GlobalFintechSeries Interview with Piers Ridyard, CEO of Radix
Radix recently announced the launch of their first layer-one protocol for decentralized finance; Piers Ridyard, CEO of Radix joined GlobalFintechSeries to share a few thoughts on some of the upcoming innovations users can look forward to while sharing a few thoughts on the DeFi marketplace.
Can you tell us a little about yourself Piers?
I am a serial entrepreneur and the CEO of Radix, the first layer-one protocol for the DeFi industry. At Radix, I lead the company’s mission to transform decentralized finance with secure, scalable solutions. I’ve been focusing on blockchain for more than five years, after I became interested in Ethereum and the potential for smart contracts. I joined Radix in late 2017 after meeting the company’s founder, Dan Hughes.
How have you seen emerging technologies like blockchain impact the global fintech market? Can you throw light on some new innovations that are game-changers in the marketplace?
Blockchain and distributed ledger technology are changing how things run behind the scenes, helping users to see improved speed, higher rates of interest on deposits, and seamless swaps between asset types without relying on cash in the interim. We’re also seeing emerging technology make it possible to replace current one-size-fits-all consumer financial products in favor of fully customized products. The usability of apps for crypto and finance is improving significantly.
In what ways do you predict digital assets (cryptocurrencies, etc) will impact the marketplace of tomorrow?
The global financial service industry is a multi-trillion dollar industry that has grown up over hundreds, if not thousands of years. Ultimately, that has meant that it has been built in a disconnected, disjointed and often dysfunctional way, with billions of dollars wasted every year on taping over the technology cracks. Digital assets and their underlying technology are proving that it doesn’t have to be this way. We can disintermediate traditional financial services and recreate them without the middlemen, to enable a more transparent, consumer-friendly financial future.
What are some of the near-futures innovations you foresee transforming how digital asset management platforms will be planned and built over the next few years?
According to me, scalability is a challenge that a lot of companies are working to address in order to improve digital asset platforms over the next few years. There are quite a few approaches being presented on how to “solve” the scalability issue, however many of these introduce new problems, such as breaking composability. This is fundamentally what we built Radix to solve.
How according to you will Defi apps evolve over time – what are some of the urgent needs of B2Bs here that fintechs still need to meet in the marketplace?
DeFi apps will become easier and cheaper to build, secure, and scale. Right now, the ecosystem is not friendly to developers – most need to build on Ethereum. Gas prices on Ethereum are causing a lot of difficulties for DeFi participants, with costs in excess of $30 in network fees for a single transaction. In some ways, this is a great sign – it means more people are making transactions on the network which is pushing up the price per transaction. However, the side effect of this is that when a transaction costs $30, moving assets between different DeFi applications loses viability for all but large sums. So, these challenges need to be quickly addressed. That’s why we’re working on solutions for DeFi that will meet the market’s needs and drive adoption for both enterprises and individual users.
The other challenge with building on Ethereum and most other networks is that the smart contract systems that are used to build apps are extremely flexible in what they are capable of doing. In many cases, this is brilliant as it allows innovative apps to be produced. In DeFi, it presents issues where unexpected outcomes and hacks are possible. In the DeFi world, a bug or exploit in a smart contract can cause the loss of millions of dollars in assets.
Tell us about some of the latest innovations at Radix and some of the upcoming product plans in store?
Radix is introducing the first layer-one protocol built specifically for decentralized finance. Radix is made up of four breakthrough technologies: Cerberus, a high-speed network consensus mechanism; the Radix Engine, a purpose-built development environment for building DeFi applications; the Component Catalog, a library of DeFi building blocks; and the Developer Royalty System, a first-of-its kind decentralized on-ledger incentive program. These core technologies were developed to power and accelerate the mass adoption of DeFi.
Given the overview of what fintech looks like today in 2020 and this evolving space: how would you describe this market in the next five years, fintech 2025?
In the next five years, traditional finance will evolve more into fintech applications and decentralized finance, driven by the rise in blockchain technology. The transformation of finance will not happen overnight, but banks are like newspapers coming into the digital age – some will adapt and survive, while others will falter. Decentralized finance unbundles banking services (borrowing, lending, investing) into applications that can interoperate on a single public network and compete for users’ wealth with the best offerings. DeFi and fintech will complement the traditional system, creating new tools that wouldn’t have been possible before, while drawing in new assets in a way that requires close integration and cooperation.
A few global Fintech innovators / companies that come to mind when it comes to meeting the new age needs and demands of B2Bs / individual users?
A big change in the near future is going to be the improved usability of apps for crypto and finance. In DeFi, apps like Argent.xyz put an incredible user experience in front of otherwise complex applications. Easy-to-use financial products like Monzo and Robinhood are inspiring crypto companies to deliver similarly user-friendly apps.