Despite cryptocurrency’s transition from the main page of Reddit to Main Street, it can be quite difficult even for tech savvy consumers to learn about crypto – much less make smart decisions.
One enterprising group of young female founders is on a mission to bridge this gap and educate people about crypto, and they’ve chosen Miami as their hub.
Meet Defy Trends (Defy is pronounced interchangeably as ‘DeFi’ for decentralized finance or defy, as a nod to the fact that they are a women-led organization in a traditionally male-dominated industry). The startup’s initial aim was to bring more women into the space, but they have recently broadened their focus to include anyone who is curious about escaping what they call the “outdated, centralized financial system.”
Founding a FinTech, from Mexico to Miami
Defy Trends’ four co-founders come from a wide range of backgrounds, bringing a unique perspective to the space. CEO Imge Su Cetin is a data scientist who has most recently worked at the United Nations, contributing to projects such as migration tracking. This month, she is leaving the UN to work on this project full-time. CFO Elena Garidis was formerly an analyst at J.P. Morgan. COO Daniela Henao Moreno is a community builder with a background in leadership and education. Masha Prusso, Head of Marketing and Public Relations, is a trained attorney and the founder of Crypto PR Lab, a blockchain PR and advisory firm. The founding team members come from diverse geographic backgrounds as well, hailing from Colombia, Turkey, Russia, and Greece/Germany.
The origins of Defy Trends can be traced back to last Spring in the Mayan city of Tulum, Mexico. Henao Moreno told Refresh Miami that the founders initially conceptualized what would become Defy Trends while staying in a hybrid entrepreneurial-artistic hideaway. “It was the most amazing experience,” Henao Moreno recalled, noting that the house included people from all walks of life, including technologists and healers.
The team targeted South Florida because they felt that they could recreate this spiritual environment in the Magic City. “It is very beautiful here,” said Henao Moreno. “Besides working a lot, we are also very into spirituality and nature. So it was important to live in a place with both a good work environment and natural environment.” They eventually settled on North Miami, which Henao Moreno appreciates for its “calm, peace, and quiet,” while also being accessible to any events or meetings around the city.
“Miami is awesome,” said Henao Moreno. “It feels like this is truly the place to be for everything crypto and tech.”
On a mission to demystify the crypto space
The main aim for Defy Trends is to provide a “holistic solution for understanding how the crypto market works,” said Henao Moreno. They will achieve this by developing products, a community, and educational content about crypto.
Their first product uses data analytics and artificial intelligence algorithms to help inform users about the opportunity and risks associated with various cryptocurrencies in real time. While the product is still in early development, Henao Moreno explained that the team plans to take a hybrid B2B and B2C strategy. The idea is that companies like banks will purchase access to the startup’s API to plug into their existing systems, while consumers will subscribe to Defy Trends’ proprietary platform.
This platform contains a series of tools, similar to what you might find in a Fidelity or Charles Schwab dashboard – but for crypto. For instance, the startup has created what it calls the Defy Trends Index, which scores coins and helps traders understand which are under- and over-valued. Their AI algorithm analyzes historical data to predict future trends. Another tool measures social sentiment, giving users a better idea of what the HODL crowd is saying at any given moment. Defy Trends has also developed a sustainability index, which displays each coin’s environmental impact.
These tools will help keep traders sharp, said Henao Moreno: “We’re giving investors a way to see the indicators that are most important to their needs.” In this rapidly growing, under-regulated industry where even platforms themselves are allegedly leading consumers astray, these insights can mean the difference between becoming a diamond-handed crypto connoisseur and falling flat.
Building – and educating – a crypto community
Henao Moreno is leading Defy Trends’ community building and educational initiatives: “We want to show people that, yes, crypto is complicated – but it’s not impossible to understand.” The team has launched a Telegram channel geared towards upskilling less experienced crypto investors. The startup also plans to continue building its social media presence, while simultaneously hosting in-person events in Miami.
The details about Defy Trends’ first educational course are still under wraps, but Henao Moreno signaled that it will teach people the basics of cryptocurrency.
The Defy Trends team is proud to be building a women-led crypto organization as they educate investors. While the industry is overwhelmingly male, a study by CoinMarketMap found that in 2020 there was a 43% increase in women working in crypto.
“I’m very grateful to be one of the few women in this space right now,” said Henao Moreno. “But I do want to note that there are a lot of women in Miami doing amazing work in the tech space. They’ve welcomed us with open arms, and it’s been fantastic to have that community here.”
Up next for Defy Trends is Celo Camp, a virtual accelerator focused on blockchain and crypto startups. Henao Moreno said that the team is also excited to release their product within the next two months.
As for which crypto trends are here to say, Henao Moreno highlighted NFTs as one of the most exciting, “not just because of the physical NFT, but also the applications in art and real estate.”
“The options are limitless,” she said. And when it comes to the state of crypto today, Henao Moreno believes that “this is just the tip of the iceberg.”
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