In the months preceding FTX’s spectacular demise, reports revealed that the crypto exchange secretly diverted some $4 billion in company funds to prop up its struggling sister trading firm, Alameda Research.
Now, a clearer—and stranger—picture is starting to form of where that money may have gone.
On Tuesday, the Financial Times detailed some $5.4 billion worth of Alameda’s investment portfolio—-over 500 illiquid investments made by the firm across 10 holding companies as of early last month.
Though the majority of the companies listed were crypto and decentralized finance ventures, the documents reveal Alameda also doled out exorbitant sums to projects and companies far outside the firm’s stated Web3 mandate.
Alameda, for example, invested $25 million in 80 Acres, a produce company specializing in growing and selling lettuce and strawberries in the Ohio region, for an undisclosed amount of equity in the company.
The Web3 trading firm also allotted $500,000 to Equator Therapeutics, a company developing a weight loss drug, and $1.5 million to Ivy Natal, a San Francisco-based fertility company.
Some investments were even further off the beaten path: Alameda shelled out $1 million for a 5% share in Fern Labs Inc., a New York-based chemical company that appears to be selling knockoff versions of lotions once peddled by long-defunct cosmetics brand Goubaud de Paris.
Alameda also appeared to have a particular appetite for Chinese media companies. The firm spent $5 million on a 25% stake in Chinese crypto news site ODaily, and $3.56 million for a 30% stake in BlockBeats, another digital Chinese Web3 news publication.
The firm also invested $1.2 million in Trustless Media, the company behind Coinage, an NFT-backed news show.
Alameda reportedly suffered huge losses after May’s crypto crash, which then-FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried attempted to paper over with secret infusions of funds from FTX. It remains unclear how much money was also lost by Alameda over the years, through its myriad, more unorthodox investments.
In the aftermath of the collapse of FTX and Alameda, Bankman-Fried—founder of both companies—has stated that he had no involvement in Alameda’s investment decisions. Yet, blockchain data reveals the two companies have long commingled funds to a degree that would be difficult to overlook.
Per Bankman-Fried, Alameda’s financial decisions were exclusively overseen by the firm’s CEO, Caroline Ellison.
Ellison, who has at multiple times dated Bankman-Fried, lived with him and eight other FTX and Alameda executives in a Bahamas penthouse, until both companies collapsed last month. Twitter users have since spotted her in New York.
A blog linked to Ellison previously described crypto as “mostly scams and memes”; it also explored discredited fields of race science and promoted polyamory modeled on the structure of “imperial Chinese harem[s].”