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Two key takeaways from Nansen’s UST stablecoin depeg report

Two key takeaways from Nansen’s UST stablecoin depeg report thumbnail
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As the mud settles on the cataclysmic collapse of the Terra ecosystem, an on-chain deep-dive carried out by blockchain analytics agency Nansen highlights two main takeaways.

The cryptocurrency ecosystem was awash with various speculatory theories round the reason for Terra’s algorithmic stablecoin UST’s decoupling from its $1 peg. The who and why appeared a thriller however the end result was catastrophic, with UST dropping effectively under $1 whereas the worth of Terra’s stablecoin token plummeted in worth because of this.

Nansen undertook an investigation leveraging on-chain knowledge from the Terra ecosystem to the Ethereum blockchain in an effort to chart the chain of occasions that led to the UST depeg. 

It is value noting that the report doesn’t embody potential off-chain occasions that might have exacerbated the scenario, impression on traders, breakdown of internet losses between wallets, and what occurred to Bitcoin (BTC) reserves backing UST.

Attackers preyed on shallow Curve liquidity to take advantage of arbitrage alternatives

The first and largest takeaway was Nansen’s identification of a small set of addresses or gamers that recognized vulnerabilities within the Terra ecosystem. These actors preyed on the comparatively shallow liquidity of Curve swimming pools backing the TerraUSD (UST) peg to different stablecoins and moved to capitalize on arbitrage alternatives.

The report outlines how these actors withdrew UST funds from the Anchor protocol on Terra. These funds have been then bridged from Terra to Ethereum making use of the Wormhole infrastructure.

Massive quantities of UST have been then swapped with numerous stablecoins in Curve’s liquidity swimming pools. Nansen then speculated that through the depegging course of, a number of the recognized wallets exploited discrepancies between pricing sources on Curve in addition to decentralized and centralized exchanges by taking shopping for and promoting positions throughout exchanges.

Nansen’s report refuted a speculative narrative {that a} single attacker or hacker labored to destabilize UST.

Seven wallets central to UST’s depeg

Nansen’s blockchain evaluation adopted a grounded principle strategy that recognized related transaction quantity knowledge between May 7 and 11—the time-frame through which UST misplaced its $1 peg.

The agency reviewed social media and discussion board threads to slender down that specific time-frame, highlighting a distinguished transaction move on Curve liquidity swimming pools, which led to its three-phase analytical strategy.

Phase one concerned the evaluation of transactions out and in of the Curve lending protocol, which allowed Nansen to compile a listing of wallets whose actions counsel a big impression on the UST depegging.

Phase two was barely extra sophisticated, as Nansen noticed transactions throughout the Wormhole bridge that will have influenced the depeg occasion. The agency reviewed outflows of UST from the Anchor protocol involving a narrowed-down checklist of wallets. This was adopted by investigating the sale of UST and USDC on centralized exchanges.

Related: Exchanges again ‘Terra 2.0 revival plan’ through airdrops, itemizing, buyback and burning

The ultimate section concerned triangulating on-chain proof to kind a story of the occasions across the UST depeg. A listing of seven wallets was then highlighted which can be believed to have been central within the Terra ecosystem collapse.

The Nansen report offers some fascinating insights pushed by blockchain analytics. The core “why” stays a thriller — with the agency opting to not speculate on the potential targets or motivations behind the seven essential addresses that performed a serious function in triggering the depeg of the UST algorithmic stablecoin.

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