DeFi capitalizes on distributed ledger technology (DLT), otherwise known as blockchain, which removes the need for intermediaries in financial transactions, such as banks and agents. The intermediaries become replaced by smart contracts, thereby enabling peer-to-peer transactions and payments. Peer-to-peer payments open many doors for entrepreneurs, as they no longer have to factor cross-border payments, where the costs of money transfers (and the time it takes) serve as a disadvantage for both the sender and the recipient. The instantaneous and cost-cutting nature of DeFi transactions plays a large role in its scalability, especially among institutional investors.
DeFi challenges this centralized financial system by disempowering middlemen and gatekeepers, and empowering everyday people via peer-to-peer exchanges.
“Decentralized finance is an unbundling of traditional finance,” says Rafael Cosman, CEO and co-founder of TrustToken. “DeFi takes the key elements of the work done by banks, exchanges and insurers today—like lending, borrowing and trading—and puts it in the hands of regular people.”