The DeFi current state of the DeFi space can be summarized in two words: food fight. It feels like a new ridiculous food themed DeFi protocol is being added to this culinary carnage every other day. The most recent weapon of choice? Sushi.
For some of you, the introduction of SushiSwap signaled that DeFi has officially gone too far. The controversial events surrounding the project which have unfolded in the short weeks since its release have likewise spoiled the appetites of many in the DeFi space.
However, there is much more than meets the eye (or the nose) when it comes to SushiSwap. The initial 2500%+ annual returns on deposited funds are just the tip of the tilapia. SushiSwap was temporarily the largest DeFi protocol on the market and continues to be in the top 5 (although it has not been officially ranked).
The SUSHI token also remains listed on Binance and the protocol itself was recently taken over by a reputable player in the crypto space. By the end of this article, you will know why SushiSwap may just deserve a Michelin star.
Who made SushiSwap?
SushiSwap was founded by two anonymous developers named 0xMaki and Chef Nomi. On August 26th, Chef Nomi released a Medium post detailing the SushiSwap protocol. This enticed 0xMaki to join the SushiSwap Discord.
Being one of the first participants, 0xMaki spoke at length with Chef Nomi and consequently became the cofounder of SushiSwap. It is believed that there were around 5 developers working on the project in total at the time of release.
While not much is known about 0xMaki or Chef Nomi, in a recent interview 0xMaki confirmed that Chef Nomi is based somewhere in Asia. The fact that the Hearthstone card game from which the Chef Nomi pseudonym comes from is popular in China, this suggests Chef Nomi is Chinese.
Given 0xMaki’s French accent, appearance, and time-zone hint, he is likely based somewhere in France or a French-speaking Middle Eastern country. 0x is in reference to the starting number and letter of all Ethereum addresses, and Maki is a popular sushi dish.
SushiSwap’s fishy history
In addition to being created by two anonymous developers, SushiSwap was not audited prior to release. That being said, Chef Nomi openly invited some of the most reputable companies including Quanstamp and Consensys to audit SushiSwap’s code in the first Medium post about the project.
Within the first week of its release, SushiSwap had accumulated over 1 billion USD in locked funds and temporarily surpassed Aave as the largest DeFi protocol. Interest rates on locked funds exceeded 2500% per year.
On September 5th, Chef Nomi suddenly liquidated over 14 million USD of SUSHI tokens which had been accumulated as development funds by the protocol. In a series of Twitter posts he noted he felt entitled to the funds. This drew immense outrage from the cryptocurrency community, most notably yearn.finance creator Andre Cronje.
Popular YouTuber Ivan on Tech also weighed in and remarked that “[SushiSwap] is just as bad as real sushi”. Ivan also noted that the sudden sell off of SUSHI likely caused a crash in the cryptocurrency market the next day due its effect on the entire DeFi Space.
Chef Nomi subsequently stepped away from Sushiswap and handed it to Sam Bankman-Fried, the CEO of the FTX cryptocurrency derivatives exchange. Andre Cronje had also been considered by the SushiSwap developers to be the new defacto leader of the protocol.
The SushiSwap community voted to select 9 individuals in the DeFi space such as Compound Finance’s founder Robert Leshner to be keyholders for the multi-sig wallet holding SushiSwap’s development funds.
On September 9th, Uniswap was stripped of its title as the largest decentralized exchange when SushiSwap users migrated over 1.14 billion USD of Uniswap’s 1.9 billion USD locked cryptocurrency assets to the new SushiSwap platform.
Though this migration had been planned since the protocol’s announcement, 0xMaki believed that no more than a few hundred million dollars of cryptocurrency would be moved. This sudden transfer of liquidity from one protocol to another has been dubbed a vampire attack.
On September 11th, Chef Nomi suddenly returned the stolen development funds to SushiSwap. Some believe this was done to draw more attention to the project. However, in the aforementioned interview with 0xMaki, he noted that he had issued an ultimatum over Twitter to Chef Nomi telling him to answer his messages or else he would reveal sensitive details about SushiSwap (likely Chef Nomi’s true identity).
Chef Nomi is no longer involved with the protocol and now describes himself on Twitter as the “former head chef” at SushiSwap.
