Netherlands-based ING Bank has been analyzing the risks and opportunities associated with the exploding decentralized finance (DeFi) space.
A paper released last month titled “Lessons Learned from Decentralised Finance,” carefully weighs some of DeFi’s pros and cons, and concludes that “the best of both worlds is achieved if centralised and decentralised financial services cooperate.”
Commenting on the paper, ING blockchain lead Herve Francois pointed out that “DeFi could be more disruptive than Bitcoin to the financial sector,” adding that the crypto-friendly Dutch lender has the ecosystem in its sights.
"DeFi is an integral part of ING’s digital asset vision,” Francois wrote in a message to CoinDesk. “Researching into DeFi gives ING insight into what gaps might exist in the new paradigm from a micro and macro perspective.”
DeFi, the replacement of financial intermediaries with automated digital contracts, is a big deal today with around $76 billion in assets locked up on Ethereum alone.
ING eyes DeFi
Among the lessons learned, ING pointed to a general trade-off where a reduction in counterparty risk is largely replaced by technical risks around the use of smart contracts.
However, the borderless nature of DeFi is alluring to ING, according to the paper, because centralized institutions spend a lot of time and money complying with multiple regulations in different jurisdictions.
The paper states:
Meeting AML and know-your-customer (KYC) requirements is something financial institutions could help DeFi with, according to ING:
ING selected decentralized lending platform Aave to carry out a case study on various characteristics of DeFi. According to ING:
Aave is known to be weighing institutional DeFi opportunities, having hired some banking specialists and recently joining the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance.
Asked if there was any particular reason why ING chose Aave over other DeFi platforms, Francois said, simply: “We know them.”
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