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Sushi Won’t Launch on L2 Optimism, Citing Preferential Treatment of Uniswap

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Sushi is drawing back from plans to deploy on Optimism after a dispute over the Ethereum L2 solution’s launch process.

On August 11, SushiSwap CTO Joseph Delong announced that Sushi would be taking a wait-and-see approach to deploying on Optimism due to what he described as “non-preferential treatment.” According to Delong, Sushi had already deployed on Optimism’s testnet to debug, but discovered during a meeting with L2 provider that they wouldn’t be able to launch on Optimism’s mainnet until after Uniswap launched first. 

In March, Optimism announced they would be delaying plans for open access to mainnet in order to make sure that foundational projects, infrastructure providers, block explorers, wallets and token bridges had time to integrate. Optimism referred to this approach as a “community coordinated launch,” where instead of freely opening their platform up to any developers at launch, early adopter projects would be kept on a whitelist and deployed on a rolling basis.

Delong suggested that Optimism’s decision to prioritize Uniswap’s deployment was not in line with the ethos of a DeFi operating platform, which should remain neutral. 

Venture Capital Sway? 

Some members of the DeFi community suggested that venture capital interests came into play. “Unfortunate to see a L2 platform picking winners in their early stage,” tweeted crypto influencer ChainLinkGod. “I wonder how much VC conflict of interest played a role.” A16z has a stake in both Optimism and Uniswap. 

Optimism responded, saying this wasn’t the case. Instead. Uniswap had been prioritized due to a first in, first out approach to deployment rollouts. According to Optimism, Uniswap first engaged with their platform a year and a half ago. Sushi is a fork of Uniswap and launched on August 28, 2020, meaning that Uniswap would have been working with Optimism before Sushi even existed.

Mitigating Risks or Bad Optics  

Optimism’s incremental rollout makes sense from a security standpoint. With this process, the project can mitigate risks by making sure initial deployments run smoothly before rolling out more. 

But at the same time, in a space where so many people place such a high value on trustlessness and decentralization, optics matter too. 

Arbitrum, a competing Ethereum L2 scaling solution also utilized a whitelist for launch — albeit one open to any developer who requested to be added. The project also prioritized a fair launch model to put all deployments on equal footing.

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