What is SushiSwap?
SushiSwap is a decentralized cryptocurrency exchange build on the Ethereum blockchain. It aims to be an evolution of Uniswap, the most popular Ethereum-based DEX on the cryptocurrency market. It is almost identical to Uniswap in both appearance and function.
SushiSwap rewards those who deposit cryptocurrency to provide liquidity to the protocol with SUSHI, an ERC-20 token given to liquidity providers on SushiSwap which can be used for governance of the protocol.
Although SushiSwap has a controversial history, it was and continues to be heavily community driven and committed to the open source of ethos of cryptocurrency. All smart contracts and code are easily accessible by anyone via SushiSwap’s GitHub and Medium posts.
SushiSwap has also been audited by PeckShield and reviewed by Quantstamp. SushiSwap borrows much of its code from other popular DeFi protocols including Uniswap, Compound Finance, and the infamous Yam Finance.
SushiSwap vs. Uniswap
Given that Uniswap has just released their own UNI token, SushiSwap and Uniswap are even more similar than before. There is one critical thing to note however, and that is an issue that Uniswap has and SushiSwap does not.
Liquidity providers earn a cut of the trading fees on both protocols. In Uniswap, the more liquidity someone provides, the larger the cut of the trading fees from the pool they will get.
The consequence of this is that rewards to smaller liquidity providers become diluted as the pools grow. Large entities such as cryptocurrency exchanges, mining pools, and venture capital funds can and often do get the lion’s share of these trading fees as a result.
Conversely, SushiSwap designed its SUSHI emission such that the early adopters of the protocol would receive 10x the amount of SUSHI as those who join the protocol later. This SUSHI could be used to get a cut of trading fees from all pools even if the early adopters stopped providing liquidity to pools (more on this later).
How does SushiSwap work?
Like many other DEXs, SushiSwap fundamentally consists of several asset pools. Each pool contains 2 assets, such as ETH and LINK (Chainlink). This is because it uses an automated market maker – a smart contract which uses the ratio between two assets in each pool to determine their price.
We covered automated market makers in detail in our recent article about Curve Finance and recommend you head over to read that section first if you are not familiar with AMMs or how they work.
When SushiSwap was initially released, it focused around Uniswap LP (liquidity provider) tokens. LP tokens on Uniswap are ERC-20 tokens issued to liquidity providers when they deposit assets into pools on Uniswap.
These tokens can be exchanged for the underlying deposited funds, used in other DeFi protocols, and even exchanged for other LP tokens. Liquidity providers also receive a share of the trading fees of the assets in the pools they provide liquidity to via the LP tokens.
What SushiSwap did was to reward liquidity providers on Uniswap for staking their Uniswap LP tokens on the SushiSwap protocol. Their reward? SUSHI tokens! During the first 2 weeks of the protocol’s launch, 1000 SUSHI tokens were being issued every Ethereum block (~12 seconds) to users who staked their Uniswap LP tokens into a variety of comedically named “pools”.
Given the high market valuation of SUSHI at the time, interest exceeded 2500% per year in many of these pools. The highest returns were (and continue to be) from the Sushi Party pool, which gave an additional 2x reward in SUSHI for staking Uniswap LP tokens for the SUSHI-ETH pairing.
At the end of the two-week period, The Liquidity Migration ™ occurred. This saw all the Uniswap LP tokens automatically sent back to Uniswap to redeem them for the underlying crypto and send it all to SushiSwap’s new pools. This is the event which drained over 1.14 billion USD from Uniswap within 24 hours.
After this, SushiSwap effectively became a carbon copy of Uniswap with additional features. SUSHI rewards were also reduced to 100 SUSHI per block. SushiSwap as it is currently built consists of four key elements: the SushiSwap Exchange, SushiSwap Liquidity Pools, SushiSwap Menu (Farms), and SushiSwap Sushi Bar.
While SushiSwap’s governance has not yet been rolled out, this will also be briefly examined along with its current SushiPowah voting mechanism.
