Who’s Who in Crypto: Mark Monfort of the Australian DeFi Association
Mark Monfort is a strong advocate for the Australian DeFi space. Mark has 11 years of experience working in both the finance and technology industries. His professional career started off in insurance as well as working as an auditor for a Big 4 firm (PwC).
It was through his next role as an analyst at Commonwealth Bank that he first formed his passion for analytics and the power of technology and data to transform the way we make decisions. From there he worked as a management consultant focusing on software solutions (Business Intelligence, Forecasting, Activity Based Costing) and eventually moved into a Business Development role. His passion for problem-solving could not be tamed and the call to become more hands-on again beckoned with the opportunity to join the data research firm QMG and lead its technology transformation.
He was instrumental in transforming the way the firm created its unique brand of equity research and it is this continued passion and skillset that he brought to his work at Canaccord Genuity in London. Since then Mark has moved back to Australia to continue his pursuits of bringing data analytics and other disruptive technologies to the marketplace. He is now a loud voice in the Australian DeFi community helping to grow the space.
What are your priorities for the next 12 months?
In Web3 I wear a lot of hats, so it’ll be threefold. First up will be the growth of the Australian DeFi Association community. It’s gone from an initial 20 member group in November 2021 to over 700 at the end of May 2022. We’re keen to see it run more events across different states and continue to champion various projects and other communities out there.
Next will be adding more projects under the belt of the web3 venture studio I run with a few others called NotCentralised. It’s a collective of different groups with specialties in areas that all projects in Web3 will eventually need depending on their maturity. So, from blockchain development to PR and marketing to running events, building communities, reviewing tokenomics, raising capital and setting up your tax structure, we have experts across a wide spectrum.
Finally, there’s the decentralised commerce/payments platform I’m building with a few partners called TradeFlows. It started out as a collaboration layer (to add to what we saw as missing on the blockchain) and has turned into an instant settlement, globally available, programmable payments protocol that has use across a variety of industries.
What’s both amazing and difficult is how fast this space moves so it certainly requires a lot of energy to keep up!
What does crypto mean to you and what drew you to it?
I’ve been an investor since 2017 when I first experienced the rise and fall of BTC. I was a sceptic for a while and was only invested because of the FOMO we could see kicking in.
It wasn’t until getting to work on a project late last year and then digging into the space that I got to see more of the evolution that was going on. Seeing what Ethereum and other blockchains were able to create and how this online, highly available, programmable and decentralised computer could do opened up the world of possibilities here.
Crypto to me isn’t just about the investment and token side of things. Rather, it’s the wealth of possibilities available to build how we share, transact and interact with each other in the digital future.
What is your long-term view of crypto?
That price will go through ebbs and flows but if you’re building something, it’s not something you would worry about in this space because as long as you have a good product that is solving a real problem, you’ll be fine.
I see that currently, it’s not just crypto that investors are hesitant with, it’s markets in general.
Crypto and all the various protocols that sit underneath its umbrella are all about the tokenisation of what people value. So whether it’s fitness or sports or real estate, we’ll see whether these things have value and it’s all a great big experiment where some projects will work out whilst many will not.
The best thing is that we’re doing this at a global scale and at a fast speed pace, the likes of which we’ve never seen before. It really is taking and using technology to its highest performance levels.
What advice would you give people investing in crypto?
None. I’m not a financial adviser so no investment advice from me.
What I can say though is that if you are looking at anything in this space to be mindful of the recent scams and ways that protocols have been attacked.
Whilst not a great thing to see a token get rugged (rug pulled, aka scammed), what is interesting is how transparently we can investigate what happened and how fast we can do that. Because of this, there are great services out there providing help for those trying to assess if there are issues with certain protocols or keeping an eye on the scams so watch out for
- DeFi Safety
- DeFi Watch
And other services as well that continue to be added to the ecosystem.
How do you feel about the way the world is regulating crypto?
It’s necessary. I know I won’t get a lot of love for that but hear me out.
The traditional powers never let go of power without a fight but they also are realising that if they stifle innovation in this space that they will just push projects that could have been done in Australia, out of the country. It’s a tight-rope that they walk between protecting businesses and consumers as well as encouraging innovation.
Luckily, we’re in a space right now where Commonwealth Treasury has asked for responses to their consultation paper on crypto asset secondary service providers. We’ve submitted responses under both the Aus DeFi Association as well as TradeFlows. The next steps are for them to review and respond and if all goes well, there’ll be further public enquiries and discussions.
Our goal is to make sure that not only is regulation fit for purpose but that even before that, we see the right type of definitions for crypto assets and users set and that the regulators understand the unique nature of this asset class.