When DeFi meets TradFi: Alliance of MakerDAO and Societe Generale-FORGE

Rajiv and Sylvain share their insights on DeFi and TradFi at EBC23.

Rajiv Sainani, Head of European Business Development of MakerDAO, and Sylvain Prigent, Chief Product Officer & Co-founder of Societe Generale-FORGE shared their unprecedented journey of innovative collaboration. Read on to learn what happens when DeFi meets TradFi!

Rajiv starts the panel by saying that the future of finance will be traditional finance (TradFi) and decentralized finance (DeFi) coming together. MakerDAO has been cooperating with Societe Generale-FORGE to issue security tokens for more than a year. In this panel, Rajiv and Sylvain share their experience, learnings, and challenges along this incredible journey.

The collaboration started when Societe Generale-FORGE proposed to issue a native blockchain-based security token on the Maker public forum in September 2021. Their main goal was to bring liquidity to security tokens and they partnered with a DeFi protocol, Maker, to find an innovative solution.

The technical integration was fast and smooth, but the real challenges lay in the governance of a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) and the legal processes. Know Your Customer (KYC) and jurisdiction were necessary, and the team had to find solutions and educate the regulators along the way. 

Watch the full panel to learn more about MakerDAO and Societe Generale-FORGE’s unprecedented collaboration!

Amazing Things Happen When DeFi Meets TradFi

Regarding the next steps, Rajiv and Sylvain both hope to scale up the collaboration and bring the project to the next level, rather than simply experimenting. Societe Generale-FORGE is planning to open this service to many of its investors through Maker by the end of 2023 or in the first quarter of next year. They believe that both the TradFi players and the MakerDAO community can benefit from this project.

Throughout their cooperation, Rajiv thinks the key to the success of a TradFi-DeFi project is to have people that can navigate successfully both worlds and find the synergies. It’s easy to imagine a financial space when these two worlds collaborate, but the process is not only rainbows and unicorns.

Rajiv acknowledges the difficulties for a DeFi to cooperate with a TradFi. Therefore, he hopes their collaboration can pave the way for other projects as they have proved to the world that despite having different cultures, ideologies, and processes, TradFi and DeFi can work together to create something amazing!

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The Potential of Stablecoins and the Impact of MiCA Regulation

The Potential of Stablecoins and the Impact of MiCA Regulation

Panelists in this stablecoins discussion include Yves-Michel Leporcher, lecturer at European Tech School, Ewoud Barink, Business Development Director at Worldpay, Avishkar Sharma, Head of Crypto Partnerships at Checkout.com, Teana Baker-Taylor, VP of Policy & Regulatory Strategy at Circle, and Radoslav Albrecht, Founder & CEO of Bitbond.

Stablecoins are one of the intense focus areas in the Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) Regulation that just got approved by the European Parliament in April 2023. In spite of the restrictions that MiCA may impose on the issuance of stablecoins, experts at the 8th European Blockchain Convention still support the merits of stablecoins and express optimism about the unlimited financial potential that stablecoins unlock.

Not All Stablecoins Are Created Equal

In the wake of Terra’s collapse in 2022, Teana states that the term “stablecoins” is misleading. She prefers to use different terms to refer to this asset based on its stabilizing mechanisms, such as tokenized cash, e-money tokens, or asset-referenced tokens.

The term stablecoin is terrible. We should stop saying it. It infers that a lot of different types of assets are similar and I think last year has shown us that not all stablecoins are created equal.
– Teana Baker-Taylor, VP of Policy & Regulatory Strategy at Circle

Teana from Circle shared her opinion on stabecoins at the 8th EBC.
Teana from Circle shared her opinion on stabecoins at the 8th EBC.

Stablecoins Are Here To Stay 

Stablecoins unlock endless possibilities for the financial world, especially for the unbanked that have long been excluded from the financial systems. Radoslav foresees a future where 40% of the total payments volume is very likely to be transacted in stablecoins. 

They believe that the adoption of stablecoins is not cannibalizing the current financial markets but creating a bigger ecosystem that brings in people that have long been excluded from financial institutions. It unlocks a more inclusive financial world, as Teana states, “This is new economic activities, it’s not replacing or eating anyone’s lunch.”

Due to its open-source characteristics, experts highlight how stablecoins provide access to a new rail that can easily integrate with traditional banking infrastructure while offering constant upgrades.

Yves-Michel, lecturer at the European Tech School, moderated this panel of stablecoins.
Yves-Michel, lecturer at the European Tech School, moderated this panel of stablecoins.

Regulatory Challenges and the Impact of MiCA

During the 8th European Blockchain Convention, the panelists discussed the challenges of regulations in shaping the future of stablecoins. The focus was on MiCA, which has emerged as a prominent regulatory topic. 

MiCA aims to bring an end to the unregulated crypto market in Europe. Under MiCA, stablecoins are classified as either e-money tokens or asset-referenced tokens. While stablecoins are not banned, MiCA sets essential rules such as the requirement for private stablecoin issuers to maintain appropriate minimum liquidity as a reserve.