The SushiSwap Exchange lets you easily swap between 100+ ERC-20 tokens. As with Uniswap, no KYC is required to use the SushiSwap exchange. All you need is a Web 3.0 wallet such as Metamask and some Ethereum to pay gas fees to execute swaps.
Trading fees on the SushiSwap exchange are 0.3%, the same as Uniswap. 0.25% of these fees go to those who are providing liquidity in SushiSwap’s Liquidity Pools and the remaining 0.05% goes to the Sushi Bar pool (more on that in a second).
SushiSwap Liquidity Pools
After The Liquidity Migration ™, SushiSwap introduced “formal” liquidity mining pools. Liquidity providers could earn the 0.25% cut of trading fees on the platform by depositing equal amounts of two cryptocurrencies into an existing pool on SushiSwap or by creating their own pool.
Liquidity providers are given SushiSwap Liquidity Pool tokens (SLP tokens) which have the same features as Uniswap’s LP tokens. As you may have guessed, these are the tokens which are now used in lieu of Uniswap’s LP tokens to yield farm.
SushiSwap Menu (Farm)
SushiSwap’s Menu contains the former yield farming “pools” found in the initial release of the protocol. However, instead of Uniswap’s LP tokens, SushiSwap’s own SLP tokens are staked to earn varying amounts of annual interest.
Currently, the highest yield ‘Menu’ item is Sushi Party, giving a reasonable 100%+ APY on staked SLP tokens from providing liquidity to the SUSHI-ETH pool on SushiSwap. These high yields come from the SUSHI tokens received for staking SLP tokens received from providing liquidity to the SUSHI-ETH pool.
SushiSwap Sushi Bar
SushiSwap’s Sushi Bar is where you can stake SUSHI tokens to earn more SUSHI tokens. If you are wondering where these rewards come from, recall the 0.05% trading fee noted earlier. 0.05% of all trading fees on SushiSwap are added to the Sushi Bar pool in the form of SLP tokens.
SushiSwap Staking: https://sushiswapclassic.org/staking
At least once every 24 hours, the rewards contract can be called which liquidates all SLP tokens in the Sushi Bar pool in exchange to automatically buy SUSHI tokens on the SushiSwap Exchange. These tokens are then distributed to all users staking SUSHI tokens in the Sushi Bar in the form of xSUSHI tokens, which can be converted into regular SUSHI tokens in the Sushi Bar.
The SushiSwap team is currently developing a governance framework called Omakase DAO which will handover control of the protocol to the community. Anyone with SLP tokens received from providing liquidity to the SUSHI-ETH pool or those with xSUSHI tokens (which also require SUSHI-ETH SLP tokens to get) will be able to vote for changes to SushiSwap.
Although the details are still being hammered out, it is anticipated that you will need to stake these tokens for a fixed amount of time to participate in voting.
For the time being, SushsiSwap Improvement Proposals (SIPs) can be tabled and voted on by anyone in the SushiSwap’s SushiPowah page on Snapshot. For those unfamiliar, Snapshot is a publicly viewable governance forum used by DeFi protocols such as Aave, Balancer, and yearn.finance.
With SushiPowah, each SLP token for the SUSHI-ETH pool is equal to one vote for or against the proposal, with 300 000 SLP voting in favor plus a 50% quorum to pass and enact the proposed change which must be signed off by all nine multi-sig key holders.
SUSHI is an ERC-20 token issued to liquidity providers on the SushiSwap decentralized exchange. It is earned by providing liquidity to pools on SushiSwap and be staked in exchange for SLP tokens which are used to govern the protocol.
The token was designed to reward early users of the protocol by allowing them to continue earning a cut of SushiSwap’s fees even after they have stopped providing liquidity to SushiSwap’s pools. This can be done by staking SUSHI to earn more SUSHI on SushiSwap’s Sushi Bar.
SUSHI Cryptocurrency ICO
There was no ICO for SUSHI. The issuance of SUSHI began on Ethereum block number 10750000 . As mentioned previously, 1000 SUSHI were being issued every Ethereum block (12 seconds) to those staking Uniswap LP tokens on SushiSwap’s initial protocol.
