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Odisea 03: The future of DeFi and web3 social with Stani Kulechov

On today’s episode, we have the man who needs no introduction - a true DeFi OG and a (soon to be) DeFi Daddy, we have Stani Kulechov joining us on the podcast today. This was a particularly fascinating conversation, largely because Stani brings both the perspective of DeFi as well as decentralized social, with his work across Aave and Lens.Throughout this conversation, we speak with Stani with regards to his crypto story, how he’s navigated the crypto ecosystem, where he began to develop his conviction with his projects, and what he’s excited to continue to see builders focus on for the future.

https://youtu.be/aY5kvafLmVg

Also available on: Spotify | Apple | Google | Simple Cast

Stani is a true OG in the Ethereum ecosystem - he launched ETH Lend back in 2017, whilst at law school, where he was particularly interested in the novel use-cases that were unlocked by the internet’s opportunity to disintermediate traditional means of transacting value. In DeFi, Stani found a new financial systems that required less trust assumptions than what we currently rely on today to engage with the financial system.

Stani attributes the success of ETH Lend, and eventually Aave, to the community’s engagement throughout the development journey of the product. He recalls the earlier days of the protocol that were much more complex to navigate, but highlights the fact that the earliest users were the ones that provided the essential feedback to take Aave to the next level.

We discuss where Stani sees DeFi heading to in the future and what he believes is essential for us to continue to focus on to leverage DeFi as a powerful force for change. We explore the need for better frontends that provide a seamless user experience as well as the importance of what Stani calls “trust networks.”

Trust networks are essentially what will allow us to take DeFi to the next level, whereby we can establish who the trusted parties are that we choose to extend credit to on better terms than they would be able to find elsewhere. For me, this is a particularly powerful concept, particularly as I see trust as being the key to not only how the current crypto ecosystem operates today, but also one of the keys to bringing more financial freedom around the world.

Aave already has its credit delegation, whereby person A can deposit collateral so that person B may access a loan, using person A’s collateral as their backing for the loan. In my opinion, this is one of the key building blocks that will allow us to continue to take DeFi to the next level, as we could essentially ascribe a trust mechanism whereby you are giving someone your trust so that they may access a loan on better terms. I’m bullish to see builders continue to leverage that integration within Aave and if you’re building something in this realm, do reach out!

We pivot our conversation to then discuss decentralized social, and the great work that Stani and the team have been doing at Lens (shoutout to the Lens crew!). He brings up the fact that human connection is not only a necessity, but something we look to urgently do. The challenge however, is that the relationships that we are forming online in particular, are overshadowed by our web2 overlords, who as we’ve seen repeatedly seem to hold little regard to sovereignty and privacy - which crypto is particularly well-poised to deliver on.

Stani quotes Christina Beltramini, Head of Growth at Aave and Lens, who talks about moving from an internet that we rent to one that we actually get to own. I believe that Lens is doing precisely that, it gives us the users the capacity to own our community, the media that we upload, and the relationships that we build online. With so much of our crypto-native lives exciting on web2 platforms, it feels particularly pertinent to continue to see more of us engage with platforms that promote the values we all seek to uphold.

In just a year, Lens has already gone on to onboard some of the top creators in the ecosystem and I’m really excited to see where things continue to develop for the team. They’re on a mission to onboard the billions of social media users into the space, and with the team, technology, and roadmap ahead of them - bullish on the future of Lens.

Lastly, we explore where DeFi and decentralized social intersect. For me, this is one of the most interest points of the conversation and the wider opportunity for crypto. Financial systems are inherently social, and therefore we have the chance to really think about and build a way of not only relating, but also transacting value that leverages the latest technology coming out of crypto paired with a slick UX. The Aave and Lens teams are truly driven by pushing the space forward and can’t wait to see what they continue to ship!

Remember, you’ve still got time to mint your Odisea Community Collectible below. The collectible is available on the Optimism network, which we have intentionally chosen thanks to their commitment to support public goods, largely through their Retroactive Public Goods Funding (RetroPGF) mechanism, which allocates the fees paid by users of the network and then distributes them retroactively to public goods in the ecosystem. Mint yours below and support public goods :)

If you’d like to connect to discuss the episode and explore ways we can collaborate to build a better future leveraging crypto, let’s chat on Twitter or you can join the Telegram community as well!

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Odisea is produced with the support of Safe and Ambire Wallet.

Safe (previously Gnosis Safe) is a decentralized custody protocol, securing ~$60 Billion in assets today. It is establishing a universal standard for secure custody of digital assets, data, and identity.

Ambire Wallet is an account abstraction-based, self-custodial gateway to Web3 that introduces a range of impressive features like transaction batching, a pre-payment mechanism, and the ability to pay gas fees in stablecoins. By being accessible on both mobile and desktop devices, with a browser extension version on the horizon, Ambire Wallet aims at streamlining the user experience and ensure convenience across different platforms.

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