Crash of TerraUSD Shakes Crypto. ‘There Was a Run on the Bank.’
Kanebridge News
    HOUSE MEDIAN ASKING PRICES AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $1,635,570 (+0.09%)       Melbourne $990,779 (-0.14%)       Brisbane $1,002,534 (+0.89%)       Adelaide $899,189 (+1.63%)       Perth $853,385 (-0.01%)       Hobart $727,599 (-0.08%)       Darwin $665,330 (-2.24%)       Canberra $1,030,329 (+2.00%)       National $1,054,780 (+0.44%)                UNIT MEDIAN ASKING PRICES AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $758,114 (+0.56%)       Melbourne $494,774 (+0.21%)       Brisbane $562,776 (+0.42%)       Adelaide $448,109 (+2.19%)       Perth $451,267 (-0.77%)       Hobart $504,603 (-1.31%)       Darwin $357,621 (+2.79%)       Canberra $496,414 (-0.41%)       National $532,600 (+0.26%)                HOUSES FOR SALE AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 10,429 (+70)       Melbourne 14,915 (+41)       Brisbane 7,933 (-18)       Adelaide 2,089 (-116)       Perth 5,787 (-101)       Hobart 1,241 (+4)       Darwin 244 (-2)       Canberra 988 (+18)       National 43,626 (-104)                UNITS FOR SALE AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 8,586 (+58)       Melbourne 8,221 (+87)       Brisbane 1,635 (+21)       Adelaide 372 (-9)       Perth 1,517 (-36)       Hobart 198 (-10)       Darwin 404 (-2)       Canberra 1,028 (+31)       National 21,961 (+140)                HOUSE MEDIAN ASKING RENTS AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $820 (+$3)       Melbourne $600 (-$5)       Brisbane $650 ($0)       Adelaide $600 ($0)       Perth $680 ($0)       Hobart $550 ($0)       Darwin $750 ($0)       Canberra $680 (+$10)       National $676 (+$1)                UNIT MEDIAN ASKING RENTS AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $760 (-$10)       Melbourne $595 (-$5)       Brisbane $640 (-$3)       Adelaide $500 (+$5)       Perth $620 ($0)       Hobart $450 ($0)       Darwin $540 (-$10)       Canberra $550 (-$10)       National $596 (-$5)                HOUSES FOR RENT AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 5,832 (+125)       Melbourne 6,113 (+155)       Brisbane 4,426 (+39)       Adelaide 1,506 (+63)       Perth 2,727 (+138)       Hobart 431 (+13)       Darwin 95 (-3)       Canberra 602 (+6)       National 21,732 (+536)                UNITS FOR RENT AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 10,046 (+377)       Melbourne 6,071 (+301)       Brisbane 2,272 (+28)       Adelaide 373 (+1)       Perth 740 (-4)       Hobart 143 (+14)       Darwin 136 (+6)       Canberra 746 (+30)       National 20,527 (+753)                HOUSE ANNUAL GROSS YIELDS AND TREND       Sydney 2.61% (↑)        Melbourne 3.15% (↓)       Brisbane 3.37% (↓)       Adelaide 3.47% (↓)     Perth 4.14% (↑)      Hobart 3.93% (↑)      Darwin 5.86% (↑)        Canberra 3.43% (↓)       National 3.33% (↓)            UNIT ANNUAL GROSS YIELDS AND TREND         Sydney 5.21% (↓)       Melbourne 6.25% (↓)       Brisbane 5.91% (↓)       Adelaide 5.80% (↓)     Perth 7.14% (↑)      Hobart 4.64% (↑)        Darwin 7.85% (↓)       Canberra 5.76% (↓)       National 5.81% (↓)            HOUSE RENTAL VACANCY RATES AND TREND       Sydney 0.8% (↑)      Melbourne 0.7% (↑)      Brisbane 0.7% (↑)      Adelaide 0.4% (↑)      Perth 0.4% (↑)      Hobart 0.9% (↑)      Darwin 0.8% (↑)      Canberra 1.0% (↑)      National 0.7% (↑)             UNIT RENTAL VACANCY RATES AND TREND       Sydney 0.9% (↑)      Melbourne 1.1% (↑)      Brisbane 1.0% (↑)      Adelaide 0.5% (↑)      Perth 0.5% (↑)      Hobart 1.4% (↑)      Darwin 1.7% (↑)      Canberra 1.4% (↑)      National 1.1% (↑)             AVERAGE DAYS TO SELL HOUSES AND TREND         Sydney 28.9 (↓)     Melbourne 30.3 (↑)        Brisbane 30.8 (↓)       Adelaide 25.4 (↓)     Perth 36.1 (↑)      Hobart 37.8 (↑)      Darwin 35.1 (↑)        Canberra 28.5 (↓)     National 31.6 (↑)             AVERAGE DAYS TO SELL UNITS AND TREND         Sydney 29.6 (↓)       Melbourne 30.2 (↓)     Brisbane 29.6 (↑)        Adelaide 25.4 (↓)     Perth 38.3 (↑)      Hobart 30.1 (↑)        Darwin 46.7 (↓)       Canberra 38.0 (↓)     National 33.5 (↑)            
Share Button

