Sam Bankman-Fried’s (SBF) Alameda Research may well have been one of the most important trading desks in all of crypto, but others within the FTX cartel played important roles.
HiveEx, the Australian over-the-counter (OTC) trading desk, was started by Fred Schebesta and Frank Restuccia in 2018. Alameda Research purchased HiveEx in August 2020 and immediately made SBF a director. The following month, FTX announced that users could deposit into the crypto exchange via HiveEx.
Schebesta also purchased a stake in local bank Australian Goldfields Money in 2018 and announced his intention to launch Australia’s first crypto bank. HiveEx, after Schebesta purchased this stake and before it was purchased by Alameda Research, had advertised its ability to get other crypto companies banking — even those that had been repeatedly rejected by other banks.
HiveEx even had an executive in charge of ‘bank account brokering,’ presumably to help manage this process for various clients.
Goldfields Money would be included in the unsecured creditor matrix and on the presumed list of FTX banking partners as part of the ongoing bankruptcy case.
The Financial Times (FT) has reported on FTX-integrated OTC desk Genesis Block, which allowed Hong Kong residents to exchange their cash for cryptocurrency or vice-versa.
The founder of Genesis Block, Clement Ip, was also a director of FTX’s Hong Kong entity.
Genesis Block founder and director Vincent Hung gave away FTX-branded cookies at the Genesis Block grand opening.
One former employee described to the FT how the company would have people lining up in the street with bags of cash to exchange for cryptocurrency. Sometimes, they said, it would need to turn them away because it couldn’t find enough crypto.
Charles Yang, one of the partners at Genesis Block — and reportedly Alameda Research — described on a podcast how the company maintains a network of dozens of different bank accounts that it used to move funds. Yang described this feature as “a very grey area.”
Both HiveEx and Genesis Block seem to serve as important on/off-ramps for FTX and Alameda Research, in part thanks to their connections to the banking system.
- Among the companies included in the FTX bankruptcy was DAAG Trading DMCC, based out of the United Arab Emirates.
- The Dubai Multi Commodities Center (DMCC) is a ‘free zone’ in the UAE with very limited regulations. It advertised that it could offer “up to six visas per office.”
- DAAG Trading’s contact email for the DMCC leads back to Pamedo Investment Group, a venture firm based out of Dubai. DAAG was licensed to participate in ‘proprietary trading in crypto-commodities.’
Altalix, a trading desk based in the UK, was originally included in the FTX bankruptcy before being removed. Protos reached out to Altalix for clarification on its relationship with FTX and Alameda Research and will update if we hear back.
OTC Service AG, out of Zurich Switzerland, was not part of the FTX bankruptcy but was listed as an Alameda Research investment in reporting by the FT.
Overall it seems that SBF, Alameda Research, and FTX relied on a variety of trading desks around the world as both fiat on and off ramps, including multiple trading desks.