Who is Andre Cronje?
Andre Cronje is a software developer with enormous contributions to the Decentralized Finance (DeFi) space. The South African is an expert in developing fintech solutions and chairs the Technology Council of South Korea’s Fantom Foundation.
He created the famous yearn.finance and Keep3rV1 protocols. However, through mergers and collaborations, he has a hand in other related decentralized finance projects. Additionally, Andre is a code reviewer and shareholder at CryptoBriefing.
The software architect has an unconventional approach to new programs, just as he states in his Twitter profile, “I test in prod”. He releases the product first and then removes the bugs as he goes along. Crypto investors throw caution to the wind and invest in Cronje’s products even before he conducts the necessary testing. Let us dig deeper into his achievements.
Cronje’s Career Path
Andre was born in Cape Town, South Africa. His age, however, remains shrouded in mystery. He brushed aside a LLB degree program from Stellenbosch University in 2003 and took approximately half a year to complete a Computer Science degree required to cover three years.
The stunning achievement earned him a teaching job at the same college (Computer Training Institute). He tutored IT, Graphic Design, and Law from mid-2005 to late 2006. Between October 2006 and August 2012, he worked in the Technical departments of Vodacom, International Mobile Protection Initiative and Mobile Game Card Applications. He further sharpened his computer software skills at Altron and Full Pacing Ltd. Later, in 2013, he joined the technology department of Shoprite and remained until 2017.
Other reputable institutions that he worked for are Lemniscap and Fantom Foundation.
Shift to Cryptocurrency
Andre ventured into the crypto arena in late 2018. He started as a Blockchain Protocol Advisor at BitDiem and managed an almost similar role at CryptoCurve some months later.
The impressive returns earned by stablecoins invested in the crypto networks drew him to invest in such platforms. However, he complained about the digital currency’s volatility, but that didn’t take away his passion for decentralized finance protocols.
His software coding skills came to play when he finally developed a program that could automatically move the stablecoins to the yield platforms. His discovery attracted cryptocurrency companies Aave and Curve Finance. The collaboration of the three birthed iEarn.
At the same time, his name became popular for code reviews. Due to the crypto enthusiasts’ trust in him, his reviews could make or break a digital currency company. Andre’s star began to shine brighter when he founded yearn.finance and the YFI token after indulging in more profound cryptocurrency research.
The birth of yearn.finance (YFI)
Drawing from the experience he gained in the creation of iEarn, Cronje dreamed of a simple, user-friendly application for yield farming. Moreover, he wanted to patch up the security vulnerabilities in iEarn.
It was in February 2020 that he released the yield farming aggregator, yearn.finance. Unlike other decentralized finance projects requiring a team of experts to code the protocol and source venture funds from investors, Cronje used his funds to put it up.
Moreover, he coded the protocol all by himself. The protocol runs on the Ethereum blockchain. Users can earn interest on their crypto holdings and enjoy trading and borrowing services. Since the platform runs automatically using smart contracts, it excludes financial mediators like banks.
The YFI Token
The current craze for decentralized finance could be traced back to the historical rush for the YFI token, whose market cap shot to 300 USD in just 60 days.
The developer had a huge commitment to his project; he once said he would be the last to get his funds out of the platform. When he created the platform’s native token YFI, he was against keeping some of the tokens for himself before the official launch. He used the platform for farming YFI as an ordinary user.
YFI was launched in July 2020, and by August 2020, its market cap shot beyond 1.1 billion USD. In mid-October 2020, its value was USD 15,800, which was a significant drop from the all-time high price of 44,000 USD. The decline was attributed to bugs on the Vault product and some flashes of bad PR.
Yearn.finance is a DeFi platform that provides a range of unique products for interest generation, insurance, and borrowing aggregation. Investors earn YFI tokens by staking them on the platform’s contracts hosted by the Balance and Curve decentralized finance platform’s.
Any user with the token can participate in proposal polls, which need more than 50% of the total votes if the proposal requires implementation on the platform. Any user can bring up a request, but only the token holders can vote. YFI started with a static supply of 30,000 tokens. The only way the developer could push it up is through voting for its increase by the token holders. The token has value, and it acts as the bait to draw investors on yearn.finance.
Products on The yearn.finance Platform
The aggregating platform has four major products.
APY Table displays the yield rates on the diverse lending protocols.
Earn is a product that establishes the highest yield rate a user can earn from an asset. It surveys different lending protocols like Aave or Compound to give the user the best yield rates. The platform is compatible with digital assets like sUSD, DAI, and USDT.
Vaults are the unique strategies developed to enable a user to choose one that maximizes profits from other DeFi projects. It’s a yield-earning product.
With Zap, the platform user can save time and money by BUNDLING numerous trades in a single click.
The Keep3r Network ($KP3R)
The developer, arguably the father of DeFi, announced the release of Keep3r through a 28 October 2020, Medium post and later through Twitter. He described it as an easy to execute incentivization module FOR ROUTINE ECOSYSTEM checks. Due to his initial YFI project’s success, crypto lovers swiftly purchased the KP3R token once offered on Uniswap. Shortly after launch, the token became so volatile that it shifted prices at an average of 1 USD per minute.
