Nikolai Mushegian, co-founder of the cryptocurrency lending platform MakerDAO and the decentralized Dai (DAI) stablecoin, was found dead in Puerto Rico last week.
Mushegian died due to drowning after being dragged by sea currents on the Condado beach in San Juan, the local newspaper El Nuevo Día reported. Mushegian had no vital signs by the time his body was rescued.
The Condado beach is considered one of the world’s most dangerous places for swimmers, reportedly taking the lives of at least eight people in 2021.
The unfortunate event was reported to local authorities on the morning on Oct. 28. According to a police report, Mushegian was a resident of San Juan. The scene was reportedly investigated by the San Juan Homicide Division and a local prosecutor.
Mushegian was an important figure in the cryptocurrency community, contributing to multiple industry projects, with some referring to him as a “Dai architect.” The 29-year-old crypto developer is known for his work with MakerDAO forks Rico and Rai, as well as the proof-of-stake blockchain network BitShares. Mushegian is also a co-founder of the automated market maker Balancer.
MakerDAO founder and CEO Rune Christensen took to Twitter on Oct. 31 to say that Mushegian contributed important inputs to Maker’s development and has done some crucial work since the early days of Ethereum.
Nikolai was one of the only people in the early days of Ethereum and smart contracts who was able to predict the possibility of smart contract hacks and invented the security-oriented approach to smart contract design we know today. Maker would have been toast without him
— Rune (@RuneKek) October 31, 2022
Cardano founder Charles Hoskinson wrote on Twitter that he knew Mushegian from back in the BitShares days. “He was a very young and extremely bright man who had a very wide array of interests from game theory to Urbit,” Hoskinson said, adding that the coder had a deep understanding of technology.
Tether co-creator Craig Sellars noted that Mushegian’s death came just a few days after the MakerDAO community voted to approve custody of $1.6 billion in USD Coin (USDC) with the Coinbase crypto exchange.
Mushegian was an active community member on social media. His Twitter account, Delete_shitcoin, has about 5,500 followers at the time of writing. His last tweet was published just a few hours before his death, referring to suggestions of alleged blackmail from the United States Central Intelligence Agency and Mossad. Mushegian previously made similar statements on Twitter, hinting at a potential “suicide” by the CIA as one of his possible futures.