Gauntlet is leaving Aave

It has always been Gauntlet’s mission to make DeFi safer and more efficient for users. Serving as an independent risk manager for Aave since 2020 has been an incredible opportunity to do so. We’re proud of our work to provide monitoring, analysis, and parameter recommendations to the protocol. Almost everyone on our 60-person team has contributed to Aave or worked on the infrastructure supporting it.

It is because of all this that it pains us to say that Gauntlet is no longer able to continue our work with Aave. We will be terminating our payment stream as soon as possible and working with other contributors to find a replacement for the Risk Steward.

A lot has changed during the four years we’ve worked with Aave. It’s been truly amazing to watch one of our customers grow from an upstart to a juggernaut. However, in the past year, we’ve found it difficult to navigate the inconsistent guidelines and unwritten objectives of the largest stakeholders.

  • Duplicate proposals happen, like during TUSD offboarding (AIP-291/285). When we had a duplicate it was coined the “AIP-371 fiasco.
  • We looked for assistance to distribute ARB emissions to Aave users. We were criticized for doing so. To be clear - it’s free money. What issue someone might take with this is hard to understand. The following week, the opposite reaction occurred with Chaos on Optimism.
  • In November, we received criticism for our Applied Research team’s economic audit as “moonlighting for direct competition.” Since then, Chaos has partnered with Seamless, Radiant, and Zerolend, which are Aave forks.

Because of all of this, the best place to continue Gauntlet’s mission is elsewhere. We want to give special thanks to @stani, @eboado, Gavi and Alok at Standard, @Emilio, @PennBlockchain, @LBSblockchain, @karpatkey, Certora, @0xkeyrock.eth, @michigan_blockchain @WintermuteGovernance, StableLab, Berkeley, @blockchainatcolumbia and many others for the war rooms and collaborations over the years.

Someday in the future, we’d love to work with Aave again. Until that day, with all our love, farewell.

- John Morrow
Co-founder, Gauntlet
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First of all, would like to show appreciation for the work @Gauntlet has done on Aave, during multiple years. I had some criticism in the past, but over time the involvement (opinions apart) is clearly visible, with all the value given.

However, as an Aave community member and professional collaborator with Gauntlet via BGD (service provider as Gauntlet), I don’t particularly understand the rationale of this unilateral decision.
Yes, sometimes criticism is harsher than it should on DAOs, but generally the broad community has always shown appreciation for Gauntlet’s work. Best testimony of that is that, year over year, Gauntlet has been renewing their service provider engagement with Aave.

So personally I’m disappointed about the trust that the Aave DAO put on Gauntlet being broken in the middle of the engagement. I obviously respect the decision if other business considerations exist, but simply can’t agree that Aave mistreated Gauntlet.

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Hello,

Some facts:

  • the ACI has voted YAE the Arb related proposal because it’s not even an option in our mind to slow down the DAO because we think risk has no place doing finance and/or growth job.
    The other risk SP did what is expected, contact the relevant DAO service providers, coordinate and have the role assigned to a multisig with relevant parties.

  • Chaos is selling licenses of their risk dashboard to protocol in the ecosystem; in our book, that’s widely different from directly providing risk service provider services.

  • Gauntlet factually benefited, regardless of our personal opinion, of every ACI service at every request.

  • Gauntlet is a 1B company that recently raised >23m$ there’s zero serious unicorn and zero company board in this world that would let the team quit their most prestigious client that spent >10M$ on them on the past years and contributed greatly on their brand if there’s not more profitable and strategic alternative.

“Marc has not been nice to us” is a poor excuse to justify Gauntlet looking into external business opportunities. “we left because we were treated unfairly” was likely deemed a better alternative than exposing itself to be seen as mercenary.

The ACI always and still supports a dual risk team DAO; having two risk teams allowed today to have no noticeable impact on the DAO protocol and contribute to our resilience.

Therefore, at the ACI, we are considering a very prestigious slot with a current budget of 1.6m/year just opened, and we’re looking forward to the candidates’ risk teams’ proposals.

