Tomb.Finance & Tomb Forks: Despite His Tactics, Harry Yeh Has a Point
EDIT: This article has been edited and portions redacted in light of the new partnership between Tomb.Finance and 2omb/3omb. You can read about this new partnership here.
May the odds be ever in your favor…
Alright everyone, let’s pump the brakes for a minute.
A lot has been said over the last few days and weeks about Tomb.Finance, its owner Harry Yeh, and the plethora of Tomb forks that have popped up in the last few months. Now that the fireworks have subsided for a few minutes, let’s take a more objective look at what is happening within the Fantom Community.
Tomb was launched in the Spring, 2021. A clever project, pegged to the price of Fantom ($FTM), intended to act as additional liquidity for the network as more and more $FTM was locked up in validator nodes. It is designed as a miniature Central Bank, with mechanisms that allow for supply expansion and contraction, depending on the pegged price of $TOMB to $FTM.
I won’t get into the weeds about Tomb.Finance’s mechanics, but in early September the original team for $TOMB experienced an exploit that crashed the price and peg to near zero. Shortly after, Harry Yeh decided to take over the Tomb.Finance project, recognizing its potential, delivering on its original goals, as well as expanding its uses far beyond simple yield farming.
Since taking over Tomb, the price of $TOMB has risen from $0.04 to consistently maintain a peg with the $FTM price (currently ~$2.00) and $TSHARES have risen from approximately $14 to eclipsing $20,000 multiple times.
Sidebar: Despite some Twitter FUD, Tomb shows no evidence of being a Ponzi. There are no affiliate bonuses, no downlines, no multi-level strategies, and no new money being used to pay old money. Tomb.Finance is a fairly straightforward example of well-executed crypto Game Theory.
Forks over Spoons
The success of Tomb has naturally attracted smaller, lesser-known teams looking to capitalize on their success. This is crypto, projects are usually open-source, so forks are inevitable. However, most Tomb forks have proven to be nefarious in nature. Many rugging their communities and disappearing, or soft rugging by selling team tokens over time and blaming the nature of DeFi yield farming on the reason why the protocol failed so quickly.
All of these forks lack any inherent use case, launched purely on speculation that they will be able to emulate $TOMB’s success, at least in the short-term, to get rich quick and move on. Crypto has experienced similar scam trends in the past; BSC, Masternodes, ICOs, etc. This behavior has left hundreds of Tomb and DeFi investors holding large bags and eating major losses while the anonymous teams get away with millions of dollars.
Pair these doomed Tomb forks with the Grim.Finance hack that occurred in December 2021 that cost investors $30 million, it has been a couple of months of stress and negativity on the whole Defi/FTM market. Naturally, investors losing money on useless forks and chasing huge APY%s, has caught the attention of Harry Yeh and his team.
Now, I will preface this with I don’t believe Harry responded to these forks appropriately. And he has acknowledged privately that his attempt at publicly trolling what he perceived as trolls probably didn’t land the way he had hoped. This is in itself a critique of crypto communities being a primarily text-based environment. The context of words are often lost, not everyone is a native English speaker, humor is hard to translate, and message sent doesn’t always equal message received.
Starting a couple of weeks ago, Harry made it his focus to call out and confront people whom he believes are scammers or potential bad actors hiding behind anonymous usernames. In theory, it is a noble pursuit but Harry was a little overzealous, ruffling a lot of investor feathers. And he risks catching less nefarious people in his wake.
You can tell it is personal for him. He is proud of his work on Tomb, and wants to insulate his business from the potentially harmful forks and other DeFi scams. Are all forks scams? No. Have most turned out that way? Yes. So you can’t blame his blanket condemnation of Tomb forks popping up all over the place as a way to protect his business and investors.
And let’s not forget, he is a billionaire. He earned his money, and you can’t blame him for ruthlessly trying to defend it. Welcome to Capitalism 101.
Reality of the Situation
Harry isn’t wrong that scams and bad actors are hurting the industry as a whole. They have been doing it since Bitcoin’s inception. He has chosen the Fantom network and DeFi as the territory that he is going to protect and develop. This has led many to presume he is simply trying to monopolize the market and continue to grow his wealth.
While I don’t think that’s his end goal, my response to that assertion is: so what? How many reading this have an Amazon account and get at least one package delivered to their front door each week? Bezos sunk hundreds of smaller businesses to make Amazon the juggernaut it is. I don’t mean to use hyperbole to drive home this point, but it is an example of a billionaire’s goals resulting in a more convenient life for us, the plebs.
