xDai Needs a Gnosis Merger to Keep Related, however Some Tokenholders Are Crying Foul

A historic, multimillion-dollar deal between a layer 1 base layer community with a religious following and a significant Ethereum infrastructure builder might have hit a snag this week as some token speculators consider they might be getting shortchanged.

In a governance discussion board proposal this week, Gnosis founder Martin Köppelmann laid out a plan that will permit the Ethereum improvement heavyweight to merge with xDai, a well-liked Ethereum sidechain for builders and one of many oldest layer 1 options.

The merger would mix technical savvy and main funding to create “Gnosis Chain,” a mixed effort that would assist the 2 tasks stand out in a crowded market for layer 1s at the moment forcing chains to spend a whole bunch of hundreds of thousands on incentives for builders and customers.

Not all events assist the merger, nonetheless. In governance boards, holders of xDai’s STAKE token are complaining that the phrases of the deal quantity to a “hostile takeover” by Gnosis.

In the meantime, the xDai staff says an injection of enterprise improvement, advertising and funding from Gnosis is likely to be what the chain must keep away from turning into an “out of date, old-school, boomer community,” as challenge supervisor Igor Barinov put it in an interview with CoinDesk.

“If we don’t do that, if we don’t usher in new capital, we’re going to stay a sequence for hipsters.” he added.

Messy mergers

Regardless of widespread anticipation that decentralized mergers and acquisitions may turn into a well-liked phenomenon in 2021, the xDai neighborhood’s response to the proposed merger could also be a case research for why few have come to fruition.

In late 2020, a bunch of bloated protocol treasuries throughout the decentralized finance (DeFi) ecosystem and a collection of high-profile mergers and/or protocol collaborations from Yearn.Finance led to widespread hypothesis the market was coming into an period of decentralized mergers and acquisition – that transferring ahead, protocols can be working to amass different protocols by way of token purchases or governance motion on a routine foundation.

Mergers have largely did not materialize apart from a handful of high-profile offers together with ICO-era veterans Hold and NuCypher merging to type Keanu, and cross-blockchain bridge Ren “joining” Alameda Analysis, nonetheless.

A part of the issue is that, in contrast to with conventional M&A, combining organizations isn’t as simple as a rebrand and swapping some inventory. Calibrating methods to handle and merge a number of governance tokens and their potential alternate charges can result in complications. Reaching consensus on deal phrases in a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) will be harder than with a board of administrators.

Within the case of Gnosis and xDai, the merger can be extra of a course of than an occasion. Per Gnosis Enchancment Proposal 16 (GIP-16), in an effort to facilitate the merger Gnosis will construct and fund a swap contract that can settle for xDai’s STAKE staking rewards token in alternate for GNO, Gnosis’ native token. The present proposed parameters for the alternate are a ten% premium on high of STAKE’s 14-day, time-weighted common worth.

STAKE’s present native rewards system will depreciate over time, additional incentivizing holders to make the swap. GNO will then turn into the brand new staking token for the Gnosis Beacon Chain, and xDai will rebrand to Gnosis Chain as a shard of the Beacon Chain. Present xDai validators “may have an opportunity” to turn into Gnosis Chain node operators as effectively.

In an interview with CoinDesk, Köppelmann, the Gnosis CEO, mentioned that for all of the transferring elements, figuring out the idea of the merger wasn’t as difficult as some may anticipate.

“On the finish [it was] surprisingly easy. I feel if groups respect one another’s work and share the identical values you possibly can come to a significant settlement fairly shortly,” he mentioned.

Worth proposition

Gnosis, as a spin-off from Ethereum improvement behemoth ConsenSys, is effectively linked, boasting relationships with a number of infrastructure and tooling organizations in addition to a beneficiant conflict chest of GNO tokens – each of that are key property that the technically inclined xDai lacks.

xDai’s Barinov instructed CoinDesk {that a} dearth of insider connections and big-budget incentive packages has been a barrier for xDai’s adoption. xDai solely counts 4 staff throughout the advertising, operations and enterprise improvement departments.

