Despite claims by the companies to the contrary, blockchain data shows crypto exchange FTX and sister company Alameda Research were very much connected from the beginning, said Niklas Polk, a research yst at ytics firm Nansen.
Polk told CoinDesk TVrs lFirst Moverr on Tuesday that on-chain data shows the two companies had been closely intertwined since 2019. But making sense of the data could be the reason why no one saw the FTX collapse coming. The centralized exchange capitalized on its obscurity, he said.
lWe could see that somethingrs going on, that theyrre closely connected, that there are sufficient flows,r Polk said, referring to Nansenrs latest report, which takes a deeper look at what may have been happening between the corporate siblings. lBut since FTX is a centralized entity, you canrt really see whatrs happening inside [and] you canrt really know how much money should be there.r
Read more: Lawyers Detail the lAbrupt and Difficultr Collapse of FTX in First Bankruptcy Hearing
What was evident, said Polk, was that coins were flowing between wallets. Specifically, most of FTXrs native token, FTT, was found in the wallets of the exchange and Alameda, with only a fraction of tokens making it into circulation.
What Nansen suspects is the people responsible for the wallets may have been moving tokens between the two, making the interaction between the two supposedly separate companies closer than any two companies should ever be, according to Polk.
Even Tuesday, during FTXrs day in court, there were still some wallets, holding around $10.7 million worth of FTT tokens, according to Nansen, that remain in limbo.
Read more: FTX Showed the Problems of Centralized Finance, and Proved the Need for DeFi / Opinion
lTheyrre still lying there today and we donrt know who those wallets belong to,r Polk said, adding that the tokens in some wallets lhave never been touched.r
According to the firmrs report, whether FTX issued a loan to Alameda is lnot directly visible on-chainr because of FTXrs centralized structure. However, Nansen implies that the $4 billion of FTT tokens Alameda deposited to FTX may have been used as a way to repay loans issued by FTX.
FTX and Alamedars checkered synergy is lone of the big reasons why we have blockchains,r Polk said, adding that on-chain data is a way to provide ltransparentr information to all users.