Alexandra Tinsman On NEAR, Crypto, and The Future of DeFi


NEAR recent hire Alexandra Tinsman (Vice President of Marketing) did a live stream with OKex on the topic of DeFi and the future evolution of crypto in context. As one of the first public appearances for Alexandra, there were a number of different insights put forward: 

Note a full link to the discussion can be found here. 

DeFi is In Its Experimental Stages: There Is a Lot of Work To Be Done

“There are these companies that want to establish their reputation right away. And they are trying so hard to get fame and mind share, and really I think about a lot of the protocols and the fact that they are giving away tokens. You see that a lot in DeFi. It’s not sustainable: It is just not sustainable. So I think the next up with crypto-economics and DeFi and taking a closer look at the protocols is really the question we should be asking is how are these companies that are giving away all of these tokens going to switch to something more sustainable in the future. Is this system still going to function if they do not find a way to stabilize inflation? I personally think we are seeing developers don’t know the answer to that. I think that is a problem and they are hoping to figure it out.”

As the quote from Alexandra explains, crypto-economics more generally and DeFi specifically, are in their early, early days, with large amounts of experimentation still taking place. Developers and founders are still ironing out problems that their platforms run into, while more sustainable and long-term thinking still needs to catch up. 

“I like to remind people entering the space, and myself included, that this is still in the experimental stage – it is so easy to get sweeped away with the idea of a product, but you have to look under the hood. I think we have a long way to go until we can see really good evidence of what is going to make it to mainstream.” 

 Education and Governance Are Crucial Pain Points of DeFi

The discussion moved on to emphasize how DeFi is both new but also immensely complex. With the host even commenting that DeFi is starting to resemble more and more the complex financial products we see in the mainstream. As such the largest barriers to overcome for more general crypto-adoption (even before going mainstream) center upon education and governance. Here is what Alexandra had to say on that topic: 

DeFi governance is super underdeveloped. I think that projects in the DeFi space are releasing these governance tokens without enough structure or even how and when they are going to get used.

In general, she emphasized that governance, regulation, and the future development of a platform are all strongly interlinked. New projects entering the space must then craft a delicate balance between incentives and sustainable development that is not always easy to manage. 

You have to have great economics, but also assurance that governance is going to protect those economies. And if they start to do better, then the chances are that DeFi is going to take over the crypto world and traditional finance probably.

The Next Wave of Crypto Innovation Is Here: 

While on the topic of DeFi, different crypto-economic protocols and the future of blockchain, the discussants also touched upon the growing amount of real-world adoption taking place with digital currencies. This was discussed in detail with reference to Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDC’s) and especially the Digital Yuan pioneered by China: 

“This is going to change world wide commerce and is likely going to shift digital dollars and digital yuan within a decade. Even today I was reading on Coindesk that the Chinese Central Bank just shared over 4 million transactions totaling more than 2 billion Yuan have been conducted using the digital Yuan. My jaw drops because China is already doing it. They are testing it out and rolling it out. It’s happening. So that evolution of economies is pretty exciting.”

The main takeaway is that, Crypto is on a pivotal tipping point on the edge of mainstream adoption. In the future these protocols will not only be home for crypto-entrepreneurs and experimental communities, but also companies, institutions, governments and associations, as well as average consumers. 

The NEAR Team Is Really Trying to Build the Open Web

In what should be a strong confirmation for NEAR community members and those who are aligned with the larger vision of NEAR, Alexandra emphasized how the NEAR really got her onboard because of their vision, and the values they hold while looking to execute such a vision. 

The whole idea being a very developer friendly, proof of stake public blockchain is something that really resonated with me. I think the biggest thing that I saw with the NEAR Team – super smart and savvy. Amazing background. But really they are able to open up blockchain app development for developers who are not specialists. And for me, there was a lot of potential there. I began checking their community and looking more….I think the possibility of going deeper in the ecosystem and the industry is what I am attracted to and the interoperability is the aspect that to be me is always going to be appealing.

The focus point here is that NEAR’s emphasis on usability and being developer friendly is attracting support from crypto-veterans. As crypto becomes more understood, bridging the gap between Web2 and Web3 remains an important task that so far NEAR seems to be exclusively attacked on all fronts!