It turns out Chef Nomi was not an exit scammer after all.
The pseudonymous founder of the SushiSwap protocol apologized profusely and returned the $14 million in SUSHI tokens he had drained and sold for ETH before walking away from the project on Sept. 11.
In an abject thread, Chef Nomi wrote, the SushiSwap project “has a lot of potential, don’t let my action alone fuck it up.”
Calling for SushiSwap to be “100% community-run” Chef Nomi added that he will “continue to participate in the discussion and technical implementation of SushiSwap in the background. But I will not have any control. Will not take any spotlight. Will not be part of the governance.”
He added that the “success of SushiSwap will set a precedent for many more community-run projects.”
High and Low
SushiSwap started as a so-called “vampire protocol” that forked the Uniswap decentralized finance protocol and drained about 80% of its funds.
It also personified the crazy part of “DeFi craze” as the sushi token’s value shot from $0.71 on Aug. 29 to $11.17 on Sept. 1, achieving a market cap of more than $250 million in just a few days. Then on Sept. 5, Chef Nomi announced he was leaving the project, taking about half of the Sushi token treasury (currently worth about $14 million) before departing. That caused it to plummet. At press time, SUSHI is $2.48.
Chef Nomi said this was justified as he had built SushiSwap from nothing in less than a week, and compared his actions to Litecoin founder Charlie Lee’s decision to sell off his LTC and depart the project in 2017. (Of course, that was six years after Lee launched Litecoin.)
The DeFi community’s head exploded, along with crypto-Twitter in general. The phrase “exit scam” was tossed around so much Chef Nomi took to Twitter to deny it and justify the action:
Blockstream CEO Adam Back summed up the reaction to this nicely, accusing Chef Nomi of “moral flexibility” and comparing Nomi to “South Park” character Eric Cartman.
Chef Nomi also thanked Sam Bankman-Fried, CEO of the FTX exchange and Almeda Research, who stepped up and took control of the project after the departure:
The reaction from the SushiSwap community ranged from suspicious…
And Chef Nomi? He pledged to continue working on SushiSwap but promised that he would have no control or governance position.
Which isn’t to say he or she doesn’t want some financial reward for creating the vastly successful protocol. As Chef Nomi said when he announced the return of the $14 million, that will be up to the SushiSwap community: