IOVlabs COO explains why it’s time for cryptocurrencies to deliver on their promises

Take me to the moon‘is something of an unofficial anthem for many of us among the crypto-faithful, capturing the movement’s free-spirited optimism and our unshakable belief that we are building a brave new world.

But instead of reshaping the current global order, we’ve all too often been guilty of sharing ideas exclusively in the crypto echo chamber. To change the planet, we need to change this behavior. And the way to do it is Everyday DeFi.

Since you fully entered traditional cultural consciousness at the end of 2020, you would be forgiven for thinking we had already “won”. As governments around the world have locked their citizens at home and rich nations have sent stigmies checks, we have coined a whole new generation of Degens.

NFTs have given an understandable entrance into our world, combining technology, culture and social capital. It was a liberating prospect when during the pandemic many couldn’t even go to the grocery store without a signed affidavit.

Soon, the profits from jpeg launches were being invested in increasingly exotic tools and it seemed the whole world was mimicking.

The reality, of course, was very different and the hype distracted many of us from the real mission of reshaping tomorrow. Earlier this year, the number of unique DeFi user wallets across all major DeFi protocols was just over 4.3 million.

They are a few hundred thousand more than the population of the Chinese city of Suzhou or more or less the same as the populations of Panama or Mauritania. On the contrary, it is estimated that globally there are 1.8 billion unbanked or underbanked.

Of course, the speculation, the protocols, the frothy profits, and the curmudgeons made the whole thing seem bigger and brighter than it was. And Advanced DeFi is an exciting place to be. It simply has no relation to the world we thought we were building.

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We are at a turning point. We have created interesting technologies but not yet useful. In order for these crypto economies to cross the chasm and change the real world, we need to focus on real world applications and real world users.

But while a group of bored, young and mostly white Western men (and they were mostly young men) captured the popular imagination, winning big at the shitcoin lottery, another story was emerging from the hype.

A story closer to the one we told ourselves at the beginning of all this about changing the world. Something different was emerging in the less scrutinized corners of the advanced DeFi economy.

From the Buenos Aires villas for Saigon’s markets, people were finding workarounds to real problems in their financial systems using these existing advanced DeFi tools.

The Chainalysis Cryptocurrency Adoption Report released in late 2021 captured this phenomenon. Country number one? Vietnam, with India, Pakistan, Ukraine and Kenya completing the top five. This is the cryptocurrency that will change the world, and this is the world we need to build the technology for.

Continuous payments without punitive charges for small businesses; savings that allow people to be inflation-proof and protect what they already have; remittances that allow ninety-nine percent to move capital as easily as that; and loans that provide access to funding for basic economic growth.

All are denominated in stablecoins beyond the reach of negligent governments and available through Web2’s seamless smartphone interfaces today.

This is everyday DeFi.

And the time is now. The bright side of the current cryptocurrency crisis is that it forces all of us to focus on real-world utility. Many are already doing it, away from talking heads and the machine of endless clamor.

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Already in 2019, the World Bank foresaw that cryptocurrency “it offers the possibility of redesigning economic models and enabling the creation of markets and products that were previously unavailable and unprofitable in emerging markets”, and although belatedly, we already have many examples where this is happening in a number of ecosystems.

Away from the clickbait headlines, it has already begun to happen. Goldfinch offers cryptocurrency loans to real companies, solving a real problem of accessing credit lines.

The Celo the ecosystem is taking off, based on the goal of easily accessing DeFi on mobile devices. And neither project had to hide behind a memecoin to gain adoption.

The RSK blockchain was designed for everyday DeFi. Built on Bitcoin by IOVlabs and now community-run, RSK was founded in Argentina by a team that has experienced some of the worst financial crises in the world: multiple periods of hyperinflation, banking and debt crises, and long-lasting capital controls.

These are some of the true pioneers of cryptocurrencies who viscerally understand the need for Everyday DeFi because they have felt the true consequences of financial mismanagement and experienced the true potential of the Bitcoin promise.

But why rely on Bitcoin? Bitcoin is the purest example of what a decentralized system should look like. It is unstoppable, without authorization and peer to peer.

Just like Everyday DeFi has to be. RSK is the only network that uses unified mining technology to leverage the security of Bitcoin while allowing EVM-compatible smart contracts to build DeFi applications.

But the ability to build on Bitcoin isn’t enough. At IOVlabs, we have thought a lot about how to deliver on the Everyday DeFi promise. That’s why we built RIF.

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The Rootstock Infrastructure Framework is an RSK-based service layer, where we are creating the building blocks to make Everyday DeFi a reality. REF enables teams building DeFi Everyday services to create crypto products for the mass market faster and easier; RIF makes wallet addresses human readable with Name Service.

RIF makes accessing cryptocurrencies faster with Login. RIF makes it possible to save, borrow and lend in a safe and responsible way with Wallet. And RIF makes payments faster and cheaper with our recent implementation of zkSync in Pay.

RIF is the building blocks of Everyday DeFi, and while it is compatible with every blockchain, RSK is its home.

So while others struggle with Zuckerberg for the Metaverse, those who want to change the world must deliver on the original promise of cryptography by building something meaningful, something real, and something that lasts for the people who need it most.

We’re doing this on Bitcoin, but we’re not the only ones making Everyday DeFi a reality. This is not a zero-sum game – this is a real opportunity to change the world by integrating the first billion DeFi users.

– Daniel Fogg (COO, IOVlabs)


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