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“去中心化金融”较传统金融优势几何?

“去中心化金融”较传统金融优势几何?

布莱恩•布鲁克斯 2021年08月10日
去中心化金融,可以大幅减少甚至消除导致失误或不法行为出现的人为因素。

图片来源:GETTY IMAGES

以创新为核心往往令人兴奋不已。它为我们带来了一种全新的运作方式,能够为消费者和企业带来超乎现有认知的更高的效率和更大的机遇。正如之前的汽车、晶体管或智能手机一样。但是,当创新与金融息息相关时,正如过去十年金融科技所面临的问题那样,大家总会忍不住质疑其安全性和适用性。好消息是,我们基本上都认同金融科技让大多数人的生活变得更简单了。比如 PayPal 和 Rocket Mortgage。

如今,有关对去中心化金融(简称为DeFi)的质疑和担忧,我们时有耳闻。监管机构认为,去中心化金融的兴起会加剧传统金融体系的风险。回想过去,我们曾对为我们最终带来了重大效益的创新技术投注了多少质疑的目光,这种态度似乎一点也不让人感到惊讶。问题是,为什么要这样?我们能否克服大脑不想改变现状的偏见,认识到去中心化金融可能会减少传统金融体系中现存的风险?

首先,我先来介绍一些背景。自去中心化金融大规模出现以来的18个月里,已有约800亿美元的资本被投入到了去中心化金融协议之中,这笔数额相当巨大。

去中心化金融的成长速度如此之快又变得如此重要,自有其可取之处。投入去中心化金融平台的每一美元都是某人放弃将金钱存进银行或投进传统资产管理公司后做出的选择。原因何在?因为很多人认为,参与去中心化金融的风险调整后收益要高于传统储蓄或投资服务。

让我们来看看现今的消费金融的一些缺陷。大家应该都还记得,由于金融危机后的量化宽松政策和新冠疫情期间的经济刺激方案等货币政策,银行提供给储户的利率水平一直处于低迷状态。而泛滥的隐藏费用加剧了这一问题,即使表面上的交易费用为零,隐藏费用也可能会削减客户能够到手的收益(“罗宾汉效应”)。同时,由于集中式结构产生了低效率的“围墙花园”(例如,Venmo用户不能向Zelle用户付费),一家机构的客户无法直接与另一家机构的客户进行交易。

还有人为失误风险。例如,银行的信贷委员会批准了一笔本不该发放的高风险贷款,或拒绝向信誉良好的借款人提供贷款。或者,更令人担忧的是,其中还会夹杂有人类的歧视和偏见,进而更加不利于某些群体或个人。

这确实令人沮丧,所以我再次提出了这个问题,为什么要这样?为什么要让我们对我们所熟悉的风险的偏好阻止我们去认同,去中心化金融这个实际上可能会减少或消除某些风险的新构思呢?

中性技术vs.人为错误

在加入币安美国站担任首席执行官以前,我曾领导过美国货币监理署,该署是美国联邦银行体系的主要监管机构。因此,我知道金融监管的主要关注点是那些由于人为疏忽或渎职而产生的错误(例如,欺诈、自我交易、歧视、内幕交易、建模出错等)。

所有错误都是由决策过程中的某些人犯下的。例如,当某人违反信托义务,“提示”了他人,或自己根据内幕信息进行非法证券交易时,就会发生内幕交易。一个适当去中心化的技术体系则无心自行非法敛财或犯下其他罪行。绝大多数时候,尤其是与容易犯错的人类同行相比,它的行为是中立的。以此类推,由人类的贪婪、无能或疏忽导致的其他违规行为也是如此。

设身处地为银行审查员想想。你认为是检查一个公开的开源软件简单,还是质询一个可能会撒谎的人简单?现在想象一下,如果导致我上文列出的所有失误或不法行为出现的人为因素能够大幅减少甚至消除,现在我们面临的很多风险难道不会就此消失吗?

