In this viewpoint article, we provide an analysis of the value proposition of De(centralized) Fi(nance) and its limitations using a simple stylized model of collateralized lending. DeFi uses a decentralized ledger to run smart contracts that automatically enforce the terms of a lending contract and safeguard the collateral. DeFi can lower the costs associated with intermediated lending and improve nancial inclusion. Limitations are the volatility of crypto collateral and stablecoins used for settlement, the possible incompleteness of smart contracts and the lack of a reliable oracle. A proper infrastructure reducing such limiations could improve the value of DeFi.
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