Decentralized finance (DeFi), one of the cornerstones of Web3, has grown from being a tech buzzword to becoming a global headline. Combining blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies, DeFi has led some to believe it only has implications within the public blockchain infrastructure. However, industry experts have a different outlook on DeFi: it’s not just an important leap for the financial industry to take, but a rubicon that must be crossed if Web3 must be achieved.
Compared with centralized finance (CeFi) and the current state of the finance world, DeFi lowers transaction costs and barriers to entry, enables efficiency, noncustodial ownership, pseudo-anonymity and is open source — helping to bring the best out of developers on a global scale. This edge provides DeFi unique advantages over CeFi, according to some experts. DeFi, built on blockchain technology, enables noncustodial ownership of assets across different blockchains that are continuously updated and validated, allowing financial transactions to happen. The validation of the blocks usually occurs using the proof-of-work or proof-of-stake mechanism. The methods and mechanisms of DeFi eliminate intermediaries and allow straightforward transactions.
Gigantic but still in infancy
While already disrupting financial systems, DeFi is still in its infancy. The total value locked in DeFi, a metric measuring the total value of crypto held in DeFi projects, is estimated to be about $144 billion, according to Defillama. If DeFi were a bank, this value would place DeFi as the 19th largest bank in the United States based on deposits.
While DeFi is relatively new, the numbers show that DeFi is up to something. Before it can compete with the industry-standard CeFi, all the moving parts must work with precision. One of the moving parts is the issue of multiple blockchains and how to facilitate transactions between them all. With Gartner predicting that 20% of large organizations will use digital currencies for payments, stored value or collateral by 2024, DeFi will be pulling its weight.
For DeFi to grow into maturity, there’s a need to bring together all the blockchains and facilitate transactions between them. This is where Meter comes in. The California-based company with the goal of helping decentralized businesses scale is set to unify blockchains, enabling DeFi to take center stage and reach its full potential.
Meter cofounder and CEO, Xiaohan Zhu, believes the enterprise-wide adoption of blockchain technology will be earmarked by varying objectives and use cases as they venture into new business models or transform how business is conducted across traditional industries and ecosystems. These varying objectives and use cases, according to Zhu, need different architecture, consensus mechanisms, token types and other characteristics paving the way for a multi-chain ecosystem.
“Even across use cases of DeFi and NFTs, any single blockchain infrastructure is not scalable enough to target mass adoption. The internet scaled horizontally through the TCP/IP protocols that enabled disparate enterprise network communications to be interconnected and reach broader audiences. We see a similar need for protocols with the potential to enable enterprises to connect across blockchains in this multi-chain ecosystem and seamlessly interact, collaborate, share and make transactions with multiple entities across numerous platforms,” he said.
While explaining the need for its SumerMoney solution, Zhu cited the importance of building an interconnected system — which is the fulcrum that holds Meter’s vision to connect multiple blockchains.
Unlocking latent potential in DeFi
While Meter’s blockchain and interoperability infrastructure enable it to scale and connect the financial internet in a multichain ecosystem, SumerMoney aims to improve capital efficiency and provide a seamless user experience to unlock the latent potential in DeFi. Powered by its decentralized money market, Sumer creates a multichain native asset class that provides a credit card-like experience to its users. The goal is to promote multichain liquidity and cross-chain smart contract communications.
Zhu told VentureBeat in an exclusive interview that Meter intends to take on the DeFi space and bridge its many gaps.
“We start from the DeFi market on major chains like Ethereum and Binance Smart Chain and build the initial liquidity. Then we will expand to other chains building partnerships with various dApps.,” he said. “We will then expand to the fintech market targeting mass consumers with Sumer’s stable coin, targeting to enable micros lending, payment and saving account for consumers.”
The underlying technology, according to Zhu, will provide a critical abstraction to the major cryptocurrency assets in the token economy. Similar to the internet, where information supported through TCP/IP protocols has the same meaning, regardless of where it’s accessed, SumerMoney enables assets to have the same meaning no matter on which chain the asset is accessed. This enables seamless transfer of information across the blockchain infrastructure.
Like funds on your credit card, the Sumer assets are liquid and spendable across all supported blockchains, enabling higher capital efficiency for its users. With SumerMoney assets, decentralized applications will be able to seamlessly support the cross-chain user experience.
Meter for payment
Zhu is confident of the technology that Meter is building and the enormous good it can do in the DeFi space. He said the technology Sumer and Meter are building helps hide the complexity of various public and private blockchains and enables cryptocurrencies to be more accessible to the public. On the enterprise front, the low cost of engagement and cost switching between private and public chains can help to lower overhead costs for businesses and help to enable agility.
Meter creates a DeFi infrastructure that scales and connects Ethereum and other public blockchains, allowing tokens and other digital assets to be transferred between them. The company does this through a development toolkit that connects to other existing blockchains and enables easy deployment of a new blockchain with its own architecture, consensus mechanisms and other characteristics to meet different objectives and use cases. According to Zhu, enterprises could either directly use the Meter chain for developing products or leverage the toolkit to spin off a private blockchain in minutes with just a few nodes and smoothly scale to a public chain grade blockchain with thousands of nodes.
While SumerMoney is the infrastructure to enable interaction among the different private and public blockchains, Zhu said Meter provides its high-performance infrastructure. He said this infrastructure is in the form of a layer 1 blockchain powered by its HotStuff consensus engine, positioning Meter as one of the most decentralized and fastest Ethereum sidechain scaling solutions. Meter can process 1000s of transactions per second while ensuring, frontrunning resistance, instant finality and stable low gas cost.
Meter started the SumerMoney project to create the TCP/IP layer from multichain DeFi, while it provides the high-performance interoperable layer underneath the TCP/IP layer. SumerMoney recently raised $2 million in a funding round led by Pantera and A&T Capital, with participation from Sanctor, Blockwall, ROK, Waterdrip, Kernel, AngelDAO, NoviDAO among other founders and executives in the DeFi space.