DeFi failed to catch on eight years ago, according to comments from Yoni Assia, founder and CEO of financial platform eToro.
"I think that DeFi is super interesting," Assia said on Oct. 6 during a panel on crypto exchanges and venture investments, as part of the LA Blockchain Summit.
"We actually built a decentralized exchange back in 2012 based on the Colored Coin protocol we developed in eToro, which was tokenizing assets on top of the Bitcoin network, so this was really really premature — the beginning of thinking of tokenization."
Ethereum has made a name for itself as one of the go-to networks for decentralized applications. The Ethereum blockchain, however, did not come along until 2015, so prior innovators took to other chains using the industry's first network, Bitcoin.
"We actually built an exchange with atomic swaps on top of Bitcoin," Assia said. "Waiting for eight to 15 minutes for a swap to actually happen, and the lack of actual stablecoins and real assets on the Bitcoin network, actually made this very much premature."
Back in 2012, the crypto space only yielded a tiny fraction of the use cases, assets, blockchains and tools currently available eight years later. It would seem that eToro had a good idea, but was much too early.
Assia also said he maintains a positive outlook on the future of DeFi from here, in part due to its potential to simplify traditional finance while adding transparency and speed.
Today, the DeFi space continues seeing mammoth growth as speculators pour their capital into the latest yield opportunities.