Decentralized finance, or DeFi, is the future of crypto, and more so, it’s the future of investing. It presents a clear alternative to traditional finance, allowing anybody anywhere to take advantage of crucial financial tools. In this sense, it is “democratizing finance” — making financial solutions accessible to every person. More and more people every day are turning to DeFi tools; in the last year, the number of crypto wallets interacting with DeFi protocols increased from 300,000 to well over 3 million.
However, there’s a deeply rooted problem with this new frontier of investing: It’s very complicated. Of course, a new space means new technology, new currencies and new jargon. Learning about all of these details can be overwhelming for the average investor, while many veterans and tech-minded investors know the industry like the back of their hand.
What is the traditional investor to do, unfamiliar with the space but looking to invest in the next big market? What is there to do for those who are less tech-literate? The unbanked? Despite its massive potential, DeFi has demonstrated that for many, next-gen financial solutions are overwhelming and anxiety-inducing. Many feel like they don’t “get it,” and they fear being left behind.
Enter Ben Samaroo. Samaroo is a crypto expert with a lot of skin in the game; he previously worked as chief operating officer (COO) for Canadian crypto-investing firm First Coin Capital. When the company was acquired by Mike Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital, he took up a COO position there. Now, he is pioneering his own startup, WonderFi, to further the reach of DeFi.
How WonderFi Can Consolidate the Decentralized and Change the Future of Crypto
Samaroo understands those overwhelmed investors. In fact, he argues that DeFi in its current state cannot truly democratize finance. The sector desperately needs streamlining. Speaking with InvestorPlace, he emphasized bringing DeFi to everybody. “The whole principal idea around DeFi is in democratizing finance,” he says. “[DeFi] cannot be just for engineers or crypto traders.”
The DeFi ecosystem is certainly not a consolidated one. Investors might need multiple wallets to hold different cryptos. They might need to use different decentralized exchanges, or DEXs, to buy these cryptos or stake them for passive income. Then, on top of all these DApps and DEXs, which users need to diligently watch over, there’s no real way for an investor to easily track their investing success.
WonderFi is Samaroo’s solution. With WonderFi, Samaroo hopes to aggregate all of these applications and features into one place. “[WonderFi] is a curated experience for people within DeFi,” he says. “It allows users to access the best parts of DeFi without the level of complexity that you encounter on 99% of the platforms within the space.”
Through the app, users can easily keep track of their holdings, the yields they are earning on their crypto staking, and the DEXs they would use to buy or sell their holdings. Samaroo says the company seeks to grow as well, with plans to add crypto indices as an option to buyers, offering broad exposure across a high volume of digital currencies.
It’s a radical idea, and one that the industry has long needed if it is to truly democratize finance.
Investing in the Future of Crypto by Educating Users
There is a disconnect within the industry right now in that most educational tools seek to accommodate institutional investors. This means individuals are left to their own devices in order to educate themselves on DeFi. In fact, WonderFi initially created products for institutions before realizing this disconnect.
“It just became very apparent that if you don’t have crypto experience you cannot use DeFi, unless you have two weeks to sit down and go through the mechanics and have a desire to understand the inner-workings,” says Samaroo.
While Samaroo launched DeFi with a noble goal, he says it hasn’t always been easy. The process of getting the product to market required significant focus-group testing and team discussion. Just as individual investors must grow their knowledge of DeFi, companies like WonderFi must figure out how to serve their audiences. In this sense, Samaroo says there has been a lot of give and take.
Thankfully, Samaroo has had some help from two major investors with deep social media followings.
WonderFi Finds Financing From Influential Entrepreneurs
Originally, the company was called Defi Ventures. In March, the company conducted its first funding round, and it convinced celebrity entrepreneur and Shark Tank judge Kevin O’Leary of the product’s power. Through O’Leary’s passionate investment, Defi Ventures company rebranded as WonderFi in June — a callback to O’Leary’s “Mr. Wonderful” nickname.
An avid DeFi flagbearer himself, O’Leary decided to team up with WonderFi in order to help the less-equipped investor. “My daughter calls me up and says, ‘Hey Dad, I have nothing in my savings account. Why don’t I do the same [DeFi investing] that you’re doing?’” O’Leary told InvestorPlace. “I said, ‘You’ll never figure this out; setting this up is impossible.’ That’s when it hit me: We’ve got to get an app that does this for the 100 million people that are just like her.”
Considering that, WonderFi became a no-brainer investment for O’Leary, as he recognized that the future of crypto will be highly dependent on products like it. And with his following, Samaroo and O’Leary agree they can build a trusting user base for WonderFi. Since O’Leary’s initial investment, he and WonderFi have been joined by Josh Richards, a content creator and entrepreneur who has an even larger social media following and a broad appeal with younger investors.
Nearing Beta Launch, WonderFi Prepares to Break Down Long-Standing Barriers
WonderFi is getting close to its widespread release. Right now, the WonderFi website has a beta waitlist sign-up, where eager investors can be early to the product and help shape it to the needs of individuals.
“I think the ideal situation [is for DeFi to] break down barriers that are keeping people outside the traditional finance system,” Samaroo says. “Those that don’t have bank accounts, that can’t get a credit score, that don’t have equal access to investment opportunities. The existing system is not fair or equitable. If DeFi is able to reach those people and do it in an efficient way, then it has a real potential to change the whole paradigm and help resolve income inequality.”
On the date of publication, Brenden Rearick did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.