Finance Magnates TV: How Yield Farming is Helping People with Beryl Li

In this podcast, Beryl Li, co-founder of YGG explains how yield farming from   blockchain games is financially empowering people

Finance Magnates TV (FMTV) is a platform that invites industry leaders to offer their insights on market trends in the crypto and forex space. FMTV is a part of Finance Magnates, a multi-asset trading news source that covers global developments in the banking and investing landscape, and past guests on the podcast include Miko Matsumura of gumi Cryptos Capital, Scott Melker of the WOAS Podcast, and Brad Yasar, Board Member at Yasar Corporation.

FMTV is hosted by Rachel McIntosh, a writer from Finance Magnates who frequently conducts interviews with people that are actively disrupting the fintech industry.

This episode features YGG co-founder Beryl Li, who started her career in early-stage Venture Capital in Shanghai. She holds a Masters of Finance degree from Cambridge University, where she sat as President of the Cambridge University Cryptocurrency Society. 

Beryl previously co-founded CapchainX, an asset tokenization platform that was acquired by SMKG in 2019, and was on the founding team at Coins.PH, a leading crypto exchange in the Philippines that was acquired by GoJek in 2019. Beryl is passionate about financial empowerment, especially in emerging economies.

Rachel and Beryl discuss what Yield Guild does, the future of NFTs, and how yield farming is supporting individuals in the Philippines. Beryl also explains how these blockchain-based games can lead people closer to the DeFi (decentralized finance) ecosystem that is transforming how we think about the financial sector. 

Finance Magnates TV - The Future of NFTs in Gaming - Beryl Li

Rachel (2:30): So how did the concept of “yield farming” lead to the development of this Guild, as you say?

Beryl (2:39): I’ll first introduce what play-to-earn is and provide a bit of background. When the pandemic hit in the Philippines there were a number of people who actually lost their jobs. These were factory workers and bus drivers who frankly don’t have a lot of savings. These people wouldn’t be able to survive for months without work because they normally get paid weekly or even daily and there was really this need for them to generate income.

The story surrounding this was that because of the lockdown, parents were not able to feed their kids, and sometimes you would hear really extreme stories about people that were feeding their kids instant coffee, or at times, couldn’t feed their children for two days because they were not making enough money.

Around that same time, Leah from Emfarsis released an article on Axie Infinity that spread like wildfire, about this district in the Philippines where people were downloading this game and spending hours playing it. These people were playing and earning in-game rewards that we call SLP or smooth love potion. This SLP can be converted into Philippine pesos through localized exchanges and that’s how they converted tokened rewards which helped them put food on the table.

This was fascinating for us, but the issue was the entry price. The prices of these NFTs that are required to enter increases over time, and at that time having a $100 Axie team was not possible for a lot of Filipinos.

So we started breeding Axies and buying NFTs, not just for Axie Infinity but for several other games and that’s when we started offering scholarships where we provide NFTs to our players, and those players actually use our NFTs to earn rewards.

Rachel(5:25): That’s amazing. I love that this was something that was born out of a real need.  Maybe things are starting to change now, but I think in the crypto space there has always been this conversation about the unbanked and the people who don’t have a lot of money, low-income workers, who don’t have access to financial services, and how cryptocurrencies serve these people, and crypto platforms that are being created to serve these people. But a lot of the time, those platforms are sort of looking at that demographic from a very high level, where they don’t actually understand the needs of those people, and in many cases are not even in contact with them directly at all. But this seems like something that came specifically from a group of people that really needed financial support.

Beryl (6:19): That’s right, and I know that you asked a question about the relationship between DeFi, yield farming, and what we are doing at Axie and YGG by leasing NFTs. DeFi is about next-generation banking, but when you actually look at what we are doing, it’s more than “banking the unbanked”.

Firstly, to be able to bank somebody, they need to have savings to make deposits. They need to already have jobs to be able to get loans, and they need to have a long credit history to be able to get better rates. That’s just not possible for a lot of the population in the Philippines. Due to the pandemic, there’s hardly any credit rating because people don’t have jobs or savings.

So instead of going through AAVE or Compound and borrowing, lending, we start with a group of individuals that doesn’t have anything yet, and let’s help them produce something, then later on we can provide other financial services on top of that.

Because of the way they are using these NFTs to play as well, it’s like Financial Education 101. In DeFi, “We can tell them to download Metamask, buy Ether, and store Ether in smart contracts to produce yield”, but they might not be able to grasp that concept because there is still a lack of financial education in the Philippines. However, by starting with play to earn, they actually understand that concept, and you will see them beginning to develop a different kind of mindset about how they strategize in their games or what they should do with their rewards and where to spend them.

You can check out the full podcast on YouTube.

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