How can we discover what defi is good for?

Originally a post at Cryptoeconomics.

The blockchain world is currently obsessed with defi. In the past few months, billions in digital value have been staked, swapped and farmed in radical experiments using liquidity pools, automatic market makers and decentralised exchanges.

Defi is easily belittled as a collection of scam-riddled projects powered by magic internet money. Perhaps. But more optimistically defi is a spectacle of entrepreneurial discovery.

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What we think we know about defi

Originally a post at Cryptoeconomics with the RMIT Blockchain Innovation Hub team.

The financial sector exists solely to smooth economic activity and trade. It is the network of organisations, markets, rules, and services that move capital around the global economy so it can be deployed to the most profitable use.

It has evolved as modern capitalism has evolved, spreading with the development of property rights and open markets. It has grown as firms and trade networks became globalised, and supercharged as the global economy became digitised.

Decentralised finance (defi) is trying to do all that. But just since 2019, and entirely on the internet.

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Deregtech: Using Technology to Deregulate the Economy

Originally a post at Cryptoeconomics with Chris Berg and Aaron M Lane.

The Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison wants to make deregulation and cutting red tape the centrepiece of the COVID-19 economic recovery.

This focus is not just welcome, but essential. Entrepreneurs need room to experiment with new business models without being held back by unnecessary rules — as we argue in our recent book Unfreeze: How to Create a High Growth Economy After the Pandemic.

But at the same time, developed world governments have spent at least three decades trying to cut burdensome red tape — with little obvious to show for it. The regulatory state just keeps expanding.

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Solving blockchain smart contract disputes

Originally published at Machine Lawyering with Aaron M Lane and Marta Poblet.

Blockchain-enabled smart contracts can change how we exchange value over the internet. We now have the technology to code agreements into blockchain protocols, enabling those agreements to self-execute when particular conditions are met. This execution happens without relying on centralized intermediaries—such as banks or governments—but rather through decentralized blockchain networks.

Today, entrepreneurs are experimenting with smart contracts on blockchains, aiming to disrupt an enormous array of industries including property registries, prediction markets, voting and supply chains. These frontier contracting technologies are now widely considered to shift the way that we arrange our economic, social and political activities.

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How to Unfreeze the Post-Pandemic Economy

Originally published at the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) with Aaron M. Lane.

Right now, economies around the world are frozen in an attempt to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. Governments have pulled every policy lever to keep it that way, for the time being, to limit the spread of the virus. Many people think that the economy will be unfrozen just like we would turn a machine off and on again. But unfortunately economies don’t work like that—unfreezing won’t be nearly as easy as many assume.

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Backing blockchain with strong policy

[This article was published at Policy Forum]


Blockchain technology offers several benefits for the world’s industries and supply chains, but as investment grows, there must be a simultaneous increase in robust international policy coordination, Darcy Allen writes.

Blockchain technology will bring the next wave of globalisation by radically upgrading the world’s trade infrastructure. Continue reading

For Tassie exporters, paper trail risks vital trust

[This article was published in the Hobart Mercury]


Tasmania’s producers are perfectly placed to receive higher export prices by taking advantage of blockchain technology.

Applying blockchain to Tasmanian supply chains will deliver more trustworthy information to consumers, boosting prices of high-quality super-premium exports. Continue reading

Blockchain and the manufacturing industry

[Together with Chris Berg and Jason Potts this article was published in the Australian Technology Manufacturing Magazine]


Bitcoin was invented in 2008 by Satoshi Nakamoto as a censorship-resistant cryptocurrency built for the internet. With regular fiat money centralised bodies such as banks and governments control the records of who owns what. For bitcoin those records are held in a decentralised blockchain. Blockchains are updated and maintained by a decentralised network. To ensure the transactions and records are correct, economic incentives to continually drive the blockchain network towards consensus. Continue reading

Why blockchain technology could be the key to solving the developing world’s biggest problems

[Together with Chris Berg this article was published at FEE.org]


The core of the free market explanation for global poverty is simple and compelling: much of the world’s poor are poor because of institutional failure. Continue reading

Predictions for trade in a blockchain world

[Together with Alastair Berg and Brendan Markey-Towler this article was published at Machine Lawyering]


As goods move from producers to consumers, information about those goods must travel with them. Where did a product come from? Is this wine fake? How fresh is this lobster? Modern supply chains, however, are remarkably long and complex. This complexity makes it costly to produce trusted information about goods. Blockchain and other distributed ledger technologies are poised to help lower information costs, potentially expanding and reshaping global trade. Continue reading