TerraUSD (UST), the largest Terra-issued algorithmic stablecoin, lost its peg to the U.S. dollar and plummeted far below its $1 peg this week, sending ripples throughout the crypto markets. Terra’s sister token, Luna, also suffered some of its biggest weekly losses in recent months as prices fell 99.7% in a week, data shows.
The LUNA price fell 96% in the past 24 hours alone, pushing it to less than 10 cents.
At the time of publication of How to Buy Terra (LUNA) on CoinStats, the token was trading at around $100, and its record was $120 in mid-April. At the moment, LUNA’s price is $0.0001302, and it dropped from the list of top 10 cryptocurrencies by market capitalization.
The events of the last week might be a lot to take in, which is why CoinStats would be looking into the history of the token from its launch to the chaotic week.
Do Kwon and Daniel Shin are co-founders of Terra (LUNA). Do Kwon is the CEO of Terraform Labs. He is a former software engineer at Microsoft and Apple and served as CEO of Anyfi, a startup providing decentralized solutions for wireless mesh networks. Kwon is included in the Forbes 30 Under 30 list of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs.
Co-founder Daniel Shin is a talented economist and entrepreneur. Before Terra Alliance, he co-founded Fast Track Asia, a startup incubator, and TMON (Ticket Monster), a South Korean e-commerce platform.
The project’s mainnet was launched in 2019, aiming to stabilize the global payments systems by combining the price stability of fiat currencies with the control-free and censorship-resistant blockchain technology.
Terra’s protocol uses a Delegated Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus mechanism. It received funding from leading VC funds globally. In 2018, Binance led a $32 million round to back Terra, while Pantera Capital, Galaxy Digital, and Coinbase Ventures Invested in founding rounds in 2020.
The Terra ecosystem was one of the most promising and successful crypto ecosystems, aiming to build the largest algorithmic stablecoin. According to a CoinDesk report, the blockchain had crossed 1 million daily active users, with over 2 million user accounts in 2020. In the same year, Terra Protocol’s DeFi and stablecoin projects launched LUNA’s market cap to 200 million USD.
By 2021, major protocols such as Anchor, Nexus, Alice, Ozone, SPAR, etc., were built on the Terra platform.
TerraUSD (UST) was the third-largest stablecoin by market capitalization according to CoinMarketCap and the largest algorithmic stablecoin. It was the third-largest Layer 1 blockchain by Total Value Locked (TVL).
In 2021, Terra partnered with key players in the space, including DeFi Alliance, Asia DeFi Network, and Harmony. The Terra Ecosystem Fund was supported by capital commitments of $150 million from an all-star ensemble of investors, including Arrington Capital, BlockTower Capital, Galaxy Digital, Hashed, Lightspeed Ventures, Pantera Capital, Parafi, SkyVision Capital, and many others. It aimed at supporting “ambitious individuals looking to build incredible products.”
The Calm Before The Storm
As 2022 rolled by, LUNA surged past tokens like Dogecoin (DOGE), Avalanche (AVAX), and Shiba Inu (SHIB) to become the world’s 10th largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization.
CoinStats charts the project’s rise and fall:
March 11, 2022
Terraform Labs donated $1.1 billion to the Luna Foundation Guard (LFG), launched in January to grow the Terra ecosystem and improve the sustainability of its stablecoins. Kwon noted that the funds, denominated in LUNA, will be burned to mint UST to grow the LFG‘s reserves: “until it becomes mathematically impossible for idiots to claim de-peg risk for UST.”
LUNA tokens rose to set new all-time highs of over $105.91. LUNA became the second-largest staked asset among all major cryptocurrencies in terms of total value staked. Data from Staking Rewards highlighted that LUNA surpassed Ethereum, which had just over $26 billion in staked value at press time.
March – April 2022
Terraform Labs announced their intention to buy Bitcoin (BTC) and make it a reserve asset to back the UST stablecoin. Kwon stated that he planned to buy $10 billion in Bitcoin to back UST. The LFG purchased over $30,000 BTC as LUNA reached its all-time high of $119.98 on April 5.
By the end of April, the LFG had increased its Bitcoin holdings to 42.5K BTC, making it one of the largest holders of Bitcoin.
May 5th, 2022
The LFG added $1.5 billion worth of BTC, which amounted to 37,863 BTC. The purchase was accomplished with the help of Three Arrows Capital and Genesis Trading.
