Despite all of the fintech innovations and the fact that the world as we know it is being disrupted, there are still relatively few authoritative frameworks that chart the history of cryptocurrencies and their rapid evolution from 2008 onwards. The world is still trying to get its head around Bitcoin and where it came from. Meanwhile, the blockchain space has already developed far beyond this initial technology.
The real revolution, some argue, is yet to come. DeFi (decentralized finance), is a revolutionary, technology-fuelled set of financial services which has the potential to threaten all financial institutions including commercial and central banks. These financial institutions were originally very resistant to alternative forms of finance and failed to adapt in time. But the truth is that the centralized model of middlemen and needless checks and balances has been rendered obsolete.
It is no longer viable when you take into account the technology that is currently available. DeFi is a large industry that has the capability to put all historical financial products onto a blockchain, and go on to create a whole lot more. There is nothing that traditional finance has that cannot be done with DeFi, only a lot more efficiently. It goes beyond loans, mortgages, transfers, and bank accounts. It even goes beyond stocks, bonds, futures, and options. The tokenization of assets means that everything can be broken up and sold on a blockchain marketplace.
In ‘Beyond Bitcoin: Decentralised Finance And The End Of Banks’, tech and finance entrepreneurs and authors Steven Boykey Sidley and Simon Dingle argue that DeFi - which enables all manner of financial transactions to take place directly, person to person, without the involvement of financial institutions - will redesign the cogs and wheels in the engines of trust, and make the remarkable rise of Bitcoin look pedestrian by comparison. It will disrupt and displace fine and respectable companies, if not entire industries. And it will impact upon all of us - anyone who has ever had a bank account or applied for a loan.
In the book, Sidley and Dingle explain for the first time for the general reader how DeFi works, introduce the organizations and individuals - many, such as Ethereum’s Vitalik Buterin, still in their twenties - that comprise the new industry, and identify the likely winners and losers in the coming revolution. No stone is left unturned. The authors delve into all aspects of DeFi including staking, decentralized exchanges, centralized exchanges, ICOs, legacy financial models, yield farming, NFTs, stablecoins, mining, regulations, and smart contracts.
Beyond Bitcoin offers a comprehensive framework of the wider ecosystem and a context for why DeFi is necessary, with its multiple advantages. The main hurdle for adoption is actually one of comprehension. Many still don’t understand the space, due to misconceptions around what cryptocurrency and DeFi really bring to the table. Most of these misconceptions stem from false narratives that fall apart when civilians take the time to read through what the terms mean and what the implications are. This is where Beyond Bitcoin can really help as it saves time.
It’s the type of book that is sorely needed but hard to find. A clear chronological explanation of the crypto industry from 2008 to now, written by two prominent entrepreneurs who are heavily involved in financial technology and authorship. While its appeal is universal, it might touch demographics that would never resort to reading about Bitcoin from a Reddit post or a generic blog.
Academics, scholars, and certain entrepreneurs prefer physical books to read through. Most information relevant to this industry is found online, in bits and pieces, here and there. Now, it’s been condensed down to an easy-to-read format that is simple yet highly engaging. Released recently, it covers all of the latest innovations in the world of decentralized finance.
It’s an excellent book to hand to people who are dubious or believe crypto to be no more than a passing fad. If you’re still skeptical about DeFi and the world of cryptocurrencies, you might not be after you finish.
The book is available on Amazon as a Kindle, audiobook, and paperback. But it's also available through many other retailers as a paperback and in over 5 continents. The text was published by ICON Books.
About Steven Boykey Sidley
Steven Boykey Sidley has worked extensively in technology and finance and is an award-winning novelist, playwright, and columnist. An American citizen, he currently
lives in Johannesburg with his wife and their two children. Steven possesses an MSc in Computer Science from UCLA and is currently a partner with Bridge Capital.
About Simon Dingle
Simon has been working with cryptocurrency since 2011 and has founded multiple fintech firms. His career spans broadcasting, journalism, design, product management, and investing, all with a focus on information science, finance, and open source technologies. He is currently the chief of Venox Digital Assets which operates exclusively within the Defi space. Simon has been on the founding teams of several fintech firms, founded cryptocurrency exchange Luno, and opened banking provider Curve.