The demise of FTX, the crypto exchange run by Sam Bankman-Fried, is horrifying, but it’s a tale as old as time. Opaque processes and intermediation concealed extreme leverage, poor risk management and alleged fraud. The Economist recently asked whether, in the wake of FTX’s collapse, crypto could be useful for anything other than scams and speculation. The decentralised finance movement, or “DeFi", which is built on the technology underlying cryptocurrencies, is nascent. But it offers transparent protocols that also enshrine inviolable user protections.