Decentralization illusion in Decentralized Finance: Evidence from tokenized voting in MakerDAO polls
33 Pages Posted: 28 Nov 2021 Last revised: 23 Mar 2023
Date Written: November 25, 2021
Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) is very popular in Decentralized Finance (DeFi) applications as it provides a decentralized governance solution through blockchain. We analyze the governance characteristics in the Maker protocol, its stablecoin DAI and governance token Maker (MKR). To achieve that, we establish several measurements of centralized governance. Our empirical analysis investigates the effect of centralized governance over a series of factors related to MKR and DAI, such as financial, transaction, network and twitter sentiment indicators. Our results show that governance centralization influences both the Maker protocol, and the distribution of voting power matters. The main implication of this study is that centralized governance in MakerDAO very much exists, while DeFi investors face a trade-off between decentralization and performance of a DeFi protocol. This further contributes to the contemporary debate on whether DeFi can be truly decentralized.
Keywords: E-commerce, decentralized finance, blockchain, tokens, governance
JEL Classification: G32, G34
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation