Alameda appeared to have shorted Tether, as the stablecoin briefly fell off peg

Alameda Research, a crypto trading firm affiliated with embattled crypto exchange FTX, appears to have shorted the dollar-pegged stablecoin Tether (USDT) on Thursday, according to blockchain data.

However, FTX’s chief executive Sam Bankman-Fried, who is also behind Alameda, said on Twitter that the trading house is winding down.

Alameda appears to have borrowed at least one million USDT using USDC, another stablecoin, on the decentralized liquidity pool Aave Thursday and then immediately sold USDT for USDC on other liquidity pools such as Curve, according to Eliézer Ndinga, the director of research at 21.co, citing on-chain data. 21.co is the parent company of 21Shares.

“I don’t know why they were trying to do it, but clearly, according to blockchain data, they are trying to short tether to make a quick buck,” said Ndinga. 

USDT, which is supposed to always trade at $1, fell to as low as 98 cents early Thursday before it rebounded to nearly $1, according to CoinDesk data. 

Alameda is not “doing any of the weird things that I see on Twitter — and nothing large at all,” Bankman-Fried wrote in a tweet. Bankman-Fried didn’t specify the rumors he was referring to. A representative at FTX declined to comment, and Caroline Ellison, chief executive at Alameda Research, didn’t respond to a request seeking comment for this article.

Tether has frozen $46 million worth of USDT on FTX after a request from law enforcement, according to a CoinDesk article Thursday that cited a Tether executive without naming the person. 

The stablecoin issuer on Thursday published a new attestation report that said 82% of its total reserves were held in cash and cash equivalent and other short-term deposits as of Sept. 30. The company has also reduced its commercial-paper holdings by over $24 billion so far in 2022, with such holdings now constituting only 0.1% of the reserves, according to the report.


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