DeFi needs more tangible assets on-chain to see a successful future

In a business school lecture hall at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), a senior executive for Safaricom gave a prediction of decentralized finance and the future of commerce to a room of keen but confused MBA students. “You will be able to buy your first home on WhatsApp! Smart contracts on the blockchain will take care of everything and you won’t need a broker,” he said with conviction, pointing to a slide.

“How will the house’s title change hands? What about the funds? Can the blockchain do escrow? What role for lawyers? How could we possibly buy something worth a million dollars with the click of a button?” the class wondered.

David Lighton is the co-founder of Lithium Finance. He’s an entrepreneur passionate about inclusive financial innovation and also the founder of SendFriend, a fintech startup using blockchain for international money transfers. David also served as special assistant on the Haiti desk at the World Bank and co-authored the Haiti National Financial Inclusion Strategy. David holds an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management and an M.A. and B.A. with honors from Johns Hopkins University.

Kevin Tseng is the founder of Naos Finance. Prior to Naos, Kevin was a serial entrepreneur and an investor. Kevin founded and exited three tech startups in China and Southeast Asia and led strategic investment at The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:) and Alibaba (NYSE:) Group.

Mariano Di Pietrantonio is the head of strategy for MakerGrowth, a MakerDAO Core Unit. He works primarily on the development and research of new use cases, including education, partnerships and communication activities. Mariano has 15 years of experience in product and marketing in industries such as pharma, banking and gaming, among others.