Is it Time for DeFi to Go Mainstream After the GameStop Craze?

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Blockchain fanatic developer and author. My telegram: ksshilov

The potential of the GameStop (GME) inventory was first found on r/WallStreetBets within the fall of 2020, and shortly the GME market value began to rise, creating extra hype on social media, and finally culminating in a brief squeeze of Melvin Capital’s place, which misplaced them about $13 billion.

Since this occurred, I’ve talked with the founders of blockchain tasks working on this local weather and requested them what they give thought to DeFi and the fintech market basically. 

A few of the founders steered that now could also be a good time for decentralized finance to lastly hit the mass market. Others disagreed, and we separated their opinions into three distinct teams, which yow will discover on this article under.

GameStop timeline

GameStop mania actually began to select up steam late January 2021, when r/WallStreetBets began hyping GME, the inventory of the embattled sport retailer. GameStop, which noticed its revenues severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, was additionally focused by Melvin Capital, which guess on GME shares hitting all-time low. Melvin Capital had been shorting GME since 2014, whereas rising its brief place till it exceeded the free float of shares, a discrepancy seen by Reddit merchants again in October 2020. 

A video surfaced on the Reddit board, which steered merchants may arrange a brief squeeze for Melvin Capital. The conversations and hype elevated, which introduced the worth of GME to a report excessive. Melvin Capital needed to shut its brief place, ending up with a $13B loss. GME itself went by way of a wild value swing, beginning off at under $5 simply six months in the past. 

Through the peak hype on social media, GME spiked on two events to a report of $347.51 and a decrease peak at $325, when Melvin Capital was pressured to purchase and canopy its brief place. The brief squeeze became a social media competitors to interrupt the logic of markets, as merchants swore to surrender income simply to make a degree.

GameStop: The Repercussions

Regardless of the social media buzz, one title stood out; a consumer referred to as Keith Gill, who used the moniker RoaringKitty for his YouTube persona. Gill went by way of a listening to earlier than the US Home Monetary Providers Committee with the purpose of clarifying unpredictable market results, buying and selling stops, and a concerted effort for a brief squeeze. 

Gill’s testimony held the place that he solely used publicly out there data on the brief curiosity for GME. Regardless of his participation on Reddit and extremely influential persona, Gill claimed he was not attempting to create a mass motion of buyers. 

The group of r/WallStreetBets continues to be alive and effectively, and it nonetheless works to amplify inventory choice indicators.

The signature profanity and obvious senseless risk-taking additionally hasn’t slowed down within the slightest.

Whereas this swarm habits of buyers was famous, in the long run, it was Robinhood who took the brunt of the criticism for stopping orders. The foundations of a brief squeeze would have raised GME costs even larger if the Robinhood app had allowed extra new consumers to order extra shares.

The listening to centered on the function of Robinhood in primarily manipulating the market, with many of the questions geared toward Vlad Tenev, one of many co-founders of the buying and selling app. However the listening to additionally set the ground for potential repercussions for retail merchants utilizing social media. To date, US lawmakers haven’t began tackling these traits in earnest, with solely tangential guidelines such because the Part 230 act doubtlessly holding social media corporations liable for a number of the content material inside. 

What the r/WallStreetBets case uncovered was a type of investor swarm habits. The inventory alternatives are sometimes pushed by memes and recognition, making a market pressure to be reckoned with. As of February 2021, it’s nonetheless unclear how US or worldwide authorities will deal with the potential for teams of merchants deciding on a selected inventory or a method.

Repercussions for the fintech trade

The GameStop saga occurred at a time when fintech was increasing, and anticipating a number of funding markets to open for retail. Fintech first tackled banks, permitting comparatively excessive worldwide cash transfers at a decrease price. Later, apps appeared for investing in numerous belongings. The method additionally coincided with the rise of cryptocurrencies, the place wallets instantly opened the chance to purchase extremely risky belongings. 

Usually, fintech-based funding stays a free-for-all in 2021. There are indications that regulators are extra involved concerning the correct liquidity and capitalization of large-scale market individuals, which can also be simpler to measure. However the potential for so-called “social contagion” behaviors additionally opens the door to nearer observations for social media content material. 

One of many rising markets for dangerous belongings, referred to as crypto-based decentralized finance, is a hotspot for social contagion habits. DeFi tasks usually expose themselves to social media, making an attempt to attract in newcomers with the promise of excessive yields. The issue with newcomers, nonetheless, is that it’s potential to sway the worth of an asset, however when the motive force of group habits slows down, this will result in deep losses within the private finance stage. 

