Crypto’s march towards mainstream adoption takes another significant step forward as the CEO of an e-commerce giant is publicly pondering how to integrate his company with the decentralized finance (DeFi) ecosystem.
On Friday night, Shopify CEO Tobi Lutke posted a Twitter message asking the DeFi community what “role” Shopify could play in the growing financial vertical:
Hey #DeFi Twitter. What are the commerce related opportunities that you are most excited about? What role do you want Shopify to play?— Tobi Lutke (@tobi) April 2, 2021
The inquiry drew hundreds of responses, including from multiple DeFi power players. Nansen’s Alex Svanevik mentioned stablecoin payments as well as using DeFi protocols to allow cash in Shopify accounts to earn yield, and likewise ConsenSys’ Corbin Page pointed to a hackathon project that deposited payments directly into yield-bearing protocols.
More complex suggestions centered on leveraging deposited funds for payments, real-time subscription fees, and using protocols like Alchemix to enable asset-backed loans for payments.
While highly speculative in nature, Lutke’s musing do seem to be a sign that he’s caught the crypto bug. Earlier in the day, he posted that he’d been “dabbling” with smart contracts, referring to their functionality as “fascinating.” Besides the tech, the CEO also seems to be taken with DeFi’s open, permissionless ethos.
In a Tweet, he said that while it certainly won’t fit a purist’s definition of decentralization, one of Shopify’s goals was reducing barriers and friction in online retail — a spiritual cousin to Defi:
Usually companies see a market like retail and say “cool, I’ll go win that market”. Shopify did “cool, let’s make sure everyone can participate”. So in spirit (not by your definition) we are helping push against centralization. Makes sense?— Tobi Lutke (@tobi) April 3, 2021
If a Defi-powered feature ever does make its way onto Shopify’s platform, it would likely immediately be one of the most important catalysts for adoption in DeFi’s short history. Shopify is the largest company in Canada, among the largest in the northern hemisphere, and counts over 3 million online stores as part of its platform.