Andre Cronje launched Yearn Finance and Keep3rV1, and had also played an instrumental role in the creation of countless other DeFi protocols — and token prices are now plunging.
One of the decentralized finance industry's best-known developers has announced that he's leaving the space — prompting the value of a number of tokens to fall substantially.
Andre Cronje launched Yearn Finance and Keep3rV1, and had also played an instrumental role in the creation of countless other DeFi protocols.
The news was announced by his long-time collaborator Anton Nell on Twitter. He confirmed that a number of websites would be shutting down on April 3 — however, the projects will have a chance to continue because they are open source. Nell tweeted:
"Unlike previous 'building in DeFi sucks' rage quits, this is not a knee jerk reaction to the hate received from releasing a project, but a decision that has been coming for a while now. Thank you to everyone that supported us over the past few years."
The DeFi Edge, a Twitter account that offers insights into what's going on within the sector, described Cronje as "the Godfather of DeFi," adding:
"Andre is an introvert. He's one of those gigabrains that wants to be behind the scenes and build."
They claim a recent "turning point" relates to the launch of ve(3,3) — a project that started to be teased in January. A partnership was established that would allow Cronje to focus on building the backend, while Daniele Sestagalli would handle marketing.
Although this was a "match made in heaven," all of that was said to change when Wonderland — another project that Sestagalli was involved in — was hit by a scandal, and its treasury manager was unmasked as a convicted fraudster who co-founded the doomed crypto exchange QuadrigaCX.
According to The DeFi Edge, Sestagalli's reputation took a "huge hit" as a result of the debacle, and this meant he had to step down from ve(3,3):
"Well, this left Andre alone to handle the SOLID project. Keep in mind that Andre likes being behind the scenes. Now he was the face of the project. That meant handling the PR, decisions, and drama surrounding the project. He didn't sign up for any of that."
SOLID refers to the Solidly exchange — a new protocol that launched in late February that reportedly suffered smart contract bugs and security flaws, issues that Cronje denied.
The DeFi Edge claims there were signs that Cronje was starting to get fed up. He was sharing memes on his Twitter feed instead of posting valuable insights — and days later, his account was removed altogether.
"Was this a RUG? Nah. I see a developer who signed up to build but didn't sign up for all the bullshit and drama that comes with it. He reached a tipping point where it wasn't worth it for him anymore."
Cronje's decision may have also been influenced by the fact "he has made enough to set himself up for several lifetimes financially."
It's important to stress that all of these projects will continue, and their decentralized nature means other developers can carry on building. Indeed, The DeFi Edge even believes that we could see a comeback from Cronje one day, writing:
"Guys like Andre are cut from a different cloth. He's not the kind of guy that can chill on a beach forever. Building is his drug. He'll come back to get his fix sooner or later."
But investors were far less sanguine about Cronje's departure, as evidenced by the stomach-churning falls in the value of DeFi projects that he is associated with.
Less than an hour after the announcement was made by Anton Nell, yearn.finance plunged from $19,864 to $17,669 — down 11%. And over the course of Sunday, KP3R's value fell from $625 to $390 — down 38%. A similar tale of woe can be seen across other tokens.
All of this has led to some rather uncomfortable questions surrounding DeFi. If the success of decentralized protocols hinges upon one renowned, respected developer — and the markets panic when they step down — are these projects more centralized than they first appear?