Former MakerDAO contributor Nikolai Mushegian donates $1.3M to Carnegie Mellon University for DeFi research

Nikolai Mushegian, a former technical partner for the MakerDAO project, has donated 3,200 MKR tokens (currently worth about $1.38 million) to his alma mater - Carnegie Mellon University (CMU).

Mushegian said the purpose of his donation is to set up a research program for decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols and decentralized applications (dapps). The funds will be utilized for sponsoring research of Masters and Ph.D. students. The research agenda and a concrete plan of action are expected to get published over the next few weeks.

“I am very concerned about the increasing rent-seeking behavior from some of the big players in this space, and also from existing banks and tech giants,” said Mushegian, on his motive behind the donation.

Mushegian believes that DeFi systems will eventually replace the financial backbone of the economy. “If you thought someone eating your lunch was bad, imagine if you discovered that ‘generalized Uniswap’ was patented. It will only get worse,” he said, adding that such systems belong in the public domain.

To that end, Mushegian, a former software engineer at Google, has also “informally committed” another 6,800 MKR tokens (currently worth nearly $3 million) to be donated to CMU “over the next 1-3 years.” One MKR token is currently priced at around $432.

According to information from Mushegian's website, he specified the core mechanics of the original contract system spec for the Dai stablecoin system. "Since then Dai has been completed, formally specified with substantial proof coverage, fully documented and diagrammed, and deployed," he said.