Teana emphasizes the value of establishing standards through MiCA. Sharma shares the aspiration for global consensus among regulators, even though it may seem like an ambitious utopian dream. 

Regulations provide clarity and comfort for institutions to step into the crypto ecosystem. However, Teana highlights that while MiCA exists as a regulatory framework on paper, its implementation is pending, leaving many aspects yet to be resolved. 

EBC panelists discussed MiCA and the future of stablecoins.
EBC panelists discussed MiCA and the future of stablecoins.

The Evolving Landscape of Stablecoins

According to Radoslav, the future holds a lot more use cases for stablecoins. Their usage will extend beyond payments and remittances as institutions will also utilize them to make transactions. Both B2B and B2C sectors are expected to embrace stablecoins in the years to come.

Radoslav also anticipates the increasing emergence of non-fiat-based stablecoins, pegged to a diversified basket of assets. This approach aims to safeguard the purchasing power of the currencies. He emphasizes the need for competition to determine the optimal combination of assets that form the basket.

Teana acknowledges the inherent unpredictability of the market’s future. However, she highlights that the introduction of asset baskets will introduce complexity to stablecoins. Ultimately, the success of stablecoins will come down to their use cases and under what scenario are they designed to be used. 

Watch the full discussion to understand the potential of stablecoins!

Significance of Privacy in Web3: Restore Trust and Navigate Data Ownership

The 8th European Blockchain Convention discusses privacy and security in Web3.

Bryn Bennet, Co-Founder of Secret Agency DAO, moderated this privacy panel. Oskars Jepsis, CEO & Co-Founder of ALTER Network, Jaya Brekke, Chief Strategy Officer of NYM Technologies, and Fraser Edwards, CEO of cheqd, provided their insights.

Why Is Privacy Important?

Fraser believes privacy is essential in Web3 because current practices of putting personal information on ledgers can make it easy for others to trace someone’s behavior on-chain, potentially leading to negative consequences such as theft or loss of privacy. 

Jaya agrees by pointing out the irony in Web3 nowadays. She thinks Web3 aims to solve many problems in Web2, but she argues that there’s an even more urgent need to address the privacy concerns in Web3.

Oskars believes it’s necessary to give users a chance to choose whether to disclose certain information publicly. In his opinion, Web3 should allow users to have control over their data and monetize it, while also preventing unwanted tracking and data exploitation by third parties. 

“Most people want to know what to use and they want to protect their privacy. It’s just about making that information easily available and easily accessible to people.”
– Jaya Brekke, Chief Strategy Officer of NYM Technologies

The 8th European Blockchain Convention discusses privacy and security in Web3.

Balance Privacy and Surveillance

Fraser thinks that emphasizing the importance of privacy doesn’t mean that users are not disclosing any personal data, but having the choice to reveal certain information when necessary. He believes that we should go for the minimum disclosure, facilitated by self-sovereign identity (SSI) or decentralized IDs, and only reveal what is actually needed.

Agreeing with Fraser, Jaya thinks privacy and surveillance are not black and white. It includes a really complex field of actors, so she believes the key is to identify what data is visible to whom under what conditions. 

Zero-knowledge (ZK) proofs, in her point of view, can be an innovative tool to achieve this balance. She is convinced that adding more privacy to the internet will also make it easier and less burdensome for companies. Privacy by default reduces the need to deal with sensitive data and compliance issues.

EBC23 panelists discussing the importance of privacy in Web3.

Simple Access and Education Are Key

Fraser and Oskars discuss the importance of an easy user interface and user experience (UI/UX) in Web3. Oskars mentions the potential use of picture-based encryption for wallet access while Fraser notes that simplicity and ease of implementation are key factors in encouraging the adoption of privacy solutions by developers and users.

Privacy is The Future of Web3

Fraser mentions a significant narrative shift in the Web3 space, where there has been an increased focus on topics like privacy, data ownership, and trust, as opposed to the previous emphasis on non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Jaya also believes that privacy will be a significant theme in the coming years, with increasing awareness of its relationship to security, value, and data leaks. 

Watch the full panel discussion to understand why privacy is the future of the internet!

How To Restore Trust in the Crypto Industry?

Restoring Trust in The Crypto Industry

Resilient systems are essential in the crypto industry just as people would expect banks to have the highest level of security measures to protect their assets. This enlightening panel underscores the significance of security, transparency, and education in the endeavor to restore trust.

Panelists include Léa Narzis, Core Engineer at Parity Technologies, Carlos Fragoso, Principal Subject Matter Expert at Maltego Technologies, Thanos Tsavlis, Co-founder & CEO of Cyberscope, Gabi Urrutia, VP of Security at Halborn, Yasir Qayam, Co-Founder & COO of KwikTrust, and Michael Fasanello, Crypto Compliance Officer at AnChain.AI.