Crash of TerraUSD Shakes Crypto. ‘There Was a Run on the Bank.’

The stablecoin, pledged to maintain a value of one dollar, plunged as low as 23 cents this week, showing cryptocurrencies’ vulnerability.

By Alexander Osipovich, Caitlin Ostroff
Fri, May 13, 2022 10:26amGrey Clock 7 min

The cryptocurrency TerraUSD had one job: Maintain its value at $1 per coin.

Since it launched in 2020, it had mostly done that, rarely straying more than a fraction of a penny from its intended price. That made it an island of stability, a place where traders and investors could stash their funds in between forays into the otherwise frenzied crypto market.

This week TerraUSD became part of the frenzy too, slumping by more than a third on Monday and then tumbling as low as 23 cents on Wednesday.

The collapse saddled investors with billions of dollars in losses. It ricocheted back into other cryptocurrencies, helping drive down the price of bitcoin. Another stablecoin, tether, edged down to as low as 96 cents on Thursday before regaining its peg to the dollar. The stock price of the largest U.S. crypto exchange, Coinbase Global, has fallen more than 75% this year. It said on Tuesday that it was losing users and trading volume.

The crypto market has matured in recent years, running as a parallel financial system with its own version of banks and lending. These features attracted greater Wall Street engagement and venture investment, filling the coffers of crypto startups with cash. Crypto companies spent some of that cash on ad campaigns and lobbyists that painted the picture of an evolved market.

Yet TerraUSD’s plunge raises urgent questions about crypto developers’ ambitions to build a new form of finance. It shows that despite the hype, the nascent crypto system is still prone to the kinds of destabilizing bank runs that happen in the nondigital world.

TerraUSD’s outspoken creator, Do Kwon, directed that huge sums of money be spent to try to rescue his project. On Twitter, he tried to rally his followers.

“Terra’s return to form will be a sight to behold,” he wrote shortly after 6 a.m. Eastern time on Wednesday, when his stablecoin was trading at half its intended value. “We’re here to stay. And we’re gonna keep making noise.”

Stablecoins are a pillar of crypto’s parallel financial system. Crypto enthusiasts need to maintain a link to the government-backed currencies of traditional finance, where rent is due, cars are bought and bills are paid. But they want to trade and invest in cryptoland only, not in dollars or euros or pounds. So stablecoins act as a kind of reserve currency, an asset whose value everyone understands—and that shouldn’t change.

Professional traders and individual investors alike use stablecoins, and had stashed around $180 billion in them as of Tuesday. A trader might sell a bitcoin for TerraUSD, then use the TerraUSD to buy ether, another cryptocurrency, without ever touching a dollar or a bank account.

Crypto companies have sought to convince Congress that stablecoins are safe places for investors to put money. The TerraUSD collapse has shaken that assumption—and with it the idea that there could be any safe place in crypto.

