Solana Foundation Invested in FTX, Held Millions in Sam Bankman-Fried-Linked Cryptos on Exchange

The foundation addressed the fallout of the FTX debacle in a blog post.

AccessTimeIconNov 14, 2022 at 7:47 p.m. UTC
Updated May 9, 2023 at 4:02 a.m. UTC

The Solana Foundation said Monday it has tens of millions of dollars in cryptocurrencies stranded on FTX – as well as 3.24 million common stock shares in Sam Bankman-Fried’s bankrupt crypto exchange.

In a blog post, the Foundation said it held 134.54 million SRM tokens and 3.43 million FTT tokens on FTX when withdrawals went dark on Nov. 6. Those assets are worth $29.3 million and $4.4 million, respectively, at current market prices per CoinGecko; they were worth around $107 million and $83 million one day before the freeze.

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  • Those holdings point to deep financial ties between Solana and FTX, which created the FTT token and held court over Serum, an on-chain crypto exchange that Bankman-Fried created and which was at the center of much of Solana-based decentralized finance (DeFi).

    FTX’s collapse last week continues to reverberate through Solana, perhaps most acutely through its severe sell pressure on the price of SOL, which is down 57% in a week. But FTX’s role in managing infrastructure critical to Solana DeFi has caused a crisis for individual protocols, too.

    Many trading projects on Solana used wrapped assets called “Sollet assets” as stand-ins for bitcoin, ether and other non-native cryptocurrencies. FTX was believed to be the issuer and backer of these assets; its collapse has sent them into a spiral and shouldered a handful of protocols with bad debt.

    “The total exposure to Sollet-based assets on Solana in circulation is valued at approximately $40 million as of Nov 10, 2022. The status of the underlying assets is unknown at this time,” the blog post said.

    The Solana Foundation itself appears to have avoided the worst of the crisis. It held less than $1 million of its balance sheet on FTX when withdrawals ceased. “The impact on Solana Foundation operations is negligible,” the blog post said. It lost no SOL to FTX.

    Trading funds, exchanges and crypto projects large and small have been disclosing their exposure to FTX and Alameda in light of the firms’ sudden downfall. FTX had loaned some $8 billion in customer deposits to its sister trading firm – a violation of its own terms of service. This created a hole in its balance sheet that ultimately led to its collapse last week.

    FTX’s former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried was a key backer of Solana, a smart contracts platform whose native SOL token powers trades across various decentralized finance protocols – much like Ethereum and its “gas” token ETH.

    Bankman-Fried’s exchange and trading firm had purchased a total of 58,086,686 SOL tokens from the Foundation and sister entity Solana Labs from August 2020 onwards, the blog post said. The Foundation said it is unclear what will happen to those assets during bankruptcy proceedings.


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    Danny Nelson

    Danny is CoinDesk's Managing Editor for Data & Tokens. He owns BTC, ETH and SOL.