Decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols and platforms have become increasingly popular during the past few years. One of the main value propositions of DeFi is to provide seamless lending, borrowing, and digital asset staking services without requiring the assistance of third parties to finalize transactions. However, many platforms are not truly decentralized.
For example, a large number of these so-called “decentralized” solution providers aren’t really providing uncensorable or permissionless services that are accessible to everyone. The main reason that real DeFi services can be challenging to launch is that most platform developers are still accountable to regulatory authorities. DeFi solution providers may have to follow strict regulations, so they might have to centralize many of their services.
In addition to regulatory challenges, it can be difficult to implement seamless transactions between different types of tokens at the protocol level. However, there are several high-potential projects that may allow developers to create truly uncensorable applications.
Bringing Together the Best of Bitcoin and Layer-2 Solutions
One project, called Portal, is developing a Decentralized finance platform that aims to blend or bring together the best of Bitcoin (BTC) & Layer-2 solutions.
According to its developers, with Portal, DeFi really does become uncensorable, fully peer to peer (p2p), & trust minimized. They’ve explained that Portal aims to offer many of the underlying properties of Bitcoin.
They’ve also noted that Portal has been designed to swap “move provable” execution of cross-chain contracts to Layer 2 and Layer 3, which enables both the speed and high liquidity offered on centralized platforms, but with the trust minimization “guarantees” of Bitcoin. As noted on its official website, transactions via Portal are considerably faster and a lot cheaper than Layer 1 transfers.
The Portal team further explains that they are focused on enabling decentralized, peer-to-peer, censorship-resistant apps as many different layers built on top of the Bitcoin network (and protocol). Using Fabric, the team will enable web-scale, “serverless” infrastructure with security guarantees and strong privacy.
Providing Truly Decentralized Services by Replacing Outdated, Web Server Model
The developers of Portal also mentioned that their Layer-2 & Layer-3 atomic swap technology might be utilized for more general use-cases involving both computation and data. The project’s mission is to effectively replace the traditional web-server model, which can be highly centralized with a “free market” for handling data and performing routine computations required by business applications.
Fabric, the underlying protocol that Portal leverages, has been designed to further extend Bitcoin’s functionality without drafting and implementing additional Bitcoin Improvement Proposals (BIPs).
Relatively small, Layer-3 contracts for data being maintained in a decentralized manner could fully replace the conventional web-server model where the fees offer ample resistance against censorship of user or system information.
With Portal and Fabric, users may also deploy complex applications for “blinded execution” by a network of peers. This means that the peers will carry out the instructions needed to run these programs without knowing the full details of their implementation. As explained by its developers, Portal swaps pay bonded Bitcoin when “requests for computation” get answered. Contracts “assure proof of performance and payment for either party,” the developers noted.
Building a Decentralized Future with Bitcoin
While the vast majority of decentralized finance services have been launched on Ethereum, it’s worth noting that Bitcoin remains the world’s largest and most secure network. It’s being supported by a computationally-intensive proof-of-work (PoW)-based consensus model. Since it is by far the largest global PoW-enabled blockchain network, with the highest market cap exceeding $1 trillion at the time of writing, it would make sense to develop a viable ecosystem around the Bitcoin (BTC) protocol.
Industry analysts have noted that creating Layer-2 and Layer-3 DeFi-related financial services on Bitcoin could help make them truly permissionless and uncensorable, which has always been the primary value proposition of truly decentralized systems.