Aragon’s ANT Rallies After Cofounder Proposes Token Buybacks to End Activist Crisis

After a week of bickering cooler heads began to prevail. The market responded with gusto.

AccessTimeIconMay 10, 2023 at 8:57 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 29, 2023 at 3:34 p.m. UTC

The ANT token rallied to its highest levels for May after the co-founder of Aragon advocated for token buybacks as a way to solve the governance crisis that’s besieged the Swiss-based Aragon Association.

Luis Cuende, who created the DAO builder’s platform and retains influence in the association running it, called for $30 million in ANT buybacks using a smart contract that would buy all tokens trading higher than the 30-day moving average, which is currently $3.09. He also called for Aragon’s $200 million treasury to gradually transfer to the Aragon DAO – an entity controlled by ANT token holders – over a period of five years.

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  • The proposal extended what had already been a banner rally for the ANT token, which climbed from its Wednesday low of $2.75 to $2.98 immediately prior to his post – and shot up to $3.25 and higher afterwards.

    Coming nearly one week into Aragon’s governance crisis, the proposal seemed to cool a volatile situation that on Tuesday exploded with the Aragon Association's decision to throw its DAO into lockdown to protect against a “51% attack.” The barbarians at its gates were the so-called RFV Raiders, a loose collective of activist crypto traders including the crypto hedge fund Arca who had called for buybacks of the ANT token to bring its value in line with the treasury.

    On Tuesday, Aragon Association reversed a community-approved plan to move its $200 million treasury to ANT holders’ control – an important step in its “DAO journey” – out of fear that the RFV Raiders would plunder it. In a blog post, it said it was “repurposing the Aragon DAO as part of a new grants program” that would “secure these funds from those seeking to access them for their own financial gains.”

    One member of the activist collective told CoinDesk that between all of them they have enough voting power to win any vote over the team’s objections, including the ability to block grant allocations. That threat underscored the pickle Aragon is in: It cannot afford to completely ignore the RFV Raiders while continuing to rely on its ANT token for any form of governance.

    There was no guarantee that Cuende’s proposal would be implemented. He said he is “not involved in the day to day of Aragon” and warned any solution would take time. The Aragon Association did not immediately respond to CoinDesk.

    “The Aragon Association’s mandate is to spend its treasury on Aragon’s mission. That mandate also applies for transferring the funds to the DAO. So whichever proposal the AA decides to go with, it will need to be reviewed by the legal team. This is usually slow, painful, and requires a lot of back and forth,” Cuende wrote.

    Still, there were signs Wednesday that after days of bickering, banning, conspiratorial allegations, open letters and accusations of “decentralization theater,” cooler heads were prevailing. Three activist investors that CoinDesk spoke to said the proposal was a good start.

    Edited by Nick Baker.


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    Danny Nelson

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