ordinary people are not benefiting enough from increased adoption due to volatility.
“There has to be some mechanism for stablecoins, for example, which I think works very well in these markets as a reserve,” she said. “Governments will either want CBDCs or some other form of traceability through digital currencies, I think that’s going to be a big innovation.”
Meanwhile, Vujinovic says education will help with acceptance and inclusion.
“Crypto as it is is very difficult to use, difficult to understand how to sell custody, how to transfer,” she said. “I think there needs to be more education about what people can do once they own this crypto.”