A16z Delegated to Group that Opposed Its Vote on Uniswap for BNB Chain

Leading Ethereum DEX, Uniswap, is planning to deploy its V3 exchange on BNB Chain — but a16z is attempting to block it


Source: Shutterstock / Satheesh Sankaran / Bohdan Populov, modified by Blockworks


Venture capital firm a16z voted against a governance proposal on Friday that, if passed, would deploy Uniswap V3 to Binance’s BNB Chain, connected to Ethereum via the cross-chain bridging solution Wormhole.

The vote is active for a total of one week, ending Feb. 10.

Wormhole, initially created by Certus One, is an interoperability protocol that allows users to bridge assets across blockchains. 

The proposal will later seek to provide Uniswap V3 users the ability to partake in Uniswap DAO’s Ethereum-based governance on BNB Chain.

The bridge built atop the Wormhole protocol, previously lost $325 million in DeFi’s second-largest-ever exploit, at the beginning of last year, and rebranded to Portal.

Portal is a major competitor to LayerZero’s offering — an a16z-backed company whose solution the venture capital firm is hoping will handle the job instead. A16z, Sequoia Capital and FTX led a $135 million investment round into LayerZero in March of last year with a valuation of $1 billion.

A16z’s 15 million votes cast against the measure has led some skeptics to question the ability of Uniswap governance’s ability to act in the protocol’s best interest.

Typically, those holding more tokens have a greater share of voting power and are able to greatly affect the direction of a given proposal.

In a16z’s case, the firm owns roughly 64 million UNI, but many of those tokens are delegated to third parties. For instance, the venture fund has delegated to a blockchain group at the University of Michigan, which was one of the governance representatives voting in favor of the proposal.

The ‘for’ votes outnumber the ‘against’ by 62% to 38% as of Monday at 9:00 am ET, but a quorum threshold has not yet been reached.

Blockworks attempted to contact a16z, but did not receive a reply by press time.

Bridging Uniswap

After a prior debate and Snapshot vote, the community selected the Wormhole bridge for the Uniswap V3 deployment on the BNB Chain, receiving 28 million votes. The solution provided by the LayerZero team came in second at 17 million.

Uniswap’s aim is to capitalize on the growing interest in DeFi within the Binance ecosystem by allowing more capital to flow across various ecosystems, according to the proposal on Tally. Wormhole is designed to shore up the security involved in the bridging of digital assets, despite its exploit woes last year.

Total value locked on BNB Chain has ballooned roughly $1 billion this year to $5 billion, data at DeFi Llama show. That still pales in comparison to Ethereum’s $29 billion claim to the overall $48.5 billion locked across leading DeFi protocols. Still, authors of the proposal said Friday that Uniswap should be pursuing the more than 750,000 weekly users on BNB Chain.

BNB Chain has a large and growing user base, fast transaction speeds, low fees, staking, cross-chain support and an active community making it a suitable platform for Uniswap v3, they said.

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