Apple Card Versus DeFi, Coinbase's WalletLink, Going 6x Long ETH, Maker Rate Cut

Happy Friday defiers! Lots going on in decentralized finance:

  • Why Apple isn’t revolutionizing finance (and DeFi is)

  • Coinbase launches WalletLink to connect its wallet with dapps

  • Stakes got higher in DeFi as Opyn now offering 6x leverage trades

  • MakerDAO cuts interest rate to 18.5 percent


Apple for Shiny New Card, DeFi For Shiny New Banking

Scrape the matte white, multi-layer coating off Apple’s titanium card and you find that this time, this aging tech giant isn’t changing everything.

Apple Card is sleek. It has the millennial pastel rainbow in its logo, and people can’t wait to off-handedly drop it at the end of brunch. They try to sound cool by saying it was “created by Apple, not a bank,” hiding the fact that it was also created by one of the biggest, baddest investment banks of all: Goldman Sachs.

So the maker of the most expensive phones, partnered with the bank for the ultra wealthy and made a credit card. The result is a precious thing that gets scratched if it touches denim and leather, and needs special cleaning products because everyday household items just won’t do. But most importantly, only U.S. residents, with a sparkling credit score, who own one of the newer iPhones will be able to use it.

For the relatively few who will be able to access it, there are benefits over other cards. The biggest changes I see are: 1) it has no late or penalty charges, 2) it calculates and tells you the interest you’ll be paying in real time if you choose to not pay your full balance, 3) you get daily cash back, with no limits. That’s good but it’s debatable whether it “rethinks everything about the credit card,” or whether the card is “materially different.” It seems like a marginal improvement from banking as usual.

For a more meaningful change, look at what’s happening in decentralized finance. Anyone, anywhere can open an Ethereum account, and can access most DeFi platforms. Some platforms will block users from a few jurisdictions, but not 95 percent of the planet. It’s instant, and not just for payments.

Complex financial transactions can be done in a few clicks and are confirmed in minutes, including gaining interest on savings, trading on margin or investing in a tokenized fund, taking out a collateralized loan, or voting in something similar to a shareholders meeting. The entire process is transparent and most platforms are open source. Fees can be orders of magnitude lower. This is what’s really changing everything in finance, not a shiny, new marginally better credit card.

New Coinbase Product Links Mobile Wallet With Dapps

Coinbase created WalletLink to connect its mobile wallet with dapps on desktop browsers. The goal is for Coinbase wallet users to use decentralized applications more easily, without having to copy and paste addresses or use browser extensions.Users will scan a QR code that will connect their mobile wallet with integrated dapps, and they’ll confirm transactions via a ping on their phones.

Some were quick to point out that WalletConnect offers the same service and works with any wallet, to which Coinbase employees responded that their product is open source and for everyone to use, and that they tried to make it easier to integrate than WalletConnect. Competition usually helps a free market, and Coinbase has 30 million users, so the news is likely positive for the space.

Opyn Makes it Super Easy to Go 6x Long ETH

Opyn, a decentralized exchange, is offering 6x leveraged trading for ETH, the highest available in DeFi. That compares with dYdX, which allows up to 3x margin. The interface appears to be incredibly simple, letting users able to open a leveraged long position in a few clicks. DeFi platforms are getting increasingly easy to use, which is great, but seeing leveraged trading take as many steps as ordering pizza will inevitably bring up the question, maybe it’s too easy?

MakerDAO Holders Vote to Cut Interest Rate

MakerDAO’s stability fee was cut by 2 percentage points to 18.5 percent. It was the first cut since June. The cost to open an ether-backed Dai loan had soared from 9.2 percent at the beginning of the year to 20.5 percent, as MKR holders voted for hikes so that Dai would keep its peg. Dai remained relatively stable, as CDP holders closed their loans. The current rate is now a lot more competitive. It compares with Compound’s 16.4 percent and dYdX’s 17.9 percent, according to LoanScan. It will be interesting to see if borrowers come back to Maker in the following days.


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