DeFi protocol GRO considers shutdown amid sector-wide pullback

As user activity and volumes across the DeFi space sink, a protocol that peaked at $70 million in total value locked (TVL) in late 2021 voted to “unwind the Protocol and the DAO” on Tuesday. 

In a vote passed early Tuesday morning, the GRO DAO voted to effectively cease ongoing operations. It will redeem the rest of its treasury directly to GRO token holders who deposit into a redemption contract. 

Three options were presented: unwinding the operations, supporting a two-person team for continued development, or dismissing the proposal entirely. The decision was made to allocate $180,000 (in USDC) for a three-month period, allowing the “Groda Pod” development team to release the reimbursement contract and cease activities.

The proposal cited “difficult market, underperformance of the Gro protocol, and key departures” as extenuating circumstances leading to the decision to put an existential vote before the DAO. 

The project was founded in 2020 by former employees of Goldman Sachs, Spotify, Morgan Stanley, and Revolut. In 2021, they announced a $7.1 million raise that included funds such as Framework, 3AC, and Nascent. At the protocol’s peak in October 2021, it boasted over $68 million in stables deposited into its yield aggregation and risk tranching contracts. 

The vote to wind down comes amid a rocky period for DeFi protocols. The sector’s aggregate TVL has drifted from a high of $1.05 billion in April to just $80 billion as of today. The pullback comes amid a broader downturn in user activity across Ethereum. 

User numbers for popular DeFi protocols are especially languid. Uniswap weekly volume is set to print new 2023 lows, and monthly users for popular lending protocols such as Aave have slumped by 40% from yearly highs.

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