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Tag Archives: cryptocurrency

Where has all the money gone?

The collapse of Terra in May sent shock waves round the crypto world, triggering domino-like collapses of crypto companies. One of those companies was the investment fund Three Arrows Capital. At the time, everyone thought 3AC was a conservatively-managed investment company that was simply the unfortunate victim of an unforeseen event. If anyone was to blame for 3AC's collapse, it was Do Kwon.  How wrong they were. Since 3AC was ordered into liquidation by a British Virgin Islands court,...

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Why Celsius Network’s depositors won’t get their money back

The crypto lender Celsius has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. This should come as a surprise to absolutely no-one, though the grief and pain on Twitter and Reddit suggests that quite a few "Celsians" didn't want to believe what was staring them in the face. Celsius suspended withdrawals nearly a month ago. So far, every crypto lender that has suspended withdrawals has turned out to be insolvent. There was no reason to suppose that Celsius would be different.  Celsius's bankruptcy filing...

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Shipwrecked

Two days after I published my last post, the ship went down. Voyager Digital filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The bankruptcy filing revealed the extent of its indebtedness. Tragically, most of its creditors are customers, some of whom hold claims worth millions of dollars. But its largest creditor is Alameda Research, to whom it owes $75m. This is the maximum that Voyager could draw down from Alameda's credit line in a 30-day period. So it appears that Alameda did not pull its...

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The sinking of Voyager

Friday was quite a day. The crypto lender BlockFi provisionally agreed a bailout deal with FTX. The hedge fund Three Arrows Capital (3AC), already in compulsory liquidation in its home territory the British Virgin Islands, filed for Chapter 15 bankruptcy protection in the United States. And the crypto broker Voyager suspended trading and withdrawals. Voyager's press release revealed a massive hole in its balance sheet. Some 58% of its loan book consists of loans to 3AC:And its loan book is...

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There’s no such thing as a safe stablecoin

 Stablecoins aren't stable. So-called algorithmic stablecoins crash and burn when people behave in ways the algorithm didn't expect. And reserved stablecoins fall off their pegs - in either direction. A stablecoin that does not stay on its peg is unstable. Not one of the stablecoins currently in circulation lives up to its name. Don't believe me? Well, here's the evidence. Exhibit 1, USDT since the end of April:Exhibit 2, USDC over the same time period:(charts from Coinmarketcap)Both coins...

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Crypto’s Weimar

A cryptocurrency has just re-enacted the Weimar hyperinflation.Yesterday, the price of the cryptocurrency TITAN crashed to zero, and its related stablecoin IRON fell off its USD peg, trading as low as 69 cents to the dollar. It was a sudden and dramatic collapse that left investors shocked and bewildered. Equally shocked and confused, the coins' issuer launched an immediate investigation: Iron Finance issued its post mortem a few hours later. This is the key paragraph:Later, at around 3pm...

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Tether’s smoke and mirrors

Tether has issued what it calls a “breakdown of its reserves”. It actually consists of two pie charts. Here they are:Seriously, this is all Tether has seen fit to reveal.  Furthermore, the pie charts only purport to show the breakdown of Tether’s reserves on the 31st March 2021. We do not know whether Tether’s reserves still have the same composition now. Nonetheless, the crypto world took these charts as an indication that Tether was, if not fully cash-backed, at least mostly. “76% of its...

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The asymmetric mechanics of Tether

Tether is the issuer of the cryptocurrrency world's premier stablecoin, USDT. Stablecoins aim to guarantee the value of cryptocurrencies in dollar terms, hedging volatility risk and making it easier to realise notional gains from cryptocurrency's wild price rises. But Tether's relationship with the main cryptocurrencies, particularly Bitcoin, is controversial. There is a raging battle between those who think that USDT issuance pumps up the price of Bitcoin, and those who argue that USDT...

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The asymmetric mechanics of Tether

Tether is the issuer of the cryptocurrrency world's premier stablecoin, USDT. Stablecoins aim to guarantee the value of cryptocurrencies in dollar terms, hedging volatility risk and making it easier to realise notional gains from cryptocurrency's wild price rises. But Tether's relationship with the main cryptocurrencies, particularly Bitcoin, is controversial. There is a raging battle between those who think that USDT issuance pumps up the price of Bitcoin, and those who argue that USDT...

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Too Good To Be True

"USD-backed stablecoin is 10x better than your savings account," runs the headline on an unsolicited press release in my inbox yesterday. And it goes on to explain: The average interest rate for savings accounts in the US currently stands at 0.09%, with some German banks even charging negative interest rates. Universal Protocol, a coalition of leading blockchain organizations, including Uphold, Cred, Blockchain at Berkeley, and Bittrex Global, has recently introduced interest rates of 10%...

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