It’s been a rough week for the Aragon governance platform, with philosophical differences leading to a long list of resignations.
Aragon co-founder Jorge Izquierdo announced on January 11th that he would no longer serve as CEO of Aragon One, a for-profit company, which is dedicated to building tools and services related to Aragon.
Aragon is an Ethereum-based platform that deals with decentralized governance.
The announcement came just hours after news that Aragon had bought Dvote Labs, the company behind the blockchain voting protocol Vocdoni.
Today I stepped down as CEO of Aragon One.
Leading this team has been the privilege and adventure of a lifetime and I am very proud of what we have achieved.
I’m pretty sad that this happened, but in the following circumstances, I don’t think I can continue to do a good job.
– Jorge Izquierdo (@ izqui9) January 11, 2021
Izquierdo cited his differences with decisions made by the project’s governing body, the Aragon Association, as his reason for leaving the project, in which he has been involved since 2015.
I’m sorry to hear that Jorge. Unfortunately another example of a governance startup with dysfunctional governance. Yes, I essentially tweet the entire DAO sector.
– Richard D. Bartlett (@RichDecibels) January 13, 2021
A week before Izquierdo’s departure, John Light, head of the Aragon Association, announced his resignation, stating that the project no longer reflected his values or those of the original Aragon Manifesto.
In order to increase transparency and improve as an organization, Light suggested to the association members that in future “publish all meeting minutes and financial data for public review”.
Inspired by Light’s actions and in accordance with the views set out in his letter, 11 Aragon One employees left the company in the days that followed, publicly announcing their resignations on the project’s official Discord channel.
After questions were raised on the project’s Discord chat about a transfer of 52,000 ETH from the Aragon Treasury in December, Joe Chatsworth, operations manager for the Aragon Association, issued a statement to allay fears that the project could lose its transparency. According to Chatsworth, the ETH was sold in order to “ensure a sufficient runway in stable facilities to withstand significant market downturns”.
Although insiders remain calm on the matter, Izquierdo and Light have provided subtle hints suggesting that they believe Aragon is becoming too centralized. In Izquierdo’s last letter to the Aragon Association, he referred to the debate currently underway over major tech censorship and compared maintaining internet neutrality to a major struggle:
“I believe that our generation’s struggle is to stop the trend of a few companies owning vital internet infrastructures, similar to the last century, to eradicate fascism in Europe.”
In October, co-founder Luis Cuende told Cointelegraph that Aragon could potentially be used to solve social media moderation problems as it provides a framework for a virtual court where participants use crypto to make a claim which is judged by a decentralized jury.
The token sale for Aragon in May 2018 brought ETH $ 25 million in 26 minutes. At the time, this was the fourth largest crowd-funded event in history. According to statistics trackers at DeepDAO, seven of the ten largest top DAOs by USD use Aragon as a platform. The Aragon platform also supports popular DeFi projects such as AAVE, Curve and mStable.
The price of ANT, the Aragon Network Token, has dropped 8% in the past seven days.