Just as the first iteration of crypto was never going to be the final product, the demise of traditional finance in 2008 wasn’t the final rift to accelerate the new financial paradigm, either.
Call it what you will, but for most - the financial crash of 2008 was nothing short of a tragedy.
Due to the colossal impact firms like the Lehman Brothers had on mainstream markets, the ripple effect caused by the domino drop of financial institutions involved in bad bets and major scandals meant job losses, bankruptcy, and a housing market crash critically damaged the financial well-being of countless and displaced as many as 10 million US homeowners.
As the incredibly cliché phrase goes, every cloud apparently has a silver lining, and although for most it perhaps wasn’t visible until around a decade or so later - the financial crisis of 2008 also saw the birth of one of the most innovative financial creations modern times has witnessed: the birth of Bitcoin.
While it may seem in bad taste to take current market activity to shine an honorable light on crypto, it’s arguably quite the opposite. Make no mistake, the latest news about the fall of FTX and the anticipation for more unraveling to follow is indeed a tragedy in many ways, and will be considered by many as a setback for the crypto industry for some time. With the potential damage caused to years worth of trust building, growth and adoption, that isn’t an unfair suggestion - but just as with the financial crisis of 2008, it’s always darkest before dawn. Even in these early days of darkness, it’s clear that there will be positive outcomes from this tragedy in time, and they will far exceed the temporary setback caused.
The development of Web 3.0 has been plagued with dirty players, leveraging the space for greed and personal gain for far too long. While it’s easy to place the blame solely on hackers and faceless criminals, events like those that unfolded last week are a stark reminder that centralized finance (CeFi) was never the intended outcome of crypto - no matter how much it grew.
Much like the public persona generated by SBF as the “golden boy of crypto”, CeFi has had a long and impressive run presenting itself as a safe and secure access route into crypto. The question we have to ask ourselves here, is why?
To answer this question in reality, we likely have to live through the unfolding events ahead of us and reflect retrospectively on what comes next. But for now, here’s a hunch:
CeFi was a stepping stone while the world wasn’t ready for decentralization.
And frankly, we’ve had a damn good reason not to be.
You know those cooking shows, where the whistle is blown and the competitors have to manically race to find ingredients and build some sort of menu from their scavenge? Very rarely is the end product ideal, with compromises often visible in presentation or notable in flavor. Needless to say, some dishes are quite likely delicious - but probably deserve a little more scoping out before being deemed ready for mass-market production.
The past few years for the crypto industry, in some ways, have been comparable. Many incredible projects have been built within the space, yet fundamental flaws in the underlying technology and lack of real-world considerations to adoption have held the space back from truly growing to where it needs to be for mainstream adoption.
For years, while DeFi projects have suffered from limited opportunities where adoption matters, CeFi projects like FTX have taken advantage of retail investor attention to make a buck or two (or $26 billion) through combining two key needs among would-be crypto investors: the need for usable products and a pressing desire to enter the crypto space.
The issue is, “decentralized” for many is intimidating. As human beings, we’re set on feeling uncertain about things we can’t see, and with the growing pains DeFi projects have faced over the years leading to ambiguous, confusing end products, a crypto facade with a friendly face slapped on its image and Larry David shouting its holy grail is undoubtedly going to offer comfort to those seeking an easier solution.
We’ve simply not been ready to go faceless when the products we’re faced with suck, but the crypto space is still young. Although many products that have come from it so far have been nothing short of revolutionary, we’ve still got a lot of work to do to convince Auntie Marlene at Christmas dinner why the heck she should start using DeFi - and Radix is paving the way to make exactly that happen.
RDX Works has built the first full stack for Web3 that will enable developers within the crypto space to seamlessly create decentralized apps that can truly accelerate the adoption of DeFi and obsolete traditional finance…for good.
New builds in the crypto space have had to put up with flawed foundations for far too long - leading to “demo versions” of products and exploitations, ultimately blocking the way for true decentralized finance to flourish. With the Radix engine and the project’s smart contract language - Scrypto - developers who’ve spent years critically blocked with growing pains can easily build dApps fit for global adoption, without the flaws, hacks, and awful usability.
DeFi is what’s needed to accelerate a better financial future, but it needs to be radically better. After 9 years of searching for the solution - Radix has found it.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, but it wasn’t built in a bull run either - and nor should an entire economic shift to a new financial ecosystem. Simply put, it’s unfair to expect a world to be ready for a product that isn’t, and if we really want to create a better financial future, we deserve to get it right.
Centralized finance like FTX isn’t what the world needed, and while the fiasco unfolding will leave many wounded for some time, it’s a stark reminder as to what really needs to be done to fulfill the legacy started in 2008 - the true shift we really need to build the future of finance.
On December 8, Radix will unveil the future of finance. Get your free ticket to RadFi2022 and join thousands of others at the virtual event who are ready for radically better DeFi. Find out more.