• Permissionless speakers today are focused on building, not market conditions
  • Regulators are on high alert and bad actors should be put on notice, industry executives said

As the aftermath from this month’s TerraUSD meltdown continues to unfold and cryptocurrency markets extend their sell-off, industry executives are urging their communities to stay strong.

“One of the benefits of a bear market is other sources of validation go away,” Mary-Catherine Lader, chief operating officer of Uniswap Labs, said during a panel discussion at the Permissionless conference in Palm Beach. “All you really have is whether what you’re building is going to work and whether people are going to use it.”

Other conference speakers agreed, choosing the opportunity to focus on what developers are building and excited about right now as opposed to negative narratives surrounding the industry. 

Stani Kulechov, founder and CEO of Aave, said he was shocked at how quickly the industry has grown. Having billions of dollars of value locked into smart contracts is no small feat, and it’s happened in only a few years. 

Decentralized finance (DeFi) industry leaders are looking beyond today’s market conditions, and rightfully so, the speakers said. Uniswap Labs’ key focus right now is simplifying the user experience, Lader added. 

“To get out of a bear market, we need excited people, and we need capital,” Robert Leshner, CEO and founder of Compound Labs, said. 

The source of capital he’s betting on? Institutional investors. 

“Historically, DeFi has been individual-led…but our focus right now is how do we get an entire class of users in the system,” Leshner said. 

“We’re focused on enabling institutions with billions of dollars to safely deploy capital into DeFi”

Even amid the panelists’ optimism, the question of how the collapse of Terra’s stablecoin might impact the rest of the industry remains. Regulators are on high alert, they agreed. 

“Terra and Luna and UST are their own ecosystem, but it has a big impact on everything,” Leshner said. “I worry the nuance is going to get lost, the positives are going to be overshadowed by the risks, and the next few years are going to be about trying to differentiate the good actors from the bad.”


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  • Blockworks
    Senior Reporter
    Casey Wagner is a New York-based business journalist covering regulation, legislation, digital asset investment firms, market structure, central banks and governments, and CBDCs. Prior to joining Blockworks, she reported on markets at Bloomberg News. She graduated from the University of Virginia with a degree in Media Studies. Contact Casey via email at [email protected]