The traditional finance world, or TradFi as we know it, lacks inclusivity. According to the data published and endorsed by the World Bank, only 69% of the world’s adult population has an account. Although financial inclusion is the enabler for seven out of the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals, 1.7 billion people are unbanked. Lack of inclusion stems from the entry barriers that the TradFi has itself cultivated in the form of unnecessary documentation needs, involvement of too many intermediaries and approvals in the process, and more.
The current financial structures are rigged, believes Brian Pasfield, CTO of Fringe Finance. In an interview with beINcrypto’s Alexandra Kons, Brian said that his observations held ground for other segments as well, including gold, commodities, silver, metals, energy markets, and so forth. He added that this “gave him a bit of an insight at how things operated at a global and macro scale.” Therefore, Brian believes, the decentralization of financial systems is not an option but a necessity.
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A catalyst for decentralization
The 2008 global financial crisis was devastating, as it wiped off $22 trillion from the United States economy. If we distribute these losses to all Americans, they would average at $72000 per citizen. The crisis made it clear that the global financial ecosystem is under the control of a few financial institutions. At a global level, the combined GDP of all countries dropped by 4%, an effect still felt by the world a decade later.
However, amidst this chaos, no solution seemed like it could change the situation until Bitcoin aimed to take the world towards the path of decentralization. Bitcoin, a breath of fresh air, was truly independent, and its value wasn’t linked with the situation in any particular country.
Brian, too, realized the crucial differences between Bitcoin and the rest of the financial system. While talking about Bitcoin, he said to Alexandra Kons that “it represents opportunity. Its decentralization, uncensorability, a limited supply, ushered in a way to transfer value.”
He further added, “Of course, it (Bitcoin) is the first underlying component that will manifest into a truly decentralized and distributed world.” In addition, Brian sees Bitcoin as a perfect option for people to opt in for instead of being forced into by legacy centralized institutions.
The first layer of transfer of value
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have started a revolution that isn’t stopping any time soon. Decentralized Finance, for example, is open and accessible, qualities rarely found in the financial services offered by centralized institutions.
Brian says, “in DeFi, people can take part in financial services, and they do not require any permission, and (it works) in a manner that is uncensorable and (lets them) access the whole host of financial services that otherwise they would not have been able to take advantage of.”
A new era?
The evolution of mechanisms around pseudonymous identity and reputation is a game-changer, believes Brian. He says it’s because “this usher in a new era where individuals and organizations, particularly DAOs, will now be able to undertake dispute resolution in a pseudonymous manner.”
He further adds that “dispute resolution will be based on maintaining users’ reputation because their reputation will be the largest part of the currency of their ability on a continuing and evolving basis within the decentralized domain.”
What this will do, then, is add a layer of force or compulsion, which they can use to enforce rules within the decentralized space. “Reputation will be a key driver for that,” says Brian.
Brian also explains that once these pseudonymous systems are established, people will be able to interact and access services within the decentralized web trustlessly. It will enable DAOs to interact among themselves and with users to hear and adjudicate disputes with real implications for users. The implications won’t be physical per se, but they will impact the reputation that a user will wish to retain.
Real-world example of reputation today
If we look at it from the perspective of an individual, it isn’t as if reputation is not already a part of the traditional financial space because it already is, and it is known as a “Credit Score.” Yes, a credit score is on similar lines to reputation, as it influences the chances a person will be able to avail of loans or not. But, credit scores serve the needs of exclusion rather than being vehicles of entry for a larger population. Reputation in DeFi is enabling rather than being prohibitive. It will open the way to uncollateralized loans and access other services on the web without any permission.
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