To DeFi or Not DeFi: The Latest on Ethereum’s Dilemma from ConsenSys’ Ethereal Summit NY

Ethereum is the second largest cryptocurrency and for good reason – when it was released, smart contracts were just beginning and Ethereum offered more than being a currency. It offered the world a new way to look at applications, a way to decentralize them and to usher in a new era of privacy and application design that many never even knew was possible.

That has lead to the community being what it is like today – many believe that Ethereum can be the base application layer of the entire world and many companies are working towards that. The developers want Ethereum to be a catch-all solution to a new decentralized world and many of the ardent believers are right there with them.

DeFi causes tension Ethereal Summit

That belief was prevalent on the first day of the Ethereal Summit that was held in New York as part of Blockchain Week. Ameen Soleimani nailed his colors to the mast saying that Ethereum was going “eat everything”. The founder of SpankChain boasted during the panel that Ethereum was an all-encompassing giant and that no one technology could stand up to it.

There was a counterpoint made by the founder of crypto prices tracker Messari. Ryan Selkis said that if Ethereum only managed to truly reinvent finance then that would be plenty. This is a position that many have taken with regards to blockchain.

While others see blockchain as a disruptor in many fields, the most vocal of the Decentralized Finance (DeFi) crows say that if finance was revolutionized then that would be enough. It would help us bring finance in line with the modern supranational commercial activities of the internet.

“If you think about |Ethereum as programmable money and decentralized finance (DeFi) applications, that’s probably good enough,” Selkis said, clearly driving this very salient point home.

The developers and the most ravenous fans of Ethereum want to reinvent the web wholesale, while many of the larger applications based on Ethereum want to focus on decentralized finance.

Many more speakers kept coming back to the topic of DeFi. It became a recurring theme throughout the day given the importance of MakerDAO, an Ethereum based lending platform. However, no matter how many panelists harped on about DeFi, the crowd were mainly in favor of a web running on Ethereum.

Soleimani later added that his “ultimate bull case” for Ethereum would be seeing a sovereign nation-state issue its own currency on the Ethereum blockchain. However, this was still part and parcel of DeFi, and while it is a reachable goal particularly with certain countries looking to issue blockchain based national currency, there are still problems.

Technology not there yet

The ability to run a new internet is a nice ideal, but Ethereum is still constrained and needs additional tech to take the pressures off the first layer. Tushar Jain hammered home this point in his time on the panel saying that if a layer 2 solution doe snot work, then Ethereum will simply not work.

He mentioned his belief in that statement is backed by there already being other Layer 1 blockchains in the market that already outperform Ethereum in a number of different ways.

Sophia Lopez was perhaps the most level-headed when she mentioned that while it was great to see the excitement surrounding the vision for an Ethereum based Web3.0, it didn't help the developers right now.

There isn't anything, she argued, actionable today and that developers were more interested in what they could do immediately as opposed to what might be possible at some future date.

Brian Flynn was on the other end of the debate, siding with the general use of Ethereum. When asked if Ethereum should drop plans for other uses and focus on DeFi, he shook his head and stated that he believed that would be a mistake.

He went on to say that “DeFi is a solution looking for a problem” and that the same case happened last year with NFTs. He complained that people were facing a recency bias problem. Going on to say that Ethereum could, and should, focus on expanding as much as possible.

This is all perhaps due to the prevalence of MakerDAO and how large it has grown. While DeFi is certainly an interesting angle for Ethereum to build on, many forget that MakerDAO has a smart contract with close to 83% of all DeFi ETH locked into it. It would be foolish, many in the community think, to hinge the entire future of Ethereum on one company that is doing very well when there is a wealth of talent available.

Ethereum’s price is $1,876.49 ETH/USD exchange rate today. The real-time ETH market cap of $225.61 Billion currently ranks #2 with , daily trading volume of $3.89 Billion and live coin value change of ETH 3.17 in the last 24 hours.

Live Ethereum (ETH) Price:

1 ETH/USD =$1,876.4850 change ~ 3.17%

Coin Market Cap

$225.61 Billion

24 Hour Volume

$3.89 Billion

24 Hour VWAP

$1.86 K

24 Hour Change


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