Vitalik Buterin said he did not personally engage in any yield farming for tokens on decentralized finance.
In a tweet published on Friday, the Ethereum co-founder explained that his only major interaction with yield-bearing DeFi protocols was putting “a few coins into Uniswap a long time ago.” Buterin said that he earned “a few percent on fees” before taking the money out at some undisclosed point.
This goes somewhat against the grain of the wider Ethereum community, where many prominent members showed excitement at some of the yield farming “experiments.” Jokingly, he recognized this detachment:
I know that makes me not very "Chad" or whatever the cool kid lingo is but I think the real chad is the friends you make along the way.— vitalik.eth (@VitalikButerin) August 14, 2020
Among Ethereum Foundation members and core developers, Buterin is perhaps the most connected to the DApp builder community. His posts have often inspired builders like 1inch.exchange to adopt particular solutions first outlined by him. He has also first suggested the general idea of Automated Market Maker exchanges, and directly supported Uniswap’s birth.
There is a general rift in the Ethereum community between core protocol developers and DApp developers. A clear example of this could be seen in the ProgPow debates, where core developers were largely sympathetic to the proposal while DApp and DeFi builders were vehemently opposed.
The collapse of Yam may have been a contributing factor to why Buterin decided to tweet this now.
Other developers and core members like Peter Szilagyi and Vlad Zamfir came strongly against the general idea of hyping up an untested and unaudited project. Many in the DeFi community were excited about the project as a novel experiment in DeFi governance, and most likely joined the yield farming mania.
Even after Yam’s collapse due to a single missed division, some supporters remained positive about the event as an interesting experiment. Szilagyi criticized this approach of downplaying the negatives, especially given the loss of $750,000 in Curve interest bearing tokens — in addition to the almost complete loss of YAM value.
In a related Twitter thread, Buterin warned against blindly following hyped up trends.
Reminder: you do NOT have to participate in "the latest hot defi thing" to be in ethereum. In fact, unless you *really* understand what's going on, it's likely best to sit out or participate only with very small amounts.— vitalik.eth (@VitalikButerin) August 14, 2020
There are many other kinds of ETH dapps, explore them!
It is worth noting that the risk in yield farming is generally much higher for those who are buying the tokens, not the “farmers.” Even Yam used pre-existing staking code from Synthetix, which was audited both in its original form and its Yam iteration — though only after launch. In addition to outright bugs on the token contracts themselves, there is a significant risk of dilution and price collapse.
One possible interpretation of Buterin’s tweets is that he is now attempting to rein in some of the excesses of the yield farming trend.