Kwon is listed as a top investor in 17 tech firms. His company, Terraform Labs, created one of the largest stablecoins, TerraUSD (UST) and its sister token Luna, which are tied to the value of government-issued currencies such as the dollar.
Luna’s total value skyrocketed to more than $40 billion, and Kwon referred to investors and supporters as “Lunatics.”
“I’m officially a Lunatic!!! Thanks @stablekwon And thank you my friends at Smith Street Tattoos,” Mike Novogratz, CEO of Galaxy Investment Partners, which focuses on investments in cryptocurrency.
The $1 peg to government Treasuries, cash and other dollar-debt was supposed to make stablecoins such as UST and Luna, easy to sell during times of market stress – until they failed to live up to the hype and helped send the entire crypto market tumbling.
Terraform Labs claimed to ensure price stability by algorithmically expanding and contracting supply. But critics said “These pseudo dollars aren’t necessarily backed by any assets at all, instead relying on financial engineering to maintain their link to the dollar,” Wall Street Journal reported.
Recently ranked among the top 10 most valuable cryptocurrencies, the Terra stablecoins crashed, losing as much as 99 percent of their value. The loss of their peg to the U.S. dollar on May 9 left several investors saying on social media that they had lost their life savings and had considered suicide.
Kwon previously dismissed concerns about the stability of his stablecoins, saying, “I don’t debate the poor.”
The crash of TerraUSD (UST) and Luna helped accelerate the loss of $300 billion in value across the crypto economy.
In the wake of this unprecedented crypto crash, Kwon is now facing prosecution in his home country South Korea and Terraform Labs is under investigation by Korea’s Financial and Securities Crime Joint Investigation Team.
The 30-year-old crypto bro was born in South Korea in 1991 and attended Stanford University starting in 2010, graduating with a computer science degree in 2015, according to his LinkedIn page.
Not much I know about his early life, but a public website he created says he worked at a Microsoft business partner and at Apple, according to New York Magazine’s Intelligencer.
In 2018, he founded Terraform Labs with partner Daniel Shin, who later left the company.
Under the pseudonym “Rick Sanchez” (from the animated show “Rick and Morty”), Kwon helped create the failed stablecoin project Basis Cash in 2020, CoinDesk reported. The failure, however, helped him build a design for his later project, UST, which he linked with the U.S. dollar to give it credibility.
Kwon made it onto the Forbes 30-under-30 list after Terraform Labs raised more than $200 million in funding from investors between 2018 and 2021, including Arrington Capital, Coinbase Ventures, Binance, OKX, Huobi Group, and Upbit.
Most of these investors lost big after the recent UST and Luna collapse.
Photo: Do Kwon, founder and CEO of Terraform Labs, screenshot from a ColdFusion video, YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3KZY41SqaTI