If you were around during the crypto bull market of 2017 and early 2018, you likely remember the name “Aelf.” At its highs in early 2018, the coin reached a market capitalization in excess of $600 million. This made it one of the most notable crypto assets at the time.

But since then, like a majority of other blockchain projects launched around that time, it has receded into irrelevancy due to bearish macro trends.

Until recently, anyway.

In the past 24 hours, the price of Aelf’s ELF coin has surged over 50%, with the daily gains reaching 150% at one point. With this performance, ELF has outpaced Bitcoin, Ethereum, and a swath of other leading cryptocurrencies.

Chart of ELF’s price action over the past day. Source: ELF/USD chart from TradingView.com

Here’s why the coin is up so far and so fast.

SashimiSwap, What?

Probably unbeknownst to most investors in ELF, the Aelf team has been working on a fork of the controversial decentralized exchange SushiSwap over the past few days that culminated with the launch of SashimiSwap on Sep. 9.

SashimiSwap, according to the marketing copy, is a “new SushiSwap project developed by Aelf” that adopts the automated market maker (AMM) model first put into practice by Uniswap.

Like with SushiSwap and a flurry of other Ethereum-based projects, SashimiSwap offers a yield farming opportunity where users put up certain digital assets in exchange for a regular injection of the platform’s native token. SashimiSwap has SASHIMI, surprisingly enough, which already has a market capitalization in the millions.

Dear #aelf community members and all #DeFi lovers,

Welcome to join the SashimiSwap community https://t.co/pZXuUx5EGv, hope you guys have a pleasant journey.

Let me introduce Sashimi, a Fair Version of Sushi, with No Team Shares, No Pre-mine and a Cross Chain Swap Ecosystem! ?

— ælf (@aelfblockchain) September 10, 2020

The reason why this product’s launch has affected ELF is two-fold:

  • First, SashimiSwap will soon be integrated with AESwap, an Aelf-based decentralized exchange that “aims to be the world’s leading automatic trading platform and offer a more efficient, convenient and secure DeFi product than Uniswap.” AESwap purportedly is Aelf’s first DeFi project.
  • Second, Aelf’s developers included a yield farming pool that had high rewards for users depositing ELF/SASHIMI liquidity tokens. This drove up demand for ELF massively, with users seeking the high yields offered in this specific pool. We saw the effect yield farming had on the price of cryptocurrencies on a bigger scale with Yam, when top DeFi coins rallied 20-30 percent in the 12 hours after the project’s release.

The fate of most SushiSwap forks

While it is unclear what the fate of SashimiSwap is at this very moment, it’s important to point out the fate of many SushiSwap forks.

HotdogSwap, which promised to be a competitor to Uniswap, now has a coin worth basically nothing. The project is ostensibly dead, with no active in its social channels.

SpringrollSwap, along with a swath of other forks, has failed as capital failed to sustain these projects.

Aelf is trying to differentiate SashimiSwap with its integration in AESwap, along with other adjustments. But whether or not that will be a winning formula remains to be seen.

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