Dozens of Tokens Tumble as Prolific Developer Andre Cronje Calls It Quits

Investors are running for the exits as a mercurial developer leaves DeFi development behind.

AccessTimeIconMar 6, 2022 at 4:52 p.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 5:57 p.m. UTC

Prices for dozens of tokens are plunging on the news that prolific developer Andre Cronje is calling it quits – including prices for many that only have tenuous links to the DeFi maven.

On Sunday, frequent collaborator Anton Nell announced on Twitter he and Cronje were “closing the chapter” on developing in decentralized finance.

Many observers assumed such an announcement was imminent because Cronje deleted his Twitter account and updated his LinkedIn account last week to reflect that he was no longer an adviser to the Fantom Foundation.

Despite these warning signs, the market reacted violently to the news.

The token associated with the recently released Solidly, a hybrid automated market maker (AMM), tumbled as much as 75% on the day. Likewise, automation platform Keep3r's token is likewise down 25%, and that of lending platform Iron Bank is down 50%. All these protocols were founded by Cronje.

Broad drawdown

The effect has even reached projects that only have tenuous ongoing links to Cronje.

For years now Cronje has publicly stated he has not been involved in the day-to-day operations of Yearn Finance, a yield vault protocol he turned over to a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) with a now-mythical “fair launch” in July 2020. Nonetheless, the YFI token tumbled as much as 12%, and is down 7.5% at the time of writing.

Likewise, the tokens of much of the Fantom ecosystem are drastically lower today. Spookyswap (BOO) is down 19%, LiquidDriver (LQDR) 17%, Tomb 22% (TOMB) and Geist Finance (GEIST) 15%, despite the fact that Cronje was not known to be significantly involved in any of their development.

Lasting impact

Throughout his career, Cronje has had a strained relationship with DeFi. He often takes to his blog to decry speculators and riff on the psychological perils of building; his protocols have driven billions in value and also been hacked for millions of dollars; he has taken months-long sabbaticals from the space in the past.

Nonetheless, Nell emphasized the latest exit was not a “knee-jerk” reaction and is indeed final.

From a practical perspective, however, many have noted that Cronje’s exit will not impact on the operations of many of the protocols in which he was involved.

While Nell’s farewell post noted that many websites will be shutting down as a result of the pair’s decision to step away, these sites are merely front ends for largely autonomous contracts Cronje deployed months or even years ago.

Indeed, in the hours since the announcement teams have already begun announcing the launch of new front ends for interacting with these contracts, such as one team replacing Cronje’s

“The source code is open source, anyone that would like to continue hosting this service is welcome to,” reads a pop-up disclaimer on many of Cronje’s soon-to-be-defunct sites.


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Andrew Thurman

Andrew Thurman was a tech reporter at CoinDesk with a focus on DeFi.

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