All the top minds you need to follow to jump on the #defi train

Top DeFi influencers you must follow right now

By Ryan Osborne | RaiseHQ | 3 Sep 2020

From $450 million to over $7 billion in under a year. The total value locked in DeFi or, simply put, the growth of this disruptive financial system, is the proof of our desire for change.

#defi is a rapidly growing movement, driven by a community of hard-working creatives who want to move away from the outdated financial system forced upon us.

They are reshaping the concept of finance, from the way we look at money and use it to our ability to take control of it.

So far, the movement is on the right path.

Getting started with DeFi can be quite overwhelming, especially because of its complexity (which is funny considering that this whole concept is built on an idea to simplify the financial system).

The best way to learn about it is from the people that are creating it. From DApp (decentralized app) makers to CEOs and book authors - their actively shared, insightful content will defi-nitely teach you the ins and outs of DeFi and help you keep up with everything that's going.

That's why we've come up with a list of the best DeFi influencers to follow.

Before getting to it, let's first have a quick recap on what DeFi actually is and why it's a concept worth following.

What is DeFi?

Short for decentralized finance, DeFi is a concept for change and recreation of something that has stayed unchanged for far too long - traditional centralized financial instruments. Recreating the foundations of the financial system means making it decentralized - essentially removing control from governments and corporations and giving it back to the people. An ecosystem with an endless number of financial systems within it, yet with no central figure controlling it, DeFi is transparent and traceable.

Here's a full guide to decentralized finance for those of you who want to dive in deeper.

From savings to loan investments and trading deals - through DeFi all financial services will be accessible at the click of a button, with no middlemen or bureaucracy. That's the future with fully decentralized finance in place, where the control and ownership of your money is in your hands.

This new way of managing the finance system has been increasing in popularity - with close to 4,000 DApps (decentralized apps) in existence today, with more than a ten-fold increase in just three years. Why? Here are 5 simple reasons:

  1. It's decentralized → the power is in your hands
  2. It's permissionless → reduced entry barriers
  3. It's transparent → can be audited by anyone
  4. It's secure → encryption makes it impossible to copy, delete or edit
  5. It's easy & fast

To find out more on the benefits over the traditional centralized system, as well as the barriers DeFi is taking down - this infographic covers it all.

Top DeFi influencers to follow right now

Camila Russo

Founder and chiefess at The Defiant; author of The Infinite Machine

@CamiRusso, 28.4K Followers

A financial journalist by degree, Camila left Bloomberg News to become an independent crypto writer. And she succeeded!

She began by founding a DeFi-focused newsletter, The Defiant, when she noticed that there wasn't much coverage on the space. Just recently she published her first book - and the first book ever on the history of Ethereum for that matter - The Infinite Machine: How an Army of Crypto-hackers Is Building the Next Internet with Ethereum.

Subscribe to The Defiant here

The most exciting aspect about DeFi is that the entire financial system is being rebuilt from scratch on top of a global, decentralized network, which is faster, cheaper and better than the ancient rails that we're using today. Most importantly, it lowers the barriers of entry allowing anyone to participate, and puts individuals in control of their assets and data.

Stani Kulechov

Founder and CEO at Aave

@StaniKulechov, 10.4K Followers

Stani Kulechov is the Founder and CEO of Aave, the #1 protocol in Total Value Locked (TVL).

With extensive knowledge and experience in the development of technology, specifically in the blockchain and crypto space, Stani is definitely one of the top influencers in DeFi.

His background of programming during his teen years and taking part in FinTech communities in law school is a great proof of his passion for making financial products more efficient early on.

Stani is also famous for giving back - he is a mentor and advisor of ICOs and blockchain projects and a speaker at a variety of Blockchain events.

Unsurprisingly, Stani is fascinated by DeFi and how it creates a more efficient financial system. He was sold on the idea once he realised that smart contracts allow permissionless access to build products and use services that are available to anyone.

The most exciting thing is that anyone can build fascinating products now and attract users around the world to govern these products and protocols. Finance is becoming more democratic.

Ryan Sean Adams

Founder of Mythos Capital, creator of Bankless program

@RyanSAdams, 28.4K Followers

Besides being the founder of Mythos Capital - an investment company that holds cryptoassets and services cryptonetworks - and an active DeFi expert on Twitter, Ryan is also the author of a subscription-based blog (or "program" as he calls it) that is the ultimate guide to crypto finance - Bankless. This program aims to provide a blend of money and tech insights, with the goal of helping you level up your open finance game. This is done through newsletters with actionable steps, podcast and videos.

Subscribe to Bankless here

Follow Ryan and you can count on a constant flow of insightful tweets, with industry news, evangelist posts to go bankless well as content from the actual Bankless.

Mariano Conti

Head of Smart Contracts at MakerDAO

@nanexcool, 9.8K Followers

After studying computer science in Mexico and returning to work in Argentina, Mariano came across Bitcoin almost by accident in 2014. Looking to avoid the effects of inflation, he struck a deal with his boss at the time to be paid in dollars. With capital controls and no easy access to dollars, it proved to be very difficult. Then, the two discovered Bitcoin.