So if Harry is looking to snuff out his competition by demanding the people developing and working within Fantom and DeFi to be doxxed, legitimate projects, and good actors… that makes us, the investors, lives a lot easier. Who am I to argue with that? Will it make Harry richer? Sure. Will it make me richer? Hell yeah. We can try to claim ‘we’re here for the tech’, but ultimately everyone is here first to change their financial destinies.
If Harry captures more of the DeFi and Fantom market share while at the same time pushing potential scammers out of this network and niche in crypto, then that is ultimately a good thing. Long term, it is setting up higher investor expectations that new teams will come into the space and have to rise to meet them in order to earn our investments.
The Tomb Brand
Harry has indicated that he will make the Tomb.Finance GitHub private, cutting off the free flow of forks from the Tomb codebase. That won’t stop forks of forks as those repositories remain open source, but it will stem the tide. Individuals will cry foul at this ‘anti-crypto’ decision to hide the code, pointing out the perceived hypocrisy of Tomb being a fork itself. However, many large successful crypto projects make all or portions of their codebase private to maintain competitive advantage in the market. This is not a new strategy by dev teams.
However, one legitimate claim Harry can make against Tomb forks, especially 2omb/3omb, is the blatant capitalization and piggybacking of his brand, Tomb. Tomb.Finance is a brand now known in DeFi and in the crypto universe overall. Any sort of bastardization of that brand should be condemned.
In the business world, a company launching with a similar name and logo would be immediately hit with a cease and desist letter from the elder company. If they persisted, they would face swift legal action and ultimately shut down. No one should be surprised that someone with Harry’s experience wants the same for his businesses in DeFi.
While Harry’s bluster over lawyers, legal avenues, etc. might feel extreme in the eyes of crypto community members, but it is exactly what a business would do in literally any other industry or circumstance.
Investors Vote With Their Dollars
With that being said, I do implore Harry and the Tomb team to take a more measured approach to confronting teams and warning investors when it comes to Tomb forks. The goal is to shut down the scams, but don’t lose the community in the process. Community is your #1 asset after all. Diplomacy and tact will safeguard Tomb while not getting stuck in the mud.
It is important to remember that investors vote with their dollars. They are constantly choosing between the most beneficial place to put their capital and doing the mental risk assessment of the chances of them losing that capital. The goal should be to convince investors their capital is safer with Tomb, even if the APRs offered are not as greed-inducing as some of these other Tomb forks and DeFi projects.
The developments currently happening with Tomb (Felix, Lif3, newly acquired Shiba Fantom, and upcoming Only) are going to increase earning potential for investors and should increase the Total Value Locked (TVL) for the protocol many times over. Those advancements will be the truest form of ‘defeating the competition.’ Pair Tomb development with strategically shining light on bad projects and bad actors, Tomb will be successful.
Right now, all the Tomb forks’ cumulative TVL equals about 10% of Tomb.Finance’s TVL (~$1 billion). They represent a relatively small annoyance in the big picture. However, with nearly $100 million in their protocols, their potential downfalls would devastate thousands of small investors who trusted their money with faceless developers.
Mass adoption is coming, which means a shared space for all types of investors, including VCs, corporations, financial institutions, etc. Most people in crypto are thinking in millions, while Harry is playing with billions, and planning ahead with trillions. We only get to trillions if we clean up our act and root out scams, establish regulations and oversight, and hold each other accountable.
Harry’s behavior and actions might seem unwarranted and extreme, but his name and reputation are on the line. He will protect it like a mother protecting their child. We all love our mothers, right? We just ask that he does the protecting with diplomatic punches above the belt.
The 2omb/3omb and other Tomb fork devs aren’t doing interviews on Bloomberg, Fox Finance, and CNN. They aren’t hosting Bitcoin Conferences around the globe and collaborating with the biggest names in the DeFi space. Harry Yeh, usually while repping Tomb and Fantom hats, is doing just that. Even if his personality isn’t your cup of tea and you love to hate him, you can’t claim he’s not passionately focused on realizing Tomb Finance’s vision and success.
Support people, not APYs. I am a firm believer that a project with a face and name will almost always be a better choice long term, especially as we begin to realize the dream of mass adoption and the integration of crypto into everyday life.