Crypto’s march towards mainstream adoption takes another significant step forward as the CEO of an e-commerce giant publicly ponders how his company can be integrated into the DeFi (decentralized finance) ecosystem.
On Friday evening, Shopify CEO Tobi Lutke posted a Twitter message asking the DeFi community what “role” Shopify could play in the growing financial industry:
Hello #DeFi Twitter. What are the trading opportunities that you look forward to most? What role should Shopify play?
– Tobi Lutke (@tobi) April 2, 2021
The request drew hundreds of responses, including from several DeFi power players. Nansen’s Alex Svanevik mentioned Stablecoin payments, as well as the use of DeFi protocols that allow cash on Shopify accounts to generate returns, as well as ConsenSys’s Corbin page pointed to a hackathon project where payments were deposited directly into return logs.
More complex proposals have focused on using deposited funds for payments, real-time subscription fees, and using protocols like Alchemix to enable asset-backed credit for payments.
Although Lutke is very speculative, his thinking seems to be a sign that he discovered the crypto bug. Earlier in the day, he sent that he had “dealt with” intelligent contracts and described their functionality as “fascinating”. In addition to the technology, the CEO also seems to be taken with DeFi’s open, permissive ethos.
In a tweet, he said that it certainly doesn’t fit a purist definition of decentralization, but one of Shopify’s goals was to break down barriers and friction in online retailing – a spiritual cousin of Defi:
Usually companies see a market like retail and say, “Cool, I’m going to win this market.” Shopify has “cool, let’s make sure everyone can join”. So in spirit (not according to your definition) we are helping to act against centralization. Makes sense?
– Tobi Lutke (@tobi) April 3, 2021
Should a Defi-powered feature ever make its way onto the Shopify platform, it would likely immediately be one of the main catalysts for adoption in DeFi’s brief history. Shopify is the largest company in Canada, one of the largest in the northern hemisphere, and has over 3 million online stores on its platform.