ROOK Token Holders Poised to Collect $25M Payout

Rook Labs and activist investors reached a deal that returns millions of dollars to the former DAO.

AccessTimeIconApr 13, 2023 at 11:17 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 29, 2023 at 3:33 p.m. UTC

Rook DAO is dead. But its riches are alive – and available to be claimed by ROOK token holders for the next 90 days.

The former governance token has become a ticket to redeem around $25 million of the treasury that once belonged to Rook DAO, the defunct governing body whose members now run a new entity that only exists to liquidate the cash.

Incubator DAO, the new entity, is being run by activist investors who once bristled at Rook Labs' perceived slights and demanded they return value to token holders. Rook Labs, the builders of Rook's MEV technology and de facto operators of the project, ultimately obliged. They cut a deal that divorced ROOK, the token from Rook the project, by effectively buying out token holders' governing rights for around 60% of the treasury.

"This has been a dynamic, collaborative process, designed to accommodate the community’s wishes for the ROOK token and the new Incubator DAO." Rook Labs' pseudonymous CEO Hazard told CoinDesk in a Discord message. "We’re grateful for the enthusiastic participation of ROOK holders and community members, and are happy to see the token holders of Incubator DAO exercising their new autonomy. From here, Rook Labs will move forward with our objective of building innovative MEV infrastructure, operating within the bounds of real-world legal and regulatory frameworks and business imperatives."

Wismerhill, the Carl Icahn wannabe who leads the activist wing and now Incubator DAO, told CoinDesk he was glad all sides reached an amicable agreement.

"This is the greatest outcome everyone could expect: token-holders can unlock their ownership of the treasury, and the Rook Labs team gets to continue working on exciting projects without the burden of a worthless governance token."

ROOK holders who redeem their tokens through the smart contract get a pro rata share of USDC, plus a pROOK token. At the end of 90 days, the remaining USDC will be split among pROOK token holders, Wismerhill said.


Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.

Danny Nelson

Danny is CoinDesk's Managing Editor for Data & Tokens. He owns BTC, ETH and SOL.

Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk’s longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to to register and buy your pass now.