Shortly afterwards, the two went all in with Ethereum and looked for a project to put their skills into. They came across MakerDao. Fast forward five years and Mariano is now tasked with heading up the team that writes, tests and maintains the central element to the MakerDao protocol. As a former head of smart contracts, he was the brains behind the logic of DAI, one of the most decentralized stablecoins.

The most exciting aspect about DeFi is without a doubt composability and community. The great Ethereum community works with each other, helping all projects rise, because they're all better when they work together.

Mariano has experienced first-hand DeFi's ability to free people from the shackles of a broken economic system. He's now directly behind the drive to take this revolutionary technology to the next level.

Laura Shin

Crypto journalist; Host of Unchained and Unconfirmed podcasts.

@laurashin, 118.9K Followers

A former senior editor at Forbes, Laura was the first mainstream reporter to cover crypto assets full-time. As well as a master of arts degree from Columbia University’s School of Journalism, she also graduated with honours from Stanford University.

With a background writing about economics, finance and technology, Laura was perfectly placed to document the rise of crypto. Since her early career as a reporter at Newsweek to her role as a technical writer for the Wall Street Journal and, later, as a producer at The New York Times, Laura has been one of the most prominent and respected journalistic voices on the cryptocurrency scene.

Listen to Unchained & Unconfirmed here

She's now writing a book about the history of the crypto space. With her unrivaled experience covering this incredibly disruptive technology, there's no doubt it's going to be a great read.

I think blockchain is the wave of the future, so I think it's crucial that people know about it, understand what's going to happen and how this technology is going to change their lives.

DeFi Dad

DeFi super-user, creative strategist, educator and host of the Ethereal summit and podcast

@DeFi_Dad, 17.5K Followers

A DeFi expert who works to get the DeFi message out across a varitety of mediums, DeFi Dad got deep into Ethereum while working for software companies in San Francisco a few years ago.

Through his passion for this emerging technology, he decided to take the lead in organizing the Ethereal Summit - a collaboration of more than 100 technologists, artists, startups, entrepreneurs, and investors who believe that DeFi can lead to a better world.

The problem is that many are not aware of how DeFi can help them. For me, all that matters in the long term is mass adoption of DeFi. I only care about finding ways to get everyone to try a new DeFi app.

With his witty insights and deep knowledge, DeFi Dad is doing his bit to bring DeFi to the people, educating those on the outside of the blockchain scene about its revolutionary potential.

Linda Xie

Co-founder and Managing Director at Scalar Capital; advisor at OX Project; former Product Manager at Coinbase

@ljxie, 64.2 Followers

After studying economics at the University of California in 2009, Linda interned at insurance firm AEG, before making the big switch in 2014, becoming product manager at Coinbase.

Her work for one of the biggest companies in cryptocurrency immersed Linda in the crypto space. at this point. At Coinbase, her role revolved around internal tool and data analytics, as well as liasing with regulatory bodies on compliance with new crypto laws and regulations.

Linda went on to create Scalar Capital, an investment management firm focused on crypto assets. Scalar gives people the chance to invest in crypto, acting as advisors and managers of investment portfolios.

It’s important to understand that we are very much in the early days of DeFi, but the potential is massive. Not only will more people who are excluded from traditional financial systems be able to have access to financial products, we will see new finance products being created that we have never seen before.

Anthony Sassano

Product Marketing Manager at Tokensets; Co-Founder of EthHub; Founder of the Daily Gwei podcast

@sassal0x, 22K Followers

Anthony founded EthHub, a central portal for access to news, views and developments in the crypto space. It's a cross platform venture, with a podcast, a newsletter, opinion pieces and more.

The podcast, the Daily Gwei, in particular is making waves in the crypto ecosystem with a cutting edge take on exciting new innovatiions in the crypto space. With his background in cyber security, Anthony has a lot to say on the potential of DeFi to completely reshape the financial and technological environment.

In his role as marketing manager at Tokensets, Anthony is part of a team of ambitious pioneers, working towards a fairer, more transparent financial system.

If we expect a decentralized financial system to grow and one day usurp the existing system, we must have guarantees that the Ethereum network is sufficiently able to secure trillions of dollars of value and be incredibly resistant to change.

Chris Burniske

Partner at Placeholder Venture Capital; author of 'Cryptoassets'

@cburniske, 125K Followers

Chris Burniske is a crypto expert and a partner at Placeholder VC, a New York based venture firm that specialses in cryptoassets. Before joining Placeholder, he led a pioneering strategy at ARK Investment Management, taking them in a comletely new direction to become the first public fund management company to invest in bitcoin.

A Stanford University graduate, Chris has been sought for his expertise on the continuing evolution of DeFi. He has featured in articles and interviews for various leading media outlets including the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Fortune, Forbes and Bloomberg.

He's also co-authored a best-selling book on the subject of crytpo - Cryptoassets: The Innovative Investor’s Guide to Bitcoin and Beyond.

We're in a transfer of value renaissance. There are many "competitors" but I think of them more as collaborators. I see a system of blockchains that are interconnected and facilitate seemless transfer of value. This creates a flywheel of developers and users that continue to innovate within the ecosystem.



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Ryan Osborne
Ryan Osborne

Originally from the south coast of England, I moved to Barcelona to pursue the good life. As a tech and lifestyle writer, I help companies and startups develop their brand, locally and internationally.


Raise is a loan marketplace that connects individuals with investment opportunities primarily in emerging countries

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