January 27, 2022: Sifu, Not Safu 🕵️🚨
Sesta Sacks Serial Scammer
Many of the people and protocols in Web3 are brand new, yet we’re building on the graveyard of over a decade of hacks and scams. Cryptocurrency is permissionless, so the bad actors of the past are always ready to resurface and prey on a fresh audience.
Yesterday, ace detective @zachxbt.eth fired off a warning about 0xSifu.
0xSifu, neé Michael Patryn, neé Omar Dhanani has a nasty history of identity theft, embezzlement, and ponzis (but not the good kind).
On display here is the rougher side of double-edged sword that is cryptocurrency. We’re building a censorship-resistant and truly open financial system. This also means bad actors can and will keep coming back. What is a community to do?
This is a tricky job. No degen is pure enough to cast the first stone. If we concoct a purity blacklist, everybody will ultimately be banned from DeFi. The ability to welcome sinners along with saints is one of the promises of cryptocurrency.
At the same time, we can’t allow fraudsters to run rampant. The policing ends up falling onto the community itself, putting protocol devs in the unenviable position of both shipping products and playing pope.
For the most part, the community appears to strike the right balance. Serial fraudsters may always have the right to create a new wallet, but web3 offers no basic right to allow just anybody to get access to a protocol’s multisig wallet. The true currency in this space is not necessarily the tokens we see on screen, but a track record of trust earned between users and builders. Kudos to all who stepped up.
All the while, frog herder @danielesesta faced extreme pressure, (justifiably in my view), to jettison Sifu or be considered negligent.
Initially Daniele stood by 0xSifu, claiming it a matter of forgiveness.
While you may forgive an arsonist, you have no obligation to immediately hand them a lighter. Trust can and must take time to rebuild.
After sufficient pressure, Wonderland agreed to oust Sifu pending a community vote.
Convex inadvertently finds itself downstream of this controversy. Amidst the chaos, some people noted Sifu purchased $1MM worth of $CVX on the cheap.
Convex took strong action previously against Mochi. Would it be appropriate in this case too?
At the moment though, Sifu appears to be making no attempts to hijack the protocol. So while we should definitely be circumspect, blocking users may not be the precedent we want to set.
Trolls also attempted to start rumors that Sifu was one of Convex’s early investors. This has been swiftly refuted by all parties.
This particular flare-up may be resolving in the right direction, but the pseudonymous nature of cryptocurrency all but guarantees Sifu and other serial scammers will be back to scam again. If we want everybody to stay safe, what can we do?
If you’re sharp with data, the blockchain data is all public. Grab your toolkit and dig in. Or contact detectives and offer to help build them tools to aid their work.
If you’re not technical but have funds, consider donating to @zachxbt who sounded the alarm in the first place.
This space works best when we police it ourselves, as opposed to allowing corruptible governments to do the job. This can make the space scary to outsiders, but in my experience most degens share a positive vision of keeping the community safe and are aligned towards doing the right thing.
Update 9:20 AM PT
Sifu may not actually be getting axed? 🤦
In other news, a different rogue with a checkered past joined the Bankless Podcast to discuss the Curve Wars yesterday. Many thanks to all the people who replied to requests for comments, it would have been impossible to conduct the interview without your help. If you missed it, you can catch the full interview here:
Disclaimers! Author is not an ethicist.