- Terra's LUNA price and UST suffered a colossal crash and lost over $39.2 billion in market cap, fueling outrage among holders.
- A Terra holder filed a police complaint against Do Kwon, revealing thousands of Singapore investors are victims of the death spiral.
- The Korean National Tax Service has imposed $78.4 million in corporate and income tax on Do Kwon and Terraform Labs.
The collapse of Terra's LUNA price and algorithmic stablecoin TerraUSD (UST) has sparked outrage in the crypto community. Institutions and retail investors suffered significant losses when $40 billion in LUNA and UST’s market value was destroyed within a week. Do Kwon, CEO of Terraform Labs, is in the midst of all the anger, and legal issues are starting to surround him.
Terra’s LUNA price death spiral
The crypto community witnessed the first “crypto bank run” in history when both Terra's LUNA price and UST crashed, wiping out nearly $39.2 billion in market value within a week. UST, Terra’s algorithmic stablecoin, suffered a de-peg, losing its $1 parity, and is trading at $0.08 at the time of writing. Likewise, Terra’s native token LUNA plummeted from $77 to $0.000001 within a week.
LUNA and UST three-day chart
In a series of tweets, the Luna Foundation Guard revealed that it had transferred 52,189 BTC to “trade with a counterparty” as UST fell below its intended $1 peg. This was an attempt to reestablish the algorithmic stablecoin’s peg. Terra directly sold 33,206 BTC in a last-ditch attempt to defend UST’s peg, to no avail. Terra’s blockchain was halted several times on and thereafter, and LUNA and UST were delisted from multiple cryptocurrency exchanges, including Binance and Coinbase.
LUNA and UST holders outrage
Cryptocurrency investor forums on Reddit have noted the rising outrage against Do Kwon. A LUNA holder filed a formal complaint with the Singapore Police and referred to Terra's crash as a “cryptocurrency scam,” seeking justice for all affected investors. Meanwhile, another furious investor broke into Kwon’s appartment in South Korea looking for answers after the token spectacularly collapsed. Kwon’s wife has since reportedly been either placed in protective custody or is under police guard at her own request.
Investors from different backgrounds have urged authorities to arrest Kwon, forcing South Korean lawmakers to summon the co-founder of Terraform Labs. Kwon would have to appear before the South Korean Congress and testify on the subject of the algorithmic stablecoin UST’s and LUNA’s collapse.
Rep. Yoon Chang-Hyeon, of the South Korean People’s Power Party, addressed the collapse of Terra’s death spiral at a plenary meeting of the National Assembly's Political Affairs Committee on Tuesday. He said:
We should bring related exchange officials, including CEO Kwon Do-hyung of Luna, which has become a recent problem, to the National Assembly to hold a hearing on the cause of the situation and measures to protect investors.
Do Kwon under investigation
According to the Korean National Tax Service, Kwon is currently under investigation for tax evasion after LUNA and UST collapsed due to a corporate and income tax burden of $78.4 million. Korean media's DigitalToday has obtained documents from the South Korean Supreme Court Registry Office that reveal Kwon decided to dissolve Terra's Seoul and Busan branches during its general shareholders' meeting on April 30. Following Do Kwon's decision, the Busan branch was liquidated on May 4 and Seoul branch on May 5. The documents carry Kwon Do-Hyeong's (official name of Do Kwon) name as the liquidator of Terraform Labs' offices.
With the new findings, it has become clear that there is more to Terra's collapse than a coordinated attack or UST's de-peg. Kwon remains under suspicion in the investigation conducted by Korean authorities.
Moreover, a specialized financial crimes unit in South Korea, the ‘Yeouido Grim Reaper’, has been tasked with the investigation of Terra’s collapse. The unit consists of 48 people made up of seven prosecutors and other executives from the Financial Services Commission and Financial Supervisory Service that have been called to investigate the methods by which Terraform Labs attracted investors to its tokens. The committee was disbanded two years ago but has been put back together to look into the events surrounding Terra’s demise and the extent of investor damage caused.