There have been additionally private penalties for Keith Gill, who will now face a lawsuit for misrepresenting his persona, and appearing as an novice investor when he truly had a deep information of finance and accounting. 

For now, virtually all Reddit personas stay nameless and there are nonetheless no obstacles to sharing inventory recommendations on social media. The US Division of Justice adopted the Congress listening to with its personal legal investigation, however the end result of that’s nonetheless to be decided. As a result of social media amplification, the reliance on algorithmic buying and selling may need to evolve and replicate surprising occasions and even illogical trades. 

What do the founders of blockchain startups assume?

DeFi Pessimists

  • Matthew Niemerg, President of the Aleph Zero Basis – Aleph Zero is a high-throughput, enterprise-grade public blockchain platform powered by a state-of-the-art, DAG-based consensus protocol that’s designed from mathematical rules.
  • Ian Campbell, DeFi Product Supervisor SUKU – SUKU is the hyperlink between decentralized finance, transparency, and traceability in provide chains.

Infrastructural Gamers’ Opinions

  • Eric Polo, Head of Product, GateHub –  GateHub is the biggest pockets supplier on the XRP Ledger, your digital asset pockets for the Web of Worth.
  • Vikram R. Singh, CEO, Antier Options – This can be a digital belongings administration options firm serving to companies transit from typical expertise platforms to DeFi methods.
  • Tom Trowbridge, co-founder Fluence Labs – An open utility platform powered by a peer-to-peer computing protocol and a decentralized licensing system.
  • Sean Li, CEO Magic – One SDK for passwordless, WebAuthn, and social login.
  • Stephen Tse, Concord CEO, Concord – A quick and open blockchain for scaling Ethereum purposes and cross-chain finance.

DeFi Believers 

  • Igor Telyatnikov, CEO & Co-Founder, AlphaPoint – AlphaPoint is a white-label software program firm powering crypto exchanges worldwide.
  • Charlie Karaboga, CEO & Co-Founding father of RelayPay –  An Australian-based blockchain startup. The corporate has been providing fiat on/off ramp options to the DeFi platforms.
  • Alexander Kaplin, CEO of ICTE –  Interplanetary Crypto Token Alternate.
  • Founding father of World Token – A service provider system and on-line market with a singular advertising mannequin.
  • Valentin Preobrazhenskiy, CEO of LATOKEN – LATOKEN Alternate is the best technique to entry cash and belongings worldwide.
  • Neel Popat, CEO of Donut — Donut is a cell app offering the best technique to earn excessive APY in your cash by way of the facility of DeFi.
  • Brian Goldberg, Blockchain Advisor at PAYMYNT Monetary – A cell procuring and funding app.
  • Jonny Peters, Founder & CEO, Gazecoin – A revolutionary cost system that drives the Dream Channel economic system.

Igor Telyatnikov, CEO & Co-Founder, AlphaPoint 

As a white-label change software program supplier serving a world shopper base, we keep tuned to the regulatory adjustments which will have an effect on shopper compliance necessities worldwide, and we’re persevering with to see regulatory readability and acceptance. The Workplace of the Comptroller of the Forex (OCC) within the US lately clarified that nationwide banks and federal financial savings associations can present cryptocurrency custodial companies for purchasers. The OCC sees banks offering crypto custody companies as a contemporary type of conventional financial institution actions associated to custody companies.

By no means in our virtually eight-year historical past have we seen larger demand to launch digital asset exchanges and supply entry to cryptocurrencies, and we consider that is fueled by the constructive regulatory stance and company curiosity on this new asset class. Whereas DeFi has launched new decentralized choices to the market equivalent to lending, borrowing, and on-chain insurance coverage, we additionally see the demand for these identical companies built-in with crypto because the underlying belongings from CeFi establishments booming.

Charlie Karaboga, CEO & Co-Founding father of RelayPay 

Inside the previous few years, we’ve seen how we will reimagine borrowing/lending with out the centralized intermediaries. DeFi lending tasks are going for mainstream adoption with their rising skills and purposes. Just like lending, inventory buying and selling additionally has pointless intermediaries and the vast majority of the world’s inhabitants can not entry in style inventory markets on account of these inefficient gatekeepers. Robinhood meant to democratize buying and selling for the lots, however GameStop’s case and a buying and selling halt as soon as extra justified the significance of DeFi. Till companies tokenize their shares, we’re sadly a bit restricted. Nevertheless, I consider DeFi can act as an “L2” for inventory buying and selling within the close to future.

