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Uniswap Centralized? A16z Flexes Voting Power to Crush Governance Proposal 

The popular decentralized exchange, Uniswap, is having one of its latest governance proposals stonewalled by the crypto venture capital giant Andreesen Horowitz (a16z). 

The ongoing proposal vote, which ends on February 10, is currently 38% weighed against the change – almost entirely due to the software investor.

So Much for Decentralization

The proposal, tabled by 0xPlasma Labs on February 2, would have Uniswap v3 deployed to BNB chain. To enable the deployment, the proposal chose to use Wormhole – an interoperability protocol letting users transfer funds between blockchains. Last month, sources told The Block that A16z’s motivation to oppose the vote is based on a preference of the LayerZero bridge over Wormhole. 

This is partly due to the technical security differences between blockchain bridges. Bridges have fallen victim to some of the most catastrophic hacks in DeFi history – including Wormhole, which had $326 million stolen from it in 2022. 

It’s also a VC battle: A16z led a $135 million funding round for LayerZero last March, while Jump backed Wormhole after bailing it out from its bridge hack loss last year.

While the ‘temperature check’ vote to use Wormhole passed last week with 80% in favor, a16z was unable to participate at the time. One of the firm’s investing partners, Eddy Lazzarin, said in a forum post that it would have voted for the use of LayerZero if not for issues surrounding the custodial setup of its tokens. 

UNI is Uniswap’s governance token, which gives holders voting power over new protocol changes, alongside access to fee revenue. They function similarly to shares of a company in the DeFi space. 

However, the latest event has many concerned that such tokens create a point of centralization within so-called ‘DeFi’. Bubblemaps has noted that A16z alone holds over 4% of all UNI – enough to push through any Uniswap governance proposal. 

“On-chain voting just means the large whale(s) control the blockchain then, just like shareholders,”  said Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao on the matter. 

UNI traded for $7.29 over the weekend but has since fallen to $6.85 at writing time. 

A16z’s Control

Twitter founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey, has repeatedly called out a16z for exerting overwhelming control over the crypto industry. In December 2021, when Elon Musk asked where “web3” could be found over Twitter, Dorsey replied that it was “somewhere between a and z.”

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A16z has funded countless venture startups throughout the crypto industry and repeatedly sung the praises of web3. In its 2022 report on the subject, while it frequently praised Ethereum, it made little mention of Bitcoin’s technological growth.

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