Andre Cronje, DeFi Developer Teases New Regulation Focused Crypto Projects

Prolific decentralized finance (DeFi) developer Andre Cronje appears to be back in crypto after abruptly quitting the industry last month.

Before DeFi degens rejoice, Cronje says he’s not interested in pioneering new tokenomic models or launching triple-digit yield farms. Instead, he’s set his sights on a tamer area – regulated crypto.

In a blog post published Tuesday, Cronje announced that he and his unnamed collaborators were working on several projects focused on crypto compliance and regulation. The list covers areas like compliant custody products and risk reporting as well as state-supported, national blockchains.

“Instead of trying to fight regulatory bodies because of crypto regulation, we should be trying to engage and educate on regulated crypto,” wrote Cronje, who added that on-boarding institutions would be one of his main goals.

Degen to defender

Cronje’s new focus is a far cry from his previous DeFi projects, which include platforms such as Solidly and Yearn Finance, among dozens of others.

His projects are spread across many different countries. layer-1 blockchains, Cronje had a reputation for building protocols that allowed DeFi participants to take greater risks for higher yield and introducing complex tokenomic models.

On March 6, Cronje’s collaborator Anton Nell tweeted that the pair would be “closing the chapter of contributing to the defi/crypto space,” an announcement that sent the tokens of several DeFi protocols tumbling.

Cronje has remained out of the spotlight since then, leading many to wonder if he will ever get back to crypto.

Cronje’s new interest in regulation appears to reflect his new (and less idealistic) outlook on the entire industry.

In a past blog post published on Monday – his first since going on hiatus – Cronje unleashed veiled criticism of the DeFi market, saying crypto was “repeating” the mistakes of previous monetary policymakers.

“I often feel that a lot of what is being built in crypto is being built by people that read a Wikipedia article on bonds, or seigniorage, or debt instruments and then thought to themselves, ‘they can do this better,’” Cronje wrote.

DeFi began as a movement of crypto developers with high ambitions who wanted to create an untrustworthy financial system that could solve many of their problems.

Now, Cronje is not so sure crypto can build it better, saying the complexities of monetary policy “exist for a reason.” He also cited disdain for crypto culture’s focus on greed and ego, as the DeFi sector in the past two years minted a new class of crypto wealth.

Cronje, ironically himself one of the most prolific builders in crypto, appears to have learned this lesson, writing, “There is an irony in having come full circle.”

Crypto regulation vs. regulated cryptocurrency

The solution, Cronje concluded, is greater regulation “not as a mechanism to prevent, but as a mechanism to protect.”

In his Tuesday post, Cronje called crypto regulation “simply infeasible,” calling out public blockchains as having no domain, and therefore “should be guided by Maritime Law.”

Cronje, however, called regulated crypto (which includes entities such as exchanges, publicly listed crypto funds and other infrastructure components of the legacy financial system) “very feasible.”

As crypto exchange Uniswap fights a class action lawsuit, the market shifts toward more compliance. Meanwhile, the sector is still plagued by nine-figure hacks at alarming rates.

“It’s like a child trying to stick their finger into an electric outlet; you stop them before they can learn why they shouldn’t,” Cronje wrote. “One day they will understand, but not today.”
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