Alexander Kaplin, CEO of ICTE –  Interplanetary Crypto Token Alternate

We at ICTE are sure that DeFi blockchain expertise is superior and mature sufficient to help the necessities of all sectors of the worldwide monetary market, like high-frequency buying and selling, trusted composition knowledge, and buying and selling technique transparency at diminished overhead prices.

DeFi ensures that you’ve got full management of your belongings and nobody else can entry, use, freeze, or take your belongings with out your permission. You’re additionally free to seek out different suppliers and venues to change your belongings with. All of your actions are related along with your buying and selling handle and your positioning available in the market is clear. That is very useful for private safety as a result of your handle is the one identification you’ll have in the marketplace, and you might be in any other case nameless as a dealer.

The non-public management of your belongings, anonymity, and transparency are crucial values that DeFi would carry to the monetary world, particularly in instances like GameStop. The blockchain would present the motion of belongings from lenders to buyers to the open market, and short-selling could be extra simply identifiable — even when a single dealer makes use of a number of addresses to execute their methods. Now’s positively the time for DeFi to be totally adopted.

DeFi has created balancer swimming pools, vaults, yield farming, algorithmic stablecoins, and these builders are simply getting began. Community charges have been outrageous however it has not stopped additional adoption of recent and progressive protocols. Trustless protocols are far safer than something we presently have in conventional finance and the GameStop fiasco proves that. A bunch of web strangers can brief squeeze billions of {dollars} from hedge funds and the federal government begins to step in to guard the funds from shedding an excessive amount of from their very own habits. There isn’t any meddling in DeFi as code is regulation and autonomous immutable protocols will take over.

Valentin Preobrazhenskiy, CEO of LATOKEN 

DeFi is sort of a “clubhouse” of finance. Cash and belongings are approach less complicated to entry, and ease means new use instances, equivalent to startups’ “world IPO” crypto change listings, aka IEOs, or asset tokenization. DeFi jogs my memory of a clubhouse as a result of it’s pushed by communities. GameStop’s coordinated brief squeeze highlights the expansion of communities with social networks as LATOKEN evaluations. Communities are robust in crypto, and their willpower can turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy, particularly whether it is about adopting a greater forex. Whereas GameStop and crypto are very completely different belongings, I feel some hedge fund managers could be much less more likely to short-sell crypto after this case of group energy. Do not get me flawed, short-selling is important to forestall bubbles, and institutional and retail investor rights should be protected.

Neel Popat, CEO of Donut 

The GameStop craze proves that the present monetary system stays damaged for on a regular basis buyers. Whether or not it is the financial system or market-shifting hedge funds, the established order is constructed for insiders. DeFi shifts the paradigm, giving the on a regular basis particular person entry to a greater and inclusive suite of economic merchandise. It’s solely simply beginning to reshape monetary companies, from high-yield financial savings to borrowing, however DeFi is actively offering a a lot wanted catalyst for change.

Brian Goldberg, Blockchain Advisor at PAYMYNT Monetary 

The GameStop fiasco has not solely uncovered the fragility of our monetary system, it highlighted the truth that entry to investments is a matter confronted even in essentially the most superior economies. DeFi will rise this decade as a technique to empower people to speculate how and when they need – with minimal intervention.

Jonny Peters, Founder & CEO, Gazecoin 

The way forward for function movie funding is an NFT/DEFI  mannequin that enables buyers to purchase and commerce characters in a film!  We’re about to launch a mannequin that enables buyers  to purchase and stake “movie character” NFTs to obtain a movie token, a token that may be zapped into movie royalties.

Whereas DeFi has seen a current surge of curiosity, I don’t assume it’s prepared for mainstream adoption, even after the improved consideration the GameStop inventory acquired throughout the WallStreetBets Reddit group. A number of elements come into play, however they virtually all boil all the way down to consumer expertise. Most individuals in DeFi are nonetheless “energy customers” and lots of lack the requisite talent set to audit sensible contract code or to handle non-public keys appropriately.  This stage of elevated danger and uncertainty is a big barrier for mainstream adopters. Retail buyers will most probably come to DeFi by way of centralized on-ramp/off-ramp service suppliers who is not going to solely vet the standard of the DeFi tasks however present a less complicated (and extra conventional) portal for accessing these progressive merchandise. I feel we’re seeing this being constructed out in numerous CeDeFi merchandise, notably by centralized exchanges as they start adopting new enterprise fashions to compensate in opposition to loss income as energy customers migrate to DEXs.