“To carry blue-chips on a small chain, you want VC connections like Avalanche, Polygon and Fantom [have], otherwise you want some popularity, which can also be vital, otherwise you want customers and incentives that carry enterprise alternatives,” he mentioned of the merger.

“The entire sources of potential communities will likely be simpler for xDai” ought to the merger undergo, he added.

As a part of the proposal, Gnosis can also be allocating 400,000 GNO tokens, at the moment price $200 million, to varied incentive packages for the brand new chain. Incentivized bridges and incentivized ecosystems are more and more turning into the norm, and varied layer 1s have been jockeying to draw customers with ever-larger liquidity mining packages.

Learn extra: Harmony Has $300M for Projects Looking to Expand Beyond Ethereum

xDai, in the meantime, has lengthy been a favourite for in-the-know builders. The chain is dwelling to Darkish Forest, a cult on-chain gaming hit, data-sharing protocol Swarm and NFT badge maker Proof of Attendance Protocol (POAP).

Barinov mentioned the merger between the 2 tasks – combining an incentive program, enterprise improvement chops and a pre-existing neighborhood of builders – is essential to face out in an more and more crowded marketplace for layer 1s.

“I don’t know some other trade the place you may have this sort of aggressive area between leaders. Different industries you may have three, 4, 5 leaders – right here there’s so, so many,” he mentioned.


A vocal portion of the xDai neighborhood rejects the view of the merger as a mutually helpful association, nonetheless.

“Gno merger is a hostile takeover and the trustworthy hodlers of Stake is being slapped within the face,” wrote one person in xDai’s governance boards.

“xdai is being purchased up for few cents whereas its a rattling gem. Long run holders are getting robbed,” wrote one other.

To this point, 59% of respondents to an off-the-cuff ballot have mentioned they don’t assist the merger. On the core of lots of the complaints is the alternate fee for STAKE. xDai speculators have lengthy held that STAKE is overdue for a worth run, much like the astounding positive factors layer 1 tokens like SOL, AVAX, MATIC, FTM and others loved over the past yr.

Nevertheless, the alternate fee is unlikely to vary as a result of doable authorized issues. After the announcement of GIP-16, GNO rallied to a excessive of $625, up from $580 earlier within the day. Likewise, STAKE jumped from $16 to just about $21. Altering the phrases of the alternate might now represent market manipulation, Barinov warned, however he did go away open the door to further compensation for the STAKE neighborhood.

“We predict the Gnosis staff can one way or the other react to the neighborhood, and suggest further methods to compensate the STAKE holders. Gnosis plans to spin off Gnosis Secure and Cowswap, and they’ll airdrop [those tokens] to present Gnosis holders,” he mentioned, including wallets that make the STAKE-GNO alternate may very well be included in a doable airdrop as effectively.

Moreover, the xDai staff is planning an AMA to handle issues, and will likely be holding a snapshot vote within the coming weeks to gauge the depth of the issue amongst confirmed STAKE holders.

Barinov additionally identified that disgruntled STAKE holders may need few choices for recourse, wanting forking the chain.

“Technically they haven’t any method to cease the swap from taking place if Gnosis decides to make the swap contract,” he mentioned.

Builders and speculators

In distinction to the response on the governance boards, builders for lots of the tasks constructed on xDai have expressed public assist for the merger.

Members of xDai tasks like POAP, DAOSquare and Colony have all chimed in positively, whereas xDai staff members have framed the controversy when it comes to builders and speculators.

“There’s two competing pursuits right here. There’s STAKE-ers, who’re largely concerned in buying and selling STAKE, after which there’s the individuals utilizing the chain and the builders and builders, who haven’t but come out in assist in public boards,” mentioned xDai technical author Andrew Gross.

The xDai staff admitted it was “troublesome” to see the vitriol, and expressed frustration that many had been overlooking the meat of the proposal by solely homing in on the alternate fee.

“The primary half shouldn’t be about forking tokens or rebranding. The main focus is methods to widen the ecosystem, work on narratives like common primary earnings and making current partnerships broader,” mentioned Barinov.

“There’s a variety of optimistic right here. There’s a variety of upside for the longer term,” he added.

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