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Ethereum Researchers Dankrad Feist and Justin Drake Join EigenLayer Prompting Conflict of Interest Concerns

Published May 22, 2024 11:24 AM
Teuta Franjkovic
Published May 22, 2024 11:24 AM

Key Takeaways

  • Ethereum Foundation’s Dankrad Feist has taken an advisory role at EigenFoundation, which supports EigenLayer.
  • Feist promises that his EIGEN token allocation will not affect his views on EigenLayer’s development.
  • Other Ethereum Foundation researchers have also joined EigenFoundation as advisors.
  • The arrangements have raised concerns about potential conflicts of interest and risks to Ethereum.

Ethereum Foundation Developer Joins EigenFoundation, Receives Token Allocation

Dankrad Feist, a Ethereum Foundation developer, announced his new paid position at EigenFoundation, which supports the EigenLayer restaking protocol.

His announcement  said that he would receive a substantial, but unspecified, amount allocation of EigenLayer’s EIGEN token.

This move follows another Ethereum Foundation developer, Justin Drake , who also joined EigenFoundation with a significant token incentive, potentially worth millions over three years.

EigenFoundation Conflict Sparks Debate Among Ethereum Devs

The recent announcements by Feist and Drake have sparked a heated debate about potential conflicts of interest. There is significant attention from blockchain experts due to the potential risks it might introduce to the blockchain. This concern stems from the protocol’s approach and its implications on the broader infrastructure of Ethereum. In particular, there are worries about how it might affect security and decentralization.

This controversy intensified after crypto commentator Cobie challenged Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin  about the ethics of core developers being paid to advise projects that could have conflicting interests with Ethereum.

Buterin had immediately expressed pride  in Ethereum’s culture of open dialogue, which he mentioned in a reply to Cobie.

The discussion has seen a mix of reactions, with some users praising Cobie  for demanding transparency and ethical behavior in the crypto community, despite facing criticism.

Emphasizing Integrity and Accountability in New Role

Dankrad Feist, who is associated with the “danksharding” technique, has openly declared his new role with EigenFoundation.  He said :

“I am taking this position personally, not representing the Ethereum Foundation, and with a focus on risks and decentralization. I am therefore fully expected to take contrarian views on Eigenlayer. I do receive a significant amount of tokens from this position. I do not believe that they will change or influence my positions on how the core protocol should be developed, but I believe that the community should know about this, so that they can keep me accountable.”

Feist also addressed concerns regarding EigenLayer, particularly fears that it might lead to centralization through restaking. He expressed optimism about the benefits of EigenLayer for Ethereum.

Justin Drake Maintains Critical Stance on EigenLayer

Justin Drake says  that he will reinvest all earnings from his advisory role with EigenLayer back into Ethereum, through either investments or donations. He has also expressed willingness to terminate his advisory role if EigenLayer’s direction conflicts with Ethereum’s interests.

Justin Drake says  that he will reinvest all earnings from his advisory role with EigenLayer back into Ethereum, through either investments or donations. He has also expressed willingness to terminate his advisory role if EigenLayer’s direction conflicts with Ethereum’s interests.

He also said he wanted to examine the risks associated with restaking. He went on to state his intent to offer constructive criticism aimed at mitigating potential threats. These include solo validators being undermined and pressure being put on Ethereum’s consensus mechanism.

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