Onwards.

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As previously mentioned, we did this.

That was not what was communicated to me directly from you in Telegram on January 29th

From our November contract renewal:

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I am surprised by Gauntlet’s lack of professionalism on this matter. Were there any attempts by Gauntlet to resolve these issues?

The examples of inconsistent guidelines and unwritten objectives provided sound like normal DAO governance (when a variety of stakeholders are involved). Can’t help but think there are ulterior motives to this decision.

Ending a 1 yr contract a few months after renewal on the basis of DAO inefficiencies and disagreements hurts the credibility of Gauntlet. Going forward, future clients should be aware that contractual obligations can be terminated at any time for any reason.

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While this is an unfortunate outcome, we are honoured to have had the opportunity to work with Gauntlet!

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We’ve always had a great working relationship with Gauntlet and are disappointed by this decision. I don’t think the decision here makes total sense given the intricacies and challenges of working with a DAO, but nevertheless, wish Gauntlet luck going forward.

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It’s unfortunate seeing a risk provider leaving the DAO, as we have just lately started working together. Nevertheless I do hope the DAO will find a suitable candidate to fill the space. GL & HF for the future.

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It is strange that diverse opinions and different objectives between risk management and business development are not perceived as a valuable asset in rich DAO governance.

Actually, I am quite concerned when all AIP are only YAEs. Having some passionate debates in the forum prior to votes is part of the game to widen perspectives, balance options and convince …

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I don’t know either Marc or Gauntlet team personally, so take this as a neutral 3rd party read of the situation. But to me, this whole thread reads like:

“Marc is such a colossal a-hole that we would rather tank our business than have to work with him one more nanosecond”

Maybe I’m wrong, but their polite-speak roughly translates to that, i believe. And yes, it does happen. Often. People don’t like to work with people they are incompatible with, regardless of financial interest. As an investor and board member elsewhere, I’d be okay with it.

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All the best Gauntlet. Business decisions do not come easy. Thank you for your work and contribution. Best of luck!

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Over the initial 3.5 years of the Aave protocol, I had the privilege of spearheading the risk efforts. This journey involved onboarding pivotal risk providers such as Gauntlet and Chaos Labs, each contributing significantly to our ecosystem. Gauntlet has been an unwavering supporter since the inception, for which their dedication and hard work have been invaluable :raised_hands: Thank you @jmo @inkyamze @Pauljlei @tarun :purple_heart:

Likewise, the introduction of Chaos Labs brought essential competition and challenge, enriching our risk discussions and strategies

Managing risk for a protocol, particularly for Aave – the largest DeFi liquidity pool with the most assets and deployments across numerous blockchains – is an intricate and demanding task. It involves a delicate balance of infra, models, analysis and risk appetites rather than right or wrong approaches. Consequently, fostering debate and competition has proven to be exceptionally beneficial for Aave, enabling our community members to navigate through complex trade-offs with greater clarity

However, it’s important to acknowledge the evolving landscape of expectations and feedback regarding our service providers. Gauntlet recent proposal narrowly passed, thanks to last-hour support, indicating a diverse range of community sentiments. As Aave matures do we still need Gauntlet’s expensive “seal of approval”?

@MarcZeller’s approach, sometimes perceived as radical, has, through our four-year collaboration, revealed a consistent openness to debate and evolution. His commitment to advancing the DAO’s interests, even when challenging the status quo or advocating for heightened expectations & lower costs from providers, remains clear. Thank you Marc!

In light of recent discussions and the sensationalism that sometimes surrounds them, I urge the community to look beyond the noise. Drama may capture attention, especially with a renowned entity like Aave, but it’s crucial to differentiate between constructive criticism and FUD

Onwards Fam :heart_hands: :heartpulse: :ghost:

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@Alex_BertoG it was great working with you as well and thanks so much for the kind words! You were instrumental to our early work for the protocol and a great partner throughout our time here.

