Inside the Chef’s Jacket: A Full Course Meal with Omakase-San

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ayoki

Apr 14 · 13 min read

So how did you first get into Sushi?

I go on Github a lot, almost everyday, just to see what’s interesting and keep up with the latest. While on Github one day and I saw SushiSwap smart contracts were trending. I clicked in just to learn more, which took me to the Medium post, which then lead me to the Discord. After I joined the Discord, I started understanding what SushiSwap was all about, along with AMMs in general, which fortunately was all kind of relevant to what I studied in university. Immediately there was stuff to do, so I just started doing it, purely out of interest.

Around that time is when I met Jiro (Jiro Ono) and Zippo and we started building out a new front end and setting up analytics. Then a little after, when Chef Nomi left, I kept building and taking on more responsibility to integrate all the different community contributions to the interface and infrastructure. I’ve never concerned myself with politics and just wanted to build. Soon after, with the support of Maki and the community I put up my hiring proposal as the first core dev, the rest is history.

That’s basically how it all got started; A happy accident.

My username used to be Jiro and current Jiro’s username was (and still is) Jiro Ono. When we originally submitted a governance vote for the treasury multisignature, our votes were split since users kept getting us confused. I told Jiro, that’s okay, you can keep the name Jiro and I’ll create a new one called Omakase. Omakase roughly translates to “have it your way” and I felt that embodied the ethos of a community- driven organization.

Early conversation between Omakase, previously known as Jiro, and the great JiroOno.

A lot of people wonder how Sushi was able to recover from the “Chef Nomi Incident.” As someone who was there, can you fill us in on why you think Sushi has seen the success it has, despite its rocky start?

Believe it or not, at that time I was so concerned with building, integrating different architectures for the planned migration, that it didn’t even really hit me that anything had happened. I was a little preoccupied during that whole saga, but I did see a tweet saying that ‘Chef Nomi had left Sushi and taken the treasury. After seeing that, I remember I mentioned to Maki that nothing really changed for me and I would still be willing to contribute and I was still happy to work with the community. Looking back, I can see why people saw it as a really big deal, but at the time it really didn’t affect the way I looked at the project.

One of the strongest traits of Sushi is that it was always bigger than just one person. Even though this incident happened, there were many other people already involved, contributing, and willing to drive on.

I think this incident really shows the culture of Sushi. Rain or shine, we just keep on building.

When Sushi first started off, it was Chef Nomi’s vision to leverage a community AMM to drive network effects. Amongst three yield mechanisms known to decentralized finance (protocol usage, network tokens, demand for leverage) Sushi expanded beyond just protocol usage to utilize a network token not only for dual purpose of governance and offsetting IL, but also to bootstrap network effects. The power of these network effects cannot be understated and it’s the very reason why we are all here together, amongst the team and the community, even though we have no personal history and more or less nothing in common.

biswap

I think Sushi is very, very unique in this sense. I have never seen an organization evolve like this in all my professional history. Most organizations are very centralized and their team is very predictive, as in, they have a fairly simple social network graph that one could follow to determine how the team was formed. Sushi’s social network graph is born out of pure serendipity, which speaks to, not only, its wide reaching impact, but also the power of community-driven development and interaction. For our core team, as well as the community, the fact that we’re all here working together, is something that none of us could have predicted a year ago.

Sushi made an innovative solution to traditional organizations in saying: ‘Hey we have a governance token and we’re going to strive to maintain governance, maintain a community and it’s all going to be powered by this SUSHI token.’ And to a certain degree, Sushi did just that with flying colours, beyond even the creator’s wildest dreams. It created a team of completely random individuals who have never met each other and who are now striving towards the same goal and I think that’s kind of incredible.

I sometimes take a step back and see this as Chef Nomi’s vision, but on steroids, and wonder, how did this happen? This vision attracted and consolidated all of these random individuals into a core team, community and a DAO. It’s not viral, but some kind of new word, like a big bang organization, where organizations are formed out of nothing. We should always strive to pursue extending these network effects wherever possible — whether through more collaboration or constant community engagement.

How can interested ones get involved in Sushi?

Sometimes communities don’t know just how strong their network effects really are. We are trying to always foster a better community, trying to identify talent and encourage people to participate. We have a bunch of contributing developers who have become core developers, pretty much every month. I mean, people who just hop on the Discord, have great ideas, then start working on something, seeing it end to end, results in them then owning a piece of Sushi infrastructure. This would be unimaginable in traditional organizations.