Some win and others lose
US asset management company Pantera Capital turned a $1.7 million investment in LUNA into $170 million by cashing out its investment well ahead of the crash. The institution, creator of the first blockchain hedge and venture funds in the US, did not suffer significant losses from Terra’s collapse as it pulled 80% of its investments out of LUNA over the last year. Apart from their LUNA investment, Pantera Capital had backed Terraform Labs, injecting $25 million in January 2021 and joining a $150 million fund round in July 2021. The firm recovered its investment before LUNA’s freefall to zero.
Pantera Capital’s exit from LUNA is considered suspicious. Joey Krug, co-CIO at Pantera Capital, clarified that the institution purchased LUNA in the public market in July 2020, and not in a private financing round. Krug said,
We managed that position down over time as it became increasingly profitable/large, in order to maintain a diversified portfolio. We initially invested in LUNA because of the progress we saw in developer adoption, the payments usage, and the broader ecosystem being built on Terra.
Galaxy Digital, a US broker-dealer and another Terraform Labs investor, didn’t have the same luck. The firm started investing in LUNA in Q4 of 2020 and reported losses of $300 million for this quarter. In a letter, CEO Mike Novogratz told investors that:
With our diversified business lines, Galaxy remains in a strong capital and liquidity position. We are well-positioned for long-term growth.
Likewise, Binance had invested $3 million into the Terra ecosystem in 2018, receiving 15 million LUNA tokens. At LUNA’s all-time high, the investment was worth $1.6 billion. Yet due to last week's collapse of Luna, those 15 million LUNA tokens plummeted in value to just $3,400.
2/ Binance received 15,000,000 LUNA (at peak worth $1.6 billion USD, now not much) as part of the original ($3m) invest. 560x return at peak. It still sits on the address we received at . Never moved or sold.— CZ Binance (@cz_binance) May 16, 2022
A hard fork to create LUNA Classic and LUNA Core
Do Kwon proposed the burning of UST, by increasing LUNA’s minting capacity from $293 million to over $1.2 billion. According to the Terraform Labs CEO, this is the only way to absorb UST’s supply and reestablish its peg. The plan was considered “high cost” for LUNA, UST holders and the Terraform Labs CEO faced criticism for the proposal.
1/ Terra governance prop #1623 to rename the existing network Terra Classic, LUNA Classic ($LUNC), and rebirth a new Terra blockchain & LUNA ($LUNA) is now live.— Do Kwon (@stablekwon) May 18, 2022
Vote here: https://t.co/ZlGxNCUTMa https://t.co/plj0guJwao
Kwon then focused on LUNA’s recovery without the algorithmic stablecoin UST. Since Terra’s ecosystem is not strong enough to build up and drive recovery in both Terraform Lab tokens, Kwon considered a practical and sustainable structure to preserve the developer ecosystem and the community. Kwon’s new and updated proposal suggests a fork in LUNA and the creation of a new Terra chain. The old Terra chain would be called Terra Classic (LUNC), while the new chain would be Terra (LUNA). The new chain would be fully community-owned, and the Terra Foundation wallet would be removed from the whitelist for the airdrop.
Validators would reprogram the network ownership to $1 billion, distributing them to affected parties. 40% of the network’s ownership, $400 million would be allocated to LUNA holders (who held the token before UST de-peg). The hard fork offers to allay UST holders’ concerns by offering 25% at the Launch snapshot on May 27, 2022. 10% would be unlocked at genesis and the remainder would be unlocked over a period of two years. 25% would be reserved for the community pool.
The co-founder of Terraform Labs believes Terra can recover from the coordinated attack by becoming a fully community-owned chain. Proposal 1623, the revival plan for LUNA without UST, has received 77.96% positive votes from the community. 1.39% of the community members abstained from voting.
The whole crypto market bleeds
After Terra’s LUNA and UST implosion, most crypto assets suffered heavy losses. Check out in this video what's next for Bitcoin!
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