Within a week of going online, DeFi project SushiSwap’s total value locked (TVL) surpassed $1.5 billion. At its peak, it made up almost 70% of liquidity on the decentralized exchange Uniswap. SushiSwap only took seven days to launch. This article was originally published by CoinDesk China on Tuesday.
SushiSwap co-founder 0xMaki (later referred to as Maki) once proudly said, “It took Uniswap two years to get to where it is today. It only took us seven days.”
SushiSwap’s founding team is extremely small, with only three people: Chef Nomi (later referred to as Chef), sushiswap and 0xMaki. The first two are responsible for code and product development, while the latter is responsible for growth and operations.
Last Saturday, SushisSwap co-founder Chef suddenly sold all the tokens that were supposed to be used for a development fund without notifying the community. This move sparked dissatisfaction and doubt in the community, and SUSHI’s price plummeted.
As doubts in the community continued to grow, Chef decided to transfer the Admin Keys to FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried (later referred to as Sam) and left a message saying, "I am a good person."
After Sam took over the management key, he and Maki organized the code migration and multi-signature validator voting.
SushiSwap has since completed migrating its users’ funds from Uniswap and turned control over to nine well respected users who can approve changes and expenditures as a group.
Earlier this week, CoinDesk China published an exclusive interview with Maki, the only remaining SushiSwap founding team member. The interview, which is slightly edited, covers Maki's opinions on Chef's sale of the development funds and Sam's management authority, as well as SushiSwap’s development plan after Chef's departure.
CoinDesk China: Let’s start with a self-introduction. Who are you, and what do you do in SushiSwap?
Maki: I’m a full-stack engineer, but in SushiSwap I’m responsible for growth and operations. For the time being, I don’t want to disclose too much about my real identity. If it becomes necessary later, I will disclose it, now it is too early.
CoinDesk China: In your opinion, why did SushiSwap explode online?
Maki: On the first day we went online, we had the Quantstamp audit report, which contained no major defects. The security audit report is very helpful to the growth of our TVL.
CoinDesk China: What are your short-term goals?
Maki: Our short-term goal is to successfully complete the migration, this is very important. [Note: The migration was completed on Wednesday].
Later we will discuss governance with the community, in order to make the project develop smoothly and not fail.
We will also optimize the user interface (UI) of SushiSwap, such as launching a Chinese UI, introducing more traders, and adding features that UniSwap does not have.
More important, we will start integrating with other DeFi protocols. For example, the integration with renBTC’s native system, which would allow users to directly convert BTC to renBTC on SushiSwap. Another example is that if we integrate with 1inch, they can route more transactions to us because we have better liquidity.
I am a believer in Ethereum, but I am open-minded about other public chains as well. I also hope to launch SushiSwap on public chains like Polkadot and Solana.
We want to create the best, most user-friendly DEX.
CoinDesk China: When did you first start learning about cryptocurrency and blockchain?
Maki: As early as 2013, someone introduced me to Bitcoin.
CoinDesk China: Why did you decide to join SushiSwap?
Maki: After reading a SushiSwap article on Medium, I felt that "Community Uniswap" is an indispensable part of the DEX ecosystem, so I contacted Chef and expressed my willingness to join.
When I joined, staking, migration and governance contracts were all ready. Chef did not give me GitHub permissions, so I started directly preparing to work on market and operations.
My work at SushiSwap is completely voluntary. Now I only hold ETH and YFI, I don't have SUSHI tokens, nor participate in SUSHI liquidity mining. I value the success or failure of SushiSwap more than personal gains and losses.
I have participated in YAM and YFI mining. Although I have not yet reached financial freedom, I’m not short on money.
CoinDesk China: What is your personal opinion of Uniswap?
Maki: I think Uniswap is very good. Its founder Hayden Adams is a person I really admire.
I think we will coexist with Uniswap. There definitely will be multiple players on this track. In addition to Uniswap and SushiSwap, there will be other DEXs as well.
CoinDesk China: Do you personally know Chef? Are Chef and sushiswap the same person?
Maki: I saw SushiSwap’s introduction article on Medium, and after finding it very interesting I joined its Discord group. I was the third person to join, after Chef and sushiswap. I don’t think they are the same person, but they are probably two people who know each other in real life.
CoinDesk China: Many people on the Internet are saying, Chef is actually FTX CEO Sam, is that true?
Maki: No, Sam joined later. I don’t believe Chef and Sam are the same person.
CoinDesk China: Are you disappointed by what Chef did?
Maki: Chef sold all the tokens that were supposed to be used for a development fund, which is very surprising. At the beginning, Chef said that he didn’t come to make fast money, he was thinking about the community ... I now think he’s all talk, and I am not sure of his original intention…
In the end he cashed out, but he also transferred the administrator authority to Sam, but his behavior caused the price of the SUSHI token to plummet. [Note: Chef Nomi later returned all $14 million in ETH he cashed out.]
CoinDesk China: Do you think Chef and sushiswap contributed to the project?
Maki: They just copied Uniswap and YAM’s code, I don’t think they invested a lot in this project. They were more thinking about how to make fast money, without a long-term vision.
But I still thank them for giving me an opportunity to participate in this project, though it is forked out of other projects.
I think SushiSwap could be made into a great project, so I’m willing to continue to support it. In the Ethereum community, I’ve also met a lot of great people, they have always encouraged me and we will continue to build this project together.
CoinDesk China: After Sam took over management authority, what was the division of labor between you and Sam?
Maki: Later I will "guide" the development of the entire project. ... It is up to the community to make decisions, I only make suggestions.
CoinDesk China: What is your opinion of Sam’s management authority?
Maki: I am satisfied with the result. At the very beginning, Chef said he wanted to give management authority to me, but I wasn’t very confident in my own technical strength. I wasn’t sure that I would be able to make SushiSwap’s migration a success.
Later, I suggested that Chef consider giving management authority to Andrew Kang or Sam, they both have a better understanding of technology, and are also very interested in this project. Sam also holds a lot of SUSHI, so he is financially motivated to do a good job in operating and managing this project.
After the migration is completed and the multi-signature board of directors is determined, I think he will transition from the role of administrator to an ordinary community member. After that, I will mainly be responsible for leading this project to the next stage. Slowly, I will also fade out and gradually decentralize this project.
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