Alameda’s Beef with Reef Finance, A Case of “Trust” and “Misunderstanding”


This week, besides the on-chain war over who is responsible for the movement of 18,969 BTC on the Gemini crypto exchange, the market saw another drama unfold when Alameda Research, a trading firm by Sam Bankman-Fried, the CEO of popular crypto exchange FTX, said they do not affiliate with or endorse REEF.

This resulted in the prices of the REEF falling about 32% to $0.0384 from its ATH on the day at $0.057460, as per CoinGecko. The token is currently trading above $0.040.

According to Adam Cochran of Cinneamhain Ventures, “There isn't some sneaky backroom plot here.” There was just some “misunderstanding” between both parties. “The irony here is that crypto may be trustless, but investing in crypto and managing OTC trades is all about trust and reputation,” Cochran said.

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REEF is the governance token of Reef Finance, a Polkadot-powered liquidity aggregator and yield engine which is listed on Binance and Huobi.

On Monday, the Reef team shared what exactly went down between them and Alameda, with whom they engaged in September regarding raising funds to bootstrap the platform.

While at the time Alameda passed on the opportunity to invest, this month, their investment arm reached Reef for a strategic investment of $80 million. In response, $20 million worth of tokens were sent to market-maker, wrote the Reef team.

“As previously stated, Alameda secured investment in Reef Finance token for $20M at a 20% discount to create various long-term synergies with Serum and Solana,” led by Alameda’s VC team member Brian Lee, reads the official account of what went down from Reef’s side.

As per Alameda, the $20 million tranche “represented a settlement and not the culmination of a $20m trade.”

These $20 million worth of tokens were then offloaded to the Binance exchange by Alameda. “We could not understand why Alameda, our long-term strategic investor would offload their tokens immediately after purchase to Binance,” said the team.

But Alameda says, “it is not true that Alameda immediately sold all of the REEF,” although it is not relevant for the terms of the deal. According to Cochran,

“As a market making trade desk, they spread their tokens out to trade and maximize them. It's impossible to tell if “they were dumping them” just by an onchain transaction.”

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So, the cross-chain DeFi operating system decided not to go forward with the additional $60 million because of their “doubts” around Alameda’s interest. The team said Alameda then “threatened” to delist the Reef token from FTX; the exchange later deleted the tweet regarding the same.

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Reef claims “additional threats and legal ramifications” were also thrown around, which were later deleted.

Reportedly, the deal was based on “trust,” and no legal contract for the transaction was offered by the Alameda team, which the latter says is commonplace in crypto, and they have done so before as well.

Also, “All agreements on terms are “contracts” something doesn't need to be a written legal contract to be a “contract.”

Denko Mancheski, CEO at Reef Finance, is currently promoting #BoycottFTX.

“This action hurt retail investors and should be a cautionary tale akin to the Wall Street Bets GameStop saga. The actions of one centralized entity such as Alameda and FTX should not and can not influence the future of a community-driven project like Reef,” said the team adding that it will launch its next products on the Reef chain and seek less centralized alternatives to work with.

Meanwhile, Bankman-Fried said because at times one team has “way more reputation to lose than another…that creates an asymmetry in PR fights.”

“Definitely fucked that one up,” he added.

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