Dispatch #1: The Sushi Saga

Sep 11, 2020·3 min read
Dispatch
Dispatch #1: The Sushi Saga

In this patch of your weekly Dispatch:

  • Sushi for one? 🍣 Chef Nomi leaves SushiSwap
  • Ethereum’s nearly 100% mining revenue growth
  • Ukraine’s global lead in retail crypto adoption

The Big Idea

The Sushi Saga Is Everything Crazy with DeFi Right Now

If you’re confused by the number of food names being thrown around in the decentralized finance world right now, you’re not alone. Still, the story of one of those edible protocols is deserving of a little more attention.

SushiSwap began two weeks ago as a fork of UniSwap that added a token (SUSHI) to provide rewards for liquidity providers.

The idea took off like wildfire and it wasn’t long before more than a billion dollars was locked in the protocol.

But then, over the weekend, pseudonymous project lead Chef Nomi decided to swap his Sushi LP tokens for 37,400 ETH - about $13m worth. Not a bad payday for a week of work.

The price immediately crashed 73% and the crypto world woke up to their latest exit scam. Except that Nomi was on Twitter trying to argue that he wasn’t actually scamming the project.

Heightening the tension was the clock ticking on a planned migration from Uniswap to SushiSwap. Ultimately, Chef Nomi handed the keys to the SushiSwap contract he alone held to Sam Bankman-Fried, CEO of FTX. Sam is now acting as steward of the protocol.

It’s a wild episode that shows how rapidly moving this space is; how quickly fortunes can be made (and lost); and why, as long-term believers in DeFi and crypto as a whole, we should be glad that no one in the retail public is even close to this thing. 

The Latest In…

Bitcoin

There has been much debate this week about bitcoin’s recent correlation with equities. However, research from Coinmetrics shows that it is in fact bitcoin’s correlation with gold that has been historically strong, picking up especially over the summer as the dollar started to falter against other global currencies.

The Latest In…

Altcoins

Another place that the surge of activity around DeFi is showing up is in Ethereum mining revenue. Last month, ETH mining revenue hit $285.1m, a 98.2% increase from July and the highest in 25 months. Fees comprised more than 40% of that revenue, a new all-time high that reflects the high usage in DeFi.

The Latest In…

Traditional Markets

The last week has been a rough one for markets, with the NASDAQ off 11% over three sessions between last Thursday and Tuesday. On Wednesday a small bounceback began, but the decline still suggests that perhaps confidence in the V-shaped recovery is not what news media would have it. Reinforcing this point was Stan Druckenmiller, who told CNBC he thought that we were in for a rough 3-5 years, with the potential even to see 5-10% inflation.

The Latest In…

Crypto Markets & Exchanges

By most measures, August was a bang-up month for the crypto industry. To drive the point home, let’s take a look at web traffic to crypto exchanges, which was up 30.5% from July to 144.3 million. For those keeping track at home, that’s a 14-month high.

The Week’s Most Interesting Data Story

Ukraine Leads The World in Crypto Adoption

Rank of individual weighted metrics feeding into index table

Ask most people what the most active crypto markets are and you’re likely to hear the big guys like the USA and China as a response. Going strictly by volume, that would be correct. But when it comes to a more complete look at activity like on-chain value transfer, crypto deposits, and peer-to-peer activity, it is in fact Ukraine that comes out on top, followed by Russia and Venezuela. Those are the results of a fascinating new report from Chainalysis on the “Geography of Cryptocurrency.” More than anything, the results show just how global this industry is.

Hot Topics

What the Community Is Discussing This Week

According to one investor, the crypto fundraising market is white hot. Here’s what startups (and investors) should know:

One strong hallmark of the bitcoin pullback over the last week? Bitcoin hodlers aren’t concerned.

We don’t agree with the characterization of failing elsewhere, but still like to see this piece by Reuters on how crypto is being used in Africa.

What to Watch for This Week:

  • What happens to Uniswap as locked value migrates to SushiSwap? Same question, but for Curve Finance and its unaudited fork, Swerve Finance.
  • Does bitcoin stay correlated with stocks, with gold, or move independently? 
  • Does the Treasury get involved with a new round of stimulus as markets struggle? 
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