Uniswap’s first governance vote has been narrowly defeated

The proposal was less than half a million votes away from being passed

Image of a 3D illustration of Uniswap logo
The subject of the vote was a question about reducing the UNI governance proposal and quorum thresholds

Uniswap announced on their blog back in September the launch of the Uniswap Protocol governance token (UNI). UNI holders had ownership of Uniswap governance immediately, though control over the treasury was delayed until last Saturday.

Uniswap stated that with the launch of the governance token they hoped to see “… a variety of experimentation, including ecosystem grants and public goods funding, both of which can foster additional Uniswap ecosystem growth.”

Uniswap’s first governance vote was defeated yesterday evening, but only just. The proposal required 40 million UNI ($120 million) to pass — with users staking just 39,596,759 UNI for, and 696,857 UNI against.

The proposal was to lower the threshold for proposing a vote from 10 million UNI ($31 million) to 3 million UNI ($9 million), and to lower the quorum threshold from 40 million UNI to 30 million UNI ($90 million), with the aim of making governance more accessible.

The vote was proposed by Dharma, a smart wallet provider, that staked most of the UNI in favour, along with Gauntlet, a financial modelling platform for crypto, which also supported the proposal.

Some in the Uniswap community saw the vote as an attempt by Dharma and Gauntlet to seize control of governance: with 30 million votes between them, lowering the quorum threshold to 30 million could allow them to push through any other proposal they wanted (like expanding the UNI retroactive airdrop to include Dharma users, who are thus far excluded along with other proxy contract users).

Dharma’s Co-Founder and CEO, Nadav Hollander, said in a tweet yesterday: “A disappointing outcome that demonstrates the impetus for the proposal in the first-place: Despite the vote having 85+% turnout (!), >95% support, with 272 voting FOR and 48 voting AGAINST, the vote still failed.”

He added that the vote had caused users to increase the number of tokens they could stake in votes from 47 million UNI at the time of initial proposal, to the 74 million UNI delegated currently. Hollander saw this as a “healthy outcome for Uniswap”, but which way these extra tokens would be used to vote on a future, similar proposal remains to be seen.