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DeFi project SUSHI gets new ‘master chef’ in an unprecedented move

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SushiSwap (SUSHI), a fork of Uniswap created by the controversial developer “Chef Nomi,” has been handed over to FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried on Sep. 6 in an unexpected takeover. The decision happened after SUSHI fell from $9.5 to $1.13 in just five days.

SUSHI 4-hour price chart. Source: TradingView.com

Creator controversially sold around $13m of dev funds, causing a market crash

The handover of the project to the reputable SBF comes after Nomi reportedly withdrew 20,039 ETH and 2,558,644 SUSHI from the dev fund. The capital in the dev fund was supposed to be used to finance the development of the project.

Spencer Noon, the head of DTCC Capital, was one of the first to spot Chef Nomi’s sell-off of SUSHI tokens. He wrote:

“Anonymous founder of SushiSwap sells all of his Sushi. WHO COULD HAVE POSSIBLY PREDICTED THIS?!”

Acknowledging the outrage from the community, Chef Nomi said he did not “exit scam.” He claimed he deserved the dev fund as he created the project. 

“People asked if I exited scam. I did not. I am still here. I will continue to participate in the discussion. I will help with the technical part. I will help ensure we have a successful migration,” he said.

But prominent developers from the decentralized finance (DeFi) space were not convinced. Yearn.finance developer Andre Cronje, who has been praised for the transparent and decentralized launch of YFI, asked:

“What do you mean “without me”? Are you leaving the project? If so, are you giving the dev funds back? All you did so far was hand over a token that was built off of Uniswap Protocol. Weren’t the funds meant to further develop? Aren’t you that developer?”

As SUSHI continued to plunge, SBF took over the protocol, to which the community reacted positively. SBF said the keys of SUSHI would be transferred to a multi-sig, which would then become decentralized. 

SBF also criticized the actions of Chef Nomi but said that if Nomi does not step down, Sushi could collapse. He summarized the entire debacle as:

“a) Nomi sucks and hurt the community

b) Sushi shows promise as a dynamic AMM built by the community

c)  If Nomi doesn’t step down, it’s over for Sushi. 

d) If Sushi adds a division on Serum, we’ll give 5mm SUSHI to farmers 

e) Either way, AMMs coming to Serum.”

Industry reacts

Before the Sushi “acquisition” by FTX and SBF, SUSHI was en route to possibly zero. It had dropped 88% in five days with no clarity in the future of the project. 

Industry executives and analysts remain generally positive about the takeover.  Arthur Hayes, the CEO of BitMEX, said:

“Please save me from a bad $SUSHI investment SBF. He is our new master chef.”

Su Zhu, the CEO of Three Arrows Capital, suggested he is in support of the takeover.

“Love it, and ETH def needed this at 320,” commented Zhu.





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NFT boom and platform upgrades back Decentraland’s (MANA) 100% rally

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In the past year non-fungible tokens (NFT) have been gaining ground as the digital art market exploded and developers experimented with a variety of use cases. Data from NonFungible shows that over the past 30 days there were 58,400 NFT sales and $12.7 million worth of volume.

In the same time period, MANA, the token behind the blockchain-based virtual world Decentraland, totaled $636,000 in NFT trades. The virtual reality platform is built on Ethereum blockchain and provides a digital landscape where players can explore, interact with other players and purchase landplots along with other items.

The sector is dominated by crypto-collectibles and games like Cryptopunks, Sorare, Art Blocks, and Axie Infinity. These collectible NFTs range from virtual cards of professional soccer players to crypto-art and crypto-pets.

MANA/USDT 4-hour chart (Binance). Source: TradingView

During the first weeks of 2021 MANA rallied by 68%. In addition to this, some positive news of real-world authors entering the industry put some heft behind the current rally. For example, the creator of Rick and Morty will auction off some of his digital artwork on Jan. 19.

In the past 30 days MANA token traded $368 million in transparent volume according to data from Nomics and this represents a 257% increase from the previous month.

Recently, the average value and number of trades in the Decentraland marketplace has declined to about 20 per day and 70% of the sales are land and virtual properties.

Decentraland marketplace daily transaction history. Source: NonFungible.com

Non-fungible LAND tokens represent an individual’s ownership of land parcels. These tokens contain data like the coordinates for the land and virtual properties. Over the past four months, the largest transaction was worth nearly $150,000.

It is worth noting that MANA tokens are used to purchase in-game goods and services and are also used to settle the fees generated by LAND transactions.

A decentralized autonomous organization governs Decentraland (DAO), and all changes to the code are enacted through a collection of smart contacts. The MANA token allows holders to vote on policy updates, land auctions, and subsidies for new developments.

An interesting feature is that joining this virtual world does not require downloads, as the platform is web-based.

New features attract new users

In the past few months, Decentraland evolved to implement interactive applications, including payments and peer-to-peer communication.

A non-custodial, transparent, and auditable Virtual Casino is also being built in Decentraland. In this space players can use either MANA tokens or DAI stablecoin and another unique feature is that there are no Ethereum gas fees as the transactions take place on a second layer via the Matic network. Although limited games are available, poker and more complex games are being developed.

On Dec. 17, 2020, a voice chat feature was added. This allows users to interact with each other while scrolling through the virtual world, and it replicates the type of social interaction gamers are used to from major platforms like PlayStation and Xbox.

Decentraland launched its LAND API version 2.0 on Jan. 20, and this upgrade focused on improving marketplace metadata access. The update added endpoints that return more digestible information for those building tools that need data about LAND parcels and estates.

Lastly, Non-Fungible Token (NFT) arts exhibitions have been gaining track in the MANA ecosystem and given the popularity of NFT art, the new feature could draw new participants to the platform. The platform also hosted a few live music events with real-world artists, a clever move considering outdoor events like concerts have come to a halt during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although much has been created, some critical features are yet to be implemented. These include a mobile version of the platform, micro-payments infrastructure and integration with virtual reality platforms.

MANA Twitter user activity vs. price (USD). Source: TheTie

Data from TheTIE, an alternative social analytics platform, shows that the recent price spike was preceded by increased social network activity. Thus, for those betting on MANA token appreciation, it is worthwhile to monitor social network activity data.

Decentraland has added a handful of new features to improve the user’s experience and support the growing NFT collectibles and digital real-estate sector. The new features under development also look promising, but overall, it is still in a very early adoption stage so participants should do their own research when considering whether to invest in MANA.

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph. Every investment and trading move involves risk. You should conduct your own research when making a decision.