Demystifying Decentralized Finance: Understanding Promises and Pitfalls

  • Agostino Capponi, Columbia University
  • Ruizhe Jia, Columbia University
Modern laptop with financial bitcoin cryptocurrency crypto graph data trade. Computer chart in notebook workplace detail.

About this Report

For decades, traditional financial institutions like banks and credit unions in Canada have been key in managing transactions and generating revenue through a centralized system. This system, while crucial for offering intermediation services, can be exclusive and impose high costs on consumers. Additionally, the cost of funding is often too high for small borrowers. The emergence of distributed ledger technologies and Decentralized Finance (DeFi) offers a potential solution by enabling a shift to a decentralized trading environment, suggesting that Canadian financial institutions may need to reconsider their business models to adapt to these changes and better serve their customers.