Sushi is an open organization and will recognize that if you are someone who is willing to see something end to end and take responsibility to maintain that piece of infrastructure, there is no reason why we wouldn’t be willing to onboard someone with those types of self-starter qualities. That situation would, at the very least, result in some form of grant, if not a core dev position.

Which community proposal had the most impact in your opinion?

I think vesting was a pretty incredible proposal. Basically all the farmers got together and voted to agree to avoid their base instinct to sell SUSHI to offset immediate IL. If you’re an experienced farmer the rule is always: You sell immediately what you farm to cover your impermanent loss.

This is a network effect problem or a free rider problem. This is also why a lot of protocols fail. The process of such a proposal represented pure governance, because all the farmers got together and said, “Hey we can solve this free rider problem if we agree to have a lockup. Let’s give Sushi some time to grow into a more mature product and let’s not kill it immediately by being driven by our basic instincts. Let’s put some limits on our actions and put 2/3 of our rewards into lockup for 6 months and at that time Sushi will be a more mature and growing protocol.”

I think that proposal worked beautifully. That 6 month period gave Sushi enough time to become recognized as a DeFi blue chip, and generate an incredible amount of wealth for our liquidity providers. The Sushi token is no longer a promise token, there are many things you can do with SUSHI right now. Staking SUSHI for xSUSHI accrues 0.05% of all swaps from all chains (yes all chains!), xSUSHI is highly composable across all our DeFi partners, which allow users to stack yields on top of a single asset continuously compounding yield. You can also deposit SUSHI into BentoBox where it will automatically accrue yield from strategies, while also taking another step and lend that SUSHI out to various lending markets on Kashi, and receive a kashiPair token in return that allows you to stake on an Onsen yield farm to generate more SUSHI. Whew, what a mouthful — SUSHI has definitely risen to take advantage of “DeFi legos” and stackable yields and grow all of DeFi together.

Taking a step back, the fact that $800 million of sheer wealth was created from the vesting proposal really shows the power of community, the power of governance and the power of dedicated contributors and it is something that should be celebrated.

Just wanted to say, before moving on, how personally impressed I am by our core contributor, Lufy, who guided this proposal and developed multiple solutions on behalf of the engaging discussion and debate across the community. While our pseudo-anonymity allows us to focus on the work being done, it shouldn’t be forgotten that real people are behind the incredible opportunities and accomplishments that you can’t find in any other industry. It also speaks to the strength of Sushi and governance that train and give opportunities for the next cohort of leaders — at Sushi its always been more than just one chef.

Can you take us on a deep dive of the different Sushi interfaces?

Because we have such a large community, we actually, surprisingly, have at least 7 functioning interfaces. For some people it’s annoying to have 7, because for some people it’s chaotic. We need to take a step back and realize the chaos is just a symptom of a decentralized organization and incredibly active community. It will continue to be the core team’s mandate to not only facilitate the organic contributions of the community, but also empower them with open source repos to continue to build and address pain points relevant to them.

The Exchange interface gives a sense of familiarity and speaks to those who like the simplicity of the Uniswap UI. We’ve also continued to extend this open source interface to support multi networks, as well as adding more features regarding yield farming, BentoBox, Kashi, Saave (one click forwarding) and many other tools to those who want a direct no frills interface. This interface is roughly 1,000 commits ahead of the original fork and will be the full featured interface going forward.

Sushi’s ‘Exchange’ interface

The Analytics interface takes a deep dive into all tokens, pairs, yield farms, and SushiBar on Sushi along with user portfolio stats. This interface is really for those that want to dig into the details of the protocol and generate some deeper insights. Pair pages also come with a impermanent loss/gain simulation that I feel is incredibly informative for yield farmers – more improvements to this simulator to come as it doesn’t currently take into account SUSHI rewards that enhance impermanent gain.

Sushi’s ‘Analytics’ interface

The Lite interface is great for beginners given its step-based wizard interface and offers both simplicity and instruction. Lite can also be compiled into an app to satisfy those who tend to operate on mobile apps exclusively.

Sushi’s ‘Lite’ interface

The App interface is great for people who want a lot of information and like to explore the Sushi protocol. It displays a lot of stats and is great for token discovery. The interface has the longest average duration across all community interfaces and gives more opportunities to convert to swap. It also allows users to perform actions and see data at the same time without hopping across interfaces.

