Introducing The DeFi Collective: a mesh network to support trustless and unstoppable DeFi
DeFi’s growth continues to be a formidable force to democratize access to and use financial infrastructure. Radically new types of services emerged, enabled by protocols powered by immutable smart contracts: they offer unprecedented guarantees to their users, unmatchable even by the most established banks or financial institutions. Let’s consider the case of Uniswap (the top decentralized exchange by volume) vs. Coinbase (one of the leading centralized exchange) to illustrate what we mean:
Uniswap overtook CoinBase in trading volume in Q1 2023, with 50 times fewer employees, 0 intermediaries, and much less risk posed to the user funds who remain in their custody at all times. To trade on Coinbase, a user must create an account, pass a demanding KYC procedure, renounce direct ownership of his assets, and be lucky not to see his account suspended for various reasons. To trade or supply liquidity on Uniswap, one only needs an Ethereum wallet.
DeFi enabled non-custodial and trustless finance at its core, a fundamental shift. In the old financial world, any service-providing relationship starts by relinquishing control over one’s assets to an intermediary. In DeFi, users can swap, borrow, provide liquidity, long and short assets, and even more — without ever trusting a third party with control over their assets: no more unnecessary counterparty risks or permissioned access! The top DeFi protocols deliver unstoppable financial primitive anyone can harness freely.
On Curve and Uniswap , users can swap all kinds of tokens. With Liquity , they borrow against their ETH with no interest. Anyone can freely harness JuiceBox to raise money for a cause they care about. PoolTogether provides a fair, equitable, and fun infrastructure to win by saving. With LlamaPay , projects can automate salaries by streaming them - so employees can withdraw their paychecks whenever they want.
While the protocols presented above are ideals of what DeFi can be, its reality often lies at the middle ground that re-introduces some level of trust and custody of user assets. This backtracks to a fundamental imbalance: fully embracing the open, public good and trustless nature of blockchains often comes at the expense of having fewer resources to grow and compete with incumbents. In other words, DeFi suffers from an inherent tension between delivering on its core values and the alleged compromises needed for further growth and adoption.
Introducing The DeFi Collective
The DeFi Collective intends to reverse this imbalance to the advantage of the most resilient protocols; it harnesses relevant on-chain and off-chain resources to support the sturdiest existing DeFi protocols and to help release new ones, as well as fostering a supportive ecosystem in which these protocols can thrive.
Want to make a difference in DeFi? Teams and projects that resonate with the Collective can help it by supporting it with brainpower and resources like the Liquity, Maverick, CatInAbox, DYAD, Diva, Retro, and Zero teams. Individuals can also contribute to and shape the Collective, all happening on the Discord : let us know about your unique expertise to assist the collective as a contributor or a friend or get actively involved as a member.
Simply put, The DeFi Collective is a unique advantage allocated only to DeFi protocols delivering a fair, open, transparent, and resilient public infrastructure. The Collective is a group of DeFi experts grouped together as a Swiss non-profit association. The DeFi Collective cannot be hired; instead, it self-appoints on protocols that match its demanding guidelines without needing a mandate, permission, or compensation.
It focuses on six core areas of expertise, carefully selected to help the protocols supported by the Collective grow superpowers.
Research: improve the robustness of autonomous systems
The decentralization of public infrastructure is an active field of research, and understanding the drivers of security, reliability, and efficiency is crucial to protecting users and their funds. We conduct and support research that furthers the understanding of this field.
Building resilient protocols means facing challenges widely different from the usual builder experience. For instance, immutable protocols cannot alter their code in any way — and thus must go through rigorous economic modeling (agent-based modeling, formal code verification, etc.) before their launch.
Liquidity Management: ease on/offboarding of protocols’ tokens
The Collective helps protocols to bootstrap liquidity for the hardest assets. It already has secured donations for liquidity-driving positions to achieve this goal and is actively seeking additional ones. Further, the Collective seeks to create impactful liquidity strategies by sharing its expertise and creating synergies between projects.
Governance: integrate the most resilient projects across the whole DeFi
The Collective will be active in relevant governance forums to craft, submit, and push proposals that benefit the sturdiest DeFi protocols.
Through its governance activity, the Collective intends to lead by example with the submissions of proposals of the highest quality, fully transparent in their publication context, driven by data, and augmented thanks to the feedback of the protocols’ respective communities.
Awareness & Education: increase awareness and drive demand for truly decentralized projects
The Collective is on relevant social media platforms and produces content to advocate for its mission and supported protocols. It seizes opportunities to further understanding and awareness of DeFi protocols. The Collective will also favor and harness relevant decentralized social media services, such as Lens, whenever possible.
Integrations & Networking: nurture an ecosystem of builders favoring resilience
The Collective seeks to establish a competence center to facilitate integrations with relevant DeFi protocols. It will provide technical, legal, and business advice to projects that harness such protocols.
User-Protection: increase transparency and protection for users
Trust in any critical infrastructure builds on existing quality criteria & adherence of providers to these. The Collective will develop and promote a self-policing framework for DeFi protocols to foster more secure, transparent, and accountable services.
The Collective is a Swiss non-profit association consisting of members and the executive board of directors, assisted by the various forms of contributors from our community.
The initial board and members is made of three profiles, all involved in the DeFi ecosystem and each bringing their unique expertise and network:
- Nils , a DeFi protocol architect and developer with a background in financial engineering. As an experienced DeFi builder he understands the challenges of building “truly decentralized” protocols and embedding these in the broader financial industry. Nils will further support the Collective in the area of self-policing for the DeFi industry with the goal of enhancing security, building trust in the public, and accelerating adoption.
- Florian , a lawyer and policy specialist with a background in advising DeFi and CeFi projects, navigating the legal and regulatory pitfalls in the setup and expansion of their services. He also brings valuable experience advocating with authorities for progressive and balanced regulations. At the Collective, he particularly lends his expertise to operational compliance, offering guidance to supported protocols and contributing to the Collective’s self-policing, networking, and other key initiatives.
- TokenBrice , a DeFi connaisseur, following the space since its inception, active in many governance forums, as well as on a personal and community level with the organization of DeFi-focused meetups in France , hosting of live shows and his blog . He’ll support the Collective with his expertise in liquidity management, familiarity with governance processes, and overall knowledge of DeFi.
The Collective is actively sourcing additional members across the space of DeFi OGs - reach out if you think anyone in your network is suited.
Several contributors will also help the board deliver on the association’s missions:
- 0xMurathan , a Dune Analytics wizard who can provide comprehensive dashboards to visualize and compute any onchain data.
- Abmis , an experienced DeFian, will assist Tokenbrice with the devisement and execution of the liquidity strategies.
- 0xWael , a graphic designer who established the Collective visual identity.
Support the Collective
The Collective is at the forefront of advancing the decentralization of financial infrastructure. But to truly make a difference, the Ants need your support!
Donations: The Collective is actively sourcing funding such as donations, grants, research funds, or similar support by public and private organizations, DeFi projects, individuals, as well as the broader crypto community. You can donate to us anonymously in ETH and ERC-20 tokens at grantsfortheants.eth or reach out to us directly to discuss your specific form of support and acknowledgment.
Contributions: There are numerous ways in which you can support and participate in the Collective:
- Join the Ant colony: Join the action on our Discord , the place to share ideas and get feedback on initiatives that help advance the decentralization of financial infrastructure.
- Expertise & brainpower: Whether you’re a developer, researcher, marketer, policy expert, or simply someone passionate about our mission, your insights and skills can make a significant difference. The Collective offers different tiers with special access rights to our Discord, including contributor and friend to individuals and projects involved in DeFi with unique expertise and who agree to help the Collective on a case-by-case basis and paid or unpaid basis. We welcome and value your expertise as a fellow Ant supporter!
- Membership: The Collective is a Swiss nonprofit association, ultimately driven by its members. Members of the Collective are highly value-aligned individuals or organizations with a proven track record in supporting the advancement of DeFi in various fields. By becoming a member, you will play a direct role in the Collective shaping the future of DeFi.
- Partnerships: Collaborating with like-minded organizations and individuals amplifies our impact. If you believe in a partnership that can drive mutual goals in the DeFi space, let’s connect.
Join the Collective Discord to keep up with the Ants news and take part in its introduction call, scheduled Thursday 19 at 7 PM [GMT+2] .