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DeFi Visions: Andrey Belyakov

Here comes a new installment of DeFi Visions, a series of video interviews in which 1inch talks to the most prominent projects and personalities in DeFi. In this post, you’ll find the key takeaways from a recent interview with Andrey Belyakov, founder of Opium Protocol.

Andrey Belyakov founded Opium back in 2018 as a Web3 protocol that allows for creating and trading decentralized derivatives. Opium facilitates many financial processes and enables users to make various products by adding and removing parameters, which does not require any special knowledge.

Andrey started to deal with crypto as a hobby. “[But] we quickly figured out that staying in the mainstream of the Ethereum ecosystem is where we should be,” he recalls.

The idea of simplifying the interaction with derivatives came from observing their implementation issues in the banking industry. Meanwhile, “blockchain is the perfect place to settle and trade derivatives in a transparent way,” Andrey says. “Four years ago, we were considering bringing our technology to banks. But then DeFi got in the way. Eventually, we built something alternative to financial products we knew before.”

“Now everyone can create a financial product based on a protocol,” he elaborates. “And you don’t need to study all your life at Stanford to end up at some hedge fund — you can make one on your own.”

Meanwhile, Andrey stresses that regulation is vital since “we need some standards to disclose the risks.” KYC makes sense, he observes, as there shouldn’t be a completely anonymous environment.

Segueing to more general questions, Andrey says he believes the DeFi community is underestimated. “White-hat hackers often don’t exploit vulnerabilities but rather tell you what they found and how to fix it, which would be absolutely impossible in the traditional business world,” he explains.

Andrey finds the current bearish cycle annoying, but he says there is also a silver lining. “In a bull market, everybody is printing useless NFTs, is leaving their boring developer jobs to launch a startup. Then the cycle is over. What we have in bearish times is a lot of developers with experience in working for startups — the job market looks much better!”

Speaking about NFTs, Andrey stresses that many of them can have real utility. He mentions Opium’s side project introducing NFTs, which can be used to identify users and community members for various purposes.

According to Andrey, the only factor holding mass adoption of crypto is regulation, but regulation can also prevent big crypto projects’ collapses. “People never think of tail risks, but nothing would happen with risk standards at the beginning,” he adds.

Andrey says he is excited about DAOs. “The concept fits a group of friends going on vacation and works for big companies and communities. I expect a significant percentage of companies will switch to DAO as some jurisdictions already recognize it as a company,” he says.

Sharing his final thoughts on mass adoption, regulation and anonymity, Andrey says that crypto offers privacy rather than anonymity. “We can achieve a higher level of privacy and make governments and regulators happy, and at that point, crypto will be mass adopted. Like the Internet that was not regulated at all but was not developed as it is now,” he concludes.

Watch the full interview with Andrey Belyakov on The 1inch Network’s YouTube channel.

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