Sushi’s ‘App’ Interface

The Trader interface is built around our traditional database architecture and TradingView integrations. These features are more familiar to users who come from a trading background and also want to compare yield opportunities and arbitrage opportunities. The architecture on this interface now surfaces all Sushi markets through TradingView search and also allows for experimental features that merge decentralized and centralized systems such as price alerts, liquidation alerts, etc.

Sushi’s ‘Trader’ interface

The Midnight interface is a variation of the Trader interface with direct integrations into all markets supported by TradingView. This interface is helpful for users who just want to compare assets as they swap and know if correlation or a divergence is in play.

Sushi’s ‘Midnight’ interface

The Vision interface is one of the earliest analytics interfaces released by the community and can appeal to the standardized Uniswap Analytics interface on Sushi Markets.

Sushi’s ‘Vision’ interface

Although some people think it’s chaotic, I think that all the interfaces are a result of our vibrant community and I think this is the beauty of our DAO. I think it’s also such a great opportunity, because we get to collect data from all these different platforms so we can see what our community really wants, which features have the highest engagement, what works and what doesn’t and for whom. Our users are not homogeneous, so all the interfaces satisfy the needs of different groups.

I do think, however, that after we start to consolidate the different functionalities of the various community interfaces, and make these interfaces more accessible, we will start to see higher usage numbers overall. Sushi is quite literally on the cusp of consolidating a fully featured decentralized trading experience as part of our community mandate. Outside of just an AMM, Sushi has expanded vertically to capture the three fundamental yield mechanisms in DeFi, as well as horizontally, on each vertical that will consolidate a comprehensive product experience.

All of our repos are open source, our contracts are open source and we don’t have any intention on putting restrictive licensing on anything and we hope that any of the interfaces we’ve built can inspire other people. If someone forks our interface, I am completely unbothered by it. Actually, if enough people begin to fork our interfaces, I think that’s a big win, because I’ll be happy to see that there is some standardization in DeFi that is sorely needed in order for all of us to grow together.

Speaking of UI forks, how do you feel about the UI criticisms, particularly that some of Sushi’s interfaces are direct copies of others?

I think that Uniswap is undeniably in one of the better positions to show leadership in DeFi. However, a more centralized culture has mitigated this opportunity and decreased the experience that is afforded when operating in a dynamic community where there will be disagreements and the need for compromise, which is an entirely different animal to building. I fully credit the incredible team at Uniswap in driving the foundation and hope they can exercise more leadership and collaboration.

DeFi moves incredibly fast and that speed drives an incredible need to continuously iterate and develop patterns for feature development to reach a heightened expansion tempo and I believe we have very much diverged from the original UI in many aspects and across the seven community interfaces as well.

It would be a dream to see projects consistently fork Sushi interfaces in the future and an eventual consolidated interface. Personally, if the number of forks were noticeable, I would lean into it and work with other projects to build shared DeFi UI components for all projects to use. As a steward in a decentralized community, its our mandate to facilitate the continued growth and expansion for all. Standardized components would help drive DeFi adoption as a whole, because people won’t have to re-learn when onboarding new protocols.

That being said, I think that there’s a definite need for shared UI components across DeFi. As DeFi matures, I think there also needs to be a standardization of UI across the industry, similar to the almost identical interfaces we see in traditional trading platforms and in traditional finance. This would help build familiarity and drive adoption.

Photo by Ian Stauffer on Unsplash

What are your hobbies outside of Sushi?

These days, I’ve been working more on Sushi, so I haven’t had much time for hobbies. I was an avid rower. I do have a rowing machine next to my work set up, so every now and then I take a break and I row. Unfortunately, it’s not very easy to do on the fly; You need a boat and need to schedule with a couple people, which, given Covid-19, has been difficult.

I also played my fair share of DotA in the past. I don’t know, is that a hobby? These days, I watch a lot of Netflix documentaries, which I keep on as white noise while I work. And when I have some actual down time I enjoy oil painting and my home is strewn with different paintings throughout. Maybe I should consider getting into NFTs 😉

Last, but not least, what’s your favourite sushi?

Otoro, the wagyu of the sea

Bluefish Tuna’s belly is one of the world’s most expensive sushi

Shime-saba, for that fragrant fishiness

Shime-saba is marinated Japanese mackeral, an acquired taste, even for sushi lovers

Keep on the look out for more weekly Sushi core team interviews!

For more information about SushiSwap, please visit:

www.sushi.com

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