The trial of Gary Wang, the former co-founder and chief technology officer of FTX and Alameda Research, continues with startling revelations about the entangled finances of these cryptocurrency entities. Wang's testimony sheds light on the complex web of financial maneuvers and questionable decisions that ultimately led to FTX's bankruptcy.
Wang's testimony has uncovered a web of complex financial dealings, questionable decisions, and secret privileges within these cryptocurrency entities, leaving the crypto community both astonished and concerned.
Wang, who held a mere 10 percent ownership stake in Alameda and 17 percent in FTX, embarked on risky financial endeavors that have raised significant questions about his motivation. In stark contrast, Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of both Alameda and FTX, owned a substantial majority of these companies.
One of the most startling revelations from Wang's testimony is the existence of secret privileges granted to Alameda Research. This included the ability to maintain a negative balance on FTX, a feature not available to other users. Alameda leveraged this privilege to withdraw funds even when their accounts had no balance, effectively creating an astonishing line of credit. Furthermore, Alameda could place orders at a significantly faster pace than other users, potentially leading to inadvertent deposits meant for FTX.
The concept of liquidation, often touted as a protective measure for users, was allegedly manipulated by FTX. The exchange had promoted its automated liquidation system as a safeguard against users' losses affecting others. However, it was revealed in court that FTX provided misleading information about the size of its backstop fund. The code responsible for generating the deceptive backstop fund number was exposed, shedding light on the alleged deceptive practices within the company. Additionally, funds from Alameda's accounts were reportedly used to cover FTX's losses, including a substantial loss resulting from an exploit in MobileCoin in 2021.
The negative balance in Alameda's accounts on FTX grew significantly over time, eventually surpassing FTX's revenue. Alameda enjoyed an astonishing $65 billion line of credit on FTX, and this limit was continually increased at Bankman-Fried's request. Such privileges were not extended to other customers on the platform.
As FTX faced financial turmoil in November, Bankman-Fried directed Wang to send customer funds to Bahamian regulators, preventing customers from withdrawing their funds due to FTX's depleted financial resources and server shutdowns. Wang subsequently cooperated with the U.S. government and pleaded guilty to various charges in the hope of receiving a more lenient sentence.
Wang's testimony has provided a comprehensive account of the financial intricacies between Alameda Research and FTX, shedding light on alleged deceptive practices and implicating key individuals, including Sam Bankman-Fried and Caroline Ellison. As the trial continues, with Wang facing cross-examination and Ellison expected to take the stand, the crypto community watches closely, awaiting further revelations and potential legal consequences for those involved.