Sunsetting: Everything to Know

By  Beluga Research October 30, 2023

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  • Cryptocurrency sunsetting refers to the planned discontinuation or termination of a digital asset, often due to obsolescence or regulatory changes
  • Steps for sunsetting include announcing the decision, a migration or token swap, development cessation, exchange delisting and community support
  • The announcement of a sunset can often contribute to volatility in the crypto market
  • Disadvantages include user inconvenience, loss of value, trust and reputation issues, security risks and fragmentation of a user base


Cryptocurrency sunsetting refers to the planned discontinuation or termination of a digital asset, often due to obsolescence or regulatory changes. Sunsetting can cause a rapid exit from a platform. This is because the platform now supports fewer tokens and apps that will work on the platform.

A community of users for a platform often takes a vote to determine whether it will sunset a token. Sunsetting can affect the value of other tokens related to the platform. For example, in October 2023, Lido Decentralized Autonomous Organization (Lido DAO) voted as a community to stop liquid staking on Solana. This caused a drop in the value of the LDO token, the governance token for Lido.

A Brief History

In the early years, the cryptocurrency ecosystem experienced rapid growth. New altcoins launched on a regular basis. Many of these projects failed because they lacked robust technologies and faced security challenges.

The failure of the projects caused a great deal of instability in the market. Still, they provided lessons for how a cryptocurrency should properly wind down operations. They also showed how one token affects another. Today, many sunsets are planned. They are designed to minimize volatility. They also manage sunsetting in a way that is healthier for the crypto ecosystem.

Sunsetting: Everything to Know

Sunsetting a cryptocurrency project involves a series of steps leading to its discontinuation. The exact process varies depending on the project and its development team. The common elements involved include:

Announcement: The project team typically announces the decision to sunset a cryptocurrency. This can be through a blog post, social media update or official statement. Transparent communication is essential. The team should explain the reasons behind the decision and outline the timeline for the process.

Migration or Token Swap: The project team may offer a migration or token swap mechanism to transition existing token holders to a new project or platform. This allows users to convert their tokens into a new form aligned with the updated goals or technology of the project. Token swaps facilitate a smooth transition and maintain user trust during sunsetting.

Development Cessation: As a project enters the sunsetting phase, development activities gradually wind down. Updates, bug fixes and new features become less frequent or stop entirely. The development team may shift focus to other projects or disband. This signals that the project is in its final stages.

Exchange Delisting: Cryptocurrency exchanges facilitate trading and liquidity for cryptocurrencies. When a project is sunsetting, exchanges may delist the token due to its diminishing value or lack of active development. Delisting affects token liquidity and marketability. This makes it harder for holders to sell or trade the token.

Community Support: Throughout the sunsetting process, it is crucial that the team provide support for the community. They should also engage with the community. The team should address concerns and provide updates. Community members can help manage the transition by offering feedback and participating in token swaps or migrations.

Getting Started

  • Follow a series of steps to wind down operations in an orderly manner. The project's team and stakeholders carefully consider the best approach to ensure a smooth transition and minimize negative impacts. Communication helps the team maintain trust and offer guidance.
  • Watch for instability and ripple effects. The team should monitor the progress and aftershocks of sunsetting.
  • Address users' concerns. The team should be responsive to users' problems or successes throughout the process.

Unique Aspects

Decentralized nature of many cryptocurrencies. Cryptocurrencies rely on a distributed network of nodes and participants. Sunsetting requires coordination among stakeholders to ensure a smooth wind-down.

Impact on token holders. Depending on the project, token holders may take different courses of action. They may exchange their tokens for another cryptocurrency or participate in a token swap. They may need to withdraw funds within a specified timeframe. Users should stay informed and follow instructions from the project team to protect their assets.

The regulatory environment significantly influences the process. Cryptocurrency projects have to navigate laws and regulations, which vary according to country. Compliance helps users avoid legal and financial problems like penalties.


  • Enhanced focus: Sunsetting allows the development team to concentrate on more promising projects or technologies. This can lead to innovative solutions and resource allocation in areas with greater potential.
  • Improved sustainability: If a cryptocurrency project is struggling or facing significant challenges, sunsetting is a responsible decision to avoid wasting resources. The redirection of resources to more viable projects helps increase the sustainability of the development team.
  • Regulatory compliance: Sunsetting may be necessary to comply with evolving regulatory requirements. The discontinuation of a project that may not meet regulatory standards helps the team avoid legal and financial penalties.
  • Community consolidation: This can bring fragmented communities together. Sunsetting can encourage users to migrate to other projects or cryptocurrencies. The consolidation of resources and user bases has the potential to foster stronger, more vibrant communities that are better positioned for growth and development.
  • Lessons learned: Sunsetting a cryptocurrency provides valuable insights for future projects. This helps developers avoid similar pitfalls and improve the design and implementation of new cryptocurrencies.


  • User inconvenience: Sunsetting a cryptocurrency can cause inconvenience and disruption for users who have invested time, effort and resources into the project. Users may need to migrate their assets to alternative cryptocurrencies or platforms. This incurs additional costs and complexities.
  • Loss of value: The process of sunsetting often leads to a decline in the market value of a cryptocurrency. As news of the project's discontinuation spreads, investors may sell off their holdings. This will result in a decrease in price. This loss of value can negatively impact cryptocurrency holders. This is particularly true for those with significant investments in the project.
  • Trust and reputation: Sunsetting can erode trust and damage the reputation of the development team. Users may question the decision-making process. They can become wary of future projects from the same team.
  • Security risks: Sunsetting a cryptocurrency can introduce security risks if the team does not properly maintain the project's underlying technology. Without ongoing updates and patches, vulnerabilities may arise. This can expose users' assets to security breaches and attacks.
  • Fragmentation of user base: This can lead to the fragmentation of user bases. Some users may choose not to migrate to other projects or cryptocurrencies. This will result in a splintered community.