There was a lot of drama over the weekend when Uniswap Labs announced that they would be restricting access to certain tokens on the front-end that they manage. Of course, this kicked up a storm on Twitter with many claiming that Uniswap Labs was partaking in censorship and going against the ideals of Ethereum and DeFi. And sure, what they did is a form of censorship, but the interface that they manage has and never will be decentralized (nor should we expect it to be). The important thing is that the smart contracts that live on Ethereum are decentralized which means any interface can tap into them.
Most Ethereans are really too busy building to get bogged down in endless esoteric arguments on platforms like Twitter and from what I saw, most of the debate was so mind-numbingly silly that it wasn’t even worth reading. You had all sorts of different tribes giving their opinion on what happened from Bitcoin maximalists calling Uniswap centralized to competing project community members calling for the death of Uniswap. The more level-headed and intelligent people among us were quick to refute these claims and point out that what Uniswap Labs did only effects their own centrally managed front-end - not the Uniswap smart contracts themselves. Though, as always, you can’t reason someone out of a position that they didn’t use reason to get into.
In saying this, I still think it’s good that these debates are held out in the open but I don’t think that Twitter is the right medium for it. Twitter, at its core, is all about point scoring and one-upping the person that you’re trying to dunk on (or ‘ratioing them’ as it’s known on Twitter). In this environment, having a healthy and nuanced debate is near-impossible so what ends up happening is that everyone just talks passed each-other until they get bored of the topic and move on. Case in point - do you see anyone still talking about the Uniswap drama today? I certainly don’t.
Finally, I think that what Uniswap Labs did is actually going to be really healthy for the DeFi ecosystem long-term. The easiest way for regulators to cut off people’s access to DeFi is to go after the central point of failures (fiat ramps, centralized interfaces etc) so the quicker we as an ecosystem build out a robust decentralized stack on top of and around the smart contracts themselves, the better. The best thing is that isn’t even difficult to do - we already have all the tools we need to build this stuff - we just need to keep encouraging individuals, teams and projects to do it and we need to keep explaining the importance of it.
I think that we’re going to see regulators continue to go after DeFi in any way that they can and we really do need to be ready for them. They will have the full power of major governments behind them so the fight isn’t going to be pretty and it’s going to last a very long time (possibly forever). We’re also going to quickly find out which DeFi apps are actually decentralized and which ones are easily choked to death.
So rise up my fellow Ethereans - let’s fight by out-building the regulators - and let’s win.
Have a great day everyone,
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All information presented above is for educational purposes only and should not be taken as investment advice.