Stablecoins attempt to resolve a conundrum: How can you make something stable in a volatile financial system?

Some stablecoins attempt to do this by holding safe assets such as Treasury bills in a kind of reserve account: For every stablecoin that is created, $1 in Treasury bills is put in the account. Redeem a stablecoin and $1 of Treasury bills comes out of the account.

TerraUSD has a more complex approach. It’s an algorithmic stablecoin that relies on financial engineering to maintain its link to the dollar.

Previous attempts at algorithmic stablecoins ended in failure when the peg collapsed. Mr. Kwon and his colleagues believed they had created a better version, less prone to runs.

Many crypto traders believed him, and TerraUSD’s popularity surged. Mr. Kwon suggested that the coin would become the dominant stablecoin and could ultimately supplant the dollar itself.

Despite having swelled to a size of more than $18 billion, TerraUSD crumbled in a matter of days.

“I understand the last 72 hours have been extremely tough on all of you,” Mr. Kwon tweeted on Wednesday, addressing his followers, who are known as “Lunatics” because of TerraUSD’s sister cryptocurrency, Luna. “I am resolved to work with every one of you to weather this crisis, and we will build our way out of this.”

Jim Greco, a partner at crypto quantitative investment firm F9 Research, was celebrating his birthday at Manhattan’s Le Bernardin on Saturday night when he got a message notifying him that TerraUSD had dropped below 99.5 cents.

He told his team to sell the coin, which had been part of F9’s broader stablecoin holdings. Later his firm made a profitable bet that the coin would keep falling, said Mr. Greco.

“We all knew it was going to fail eventually,” Mr. Greco said. “We just didn’t know what the catalyst would be.”

Traders said the catalyst for the drop, which began over the weekend and snowballed Monday, was a series of large withdrawals from Anchor Protocol, a kind of crypto bank created by developers at Mr. Kwon’s firm, Terraform Labs. Such platforms allow digital-currency investors to earn interest on their coins by lending them out.

Over the past year, Anchor had fueled interest in TerraUSD by offering lofty returns of nearly 20% on deposits of TerraUSD. That was far higher than the rates available in traditional dollar bank accounts, and more than what crypto investors could get from lending out other, more conventional stablecoins.

Anchor, like other crypto lending protocols, would lend the TerraUSD to borrowers that used the coins for various trading strategies or for earning built-in rewards that blockchain networks provide for processing transactions.

Critics, including crypto investors who have attacked Mr. Kwon on social media, questioned whether such yields were sustainable. Still, by late last week investors had deposited more than $14 billion of TerraUSD in Anchor, according to the platform’s website. The bulk of the stablecoin’s supply was parked in the Anchor platform.

Big transactions over the weekend knocked TerraUSD from its $1 value. The instability prompted investors to pull their TerraUSD from Anchor and sell the coin.

That, in turn, led more investors to withdraw from Anchor, creating a cascading effect of more withdrawals and more selling. TerraUSD deposits at Anchor fell to about $2 billion by Thursday, down 86% from their peak, the protocol’s website shows.

“There was a run on the bank,” said Michael Boroughs, managing partner of Fortis Digital Value LLC, a crypto hedge-fund firm.

Some crypto market observers claim TerraUSD was deliberately targeted. “This was a short attack,” said Ronald AngSiy, vice president at Intellabridge Technology Corp., a company that allows people earn interest on cash deposits by investing them in crypto.

This is how the stablecoin is supposed to work: If TerraUSD’s price dips below $1, traders can “burn” the coin—or permanently remove it from circulation—in exchange for $1 worth of new units of Luna. That should reduce the supply of TerraUSD and raise its price.

Conversely, if TerraUSD climbs above $1, traders can burn Luna and create new TerraUSD. That should increase supply of the stablecoin and lower its price back toward $1.

In theory, that means traders can make money when TerraUSD falls below $1 because they can buy the stablecoin at its depressed price and convert it into $1 of Luna. The idea is that the collective efforts of traders around the world keep TerraUSD in line with its dollar peg, while Luna acts as a shock absorber, buffering TerraUSD from volatility.

