Defining DeFi, Crypto, Blockchain and NFTs

Terms like blockchain, DeFi, cryptocurrency, and others are increasingly finding their way into the vocabulary of the everyday consumer as well as high-profile corporate executives. 

But that doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone yet understand their meaning, much less what significance they hold for the financial industry and all of us as participants. 

This years’ ZoomBall event — Creeping into Crypto (and Fluffy Cats) —  shed light on these terms and clarifies their impact on the financial system today and tomorrow. 

Below we share key points from the speakers to showcase the potential this technology holds for companies, consumers, and the global economy.

Unpacking the Power of Decentralized Data Networks — Richard Muirhead

Today, companies patent a new piece of technology,  and protect it at all cost to make it (more) competitive and profitable — but according to Richard Muirhead, Managing Partner at Fabric Ventures, that only makes it destructive. 

Such practices prevent companies from reaching their full potential in truly revolutionizing their industries in the interest of the greater good. Instead, they can only reach their “local optimum”, as Richard explains, both for the company and the society. 

Blockchain is breaking this cycle. 

“When people think now about the opportunity within [the] blockchain, the first thing they tend to describe is that you can build digital systems that don’t have a trusted third party. And they focus on that it’s more efficient because it doesn’t have a middleman.

And that’s true, but it’s not even 10% of the story.

It’s much more about sharing knowledge freely. To have open borders of the network and the marketplace you’re building in terms of the data and value flows that allow you to innovate on a super broad, continuous, high-speed basis,” says Richard. 

A Briefing on Institutional Crypto Investing and Trading — Robert Belgrave

Bitcoin, and cryptocurrency in general, are representative of “a systemic change in the way people might seek value in the future and protect their wealth,” explains Robert Belgrave, CEO of Pax8 and Wirehive

“Most importantly, a more suitable way for money and value to be transferred to the Internet,” he added. 

And the current times are certainly asking for it. 

As Robert elaborated, this is the first time since WW2 that central banks and governments have taken large scale measures to stimulate their economies. How? By printing insane amounts of money. 

As a result, there is a significant increase in the money supply worldwide. 

“Just look at it, a fifth of the total USD supply that exists in the world was printed in 2020! 18% of all dollars that exist today were created out of thin air in 2020,” Robert said.

He sees this as an interesting trend with currency debasement because as central banks create more currency notes and coins, the assets that are denominated by them are going down in value. 

This was not the case with Bitcoin, which after the initial crisis in March 2020, performed well as compared to global stock markets and has therefore gone up in value. 

“This asset is finally being looked at seriously and people want to know how to own it personally and how to include it in a risk-adjusted portfolio strategy for their companies,” Robert explained.

That is why we now have prominent billionaires revealing they own Bitcoin as a way to protect their assets from inflation. The overwhelming desire to follow in their footsteps is hitting everyone, as crypto investment returns have never been greater. 

A Guide Through DeFi — Marc Blinder

According to Marc Blinder, CEO of AIKON, right now, around $85B worth of total value is locked in the market cap of DeFi projects and $45B in assets under management. So, as it stands now, a lot more value is locked in the market cap than in assets, which is not usually the case. Therefore, it stands to reason that there is plenty of room to grow. 

“What excites me about DeFi is that power-to-the-people ethos, and rethinking the business model that has a massive impact on fundraising as well,” he stated. 

What this means for the everyday consumers is that blockchain technology and the associated ecosystem works by removing the middleman and returning the money to the participants in the value chain. 

“It’s a fundamentally liquid, cross-border asset,” Marc stated. 

But in fact, it’s so much more than that.

“One of the things that I’ve always loved about blockchains is that they work exactly the same no matter where you are in the world. 

This means that you can sell Bitcoin from Lahore, Pakistan with the same speed you would from Mountain View, California. And basically, nothing else on the Internet works that way.  

It showcases equal access, equal visibility of data, and edges much more value than what people have been getting from the traditional financial industry,” Marc concluded. 

All About NFTs (and FluffyCats) — Max Robbins

Max Robbins, CEO of, explained the latest hot technology, non-fungible tokens (NFTs). 

NFTs can be seen as a link between the digital and the physical world, as they give creators the opportunity to digitally represent a real-world item (like a house) and sell it as a token. If you want to sell 49% of your house in a liquidity maneuver — NFTs give you that possibility.

The beauty of NFTs, according to Max, lies in generating an easily tradable online asset that can potentially represent anything from the physical world. And once you have the asset tokenized, you can use it in the DeFi space to lend it, use it as collateral for loans, etc.

“[NFTs} is really a bridge between everything digital that we’ve come to know (like beautiful, digital fluffy felines) and separate and everything physical that goes back to the beginning of time,” Max added. 

Interested in learning more on the topics from the panel?

Check out the second article on what Marc Blinder had to say about blockchain regulations, security, and environmental impact.

Look out for it on the AIKON blog!



AIKON, a San Francisco-based VC-backed firm, was founded in 2017 to enable the digital asset economy and empower users from all over the globe by securing their personal information via blockchain. 

AIKON has developed the Open Rights Exchange (ORE) protocols to manage access to digital rights and access, and has been enabling mainstream blockchain adoption with its ORE ID secure identity service and ORE Vault — shared wallet for teams. With its solutions, AIKON aims to foster a new era of secure identities that protects users and their data, powered by the blockchain. Follow us on Twitter or connect with us on Telegram!

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