Andre Cronje is arguably the most notorious and prolific developer in the decentralized finance (DeFi) industry. As the founder of several high-profile DeFi protocols, Cronje has helped to shape the face of DeFi and Web3. Notably, Cronje is the creator of the Yearn Finance protocol. Also, Cronje has been pivotal in the development of the Fantom DeFi ecosystem. However, public commentary from a “toxic” DeFi culture is creating distance between Cronje and the blockchain space. Furthermore, the developer recently announced his intentions to leave DeFi for good. This prompted the price of many tokens relating to Cronje to plummet significantly. So, who is Andre Cronje?
In this “Who is Andre Cronje?” article, we’re going to explore the multi-faceted developer, Andre Cronje. Also, we’ll explore the career of one of the most prominent innovators in Web3. Plus, we’ll discuss the various projects he’s been a part of and his roles throughout the DeFi industry. In addition, we’ll consider the broader implications of Cronje’s departure and how the DeFi community has received it.
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Who is Andre Cronje?
So, who is Andre Cronje? Born in Cape Town, South Africa, Andre Cronje is a prolific software architect and Web3 developer whose “test in production” mentality has changed the face of DeFi. He is known for creating Yearn Finance and Keep3r (V1) and for his roles in the development of various top DeFi protocols, including Hegic, Pickle Finance, Cover Protocol, PowerPool, Cream V2, Multichain, and SushiSwap.
Also, Cronje has more than 20 years of experience in software development and computer science. However, in recent years, Cronje has been committed to the development of cost-reducing financial products that leverage blockchain technology.
Andre Cronje’s Early Career
Andre Cronje began his career as a lecturer at the Computer Training Institute in South Africa. Between June 2005 to September 2006, Cronje taught information technology, commerce, creative arts, graphic design, psychology, counseling, and law. Following this, Cronje took the role of “technical team leader” at mobile operator Vodacom before leaving in 2008 for International Mobile Protection Initiative. Here, Cronje served as CTO (chief technology officer) between January 2009 to May 2010.
Furthermore, Cronje was CTO of Mobile Game Card Applications between June 2010 to August 2012 before leaving to become mobile development manager for communications firm Altron. Cronje also worked as a software architect at Full Facing (Pty) Ltd from 2012 to 2014 and as the head of technology for the Shoprite group of companies between 2013 and 2017. Following this, Cronje took the role of technical advisor at video analytics firm Aggero until January 2019.
In the latter part of his early career, Cronje also became head of the technology team at Freedom Life between November 2013 and August 2018. Following this, he became the blockchain protocol advisor for payments provider BitDiem before becoming blockchain infrastructure engineer for the software firm CryptoCurve.
More recently, Cronje served as technical advisor for energy provider Kosmos from March 2019. Also, he is credited with working with other reputable projects, including Lemniscap, FUSION Foundation, Fantom Foundation, and Crypto Briefing. However, Cronje shot into the public eye in a significant way after founding the Yearn Finance yield aggregator and the native YFI token.
Who is Andre Cronje? – Yearn Finance
Yearn Finance (YFI) is a DeFi protocol on the Ethereum blockchain. It facilitates yield generation, lending aggregation, and smart contract insurance. The native YFI token grants holders with governance rights to vote on proposals to make changes to the platform. The aim of Yearn Finance is to facilitate a simple yield generation interface that combines the best elements of DeFi into a single application.
Furthermore, Yearn Finance has several product offerings. The “Vaults” function enables users to select a yield-generating strategy to maximize returns in a way that suits their risk appetite. This non-custodial automatically-compounding and rebalancing protocol shifts capital between multiple DeFi protocols to find the best interest rates for users. Plus, users can withdraw assets at any time. Alternatively, users can earn a steady yield on stablecoins and BTC via the “Earn” function.
In addition, users can take advantage of Zapper.fi’s liquidity management system. Zapper.fi enables investors to create complex debt positions across multiple protocols from a single, convenient hub. Also, Yearn Finance offers DeFi insurance via Nexus Mutual. This allows users to hedge against smart contract failure and liquidations.
At the time of writing, Yearn Finance is the eighth-largest DeFi protocol on Ethereum by total value locked (TVL), with $2.69 billion TVL according to DeFi Pulse. Also, the YFI token is trading at around $19,250, with a market cap of $687 million, according to CoinGecko.
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In 2020, Cronje reportedly received death threats from within the DeFi community. Cronje came under fire following a hack of the Eminence Finance protocol, another Cronje DeFi project. The success of Yearn Finance attracted Cronje’s followers to the unfinished project, with many believing the price action of the YFI token to be replicable.
However, one user was able to withdraw $15 million worth of DAI from the Eminence smart contracts after a malicious actor found a bug in the code. Despite the publication of a roadmap for refunding investors, the Eminence hack would prove to be a pivotal moment for the developer.