Ian Campbell, DeFi Product Supervisor SUKU 

What occurred with r/WallStreetBets, Gamestop shares, and brokers like Robinhood is only one indicator that DeFi is NOT an answer looking for an issue. The issue may be very actual. The DeFi worth proposition is that, on account of its decentralized nature, there are not any third-party intermediaries who can halt buying and selling or shut down the change.

Nevertheless, adoption of any new expertise requires a gradual, deliberate transition. When e-mail first launched, sending messages required information of coding languages and fairly vital technical savvy. Solely after just a few years have been user-friendly interfaces added to make e-mail easy for everybody.

Interacting with and utilizing DeFi protocols is evolving at a fast tempo, however I don’t consider that it’s prepared for mainstream use. With that stated, an increasing number of conventional merchants are discovering themselves “falling down the rabbit gap.” The extra merchants who be part of DeFi, the extra funding is made into infrastructure to make it mass-market consumer pleasant.  It might take just a few years, however I consider that DeFi will inevitably cross the chasm on the adoption curve and turn into mainstream.

Tom Trowbridge, co-founder Fluence Labs 

GameStop demonstrated the pressing want for each DeFi and tokenization; the hazard of a single, for-profit firm figuring out when/how over 20 million buyers can commerce grew to become clear as did the completely antiqued, legacy change infrastructure with multi-day (!) settlements, which tokenization eliminates.  

However what the DeFi innovation explosion has actually demonstrated up to now is the facility of composability, which makes it so easy to construct.  What if we will carry that very same composability to the complete net – think about having the ability to take any present utility, fork it as simply as a DeFi service, shortly add some options, and launch it with out having to rebuild backends or pay for infrastructure.  That is potential with a decentralized peer-to-peer internet hosting service and a blockchain based mostly financial layer that compensates authors based mostly on the usage of their code by sharing in internet hosting income. That is the long run, and it’s potential proper now.

Sean Li, CEO Magic 

DeFi has been gearing up for mainstream adoption since 2018. Many proficient builders and well-funded startups have poured an unimaginable quantity of labor into elementary infrastructures powering blockchain purposes, equivalent to layer 2, identification and key administration, sensible contract tooling, node infrastructure, and fiat on-ramps, and so on. Via the thick and skinny of the market, the end result of all of those persistent efforts have made it potential to construct DeFi purposes which can be indistinguishable from the Internet 2.0 expertise – mainstream adoption is already right here.

Stephen Tse, Concord CEO, Concord 

Now’s the time for DeFi to start out going mainstream. As we noticed with GameStop and different shares lately, the centralized monetary system has reached its breaking level with many challenges. In centralized finance, brokers and firms can determine to cease buying and selling, however in DeFi, people can freely handle their funds for investing, buying and selling, and lending. The centralized monetary system depends on two-day settlements, which is why the complete system froze ready for capital to settle. Concord allows two-second settlements for transactions as demonstrated by our cross-chain Uniswap port on the mainnet. We envision the mass migration of world finance markets coming on-chain within the subsequent few years.

Eric Polo, Head of Product, GateHub 

The GameStop fiasco is the newest large-scale exposé on why many are reluctant to enter the standard monetary markets. Most notably, it left many considering that markets do not truly evolve organically however fairly simply do what they have been created to do. In DeFi, the markets are (or at the very least must be) totally managed by clear and auditable code, making a stage taking part in discipline. Prior to now few months we’ve got seen strikes by establishments and regulators that have been geared toward “defending buyers,” however they largely achieved simply the other. DeFi is barely in its infancy, however with time it is going to evolve and there can be a big uptick in customers, giving everybody the chance to really personal their cash and the accountability that comes with it.

The explosive rise of GME is an affidavit to the overhauling affect of decentralized finance and the crumbling legacy finance. Within the pre-DeFi period, these in energy may simply delist belongings or block alternatives for potential enterprise instances. With DeFi, it’s a actually democratic stage that bestows the credit score to those that need to be in energy. I gained’t be stunned to see a lineup of extra client companies embracing P2P cost options. 

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