The earliest reports of UST “de-pegging” appeared, and the “depeg” seemed to be the result of a few massive withdrawals from Anchor, Terra-based decentralized finance (DeFi) protocol that offers high yields to those who deposit UST. Large quantities of UST were also withdrawn from Curve liquidity pools.
Yet, some community members thought this was a coordinated attack due to a single wallet dumping $84 million worth of UST on the Ethereum blockchain and $108 million on the Binance crypto exchange.
When the value of UST dropped to $0.60, the LFG voted to loan 750m worth of BTC to over-the-counter trading firms and loan 750 million UST to “accumulate BTC as market conditions normalize.” LUNA also fell by 52% in the wake of the chaos. Terra creator Do Kwon later clarified that the bitcoin would be “used to trade.”
UST price dropped to as low as $0.25 across exchanges as investors gave up on the stablecoin. LUNA plunged by 95% in 3 days.
Do Kwon addressed Terra’s community and apologized for the chaotic events of the last 72 hours. He argued that the only way forward “will be to absorb the stablecoin supply that wants to exit before UST can start to repeg.” He proposed a plan to assist the pegging mechanism to absorb supply and assured community members that “Terra’s return to form will be a sight to behold.”
In accordance with Kwon’s plan to absorb the UST supply, the circulating supply of Luna (LUNA) surged to more than 6.5 trillion. Despite the valiant attempts, LUNA has plummeted from $82 last week to $0.02, while UST didn’t recover its parity with the US dollar.
On Friday, Terra officially halted the blockchain at block 7607789 after nearly four days of chaos in the markets. The team announced that the halt was only temporary and was designed to allow them to develop a valid plan to rebuild the ecosystem.
The need to protect the blockchain from governance attacks, given the reduced costs, was another reason for halting the blockchain. In a few hours, the network resumed block production but with delegations disabled.
Binance temporarily halted the withdrawals and deposits for Terra’s network on the blockchain with plans to reopen it when it achieved stability. Other exchanges also opted to delist the LUNA token, a move that signals the end of the project in its current form.
LFG noted that it had almost entirely depleted its BTC reserves from around 80,000 bitcoins to 313. However, the remaining assets, which mainly comprised the crashed UST and Luna tokens, would be used to compensate investors. When UST began to drop below $1, Luna also started to sell off, resulting in UST dropping to less than 30 cents and Luna becoming worthless.
Kwon proposed a plan called the Terra Ecosystem Revival Plan 2 to save the ecosystem: “The Terra chain as it currently exists should be forked into a new chain without algorithmic stablecoins called ‘Terra’ (token Luna – $LUNA), and the old chain be called ‘Terra Classic’ (token Luna Classic – $LUNC),” he wrote. “Both chains will coexist.” He hopes to create a new Terra chain without UST, keeping the Luna token as the new chain’s cryptocurrency. Luna is now trading at nearly zero.
If his plan passes, Terraform Labs will coordinate the creation of the new chain with validators on May 27, Kwon said.
Then, “New $LUNA will be airdropped to $LUNC stakers, holders, residual UST holders, and essential app developers,” he added.
The community is scheduled to vote on the proposal put forward by Kwon.
However, Binance CEO, Changpeng Zhao, stated that the plan of a fork would not work. Zhao said that a fork was merely wishful thinking and would not create anything of value. Zhao expressed disappointment in the way Terraform Labs handled the UST and Luna collapse and demanded transparency.
The Luna Foundation Guard published a report of its holdings: As of May 7, the LFG held reserves of 80,394 BTC, 39,914 BNB, 26,281,671 USDT, and 23,555,590 USDC, but by May 17, only 313 BTC were left. LFG stated that the remaining assets would be returned to the wallets tagged in dashboard.lfg.org.
In the wake of chaos, Terra’s in-house legal team has resigned. General counsel Marc Goldich, chief corporate counsel Lawrence Florio, and regulatory counsel Noah Axler all left their positions in the Terra project.
Kwon’s proposal for a hard fork of the Terra blockchain has been rejected by 90% of the preliminary voters. The poll is not binding and is designed to test the waters ahead of the main vote merely. So far, it seems that most community members are against a fork and prefer a burn solution instead.
So, there you have it! We’re keeping a close eye on how things unfold and will keep you updated. It’ll be some kind of miracle in cryptocurrency’s history if Terra copes with this rough patch and gets back on track. Let’s watch and see!