Date - Cryptocurrency X Webflow Template
May 17, 2024
Reading Time - Cryptocurrency X Webflow Template
 min read

DeFi Eats Long Tail Assets

These assets have traditionally been difficult to trade or invest in.

DeFi Eats Long Tail Assets 

Decentralised Finance (DeFi) has been changing the cryptocurrency space by using blockchain technology to create innovative ways to borrow, lend, and invest without the need for traditional financial intermediaries. The growth of DeFi has been impressive, with the total value locked in DeFi applications rising from approximately $800 million at the end of 2019 to over $150 billion in February 2024 (DefiLlama).

However, DeFi's potential goes beyond Bitcoin and Ethereum. It is beginning to reach a diverse range of assets, including niche markets such as litigation finance, agricultural finance, and insurance policies. These assets, often referred to as "long-tail assets," have traditionally been difficult to trade or invest in.

The integration of long-tail assets into the DeFi ecosystem could open up new opportunities for investors and businesses alike. For example, an individual could invest in a small business's invoices from the comfort of their own home, or a farmer in a developing country could access affordable crop insurance. These are just a few examples of the possibilities that DeFi could enable.

The impact of this development is significant. Long-tail assets make up a big portion of the global economy, but they have often been inaccessible to the majority of people. DeFi has the potential to change this by increasing the liquidity, accessibility, and efficiency of trading these assets.

In this article, we will dive into the world of long-tail assets and explore how DeFi is beginning to unlock their potential. We will explore real world examples of DeFi platforms venturing into this space and discuss the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

What are long Tail Assets?

In the world of investing, the term "long-tail" refers to assets that lie outside the mainstream - they are less popular, less liquid, and often associated with higher risks. If you picture a graph showing the distribution of asset popularity, these long-tail assets would be the skinny end stretching out to the right.

Traditional finance offers several examples of long-tail assets, including:

  • Trade Finance
  • Agriculture Finance
  • Insurance
  • Litigatin Finance

The defining characteristic of long-tail assets is their lower liquidity, which means there are fewer buyers and sellers in the market. This can lead to higher volatility and inherent risk, as these assets often have unproven track records. However, this very characteristic also presents the potential for significant returns. If one of these overlooked assets gains traction, the returns could be significant.

Investing in these niche assets may appeal to those seeking to get in early on potentially lucrative opportunities. Moreover, long-tail assets can provide diversification benefits, as their performance may not be closely correlated with mainstream markets.

Naturally, higher risk necessitates extra caution and thorough due diligence. However, as we will explore further, DeFi protocols are beginning to open up new avenues for accessing and trading these unconventional assets.

How DeFi can Unlock the Potential of Long Tail Assets?

While DeFi is often associated with cryptocurrencies, its potential extends to traditional long-tail assets such as trade finance, agricultural finance, and beyond. These sectors often face challenges in accessing capital, particularly for smaller players in developing countries. However, DeFi has the potential to transform this space.

Consider a small business owner in Southeast Asia who requires financing to import goods. Traditional banks may view this as too risky or not commercially viable. With DeFi, however, this business could potentially tap into a global pool of lenders willing to fund their trade.

Similarly, imagine a farmer in Latin America in need of a loan to purchase seeds and equipment. Local banks may impose high interest rates or demand collateral that the farmer lacks. A DeFi platform offering peer-to-peer lending could connect this farmer with investors worldwide who are interested in supporting sustainable agriculture.

DeFi offers several key benefits for long-tail assets:

  1. Increased Access - By eliminating geographic barriers and intermediaries, DeFi facilitates access to financing for underserved borrowers globally rather than being restricted locally.
  2. Lower Costs - Automating processes through smart contracts and reducing the need for intermediaries can significantly lower the costs of lending and borrowing.
  3. Fractional Ownership - Tokenising assets like trade invoices or agricultural land could allow a wider pool of investors to participate, even with small amounts of capital.
  4. Transparency - Conducting financial transactions on a public blockchain improves transparency and reduces the risk of fraud or corruption.

Certainly, challenges remain, such as ensuring regulatory compliance and safeguarding against hacks. Nevertheless, the potential for DeFi to tap into these billion-dollar markets is immense.

Just as microfinance changed lending to lower-income individuals, DeFi could be the next step in making finance more inclusive and efficient. By bringing capital to overlooked markets, DeFi has the potential to stimulate business growth and economic global development.

DeFi Platforms Venturing into Long-Tail Assets

Several DeFi projects are actively exploring the integration of long-tail assets into their platforms. Let's examine a few real world examples.


TradeShift, a global supply chain management platform, has leveraged blockchain technology to help trade finance for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). In partnership with DeFi protocol MakerDAO, TradeShift offers DeFi loans for international trade. The process works as follows:

  • Businesses can use their invoices as collateral to secure loans on TradeShift's platform.
  • MakerDAO's DeFi infrastructure automates loan processing and approvals based on predefined smart contracts. 
  • This eliminates the need for lengthy bank approvals and allows businesses to access faster financing for their trade needs.
Imag by TradeShift

Goldfinch Finance 

Goldfinch Finance is another DeFi platform focused on providing loans to businesses in emerging markets, specifically targeting areas with limited access to traditional banking. Here is how they operate:

  • Investors deposit cryptocurrency, typically USDC, into the Goldfinch Finance loan pool.
  • Borrowers, usually local lending businesses in emerging markets, can tap into this pool to get loans for their customers, typically small businesses and individuals.
  • Local lenders leverage their market knowledge to assess creditworthiness and make informed loan decisions.
  • As borrowers repay their loans, investors in the Goldfinch loan pool earn interest on their crypto deposits.

For example, a local lending business in Kenya aiming to provide loans to small farmers could utilise Goldfinch Finance to access global capital pools and offer these loans at competitive rates. Meanwhile, crypto investors worldwide can earn returns by providing capital to these underserved markets, creating a mutually beneficial situation enabled by DeFi. 

Dune - Goldfinch Active Loans by Country


Etherisc is a DeFi platform changing the insurance industry by focusing on niche markets and long-tail assets often overlooked by traditional insurers. The platform uses smart contracts to automate the insurance process, from policy issuance to claims processing and payouts. This automation significantly reduces operational costs and eliminates intermediaries, making insurance more accessible and affordable, particularly for niche markets and long-tail assets.

Etherisc supports a wide range of insurance products tailored to specific needs and risks, such as crop protection, flight delay protection, health insurance, carbon credit protection, and more (Etherisc).

Consider a small farmer in a developing country looking for crop insurance against a drought. Traditional insurers might deem this too risky or unprofitable to offer coverage. However, with Etherisc, this farmer could easily apply for a policy, and in the event of a drought, they would receive an automatic payout based on preset conditions in the smart contract, without the need for a lengthy claims process. Etherisc is making insurance more accessible, affordable, and efficient.

Image by Etherisc

These case studies showcase how DeFi platforms are venturing beyond traditional financial instruments and exploring innovative ways to integrate long tail assets from various sectors. By leveraging blockchain tech and peer to peer functionalities, DeFi offers exciting possibilities for unlocking the potential of these underutilised assets and creating more inclusive and efficient financial markets. 

Risks and challenges of integrating Long-Tail Assets in DeFi

While DeFi presents exciting opportunities for long-tail assets, several risks and challenges must be considered. Volatility is a significant concern, as long-tail assets are often less liquid and more susceptible to price fluctuations. This can result in sudden losses for investors or difficulties with collateral liquidation for borrowers.

Regulatory compliance is another complex area. Many long-tail assets, particularly in traditional finance, are subject to strict rules that vary by jurisdiction. DeFi platforms must manage this regulatory space carefully to avoid legal issues. Additionally, determining fair prices for niche assets like invoices or crops can be challenging, there needs to be robust price discovery systems to mitigate mispricing risks.

As with any DeFi application, smart contract security is an important consideration. The potential for hacks and loss of funds due to vulnerabilities in smart contract code is always a risk. When dealing with less tested assets, thorough auditing and insurance become even more important. Platforms will need to invest heavily in security measures to protect users' funds and maintain trust in the system.

Finally, bringing Real World Assets (RWA) onto the blockchain presents its own set of challenges. It requires reliable data feeds and oracles to ensure the accuracy of information, which is particularly important for assets like receivables or agricultural produce.

Despite these challenges, the DeFi community is tackling these issues head on. New insurance models are popping up to protect against smart contract problems. Decentralised oracle networks like Chainlink are providing reliable data. Plus, some jurisdictions are creating test environments to foster DeFi innovation.

While there may be obstacles along the way, by directly confronting these challenges DeFi has the potential to unlock significant value in long-tail assets and create a more inclusive financial system. The potential rewards justify the effort required to overcome these hurdles.


In conclusion, the combination of DeFi and long-tail assets represents a significant opportunity to democratise finance and create new markets. As we've seen with examples like TradeShift, Goldfinch, and Etherisc, DeFi platforms are starting to unlock value in assets that have traditionally been illiquid or hard to access. By reducing costs, increasing transparency, and opening up investment opportunities, DeFi has the potential to create more inclusive and efficient financial markets.

Of course, there are challenges to overcome, such as volatility, regulatory compliance, and the integration of real-world assets with the blockchain. But the DeFi community is innovative and resilient, with new solutions emerging all the time. As DeFi grows and more long-tail assets come into play, we could see a significant shift in how we think about and interact with these assets. The journey is just beginning, but the potential rewards are significant. The combination of DeFi and long-tail assets could be the key to unlocking a more equitable and efficient financial system for all.

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