SushiSwap Elects Grey New 'Head Chef' After Months of Drama
Grey Pledges to Help DEX Move Past Tumultuous Period and Scale Up
By: Samuel Haig •Dive
After months of debate and controversy, the community of SushiSwap has finally elected a new “head chef” to lead the decentralized crypto exchange.
On Oct. 3, the Sushi governance DAO selected Jared Grey, the former CEO of Bitfineon, a defunct centralized exchange, and web3 incubator EONS. Grey won in a landslide, drawing 84% of the 13M votes cast.
Facing off against four other finalists, Grey appeared to have the backing of SUSHI whales, with five wallets representing 95% of the votes backing the candidate.
Recapture Market Share
Sushi is the fifth-largest decentralized exchange with a total value locked of $480M, according to The Defiant Terminal.
The price of its SUSHI token is down 89% since the start of the year, compared to a 63% drawdown suffered by its primary rival, Uniswap..
Grey said he will focus on making Sushi more efficient in its organization and economic efficiency to allow the project to build new products and recapture market share.
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“Leadership isn’t about taking credit for yourself but empowering others to win and taking responsibility for potential shortfalls,” Grey told The Defiant. “I promise the Sushi community to be straightforward and keep the project’s best interests at heart in whatever decisions I influence or make.”
The election was a long time coming for the SushiSwap community. The voting process to select a head chef was introduced in May as part of the Sushi 2.0 roadmap. The proposal sought to establish a clear path forward for Sushi following months of internal turmoil and a failed merger with the Frog Nation DeFi network in late January.
In July, the community voted in a preliminary poll on whether to elect Jonathan Howard to the position. Howard is the co-founder and CTO of the NFT studio Big Head Club, and was hand-picked by Sushi’s compensation committee as the most suitable candidate for head chef.
But the community pushed back against the opaque selection process and what many believed was an exorbitant pay package being offered to the prospective culinarian.
The community then voted to reduce the salary for the head chef position to a base salary of 500,000 USDC, down from a previous proposed package of $800,000 worth of stablecoins. Members began vetting candidates through a process including open dialogue between prospective candidates and the broader Sushi community. In addition to Grey, four finalists emerged:
- Jared Cohen, a member of the web3 legal collective LexDAO and founder of the blockchain-based credential verification platform Incred.
- Kenneth Hurley, a technical consultant at Google and previous startup founder.
- Andy Forman, a dApp developer and consultant working with DeFi hedge funds.
- Pauly Walton, the former CMO of the Telos Foundation who previously worked with the London Stock Exchange.
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Forman finished in second position with 12.5% of votes cast. He told The Defiant that if elected, he would have fostered “a new kind of DEX” tailored to meet the needs of liquidity providers.
“Sushi led the way in building for LPs with Masterchef,” Forman said. “We’ll do it again by building a new kind of DEX that changes the way liquidity is provided and rewards are calculated. LPs are getting rekked! That needs to stop.”
Control the Narrative
The other candidate that received a meaningful share of votes cast is Kenneth Hurley, who attracted 4% of votes cast. Prior to the voting, he said Sushi needs a technologist that can scale its offerings and said the platform should look to be more than just a DEX.
Hurley expressed qualms with aspects of the candidate vetting process. He said the process was routed through a single person. “They could control the narrative with the internal teams and push for their candidate of choice,” he said. “They also directly talk with the VCs.”
Now Sushi members, and users, will look to see if the election quells what has been a tumultuous history.
SushiSwap launched in August 2020 and quickly overtook Uniswap as the top DEX after launching a liquidity mining vampire attack that sought to attract liquidity away from the platform. But its pseudonymous founder and head chef, Chef Nomi, pulled the rug out from underneath Sushi just one month later by withdrawing his SUSHI/ETH liquidity and offloading it for Ether.
However, Sushi rebounded and emerged as a top decentralized exchange in early 2021 under the guidance of co-founder, 0xMaki, positioning itself as a decentralized alternative to the VC-backed Uniswap.
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Arca teamed up with Daniel Sesta of Wonderland and Frog Nation, proposing to restructure Sushi’s DAO as a legal entity and merge the project with Frog Nation. But the deal fell apart at the start of this year after Frog Nation’s CFO, Sifu, was revealed to be a co-founder of the collapsed Canadian centralized cryptocurrency exchange, QuadrigaCX.
Real World Experience
With the Sushi community increasingly regaining the reins over the project’s governance, and Arca appearing to have offloaded its SUSHI tokens at the end of August, many in the community are looking forward to a more unified future.
In his interview with The Defiant, Grey said he could bring real world experience to bear on taking SushiSwap to the next level.
“I came from a strong technical background and spent most of my pre-crypto career as an IT and engineering consultant, which gave me experience in executive leadership, sales, and consultancy,” Grey said. “Within crypto, I’ve led several small-to-medium sized altcoin projects, raised capital to build and launch a centralized exchange, and built and assisted DeFi teams.”