Andre Cronje Quits DeFi
Despite Cronje’s many successes over the years, the DeFi space has proven to be too much for the developer. Following the success of Yearn Finance in 2020, Cronje publicly quit DeFi citing a “toxic culture” as the primary motive. However, the developer would soon return to the scene working on multiple projects, including Keep3r, a “decentralized keeper network” that enables Web3 projects to source external DevOps. Also, Cronje would contribute a great deal of time to the development of Fantom.
Keep3r Network is a decentralized network for projects that require external DevOps for keeper roles. A “Keeper” is an external individual or team that can perform tasks for Web3 projects. This includes things like initiating transactions and completing off-chain computations. Furthermore, Keep3r facilitates the designation of these jobs via smart contracts.
Who is Andre Cronje? – Fantom
Fantom is a decentralized directed acyclic graph (DAG) network with smart contract functionality. The Fantom platform makes it simple for developers to build rich, secure decentralized applications (dApps) with minimal friction. The Fantom token (FTM) is the primary currency throughout the network and is available on the native blockchain, as an Ethereum ERC-20 token, and as a Binance Smart Chain (BSC) BEP-20 token. Plus, holders can stake the FTM token to secure the network and earn staking rewards. In addition, the FTM token is essential for platform governance. It enables holders to vote on proposals to make changes to the protocol.
Furthermore, the Fantom Opera mainnet offers Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) compatibility, extremely high transaction throughput, and minuscule fees. Accordingly, Fantom has become one of the most prominent smart contract-enabled DAG networks thanks to the ease of scalability and the ability to deploy Ethereum smart contracts.
Moreover, the Fantom network can process thousands of transactions per second (TPS), with an average confirmation time of around one second and an average transaction fee of $0.0000001. Accordingly, Fantom is well-suited to the rapidly evolving DeFi landscape. At the time of writing, the FTM token is trading at around $1.23, with a market cap of $3.1 billion, according to CoinGecko.
Andre Cronje Quits DeFi (Again)
In March 2022, Cronje announced that he would exit DeFi “for good”. Fellow Fantom Foundation colleague Anton Nell confirmed that this was not a “knee-jerk reaction” like previous departures. In fact, the move is reportedly something that Cronje has been carefully planning for a while.
The announcement by the “father of DeFi” sent shockwaves throughout the crypto world. Several tokens associated with Cronje and the Fantom ecosystem experienced a systematic sell-off shortly after the announcement, with many tokens falling by 15-20%. Nell also stated that 25 apps would shut down on April 3rd, 2022. However, existing team members will assume responsibility for these services going forward.
What Does Andre Cronje Mean to Fantom?
Andre Cronje has worked as a technical advisor to Fantom and chairperson of the Fantom Foundation technology council. As one of the best-known DeFi creators and innovators, Cronje has played a major role in many of the technical developments throughout the Fantom ecosystem.
In addition, Cronje’s presence has given many investors confidence in the various DeFi projects emerging within the Fantom ecosystem. Following the announcement of his intention to quit DeFi, investor confidence in Fantom and other Fantom projects took a significant turn to the downside. However, Fantom Foundation stated that life would go on without Cronje, thanking him for his service and contribution to the industry. Also, neither were Cronje nor Nell core developers for Fantom. Accordingly, the impact of their departure may not be as significant as some might suggest.
In a statement released by Fantom Foundation to clear up misinformation, Cronje states that “the Fantom team has been nothing but honorable throughout my engagement with them. I believe they are on the right technology path, and I have no doubts that they will continue to succeed.” Fantom Foundation stated that the departure of Cronje and Nell would not impact the development of Fantom technologies. Moreover, the foundation reiterates that Cronje helped to form the current Fantom development team. However, it is the team collectively that is responsible for the creation of Fantom technologies, not any sole developer.
Who is Andre Cronje? – Summary
Dubbed by his colleagues as an “impressive deep thinker with big questions”, Andre Cronje has helped to shape the face of decentralized finance (DeFi). However, Cronje hopes to distance himself from the toxic aspects of the DeFi community and focus on coding outside of the spotlight. Accordingly, Cronje has deactivated his Twitter account and made almost no public comments about the situation.
As one of the most prolific and influential developers in the industry, some may find it unsurprising that Cronje has received such harsh feedback. His “test in production” philosophy has been divisive in the DeFi community, with some suggesting that it exposes users to too much risk. Regardless, Cronje is undoubtedly one of the most prominent and influential people in the DeFi space. With any luck, we may be fortunate enough to experience his innovations again when the world is ready for him.
After reading this article, you should be able to confidently answer the next person who asks, “who is Andre Cronje?”. Also, you should have a firm understanding of how influential Cronje has been to the DeFi community at large.
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