One of the most significant contributors to the DeFi space left crypto entirely on March 6th, 2022. The project he contributed to, FTM, plummeted 30% in less than 24 hours. Is this the end of the bull cycle for FTM? Let’s find out.
Andre Cronje was confirmed to be exiting the cryptocurrency space (quitting several positions at Fantom, Yearn Finance, and more) after one of his long-term partners, Anton Nell, wrote this on Twitter:
Cronje contributed a lot to the Fantom network, and the community went nuts after the news broke. One YouTuber sensationally suggested Cronje was trying to 'rug pull' the project, HA.
Let's stop being crazy about this. This was by no means an attempted rug pull. But a project with a billion-dollar market cap dropping by such a huge amount is serious.
Join us to take a closer look at who Andre Cronje is, whether we should be worried about his departure, and why he left.
Who is Andre Cronje?
South Africa-born Andre Cronje has been one of the most influential people behind the scenes in the crypto industry. Not quite Vitalik Buterin level, but still extremely important.
His most notable footprint was the position he held at Fantom Foundation as a Technical Advisor since the project's launch. He'd also been working as a DeFi Architect at Ethereum since 2020.
Another of his contributions was founding Yearn Finance. A project so popular that only a few months after launch, the Yearn native token (YFI) became a blue-chip token in DeFi.
Andre played an instrumental role in 25 other projects including:
That's one big resume…
Before all of this, Andre wrote code reviews for CryptoBriefing. Here, he grew a weirdly cultish following. People would invest or not invest based on his thoughts. It became less about what he wrote and more about his opinion. People saw him as a god amongst men, a super-human coder that could do no wrong. Just like every other influencer, I suppose…
In reality, he was just a normal guy. He started writing these reviews because he wanted to learn more about the technology. It was a fun exercise to develop his understanding; he wasn't a super-human. Just a regular dude having fun learning more about blockchain.
He took a step back from the reviews in 2019 to focus more on his coding adventures. This is where his influence on the crypto industry skyrocketed.
Andrew quite literally transformed from a celebrity reviewer to a celebrity coder. Projects started getting hype purely because he was on the team. Unfortunately, this was a form of attention he didn't love.
So, does him leaving mean we should panic and dump our FTM bags?
It's about the technology, not people.
The tweet from Anton Nell says that 25 apps are being 'terminated' on April 3rd. Naturally, the crypto crowd panicked, thinking the projects they created (i.e. Yearn, Keep3r, etc.) would be included in the termination list — explaining the sharp dip in the market, nothing but a knee-jerk reaction. But this just isn't the case.
You’ve to understand that this wheel had likely been set in motion quite a long time ago. Some projects that Anton and Andre were involved in, like Chainlist, already have found replacements for them. Others have a whole team ready to support two people leaving the team.
Fantom CEO, Michael Kong, said in an interview with CryptoBanter, "if you know these projects or the teams behind them [...] you know that someone can't just flick a switch and turn off the network."
Michael continued that Andre was cooperating with a normal handover behind the scenes that would finish by April 3rd. However, things started to warp when Andre deleted his Twitter account shortly before Anton's tweet was sent out.
However, the Fantom CEO attributed the word 'terminate' down to a simple mistype.
So, should you worry about Fantom's future?
Well, no, stop stressing. A month has passed since the tweet caused chaos — has anything changed?
After a bit of digging, we found out that Andre hasn’t played that much of an influential role in some of these projects. For example, at Yearn Finance, he hasn't contributed for over a year!
Months before the chaos, Andre posted an article titled 'not so smart contracts' on Medium.
"[Smart contracts] job, is to remove the human condition. It is to remove the human failure point. This is not only a trust assumption, but also a contingency." He said in the article, "If I die today, all the code I wrote in DeFi will keep working exactly as designed. It does not need me."
Was this a forewarning? Regardless, THAT is the beauty of DeFi and the beauty of this situation. No matter what happens, the empire he helped build will thrive.
If you're still concerned about your investments in projects where Andre was involved, read this Twitter thread created by Michael Kong.
Why has he left?
As he puts it, Andre is no stranger to 'rage quitting' the industry. He's done this twice before. The first was after a slippage attack; he received tons of hate from his peers and quit. The second time he quit, he had received a physical letter at his house with a death threat inside.
"[When something like that happens] it's time to opt-out. I don't regret that I left on either occasion. I often regret that I came back", Andre said during an interview with The Defiant, at the start of 2022.
During this conversation, he sounded highly negative about the space. The past, present, and future. You can almost hear the pain in his voice that the DeFi space would never become as special as he once envisaged.
"There is a slim chance, and it gets slimmer by the day, that we can actually build something better here. That we can actually make something new", he said. "The problem is, the way we're currently going, we are just going to replicate the traditional financial industry. Instead of dudes in suits, it'll be dudes in hoodies."
He may have 'rage quit' because of his cultlike fanbase. Or maybe that slim chance of DeFi becoming something special shrank so small that he couldn't bear it anymore. Or perhaps it was both; the pressure was piling on him to create a DeFi utopia that he couldn't deliver and quit. It’s all speculation at this point.
A more sad theory is that something has happened behind the scenes. Michael Kong said he knew why Andre has left the space. Stating in an interview with Crypto Banter, "there are some good reasons behind it. That is kinda private."
If something personal has happened, all we can hope is that Andre and those around him are okay.
The Hedgeblog Take
Stop idolizing single figures. No one is super-human; we are all human. Be nice, be understanding, and never over-rely on one person's idea.
The nature of DeFi lends itself to continue once a person is gone. It's worrying to see people panic so much with Andre quitting.
I mean — imagine what would happen if Vitalik or Charles Hoskinson left. What would the knee-jerk reaction be like then?
Crypto is the wild wild west, but being emotional would lead to more harm than good. The best cowboys were cool, calm, and collected. Consider all the possible scenarios before you react, and you’ll be way ahead of 70% of the crypto market.