Uniswap Limits Access To Tokens, What It Could Mean For DeFi

Software development studio Uniswap Labs (UL) announced the restriction of certain tokens via the app.uniswap.org domain. The company claims to be taking part in “creating a better” financial system and has taken the decision after reviewing the regulatory landscape and the actions of other “DeFi interfaces”.

The token removed from the domain represented a “very small portion of overall” trading volume on the platform, UL claims. Amongst the restricted tokens is Gold Tether (XAUt), Grump Cat (GRUMPY), iAAVE, iADA, iBNB, sAPPL, sCOIN, and many more related to options, tokenized stocks, and securities from traditional companies.

The software studio clarified that the Uniswap Protocol is a separate entity from the interface accessible via the app.uniswap.org domain.

(…) It provides unrestricted access to anyone with an Internet connection. Similarly, this action has no impact on the Uniswap Interface code, which remains open source, or the many other portals or locally run instances used to access the Uniswap Protocol.

The same clarification was made by Hayden Adams, inventor of the protocol, via his Twitter account. After receiving a lot of criticism for their decision, Adams reminded his followers about the difference between Uniswap Interface, the open-source GPL code, app.uniswap.org, the domain, and Uniswap the protocol.

Later, he added that true decentralization “doesn’t mean UL lets you do whatever you want on its website”, but that users can access the protocol via other interfaces. He added:

(In my opinion) the Uniswap Protocol remains the most decentralized of the top defi protocols by a wide margin. Why: Non-upgradable and permissionless smart contracts, w/ no admin keys or ability for UNI holders to steal underlying liquidity.

Is Uniswap Labs Trying To Prevent A Government Crackdown?

Of course, Adam’s statements caused different reactions across the crypto community. Stanislav Kulechov, a founder of decentralized protocol Aave, said that “DeFi front-ends should” be hosted on the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS).

In that way, the protocols can be “less dependent on the founding team” and maintain their decentralization. Kulechov also proposed a Bring-Your-Own-Front-End (BYOF) solution that would allow users to download the software into a device to access the protocol.

Gabriel Shapiro, General Counselor at Delphi Labs, pointed out the possibility that anyone who forks the Uniswap front-end could receive a lawsuit from the software development studio UL. Shapiro said that the company “like DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) takedown requests”.

In a different post, Shapiro addressed the rumors suggesting that UL and other DeFi projects received subpoenas from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

A few days ago, Senator Elizabeth Warren send a letter to the SEC Chair, Gary Gensler. Warren requested clarity on regulations regarding cryptocurrencies, stablecoins, and DeFi with a deadline set for July 28th, 2021, for Gensler to replied.

Many argued that UL decision could be related to that event and to the aforementioned subpoenas. Shapiro doesn’t completely rule out this possibility but claims that they only rumor to be taken with a grain of salt.

At the time of writing, UNI and other major DeFi tokens haven’t reacted to these events. Uniswap’s governance token trades at $18,17 with a 4.1% in the daily chart.

UNI with small losses in the daily chart. Source: UNIUSDT Tradingview

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