The system works only if traders actually want Luna. Investors did not want Luna when TerraUSD lost its peg this week. They sold Luna in a panic.

Luna lost nearly $20 billion in value as it surrendered nearly all its value in just a few days, according to data tracker CoinMarketCap. It had previously enjoyed a wild run-up over the past year as speculators bet on the continued adoption of TerraUSD.

“Once people lose confidence—and we’ve seen this before in money-market funds and commercial paper—they will run for the exits,” said Joe Abate, a research analyst at Barclays.

In a rush to get out, sellers of TerraUSD swamped buyers on big crypto exchanges, resulting in quotes for prices below $1 that spooked investors.

A spokesman for Terraform Labs said in an emailed statement that there were shortcomings in the infrastructure behind TerraUSD. “We’re currently working on a comprehensive strategy to rectify many of the existing points of vulnerability, which will be published publicly soon,” he said.

There was supposed to be a last line of defense. Mr. Kwon had sought to shield the stablecoin by amassing a huge war chest that could be used to defend its $1 peg, much as a central bank in an emerging-markets country might spend dollar reserves to protect its currency.

He co-founded a nonprofit called Luna Foundation Guard and announced earlier this year that it would buy up to $10 billion in bitcoin. Terraform Labs donated several billion dollars worth of Luna to seed the reserve fund.

By Tuesday, the fund had largely depleted its $3 billion in bitcoin and other cryptocurrency resources amid an emergency effort to salvage TerraUSD, according to the fund’s online data dashboard. The fund’s selling contributed to a sharp drop in bitcoin’s price, analysts and traders said.

Social-media forums devoted to Luna and TerraUSD have been filled with posts by investors upset about losses and debating whether Mr. Kwon can spearhead a turnaround.

He has pledged to fix TerraUSD, which is known by the ticker UST. In his series of tweets on Wednesday, he outlined technical steps that would help reduce the oversupply of the stablecoin, helping to bring it back up to $1.

The market’s confidence in TerraUSD will be shaken even if Mr. Kwon’s team succeeds in restoring the peg, said Mr. Boroughs of Fortis Digital Value. “It’s going to take a long time to bring back that trust.”

The TerraUSD crisis is a blow to the reputation of Mr. Kwon, a Stanford University graduate who worked at Apple Inc. and Microsoft Corp. before delving into crypto. He is an outspoken presence on social media, often assailing his critics in the crypto community.

“He will call anyone who questions him an idiot,” said Eric Wall, chief investment officer of Scandinavian crypto hedge fund Arcane Assets, who has clashed with Mr. Kwon online about Luna and TerraUSD.

A new father, Mr. Kwon named his infant daughter Luna, writing in a tweet after her birth last month: “My dearest creation named after my greatest invention.”

TerraUSD’s troubles could cast a shadow of doubt over stablecoins or shift customers to its competitors. One, USD Coin, has kept its link to the dollar during TerraUSD’s turbulence.

USD Coin and tether, the one that edged down to 96 cents before regaining its peg, are backed by financial assets. The companies say they have investments equivalent to the value of every stablecoin.

These stablecoins have their skeptics too, particularly tether, which has long been dogged by allegations that it isn’t fully backed. Some short-sellers have bet on a drop in tether. Traders have stepped up their bets against tether during the drama over TerraUSD, said Matt Ballensweig, co-head of trading and lending at crypto firm Genesis.

A spokesman for Tether Holdings Ltd., the company behind the stablecoin, said: “Tether is the most liquid stablecoin in the market and is 100% backed by a strong, conservative, and liquid reserve portfolio. Tether has withstood multiple ‘black swan’ events in cryptocurrency.” The spokesman added that the company has continued to process redemptions for its stablecoin during the market stress.

Current law doesn’t provide comprehensive standards for stablecoin issuers. The Biden administration has pressed Congress to pass legislation that would regulate the issuers of such assets similarly to banks.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told Senate lawmakers on Tuesday that TerraUSD’s plunge has reinforced the administration’s concerns that stablecoins, including traditional asset-backed and algorithmic varieties, can be subject to investor stampedes, and that a regulatory framework is needed.

