Alameda Research lost $190M to scams and ‘questionable’ blockchains: Whistleblower Trending Crypto News

Alameda Research lost $190M to scams and 'questionable’ blockchains: Whistleblower
Sharing is Caring

FTX’s sister hedge fund Alameda Research lost at least $190 million of its trading funds due to arguably avoidable scams, according to a former engineer at the firm. 

In an Oct. 12 post to X, titled “The Hacks,” former Alameda Research engineer turned whistleblower Aditya Baridwaj claims that the firm’s “breathtaking” agility led to “major security incidents” as often as every few months.

In an example of one of the biggest exploits, Baridwaj claims a trader at Alameda once lost more than $100 million of the firm’s funds after clicking a malicious link promoted to the top of Google Search results.

The trader was attempting to sign off on a DeFi transaction, said Baridwaj.

In another example, he said Alameda was yield farming on a new blockchain of “questionable legitimacy” — a move that saw the trading firm eventually rack up losses of more than $40 million.

Baradwaj wrote that FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried believed that the “single most important thing” for Alameda and FTX was their ability to move quickly. This ethos led to Alameda routinely ignoring industry-standard engineering and accounting practices for such firms, he said.

“This meant virtually no code testing and incomplete balance accounting. Safety checks for trading would only be added on an as-needed basis,” wrote Baradwaj.

“Blockchain private keys and exchange API keys were stored in plaintext in a file that several employees could access.”

This led to another security incident that cost the firm millions after an old version of the plaintext files containing keys to Alameda’s wallets were leaked.

The attacker transferred funds out of “some exchanges” and the incurred losses tallied up to more than $50 million, explained Baradwaj.

He said that Alameda suffered through “many more” incidents of similar scope to the ones he’d described, but many of these were before his time at the company.

Related: Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried trial [Day 6] — Latest updates

The former engineer has been speaking publicly about the many faults of Alameda and FTX in the wake of their collapse in November last year, telling Cointelegraph how its founder Sam Bankman-Fried justified many of his “ridiculous” actions under the guise of an idealistic philosophy known as Effective Altruism.

Baradwaj’s comments come amid former Alameda CEO Caroline Ellison taking the stand to testify against Bankman-Fried on the sixth day of his fraud trial. In the preceding days, a number of former colleagues including Adam Yedidia and Gary Wang have brought a wealth of new evidence against the former billionaire.

Wang has admitted to writing in specific code that allowed for Alameda to trade with a near-unlimited line of credit from FTX, while Caroline Ellison has explained the intricate details of FTX’s alleged commingling of funds with Alameda.

Bankman-Fried has pled not guilty to the charges brought against him and maintains his innocence in the ongoing trial.

Magazine: ‘AI has killed the industry’ — EasyTranslate boss on adapting to change