According to Nansen’s fresh on-chain study, Terra’s UST depeg may have been launched by seven distinct wallets that sold huge amounts of the coin into relatively illiquid Curve liquidity pools.
On May 7, seven main wallets withdrew UST funds from the Anchor protocol on Terra, bridged these assets from Terra to Ethereum via Wormhole, and traded UST for USDC in Curve’s liquidity pools, according to the study. The depegging process was triggered by a shortage of liquidity in the pools that secure UST to other stablecoins.
The news comes three weeks after the Terra stablecoin lost its peg, sending the LUNA token’s price plummeting from $77 to $0.00014 and wiping away more than $43 billion in the crypto market.
As UST began to lose its peg, on-chain data reveals the seven wallets took advantage of arbitraging inefficiencies between Curve, decentralized exchanges, and centralized exchanges (particularly Binance).
Nansen’s analysis argues that UST’s destabilization could have “resulted from the investment decisions of numerous well-funded groups” in order to manage risk, refuting the narrative that it was caused by a single attacker.
It mentions the availability of detection systems that allow funds to identify transfers in and out of Curve pools totaling more than $20 million.
One wallet belongs to crypto business Celsius, two to “Token Millionaires” (meaning they have a token balance worth more than $1 million), and two to “Heavy DEX Traders,” according to Nansen (wallets in the top 1 percent in terms of the number of trades or volume traded on decentralized exchanges).
Despite this, Nansen is unable to confirm or reject if the UST destabilization was orchestrated off-chain. The analysis is also limited to Terra and Ethereum and does not account for outflows to other chains like Solana or the BNB chain.
Terra intends to deploy a new version of its blockchain on May 28th, 2022, at 6:00 a.m. UTC.