In case you were missing the finpunk, I took a vacation! While laying by the pool and enjoying some Caribbean sunshine, I was able to power through Cam Harvey's DeFi and the Future of Finance and listen to The Infinite Machine on Audible about the founding and early days of Ethereum. The former is hot off the press and the latter is something I should have read last year.
Cam Harvey is a rockstar in academic finance whose early Cryptofinance paper inspired my own dissertation and the "Bitcoin & Blockchain Applications in Finance" course I taught back in the day. Besides the intro to DeFi in Harvey's latest book and why the field is so important (think changing human society kind of important!), the deep dive into MakerDAO, Compound, Aave, Uniswap, and derivatives like the Yield protocol, dYdX, and Synthetix are crucial for understanding the basics.
DeFi has been around for awhile. I was an early investor, activist community member, and market maker in Bitshares back in 2014 and throughout the first few years of my PhD. It was a precursor platform to DeFi, and had its own DEX and suite of stable coins. I even used it as a trading platform to teach my students about cryptocurrencies and decentralized finance.
Now I can say that despite being way early on DeFi, and ironically an early adviser to Aave when it was called ETHlend, I completed missed the real DeFi explosion. Really, it sounds weird, but despite following most things crypto, and literally being a part of the industry, I was too myopic in what my own organization was doing that I missed the moment when DeFi found true product-market fit. I also missed the moment when NFTs found their product-market fit, but that's another story for another day. Now I'm in awe of both and you should be too.
DeFi and NFT product-market fit happened on Ethereum, and this why it's so important to learn about that ecosystem. From its history, personalities, basic architecture with the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), the power of smart contracts, and its tremendous success today...we should all be obsessed with Ethereum!
Anyone building in crypto should understand everything about ERC standards, tokenization, DeFi protocols, Solidity, NFTs, you name it. What Vitalik and crew built will change human history. The Infinite Machine provides an excellent intro to the Ethereum story.
It goes without saying that DeFi will be coming to a Horizen sidechain near you one day soon!