Security is Key

Thanos emphasizes the importance of securing technical systems to prevent smart contract exploits. He suggests that the best defense is a combination of securing smart contracts and education. Only by implementing both measures can mainstream adoption be achieved.

Gabi emphasizes the importance of educating clients about security. He argues that people often overlook the importance of security until a security breach occurs. Security is paramount; he thinks this is the first step to establishing trust.

“While we are here discussing the technology and how we can leverage it, it’s down to us to build the reputation, do the right things, and have a longer-term vision.”
– Yasir Qayam, Co-Founder & COO of KwikTrust

Léa, Carlos, and Thanos discussed the importance of building trust in the crypto space.

Education on Security is Essential to Restore Trust

Yasir envisions a free space without governmental intervention, but he acknowledges that we are currently in a transitional phase (Web2.5) and not yet prepared for full self-custody.  As he explains, “When something goes wrong, we still need someone to be mad at!” 

Carlos states that humans are the ones implementing technology, and it’s the people that can be good or bad. It’s thus crucial to continue building secure tools and providing education. Educating both companies and users is vital to increase awareness and empower users to prioritize security in the crypto space.

“Technology is not the problem, humans are. A system based on trust is trustless. Humans are the weakest part of the chain, unfortunately.”
– Gabi Urrutia, VP of Security at Halborn

Panelist Gabi Urrutia explained how they help clients establish secure systems and why security is key to restoring trust.

Can Regulations Help to Build a Safer Space?

On one hand, Michael acknowledges the role that regulations can play in driving mass adoption as customers may feel more comfortable trusting the crypto system.

However, considering the flip side of the coin, he raises concerns about overreactions and hasty bans by legal entities. He advocates for collaborative efforts to educate governments about the advantages of blockchain technology.

“It’s a whole new ballgame for people. We’re literally seeing the law being built in real time. I don’t think I’ve ever been in a part of something that’s so new and exciting, it’s fascinating!”
– Michael Fasanello, Crypto Compliance Officer at AnChain.AI.

Watch the full panel to learn more about how education, regulations, and security can help restore trust in the crypto industry.

Revolutionizing Environmental Markets: The Role of Blockchain in ESG

Panelists Emilie Allaert, Project Lead at Luxembourg Blockchain Lab, Andres J. Ruiz-Vargas, Head of Research at Codos Foundation, Markus Ament, Co-founder of Centrifuge, Gabriel Ibghy, General Council of HIVE Blockchain Technologies LTD, and Dana Gibber, Co-Founder & CEO of Flowcarbon, discussed ESG and blockchain at the 8th EBC!

How Can Blockchain Technology Be Used in ESG?

Dana thinks that the key is to find specific use cases to utilize blockchain technology to solve specific problems. She and Markus both think the existing carbon markets are inefficient. It can be improved by building a new system on the blockchain for creating, monitoring, trading, and retiring carbon credits. 

Andres, on the other hand, shares his work at the Codos Foundation. They are working on Proof of Sustainability and rewarding people that conduct sustainable actions with tokens. For example, the Codos App encourages people to commute by train, bus, or bike to reduce their carbon emissions. 

“There is a part where the technology needs to evolve more. And the more it evolves, the easier it would be for people to adopt it and play with it.”
– Andres J. Ruiz-Vargas, Head of Research at Codos Foundation

Is Your Business Affected By Criticism of Bitcoin?

Representing HIVE, Gabriel mentioned that they are using sustainable resources to mine digital assets like Bitcoin. The company provides demand response and grid balancing services to municipalities, monetizing stranded power and contributing positively to the utility’s balance sheet through blockchain technology.

Even though there has been quite a lot of criticism of Bitcoin’s energy consumption, Gabriel believes that bad press exists in all industries, and he thinks bad press starts with misunderstanding and when the business is further away from the communities. 

Speaking from HIVE’s experience, the company connects with the local community, participates in their activities, and actually benefits the residents, so it’s receiving positive feedback from the local media.

The panelists are discussing how blockchain can be implemented in ESG at EBC23.

How Do You See ESG and Blockchain in the Next 5 to 10 Years?

Markus expects the carbon markets to grow 50x in 5-7 years, and he foresees that blockchain technology plays a substantial role in the circular economy and biodiversity.

Gabriel thinks that the use of sustainable energy for digital asset mining can lead to more integration in institutions like universities and greenhouses. He also believes that there will be more and more projects in the future that make sense for both utilities and consumers.

Apart from carbon credits, Dana thinks that other types of environmental commodities, such as biodiversity credits, are also growing in importance. She argues that these markets are inefficient and experiencing rapid growth, and blockchain can provide infrastructure to make them more transparent and liquid.

Andres is convinced that the panelists on stage now are not the only ones working on ESG and blockchain, and he’s excited to see how the market will develop and what kind of innovative competitors they will have in the coming years.

Watch the full discussion to learn more about blockchain and ESG!