Grifter season in DeFi-land, and Uniswap v3 is here! Finance Redefined 4/28-5/05

Lots of cons, no artistry

It’s grifter season: scams and opportunists run amok, and it’s harder than ever to tell who to trust.

Case and point: over the weekend, an influencer by the pseudonym “Crypto Spider” was found to have pumped-and-dumped a meme coin, $SELON — while publicly claiming that he had joined his followers in taking a loss.

The drama jarred me personally, despite the fact that I didn’t have any exposure to the failed shitcoin. The reason being is that I quoted Crypto Spider in a piece from January. Had I unwittingly aided a scammer?

I’d gotten his name from a trusted colleague. Part of my beat is emerging projects, and I’m always open to hearing from anon teams and sources — other cryptomedia outlets ignore them to their detriment, given that the largest digital asset in the world was founded by an anon.

When we spoke he told me about an algo stablecoin project, and I now realize that it was likely an effort to use the Cointelegraph platform to pump his bags. Thankfully, I did my due diligence while researching the project: the developers were clever and intrepid, but ultimately working in what appears to be a doomed vertical (though I suppose FEI and OHM are still giving it the old college try), and I profiled them as such.

While my reporting was unlikely to lead anyone astray, seeing Spider exposed as a fraud was nonetheless a jolt. It’s getting harder to tell who to trust out there — a point that Spider made himself.

I reached out to him over the weekend to ask for his side of the story, and he pointed to a Tweet thread from his alleged co-conspirator — one which, oddly, confirmed that he had promoted the project and then sold. He also sighed that he’d become “the target of anyone who shilled or created meme coins.”

It would take the moral nuance of a toddler to claim Spider’s actions are equivocal to the standard influencer cheerleading, but with all the money sloshing around more and more people seem to be getting mixed up with shady deals. 

Not even institutions are exempt: Alameda Research invested $20 million in Reef, part of what would have been a larger $80 million deal — but the two companies cut ties over a disagreement regarding Alameda transferring the tokens they purchased to Binance, presumably to sell. Alameda later said it was merely an OTC buy and not a longer-term “strategic investment.”

Anons lie, institutions lie, and despite the money pouring from the sky greed is still getting the better of people. Watch who you listen to and what you invest in — I know I’ll be even more careful going forward.

But here’s one principle that hasn’t led me astray yet: anonymity by nature encourages and enables both the best and the worst in crypto. An anon with integrity can be a guiding light in these choppy waters.

Uniswap v3 mewls out of the gate

After months of anticipation, Uniswap v3 is finally here. It may take a while before it gets its sea legs, however. 

In the first few minutes after launching the protocol had attracted $1.3 million in total value locked; at the time of publication it has since risen to $24.3 million. The majority of liquidity is in bread-and-butter trading pairs such as ETH/stable pairs, but specifics are hard to come by; while a blog post from Uniswap says that their info site has migrated to displaying v3 statistics, their top pools are still for Uniswap v2. 

Aside from the interface stumble, there is not yet sufficient liquidity to swap at any significant size. Quotes for ETH/stablecoin pairs led to double-digit slippage quotes on orders over 10 ETH or so, and the interface often suggests better prices on v2. (Cointelegraph has a policy in place prohibiting writers from making trades during business hours, so I’m only relaying the quotes I got for the trades).

The low liquidity woes may soon be ameliorated, however. As multiple Twitter observers pointed out, Uniswap is making it simple to migrate liquidity pools to v3 — including Sushiswap LP positions in what some have dubbed a “reverse vampire attack.”

Perhaps coolest of all however is that a long list of Uniswap v3 pool positions, which are represented as NFTs, are now on sale on Opensea. Uniswap founder Hayden Adams bragged about his, the first-ever v3 position. I expect a interesting market to develop over the comping days for early pool positions, and the first positions in culturally important pools may come to have significant value. What would the first EMN-DAI position NFT be worth now?

In all, a mixed-review launch. But that’s to be expected for a protocol only open to the public for the last few hours, and as Framework Venture’s Vance Spencer puts it, once it’s attracted significant liquidity v3 may well represent a new “era” for capital efficiency in DeFi:

Major stories this week

Balancer and Gnosis team up for Uniswap v3 rival Cowswap

Inverse Finance acquires Tonic in possible first-ever protocol merger

Lido looks to go cross-chain

Federal Reserve says DeFi may lead to “Paradigm Shift”

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