Imagine you would carry an agent around that can help you make financial decisions. Moreover, think that this agent could autonomously select decentralized financial (DeFi) protocols in which to invest. And then take it a step further and imagine that your agent can automatically and privately collaborate with other agents to optimally balance your risk and profit criteria. To enable these capabilities your agents needs to be able to communicate with a range of other agents, ensure that those agents can be trusted, encode the agreed terms into smart contracts, and have some measures to handle disputes. This involves a great deal of open research questions.
As of November 2019, I am the co-founder of Interlay where we build interoperable assets for DeFi. At Interlay, we envision a future where permissioned and permissionless blockchains, regardless of design and purpose, can seamlessly connect and interact. From DeFi loans to decentralized exchanges, from layer-2 protocols to application specific ledgers: anyone should use any digital currency on any blockchain platform.
As of October 2017, I am a PhD candidate at the Imperial Centre for Cryptocurrency Research and Engineering (IC3RE) where I try to answer a couple of these questions. This includes encoding trust through financial collateral in open and decentralized systems, risks and composition of DeFi protocols, and interoperability of assets across different ledgers so that the agent is not contained to a single platform.