Many of the investors who rushed into trades involving TerraUSD and Luna likely didn’t know what they were getting into, said Martin Hiesboeck, head of blockchain and crypto research at digital money platform Uphold.

“You can have a bunch of developers writing an algorithm and they themselves might be 100% clear on how it works,” Mr. Hiesboeck said. “But your average crypto-crazy Joe does not read the…code. They don’t read the fine print.”

 

Reprinted by permission of The Wall Street Journal, Copyright 2021 Dow Jones & Company. Inc. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Original date of publication: May 12, 2022.



MOST POPULAR
11 ACRES ROAD, KELLYVILLE, NSW

This stylish family home combines a classic palette and finishes with a flexible floorplan

35 North Street Windsor

Just 55 minutes from Sydney, make this your creative getaway located in the majestic Hawkesbury region.

Related Stories
Money
A Killer Golf Swing Is a Hot Job Skill Now
By CALLUM BORCHERS 14/06/2024
Money
Apple Sued by Employees Alleging Unequal Pay for Women
By ERIN MULVANEY 14/06/2024
Money
The unexpected reasons Australians are retiring earlier than planned
By Bronwyn Allen 14/06/2024
A Killer Golf Swing Is a Hot Job Skill Now

Companies are eager to hire strong players who use hybrid work schedules to schmooze clients on the course

By CALLUM BORCHERS
Fri, Jun 14, 2024 5 min

Standout golfers who aren’t quite PGA Tour material now have somewhere else to play professionally: Corporate America.

People who can smash 300-yard drives and sink birdie putts are sought-after hires in finance, consulting, sales and other industries, recruiters say. In the hybrid work era, the business golf outing is back in a big way.

Executive recruiter Shawn Cole says he gets so many requests to find ace golfers that he records candidates’ handicaps, an index based on average number of strokes over par, in the information packets he submits to clients. Golf alone can’t get you a plum job, he says—but not playing could cost you one.

“I know a guy that literally flies around the world in a private jet loaded with French wine, and he golfs and lands hundred-million-dollar deals,” Cole says.

Tee times and networking sessions have long gone hand-in-golf-glove. Despite criticism that doing business on the course undermines diversity, equity and inclusion efforts—and the fact that golf clubs haven’t always been open to women and minorities —people who mix golf and work say the outings are one of the last reprieves from 30-minute calendar blocks

Stars like Tiger Woods and Michelle Wie West helped expand participation in the sport. Still, just 22% of golfers are nonwhite and 26% are women, according to the National Golf Foundation.

To lure more people, clubs have relaxed rules against mobile-phone use on the course, embracing white-collar professionals who want to entertain clients on the links without disconnecting from the office. It’s no longer taboo to check email from your cart or take a quick call at the halfway turn.

With so much other business conducted virtually, shaking hands on the green and schmoozing over clubhouse beers is now seen as making an extra effort, not slacking off.

Americans played a record 531 million rounds last year. Weekday play has nearly doubled since 2019, with much of the action during business hours , according to research by Stanford University economist Nicholas Bloom .

“It would’ve been scandalous in 2019 to be having multiple meetings a week on the golf course,” Bloom says. “In 2024, if you’re producing results, no one’s going to see anything wrong with it.”

A financial adviser at a major Wall Street bank who competes on the amateur circuit told me he completes 90% of his tasks by 10 a.m. because he manages long-term investment plans that change infrequently. The rest of his workday often involves golfing with clients and prospects. He’s a member of a private club with a multiyear waiting list, and people jump at the chance to join him on a course they normally can’t access.

There is an art to bringing in business this way. He never initiates shoptalk, telling his playing partners the round is about having fun and getting to know each other. They can’t resist asking about investment strategies by the back nine, he says.

Work hard, play hard

Matt Parziale golfed professionally on minor-league tours for several years, but when his dream of making the big time ended, he had to get a regular job. He became a firefighter, like his dad.

