Is Sam Bankman-Fried Tied to a New Apparent Crypto Scam Called BALD?

On-chain data shows bald's deployer contract has interacted with Alameda-linked wallets and was an active DeFi participant in the early days.

AccessTimeIconAug 1, 2023 at 7:14 a.m. UTC
Updated Aug 7, 2023 at 9:11 p.m. UTC
  • The hype around BALD token pushed prices 4,000,000% from issuance and attracted over $68 million from traders.
  • Crypto sleuths have found connections between Sam Bankman-Fried's Alameda Research and BALD's deployer wallet.

The rug-pulling of short-lived, heavily hyped meme coin bald (BALD) has a whole cast of characters, but is one of them Sam Bankman-Fried?

On-chain data suggests interactions between the memecoin BALD’s deployer contract and one of the wallets tagged by Nansen as belonging to Alameda Research - the trading company founded and controlled by Bankman-Fried. The data was cited by several blockchain sleuths on the social media platform formerly known as Twitter and later validated by CoinDesk.


Wintermute’s head of research, Igor Igamberdiev, tied another wallet address 0xccFa05 to Alameda, stating its owner showed strong technical capabilities and proved to be a savvy DeFi user: Trading on the first version of dYdX and Oasis, as well as voting on the first proposals from SushiSwap.

The wallet was seemingly active on crypto exchanges Binance, FTX and Coinbase (COIN) in that period and was a heavy DeFi user, farming millions of dollars on early DeFi projects such as Yearn Finance and Cream.

However, Igamberdiev stated that while the actions seemed to be "definitely someone from Alameda," it was unlikely to be Bankman-Fried himself.

“Given the track record and the lack of contacts with other players (even 3AC actively interacted with BlockFi, Genesis, etc.), then we can point the finger toward someone from Alameda,” he tweeted, “And let's try to answer probably the most critical question, SBF or Sam Trabucco?”

Rise of BALD

Over the last weekend, the lure of meme coin fortunes in a starved market helped Coinbase’s new layer-2 blockchain Base attract some $68 million in ether (ETH) and over $200 million in trading volumes. Traders flocked to purchase bald (BALD) tokens, which jumped to $85 million market cap late on Sunday, with some traders like @cheatcoiner over $1.4 million from an initial $500 investment.

On Monday, BALD deployers started to remove millions of dollars in liquidity from the token's trading pairs in a sudden and unannounced move. This left thousands of holders in the lurch and caused prices to plunge as much as 90% as holders made a run for the exits.

All of this drama occurred with one humorous caveat: the Base blockchain isn't even officially open to the public yet, with a proper launch expected later this year.

Base, built by crypto exchange Coinbase on OP Stack, launched its testnet in January and opened to builders in mid-July basis the submission of applications to Base. Traction has been scant, so far, except for Sunday when the likes of BALD led to a sudden rush in capital - and users - to the blockchain.

Unlikely to be SBF

However, while the on-chain evidence is skewed toward suggesting that an Alameda-controlled wallet has interacted with the wallet used as a contract deployer, it’s unlikely that disgraced FTX founder Bankman-Fried is behind it – as some on social media app X speculated as of Tuesday morning.

As part of his bail conditions, Bankman-Fried’s access to the Internet is heavily controlled and restricted to a selection of news, sports, and educational websites.

Bankman-Fried’s parents signed an affidavit stipulating they would install monitoring software to restrict his access to the internet via their home connection. The former FTX executive is restricted to using a flip phone.

Edited by Parikshit Mishra.


Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.

Shaurya Malwa

Shaurya is the Deputy Managing Editor for the Data & Tokens team, focusing on decentralized finance, markets, on-chain data, and governance across all major and minor blockchains.

Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk’s longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to to register and buy your pass now.