Forked Domain Redirects To Original Website
The infighting that engulfed DeFi Llama, a popular data website, over the weekend appears to be at an end.
DeFi Llama’s Twitter account has put out a statement indicating that the internal conflict has been resolved. “The DeFi Llama team would like to apologize for the events that unfolded yesterday, as a result of poor communication and a misunderstanding within the team,” part of the tweet reads.
The episode serves as another reminder of the lack of clarity in terms of who controls what in the crypto space. While decentralization is often lauded as the holy grail and key value proposition of DeFi, the idea of shared ownership of a project doesn’t always elegantly map onto real-world assets like a Twitter handle or Discord server.
On Mar. 19, 0xngmi, the pseudonymous lead developer, tweeted that they were restarting the project using a different domain in order to fend off what they called a “hostile takeover.”
Part of that takeover involved a push to launch a token, an effort not supported by the team members working on DeFi Llama, according to 0xngmi. The crux of the issue — the party looking to launch a token also controlled the DeFi Llama Twitter account as well as the corresponding domain name.
In a sign that the dispute has been settled, the llama.fi domain, which 0xngmi launched as a fork of DeFi Llama, now redirects to the original website.
Joseph Delong, the CTO of Astaria, an NFT lending protocol, sees the conflict as endemic to projects with a large team. “This is the problem with big groups of people,” he told The Defiant. “If a disagreement arises and any of the parties chooses to forgo mediation attempts, everyone loses.”
Delong was formerly the CTO of SushiSwap, the well-known decentralized exchange (DEX), and there was a period where he still held administrative control of the project’s Discord server even after his resignation.
The internal conflict at DeFi Llama has brought to light the difficulty crypto projects can have in managing assets not native to blockchains. SushiSwap was compelled to create a legal entity in the months following the handover of control of its Discord server, in addition to facing a host of other problems managing the organization’s assets, like the Sushi.com domain.
DeFi Llama falls under the larger umbrella of Llama Corp, a group of associated projects with an unclear ownership structure between them. The Defiant did not immediately receive a reply to an email asking the organization about Llama Corp’s legal structure.
The battle over DeFi Llama’s future also underscored that, despite the data source’s success in terms of utility, it doesn’t yet have a clear business model — a contributor to the broader Llama ecosystem addressed the lack of revenue on Twitter.
Delong, for one, thinks DeFi Llama has a good shot at monetizing itself at some point, regardless of whether a token is involved. “Something has to pay the bills, but generally, if you concentrate talented people long enough focused on a mission, money falls out,” he said.
Based on the public statements from those involved in the Llama ecosystem, it appears an understanding has been reached among DeFi Llama’s team members.
That may be the best outcome for the team members who deployed the fork of DeFi Llama. “There is a near zero chance [a] VC would fund llama.fi with the uncertainty of their exit from Defi Llama,” Delong said.
“I think going public was an attempt to get what they want without coordination,” he added. “It’s definitely going to blow up in their face if Llama Corp was indeed a proper legal entity with the IP assignment.”