Though the developer quickly blogged that that network was not live yet, opportunistic traders swiftly put their capital onto the platform and started trading on Uniswap. The token price hit a roof of 317 USD in a short time and with little trading volumes, but later crashed to 100 USD due to repeated contracts redeployment by the coder during testing.
Cronje’s use of social media in creating awareness of the new project made the news spread fast. The network could be described as a “task matching” platform where job posters look for experts (keepers) to help them perform their tasks. Both parties enjoy the network’s incentives.
The network comes in handy for projects like yearn.finance with workforce limitations to delegate some maintenance or job tasks to experts (keepers) in exchange for a reward. The platform is a mini blockchain where all the parties to the job contract can check a particular task’s status.
The tasks could be MetaMask wallet batch posting, flash liquidation, collecting yield farming earnings, and Uniquote prices research.
Although the tasks are easy, their regular nature makes them mentally absorbing and time-consuming. In the Keep3r platform, the developer uses his programming skill to complete the tasks. The Keep3r platform hosts the KP3R token. The more of the coin an user has, the more significant the reputation on the network. The token provides a means of payment of the rewards depending on the gas spent on the transaction. A premium is added to the primary incentive depending on how complex the task is. Users with substantial amounts of the token can access more challenging jobs due to their higher reputation.
Role at Fantom Foundation
Andre Cronje is the chairperson of the Technology Council of Fantom Foundation based in Seoul, South Korea. The foundation is a company with experts for blockchain development and integration. The experts are drawn from different disciplines like engineering, science, research, and entrepreneurship.
Fantom codes deal with different components of open-systems. The computer software company has a solid vision of providing scalable, decentralized, and secure technology solutions. In line with its vision, its team of experts is decentralized and comes from different parts of the world.
Andre Cronje’s Mergers and Partnerships
Andre Cronje’s yearn.finance entered into a series of collaborations and mergers with related DeFi protocols.
The yearn.finance founder had the vision of expanding his pioneer project to absorb several smaller DeFi projects and make his more prominent.
Collaboration with Hegic
yearn.finance joined hands with Hegic on the binary options product. The new development aimed at “hedging the risk” of traders in the event of losses by providing an indemnity for the losses.
Since the protocol is programmed to allow traders to buy Wrapped Bitcoin and ETH options with the DAI coin, the traders are cushioned against fluctuation of prices in the crypto market.
Yearn & Cover Merger
The partnership with Cover was the fulfilment of an important initiative by Yearn to indemnify its users against losses. For Cover, the partnership would broaden its range of insurance and grow into a new market. Further, it would be able to accept an increased variety of collateral.
Their Claim token would be used as loan security and for lending. On the other hand, Yearn would benefit from Vault covers and thus cushion their users from the risk of losses. That would give it ample time to direct its efforts on Vaults and lending.
Although the Yearn-Cover merger seemed so promising, it hit a snag. Both protocols now operate independently. Andre could not help but vent his emotions.
I won’t trust them again.
He said after the breakup. He would later delete the tweet admitting that it was emotional and unfit for Twitter. The split could have come from conflicts of interest when news about Cover’s new platform-rules emerged.
Cover’s token dropped in value by more than 30% to 605 USD, when the split became public.
The Merger Between Yearn and Cream V2
Cream v2 was the product of the collaboration between Yearn and Cream. The former makes it possible for Yearn users to earn leveraged interest on their holdings.
Moreover, it’s a springboard for the pair’s partnership on lending products. The coming together is expected to increase the total locked value (TVL) for both. Pair lending would be possible, and the Yearn vault shares would be acceptable as security on the Cream protocol.
The Cream protocol will specialize in lending functions
Yearn and Akropolis Merger
The collaboration with Akropolis was meant to introduce new synergies by merging their development resources. Akropolis is a decentralized platform offering savings and borrowing facilities. Moreover, Yearn would be able to pick up Akropolis investment strategies and add them onto its own. Akropolis is renowned for its business development expertise, and the partnership would help Yearn tap on that strength.
Why Cronje Wanted To Quit DeFi
In August 2020, the celebrated developer almost quit DeFi. He was depressed by the crumbling of iEarn, a protocol he had taken months to develop.
By the time it blew up, it was holding more than 340 USD million worth of cryptocurrency.
The coder blamed it all on the “toxic community” that was thankless even after developing a non-custodial program for them. Additionally, developing the yEarn protocol had pushed him to a 20,000 USD debt, having spent over 40,000 USD through a loan back up.
yCredit: Cronje’s 2021 Innovation
Towards the end of December 2020, the DeFi leader added to his list of innovations a new DeFi protocol yCredit.
It’s a loaning protocol. Traders holding ERC-20 tokens can borrow yCredit coins at a rate of 99.5%.
For instance, if a user holds 10 USD worth of ETH on the yCredit platform, they can get a yCredit token loan of 9.95 USD. However, if they burn the 10 USD, they can get a refund of their ETH. The platform allows for the borrowing or buying of any ERC-20 token that is compatible with the program. The protocol accepts popular tokens like AAVE, BNB, ETH, sUSD, WBTC, and YFI.
However, Andre warned that the protocol is not thoroughly tested, and traders need to exercise due diligence since malicious users can economically exploit it.