我要强调一下,去中心化金融并非毫无风险。在去中心化金融体系中,洗钱现象仍然会出现(但可以说不会那么频繁或相当容易)。编程不当的算法仍然会对信誉良好的少数族裔贷款申请人造成轻重不一的影响(但想必待遇上不会出现歧视问题)。而且,许多去中心化金融协议都与其原生代币关系密切,这些代币的波动性可能比投资者惯于处理的其他资产更大,这意味着风险披露尤为重要。但它仍不能改变这一事实,即如果这些技术得到了谨慎和恰当的使用,其可以借由一次技术飞跃帮助解决许多金融体系风险,而不仅仅是逐步解决它们。

这一点很重要,也让人很安心,因为去中心化金融的崛起好像几乎是不可避免的,就像在美国人的生活中图书馆和邮局必然会被新颖的互联网所取代一样。显然,银行借以立足数百年的信息和信任不对称已被技术,尤其是区块链和人工智能所取代。人们对信息、商业和金融领域的大型中央存储库的需求已被技术所削弱,这些技术不仅可以借由去中心化和对等网络等手段执行同样的职能,而且其速度更快价格又更低。

希望我们能够意识到,我们的行为心理学模式使得一些人由于恐惧于早期的技术发展从而几乎错失了它们带来的好处。是的,马车鞭制造业被汽车业永久取代了,但我们大多数人的境况因此变得更好了。是的,许多备受推崇的实体零售店被网上购物永久取代了,但网购的速度和价格优势让我们大多数人都过得更好了。然而再一次地,我们又在为一场新的技术革命的出现而担心,而且这并不是因为目前的金融体系备受欢迎。这只是因为这个魔鬼已为我们所知。(财富中文网)

布莱恩•布鲁克斯是领先的加密货币交易所币安美国分公司的首席执行官。

译者:Claire

以创新为核心往往令人兴奋不已。它为我们带来了一种全新的运作方式,能够为消费者和企业带来超乎现有认知的更高的效率和更大的机遇。正如之前的汽车、晶体管或智能手机一样。但是,当创新与金融息息相关时,正如过去十年金融科技所面临的问题那样,大家总会忍不住质疑其安全性和适用性。好消息是,我们基本上都认同金融科技让大多数人的生活变得更简单了。比如 PayPal 和 Rocket Mortgage。

如今,有关对去中心化金融(简称为DeFi)的质疑和担忧,我们时有耳闻。监管机构认为,去中心化金融的兴起会加剧传统金融体系的风险。回想过去,我们曾对为我们最终带来了重大效益的创新技术投注了多少质疑的目光,这种态度似乎一点也不让人感到惊讶。问题是,为什么要这样?我们能否克服大脑不想改变现状的偏见,认识到去中心化金融可能会减少传统金融体系中现存的风险?

首先,我先来介绍一些背景。自去中心化金融大规模出现以来的18个月里,已有约800亿美元的资本被投入到了去中心化金融协议之中,这笔数额相当巨大。

去中心化金融的成长速度如此之快又变得如此重要,自有其可取之处。投入去中心化金融平台的每一美元都是某人放弃将金钱存进银行或投进传统资产管理公司后做出的选择。原因何在?因为很多人认为,参与去中心化金融的风险调整后收益要高于传统储蓄或投资服务。

让我们来看看现今的消费金融的一些缺陷。大家应该都还记得,由于金融危机后的量化宽松政策和新冠疫情期间的经济刺激方案等货币政策,银行提供给储户的利率水平一直处于低迷状态。而泛滥的隐藏费用加剧了这一问题,即使表面上的交易费用为零,隐藏费用也可能会削减客户能够到手的收益(“罗宾汉效应”)。同时,由于集中式结构产生了低效率的“围墙花园”(例如,Venmo用户不能向Zelle用户付费),一家机构的客户无法直接与另一家机构的客户进行交易。

还有人为失误风险。例如,银行的信贷委员会批准了一笔本不该发放的高风险贷款,或拒绝向信誉良好的借款人提供贷款。或者,更令人担忧的是,其中还会夹杂有人类的歧视和偏见,进而更加不利于某些群体或个人。

这确实令人沮丧,所以我再次提出了这个问题,为什么要这样?为什么要让我们对我们所熟悉的风险的偏好阻止我们去认同,去中心化金融这个实际上可能会减少或消除某些风险的新构思呢?