@MarcZeller - No one said you were mean. I’m not even sure if it’s your job to be nice. This is not an excuse to explore other opportunities - we don’t think we need an excuse to continue our mission as independent risk managers and grow our business. We just felt it was necessary to explain 1) why we left and 2) that other contributors were not under the same constraints. Wish you the best.

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Mark isn’t extremely mean. He is quite mean and his ego is 30x size of his body. But yeah, it is what it is…

Only 30x? that would make me the most humble French in our history. Pls revisit this to at least 50-60x, I don’t want my citizenship revoked.

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It’s unfortunate to see them leave, but I can understand their reasoning. Some jobs aren’t worth the headache, especially when you don’t need the money. Even if you do need the money, some jobs still aren’t worth it. For Gauntlet, Aave was one of those jobs. It is what it is.

Best of luck to everyone going forward.

f93eee1c0768a1d7523792643ab61ef4dc70d84f655b77f69cdeed7683f87267

Update :

In a few hours, Gauntlet will announce officially they worked for Morpho Blue; they knew the ACI would have, as a result of this, immediately published an ARFC to cut their stream for working with direct competition and had little to no chance to survive this vote as they barely got renewed.

Everything in this thread is now proven to be a simple and remarkably clumsy gaslight attempt campaign to justify Gauntlet’s mercenary behavior and save face from their likely offboarding future at Aave, which has been a former multi-year customer paying millions that trusted again and again on their service and helped grow their business and reputation.

We invite protocols from the industry to take notes for when, eventually, the Gauntlet team proves their concept of loyalty again by not “needing an excuse to continue their mission as independent risk managers and grow our business”

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Shameful behavior @Gauntlet

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I want to express my gratitude for the service you have provided as part of Gauntlet. Over the years, your team has demonstrated a level of commitment and expertise that was initially commendable.

However, it is with regret that I became dissatisfied with the recent decline in the quality of service provided by Gauntlet, which was why I voted no against the renewal. There was noticeable degradation in response times, which has had a direct impact on Aave operations.

Gauntlet is now engaged with our competitors. While I respect your business decisions, I find it challenging to believe there is/was never a potential conflict of interest and this is simply mercenary behavior on Gauntlets behalf, who, may no longer appreciate the robust nature of Aave Dao and being held accountable for their many millions in fees.

I understand that businesses evolve, priorities shift, and I genuinely appreciate the contributions made during our early collaboration with Gauntlet but the nature of both the departure and todays announcement have tainted my view of Gauntlet .

Now, lets see “Chaos pick up the Gauntlet” and help pilot Aave into the next stage of development.

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Hello,

The AIP-38 to Cut Gauntlet Service provider stream has been published

With the typical gauntlet reactivity leading to no action 7 days after this thread publication. The ACI took the initiative to write, ask for review & publish the AIP.

In the absence of precedence of an SP leaving Aave, we opted for a “Direct-to-AIP” process, as it’s simply a factual acknowledgment of Gauntlet leaving and not a direct offboarding process that would require more governance discussions.

As a result, stream 1000021 and 1000022 will be cut if the governance acknowledges this decision on March 4th at 10.08 am UTC.

We’re supportive of segregation of risk & growth/finance too maintain a sane balance for the protocol, as such we think @ACI, @Karpatkey & @TokenLogic should be out of consideration to replace @Gauntlet in the Risk & GHO steward seats until a new Risk service provider team is chosen for the second risk SP slot.

We would like to nominate, if they agree, Certora for this position, as they’re currently doing the critical on-chain-verification job for AIPs, it would make sense they also act to verify Steward’s payloads and their compliance to stewards’ roles & limitations.

We invite Gauntlet to:

  • Payback to the Aave collector contract the insolvency fund in full by transferring 480,000 aUSDT to the Aave collector contract
  • Send back all aUSDT and GHO streamed between the publication of this thread (Feb 21, 4:14 PM UTC) and the enforcement of AIP 38 (March 4th at 10.08am UTC) to the Aave collector contract
  • If Certora accepts their interim steward role, sign the related update of steward owners addresses.
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