Today marks a big day for DeFi. Famed developers Andre Cronje and Anton Nell have announced they are retiring from DeFi and crypto. While both Andre and Anton most recently were working on Fantom, an EVM compatible sidechain, Andre is most well known for being the dev that created Yearn. Yearn's token distribution, which focused on early users utilizing the app rather than investors, was incredibly innovative at the time. Furthermore, Yearn was the first yield aggregator that came to market.
In addition to Yearn, Andre is known for many other projects that have had some success, such as Keep3rV1 and Fantom, while other projects pushed by Andre have completely cratered into oblivion because of exploits, such as Eminence. Andre popularized the phrase "test in prod", which effectively means that he launches applications quickly without robust testing beforehand. This type of mantra leads to quick innovation, but also leads to projects having a high risk of being exploited since they have not been thoroughly vetted before coming to market.
Anton Nell is most well known for helping develop Fantom.
To say the least, the market was not happy that two of the most renowned DeFi developers are opting to retire.
YFI dropped nearly 11% on the news, while FTM is down almost 15% on the day now. KP3R is down a whopping 26% on the day. While YFI has largely recovered a significant amount of the drop, which makes sense since Andre no longer significantly contributes to the project, the other coin's prices remain depressed.
Clearly, the devs are the superstars in crypto at this juncture. While executives joining and leaving various companies can move markets in traditional asset classes, the same sort of market effects occur with devs transitioning in crypto. Devs, especially the top ones, are viewed as the top influencers by the crypto market.
DeFi Leader Burnout
While DeFi devs were the stars of the 2020's DeFi summer, the DeFi bear market (DeFi has dramatically underperformed the rest of the crypto market over the past year) has caused a lot of leaders to burnout. Furthermore, there are only a handful people that currently have the insight to truly innovate in DeFi at this point in time since we are so early, so understandably many feel overburdened.
Kain Warwick of Synthetix and Mariano Conti of MakerDAO are two such examples of DeFi leaders that have in the past year taken a step back from actively contributing to their respective projects in a significant way. That is not to say these DeFi leaders won't be back in full force, but being one of the few innovators on the bleeding edge is taxing. The fact that many of these DeFi innovators will no longer have to worry about money for themselves, their children, and often their children's children also likely plays a role in their decision making process.
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