While decentralized finance has stolen the show with big-number headlines over the past year — the closely-watched Total Value Locked (TVL) figure notably growing nearly 800%, rising from $20 billion at the start of 2021 to $157 billion at May peaks — centralized crypto financial services have likewise enjoyed explosive growth.

According to Kalin Metodiev, CFA and co-founder at Nexo, the crypto savings account company has grown fourfold to $15 billion in AUM, expanded to 1.7 million clients, and has new features like asset swap functionality built into the platform coming down the pipe.

Nexo and Cointelegraph only crossed paths briefly in Miami via a short conversation in the Nexo-sponsored Bitcoin Art Gallery — one of the highlights of the conference hall. However, we caught up with Metodiev for a written interview shortly after the madness ended to talk over key metrics climbing, the risks DeFi poses to Nexo’s model, and a path forward for institutional adoption.

Adapting to Defi

When it comes to DeFi’s rise, Metodiev sees a clear ceiling in terms of the heights it can reach due to some of its core, permissionless features. 

“We are intrigued by the opportunities the DeFi space may offer and find merit in the notions of automation and decentralization,” he said. “However, this is a space that needs to align with institutional policies and standards in order to survive and thrive on a large scale in the long term. Nexo operates in accordance with formal AML/KYC guidance and compliance protocols, which are not currently adopted by the DeFi space.”