After The Liquidity Migration ™ occurred, SUSHI rewards dropped to 100 SUSHI per Ethereum block. This may be reduced by community vote. SUSHI is currently an inflationary cryptocurrency and does not have a capped supply. This is to ensure continual incentive to liquidity providers on SushiSwap.
SUSHI Price Analysis
As you might have guessed, SUSHI entered the cryptocurrency market on August 28th with near-zero value. However, by September 1st the price had skyrocketed from a few cents to over 12$USD as yield farmers rushed in to capitalize on the insane annual percentage yields offered by SushiSwap.
Just one day later the price crashed by over 50% to under 6$USD, and again dropped by more than 50% on September 5th to around 2.50$USD when SushiSwap’s co-founder Chef Nomi liquidated over 14m USD worth of SUSHI. Despite the resolution of the situation one week later, SUSHI continues to fall in price.
Where can I get SUSHI cryptocurrency?
SUSHI is almost just as easy to get as real sushi. Binance listed SUSHI on September 1st, which likely caused the incredible spike in price. Since then, other reputable exchanges including Huobi and OKEx have listed the token.
If you prefer decentralized exchanges, SUSHI is still available on Uniswap and can of course be purchased from the SushiSwap Exchange. Liquidity on all these exchanges is very high, and the 24-hour trading volume for SUSHI is nearly double its market cap. As such, you should have no issues getting your hands (or chopsticks) on this succulent cryptocurrency token.
SUSHI Cryptocurrency wallets
Since SUSHI is an ERC-20 token, it can be stored on just about any cryptocurrency wallet which supports Ethereum-based assets. Where you should put your SUSHI depends on what you plan on doing with it.
If you are interested in using SushiSwap whether to provide liquidity or participate in governance, your best bet would be a Web 3.0 wallet such as Metamask. If you plan on holding your SUSHI until the market is hungrier for it, a secure mobile wallet such as the Atomic Wallet or a hardware wallet such as the Trezor wallet should do the trick!
SushiSwap has one goal and one goal only: to become the best DEX in cryptocurrency. This is quite a broad goal, and there are not currently any specific future milestones detailed by the new SushiSwap team.
The closest document to a roadmap is SushiSwap’s most recent Medium post on September 12th. It details a series of goals including fixing existing bugs, creating partnerships with other DeFi projects such as Ren, adding new features such as limit and stop loss orders, and finalizing and implementing the new governance mechanism. The fate of SushiSwap will in the hands of its community once their DAO is launched.
Why we love SushiSwap
Despite the seeming ridiculousness of the project and the chaos it has caused in its short history, SushiSwap has still managed to hold on to around 800 million of the initial 1.14 billion it drained from Uniswap. The DEX is also maintaining around 200 million USD of daily volume.
Even with these figures however the DEX is not currently listed on Etherscan.io’s DeFi rankings nor on CoinMarketCap. To be fair, SushiSwap still needs to repair its reputation in the DeFi community.
While there is a very long list of criticism which can be levied against SushiSwap, perhaps the most valid and pressing is the following: what happens now that Uniswap has released its own native token?
SushiSwap will really have to innovate if they want to have any chance of staying relevant, especially in a competitive space which is growing very, very fast. Case and point, there have already been two forks of SushiSwap: Kimchi and Sashimi (neither have picked up much traction, however).
It should also be noted that the relatively unprofessional naming and UI of many DeFi protocols including SushiSwap are probably even more distasteful to serious retail investors than seasoned yield farmers. Controversies such as Chef Nomi’s exit scams really hurt the space at the end of the day.
That being said, SushiSwap seems to be serving up more delicious meals than ever under new management. The ambition and dedication of its core developers and community is admirable and may just be enough to carry the project forward well into the future.
On a final note, while we cannot give any financial or investment advice, farmable cryptocurrencies such as SushiSwap’s SUSHI token are often better to earn than invest in.
While the tokenomics of SUSHI can and probably will change via community vote, its relatively high emission rate will likely keep the price of the token down as those who are farming it continue to sell to a smaller and smaller buying pool. At the end of the day it all depends on the demand for the protocol and for the time being sushi is not in style.
Special thanks to @Infinity_UK for helping clear up a few details about SushiSwap’s SushiPowah voting metric!
Featured Image via Shutterstock