Alameda-Linked Coins Pumped by Twitter Bots After FTX Listing, Report Shows

At times, Twitter bots accounted for roughly half of all "chatter" on the platform involving five FTX-listed altcoins.

AccessTimeIconAug 3, 2023 at 10:58 a.m. UTC
Updated Aug 3, 2023 at 7:41 p.m. UTC
  • BOBA, GALA, IMX, RNDR, and SPELL were held by Alameda, before they were listed on FTX.
  • The fake tweets around the coins surged to 30% hours after their listing.

A legion of Twitter bots pumped the price of crypto tokens traded by Sam Bankman-Fried's quant trading firm Alameda Research shortly after FTX listed the tokens, according to a report from Network Contagion Research Institute (NCRI).

NCRI, an institution that studies cyber security and social media threats, published a report on Wednesday that shows that "inauthentic chatter" on Twitter, now X, heavily influenced the prices of five FTX-listed tokens traded by Alameda insiders.

The coins were BOBA, GALA, IMX, RNDR, and SPELL. Fake tweets regarding the coins surged — by as much as 30% in some cases — after FTX officially listed them, with "inauthentic" comments eventually comprising roughly half of all Twitter posts about the tokens.

"The pattern of account creations and bot-like activities paints a picture of an orchestrated effort, possibly aiming to artificially manipulate market sentiment and trading behavior around these tokens", the report reads.

Alameda held at least five of the tokens before they were listed on FTX.

A previous report from compliance firm Argus also showed Alameda Research employees leveraged insider information to reap $60 million from several of the tokens named in the NCRI report like IMX, among others, ahead of their listings on FTX.

A CoinDesk report last fall revealed ties between Alameda Research and its sister company, FTX, were unusually close. Later reports revealed executives from Alameda were engaged in FTX's alleged misappropriation of its user funds.

One token they held, Render (RNDR), surged between 11% to 30% within 24 hours on four separate occasions between 2022 and 2023, NCRI's data shows.

NCRI performed a scaled analysis by examining over 3 million tweets mentioning any of 18 tokens that had both been publicly listed on FTX and directly promoted by its official Twitter account between January 1, 2019 and January 27, 2023. Nearly one million of those tweets named any of six tokens featured in the report, including the five held by Alameda.

Bankman-Fried faces federal securities and wire fraud charges, which he will fight at a trial slated for October. He also faces a lawsuit from the Securities and Exchange Commission charges (SEC).

Lawyers for FTX and Bankman-Fried did not immediately respond to CoinDesk's request for comment.

Edited by Parikshit Mishra.


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Elizabeth Napolitano

Elizabeth Napolitano is a news reporter at CoinDesk.

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