Sushi Community Decries Core Team Deleting Governance Forum and Ignoring Snapshots – The Defiant

Community members claim Sushi’s core team are treating themselves to undisclosed salary and bonuses.

Drama is once again enveloping Sushi, with community members accusing the project’s core team of deleting its governance forum and ignoring snapshot votes amid pushback against it financial management.

On Feb. 29, Naim Boubziz, a former core contributor to Sushi, a veteran decentralized exchange, tweeted that the project’s current core team had deleted its governance forum amid pushback against its use of treasury funds.

Boubziz followed up on March 4, flagging that the Sushi Operations Team had deleted four snapshot governance proposals calling for the forum to be restored in addition to greater transparency regarding the use of treasury funds. Bouziz added that the team had restricted the creation of new Snapshot votes to core team members only.

The governance forum was reinstated on March 5, with discussions revealing deep tensions between the project’s community and team. The snapshot votes remain deleted.

“There are many serious concerns with the current custody of Sushi treasury funds by the operations team,” the forum post for one of the proposals said. “The operations team continue to hold treasury funds that were instructed — through governance votes — to be sent to the treasury multisig wallet. This proposal seeks to take action to rectify the present situation which is not sufficiently transparent nor objectively justifiable within a DAO structure.”

The proposal claimed DAO members are restricted from accessing information concerning the team’s compensation packages and bonuses, emphasizing that the core compensation committee is able to sign off on their own packages without oversight from DAO governance.

The proposal called for the suspension of the compensation committee’s duties, disclosure of all salaries, and disclosure of any legal entities established by the Sushi’s operations team.

“The failure to govern Sushi funds in a transparent manner is of the utmost concern and requires immediate action from the DAO to protect its assets from ungovernable spending of treasury assets by the Sushi operations team,” it said.

Core team members including Jared Grey, Sushi’s “head chef,” and Neil Bhasin, half of Sushi’s two-man compensation committee, rebutted that the proposal’s author was a contributor to the rival Ramses Exchange, accusing them of seeking to “stir up drama within a competing DAO.”

Escalating infighting

Several weeks ago, an anonymous source from Sushi’s community contacted The Defiant claiming that the project’s core team were attempting to “hold the DAO hostage.”

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The source said that a community group supported by a cohort of whales holding “the lion’s share of tokens” was attempting to reset the project’s governance structure. They noted that the faction’s backers possessing “more than enough [voting power] to pass snapshots with quorum.”

“The [operations team’s] response was to lock forum posts, delete posts that included awkward questions, ban users on the forum and Discord, and strip roles from anyone critical,” the source said. “Ops are completely trying to destroy governance while paying themselves hundreds of thousands of unratified wages and bonuses.”

A March 5 open letter addressing multi-sig signers for Sushi’s treasury echoed many of these concerns, including “unfulfilled snapshots,” a lack of transparency surrounding salary and bonuses, and self-serving actions on the part of the operations team.

“We felt it was important to consolidate the most recent concerns into a document to persuade you to do your duty to protect the DAO’s interest from potential bad actors within the Sushi Operations Team,” the letter said. “As the Treasury multi-sig wallet signers you have a duty to uphold the will of the DAO.”

Power struggle

Sushi launched in August 2020, before briefly overtaking the leading decentralized exchange, Uniswap, by TVL amid a successful vampire attack. However, the protocol fell from grace one month later after its pseudonymous founder attempted a rug-pull.

Sushi went on to solidify itself as a top decentralized exchange in early 2021 under the guidance of a new core team led by co-founder 0xMaki. But 0xMaki stepped down to an advisory position in September 2021, and escalating infighting culminated in the project’s CTO, Joseph Delong, resigning in December 2021 as tensions rose between himself, SushiSwap investor and asset manager, Arca, and the broader Sushi community.

Amid the turmoil, Arca and Daniele Sesta of Wonderland and Frog Nation put forward a proposal intending to restructure Sushi’s DAO to resemble a corporation, including the creation of a formal legal entity. However, the deal fell apart after Frog Nation’s CFO, Sifu, was revealed to be a co-founder of the collapsed Canadian centralized cryptocurrency exchange, QuadrigaCX.

Sushi struggled to regroup without clear leadership during early 2022, with community members working together to try and formalize budgets and establish a path forward for the project.

Jonathan Howard was nominated as a prospective head chef to guide the project forward in July 2022 with backing from investors including Arca, However, Sushi’s community pushed back against an exorbitant pay package that critics warned could unnecessarily deplete the project’s resources.

Jared Grey was then elected as the new head chef in October 2022. But many community members believe Sushi’s governance and financial operations have become increasingly opaque following his appointment, culminating in the current infighting.

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