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What Can History Tell us About the Future of DeFi?

Crypto. Bitcoin. NFTs. These items make up the bulk of conversation swirling decentralized finance (also known as DeFi), a blockchain-based form of finance that purposely cuts out the use of intermediary systems within our society, such as central banks, exchanges, or brokerages. Many people across the globe, including myself, see this unregulated, technologically advanced space as a means for people to carry out shady practices and highly speculative trades without much understanding. In spite of the potential downfalls behind DeFi, the underground spirit behind crypto provides a recall to a variety of historical events with similar intentions.

Throughout history, cycles of centralization and decentralization have occurred dramatically and consistently in both political and economic contexts. In Ancient Greece in the 5th century BC, heavy disputes between individual states led to invasion from foreign powers and the destruction of a decentralized system surrounding Athens. Without the necessary governmental framework, alliances among city-states were unreliable and caused their collapse. As DeFi attempts to fight against the "system" of the central banks and federal government, the leaders of this rising industry must be careful to not make the same mistakes as the Ancient Greeks and fail to unify or create alliances with their enemies.

To be able to attempt to point to the historical collapse of Ancient Greece and claim that the same results will happen to DeFi without changes to the industry's plans would be ridiculous. One of my favorite ideas I took away from reading The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham was that the main lesson behind learning history was to truly understand how unpredictable upcoming events truly are, which I believe is the same case with cryptocurrency and DeFi. The implementation of a decentralized form of currency has yet to truly been carried out, and we are all eagerly waiting to see what happens in the present and future.

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