Despite claims by the companies to the contrary, blockchain data shows crypto exchange FTX and sister company Alameda Research were very much connected from the beginning, said Niklas Polk, a research analyst at analytics firm Nansen.
“We could see that something’s going on, that they’re closely connected, that there are sufficient flows,” Polk said, referring to Nansen’s latest report, which takes a deeper look at what may have been happening between the corporate siblings. “But since FTX is a centralized entity, you can’t really see what’s happening inside [and] you can’t really know how much money should be there.”
What was evident, said Polk, was that coins were flowing between wallets. Specifically, most of FTX’s native token, FTT, was found in the wallets of the exchange and Alameda, with only a fraction of tokens making it into circulation.
What Nansen suspects is the people responsible for the wallets may have been moving tokens between the two, making the interaction between the two supposedly separate companies closer than any two companies should ever be, according to Polk.
Even Tuesday, during FTX’s day in court, there were still some wallets, holding around $10.7 million worth of FTT tokens, according to Nansen, that remain in limbo.
Read more: FTX Showed the Problems of Centralized Finance, and Proved the Need for DeFi / Opinion
“They’re still lying there today and we don’t know who those wallets belong to,” Polk said, adding that the tokens in some wallets “have never been touched.”
According to the firm’s report, whether FTX issued a loan to Alameda is “not directly visible on-chain” because of FTX’s centralized structure. However, Nansen implies that the $4 billion of FTT tokens Alameda deposited to FTX may have been used as a way to repay loans issued by FTX.
FTX and Alameda’s checkered synergy is “one of the big reasons why we have blockchains,” Polk said, adding that on-chain data is a way to provide “transparent” information to all users.
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