中性技术vs.人为错误

在加入币安美国站担任首席执行官以前,我曾领导过美国货币监理署,该署是美国联邦银行体系的主要监管机构。因此,我知道金融监管的主要关注点是那些由于人为疏忽或渎职而产生的错误(例如,欺诈、自我交易、歧视、内幕交易、建模出错等)。

所有错误都是由决策过程中的某些人犯下的。例如,当某人违反信托义务,“提示”了他人,或自己根据内幕信息进行非法证券交易时,就会发生内幕交易。一个适当去中心化的技术体系则无心自行非法敛财或犯下其他罪行。绝大多数时候,尤其是与容易犯错的人类同行相比,它的行为是中立的。以此类推,由人类的贪婪、无能或疏忽导致的其他违规行为也是如此。

设身处地为银行审查员想想。你认为是检查一个公开的开源软件简单,还是质询一个可能会撒谎的人简单?现在想象一下,如果导致我上文列出的所有失误或不法行为出现的人为因素能够大幅减少甚至消除,现在我们面临的很多风险难道不会就此消失吗?

我要强调一下,去中心化金融并非毫无风险。在去中心化金融体系中,洗钱现象仍然会出现(但可以说不会那么频繁或相当容易)。编程不当的算法仍然会对信誉良好的少数族裔贷款申请人造成轻重不一的影响(但想必待遇上不会出现歧视问题)。而且,许多去中心化金融协议都与其原生代币关系密切,这些代币的波动性可能比投资者惯于处理的其他资产更大,这意味着风险披露尤为重要。但它仍不能改变这一事实,即如果这些技术得到了谨慎和恰当的使用,其可以借由一次技术飞跃帮助解决许多金融体系风险,而不仅仅是逐步解决它们。

这一点很重要,也让人很安心,因为去中心化金融的崛起好像几乎是不可避免的,就像在美国人的生活中图书馆和邮局必然会被新颖的互联网所取代一样。显然,银行借以立足数百年的信息和信任不对称已被技术,尤其是区块链和人工智能所取代。人们对信息、商业和金融领域的大型中央存储库的需求已被技术所削弱,这些技术不仅可以借由去中心化和对等网络等手段执行同样的职能,而且其速度更快价格又更低。

希望我们能够意识到,我们的行为心理学模式使得一些人由于恐惧于早期的技术发展从而几乎错失了它们带来的好处。是的,马车鞭制造业被汽车业永久取代了,但我们大多数人的境况因此变得更好了。是的,许多备受推崇的实体零售店被网上购物永久取代了,但网购的速度和价格优势让我们大多数人都过得更好了。然而再一次地,我们又在为一场新的技术革命的出现而担心,而且这并不是因为目前的金融体系备受欢迎。这只是因为这个魔鬼已为我们所知。(财富中文网)

布莱恩•布鲁克斯是领先的加密货币交易所币安美国分公司的首席执行官。

译者:Claire

At its core, innovation is exciting. It involves a new way of operating that can bring the promise of greater efficiency and access for consumers and businesses—beyond what we know in the moment. Think of the automobile, the transistor, or the smartphone. However, when innovation comes to finance, it is often met with skepticism over safety and suitability—an issue faced by fintech over the past decade. The good news is that we can all generally agree that fintech has made life easier for most people. Think of PayPal and Rocket Mortgage.

Today we hear about skepticism and worry over decentralized finance, or “DeFi.” Regulators have seen the rise of DeFi as increasing the risk in the traditional financial system. Given how skeptical we all were about past innovations that turned out to deliver major benefits, this isn’t terribly surprising. The question is, why does it need to be this way? Can we instead overcome our brains’ status quo bias and recognize that DeFi might reduce risks that exist in the traditional financial system?

