The march of cryptocurrencies towards mainstream adoption takes another important step, as the CEO of an e-commerce giant is publicly reflecting on how to integrate his company with the decentralized finance (DeFi) ecosystem.
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On Friday night, Shopify CEO Tobi Lutke posted a message on Twitter asking the DeFi community what “role” Shopify could play in the growing financial vertical:
Hello #DeFi Twitter. What are the trade-related opportunities you are most excited about? What role do you want Shopify to play?
The question attracted hundreds of responses, including those from various DeFi players. Nansen’s Alex Svanevik mentioned payments in stablecoin, as well as the use of DeFi protocols to allow cash in Shopify accounts to yield, and likewise Corbin Page of ConsenSys pointed to a hackathon project that deposit payments directly into protocols that generate performance.
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The more complex suggestions focused on leveraging deposited funds for payments, real-time subscription fees, and using protocols like Alchemix to enable asset-backed loans for payments.
Although highly speculative in nature, Lutke’s musings appear to be a sign that cryptocurrencies have drawn his attention. Earlier in the day, he posted that he had been “playing” with smart contracts, referring to their functionality as “fascinating.” In addition to the technology, the CEO also seems to be delighted with DeFi’s open and permissionless spirit.
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In a tweet, he said that while it certainly doesn’t fit the purist definition of decentralization, one of Shopify’s goals was to reduce barriers and friction in online retail, a spiritual cousin of DeFi:
Typically, companies look at a market like retail and say “great, I’m going to win that market.” Shopify said “great, let’s make sure everyone can participate.” So in spirit (not by definition) we are helping fight centralization. Makes sense?
If a Defi-powered feature ever makes it to the Shopify platform, it would likely immediately be one of the biggest adoption catalysts in DeFi’s short history. Shopify is the largest company in Canada, one of the largest in the Northern Hemisphere, and has more than 3 million online stores on its platform.