Our cover this week is about the weird and wonderful world of decentralised finance—or DeFi. It has the potential to rewire how the financial system works. It is causing a frenzy of invention like that of the early days of the web. And, at a time when people spend ever more of their lives online, it could even remake the architecture of the digital economy. Although the terminology is intimidating (fees are “gas”, the main currency is ether and title deeds over digital assets are known as NFTs), the basic activities taking place on DeFi are familiar. These include trading on exchanges and issuing loans and taking deposits through self-executing agreements called smart contracts. The value of digital instruments being used as collateral has grown from almost nothing in early 2018 to $90bn. Roughly $2.2trn of transactions were processed in the second quarter, around the same sum as passed through Visa. DeFi has attracted crooks, fools and true believers. It has a long way to go and many questions to answer before it starts to fulfil its promise. But the white rabbit is beckoning.