Solana’s close ties to FTX cause financial and structural damage
The fallout from the implosion of FTX is being felt across the crypto industry, with firms supposedly rescued by the exchange now being dragged under along with their erstwhile ‘savior,’ Sam Bankman-Fried.
Whilst many of those hit hardest are centralized entities such as custodial exchanges and lending platforms, an entire blockchain ecosystem also looks to be in bad shape based on its close ties to FTX and Alameda.
Since it became clear that both FTX and Alameda were struggling, the price of SOL has dropped over 50%, where it’s remained for the last few days. Alameda was the largest backer of SOL and Bankman-Fried heavily promoted it as a competitor to Ethereum.
The drop is far greater than other network tokens, such as ETH, MATIC, AVAX, or BNB, which are down between ~25% and ~15% over the same period.
Further sell-pressure will likely follow as FTX and Alameda’s assets are liquidated. According to the leaked balance sheet which precipitated the run on FTX (with some help from Binance’s chief Changpeng Zhao), Alameda held $292 million of unlocked SOL, $863 million of locked SOL, and $41 million of SOL collateral.
The damage hasn’t only been financial, but also structural. As FTX’s collapse triggered major volatility across the crypto markets, the underlying Solana blockchain reportedly experienced degraded performance, interfering with liquidations on DeFi lending protocol Solend:
In the wider Solana ecosystem, FTX and Alameda provided close support to teams that were developing what was once considered a potential ETH-killer — many of the project’s tokens were referred to as ‘Sam coins.’
While it’s true that FTX Ventures and Alameda had investments in a staggering number of crypto funding rounds (255 according to The Block), some of Solana’s flagship projects were more dependent on SBF’s empire than elsewhere.
Sollet-wrapped assets de-pegged on the news they were issued by FTX/Alameda, with soBTC currently valued at just $1,315 on CoinGecko, accompanied by the warning that “soBTC tokens are wrapped BTC tokens issued by FTX or Alameda. Both these entities have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and the BTC tokens are no longer redeemable.”
Following the $477 million hack of FTX, there were worries that the private keys to Solana-based decentralized exchange Serum had been compromised. Rather than being controlled by the exchange’s DAO, the keys were held by FTX, leading to a hasty redeployment of a fork of the protocol, now controlled by “a multi-sig controlled by a team of trusted developers”.
Read more: Jump Crypto ties to FTX and Solana put Robinhood users at risk
As the bloodbath in crypto markets continues, there will surely be more failures and bankruptcy announcements to come.
But a statement by the Solana Foundation details its exposure to recent events, reassuring that “less than 1% of Solana Foundation’s cash or cash equivalents” were kept on FTX and that “the impact on Solana Foundation operations is negligible.”
While Solana looks to be facing tough times in the short to medium term, the foundation seems confident there’s plenty of runway ahead.
The crypto community has a short memory, though, and even after all the scandals exposed over the last week, we may not have seen the end of SBF yet.
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