Finance Headed Toward Bank-Free, Decentralized Future: Bernstein

Bank-free decentralized finance will be a trillion-dollar asset pool with over $40 billion in revenue by 2028, a report from the firm said.

AccessTimeIconMar 10, 2023 at 10:54 a.m. UTC
Updated May 9, 2023 at 4:10 a.m. UTC

The future of finance will be bank-free, Bernstein said in a research report Friday. Banks will still exist, but in the background as “custodians of old wealth.”

“New wealth creation and financial-services innovation will move to a new financial app universe on the Ethereum ecosystem,” analysts Gautam Chhugani and Manas Agrawal wrote.

A revival of decentralized finance (DeFi) is in the works, one that is “far more sustainable, scalable, transparent and with improving token economics,” the report said. DeFi is an umbrella term for a variety of financial applications carried out on a blockchain.

Bernstein estimates that by 2028, bank-free DeFi will have revenue of $40 billion and total assets will grow to $1 trillion from about $65 billion now. It forecasts $5 trillion in assets over the next decade due to rapid adoption.

The next generation of DeFi will be built on a layer 2 network that is scalable with 95% lower transaction costs and products that generate real revenue and sustainable yields rather than being driven by token incentives, the note said.

Layer 2 refers to separate blockchains built on top of layer 1 chains that reduce bottlenecks with scaling and data. Layer 1 is the base layer or the underlying infrastructure of a blockchain.


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Will Canny is CoinDesk's finance reporter.

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