Terra blockchain’s new token LUNA seems to be a chip off the old block.
Within hours of debuting this past Friday, the token’s price shot up by 47% to a peak of $19.53. It crashed soon after and reached a low of $3.98 on the same day based on data from Coinmarketcap.
As of this writing, it has recovered to trade at $9.16. According to reports, LUNA’s latest price boost occurred soon after it was listed on Binance – the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume. The token had a self-reported circulating supply of 210 million writes Coindesk.
The quicksilver changes to LUNA’s price mirrors the token’s volatility in its death spiral in the early part of May. By the time that founder Do Kwon proposed a new token to replace the old one, LUNA’s earlier avatar was practically worthless.
A Debt-to-Equity Conversion Gone Wrong
Meanwhile, the algorithmic stablecoin UST – whose peg is supposed to have started the entire disaster – has been eliminated from the blockchain. Those who converted UST to Luna during the debacle might have been shortchanged, writes Bloomberg’s Matt Levine.
Briefly, UST was the crypto equivalent of debt because it promised the original investment of $1 plus interest. Luna, which traded in crypto markets and derived its value from demand, was equity.
Do Kwon’s plan rewarded shareholders for investing in Luna before its price crashed by assigning a greater percentage (35%) of the new LUNA tokens to be airdropped into their wallets. UST investors from the same timeframe were assigned just ten percent of the new tokens. Even more strange is that the Luna Foundation Guard (LFG), the non-profit specially created to maintain the peg, made some investors whole by purchasing UST for $1 and then stopped purchasing the stablecoin altogether. This means that some UST investors are left holding a bagful of losses.
In the corridors of traditional finance overseen by authorities, Terra resembles a bankrupt company says Levine. During a bankruptcy filing, a creditor should have recourse to be made whole and a seat at the table to determine distribution of new tokens. Do Kwon’s hurried proposal had no such provisions. It was approved by validators or nodes responsible for confirming transactions on Terra’s blockchain. [The biggest validator abstained from voting on the proposal]. Of course, an absence of crypto regulation means that Terra is not answerable to its creditors or investors.