Nansen’s astute analysts recently unearthed “unusual transactions between FTX and Alameda” in the days preceding FTX’s tumultuous financial downfall. Blockchain data experts from Nansen have delved deep into the events leading up to the catastrophic demise of FTX. This includes the transfer of a staggering $4.1 billion worth of FTT tokens between the exchange and Alameda Research. A comprehensive report from Nansen, shared exclusively with Cointelegraph, unveils an array of remarkable findings from the blockchain analytics firm. It sheds light on the remarkably close-knit relationship between these two entities, both founded by the enigmatic Sam Bankman-Fried, who currently faces a slew of charges linked to the cataclysmic collapse of FTX. The precipitous fall of FTX is widely attributed to initial reports that sounded the alarm regarding Alameda’s hefty 40% stake, totaling $14.6 billion, in FTT tokens as of September 2022. Nansen’s perceptive analysts divulged their observation of dubious on-chain interactions between FTX and Alameda, well before these revelations came to the fore. Between September 28 and November 1, Alameda initiated the transfer of $4.1 billion in FTT tokens to FTX, alongside a continuous stream of United States dollar-pegged stablecoins, amounting to an impressive $388 million. On-chain data further indicated that FTX held a substantial 280 million FTT tokens, constituting a significant 80% of the entire 350 million FTT supply. Blockchain data underscored the existence of “considerable” proportions of FTT trading volume, worth billions of dollars, flowing between various FTX and Alameda wallets. Notably, Nansen emphasizes that the majority of the FTT token supply, comprising company tokens and unsold non-company tokens, remained locked within a three-year vesting contract. Interestingly, the sole beneficiary of this contract is a wallet controlled by Alameda, as per the analysts’ findings. Given that these two entities collectively governed approximately 90% of the FTT token supply, Nansen posits that they may have collaborated to bolster each other’s balance sheets. The report further speculates that Alameda likely engaged in over-the-counter sales of FTT tokens, and possibly employed them as collateral for loans from cryptocurrency lending firms. “This theory gains credibility when examining historical on-chain data, where we noted regular substantial inflows and outflows between FTX, Alameda, and Genesis Trading wallets, involving transfer volumes reaching up to $1.7 billion, as evident in December 2021.” The unraveling of the Terra ecosystem, coupled with the subsequent bankruptcy of Three Arrows Capital (3AC), evidently led to liquidity challenges for Alameda. This was a direct result of the plummeting value of FTT, prompting a clandestine, FTT-backed loan of $4 billion from FTX. “Our on-chain data strongly indicates the plausibility of this scenario. In the midst of 3AC’s meltdown in mid-June 2022, Alameda dispatched approximately 163 million FTT tokens to FTX wallets, valued at approximately $4 billion at that juncture.” The researchers contend that this $4 billion transaction closely aligns with the $4 billion loan figure disclosed by close associates of Bankman-Fried in an interview with Reuters. Blockchain data also underscores Alameda’s inability to fulfill an offer to purchase FTT tokens from Binance at the rate of $22 on November 6. This followed an announcement by Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao, who pledged to divest the exchange’s FTT tokens due to concerning reports regarding Alameda’s financial health.
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