What started out as a niche sub-group of crypto has evolved, in a very short space of time, into a $139 billion industry. There is no denying that the rise of decentralised finance (DeFi), combined with interest in NFT's, have contributed significantly to the current bull run.
Now that the DeFi movement is in motion, it is clear that it is more than just a passing trend. Even big names such as Mark Cuban have described DeFi as being "Like the Early Days of the Internet".
DeFi stands for decentralised finance, which essentially means removing centralised financial middlemen such as brokerages, exchanges, or banks. With cryptocurrencies, users can send and receive money online without the need for a bank or a payment provider in the middle to permit the transaction.
DeFi Remains Cumbersome At This Point In Time
Despite the incredible number of opportunities that arise from removing middlemen and automating such processes, DeFi is still riddled with problems in many aspects.
Two major issues include scalability and adoption. Bitcoin can handle ~7 transactions per second compared to the whopping 1,700 that Visa can handle; this coupled with the fact that our financial infrastructure such as payment terminals and debit cards are so ingrained into today's society that it could take decades to shift.
There are many instances where CeFi is currently better suited to meet our needs. Instead of arguing which is better, CeFi vs. DeFi, which both have their own pros and cons; there are a few companies looking to bridge the gap between them and offer the best of both worlds.
The Next Big App
One of the predominant contenders is Plutus, which allows users to connect their decentralised crypto wallet (whilst retaining the private keys) to a centralised Current Account. This allows users to manage crypto and fiat from a single app whilst staying true to the values of both financial systems.
The app includes a decentralised exchange (DEX) so users can swap crypto for fiat and vice versa without having to trust a 3rd party with their crypto. The user always has sole ownership and access meaning it is impossible to be locked out of your crypto funds or censored. These features coupled with a Visa Debit Card let you convert and spend crypto at over 70+ million merchants worldwide.
Plutus, a pioneering DeFi start-up which has also received $5 million in funding from a prominent crypto fund, Alphabit, in light of their upcoming product release announced by its founder Danial Daychopan, a all-in-one crypto wallet that includes both Ethereum and Bitcoin which could rival the likes of MetaMask.
There are centralised services that offer similar features which have seen huge success. Crypto.com is a prominent example of this having recently surpassed the 10 million user milestone in March 2021. However, the services provided are completely centralised which means it carries risk. Users can be locked out of their crypto assets, transactions can be censored, or a company hack could result in personal losses. This directly contradicts Satoshi's vision of a decentralised cryptocurrency, free from human interference and 3rd party custodians.
The same centralised approach is adopted by companies such as Coinbase and Binance Card who have also seen phenomenal growth in recent months. However, given the original decentralised values of the modern age, Plutus is possibly the most well-positioned crypto card for scooping up the market share in the coming months and years.
Reasons Plutus Could Overcome This
However, although these are described as crypto projects, they are almost entirely centralised. They use a centralised exchange and users are required to use a centralised wallet. Plutus is the first, and one of the only, cards on the market that hits the rapidly growing DeFi market.
Since Alphabit inked a $5 million deal with Plutus' to acquire its native token, Pluton (PLU), the price proceeded to skyrocket 104% as a result. Despite this, the token is still 130x times smaller in market cap than CRO (Crypto.com's native token) which shows there is still plenty of upside potential in growth of its user base.
Plutus has acquired 35,000 customers so far which is a drop in the ocean compared to competition, however, with a strong niche and funds dedicated to international expansion, there is no reason Plutus couldn't pull back significant market share in the coming months and rival the likes of Coinbase Card, Revolut, and similar services. With a bull market like this, small market cap projects appear to have been the biggest gainers.