xDai Wants a Gnosis Merger to Stay Relevant, but Some Tokenholders Are Crying Foul

xDai Wants a Gnosis Merger to Stay Relevant, but Some Tokenholders Are Crying Foul

A historic, multimillion-dollar deal between a layer 1 base layer community with a religious following and a main Ethereum infrastructure builder could 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 may permit the Ethereum improvement heavyweight to merge with xDai, a common Ethereum sidechain for builders and one of many oldest layer 1 alternate options.

The merger would mix technical savvy and main funding to create “Gnosis Chain,” a mixed effort that would assist the 2 initiatives stand out in a crowded marketplace for layer 1s at the moment forcing chains to spend tons of of tens of millions 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.

Meanwhile, the xDai workforce says an injection of enterprise improvement, advertising and funding from Gnosis may be what the chain wants to keep away from turning into an “out of date, old-school, boomer community,” as undertaking supervisor Igor Barinov put it in an interview with CoinDesk.

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

Messy mergers

Despite widespread anticipation that decentralized mergers and acquisitions may grow to be a common phenomenon in 2021, the xDai neighborhood’s response to the proposed merger could also be a case examine for why few have come to fruition.

In late 2020, a host 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 getting into an period of decentralized mergers and acquisition – that transferring ahead, protocols can be working to purchase different protocols by way of token purchases or governance motion on a routine foundation.

Mergers have largely failed to materialize apart from a handful of high-profile offers together with ICO-era veterans Keep and NuCypher merging to type Keanu, and cross-blockchain bridge Ren “joining” Alameda Research, nonetheless.

Part of the issue is that, not like with conventional M&A, combining organizations isn’t as simple as a rebrand and swapping some inventory. Calibrating how to handle and merge a number of governance tokens and their potential trade charges can lead to complications. Achieving consensus on deal phrases in a decentralized autonomous group (DAO) might be tougher than with a board of administrators.

In the case of Gnosis and xDai, the merger can be extra of a course of than an occasion. Per Gnosis Improvement Proposal 16 (GIP-16), so as to facilitate the merger Gnosis will construct and fund a swap contract that may settle for xDai’s STAKE staking rewards token in trade for GNO, Gnosis’ native token. The present proposed parameters for the trade are a 10% premium on prime of STAKE’s 14-day, time-weighted common value.

STAKE’s present native rewards system will depreciate over time, additional incentivizing holders to make the swap. GNO will then grow to be the brand new staking token for the Gnosis Beacon Chain, and xDai will rebrand to Gnosis Chain as a shard of the Beacon Chain. Current xDai validators “could have a likelihood” to grow to be Gnosis Chain node operators as nicely.

In an interview with CoinDesk, Köppelmann, the Gnosis CEO, stated that for all of the transferring components, figuring out the idea of the merger wasn’t as difficult as some may count on.

“At the tip [it was] surprisingly easy. I believe if groups respect one another’s work and share the identical values you’ll be able to come to a significant settlement fairly rapidly,” he stated.

Value proposition

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

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

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

“All of the 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 applications 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 appeal to customers with ever-larger liquidity mining applications.

Read 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 house to Dark Forest, a cult on-chain gaming hit, data-sharing protocol Swarm and NFT badge maker Proof of Attendance Protocol (POAP).

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

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


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

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

“xdai is being purchased up for couple of pennies whereas its a rattling gem. Long time period holders are getting robbed,” wrote one other.

So far, 59% of respondents to an off-the-cuff ballot have stated they don’t assist the merger. At the core of most of the complaints is the trade fee for STAKE. xDai speculators have lengthy held that STAKE is overdue for a value run, comparable to the astounding positive aspects layer 1 tokens like SOL, AVAX, MATIC, FTM and others loved during the last 12 months.

However, the trade fee is unlikely to change due to potential authorized problems. 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 almost $21. Changing the phrases of the trade might now represent market manipulation, Barinov warned, but he did depart open the door to extra compensation for the STAKE neighborhood.

“We assume the Gnosis workforce can one way or the other react to the neighborhood, and suggest extra methods to compensate the STAKE holders. Gnosis plans to spin off Gnosis Safe and Cowswap, and they’re going to airdrop [those tokens] to present Gnosis holders,” he stated, including wallets that make the STAKE-GNO trade might be included in a potential airdrop as nicely.

Additionally, the xDai workforce is planning an AMA to tackle 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, in need of forking the chain.

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

Builders and speculators

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

Members of xDai initiatives like POAP, DAOSquare and Colony have all chimed in positively, whereas xDai workforce members have framed the talk 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,” stated xDai technical author Andrew Gross.

The xDai workforce 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 trade fee.

“The essential half shouldn’t be about forking tokens or rebranding. The focus is how to widen the ecosystem, work on narratives like common fundamental revenue and making current partnerships broader,” stated Barinov.

“There’s a lot of constructive right here. There’s a lot of upside for the long run,” he added.

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