SushiSwap is an AMM-type decentralized exchange (DEX) on the Ethereum blockchain that was launched in 2020 by an anonymous developer or team known as Chef Nomi. The project was a strong contender to Uniswap, PankeSwap, and Curve, yet suffered setbacks after the founder controversially exited the project. In the 2022 bear market, the new "Head Chef" Jared Grey revealed that the project was facing runway problems and implemented treasury-saving measures that were passed by the community voting. These measures included cutting liquidity provider incentives and changing the distribution of swap fees to its SUSHI token holders.
The idea of "Sushi Studios" too was announced in Jared Grey's blog as a way to manage the horizontal product direction without hindering the project’s core DEX focus. Before, Sushi has been providing grants from the DAO treasury to facilitate the ongoing development of its ecosystem. Although grants have brought about innovative products like Shoyu - the Sushi's marketplace, Kashi - the lending product, MISO - a decentralized launchpad, and several other incubated projects, these projects were not self-sufficient and the resources of the core product team have been sacrificed.
Sushi Studios has received a royalty-free license to use the Sushi brand name in perpetuity. This licensing will empower external product teams to create innovative products under the Sushi brand without relying on Sushi DAO Treasury funding. The aim is to create independent token economies that will be authorized to bootstrap liquidity, fundraising, and distribution of new product launches. It is said that the Sushi community will also have access to crowdfunding, airdrops, and exclusive token utility in this ecosystem. The project is called a "decentralized incubator," yet the exact structure of its decentralized governance has not been disclosed yet.
The DAO will instead limit its grants to initiatives that directly impact the DEX product stack. In light of the recent controversy surrounding the Uniswap DAO’s voting structure, it is believed that establishing a complimentary legal entity will further decentralize the Sushi DAO and maintain its autonomy and independence from large capital contributors.
This is quite an interesting example of a DeFi project restructuring and proof that "decentralization is not a feature but a journey". And we continue to observe that journey.