First, some context. In the roughly 18 months since the emergence of DeFi at scale, approximately $80 billion of capital has been contributed to DeFi protocols—something big.

DeFi has grown this fast and become so significant for a reason. Every dollar contributed to a DeFi platform is a dollar someone decided not to deposit at a bank or invest with a traditional asset manager. Why? Because large numbers of people decided that the risk-adjusted benefits of DeFi participation were more favorable than traditional banking or investment services.

Let’s consider some of the shortcomings of consumer finance today. For as long as any of us can remember, the rates that savers can earn at banks have been depressed due to monetary policies such as post-financial-crisis quantitative easing and COVID-era stimulus programs. This problem is exacerbated by rampant hidden fees that may reduce customer return even when explicit trading fees go to zero (the “Robinhood effect”). And customers of one institution can’t trade with those of other institutions as a result of the inefficient “walled gardens” created by centralized structures (for example, Venmo users cannot pay Zelle users).

And then there’s the risk of human error—the possibility that, for example, a bank’s credit committee approves a risky loan that should not have been made or denies credit to a creditworthy borrower. Or, of even greater concern, that human discrimination will enter the equation, further disadvantaging certain groups or individuals.

It’s frustrating, for sure, so I come back to the question of why it needs to be this way. Why does our bias in favor of the risks we’re familiar with prevent us from seeing that DeFi, a new idea, might actually reduce or eliminate some of those risks?

Neutral technology vs. human fallibility

Before joining Binance.US as its CEO, I headed the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), which is the primary overseer of the nation’s federal banking system. So I know that most of the focus of financial regulation is on mistakes that are made through human negligence or malfeasance (for example, fraud, self-dealing, discrimination, insider trading, modeling errors, and the like).

Each of these mistakes depends on there being a human being in the decision-making process. For example, insider trading happens when a person violates fiduciary duty and “tips” others, or acts on insider knowledge themselves, to illegally trade securities. A properly decentralized technology system has no desire to illegally enrich itself or perform other misdeeds. The vast majority of the time—particularly in comparison to its fallible human counterparts—it acts neutrally. So too with other violations caused by human greed, incompetence, or negligence.

Put yourself in the shoes of a bank examiner. Do you think it would be easier to examine a piece of open-source software that is transparent for all to see, or to question a human being who might be motivated to lie? Now imagine if the human factor that can lead to each of the mistakes or malfeasance I listed above could be substantially reduced or even eliminated. Wouldn’t that address a vast number of today’s risks?

Let me note that DeFi is not without risks. Money laundering can still happen (though, arguably, less frequently or easily) under decentralized financial systems. An improperly programmed algorithm can still result in disparate impact against creditworthy minority loan applicants (though it presumably can’t engage in disparate treatment discrimination). And many DeFi protocols are tightly integrated with their native token, whose value may be more volatile than other assets investors are accustomed to dealing with—meaning that risk disclosures are especially important. But the fact remains that these technologies, when carefully and properly used, can help to solve many financial-system risks in one leap of technology, not just address them incrementally.

This is important and reassuring, because the growth of DeFi seems almost inevitable, for the same reason that the displacement of libraries or post offices in American life was the inevitable result of the original Internet. The information and trust asymmetries that banks existed to intermediate centuries ago have been significantly displaced by technology, particularly blockchain and artificial intelligence. The need for great central repositories of information, commerce, and now finance is being reduced by technologies that allow decentralized peer-to-peer networks to perform the same functions more quickly and cheaply.

Hopefully we can recognize the behavioral psychology patterns that led some of us to fear earlier technology developments and almost led us to miss their benefits. Yes, buggy-whip manufacturers were permanently displaced by the auto industry, but most of us are far better off as a result. Yes, many venerated brick-and-mortar retailers were permanently displaced by the commercialization of the Internet, but the speed and price advantages of Internet shopping made most of us better off. Yet once again we fear a new technology revolution—and not because the status quo financial system is particularly loved. It is merely the devil we know.

Brian Brooks is the CEO of Binance.US, a leading cryptocurrency exchange.

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