6 Questions for Alex O’Donnell about financial journalism and the future of DeFi

Umami Labs CEO Alex ODonnell matured on the borders of Philadelphia before participating in Temple University to study literature and economics. That course led him to dedicate seven years of his life as a monetary journalist at Reuters, where he concentrated on M&A s IPOs.

He said his academic focus produced a “pretty natural synthesis” when it came ot financial journalism. Nevertheless, he stated he ended up being “disenchanted” with his industry while he was caged at home throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. “There really was a three-way alliance in between journalists, government authorities and technology companies attempting to manage the flow of information,” ODonnell stated in an interview with Cointelegraph.

ODonnell and his partner, Sanjana, are getting ready for a “third, smaller person” to join their household next year. In the meantime, he said hes likewise getting ready for another crypto-related venture. The information arent totally public yet, but he stated he prepares to release more details the months ahead.

He started playing with cryptocurrency, which led to his introduction with Umami DAO– and eventually his production of Umami Labs.

1) How d you make the transition from journalism to crypto?

In 2020 I invested the majority of my time covering the Covid-19 pandemic. There really was a three-way alliance between journalists, federal government officials and innovation business trying to control the flow of information. It wasnt even that the main line was incorrect. It was that dissent was being stifled in the very first location. That actually peaked my interest in decentralized platforms.

I d been a reporter for the much better part of a years primarily covering acquisitions and mergers. I always had an interest in finance and tech. However I started becoming a bit disenchanted with the mainstream media around the time of the pandemic. That was the very first time I began becoming a bit more cynical about my own markets function in the details economy. So I began paying more attention to concerns like personal privacy, censorship and other things I had not taken as much interest in before.

Alex ODonnell athis wedding in 2023. Picture credit: BR Studios Christian Garcia.

At that point, I began to end up being meaningfully thinking about crypto. Offered that I originated from financial journalism, decentralized finance (DeFi) in particular captured my interest. I really began actively buying different crypto procedures as a retail financier in 2021. I was getting more associated with DeFi communities, and among them was the predecessor toUmami– ZeroTwOhm.

2) How did that cause you producing Umami Labs?

I got involved in ZeroTwOhm as a regular retail financier aping in as many individuals did. It was a quite little community, so I had the ability to quite quickly get in contact with the developers developing the procedure.

But they didnt actually have a clear orientation about what they wished to do next. They had actually bootstrapped numerous millions of dollars in capital that was largely simply sitting there. It seemed like somebody needed to step in, and the designers were, honestly, more than pleased to hand duty off to somebody else, which wound up being me.

3) What are you concentrated on now?.

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That is something Im personally focused on now. Im teaming up with some others on establishing something, and getting feedback from prospective early users. Well have more information to share within the next couple of months. For now, its still in the early stages.

I currently focused at Umami on developing another product that was created to create returns on stablecoins, but the real need is for something that is as safe and boring and reputable as a standard cost savings account, however for individuals who were holding stablecoins on on-chain wallets. There have actually been forays into that area by other gamers, however I have yet to see a complete solution to that issue. It takes a combination of having the best managed entities off-chain and seamless mechanisms for on- and off-ramping on-chain.

Is Bitcoin a religion? If not, it soon might be.

What Im most interested in now is zeroing in on an issue that ended up being really clear to me throughout my time at Umami. Essentially, as Umami Labs got ready to release our first item in early 2023, I was meeting with a lot of crypto-focused hedge funds and large private investors. There was this open requirement for some way to firmly earn interest on USDC, USDT, and other stablecoins without needing to just completely move off-chain.


4) What do you think will be the greatest crypto trends in 2024?

Related: Coinbase launches regulated crypto futures services for United States retail traders.

In my individual opinion, I do believe that the peak of the crypto market in 2021 actually was the high-water market of this age of really DIY, unregulated, sort of community-run bootstrapped protocols. I think that entering subsequent years, consisting of now, were visiting a pretty stark shift in which DeFi stops looking so much like a completely different ecosystem. It will for all intents and functions end up being a subset of TradFi.

Coinbase and Circle are collecting various elements that will enable them to become deeply integrated operators within traditional finance. I believe that is really fascinating. In parallel to that, you have folks such as Fidelity and Franklin Templeton and BlackRock developing managed crypto investment products. Franklin Templeton is establishing its own tokenized Treasury Bill ETF. Its pretty clear that will be a source of momentum for the market over the next numerous years.

I do not think the DeFi versus TradFi distinction is going to last. Obviously, were seeing a variety of ETFs undergoing the registration process. In the background, major players are obtaining licenses to take part in a wider range of monetary activities in the U.S. Coinbase, for instance has, registered as a Futures Commission Merchant and likewise as a Designated Contract Market with the CFTC. That licenses them to run an exchange and open accounts within the futures markets. Those will be focus, obviously, on Bitcoin and Ether.

5) Whats the most fascinating to you as an investment right now?

I expect to see, over time, a lot of building on top of Eigen and other comparable protocols. I believe well see an expansion of financial investment funds and ETFs that specialize in taking ETH and staking it and re-staking it.

Really, the only thing in crypto that Im interested in as a long-lasting financial investment is Ether and its staking and re-staking derivatives. I think were still at a point where the huge majority of possible financial investments in crypto are exceptionally speculative. The hidden value proposal of the tokens is still uncertain. I think ETH is among the couple of exceptions. So I do hold ETH, and Im comfortable with it as a long-lasting investment..

6) What do you believe is the primary obstacle to mass adoption of blockchain technology?

I truly began actively investing in various crypto protocols as a retail investor in 2021. What Im most interested in now is zeroing in on an issue that ended up being extremely clear to me during my time at Umami. In my individual opinion, I do think that the high point of the crypto market in 2021 actually was the high-water market of this age of very DIY, uncontrolled, sort of community-run bootstrapped procedures. I believe that going in subsequent years, consisting of now, were going to see a pretty stark shift in which DeFi stops looking so much like a completely different environment. I believe were still at a point where the vast bulk of prospective financial investments in crypto are incredibly speculative.

The most appealing reads in blockchain. Delivered as soon as a.

There needs to be a total combination of protocols on the bleeding edge of blockchain, and more recognized companies that are integrated into the standard monetary sector and capable of running compliantly from a regulative perspective. We require to see established gamers integrating advanced smart contracts and maximizing blockchains capacity. Well begin to see blockchain ending up being part of everyday monetary transactions and activities.

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Cointelegraph Magazine reporters and writers contributed to this article.

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