What is happening in DeFi? Interview with Gerben van den Bergh

If you are confused about what decentralized finance is, that’s probably normal. It is fairly new and evolving quite rapidly. However, here is your chance to learn a bit more about this fascinating new development in finance. As Coindesk puts it, “DeFi is short for decentralized finance. An umbrella term for a variety of financial applications in cryptocurrency or blockchain geared toward disrupting financial intermediaries”. Fintech Review asked a few questions to Gerben van den Bergh, Chief Innovation Officer at AllianceBlock, about what is happening in DeFi at the moment.

Tell us more about AllianceBlock. What is your elevator pitch?

At AllianceBlock, we are bridging the gap between decentralized finance (DeFi) and traditional finance by remedying issues that exist in both spheres, in order to link them more closely together. Through a suite of next-generation financial infrastructure products, we are building the future of finance. A world where technical innovation and access to capital combine to facilitate a more streamlined, open, and modern industry.

Part of our mission is to create a stable, compliant channel for traditional finance players to access decentralized markets.

We also provide projects across the DeFi sphere with the solutions they need to scale and innovate effectively. Our new technical roadmap  addressed five different areas:

  1. Decentralized interoperability through the AllianceBlock Bridge;
  2. Innovative solutions to impermanent loss through the AllianceBlock DEX;
  3. Peer-to-peer DeFi startup funding using AllianceBlock Fundrs, trustless, cross-border compliance with AllianceBlock KYC/AML;
  4. and the newly announced AllianceBlock Wallet.

What is your background, and what is the story behind the AllianceBlock?

I have always worked at the intersection of business and IT, a line that is becoming increasingly blurred in today’s digital age. Prior to joining AllianceBlock I worked across implementation, strategic project management, and as of the last 12 years, as a consultant and solutions architect. In short, innovations and creative solutions are my passion. And having worked closely with traditional finance players over the years I was always analysing the needs of the industry and exploring what new solutions could fulfil these needs. 

When I heard about all AllianceBlock was doing, I was blown away. They are working to solve so many of the structural and technical issues I witnessed across the finance industry. The company was founded by an inspiring team of three, each of whom has incredible backgrounds in traditional finance. They identified the opportunities in DeFi, as well as the flaws, and have worked hard to consider and provide solutions for the barriers to DeFi’s mass adoption.

What do you see as the main opportunities in DeFi vs traditional finance?

One of the biggest advantages of DeFi is its participative economy. It levels the playing field. A perfect example of this is our recent partnership with dua.com, which is changing the way globally fragmented communities connect. By joining forces, we will bring more inclusion to the space. As a result, we will be making remittances faster and more secure through the power of crypto. By leveraging our technology, we will enable dua.com to have its very own AllianceBlock-backed stablecoin, lowering transaction costs while improving speed.

What are the biggest challenges for wider adoption?

UX poses a challenge when it comes to crypto. The multi-platform journeys required to buy crypto or connect a wallet are a huge barrier for people who are not ‘techy’. When navigating uncertain financial waters, it can make the industry seem confusing and less secure than traditional channels. This is why AllianceBlock is aiming to be the industry benchmark on UX, creating sleek, easy-to-navigate products that simplify processes across DeFi. 

Any innovation in fintech more broadly that gets you excited?

Neobanks are a really exciting development that lower the barrier to entry when it comes to the banking domain and challenge the established order by reducing costs. Moreover, I am certain DeFi will play an important role in neobanks in the near future.

Any plans for the future you want people to know about?

We recently announced the long-awaited AllianceBlock DEX white paper. This is a really exciting product that offers a brand new automated market maker with the aim of reducing impermanent loss.