Is Unequal Distribution of DeFi Tokens Threatening to its Security?

By Nivesh Rustgi
Published August 7, 2020 Updated August 8, 2020
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Is Unequal Distribution of DeFi Tokens Threatening to its Security?

By Nivesh Rustgi
Published August 7, 2020 Updated August 8, 2020

The essential component of cryptocurrency or DeFi, especially, is non-custodial management and security of value. However, while decentralized governance systems are in place, the reality of the degree of control in DeFi is far from it. 

In an analysis of (YFI) governance and decentralization, Hasu (alias), market researcher of Deribit Exchange notes that,

users should stop looking at it as a non-custodial system but instead as an actively managed fund where the controller is the fund manager. Previously, that was Andre Cronje, today it is the 6-of-9 multi-sig.

The problem of controlled governance in DeFi tokens extends to projects like Aave, Chainlink, and Compound. This is because of the inequality in the stakeholdings of the tokens and the process of implementation of updates.

Unequal Holdings

Chainlink [LINk] has been popular in the crypto circles as it reached $10 benchmark leading the altcoin bull-run. However, the problem of unequal distribution extends to LINK as well.

Analytics firm, Glassnode, tweeted at the beginning of August that,

$LINK Percent Balance of Top 1% Addresses just reached a 2-year high of 78.017%

Similarly, in Aave, the top 1% held more than 85% of the supply in the first week of July.

Furthermore, Hasu notes that the implementation of changes or process of voting also differs among protocols. In, Andre Cronje, the founder and lead developer implements the formal on-chain vote of an upgrade. However, given the degree of imbalance and his position as the executioner does give the project a managerial front.

It’s a Trust Issue

The issue of plutocracy in cryptocurrencies is, however, nothing now. It dates back to the unequal distribution of Bitcoin in the early days, to the pre-mine supply of Ethereum. Meltem Demirors, the CSO of Coinshares notes that,

…two years ago i re-hashed the same analysis for tezos when it launched. all protocols are plutocratic.

The behaviour and security of the controlling parties from here will be important until more a sufficient level of decentralization is reached.

Which DeFi from the current lot is more susceptible to governance problems? Please share your views with us. 


The presented content may include the personal opinion of the author and is subject to market condition. Do your market research before investing in cryptocurrencies. The author or the publication does not hold any responsibility for your personal financial loss.
About Author
Nivesh Rustgi
1181 Articles
Nivesh from Engineering Background is a full-time Crypto Analyst at Coingape. He is an atheist who believes in love and cultural diversity. He believes that Cryptocurrency is a necessity to deter corruption. He holds small amounts of cryptocurrencies. Faith and fear are two sides of the same coin. Follow him on Twitter at @nivishoes or mail him at nivesh(at)

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