With recent events that were kicked off by a bank run on Anchor Protocol, a yielding platform on the Terra blockchain - there is a general narrative of centralized finance (CeFi) becoming a dirty word.
In the current climate, this is understandable with one titan after another hitting the ground, making contagion trend as a topic on Twitter.
There isn’t much complexity as to why we’ve seen centralized finance providers struggle with insolvency over the last few months. There was clear mismanagement of risks, stemming from pure god complex degeneracy and resulting in a complete lack of transparency with users as to how their money was being used to generate the high yields promised at the height of the bull market.
Balancing lending and borrowing terms would be at the heart of a risk-mitigated business, regulated by responsible governments you would think. Well, dear reader, you and I thought wrong.
Finance likes to make things look confusing so you think you don’t understand it. If you don’t understand it, more often than not - it doesn’t actually make sense.
The tide went back and we really got to see who was swimming naked.
This does not negate the need for centralized finance providers, who provide accessible entry points for users into cryptocurrency asset classes.
It instead creates an environment where we as an industry need to work together to redefine standards for centralized service providers. Here are some categories of focus:
One of the biggest takeaways Voyager, Celsius, and other centralized finance providers who have had to pause withdrawals so as to both legally and financially restructure in an attempt to make their customers whole… have shown how degenerate the behavior of regulated entities can be.
A license by a regulator simply means that the entity is required to provide financial documents to be audited upon request by the regulator.
In a world of public blockchains and on-chain analysis tools developed to where they are, and at the pace that the industry moves, it is ridiculous to review data in anything other than real-time.
Whether this initiative is driven by regulators, or adopted as a standard by industry players - the use of on-chain data to help end-users understand their risks will greatly help in rebuilding trust and credibility within the cryptocurrency industry.
One of the clear takeaways from the now tattered trust of users of centralized finance providers is - people feel like they’ve been lied to.
Do we continue to list disclaimers at the bottom of pages as a compliance tick-off? Or do we really reconsider the way in which these elements play into how both websites and products are designed?
Disclosures, terms and conditions, and disclaimers should no longer be secondary considerations from a marketing and communications standpoint.
How does a person new to the industry navigate this cesspool of misinformation?
One of the unspoken secrets of the cryptocurrency industry is the pay-for-pump variety of strategies that exist. Everything from events and influencer bundles through to smorgasbords of press lists is available - for a pretty penny.
We need to create clearer standards of disclosures for influencers and the press and hold them to these standards. Projects should have internal governance mechanisms which prevent collaboration with bad actors within the media sphere. Call me naive, I say more detailed requirements for sponsored content.
We need commonly adopted industry standards that protect end-users and contribute to creating stable and reliable rails for the future.
As the cryptocurrency industry matures, and governments are considering CBDCs as serious parts of their strategy - crypto needs to outgrow its cultlike maximalism that will continue to hold the industry on the fringes.
Sharmini Ravindran is the co-founder of Dezy. Dezy is a savings application that bundles decentralized finance primitives to offer risk mitigated returns for their users.