A few years later he won one of the biggest amateur tournaments in the country, earning spots in the 2018 Masters and U.S. Open, where he tied for first among non-pros.

The brush with celebrity brought introductions to business types that Parziale, 35 years old, says he wouldn’t have met otherwise. One connection led to a job with a large insurance broker. In 2022 he jumped to Deland, Gibson Insurance Associates in Wellesley, Mass., which recognised his golf game as a tool to help win large accounts.

He rescheduled our interview because he was hosting clients at a private club on Cape Cod, and squeezed me in the next morning, before teeing off with a business group in Newport, R.I.

A short time ago, Parziale couldn’t imagine making a living this way. Now he’s the norm in elite amateur golf circles.

“I look around at the guys at the events I play, and they all have these jobs ,” he says.

His boss, Chief Executive Chip Gibson, says Parziale is good at bringing in business because he puts as much effort into building relationships as honing his game. A golf outing is merely an opportunity to build trust that can eventually lead to a deal, and it’s a misconception that people who golf during work hours don’t work hard, he says.

Barry Allison’s single-digit handicap is an asset in his role as a management consultant at Accenture , where he specialises in travel and hospitality. He splits time between Washington, D.C., and The Villages, Fla., a golf mecca that boasts more than 50 courses.

It can be hard to get to know people in distributed work environments, he says. Go golfing and you’ll learn a lot about someone’s temperament—especially after a bad shot.

“If you see a guy snap a club over his knee, you don’t know what he’s going to snap next,” Allison says.

Special access

On a recent afternoon I was a lunch guest at Brae Burn Country Club, a private enclave outside Boston that was the site of U.S. Golf Association championships won by legends like Walter Hagen and Bobby Jones. I parked in the second lot because the first one was full—on a Wednesday.

My host was Cullen Onstott, managing director of the Onstott Group executive search firm and a former collegiate golfer at Fairfield University. He explained one reason companies prize excellent golfers is they can put well-practiced swings on autopilot and devote most of their attention to chitchat.

It’s hard to talk with potential customers about their needs and interests when you’re hunting for errant shots in the woods. It’s also challenging if you show off.

The first hole at Brae Burn is a 318-yard par 4 that slopes down, enabling big hitters like Onstott to reach the putting green in a single stroke. But to stay close to his playing partners and keep the conversation flowing, he sometimes hits a shorter shot.

Having an “in” at an exclusive club can make you a catch. Bo Burch, an executive recruiter in North Carolina, says clubs in his region tend to attract members according to their business sectors. One might be chock-full of real-estate investors while another has potential buyers of industrial manufacturing equipment.

Burch looks for candidates who are members of clubs that align with his clients’ industries, though he stresses that business acumen comes first when filling positions.

Tami McQueen, a former Division I tennis player and current chief marketing officer at Atlanta investment firm BIP Capital, signed up for private golf lessons this year. She had noticed colleagues were wearing polos with course logos and bringing their clubs to work. She wanted in.

McQueen joined business associates on the golf course for the first time in March at the PGA National Resort in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. She has lowered her handicap to a respectable 26 and says her new skill lends a professional edge.

“To be able to say, ‘I can play with you and we can have those business meetings on the course’ definitely opens a lot more doors,” she says.

MOST POPULAR
11 ACRES ROAD, KELLYVILLE, NSW

This stylish family home combines a classic palette and finishes with a flexible floorplan

35 North Street Windsor

Just 55 minutes from Sydney, make this your creative getaway located in the majestic Hawkesbury region.

Related Stories
Money
A Killer Golf Swing Is a Hot Job Skill Now
By CALLUM BORCHERS 14/06/2024
Property
It’s a slam dunk as a covetable $2m KDR site complete with basketball court hits the market in the Hills District
By KANEBRIDGE NEWS 18/04/2023
Money
Apple Sued by Employees Alleging Unequal Pay for Women
By ERIN MULVANEY 14/06/2024
0
    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop