In a surprising revelation, a former employee of Alameda Research has shed light on the events surrounding the sudden and dramatic drop in Bitcoin (BTC) prices that occurred in 2021, causing prices to plummet by over 87%. The ex-employee, who has chosen to speak out, has provided insights into the inner workings of the trading firm, implicating it in the market turmoil.
On October 21, 2021, Bitcoin traders on the Binance.US cryptocurrency exchange were caught off guard when the digital asset’s price experienced a rapid and unexplained plunge. During a matter of minutes, Bitcoin’s value dropped precipitously, leaving traders puzzled while other Bitcoin markets remained stable.
As previously reported, Bitcoin’s price plummeted from approximately $65,760 to a shockingly low $8,200 at 11:34 UTC (7:34 a.m. ET), only to swiftly rebound to nearly its initial level. At the time, a Binance.US spokesperson attributed the crash to a technical glitch within the trading systems of one of their “institutional traders.”
The true identity of this institutional trader had remained shrouded in mystery until recently, when a former employee of Alameda Research took to Twitter to unveil a potentially game-changing revelation.
Aditya Baradwaj, the former employee, claimed that while the majority of Alameda’s trades were automated, there were instances when traders could manually submit orders, particularly during periods of market volatility or when seizing profit opportunities. It was during one of these instances that the fateful mishap occurred.
Baradwaj explained in a series of tweets, “The trader was trying to sell a block of BTC in response to the news and sent out the order via our manual trading system. What they missed was the decimal point was off by a few spaces. Rather than selling BTC at the current market price, they sold it for pennies on the dollar.”
The market’s swift reaction ensued as arbitrage traders seized the opportunity presented by the mispricing, rapidly restoring Bitcoin’s value to its rightful levels. However, the consequences were dire for Alameda Research, resulting in significant financial losses amounting to tens of millions of dollars.
Reflecting on the incident, Baradwaj noted, “Alameda’s losses on the fat-finger trade were staggering, on the order of tens of millions. But because it had been an honest mistake, there wasn’t much to do except to implement additional sanity checks for manual trades.”
Requests for further comments from Aditya Baradwaj and Binance.US regarding this revelation have yet to receive a response.
This revelation sheds new light on a significant event in the cryptocurrency market’s history, highlighting the potential impact of manual trading errors even in the world of automated trading algorithms.