The failure of Terraform Labs shook the cryptocurrency market and pushed it toward a bear market. The event started with the depeg of the algorithmic stablecoin, UST, and had a cascading effect on other projects.
Terraform Labs Asks Citadel to Submit Trading Documents
The court document shows that Terraform Labs has asked the court to compel Citadel to provide certain documents of the market making firm’s trading activities. Terraform Labs cites that the documents are necessary for its defense against the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
In February 2023, the SEC accused Terraform Labs and former CEO Do Kwon of market manipulation and fraud. It believes that due to Terraform Labs’ misrepresentations, the Terra (LUNA) ecosystem collapsed.
However, Terraform Labs claims the collapse happened due to heavy short-selling from market makers such as Citadel. It further argues that data from the blockchain analysis firm Nansen suggests that seven whale traders caused the depeg of the UST stablecoin.
The court filing mentions:
“Information compiled by cryptocurrency analytics firm Nansen indicates that the May 2022 depeg was caused by the act of just seven so-called “whale” traders – well-funded, established traders which have the ability and determination to take very large long or short positions in an asset or financial instrument.’ According to Nansen, its “on-chain investigation revealed that a small number of players identified vulnerabilities early into the UST de-peg.”
A Soros-Style Attack?
The court documents also mentioned that many traders received rumors about Citadel CEO Ken Griffin wanting to short the stablecoin UST. According to documents, a pseudonymous trader, @GiganticRebirth, wrote in a Discord server:
“I have lunch with ken griffin about twice a month… he was telling me over a nice bacon rib they were going to soros the f*** out of luna ust.”
The infamous trader/investor George Soros is known for breaking the Bank of England in 1992 by betting against, or shorting, the pound. Some analysts claim the UST depegging was a “brilliant Soros-style attack.”
Hence, Terraform Labs seeks documents “describing any trading strategy in any of the Terra-Native Tokens or the Terra Financial Instruments during the time period March 1, 2022 through May 31, 2022.” from Citadel.
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