Uniswap founder trolled for asking devs to contribute to DeFi protocol update

Last week, Uniswap teased the fourth iteration of its decentralized exchange protocol. The tweet included a link to an early version of the code and an invitation for “community feedback and contribution.”

Since the announcement, the DeFi sector’s leading exchange has come in for criticism. Some accuse Uniswap of co-opting the open-source ethos of the community, encouraging developers to contribute to a codebase that will be released under a proprietary Business Source Licence (BSL).

Opposition came both in the form of trolling and a proposal to change the license, with Uniswap founder Hayden Adams later clarifying that “source available” would be a better description for the v4 code.

DeFi prides itself on its experimental nature which often includes projects building on top of one another, or even ‘forking’ parts of existing code for use in another application. This practice allows for a composable network of projects to capitalize on previous successes but also comes with its problems.

Read more: To fee or not to fee? That is the question — does Uniswap have an answer?

Many forks, however, bring nothing new to the table and are simply low-effort cash grabs taking advantage of others’ hard work. Those looking to make a quick buck can copy the code of a popular protocol, launch a shiny new UI and token, and rely on Ponzi mechanics to draw in users.

Forks of well-established projects often overlook key security concerns, as they are using (supposedly) safe code. Many forks have taken losses when the hastily-copied code is redeployed under different conditions or implemented in insecure ways.

While it seems doubtful that a license would be enough to put off the more determined, often anonymous grifters, the constant fork-pump-dump cycle is wearing on developers who may work for years to create a new platform, and damaging to the industry’s reputation as a whole.

Adams characterizes his situation as being stuck between a rock and a hard place, unable to please both the ideologues and pragmatists.

While the Uniswap v4 proposal may be taking flak from the open-source community, many other leading DeFi protocols operate under the same BSL setup.

However, Uniswap’s suggestion that developers collaborate was seen as disingenuous, and especially grating against the backdrop of repeated attempts to turn on a revenue-sharing ‘fee switch,’ which have been voted down by VC-dominated UNI governance.

In an industry that is becoming gradually more businesslike, the pressures of large quantities of VC money are starting to show. A similar episode occurred in November when Ethereum client Akula wound down in the face of alleged copy-paste competition from Paradigm.

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