DeFi’s latest headline hire comes from an unusual source: the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
On Wednesday, permissionless crypto lending protocol Euler Finance announced the appointment of Brandon Neal as chief operating officer.
Neal spent 10 years at the New York Fed in a variety of roles, including most recently with the Markets Trading Desk, or what Neal called “the tip of the spear in implementing monetary policy” in an interview with CoinDesk.
Afterwards, Neal began more deeply researching the space and eventually met the team at Euler, where he was impressed with the group's deliberate and iterative approach designed to mitigate the risks associated with permissionless finance.
“Of all the teams I spoke with I was excited most about the team at Euler – having a super, super robust risk management system, carefully designed and built and thoughtfully implemented, is paramount,” said Neal.
“From our perspective, we’re really focused on managing risk – I don’t want to target some total value locked number we can market to people,” Bentley said.
Neal told CoinDesk that he believes decentralized finance (DeFi) has the potential to significantly shake up the finance world.
“If we zoom out and look at what finance is supposed to do, it was always meant to be the oil that greases the wheels of real industry. It was never meant to become a wheel unto itself that employs an excessive number of people and becomes rent-seeking, to use an economics term. But it’s become that – the financial industry is bloated, it’s not innovative, and there’s valid arguments that it’s stuck,” he said.
He admitted that a “handful” of his former colleagues think he’s crazy for the career shift, but many of them are coming around to the promise of the DeFi sector, particularly as new use cases develop.
“Everybody is rightfully skeptical. People who work at the Fed are skeptics by nature – it’s evidence-based, and you look at outcomes,” said Neal, adding:
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.